from left to right (click to enlarge): Jeremiah, Aaliyah, Jorge, Maggie, Mario, Cathy, Nyelie, Isaac, Jorge
Introducing… (insert drumroll)
The new Najeras!!!
Yesterday my sister and brother-in-law have now become the proud parents of 7 kids. Yes, SEVEN!!
Three of the kids pictured above are now officially in the process of being adopted by Jorge and Maggie. As with any adoption story the process began in the Najera's hearts long before the judge gave the official word yesterday. From what I understand though the catalyst really began last fall, November 8th, 2009 to be exact. That was the date of Orphan Sunday. Orphan Sunday is a simulcast that is sponsored the Christian Alliance of Orphans (a group of several orphan, adoption, and foster care ministries). We hosted this event at our church this past year, and probably will again this year. Mark your calendars, November 7, 2010.
But I'll let Maggie write about her story in more detail herself. I'll update this post with a link to her story, if and/or when she writes it.
As for my thoughts, I think it's fantastic! I'm amazed at how "big" that family looks in the picture above. And I'm used to seeing big families, we have six of our own kids and are joining a ministry where many of the staff also have large families. I think it's because of most of the kids above are literally "bigger" than ours so even though it's really just one more person in the picture above than our own family, they "look" like a bigger family because they're mostly older/bigger. It makes me wonder how "big" our family is gonna look like in a few years.
I'm also excited because adoption is something that Deborah and I have seriously talked about before so it's nice to know someone personally (and so close to us) who has actually gone through the process. I will say that we have talked about it seriously, but don't see a change in our family size any time soon. We'll revisit the topic after we've finished raising our missionary support and are somewhat settled in Little Rock before pursuing that path.
For those who do not know my sister and brother-in-law, it may be hard for you to figure out which kids are theirs by birth and which have been added via adoption. And I purposely have left out that information. You see, as for Deborah and I, we see these newly adopted kids as always having been a part of our extended family. Although they have officially become our kid's cousins yesterday. God has always known that they would become a part of our family, they were simply born to a different person than my sister, born in a different city and time that we weren't aware of. But from the moment they were conceived they were part of us, we just didn't know it yet. It's not like my sister threw God a curve ball, instead it took time for Him to work on her and her husband.
These kids are in the process of being adopted. The first step of which was completed yesterday. Once this process is complete they will have been adopted. They aren't going to be in a perpetual state of "adopted-ness". Jorge and Maggie have now taken them as their own. They're not going to play favorites between their kids by birth and the ones who were added later.
When you think about it, these kids will be a part of the family much, much longer from here on out than they were absent from it before. They are us now.
I know people have a curiosity in knowing, but I'm not going to satisfy it. Perhaps Maggie will in her own story telling. As for those of you who do know the Najera family, and already know which kids are the "grafted in" ones, will you join with me and welcome them to the family. Regardless of the issues that they bring with them because of the things they have gone through in their short but difficult lives, they are us now.