Monday, December 15, 2008

more fun...

Play time at the mall. :) Anyone have any germ-x?

What a smile!

Fun time with grandpa.

So, we've had Alia home with us for several weeks now... and can't tell you how much we enjoy her! She is so amazing!

It blows my mind to think that we went across the world to adopt a baby because we thought that we could offer a baby that otherwise wouldn't have much ... more. We had a calling from God and we answered it. We went through so much to "give a little baby hope and a chance at life" and we are the ones who ended up totally blessed! Of course... she needed (and needs) us, but what we didn't know is that we needed her.

In just a few weeks, she has learned and changed SO much. She is crawling all over, giving big wet kisses, and eating puffs (what a lifesaver...) all by herself (she's such a big girl). She even tries to take off walking (I'm SO not ready for that yet!). Everytime she comes at me with her mouth wide open to give me kisses... I melt. Everytime she smiles...I smile too! The other day she was in her jumper and going crazy jumping and laughing. She had Brad and I both laughing with her because her laugh is so funny, sweet, and cute.

We ask ourselves almost daily how we could be so blessed that she is ours.

I wonder if that is how God feels about us... Does He smile when we smile? Does He laugh when we laugh? Does He cry when we cry? All of us who are His children have been "adopted" into His family. I think about all of the work, money, travel, time, pain, heartache, etc... that we went through to bring Alia home, and think about how much more Jesus did for us by coming to earth to die for us. His death was the only way that He could give us life... there isn't even a comparison!

As we come to the season that we celebrate Jesus' birth, don't forget that the reason that He came was to die... for us. Remember John 3:16... God loved us so much... He gave His Son. When I rock Alia to sleep each night (no, she's not spoiled... well... maybe she is... but she deserves every minute!), I pray. I pray that God will take care of her, that she would grow up strong and healthy, that she will someday understand God's love for her and accept Him into her heart, that she will sleep well and calm, etc... but most of all, I pray that she will know how loved she is. As a baby... I don't think she has any idea what is going on. She doesn't know how she ended up in my arms...
I don't know how I ended up in God's arms...but I'm SO glad that I did. I didn't do anything to deserve His love for me, but ... I'm SO glad that He loves me. I pray that this Christmas you all will see how much God loves you. You are so loved!

My new favorite saying is... sometimes you have to go through Shymkent (the first region that we traveled to) to get to Karaganda (where we met Alia). No matter what you are going through in your life, God loves you. Bad things happen to all of us... what matters is how we respond. Do we give up when the going gets tough? Or, do we use each trial as a stepping stone and let it make us stronger? I can't imagine life without Alia now that we have her here, but believe me... there was a time after Shymkent that I wanted to quit. Look what I would have missed out on!

Merry Christmas from Brad, Stephanie, and Alia! We love you all!


Pudgy Pencils said...

These are great, Steph! I love the one of her in the tunnel crawling at the mall (and I agree on the germ - x; what's up with them never refilling those hand sanitizer dispensers in the play areas anyway?) I can't believe she is up and about so much already...too, too cool :D

rjwb9688 said...

What a happy girl! :) She looks like she's already grown so much. Happy Holidays!

teresamartinpike said...

Awww, she's so precious!
Merry Christmas!

We love you all,
Teresa, Winston, Sophia, Jasmine

Jeff Morris said...

Hey guys,

Incredily well said!!! Merry Christmas to everyone and I'll talk to you next year.

Rebecca Bunt said...

Hi Stephanie!
My husband works with Brad so I've been following your story and was so excited to see how much Alia has fit into your family. I try to check your blog more often, but obviously I'm way behind.
I just wanted to say how wonderful I thought your Christmas message was. What a wonderfully faith based message you have! Alia is so lucky to have such great, caring parents. With a toddler at home, I know how challenging, but totally rewarding it must be to watch her change on a daily basis.
Blessings to the three of you!