451. I am thankful for Snapper. 10 years old. 5th grader. 4'7" tall. 69 pounds. Clothing size 10. Shoe size 6. Blonde hair that everyone tells me will go dark, but shows no signs of doing that yet. Beautiful blue eyes that don't see very well, but are alive enough to be windows into her soul. Passionately loves Jesus, and plans to use her life to serve Him. She doesn't know what that looks like yet, but whatever she ends up "doing with her life," she insists it will be to glorify God. She's an excellent student who brings delight to her teachers. She enjoys swim team and is very good at it. She loves to ride her bike, roller skate, climb trees, play with her dolls, and look pretty. Looking pretty is easy because she is a gorgeous little girl. She is compassionate to a fault, generous, kind, and outgoing. She struggles with her ADHD, staying focused, remembering important details, verbalizing her thoughts, and following through with a task. But she faces it head-on and is totally teachable when we address it. In the last 6 months since the three younger girls came to live with us, Snapper has grown TREMENDOUSLY in patience, self control, and impulse control. She asks the Lord for help, and we're watching her grow in strength of character, and she has become a truly lovely young lady. I am so proud of her, and so blessed to be her mom.
452. Glasses. They give the gift of sight to Snapper and me.
453. I am thankful for Bubbles. 8 years old. 2nd grader. 4'3" tall (she has grown 4 inches in the last 6 months!). 58 pounds. Clothing size 7/8. Shoe size 2. Brown hair with natural blonde streaks. Brown eyes that are no longer able to hide what she's feeling. Loves Jesus and soaks up every Bible story and memorizes Scripture like a parched dessert. She is learning to trust Him with her fears, and is starting to see Him in the day-to-day stuff of life. Bubbles, like Snapper, is an excellent student who has made tremendous strides in school this year, having skipped a grade (due to age, not academic prowess), and she is almost up to grade level in all subjects! Her progress report this week? All A's and B's! This is a VICTORY for this child, who came into 2nd grade with a pre-primer reading level. She is the ultimate diligent kid, working hard on her studies every day. She is excited to play softball this spring, and I know she'll be good at it. She loves riding her bike, roller skating, gymnastics, climbing anything that can be climbed, playing with her dolls, drawing, making projects, and being with Snapper. She is intelligent, creative, funny, honest, perceptive, observant, and loving. She struggles with fear at night, which is the result of a horrific 6 years with her birth parents. We're working with a therapist to help her heal from the trauma she has experienced. She is unbelievably courageous, facing her past, letting her fears out into the open, and dealing with them honestly and frankly. We're watching her grow in all areas of her life. She was like a little wilted rose when she came to us, stunted and afraid to open up and grow. Now she's uncurling and stretching and blossoming. She's amazingly sweet and precious. How blessed am I to call her my daughter!
454. Art supplies. They take on amazing shape when they come into Bubbles' creative hands.
455. I am thankful for Piper. Almost 7 years old. 1st grader. 3'11" tall. 47 pounds. Clothing size 6. Shoe size 13. Light brown hair. Eyes that are either blue-gray or green depending on the light and her mood, and can speak without words. She loves Jesus with the blind trust of a little one. If God said it, I believe it kind of faith. She loves to sing, and all her made-up songs are about God and His love for humanity. Bubbles is not a good student. Her ADHD prevents her from being able to make steady forward progress in school. How can one learn to read when every little thing is a distraction, and one's head is filled with confusing, incessant noise? We begin interventions with her next week, and I am excited to see her come to life, just as Snapper did when we began interventions for her three years ago. Piper takes gymnastics classes right now, but her burning desire is to do cheerleading. She loves to play dress-up, do her hair, nails, and makeup, have tea parties, and play house. If it is pink and pretty, it makes her happy. She adores music, and is very affected by certain songs. Some have positive connections for her, and some songs make her cry. She has a heavenly little singing voice. Piper is sweet, affectionate, gentle, silly--she defines silly--ditzy, cute, and generous. She sees and appreciates beautiful things like butterflies, tiny flowers in the weeds, sunsets, and people's facial features. She struggles with ADHD, not only in school, but in just about every aspect of daily life. She is unable to complete simple tasks. She forgets everything. She has no common sense or logic. But she can't help it, and I know that. We're doing our best to work with her, and the series of interventions that will begin when we have our adoption decree in hand have the potential to turn her life around and bring her all sorts of independence and freedom. Piper shares her memories freely and loves without reservation. She is a delightful, imaginative little girl, and I adore her. She is an amazing blessing to us.
