Monday, November 25, 2013


We did a really hard thing on Sunday evening. Tears were shed. Mostly mine. I didn't realize how hard it would be. This idea I'd come up with, after weeks of mulling it over, considering our situation, praying, and hoping, is a good idea. I feel it. But when it came down to presenting it to our kids, I felt the weight of taking away something dear, and perhaps breaking hearts. Kid hearts. I hoped otherwise. Still, I cried.

Last night when we gathered as a family. I asked Braeden to tell me what he was thankful for.
He listed Brodie (our cockapoo), his mission call, that his mom makes good food.

Jacob's answer: The most beautiful mom in the whole world. And our new house, Dad's job, and that we live in a great place.

Maren: That her room is finally unpacked and pretty, and that she will get to share it with Sara.

I explained that some things are tremendous blessings. The new house, Braeden's coming mission, Jacob's driving school, the adoption. Christmas. All wonderful things. All things that come with a trade. Good, amazing things we trade for money. And money was tight.

I told them Dad and I had talked about an idea. We decided we weren't going to send out Christmas cards or a family picture this year. We would take the money we usually spend on that and put it into a stocking for Sara. Instead I would write a Christmas greeting and post it on the blog with a picture, and send a link to our family and friends. Also, Dad and I aren't going to get each other Christmas presents, and the money we would have spent on each other will go into "Sara's Stocking." We were also asking extended family members to donate to the adoption fund instead of giving us gifts, because we would rather have Sara than things. We have so many things.

The kids were listening pretty intently now.

I said, "I'm going to ask you to consider something now. I'm going to ask you to do something very hard."
And that's when I saw it click in their eyes, and that's when I began to cry. And I couldn't ask it of them for a couple minutes. Jacob reached over and rubbed my arm. Braeden said, "You can ask us." Maren blinked at me with her huge eyes rimmed with tears.

Brandon nodded at me and I thought, Oh, sure, YOU do this. But it was my idea, and so it was me.

I took a deep breath. "Dad and I are asking you to consider giving up your Christmas presents we would have bought you, and donating that money to Sara's Stocking. I want you to consider using your own money to buy each other gifts or adding that to the stocking, too." I paused. They were still listening. "We would open Sara's Stocking on Christmas morning and see how we did. Then we would celebrate with a delicious Christmas breakfast and do the things we love with things we already have. We can play Rock Band and games and do puzzles and hang out all day."

Tears slipped down Maren's cheeks.
Braeden leaned back. He said, "Okay. I didn't really want anything anyway." Easy for a guy who will soon leave all worldly possessions behind except the clothes on his back. Clothes he already considered a gift.
Jacob nodded and shrugged. "The thing I was going to ask for was way out of range anyway. Let's do it."

I looked at Maren. I could see the tug-of-war happening in her heart. I asked her if she needed some time to think about it. She nodded and wiped a tear. Then she asked the question I knew would come.

"What about Santa?"

Maren is 11 years old. Maren is a believer.

I had practiced my answer, and still a new wave of emotion hit me. I didn't answer "Of course Santa will still bring you the items on your wishlist." Instead, I said, "We'll have to write to Santa and explain things."
And she understood. I held out my arms and she fell into them, crying softly.
"There's still magic," I promised.
"Will he still come if we put out cookies?"
I nodded.
"Will we still get candy in our stocking?"
"Yes," Brandon said. "Maybe he'll bring something for Sara's Stocking."

Maren pulled away and wiped her face. "Can you write a letter on the computer?"
I shook my head. "I think you should write it, honey, by hand."
She nodded and her eyes brightened. "I have been practicing my cursive."

And I knew. I knew it would be okay. I knew I had some of the best kids in the world.

She came down from getting her jammies on wearing this hat.


Jessica said...

Woah! I absolutely adore this and your family. This made me weepy. Thank you so much for sharing! Love you guys and I love believers.

Evelyn McNeill Hornbarger said...

I love this, and it makes me cry. What a great way to spend Christmas. You really do have the best kids in the world. Thanks for sharing your hard, and wonderful thing.

Marion Jensen said...

"We would rather have Sara than things."

Must of had something in my eye right there when I read that...

Nichole Giles said...

I hope you don't mind if I share this post with my family. Your actions are a true reminder of what Christmas and family are really all about. I hope Sara knows how loved she truly is.

Malerie said...

Beautiful. I will think of this often as I am trying to raise my kids. Thank you for sharing this.

Shanda Cottam said...



Donna K. Weaver said...

Seriously crying here. Thank you for sharing this.