Christmas 2016

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My life changed in mid January as a sixteen year old boy named Cyle (Kyle) moved into my home. A child that had been in foster care all of his life. Several people said, “You reared two children of your own. Why do you want to do it again?” While Cyle at times has posed a challenge, he is also a blessing. He certainly keeps this old man, young.

In March I started the adoption process. WHAT A NIGHTMARE! Can I tell you that dealing with the State of Kansas and the Department of Children and Families in particular, has been the most challenging gosh awful process I have ever dealt with. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. No one accepts responsibility or accountability. Things get lost in the system and NO ONE gets in a hurry. We were over half way through the adoption when all at once they discovered that parental rights had never been dissolved. I still remember the words of the judge, “How can the state have a child in custody for 17 years and not know that parental rights had never been dissolved? This has to be the craziest case that has ever been before this court!” That same judge after clearing up that mess said “there is no reason this adoption can’t be finalized in 31 days.” That was on September 2nd, DCF still hasn’t finished doing their job. It has taught me patience but to also keep my jawbone of an ass in my briefcase.

Cyle and I drove out to California and spent a week camping in the Red Wood National Forest. It was great. Peaceful and quiet and even the cell phones wouldn’t work. On the way back to Kansas we stopped at Crater Lake National Park and camped a few days with Brooks and her family.

A group of nine from Hillside traveled to Spain. What a fantastic trip it was. We were able to walk through the history of the Spanish people. We visited Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona. The people where friendly, the weather cooperated and the food was excellent.

Brooks, Dan, Peter and Nora still live in Portland, OR. Peter is now 11 and Nora 9. They will be here for Christmas, that always makes Christmas special. Clyde (my dog), was so excited to know that they were coming to Wichita, until he heard about the news that they now have a cat! Clyde isn’t so sure he wants to be around anyone that hangs around a cat. It’s a dog thing.

Jonathan is still practicing law in Wichita. He gave a very generous gift to a foundation in memory of his mother to battle cancer. I still remember the smile on Vickie’s face when I would look out on Sunday morning and see her sitting between the two kids. Church and family where her two great passions.

My Christmas table will be bigger and fuller this year. I feel blessed by God. Three wonderful children, two loving grandchildren, a great best friend, many friends who are kind to me, and a congregation that blesses me every day in ministry. Yes, Christmas will be special this year. A lesson I have learned is that Christmas can come all year long. Christmas comes every time we give a little bit of ourselves away. Every gift given comes back to us tenfold from God.

My prayer for you, is that your Christmas will be as joyful and blessed as ours. Merry Christmas! Bill

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