We'll be honest. We are on a budget this year. While we sent out some Christmas cards, we didn't send them nearly as widely sweeping as we should have. So, if we missed you, we are truly sorry. We also realize that we have a following that extends beyond those whose addresses we have in our contacts. For those of you who follow us on social media, we thought we'd include a digital Christmas card as well ...
Dearest friends and family,
We aren’t usually the Christmas letter-type. Typically, we rely on our frequent Facebook and blog posts to keep everyone informed. But, this year is different. This year we’ve relied heavily on our family and friends to help walk us through a massive faith journey. Having done so, we felt compelled to share what God has taught us through this experience, and doing so, through a paper copy as well as digital, seemed most appropriate.
Our year began with a deep calling (1) from God to expand our family. He even gave us the privilege of seeing a photo of our sweet son before we knew he was ours. Yang Jin Hua appeared on my Facebook newsfeed (I know, right?) through a friend’s post. And since then, Hua has captured our hearts. God has blessed our path by providing, miraculously, at every turn (2).While we don’t exactly know how the final chapters in this story will unfold, we do know that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it.
Right now, we are awaiting our LOA (letter of approval) from China. The compilation of dossier documents have been in translation for almost 2 weeks. We are told it could be 45-60 days before we hear from China. We are also in the final stages of resource gathering for our travel. We know God will provide, and we can’t wait to see the miraculous ways He does so … as it seems impossible right now.
Our three children living stateside are very excited about the coming home of their new little brother; they are also a little apprehensive about the changes and challenges it will bring. But, we are using this time of waiting and longing to pray, to seek God’s face, and to learn to trust Him for provision in wisdom, patience and grace as well.
In addition to our adoption journey, this year has provided some other really incredible milestones. Here are the Van Dyk Top 10 from ‘16-17 (accompanying photos found on our blog here (3):
Rang in the New Year with our “tribe” for the 14th year in a row
Took a Spring Break, just the 5 of us to Chicago for the weekend and walked several miles through a blizzard
Watched our firstborn stand up and declare her faith in Jesus and be baptized
Enjoyed a gymnastics showcase and a ballet recital on Ben’s birthday weekend (always coincides, every.single.year)
Mom and Dad took a short vacation alone for the first time since the kids were born (it was Dad’s work trip and Mom tagged along)
Spent an amazing summer at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference (the kids lived there at least 5 days a week)
Began 2nd grade, 1st grade and “double” preschool at Zeeland Christian School in Mandarin Chinese Immersion
Kayleigh was admitted to Turning Pointe School of Dance’s Training Division, level IA.
Benjamin joined the swim team with Zeeland Age Group Swimming in the 8 and under division
Madeleine is loving her gymnastics class through Champion Gymnastics in the Busy Bees class.
We hope that next year we can update you on life with 4 kids, 2 crazy parents, and (probably) a still way too aggressive kitty.
For regular updates on our adoption journey - including travel photos, videos and Joshua’s homecoming - feel free to sign up to receive our updates in the form below.
Much love and many prayers to you and yours,
Steve, Kristi, Kayleigh, Benjamin, Madeleine and Joshua Van Dyk