I just realized that so much happened to all of us in 2016. And though I generally post a lot on facebook, not everyone catches all the wild and crazy antics of the Garfias family. So in case you’re wondering what’s going on in our busy house, here’s a family update.
The big family news of the year was our adoption journey. We started the process toward adopting from foster care last spring, then put things on hold mid-year due to my book release and an international adoption possibility. But after some prayer and waiting, we became convinced that adopting from foster care is truly God’s plan for our family. We’ve completed all the training, paperwork, and requirements on our end now. We’re just awaiting the final home study (the last of three home inspections and private interviews with every family member) before beginning the placement process. We plan to adopt a Hispanic sibling group of two or three children younger than Xzavian.
Preparing for foster care licensing was much more grueling than we anticipated. Besides the tons of paper work and numerous home requirements, there were several issues David and I uncovered through the training process, opportunities for us to grow individually and as parents. Learning about the hard situations these children come from opened up past wounds and new fears, and God has taught us so much about His love and grace and healing.
And for our teens, this has been a mental and emotional and spiritual process, too, as they prepared to sacrifice all they had — their belongings, their rooms, their parents, their ideas about their own family life — for strangers. David and I have tried to both encourage them each toward loving and giving while allowing them ample time and space to come to their own acceptance of the process. And we’re so proud of how they’ve responded — first questioning, then considering, then researching, and finally actively seeking new ways to give. The teens at home have taken it upon themselves to keep the house “inspection clean” for the past several months, which is no small task in a large homeschool family. They took it upon themselves to donate their own funds to the needy by sponsoring a child through Compassion International and buying shoeboxes full of necessities for the Operation Christmas Child project my husband heads up at church.
David moved to a new banking center in Plano where he oversees a large center that offers not only consumer banking but also investment and business services. His own soccer club, the Rowlett Fusion FC, added a teen girls team and enjoyed an undefeated fall season with the U11 boys team. David continues to lead our church’s AWANA program on Wednesday nights. So you might say he’s a little busy.
Gian graduated from a lifetime of homeschooling and completed his first semester at Liberty University. He’s a math major, enjoying the challenge of his classes as well as the new friends on campus. While he’s there, he works at the Snowflex ski lift, and when he’s home, he returns to work at Lakeside Cleaners. He’s home right now for a month-long break before returning for the spring semester.
Adana is in the middle of her sophomore year of high school. She performs with the New Life Symphony Orchestra and regularly plays piano and violin in church. She’s quite pleased to be working three part-time jobs minding the store at a tailor shop, entertaining private parties and refereeing at the local indoor soccer facility, and babysitting. But she really enjoys playing soccer, visiting neighbors, and reading.
Leandro was chosen for the Dallas Olympic Development Program as a goalie this past spring. He’s been busy training and competing with that, besides working for the neighbors doing warehouse work, pet sitting, and mowing lawns. This has been his best academic year; eighth grade is agreeing with him.
Xzavian is a boy of routine, spending an hour each morning reading before breakfast, a couple hours each afternoon listening to audio books, and evenings on Minecraft. His loves for his best friend, Sunday School crush, and watermelon know no end. He still keeps notebooks of his own writings that will, he insists, become valuable someday when he’s a famous writer.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed writing and launching my first traditionally published book, Rocking Ordinary. It was a special experience, and I treasure the wonderful friends I’ve made. I also accepted a position as Features Editor at Home School Enrichment Magazine, the publication that first gave me a start in writing almost a decade ago. I’m grateful for the opportunity to play in the New Life Symphony Orchestra and the Allen Philharmonic. And highlights of my year included two visits from my best friend. I’ve had a lot of fun.
Actually, we all have. David and I took two vacations — one to San Diego in February and then our Cancun weekend to celebrate our 20th anniversary. David also drove me to Arkansas last summer to meet my publisher and record the small group study DVD for Rocking Ordinary. After we dropped Gian off at Liberty University in September, we took a family trip to Washington, D.C. We enjoyed the sites and laughed our way through the city.
Now that I write all of that down, it looks like 2016 was epic good fun for the Garfias family. For the coming year, we have high hopes and fervent prayers:
- that the Lord will continue to prepare our family to receive our new adoptive children
- that I will find an agent and secure my next writing contract
- that I will know God’s will concerning other ministry opportunities under consideration
- that the Fusion soccer club will continue to expand and meet the needs of local soccer players
- that Gian will continue to know and follow God’s plan for his academics and life
- that our family will continue to grow in love and laughter
Thank you for your love and prayers. From our home to yours, we wish you the very happiest of a New Year.