Well, here we are, a year later from our last update and incidentally just at the year mark since the adoption of Heaven and Aiden was decreed. In many ways, the last year has been unremarkable in that there haven’t been any drastic changes. That alone is remarkable for us!
Currently we’re in summer break from school. The five oldest kids are in the middle of a four-week day camp at the Children’s Museum. Courtney is using the time with just the three little ones to get some special time with them as well as prepare for the next school year. At work, I’ve recently been promoted as a team lead, still doing similar work but with increased responsibilities. I’m pretty excited about it.
Also, Courtney recently got to attend the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, which was in Indy this year. Not only was the conference a blessing, but she got to go with her mom and two of the ladies in our church, as well as connect with some old friends.
Below I’m going to give some brief updates about each of the kids. I’ve included a picture of each, taken last year by our dear friend Lawana of Unforgettable Photography. They’re beautiful and we didn’t want to pass up sharing them with you, our friends and family.
Liam is 11 and about to start sixth grade. He’s figuring out humor and sarcasm/irony, which is super fun. Though he’s still part kid and part growing up, which is really weird to watch. He actually just took a Safe Sitter class, so he’s taking his first steps toward being able to watch his younger siblings–though we’re not quite ready for that yet!
Ariana is 9 and almost as tall as Liam. She’s still the mother hen and super sweet, always wanting to learn more and help out with stuff around the house. As she’s growing and changing, we’re seeing an increasing desire to connect with Courtney and learn to do the harder, more complicated tasks she does. For instance, this year she wants to learn cake making and decorating.
Heaven is 8 and still integrating into the family. We still have many times of hardness and withdrawal but there are more and more times in between where things feel pretty normal. She’s still trying to figure out how to just be authentic, where she can really rest and be who God made her to be. Change may be slow, but we’re seeing it.
Esther is also 8 and our most recent believer. She probably suffers the most from the middle child syndrome, not really knowing where she fits or what her strengths are. But since believing, we’ve seen the Spirit working in her heart to bring about kindness and love for others that’s far beyond anything we’d seen before.
Miriam is 7 and our perpetual life lover. She’s unusual in our family in that she’s so unpretentious and unconcerned about anything other than soaking in God’s world and loving others. She’s got a big heart and big smile. Recently, we were creek stomping and Miriam got pulled into the current. Two ladies nearby saw her plight and jumped in to rescue her. Miriam told us later that when she got pulled along, she prayed that God would save her and knew he would.
Victoria is 5 and still a bit of a stinker. She’s got those golden curls and puts them to use with her sparkly blue eyes far more frequently than any child should’ve learned how to. She’s recently started to get her own daily chores to help out with (till now she’s been part of the “littles” and not the “bigs”).
Aiden is 4 and, as our friends say, a Bell through and through. He certainly still has his moments of disobedience and the such, but they’re mainly because he’s four, not because he has different biological parents. He’s certainly our risk taker, the one willing to make big leaps and try crazy things. He’s got a big grin and is finally learning to relax into his place in the family. He still struggles a lot with language development, so we have a long way to go there.
Josiah just turned 4 and is definitely the baby of the family. He’s pretty used to everybody else doing everything for him and tossing in his little charm-grin to see what he can get his momma to give him. He’s also full of life and hardly ever sad about much of anything.
And a little outtake for your viewing pleasure: