I am so exhausted!! I was awoken by three very excited kids, and as much as I love the magic of Christmas morning, I really wasn’t feeling so magical this morning. :-/ Wake up was a bit early for my liking.

Yesterday was a big day. Christmas Eve brought a big emotional breakthrough. This is the second Christmas without my mother so the arrival of Christmas Eve brought on some emotions that I wasn’t totally prepared for. I had to take some time to myself to allow the grief to wash over me again. After I pulled myself together, I sat on J’s bed and thought more about this incredible girl. She came in and sat down with me. We didn’t have any translation tools with us for this, so our communication was basic, but we were able to understand one another. To protect her story and her privacy, I won’t get into specifics, but I will say that this girl has had so much hurt in her life and she has built some very strong walls to protect herself. Friends, children deserve to be part of a family. I know that not everyone is called to adopt, but I want you to take some time right now to think about your family. If you have children, I want you to imagine them growing up without you or any loving family to look after them, to care for them, to protect them. If you don’t have children, surely your were a child once. Imagine your years growing up without those things. If you do not find this unacceptable, I would be terribly and horribly surprised. Kids are growing up without a family to love them and to make them feel safe. It’s happening here and it’s happening across the globe. Kids. Deserve. Families.

As J and I talked, I could not stop my tears. But my vulnerability proved to be a catalyst for connection. It was truly a blessing.

My father arrived yesterday as well and he of course, was excited to meet J. He spent as many years as I have in Latvia so his love for the country and its people is just as strong as mine.

The early start to our Christmas Day was less than ideal but the enthusiasm from the kids was contagious. Gift opening was a delight as usual. There was much squealing and giddiness. Poor J was the typical teenager and would rather have slept a few hours longer. I think she was quite overwhelmed with all of the gifts, but she took it in stride and was so sweet in her gratitude.

The rest of the day was rough as we battled our fatigue and the never-ending energy of the kids, but we made it. J helped me prepare dinner, which was just a simple lasagna, and I am realizing how nice it is to have some help in the kitchen. My brothers called while I was prepping, and she took over everything with a willing heart.

What can I say? She’s amazing.