we miss you…………come back soon.
Our three foster children: Joseph, Brian, and Adriana were officially adopted into the McCracken clan on Thursday, August 11, 2011. We adopted them from Clark County Foster Care here in Las Vegas. We are so happy to have an official day to celebrate and commemorate their inclusion into our family. The three Littles have been with us for almost a year now, and we have considered them “ours” from the moment we got them. But there is something about the adoption decree that allows us, the parents, to exhale that last bit of breath. You know, the “what if” breath that we don’t even know we are holding until the judge says, “YES.”
At the courthouse…we had so many friends and family members in attendance. In addition, there were many dear workers from Clark County, whom we consider friends, who have been involved in this wonderful placement. Joseph kept wrapping my arm tighter and tighter around his tummy. Brian wouldn’t let go of Adam. And Annie, well, she’s just smiley bubbly Annie…happy to be along for the ride. :)
We’re guessing most people are not excited to see their name listed on a docket at Family Court. We got quite a few stares as we were taking pictures of it.
And look at all the amazing people who came in support of this awesomeness:
It was obviously a beautiful day. Thank you, to everyone who attended, and who continue to support our growing McFamily!
Welcome (officially), Jo Jo, Brian, and Annie:
I have been fighting an infection in my body for about six weeks now. In fact, I’ve been to the doctor six times in six weeks. It is annoying, It is inconvenient. But mostly, it is humbling. Recently, other more serious afflictions have befallen our Little McFamily. I think that being sick, however frustrating, has helped humble me physically…preparing me to draw from the only spiritual source that is powerful enough to not only heal my physical body, but also my wounded spirit.
What I have learned this week:
1. No one is perfect. Duh, right? Although we have perfection as our long-term goal, for now our goal is continuous progress in that direct. (which is only possible through the Atonement)
2. My ability to Love, as a daughter of God and as a wife, is far greater than I thought possible.
3.The capacity we all have for compassion can only be enlarged through humility. And as I continue to humble myself, the compassion I feel helps my Love to grow exponentially.
4. Squaring shoulders and standing together takes true courage.
5. My husband is the best man I know. And my children are so very–even eternally–blessed to have him as the head of our Little McHome.
I am not really sure what to write. Unfamiliar territory. I always envisioned ONE temple sealing–my marriage to Adam. Although we talked about adoption very early on, even as we dated, I never considered the possibility of participating in another sealing.
Adam and I decided to go to the temple a little early so that we could have some quiet time to reflect before the event. Our assigned helpers were floored that we managed to arrive early with four children in tow. “Usually families are late, never early…” Okay, so we had a little incentive to arrive early. 1. our house was crawling with loved ones and 2. we knew we could drop the kids in the nursery and head to the cafeteria. Adam munched on a cinnamon roll while I blubbered on about our kids.
What did I feel? Joy. Humility. Wonder. Overwhelmed by the sea of loved ones who graced the sealing room. Grateful for the deepened sense of solidarity I felt between Adam and I.
What is the temple sealing all about? It is about binding families together forever. We do not believe in “until death do you part,” but instead in “time and all eternity.” It is about exactness, honor, and glory. Temple worship is also about conducting our lives in a way complementary to the Savior’s–trying our best to emulate his teachings, his example, and his goodness.
This picture is almost everyone that was able to attend. There are also many more loved ones and friends that were unable to enter the temple, but who were just as supportive and attentive to our family. We thank you all for your kindness and your support of our children. The ninos’ journey has only just begun, and I already see small miracles coming to pass.
I know that many adoptive families (not all) struggle with Doubting Thomases in their midst. I know that they struggle with the varying levels of support and concern from different family members and friends inside their circles of influence. I am not saying that our own people didn’t think we were crazy. Some did. Heck, we were among them at times! But we knew this adoption was meant to be from the moment we finally decided to go forward in October 2007–and we have felt nothing but joy and unconditional love since.
Go here for more sealing pictures.
Our weekend of celebration with family and friends started Friday night with Daniel’s baptism. Due to scheduling issues, we held the baptism in our friends’pool. Well, actually in the hottub. (Thank you for heating it, Jeremy) Our guests were very very patient as we waited for my family’s plane to arrive. They were delayed in Seattle for 1.5 hours, which delayed the baptism until 8:30. Thank you, thank you, for being patient and flexible. We fed our guests some yumminess while we waited, which helped. :) Who says you can’t have dessert first?
The talks on baptism and the Holy Ghost were given in Spanish–thanks Uncles Robert and Seth. Adam baptized Danny (in Spanish), Grandpa McCracken and Uncle Mike were the baptismal witnesses, and Uncle Brian confirmed him. The grandmas said the opening and closing prayers. A special thanks to Mark Stewart for not only conducting the baptism, but also presiding over the children’s blessings on Sunday. My sweet girlfriends, Jaime Lynne, Jena, and Valerie, took care of the music, the program, and the delicious mini cheesecakes and other desserts that night. They outdid themselves as usual!
