A New Year's Picture

When I look at this photo all I can see is blessing – so much love, so much abundance.

The youngest six: A (9), K (6), E (2.5), “Rusty” (almost 13), W (1) and C (almost 5)

The oldest four: MK (18), N (16), H (20), and S (14)

I wasn’t going to send a Christmas card this year; I really wasn’t. I figured that I sent out a photo of the kids just last summer when we sent our adoption announcement and that was good enough. Then the cards and pictures began to fill our mailbox and I realized that I really do want to send one. I LOVE getting Christmas cards and pictures of our friends (so if you were thinking about not sending us one, please think again).

We have a large bulletin board in our dining room that we fill with new photos of our family and friends each January. All year those faces smile out at us, and we love it. Since making so many wonderful friends through our adoption, many new beautiful families have begun to grace our wall. My heart feels happy when I look at it.

Once I realized that, yes indeed, we did need to take a family picture, I took a good look at our calendar. It is very complicated. We finally settled on Sunday after church, but before a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend, a bridal shower for another friend, and a Christmas party. We had less than one hour to make it happen.

We hurried home from church, got everybody in their casual clothes, gave the little ones a treat with promises of lunch soon, and raced outside. I should mention that it was very cold on Sunday. It was frosty, cloudy, and 24 degrees. We had already decided that we would take a fun shot of the kids sitting on the tractor in front of the barn. We arranged the kids on the tractor, and I got ready to take pictures, but a funny thing happened, my camera would not shoot. No matter what I tried, it simply would not take a picture. Russ had experienced this once before when he was taking some pictures at a research site in the mountains, so he was pretty sure that the problem was the cold temperature. We raced back into the house, got everybody in front of the tree and took several shots there.

Once the camera was warm again, we decided to try again to take the tractor shot. I waited inside with the camera tucked in my jacket while Russ got everybody arranged again. Then I raced outside and quickly took the pictures. I tried not to torture the kids for longer than necessary.

I never did get a happy picture of E., except for one where he has his head tipped back so far that you can see directly up his nose. He is usually my joyful boy, but not last Sunday.

I have big plans to get these printed and mailed by New Year’s – we’ll see if I make it!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Erin
    December 12, 2007

    I LOVE these pics!! They are wonderful. The tractor is just perfect. And even if E. isn’t smiling, he is still totally darling. 🙂

    good job!!!


  2. nosmallfeat
    December 14, 2007

    Awesome pic and so glad you decided to do it. I love to receive photos of those near and dear.


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