One thing I've observed about my adopted kids is they get sad around birthdays and Christmas. They want so much not to be disappointed, and they don't really believe they will get the gifts they hoped for. Thomas was always the worst. I would have to ask him exactly what he wanted, buy it, wrap it, show him the box, and still he did not believe he would get it. He was almost 7 years old when he was adopted. In that time of waiting for a family, he suffered allot of disappointed hopes. It is so hard to hope. And for me, it's hard. I want to surprise them, and not disappoint them, but not spoil them with 100% of everything they had been dreaming of. Philip and Thomas have gotten better about holiday expectations. But Sarah had such a long face at breakfast today. It was like she was already trying to comfort herself because she did not really get what she wanted. I don't ever recall feeling that way as a kid. At least not before the gifts were opened. One year I got a new bath robe and slippers while my brother got a football uniform and a new football. Boy was I disappointed. But that was after the gifts were opened. My hope was pure. It's sad when you think about what they lost growing up in a state run orphanage. It takes allot of work to rebuild trust, to teach them they can hope, that they can really dream for good things to come. But I find myself walking a tight rope of not raising their hopes too high, but assuring them it will be good. I told Sarah she will absolutely get some of the things she wanted but not everything. And there are birthdays and the money she earns to buy whatever is missing. So today we will open our gifts (one day early). Tomorrow we will host International students. And I'm excited about our Christmas party. God knows how much I love students!