456. Our professional team. We're working with a therapist, pediatrician, two teachers, one principal, and a guidance counselor to provide the services Piper needs. They are all amazing individuals, and they are dedicated to meeting Piper's needs.
457. I am thankful for Pepper. 6 1/2 years old. 1st grader. 4'1" tall. 43 pounds. Clothing size 6x/7. Shoe size 2. Light brown hair. Dark brown eyes that are possibly the most expressive eyes I have ever seen. Then again, his eyebrows are super expressive too, and they might be what make his eyes so expressive...
Pepper is becoming an encyclopedia of Bible knowledge. He asks deep questions that shouldn't be coming from a child his age. He longs to know more about God, and he sees the spiritual wherever he looks. Pepper is an outstanding student. Unlike the rest of my kids, he is a passionate learner. He reads constantly, and his interests range from Star Wars, to geology, to ancient history, to zoology, to aviation, to the acquisition of new words. He is interested in everything, and absorbs knowledge at an alarming rate. Pepper loves his gymnastics class and running cross country. He likes reading, drawing, anything mechanical, building things, and playing with his sisters. He is the most relaxed, kind-hearted boy I've ever known. He is unfailingly patient, generous, kind, forgiving, joyful, and content. He's also unselfish and flexible. His weakness is laziness. He does not like to put forth effort, and he strongly dislikes doing physical labor. We're working with him on completing a chore with excellence, without complaining. He also can get so involved in a book or a project that he has difficulty transitioning when it is time to stop doing what he's doing. Pepper has grown this year in his efforts at school. We love watching the awakening of his mind, and the sky is the limit for him with the high intelligence level he has, combined with precocious curiosity. Pepper is an amazing brother to all of his sisters, and I am so proud of the loving boy that he is. God certainly knew what He was doing when He gave us this child!
458. My huge collection of books. There is never a shortage of reading material for Pepper in our home!
459. I am thankful for Sunny. 4 1/2 years old. Pre-K kiddo. 3'6" tall. 37 pounds. Clothing size 5T. Shoe size 12. Blond hair. Sparkling blue eyes that tell the truth, even when her lips are lying. Sunny is very interested in the Bible, and anything having to do with Jesus or God. She is learning how to pray, and she retains Bible stories far better than she retains any other kind of story. She could care less about school and learning. Right now, all she wants to do is play. Because of her social/emotional developmental delays, this is not a surprise. She is as interested in school things as any other 3-year-old. Sunny loves to do anything that is considered a "boy thing." She likes boy toys, pretending she is a boy, dressing up in Pepper's boy dress-ups, and digging in the dirt. She loves her big brother and big sisters, and does everything in her power to keep up with them. Sunny is cheerful, boisterous, curious, observant, energetic, loud, and goofy. She is also extremely affectionate, and loves hugs and kisses more than any of the other kids. Her weakness is definitely her tendency to act like a baby. This takes the form of baby talk. whining, tantrums, and behavior you would expect from a 2-year-old, not an almost-5-year-old. This is not her fault, and we are working with two therapists to help Sunny progress to her proper developmental age. Sunny is a ray of sunshine in our home. She has the brightest personality of all the kids, and she adds so much depth to our family. I am so thankful she is ours, and thankful for the growing she has forced me to do. I am a better person, a better wife, a better mom because of this precious, little girl.
460. A big back yard that provides lots of space for Sunny to run in, and lots of dirt for her to dig in. And a privacy fence that keeps her safely contained.