Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adoption and a Thanksgiving Story

With Turkey-day 2012 quickly approaching, and National Adoption Month in full swing, I wanted to share a story with you of my first Thanksgiving with Daniel in 2010.

Our First Thanksgiving Together

The first Thanksgiving that Daniel and I spent together was just two years ago. We were engaged. This holiday was the first inter-mingling of our families as my future in-laws (Dan's folks and sister with her family, the Langs) came from California to spend Thanksgiving at my parents' house here in Phoenix. 

In tow from California came all the kiddos, six to be exact.  Four of them were my future-nephews, and two of them were foster kids, a brother and sister, who had literally just joined the Lang Gang a few weeks prior.   Hunter age 7, Hayden 5, Hyatt 3, Holden 2, Huxton 1, and Hope just four months old.  

Their vehicle? A big white van full of car seats.  Their parents?  Rock stars.   

My family is no stranger to children, and we always have a ‘more the merrier’ policy on holidays.  So it was no surprise to me that my crew immediately took to the Lang kiddos, foster kids and biological kids alike.  

My uncles played ball in the grass with the older boys.  My folks busted out the Brio Train set in the family room for the younger ones.  They all took turns feeding blueberries to Nom Nom the backyard bunny (may he now rest in peace) and putting coins in the vintage slot machine in the basement.  My aunts took turns holding the baby girl, who then could barely make eye contact and was loving all the attention.   

Our huge extended family is accustomed to big crowds every holiday, but add the Lang Gang to the youngest cousins on my side (their last name? Lang! Crazy, I know) and I think this was the most young children we'd ever had at any family event.  And, oh boy the kids brought so much joy to the household.  For me, in my heightened emotional state [ever planned a wedding?] the sentiment of my family coming together with Daniel’s family on such a special day was overwhelming already, and the added delight of having all the babes in town was almost too much for my heart not to burst right out of my chest.

Everyone was joyful.  Everyone fit in.  It just made sense. 

“She has four already and she’s adopting two!?  Wow, what a woman.”  


“Wait, which ones are adopted?”  

It was hard to tell.  And it didn’t matter.

As my family started to piece things together, you might have heard chatter:

How lucky this boy, two years old and never seen a bicycle in his life, now placed in a home with four brothers.  How lucky for him to have instant camaraderie, and more toys with wheels than he could have ever dreamed of.  How lucky, this baby girl, to be placed in a home with a mommy and a daddy who love each other and who nourish their children mind, body, and soul.   How lucky for her to now have five big brothers to stick up for her throughout her whole life.  How lucky these two, to get to be together when they had previously been fostered apart.

How lucky indeed.  

The alternative for them would not have resembled the life they would ultimately share as part of the Lang family.  

But really... how lucky us. 

The truth was that all the kids made Thanksgiving more wonder-filled for us grownups than it probably was for themselves. And it sure didn't matter who came from whose tummy.  A short conversation with that little boy, with his indiscernible gibberish and sweet wide eyes, was enough to fuel your joy tank for a whole week.  How lucky us grownups that we got to hang out with them, play with them, see the day through their eyes.  

What a special weekend it was for Dan and I, getting to have so many of the people we love in the same house for Thanksgiving.  And that day the two foster kids, my niece and nephew, joined my family as I joined theirs. 

Thanksgiving 2010 set the tone for me in my new life as an aunt.  My four biological nephews I had adored from the day Daniel told me about them.  But these two new kids, they were special.  They joined the family when I did.  I was new too.  

How lucky am I that I get to know them, snuggle them, learn from them, love them, watch them grow.   How lucky me that I got two more to call me Aunt "Shooley.”  

Last year (2011), Dan and I got married.  And last year, Holden and Hope were officially adopted into their forever family.  I say this now with even more conviction than I could have two years ago.  How lucky us.


November is National Adoption Month.   Whether or not you feel called to adopt a child yourself, it's a wonderful thing to be aware of and to support.  I’ve learned through observation that the immense reward from Adoption does not come without waiting, heartache, trial, surrender, challenge.  My sister-in-law Christina speaks of these things openly and honestly in her writing and in her ministry.  I encourage you to check out their story on her blog, The Lang Gang Loves.

May Your Thanksgiving be Thank-filled!


  1. sniff sniff. The significance of all of us and you sharing our first Thanksgiving together is beyond amazing. You recounted the day so beautifully. As I recall Brandon was still in CA working and didn't fly in till the day after Thanksgiving. I show up at your parent's house with all these kids! They were all so so gracious.

  2. So sweet. LOVE this. Lucky all of you to have one another! :)

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