# 21 : A New School Year

August came at last with a weekend camping with some our adult children at St Malo Provincial Park. The kids enjoyed swimming, paddling, frisbee and Soccer. A beautiful time for Niamh, Conor and Declan to connect with their nieces and nephews (who by age are more like cousins). For Sharon and myself it was a time to sit around the campfire as a group in the evenings with our new kids listening as we told stories and shared fond memories of years gone by.

Getting Ready to Go Camping!

Sharon also had the opportunity to volunteer as camp Nurse at Roseau River Bible Camp so I had opportunity to do the finishing touches on the chicken coop and have a surprise of baby chicks for her and the children when they came home that Friday, tired but energized by a fun-filled week for the kids, and a super busy one for Sharon in the nurses station.  They brought a new kitten with them too: another animal to add to our ever growing menagerie. The chickens were a perpetual source of entertainment for the kids and providers of eventual eggs.

The children were thrilled with prospects of new clothes for school, fresh new school supplies and off to now a familiar school with friends already made.  Summer had been great but everyone was ready to go back.  Niamh would start grade 7, Conor would start grade 6, and Declan would start grade 1.

So 2017 was a year full of First’s!

First camping trips, First fishing trips, First garden, First chickens, First eggs, First Halloween (not sure how positive that is) First time to see a new born in a hospital as we welcomed Sophie, our 9th grandchild.  Niamh began her own tradition by crocheting baby blankets for each of her new nieces or nephews and Sophie was the very First recipient.  Niamh Conor or Declan didn’t remember ever seeing such a tiny baby before. They were almost scared to touch her!

First Christmas program, First Christmas gathering.  As the day of our Christmas gathering approached Niamh and Conor wanted in the worst way to be able to share something with their new brothers and sisters.  One day Sharon saw them coming up the driveway from the bus struggling to carry a cardboard box between them which turned out was full of books.  The school library had book sale and they put their allowance together and purchased a set of World Book Encylcopedia (1998) plus various other books that included a dictionary.  This collection was carefully sorted, wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree. Each of the brothers or brothers in law received 2 or 3 volumes of world book (number determined by relative thickness of each volume).DSC_0402 Our Family Continues to grow!

It brought us to tears their effort and desire to connect and belong . . . oh how we hoped that their efforts would be rewarded.  As our adult children arrived with their own kids, Sharon and I would casually mention what was coming in the gift exchange so they would be somewhat prepared. Everyone was so utterly gracious – in fact Jon mentioned that we work a means of exchange so as we finished reading our particular sets we could swap that we would eventually have access to the complete set. So cool! So thankful for our adult boys and their beautiful hearts!

Building relationships has been profoundly positive: something that most of us take for granted having never known life without the connection of family. We shouldn’t but we do. It’s true that until a person has been deprived of something, we may never truly appreciate it.  Our new children spent many years in a state run Orphanage while they waited for us to come for them. I’m so thankful that God put the desire in our hearts to adopt these beautiful and special human beings! Our lives are all the more richer as a result. No it has not been easy but who says that life is meant to be?

In Ukraine the youngest child in the family puts the angel on the tree. We have kept that tradition going here also.

Please continue to follow our journey as we share the steps with you all.

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