Danny was ecstatic about the evening!!!
Daniel, we are so proud of you. You are clever and warm-hearted. You are amiable and sensitive. You try your best at everything you do, and your sweet smile melts my heart. Right now, your favorite things are climbing, baseball, and scouts. Oh, and how can we forget the Wii. Thank you for giving us the chance to be your parents, and to teach you about the Savior.
It is the beautiful Easter season, and I feel compelled to share this beautiful video. It reminds me of our Savior’s sacrifice, and helps me remember that Jesus has been by my side through every fertility struggle, every lonely moment, and every difficult decision. I am grateful for his sacrifice in death. And I am even more grateful for the hope and glory his resurrection provides.
If there are any among you who are confused as to what we believe, or who doubt our devotion to the Lord Jesus, please take this as a small testimony of our faith, of our belief in his divinity, and of his power to heal our hearts.
In the next two posts we will be sharing our son’s (Danny) baptism, and our family trip to the temple. I am excited to share it with our family and friends who live far away. I also can’t wait to share our special weekend with those of you who we have never met, yet think of as friends, regardless of our different religious backgrounds.
It has been an impressive, emotional, unforgettable week here at the McCracken home. It will take a few days for me to sort through all of the pictures and events. For those who didn’t make it this weekend, be prepared for a barrage of pictures and text. So much happened in so little time–I can’t wait to document it all. There might even be some tears on your end. Heaven knows there were many happy tears on ours.
Knowing that sorting pics might take awhile, I don’t want too much time to go by without thanking everyone who did make the effort to attend. From the bottom of our hearts we thank each of you for your participation, support, and hard work. Whether you prepared food, provided supplies, donated time, or simply arranged your schedule to be in attendance….we thank you. We appreciate you. We honor each of your efforts in gracing our family.
Our children feel so much love. I see your patience, your caring and your kindness healing their little wounded hearts. It is unbelievable to me, eight months into this journey, how much gratitude I feel for each person who has stayed the course along side Adam and me. Our love for each of you continues to grow. We know you continue to invest in our children and in us. Sometimes that is not an easy thing. And yet, you continue on. That is why we care so deeply for each of you. That is why sharing this weekend with our close family and friends meant so much to us.
Whether you came from across the street, across town, or across a few states, we are grateful for your investment in our family. Whether you are of our Faith or not, we are grateful for your support. Whether you have known us for decades, or for a few short months, we feel gratitude for your service on our behalf. We would not change our situation for anything in the world. Thank You!!!
How did we spend our anniversary?
Grocery shopping, practicing the alphabet, lunching with daddy, and driving through town with the windows down singing to the tip-tops of our lungs. Just another ordinary day full of messes, tantrums, games, and laughter. And I cannot imagine it any other way, nor would I trade it.
What is the biggest lesson learned these past six months?
That the soul’s capacity to love is larger and more encompassing than I ever imagined. This adoption has helped me see beyond myself in very specific ways. It has acquainted me with the darkest parts of this world. My mind now houses real images that were previously only viewed from an armchair. Images that remind me of exactly what my children have risen from. Images that, although I wish didn’t exist, have increased my ability to love. Images that have increased my capacity for compassion and mercy.
Just as I have seen the cruelties of man hard at work, however, I have also seen the magnificence of the heavens right along side. Our children are living miracles! Each of their ability to love and forgive is incredible. Danny’s gentleness, Ezzy’s sureness, Nikki’s sweetness, and Juan P.’s–well he’s just Juan P.–assures me that tender mercies still abound. There is beauty to be found, and there is joy to be had!!!
Over the past five years, there have been many many days when I have felt as though my beating heart was literally being ripped from my chest. Moments when I could not breath for the feelings of emptiness and loss were so great. Even now, I can picture vividly those tumultuous times, and feel the despair that engulfed me. But those feeling cannot and never will compare to the feelings that my oldest son felt as a toddler when he was expected to beg for drug money on the streets, or when he was bounced from home to home finally ending up in an orphanage with his siblings. My experience will never hold a candle to my youngest son’s experience of being taken at two days old and never having a mother to bond with until now.
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine never knowing from day to day, especially as a young child, if you will be fed or bathed or clothed or safe? Although I have seen it, I still cannot fathom experiencing it. And yet, my children are valiant little spirits. They have keen minds, and they try to do good (except when it comes to toothpaste–don’t ask:). In six short months, I have felt more love for and from them than I ever expected. Even in my best of the best case scenarios I am still blown away by our Colombian Sunshines, and our overall adoption experience. I know not everyone has the same sort of experience, and I know that we have a very very long road ahead. Our home runs far from perfectly! But we trudge along each day…finding joy in the journey.
Six months seems like six days, but also like six years! And I think that is the way it is supposed to be.