Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy 10th Adoption Day!

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute
You didn't grow under my heart,
But in it.

It was 10 years ago today that our family gathered in the court-house and church-house to adopt Rebecca, Victoria, Susanna, and Cassandra.

The evening before the big day our family including grandparents, great-aunts and an uncle set up for the covenant ceremony and reception to followed.

Here are the two cuties of that special time in our lives: Rebecca had just turned 3 and Victoria was 3 1/2. As you can see they were having a discussion about which hymn to play on the piano.

Things got a little out of hand and the two new sisters had to sit in time-out while big brother Garrison sat guard.

The next morning we arose early to dress in our like-colors! After a few photos we headed to Mclean County Law and Justice Center in downtown Bloomington.

Waiting for the court proceedings to begin.

A friend wrote in the girls scrapbook:

At 10:00 Judge Dozier called his courtroom to order. It was filled with family and friends, excited to witness this blessed event - the adoption of Cassandra, Susanna, Victoria, and Rebecca in to the Sanford Family.
Bob was called to the witness stand first and questioned about their home situation, their support network, homeschooling, and just about anything else you could think of! Despite being under tremendous pressure, he was able to correctly quote each child's full name and birthdate, and even had the courtroom laughing. When asked how all the children got along he said "They treat each other like siblings!"
Katherine was also called to testify, but fortunately escaped relatively unscathed.
Just before Judge Dozier granted the adoption he confided that he, too, was on of 7 children, and that Josh probably didn't stand much of a chance of getting in the bathroom!
When the adoption was complete, the courtroom burst into applause. Everyone was in awe of the way god had worked in the lives of everyone involved to bring this family together.
After 7 (Rebecca) and 6 (Cass, Sus, and Victoria) months of waiting, we were now legally a family of 9! Judge Dozier gave us permission to take a photo with him.
After hugs and pats on the back from family and friends as well as our social workers, we drove to the church. As Bob put it, "We have rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar's now it is time to render unto God what is God's!"

We knew as a family that our four daughters were given to us by God; therefore we wanted to have a ceremony which would bind us together in a covenantal manner. We did this by re-working our wedding liturgy into adoption liturgy.

While the Carmen song Meant For This Moment played, we walked in each carrying a candle to represent how we were individuals before God. The center candle was unlit.

We also re-worded our wedding vows into adoption vows. Pastor Rick Wagner of E-Free is reading them to us asking for our response.

Reading of Vows
Dear Family and Friends, We are gathered together in the presence of God and these witnesses to join these four beautiful girls with this family and commit this union to Him. Adoption is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently, soberly, and in the fear of god. It is a union whereby parents commit themselves to the nurturing, well-being, and love of children not born to them. This union illustrates the holy relationship between Christ and man. therefore, Bob and Katherine desire to vow and covenant before God, a forever adoption in the same manner that our Lord and Savior has adopted us, as expressly stated in Ephesians 1:5, confirming before God that Cassandra, Susanna, Victoria, and Rebecca were predestined to be adopted by them in accordance with our Lord's pleasure and will.
The Vows
Bob and Katherine, will you promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be loving, and nurturing parents to Cassandra, Susanna, Victoria, and Rebecca, sharing all the Lord has planned for your family, to speak and to listen, to inspire and to respond, using scripture as your guide to educate and train them, and in all circumstances of your life together, to be faithful parents, just as the Lord has adopted you, and been faithful to you?
We answered: We do!
Will you Josh, Taylor (Garrison), and Melinda covenant before God to accept Cassandra, Susanna, Victoria, and Rebecca to be your sisters, sharing without reservation your parents, your home, and your life, loving and accepting them in your family as Christ has accepted you into His?
They answered: We do.
Will you Cassandra (11 years old), Susanna (8 years old), Victoria, and Rebecca covenant before God to accept Bob and Katherine as your parents, and Josh, Taylor, and Melinda as your siblings, sharing your heart, your love, and your future, fully believing that this is ordained and blessed by God as His plan for your life?
They answered: We do.

We then gave the girls heart-lockets to wear as a reminder of this special day and convenant.

Daddy steps down, lights the center candle and blows out all of the individual candles signifying we are now one family in the Lord.

Then Daddy prayed a prayer committing the children to the Lord followed by the Pastor's prayer of committing this family to the keeping of the Lord.

More hugs and pats on the backs then time for food and fellowship.
The cake says...Happy Adoption Day! Cassandra, Susanna, Victoria, and Rebecca.

The day drew to a close with us back home enjoying the grandparents and extended family. Here is Papa (K. Dad) with the "twins".

From left to right Aunt Lee, Gramma (K. Mom), Aunt Liz, Cass., Meme (B. Mom) and Daddy! Lots of present opening was enjoyed that evening.

A couple weeks later we received in the mail a gift from Lisa English, a scrapbook of the adoption. It is a wonderful keepsake!

The Lord truly blessed us that day with giving us forever our four daughters. Though the journey has not been easy these past 10 years, we can honestly say we are very thankful for our daughters and the many things we have learned from the Lord by having them in our family.

Happy 10th Adoption Day, girls! Love, Dad and Mom

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Painting and gardening... how FUN!

This is just going to be a fun post highlighting the past few days in my life.

First off, bright and early on Tuesday morning my mom walks into the room and says, "Meli, how about we paint your room today?" I was like, "Sure!" We had been talking about it for awhile now and had been planning to do it this Spring/Summer but the day had come where mom just felt like we needed to get it done. So we started by moving all the the furniture that was in my room, out.

Here is a 'before' shot. Don't you just love the color schemes?

Beginning our work. It's already starting to look better!

Mom had the job of going around the edge of the whole ceiling. She did fantastic!

