In all, we counted about 59 people who were there. Not bad for a few hours notice. We knew there were others who certainly would have loved to be there but couldn't due to either schedules or distance. But, as I looked at all of the faces that night, they all had a story to tell of how they have helped us, encouraged us, supported us, loved us through our adoption so far. They are all special to us and we realized how blessed we are by God for the referral of our Peaches, but also how blessed we are by God for so many dear, dear friends. Our church is the best. They love each other - and not just a Sunday morning love each other, but a every day of the week, whether you're have a great day or one of those worst ever days, they are there to be close, to listen, to love, and in this case.....to CELEBRATE!!
The night included gathering everyone in our new addition - it was great to break it in as we celebrated "Room for More" in more ways than one! I put some powerpoint slides together of all 9 of the referral pics of Peaches. I also included a map of eastern Africa and a map of Ethiopia showing the Gambella region where she is from. I shared from Psalm 68:1-6. And then also shared some thoughts on God bringing Peaches to our family - and when I say family, I mean to our extended family, those who have been with us along the way - who were in the room and those who couldn't be there due to schedules or distance.
We then sang a couple of songs of worship. We sang "Holy is The Lord." I wanted to capture the line that says "Holy is the Lord, God Almighty, the earth is filled with His glory." Our house was filled with God's glory, the house where Peaches is staying in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is filled with His glory. He has no boundaries or limits. We also sang "Blessed Be The Name." I wanted to capture the thought of the song based on Job 1 that says "You give and take away, my heart will chose to say, Blessed be Your Name." Bringing an orphan home brings much joy to our lives - God has given greatly to us. But there has been and will be a lot of "taking away" in Peaches' life. She has lost her parents, she will lose her country, culture, language, friends, family, food, familiarity, sights, sounds, smells, heritage, etc. So there is great loss for her. And yet, we know that God is going to use our family as a means to heal the great loss in her life. A life without a mom or a dad is unimaginable. We get to be that mom and that dad for her.
Of course, after the singing, it was time to eat. We mentioned to a few families - I don't think we were very clear or consistent with our invitation - to bring some goodies if they had some laying around. Well, leave it to the Beavers to bring an untold number of Blue Bunny ice cream items. We had carton after carton of ice cream along with other Blue Bunny novelties. We also had lots of other food brought by the families there. I fired up some "Just Love" Ethiopian coffee and the party was in full swing. It was great to pause and reflect with many of the people there how God had truly been faithful during these many, many months of waiting. Times when I thought God surely must be slumbering, it was clear that He had been working untold miracles to bring this night to pass.
The last family - of course it was the O's - didn't leave until after midnight. That is pretty late for this old body. But wow! What a fun night! A night we will never forget.
Here are some pics of the night.
The Beavers brought some Double Peaches ice cream and some Peach pie filling. What a great celebration gift!
You probably can't see them in the picture, but Eddie Joe made smiley faces on a bunch of Post-It notes and put them up on the wall because he wanted to show how happy he was!
The head Beaver here with Giggles. Also in the pic are the contagiously happy Jaynie and Anna.
Lots of food. It was attacked by all of the little ones!
Sunshine with her "Sistas." She loves girl time!
Oksana with Eddie Joe. He and his favorite new Russian friend were together all night! Lots of hand holding!
As you can see, Giggles is a big hit - she's with the Henn clan. (Click here for their blog.) Angela has that "I'm holding a baby" smile! Lissie is also enjoying the cuteness of Giggles.
Mr. Beaver strategizing with Dave - explaining how we need to get more ice cream in the church.
Three very happy women - celebrating the referral of Peaches. Each are very dear to us. Wendy, Ta, and Mrs. Beaver.
Here we are gathered around, looking at the pics of Peaches.
It was great to celebrate our "Room for More" in more ways than one.
Sharing our moment with our extended family was a great way to celebrate.
To God be the Glory!