Hooligan Zoo

Two Zookeepers… many Hooligans… It's always feeding time at this zoo!

And then there were Seven

on December 7, 2016


I’m sitting here in front of the blank screen of my laptop, watching the cursor flashing, and trying to figure out how to put into words the feelings and emotions surrounding the expansion of our family.

A few weeks ago, standing in front of our family, our church, our loved ones, we promised the Lord that we would do our very best to raise these two babes in His name, knowing Him, and loving Him.  Our families, church and blood, also promised to help us do so.

It was a beautiful and emotional service.  I felt the weight of the responsibility, and then the easing of it, as I settled into the knowledge that we would not have to do this alone.

Yesterday, in a quick and crazy ceremony at the courthouse, we legally and officially made Zayda and Kai a permanent part of our family.

People keep telling me how lucky these kids are.  How great it is that they get to stay with us, but I keep thinking about how lucky WE are to have THEM.  They chose us.  God chose them for us.  He made it happen so that we would be given the privilege and honour of raising them.

As foster parents, we teach our foster babes to call us Uncle and Aunt.  From the beginning, Zayda always refused to call us that.  I would try to get her to say, “Auntie Jamie,” and she would gently pat my cheek, saying, “Momma.”  She knew from the beginning that she was ours and that we were hers.

Yesterday, at the courthouse, surrounded by (some) of our amazing family, blood and chosen, there was laughter, there were tears, and there was an inexplicable feeling of joy, of finality.

The judge insisted on shaking the hand of every one of our loved ones in attendance, he wanted to know who they were, and what brought them to be part of our special day.  He gave each of the little ones a beautiful stuffed animal as a gift, and was beaming the entire time.  As much as he made our day, I think we brought some joy and light into his as well.

Underlying that joy, at the same time, I couldn’t help but have a piece of my heart that was broken for the littles’ biological mom.

On this day of greatest joy, of acceptance, of gain, she would only receive loss and grief.

She gave birth to these children.  She then, in love, gave these children to us.  She gave us the greatest gift that she could possibly give, and I will forever love her for that.  She is a lovely woman, and we have the privilege of continuing to know her, and of continuing to be able to have her a part of our lives.  Her story, and her children’s story is not mine to tell, but I will say this, she loves her children so very much, and that is obvious in every interaction that we have with her.

This story isn’t just about us, about the gift that was given to us, but it is also about loss and tragedy.  About the failure of a broken system.  And I am torn between my joy at our gain, and my sadness at her loss.

I always come back to this quote,


We have been given the responsibility, the joy, the hardships, the aches, the complete and utter beautiful privilege of raising five children.  Five different and loved children, who, whether they were born to us or whether they were adopted, ultimately belong to the Lord. And the Lord, even knowing us as we are, even knowing our faults and our struggles, trusts us enough to give us His children to raise.

I am so thankful.



2 responses to “And then there were Seven

  1. Mel Neal says:

    Beautiful Jamie, congratulations and much love.

  2. Ani says:

    Congratulations! I really like that you acknowledge that there was sadness to this wonderful day. It’s rooted in loss and a broken system. This seems to be ingnored and I was so happy to read your feelings. Love and light to all involved ❤️

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