Today is our dog’s coming home day. She has been with us one year. Her adoption felt a lot like it did when we adopted each of our three children. There was a hope for the future, lots of prayer and all of the sudden there was someone new in our home that just wanted to be loved and to know that they were safe. And after a few months of figuring out the new rhythm of our lives together, building trust, and seeing special bonds being formed, we can’t imagine life without her. The dog’s previous owners (foster family) were moving cross country and it broke their hearts not to be able to take her. Our kids get it, both the loss and the joy. My oldest drew the foster family a picture of the dog and consoled the foster mom. “She needs a family and we can adopt her.” As the dog’s coming home day anniversary was approaching, my son asked what gift we were giving the dog. Coming home days are very special days in our home. Our family has been blessed with three amazing children. All three were adopted through a private agency. My husband and I created a portfolio, or scrapbook, about us and our families. When a birth mother is looking to place her child for adoption, she is shown portfolios of a few adoptive families. The birth mom then chooses the family for her child. There is nothing like getting that call….”here is some background on the birth family, is it okay if we show your profile to them?” And then there is the waiting, trying not to get your hopes up too much, trying not to fall head over heels in love with this sweet child. Twice we have gotten the “they really liked you, but they decided to go with another family” call. But God did not let us wait too long after both those times before we got the call that we had been chosen. Our oldest daughter came home at just over a month old. We found out about her when she was two days old and our house was in the middle of a massive renovation we were doing ourselves. She was a secret too good to share. Just before we got in the car to drive the two hours to meet her, we posted on facebook: “Going to meet our baby girl today.” There was much rejoicing in our small community over this long awaited child! When our daughter was just over 2 years old, we got another call. This time a boy and he was not an infant. He was exactly one month younger than our daughter. Instant twins. We made the drive to meet him a few times before we brought him home. It seems like our son and daughter instantly bonded. She had someone to help and to take care of. He had someone to help him and encourage him. Our youngest daughter probably has the most exciting adoption coming home story! The call came on the 4th of July, just before lunch. “Here is the situation, can we show your profile, and you will need to come pick up the baby tomorrow.” We didn’t say anything to the kids and told ourselves this wasn’t really going to happen, until the phone rang at 7 that night and I was asked to put the call on speaker phone. We were having a 4th of July cookout with friends. We had told them nothing, so their jaws dropped when they heard the news with us. The husband took their baby car seat out of their car and put it in ours. The wife went in the house to find bottles and the baby swing. My husband and I just sat there and then thought we really better get up and help get ready for the baby! Those coming home days are such precious memories for us. The start of something new, filled with all the excitement, nervousness, joy and anticipation. Now we can’t even remember what life was like before they entered our lives. Our days are certainly busy with our two almost 7 year olds and our two 21 month olds (the baby and the dog, their birthdays are exactly one week apart). But it is a busy that we love. It is a busy that is teaching my husband and I how to sacrifice, show more grace, have empathy, help heal big hurts, that we really can do those big scary things…..(I don’t think this list will ever end).