Our house looks like a bomb of leftovers, thoughtful gifts, dirty laundry, & LOVE exploded all over our home.  Yesterday after almost 3 years we had our last court date to adopt our daughter: Rayne. I have a love and emotional hangover today from ALL of yesterday. My face hurts from smiling and crying in the best way.

It would be unwise to do much reflection at this point because mostly I am just trying to process but what I can say is: Thank YOU!! I gave a little speech (well 3 minutes of written thank yous turned into 10 minutes with cry pauses #bless…. and also on review of the video- dang I was sweating!) . Last night in a room packed full of our people- some we have known for over 30 years and some we have just met but all that were there have had an impact on our family. As Jason and I laid in bed last night we felt overwhelmed gratitude AGAIN and AGAIN for all the people packed into a room to love on our family last night.  For all of you who have encouraged us, walked with us, carried us when we were often weak and tired, helped us process, prayed for us, and served us in practical ways we say THANK YOU. 

Some thanks that I need to record to mark this day as a day that celebrates the tribe of people with our family……….
We want to honor Rayne’s first family; we love them and know this day is also one of deep loss for them and we thank them for choosing this for her even through their pain. We will always strive to honor them in our care for a little girl we now share a deep love for.
To the small army of people that came to court to stand with us on this day- we were so loud we were hushed by the security guard 🙂 #howwedo
To my college friends that basically saved the party from my utter last minute, lack of planning-self total destruction.
To friends who designed and made beautiful outfits for our kids to wear to court, brought food, scooped ice cream, traveled from Chicago in traffic, set up tables at 10 pm (& took them down without being asked), ran sound equipment, blew up balloons, bought decorations (bc #opps), made custom capes that were requested by a certain little girl, made personalized T-shirts for our family, and bought out stores of hot chips!
To my dear sister and brother in law who did ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we asked since they arrived a few days ago from across the country to love on us.
To our social worker who came last night and does her difficult work of walking with families in crisis with excellence and kindness (for over 20 years!).
To dear friends from all over the world who share with our family and who we learn from  continually.
To family and friends who are adopted or who have adopted that took time to welcome Rayne into the fold and tell her she can ask them anything.
To friends that spoke small but HUGE words of encouragement and life to us.
To the school community of teachers, staff, parents and kids at our schools- we just love this community and have been blown away again and again at how much you are FOR us and each other.  This community is a gift to us!
To extended family that traveled to be with us and welcome Rayne.
To friends that have walked with our family through over 15 years of life decisions and show up again and again- who we know are always there for us, who sent gifts from California, drove from Wisconsin to be with us all day, and continue to be for us through everything.
To our friends that are family to us- we are so grateful we get to do life with you all.
To our church community who are committed to living messy imperfect lives together for God’s glory we are so thankful for your choosing again and again to walk alongside of us.

 To both our families that have chosen this journey with us we are so grateful for your love and support over and over again, for your understanding through hard conversations, for your faith that love was worth the risk no matter the outcome, and for embracing us and Rayne. To our parents (and sisters and brothers) who welcomed another family member officially yesterday although they all welcomed her as family long ago.

So it is with all those standing with our family that we introduce our daughter; Rayne. She has lived in our home and hearts for almost 3 years and now the court agrees that we are indeed FAMILY. 
I feel all the feels about this all but gratitude over flows today. 
I am forgetting all the people and things because  there was just so much out pouring of love for us and please know we feel it even if as I cried through my non-eloquent words yesterday I forgot parts of the story because #hotmess. Forgive me.

Again we say thank you to all who are walking this journey with us. And thank you to God who makes us new through the all of life, His love and grace is so felt by us today. Yesterday was not a happy ending but rather a continuation of a really complicated story of sorrow & joy commingled together. It was also a celebration of life in community, of connection, of FAMILY and we pray it is all for God’s glory in our lives.
Peace and thanks friends,


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