It has been 30 months since we last update this website. Oops. And really, the only reason our Christmas letter is posted here is because we have been too busy to get one out in the mail. Sorry. Promise we’re not lazy–this is what’s been going on:
The boys are doing great and are a ton of fun.
Jonathan finished up Kindergarten in June and began First Grade in August at the Augustine School here in Jackson. He absolutely loves learning and looks forward to going every day. He enjoys reading the Boxcar Children books and reading to his little brothers. Jonathan will be seven in January (seriously?!?) and picked a great year to really get into watching football–Go Pack Go! He did a great job playing soccer this fall and is just starting basketball for the first time. I don’t think he has realized that he inherited the Litscher/Brouwer height genes, though…
Gabe is also doing great–he turned three in April and is an active, energetic child. Gabe went from crawling straight to running, and he hasn’t stopped since. He loves playing with cars, reading books, and wrestling with his older brother (and dad). Gabe is such a little helper with everything–sometimes even before he is asked! He is really into playing baseball now, though he will spend all day playing anything that involves a ball. He is a sweet, fun kid, and we spend most of the day laughing at things he says and does–such a joy.
Gideon! We got another redhead with this one, though he really does look like a good combination of the two older brothers. When the three of them are together, Jonathan and Gabe actually look related. Gideon turned one on November 1st and the year really has flown by. Gideon is probably the most laid-back, poker-faced one of the three boys–until there is food around. Then the child will not sit still or be quiet. If the food is gone off the tray, he will scream until he is given more. He, too, is a little bit goofy. I’ve come to terms with the fact that all three of our boys are goofy (fun-goofy, not weird-goofy), and that it is either parenting style or genetic, both of which are my (Ken’s) fault. Anyway, Gideon is pulling up and walking along furniture, but isn’t quite gutsy enough to let go yet. He enjoys opening and closing doors and putting anything he finds into his mouth.
Renee has somehow managed to stay sane in the midst of her brood of men. In addition to keeping us all fed, clothed, clean, and healthy, she has continued to work per diem (as needed) about five shifts a month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. She’s also the room mom for Jonathan’s class, helps out a ton at our church (we love our church! It makes Jackson home), and, in general, makes life possible for the rest of us.
It has been an interesting year for me. I’ve started my third year as Director of Residence Life at Union University. I love my job. I love the people I get to work with. I love Union as an employer, and now, I love Union as a student. I was scheduled to start Union’s Doctor of Education program in June, but was able to transfer out of those two classes. That was providential, as the Friday before classes started, I had surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon.
That’s what I get for exercising–one quick step playing racquetball and one loud pop later and I was laid up for a week and half, on crutches for 6 weeks, and generally unhelpful for about two months. Also, my eyes got REALLY freaky looking for two weeks. They did go back to normal. Thanks to some great friends (again, we love our church family!) and the incredible patience and sacrifice of Renee, we managed to make it through. So, I finally took some classes towards my program in the fall and really enjoyed them. It was no breeze, but I’m thankful to be 25% of the way done (credit-wise…I’m probably only 5-10% of the way done work-wise).
The biggest thing going on though, and the reason why we’ve been so busy, is that we are in the midst of adopting a child from Ethiopia. Adoption has long been something on both of our hearts for a long time. Shortly after the Haiti earthquake two years ago, we felt the push we needed to begin the process. We actually met with our case worker from Bethany Christian Services in March 2010 to hear about the process. Two days later, Renee found out she was pregnant with Gideon.
So, everything got put on hold for 16 months or so. We started up the process again in August and are almost through the first “hurry-up” phase to the “wait” phase. Our home-study is done and we are waiting on our appointment to get fingerprinted in order to obtain our USCIS approval. At least I think that’s what it’s all called–this is the other big project Renee has been working on: coordinating this whole process. After we finish up a few more forms to be signed, notarized, county approved and state sealed, our dossier (all that fancy paperwork with a copy of our home study) gets sent to Ethiopia via Washington DC and we begin the waiting process for a referral (being matched with a child). That should take somewhere between 4-8 months after our dossier arrives. Another 6-12 months after that, we travel for the first (of two) times to Ethiopia. A few weeks after that and we are bringing our child home to his or her family.
This has been a good, hard, long process and we’ve only just begun! Will you pray with us as we continue along this journey? We plan on updating this blog a bit more frequently than in recent days with what is going on. We’d also love to talk with you about adoption, Bethany Christian Services, and anything else you are wondering about. To start, these are two blog posts that are way more well written than anything we could do. Not everything is exactly how or why we are going through this process, but they are both pretty darn close.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on with us, and possibly why we’ve been a little incommunicado for the past few months. We love you and we’d love to spend time with you. I just wish we had more of it! So, Merry Christmas. We hope and pray that it is restful, peaceful, and JOYFUL. We are thankful for you and for our great God, whose Son’s birth we celebrate. Blessings from the Litscher’s.