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The Seidel Family Blog

7 minutes reading time (1489 words)

One Year Home


Has it already been more than a year? Some days it feels so much longer and, other days, it has flown by! We arrived back in the US on June 10th last year, so this summer has brought all sorts of nostalgia for us. We're finally to a point where we can say "remember when we did this last year" to JP.

I know it's been quite some time since I've written an update. There's been so much to share, yet never quite enough time to sit down and write it all out. So, brace yourselves for a lengthy update. 😊

December brought our first Christmas united as a family. We had so much fun with family! Ben's family stayed with us for several days over Christmas Day, so we enjoyed our first Christmas morning as a family with Ben's side of the family. Winter brought JP's first experiences of snow…and man, did he love it! Sledding, snowball fights, building snowmen – what could be better? 😊

In early December, we all (likely) had COVID. ☹ In doing school from home, Ben and I came to a decision we had been praying over since school started in August. We decided to transition JP to homeschooling. So, January began our journey of homeschooling. Almost everything about homeschooling has been a surprise to me. It's come with so many difficulties, so many joys, and an amazing community. Homeschooling is hard; who would have guessed, right? But there's also such a joy in seeing JP's knowledge and understanding of the world grow. It's a great feeling incorporating what he's learning into our everyday life and conversations. We're still working to integrate ourselves into the community, but I have been pleasantly surprised by just how many families have made this choice for their family and thrived. While this transition has been hard, we know it's the absolute right decision – another calling from God for at least this season in our life.

During the spring, we worked our way through JP's 3rd grade curriculum. We were able to see family frequently and visit some local fun spots including the zoo and Powell Gardens. JP learned how to ride a bike (a Christmas present) without any training wheels! It's quickly become one of his favorite things to do.

As I mentioned above, June brought one year together as a family. The summer also brought our long-awaited court date! 😊 Philippines law requires several update reports with our family before they provide approval to finalize the adoption. In addition, once we received their approval, we actually finalized the adoption in the US. This is quite different than many other countries, so we have been anxiously awaiting the date. We finally received our approval from the Philippines government in April and immediately began the process to finalize in our local court. On July 19th, JP's adoption was officially finalized. Fun fact, July 19th was also our 8th anniversary! Sadly, the court session was remote/virtual, so we didn't have the big court room celebration. However, we had a "JP pick" fun day. At his choosing, we went to Main Event (arcades, high ropes course, etc.) and a movie, followed by dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We also had a few surprises for him – including renting a convertible Camaro for the day (he's obsessed with sports cars) and a yard sign to celebrate his official last name change.

July also brought JP's 10th birthday! Double digits! Yikes! 😊 We celebrated with family from both sides and beautiful weather right in the middle of July. So, of course, we had a water gun and water balloon fight! It was so much fun.

It's hard to fully put into words all the experiences we've had as a family over these past seven months. If I'm being honest, they've been the hardest months of my life. Learning how to parent, learning how to homeschool, learning how to live out our faith in this new's been a challenge. But I also see God's hand at work…and that's a blessing beyond belief. God continues to reveal himself to Ben and me, showing us areas where we need to surrender to Him, but always offering unconditional and unending grace and forgiveness. He's also blessed us with some amazing people to support us in this journey. We are thankful beyond words for God's sovereign hand in our lives, the people He's blessed us with on this journey, and the family He has entrusted to us.

The moment we've been waiting for is finally here! It's my absolute pleasure to introduce you, officially, to Jhon Paul Seidel. 😊 In case you've been wondering, he goes by JP or Jhon Paul.

I promise to try to be better at providing monthly updates moving forward. We do begin homeschooling again in August, but I'll try to squeeze in the time as I love being able to update everyone.

Our prayer request – Lord, please continue to grow love, joy, and patience in our family. Help us continue to seek understanding of one another and support each other by the discernment of the Holy Spirit. We ask for your blessings on our family. Thank you for each blessing you've already given, both little and big. Thank you for entrusting Ben and me with JP. May we seek to glorify you in all that we do.