My goodness! We looked up and 2016 is a memory! At some point – and I guess that would be several weeks ago – we moved from 2016 into 2017, and yet we still have un-addressed Christmas cards sitting on our counter! Sigh! What a whirlwind the last few months have been! Good, excellent, happy, wonderful – but a whirlwind none-the-less!
The ranch is prospering and the Santa Gertrudis cattle continue to bring us fun times (as well as create much work!). Our friends in the cattle business just continue to help, teach, and encourage our education in the breed and the business. We don’t know what we’d do without them! We meet new and wonderful friends often in this business, and we’re grateful for each one of you!
Not only is God continuing to bless us with the ease of raising Santa Gertrudis Cattle – a true joy! – but He has been good to bless Allen and I to become parents again! On November 8th in Guangzhou, China we were privileged to adopt two wonderful sons! Nai (10 years old) and Jing (9 years old) joined our (collective) eight wonderful children, five amazing grandchildren, and one beautiful great-grandchild to bring the total to 10 wonderful kids. After arriving home on November 16th, we began working to teach Nai and Jing English while Nai has worked just as hard to teach us Chinese. Between the English, Chinese, and dramatic pantomiming, we’ve somehow been able to communicate mostly – and it’s amazing how quickly these boys have picked up our language. Both are loving and joy-filled – but of course the transition hasn’t been without challenges. They moved to a new culture, new home, new parents, new siblings, new language – well, you get the drift of the monumental change in their lives! Still, they have adapted very well, and it’s surprising how very quickly they became truly a part of our family. Both have special needs, and we continue to seek God’s wisdom in dealing with developmental and medical issues for both boys, and navigating the numerous appointments to get a true glimpse into the opaque history of the boys. Both were abandoned on the streets of China at about 1 year of age due to medical issues, and have been guests of the Chinese government since that time. While there were no doubt many good and wonderful caregivers in their lives, we all can imagine how few caregivers there might have been for large numbers of children. For that reason, both boys have much to learn about being part of a family. We’ve been ‘cocooning’ up to this point – just keeping the boys with us here at the house for a few months until they felt more confident of their role in the family and in our hearts. However, we recently began taking them to church, and they are doing very, very well. Also, Texas Children’s Hospital provides translators for the boys during their medical appointments (Nai speaks primarily Cantonese, and Jing speaks primarily Mandarin), so that helps ensure the best result in medical care. We can’t wait for everyone to meet them! Our friends and family have been so supportive and loving to share our joy with the happy moments, and to hold us up during the rare moments of ‘what-have-we-done?!’. We thank you all for your love, prayers, and support!
2016 was a wonderful year of new beginnings – new babies, new sons, weddings, graduations, milestone birthdays, and more! And although there was some sadness in sorrowful passings (one in particular was Allen’s brother, Ken) as well as character building trials, all in all it was a year of more joy than sadness, and more happiness and blessing than our hearts can contain. We are grateful to an amazing God who freely gives His grace and mercy to all of us.
In 2017, we wish all of you blessing upon blessing, joy upon joy, and God’s favor shining in all areas of your lives! And as 2017 nears its end, may you look back on the year and say “Wow! That was the greatest year ever!”
Allen and Karen