The last little bit of green is almost GONE! For good! Yippy! :)

And now the last little bit of pink is almost gone for good as well!

Okay, so sometimes music just gets to me. It's either that or the smelling of paint all day long... you decide. :)

Almost done with the whole room.

My happy little painters were amazing! And I could not have done this without them.

The next morning all the paint had dried so we started to clean my room before redecorating it.

My bed frame, Hope Chest, night stand, and vanity shown here.

Moving box springs is not always very easy. But my brothers did an amazing job and didn't break anything!

It helps to have brothers who can lift all the heavy stuff.

This piece of furniture, that my mom and sister are lifting, and the rocking chair are the only two things that don't belong to me. Everything else is mine as an heirloom from my great-grandmother.

The finished product!!! I am SOOOOoooo very happy with how it all turned out!

*sigh* Isn't it just lovely? :) A HUGE 'thank you' to my family for helping me!!

Now these shots are from today. Daddy decided he wanted to start planting the garden before it gets too hot out here. Here are a few pictures to see what they were doing today...

The man who can do it all: My daddy! :D

It's starting to look really nice. Now all they have to do is put down the seeds.

I love jumping shots. So here I will leave you with a quick peek into what the girls were doing all day while the boys worked in the garden.

Answer: PLAYING!!!!! :)

God bless each and everyone one of y'all! Have a wonderful rest of your week!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy birthday to the Man of the house

This past Sunday was the birthday of our amazing father! He isn't perfect but he is the perfect daddy to all of us kids and he is the perfect husband for our mother. Our Dad has had to put up with a lot because of having 14 children. But through it all he has stayed faithful to his Father in heaven and he has loved us all even though at times we didn't deserve it. He is an amazing man of God and we are all so very thankful to have him in our lives.

Happy 49th birthday, Daddy!!!

May God continue to shine His face upon you, my amazing daddy! And my you always seek His will in your life.

Love you so very much!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Liberty Day 2010

Liberty Day has come and gone again. I cannot believe that this past time on March 20th was my families third time celebrating Liberty Day up in near Chicago. We had a wonderful time listening to the speakers and visiting with friends. All thanks goes to the Lord who saw fit to allow us to get all the costumes ready in plenty of time for the celebration. :) Without His help (and some help from my mom) I would have never been able to finish all these costumes in three weeks.

Here are some pictures from the amazing time we had... Enjoy!

Dr. Paul Jehle speaking on Perversion of Equality. He is an amazing speaker and I really enjoy the way he explains things. He makes history come alive with the stories he tells.

After listening to two different sessions by Mr. Herbert Titus and Dr. Paul Jehle, we went down to the gym to eat the yummy food we had brought for lunch.

This is me feeding Jess while Elaina just smiles. :)

Mr. Herbert Titus teaching us.

Before the last session was over Tiffany needed us all to come to the gym to practice all three of the songs we will be performing for her wedding. Since most of the instrumental quartet lives up there close to Chicago we decided it would be a perfect opportunity for all of us to get some practicing in.

Here Adrianna and Elaina are waiting their turn to sing.

Dad's going over the words again just to make sure he has got it down. While Mom looks so beautiful, staring at her hands. :)

The sweetest little girl that is always full of smiles.

The AMAZING quartet, and let me say that again just so you realize how truly AMAZING they really are!!! Here the amazing quartet is getting ready to play for the first group of singers.

Ahhhh.... **happy sigh** Beautiful music accompanied by beautiful voices.

Now it's our turn! :) Again, the quartet did wonderful while we needed a little practice actually singing with them.

After practicing we were all really happy with how it turned out.
Here Jess, Becca, I are getting a picture together and since Natalie cannot be separated from me for more than a moment, she hopped in the picture too. :D

Here Mom and Dad might look like they are ready for a fight but let me assure you they are just having a good time talking with Mrs. Price and Mrs. Vest.

After practice was dinner and let me tell you all these boxes were a wonderful sight to see! Pizza for everyone! :)

Something I can't decide: are the pizza's out of place with the Colonel dressed people. Or are the people out of place because they are eating pizza? And did they even have pizza back in the Colonel days?

After dinner I took Peace for awhile so that Whitney could eat her dinner. Peace didn't like all the noise in the room so here I am singing softly into her ear. She loved it and calmed down after awhile.

I am not sure what to say on this picture. Except that Peter looks pretty normal and Ashton... Um... well, not so much. :)

Mommy listening to Elaina tell some amazing story from what happened that day.

And the day sadly had to come to a close. But first was the night festivities! There was music and laughter simultaneously filling the room.

A rather strange shot of Nathan, Peter, and Mom. They look happy!

The Erberantey's accompanied by Heirs of Baird. It was great fun to listen to!!

And oh my! What is this? Is that Mr. Sanford standing up there for the 2nd Virginia Convention? Indeed yes it is! Joshua Erber/Patrick Henry was losing his voice and he wanted to make sure he had enough left for the famous speech. So the behind the scenes crew came up with a lovely idea! They had my daddy read the two opposing propositions to the audience. And might I say he did a WONDERFUL job as did all the people in the play!!!!

They even made my dad wear a real white wig. Ain't he cute?

The 2nd Virginia Convention taking place...

"Give me Liberty!!!!"

"...Or give me death!!!"

Here we all are in our costumes for the day. I must say they turned out even better then I had expected.

My amazing parents that I love so much!!

And thus ends our post about Liberty Day. It was a wonderful day had by all and we cannot wait for next year to come!!! If you missed out on this years you should definitely try to make it to next years. It is well worth it. Oh and just in case you were wondering... next year? Everyone in my family is wearing the same costumes! *grin*

God bless y'all! Have a wonderful rest of the week!