Merry Christmas 2011!

Click here to open our Christmas 2011 Family Letter

Bethany Yan Rengert (Zhu Yan)There’s simply no way to adequately express our gratitude for the blessings we’ve received this year, but all praise goes to our Lord and Savior! No family is without challenges and trials, though our response to them is a witness…for better or worse. A phrase we encountered over ten years ago, “A gem cannot be polished without friction”, reflects the truth in God’s word that we should rejoice in the face of trials; not a natural human tendency.  In those trials He can show Himself though, whereas we tend to take personal credit when things go well. We’re certainly not the examples of this that we’re called to be or desire to be, but being human we are a work in progress.

2011 was not a year of extraordinary trials for us, though it probably sounds that way. It was however a year of extraordinary blessing, in many, many ways! The trip to China in November to adopt Bethany was awesome, though at times pretty exhausting. This particular adoption (our third) wasn’t exceptionally difficult compared to the others, but was once again an opportunity for God to work in the way only He does. We were clearly led to this particular child, for what purposes we have yet to fully understand. We do understand however that by trusting God in His leading and provision, His work is accomplished. What a joy and privilege to join Him in it!

Please read and enjoy our Christmas letter, and we will endeavor to fill in details and events here and via other correspondence as time allows. The last few weeks have been fairly hectic, but Bethany is doing great and we’re really excited to share all about it in the upcoming weeks. Just this week she had her first screening visit at the International Adoption Clinic at UMN in Minneapolis. The folks there were great, and quite impressed with her! Another interesting thing we noted just in the last few days: she has started nodding or shaking her head in response to us, indicating that she’s understanding much of what we’re saying even though she can’t say much herself yet. We are more and more convinced that she’s smart, hungry to learn, and probably far more capable than anyone thought.

The thing is, all the kids are so special to us in so many ways, that we could go on & on about each of them the same way. How we have come to be so immeasurably blessed by this experience is hard to grasp. We certainly haven’t earned it. That’s God’s grace.

Please also enjoy these recent pictures!