I wish I could tell you the whole story of how far back we go with these friends. But that would take HOURS so suffice it to say - we were friends back in Grand Rapids - they saw all of our babies right shortly after they were born - we were there to see their boys right after they were born - we hung out together for fun - we went to the same church - even changed churches when we felt we needed to and ended up at the same church again. We moved to Iowa, they helped us move. They moved shortly after we did because they liked our quaint little city and because Tim found a good job while they were here helping us. We were there shortly after Dani was born, and we raced home from a vacation when we found out that Kari had been in a horrible car accident which took the short life of their precious Dani. I sang at Dani's funeral (I don't think you could call that singing - that was more like begging God to bring a song where there was none). They have loved on all of our kids and we think the world of their boys. But our girls especially think that Kari is WONDERFUL!! She is that special lady that is finding fun fabric for them and making them dresses and pajamas, and she spends time playing and talking with them. She has built a real bond with both Chloe and Jada. Kari and I even work together at our local library - why they allowed that we have no idea!! We've continued in a friendship that isn't a "have to" but a constant source of confident strength. When you need someone - you know they will be there - that's just the kind of friends they are. SO - a few years ago now, when they announced they were going to adopt from China - my heart leaped. I knew they would enjoy their little one as much as we had enjoyed our two girls and I could not wait for them to experience it. We've followed their ups and downs, we've struggled to fill out paperwork together, and thrilled together as they've gotten closer and cried together when the wait felt like it wasn't moving at all. We were honored when they called us the day they got little Lexi's file - we felt privileged to pray alongside them and watch God work. After they accepted her, we knew it would be soon that they would be traveling so we asked if we could help plan a tip night as friends had done for us. We were honored this past week to be a part of that. EVERYONE took part, Joe and I delivered pizzas to tables and kept the buffets clean and plates filled, the boys washed dishes and bussed tables, and the girls carried mints around to tables and gave coloring pages to kids. We asked a few friends to help us from our church and they were just as willing as we were. (We were all exhausted and think we never want to see a pizza again though!!!) That's what I love - to see people rally around for others. We all were so thrilled just to be a small part. And God truly blessed their night - people gave over and above to this sweet family. I went to bed thinking that God must be grinning at what his people did for this family!
Less than two days later, we find out they are SOON (as in TWO WEEKS!!!) on their way to China. I am telling you - I was awake much of that night after Kari called - I feel like it's us all over again - my excitement level is so high. I'm starting lists for her - what to take, what to remember - whether she likes it or not, I email her 20 times a day with little things I don't want to forget - I just LOVE it!!! I can't wait to see Alexis in their arms and meet her in person! Love to watch a new little one come home!