Thank You (So Much)

Tonight I felt very blessed. We made a fire (it’s been spitting snowflakes all day) in the backroom. Monica and Kelly were showing off gymnastic moves. Diego was playing with stuffed animals. We peppered the girls with occasional homework questions. They jumped around like popcorn – shouting vocabulary words and days of the week (a particular rough spot for Shmoe). Today we did church for the first time and were surrounded by our faith family, all happy and excited to meet the little man in person.

When feeling blessed, I’ve a tendency to want to give thanks. And a thank you post is long overdue.

Adoption is a rather large, sometimes daunting, event. Ren and I are acutely aware of the many hands that helped bring this family of incredible Colombian kids into our arms. Here are the shoutouts.

Mom and Dad (Martin)

First and foremost, we want to thank Sam and Karen. Not only have they always been an incredible source of support, but they stepped in as guardians to girls when we traveled to Colombia (a large task in and of itself). Simply, they are wonderful grandparents. The girls were/are well loved.

Our Family

We also felt the love and prayers from the Vander Veen/Martin clans. Thanks to my mom and dad for watching our “other” kids, Lena and Kenzie. For Mom’s help the first few days with the kids (and the thankfully brief adjustment period). Thanks to Jeff and Kristen and nieces and brothers. Diego was so very excited to give Victor and Jesus big hugs. Thanks to Dalmans, Petroeljes, Joel and Kynnie and all the Skype sessions and humorous asides. Thanks to the Lohrstorfers (family by adoption) for the prayers and clothes! We love you all and are so very happy to be in families where adoption is just second nature.

Many thanks to extended family clans as well. Facebook comments were like gold.

Our Friends

We’ve many friends who’ve prayed this journey through. Thanks to our CHPC small group – chaotic and irregular as it is (we’re all having and adopting children!) – for hundreds of prayers the last 5 years (and for the gut checks). Thanks again to the Rozells for picking us up at the airport and serving some real American food as we waited for our connection flight. Thanks to Jen and Todd, Robs, Tim, Aaron (lunch while waiting for Visas!), Derek and Jenny, T and T, and many more for the prayer, support, and (especially) laughter. Thanks to the Walters, our other family from Holland. Thanks to the many work friends who pitched in with paperwork, stories, and occasional meals.

Our Church

Thank you College Hill for everything – for loving on our girls, prayers, and hugs. It was so good to be home today, surrounded by people sharing in our joy. Thank you 14th Street/Young Crew for continuing to be family.

Children’s Hope International

And the most excellent Nichole Deal. We’ve a wonderful adoption agency. They’ve got their hands full – what with international adoption constantly changing (and occasional immoral presidents – see Russia – shutting doors) – but we’ve always felt blessed to have an incredible (and transparent) agency. Given the odd situations of both our adoptions, they did an excellent job.

Olga Elena, Sorany, Lucia and David (and Andres)

These are the people who made the adoption in Colombia happen. They are professional, humorous, always willing to help, and exceptionally qualified. Going through the process twice, Ren and I feel a bit like they’re family.

Our Jobs

Ren and I are very blessed to work for organizations that supported us leaving for a good while to make this adoption happen. Thank you Milford Exempted Village School District, Hamilton City School District, and (to some extent), Oak Hills Local School District.


So yeah, I still am thankful to governments of Colombia and the United States. The USA┬áis easy. They set up a clear process for adopting internationals in a manner that protects the rights of children (and their biological families). They also have a tax code that takes (some) of the sting out of the (large) costs of international adoption. Likewise, I’m thankful that Colombia has a pretty decent system of pulling their children out of dangerous homes and getting them into foster care. I’m not happy about how freaking long it takes to make these children adoptable (there are so many families waiting for them), but it is what it is.

There are more. I’m sure I’ve missed some. Thank you all.

It’s good to bring a family together.