Adopted! Introducing Joseph!

December 19, 2014
Last January, as we waited for a referral from Africa for two special needs children, we got a surprise.  The phone rang.  The voice on the other end was from San Diego County Child Social Services…”Mrs. Stinson, we have the newborn biological brother of your daughter’s S and A in our custody.  Would you foster him?”  
It is difficult to describe the emotions that rushed over me as those words spilled from the phone.  I was in the Costco parking lot with our five children. 
We picked him up at the Baby’s R Us parking lot when he was 14 days old (6 days later, we learned of Mohale!)  His foster mom met us there.  Oh how tiny and vulnerable he looked- lovingly packaged in soft blankets, enveloped within the car seat in the foster mother’s white minivan- just over 5 lbs and in horrible discomfort from his struggling body.  Foster care is hard.  Very hard.  It means a mother’s heart is broken and grieving. For us it meant possibly a road to adopting a child we immediately loved because he was our daughter’s bio brother,  OR, losing a beloved child that our daughter’s would love and connect to- and then later ask “why?”  RISK. I was horribly scared.  Yet, Love somehow draws us to walk forward in spite of even our worst fears. Walking on water.  Ive not blogged much about the treasure we’ve called “baby J” in the last 11 months due to confidentiality- much of his story is not mine to tell.  But I can say that the road has been very, very difficult. We’ve had to CLING hard to our Shepherd – The One who walks into pain out of love for us.   
Here is a picture of “Baby J” with our daughter’s who are also biologically related to him…
I cannot underscore enough the value that siblings be kept together when possible.  The connection is beyond imagination.   For the last 11 months they have hoped and prayed that their baby would stay…. 
Here’s the first time they held him…
Something that is beautiful to me is watching Sierra cherish her baby brother.. because she looks so much like her precious, beautiful birth mother.  I often pray that somehow their birth mom will know and find some comfort in this. 
“Dearest first mom, know that your daughter’s and your baby boy completely adore each other.  They are an eternal gift to each other from God through you and they are being raised with love for you.”     
Here’s a typical morning when littles are awake way before anyone else….
The first time we saw and held him- sitting on the foster mom’s van at the Baby’s R Us parking lot…
Here’s David loving him the morning after we brought him home… Sleep has been rare this year:)
We have loved and cherished Joseph for nearly one year while struggling to trust God with his life.
Then, days after our hearts were breaking over news that we must dissolve and completely re-start Mohale’s adoption, (he’s our little one in Africa),
we were called to finalize Joseph’s adoption. 
on December 19, 2014, a Judge gave our foster baby a new identity:  Our Son.  
Absolutely treasured….
Each of our children ADORE him beyond words.  His little love tank is full.  Each of them hold him, play with him, and beg to care for him.  Each of them have prayed for him long before we knew he even existed…  Each of them have gratefully cherished him for the last 11 months.  God truly does place desires into our hearts that HE has a purpose for…
Christmas has been forever changed for our family.  Eleven years ago as I held our newborn son, Liam, I prayed through tears for children who need a home “Lord, Please let us adopt two by Christmas….Two desperately need a home.
In His timing, 8 years later on December 14, 2011 we had the gift of adopting Sierra and Alyssa:

(Pic from December 2010- when they were still our beloved foster babies)
This December 19 2014, we adopted Joseph!  What a miracle and gift he is!
(Pic taken when he was three weeks old by our daughter Ianna)
Christmas is about many things, but it especially is about the cross and adoption-  The Bible teaches that Jesus was born to pay for our adoption….He came to die so that He could adopt us.  Our adoptions have forever underscored how very loved we are. Adoption is SLOW.  It is HARD.  It HURTS.  Yet, compared to the model our LORD gave us, it is INCREDIBLE and worth every tear, every heartbreak, every sleepless night.   YOU ARE LOVED by THE ONE who was BORN and placed in a manger… The ONE who purposed to be born and live a difficult life and then DIE and raise again- all to ADOPT me.  And you.  YOU ARE LOVED.

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