December is usually a fast, full month because it's a Holiday month, but this December set a speed record for our family! Fasten your seatbelts and come with me on a quick pictoral trip through one amazing month.
Justin moved out of the house and into his first condo (complete with roomies), so John and I worked fast and furious to transform a former bachelor pad into a nursery. No small feat! When Kelly arrived she put all the finishing flourishes to her little nest.We commemorated Beau's life at Harpeth Hills' annual Candlelight Christmas service. Though this shot doesn't show it, there were crowds and crowds of people celebrating Christmas and their loved ones.
Decorate the house, do the baking, pack the bags, check the lists, and off to Kansas we go, where the sky is big and the prairie wide ... and windy ... and cold!
We spend a day in Independence, getting the lay of the land (which isn't hard since it's such a small town) then learn we'll need to go on to Wichita for a couple of days. Baby Omari won't be coming that day after all and we are rather bummed to say the least! So we visit THE Little House on the Prairie located nearby to cheer ourselves up. We learned why the Ingalls family spent only one year there - it's too COLD AND WINDY to live in a log cabin on a high prairie!We also spend a little time getting acquainted with tiny Caney, Kansas where we thaw out in a little Soda Fountain/flea market. Kelly and I had a comforting bowl of vegetable beef soup and find a few treasures as well.Whiling away the weekend in Wichita, we found a beautiful little stone Episcopal Church and attended both their morning Advent service and the evening Celtic service. Such a beautiful way to worship and contemplate the first advent of Christ! On Monday morning, after hearing the news that Baby Omari is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, we pack our bags again and move back to Independence. This time, we take a different 2-hour route across the prairie through the Flint Hills and marvel at the barren winter beauty of the plains.
Kelly and I check back into our friendly little hotel in Independence again, and are greeted by the staff who are by now acquainted with our adoption adventure. Even the cleaning ladies know, and they are very excited for Kelly! On Tuesday morning, Kelly packs herself a bag and packs the baby bag, and off we go to the appropriately named hospital. It's December 15th ... the day Eric and Kelly and many, many others have looked forward to for a long time! It's the birthday of their son!At 12:33, Aric Omari comes lustily into the world, healthy and whole! He weighs in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. and is the most amazingly beautiful baby around! At 1:45 the caseworker ushers us into Omari's room and Kelly meets her son for the first time. God's faithfulness inexpressibly fills our hearts ... how can one pack all the meaning of "thank you" into just those two words? Thank you to our Father, and thank you to a birth mom who makes such a sacrifice for the sake of a child? Kelly and Omari spend the night in the hospital, while I return to the hotel to announce the good news. The next morning we pack up again and by afternoon we are on our way again to Wichita and the comfortable Capitol Inn on McConnell Airforce Base. Kelly and I unpack and settle in again, but this time it will be for a few days as we rest and wait for the interstate compact to come through so we can cross the state line and go home. Though we have no guarantee of being home for Christmas, we are sure hoping that we will be.
"Judgement Day" comes on Friday and it all goes wonderfully well. The judge verifies that Kelly and Omari are indeed who they are, issues the adoption decree, and it even works for Eric to join in from Afghanistan on speaker phone! Friday, however, doesn't bring the interstate compact, so we can't leave on Monday as we hoped. So we spend another Wichita weekend, but this time we are spending our time getting to know Omari and delighting in the newborn-ness of him! We're also watching the weather closely because a winter storm is on the forecast horizon.Monday comes ... and by noon we learn that the compact has gone through! We can leave on Tuesday ahead of the storm and be home by Christmas!! So, we start packing again, and by this time we could do it in our sleep! So long, Capital Inn! So long, Kansas! You've been great, but we're headed back to the gentle land of trees and hills.Two days on the road, and by the afternoon of the 23rd we are HOME!! Praise be to God for His marvelous gifts! Thank you for tracing our December journey, and check back in for more photos of Omari and musings about the mercies of the Father."The Lord is faithful in all his words and kinds in all his works." Psalm 145: 13b