On Christmas Eve, we have some traditions. We always go to a restaurant for an early dinner. Then we go to the cemetery and light candles on the graves of our loved ones....our son, Dakota, my father, and my grandparents are all at the same cemetery. Then we go home, eat pulla (a Finnish sweet bread) and drink hot chocolate while we tell the story of Jesus' birth. Then we open a couple of gifts, Rudolph drops off presents at the front door, (pajamas), and the kids try to fall asleep, usually with much difficulty because of the anticipation.
This year we had to skip lighting the candles at the cemetery because I had ankle surgery just a week before and couldn't go traipsing through the snow. So, we went for a drive to see Christmas lights instead.
We thought our Christmas was going to be a bit different this year because we are saving money for our adoption. I have a part-time job in the evenings and Saturdays as a grocery clerk to help fund the adoption. We decided we were not going to dip into this adoption fund at all to pay for Christmas. So, we began shopping early at second-hand stores and found some great deals. We also shopped through classified ads and found exactly what Savannah was asking for. When I went to pick up the princess castle, I saw that the woman had a daughter who was obviously adopted. So we began to talk about adoption. She adopted her daughter from Vietnam when she was a baby. I told her about Lilly and our plans to adopt her. She was very kind and gave me an even better deal on the castle.
On Christmas Eve as we looked around, we knew that the kids would be so happy about our finds and what "Santa" had left them. Savannah asked for a princess castle. Sierra asked for a basketball and a diamond. Of course, every time she sat on Santa's knee and made her request, Santa glanced up at us with a look that said, "Good luck with that!" Madison asked for a volleyball.
Before the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve, we let them open their gifts from Madison's birth families. They opened gifts from Nana Pat and Papa Mike and from Grandma Holly and Grandpa Marc and then we let them open the gifts from Amanda. Amanda gave them a Wii and some games to go with it. Madison opened it and started yelling, "We have a Wii, we have a Wii!!!" I guess she knew what to do with a Wii. I think Steve is enjoying the Wii as much as the kids. I should admit that I LOVE to play too....it's a lot of fun and good exercise....my arm was so sore after playing baseball and golf. :)
The highlight of Christmas Eve for Steve and I was our phone call to Ghana. It was so great to talk with our sweet little girl and hear her say, "I love you." We wanted to send her a little Christmas gift, but as we thought about her circumstances, we decided against it. She lives in Kingsley and Gloria's home with their four children and about 20 other orphans. We felt it wouldn't be right to send something for her and not the others. So we were going to send candy to all of them. But after all was said and done, we decided to send money so that Kingsley can buy what the kids really need. (If anyone wants to make a donation to Luckyhill Orphanage, you can do so on the Luckyhill site. Any little bit helps. Our dollars go a long way in Ghana.) http://luckyhillorphanage.org/donations.html
Christmas morning was fun watching the kids enjoy their presents. Sierra saw the basketball hoop right away and then asked, "Where's my diamond?" I told her to look around some more. She found the large gem (pink glass, cut like a diamond) and smiled so big and said, "Thank you mommy thank you, thank you." After thanking me, she also graciously thanked Santa.
Steve's family came to our home and spent the afternoon with us. All of the grandkids live near us in Tooele, so a few years ago we started spending Christmas at our house instead of all of us bundling up the kids and driving to Salt Lake. We had a wonderful Christmas lunch and then opened more presents from Grandparents and Steve's siblings.
Later that evening, I called and talked with my mom who is serving a mission in Georgia, and each of my siblings. I reflected on how blessed and how rich our lives are because of our association with so many wonderful people, both family and friends.
When I think about Lilly Anita Saviour, I just want her to be here with us so badly. I want to have her home! I know that our Father in Heaven wants to have us home too. I marvel at the love He has for us. He wants us to come home so much so, that he sent His only Begotten Son to this earth to show us the way. I am so indebted to the Saviour for His life and death which paves the way for each of us to make it Home again to our loving Heavenly Father.
I love the video below. It was made by our Church, but someone took out the sound from the original video and added Amy Grant's song "Breath of Heaven". It's beautiful!