It is completely 100% official and final... Isabella Agnese Tucker and Becca Daniela Tucker are our daughters and American citizens (when they land in Chicago in a few hours!). What a journey it has been! I am reflecting on all that has changed in our lives this past year. Those people closest to me, know that I have had a difficult time with a certain problem this past year (nothing to do with adoption) and I have tried and tried to give it over to God, but it keeps coming back and eating at me. It has really made me question a lot of things about my life, my job, my ministry, my other friendships, and so on... But I have this sense of peace for some reason at this moment because I know that God has given me so many wonderful relationships that have supported my family throughout this year with the adoption of Isabella and Becca. I needed those people and their support more than anything and they were there to give love and care every single time I reached out (and sometimes when I didn't!). I don't want to list names, but I know you know who you are! And I thank you for sticking by us and choosing to be a part of the changes in our family!
People often talk about adopting older children and all the problems that can come with it. There are so many stories of families that have struggles and those who don't know about the blessings of adoption find it easy to criticize or say things like "well, I would never put my family through that". I know there were people who were once close to us who thought we were completely out of our minds adopting the girls and that we were not being fair to Ryleigh and Reagan. There were people who questioned the money aspect of it. And people who thought we were doing it to "save" these orphans, like it was for selfish reasons. Those are the people who are really too afraid to step out of their comfort zone and open up their hearts to what James 1:27 tells us. Not everyone should or can adopt kids, but there are ways to show your support of orphans and widows in so many ways. I cannot imagine not having the blessing of my 3 adopted children, not just for Tim and me, but for Ryleigh, too. Would we go through all the stress of stupid paperwork, crappy trips to Latvia, difficult parenting moments, language barriers, and more again? Yes!!!!! Because in the end, we have followed God's plan for our family and He is blessing us for it! I can't imagine not adopting them because I was afraid of a few uncomfortable or frustrating things. There is no denying that our girls were meant to be in our family. Will it be easy? No, but I will take the challenges, knowing good times are just around the corner. Will I be the perfect mother to them? Nope, but I will try, because they deserve loving, caring, understanding parents.
When I think back to a time when we didn't have kids yet and we suffered our first miscarriage of twins, I went through such a difficult time. I was not as close to God as I should have been, but I did get an overwhelming feeling that He did have a bigger plan. For a long time I thought we would get pregnant with twins again. The first day I spent with my big girls, I talked to my friend Erin afterwards and I remember just crying when she asked me what I was feeling and thinking and I said I felt like they were the blessing that God had waiting for me all these years. The girls do not replace those babies we lost, but God knew even then that Isabella and Becca needed a family here to help give them a fresh start. His timing is perfect. Our eyes were opened to adopting an older child at just the right time to prepare our hearts for them. When we prayed about the girl in China, I just kept going back to wanting another baby from China. But something opened up in my heart and mind that we would adopt an older child some day. I am so thankful to Stacy and Brad for being in tune with God's plan to host orphans through New Horizons. Again, His timing is perfect! I can't even describe how much gratitude there is in my heart for them. I think you just never know how God will use you to be a blessing to someone else! I want to teach all my girls that... there is a purpose for your life and you have to be in constant communication with God to be able to recognize how you can be all He wants you to be.
There are some dreams you have when you are a little girl talking to your friends about the future. As long as I can remember I wanted 4 kids. And now I have those 4 and one more "Bonus Baby" on the way! How lucky am I ? Yes, it is more difficult and expensive than I imagined in my pre-children days. But I love it! I love having a big family to sit down with at the dinner table. I love all the personalities that I get to nurture. I enjoy watching my husband smile at the goofy things our kids say and do. I love signing all of our names on cards! I love thinking about how when I couldn't imagine ever surviving one more miscarriage, God gave me the words "Be still and know that I am God" and I knew that everything would be okay.
So, despite failed friendships, being fat and out of shape, making mistakes daily in my duties as wife and mommy, and not always being perfect in my job... I am rejoicing tonight because we have completed another chapter in our lives, a chapter with the fingerprints of God all over it, and I am truly happy and content with life! In the words of my dear, sweet Grandma "Hooray for the good guys!" I am so looking forward to my family being together tomorrow night so we can turn the page on a new life for all of us! God is so, so, so good!
More about our awesome summer and pictures later... just had to get those thoughts out of my head!