Our Great Gain

Yesterday our Nehemiah turned 13!! Can you believe it??  We can’t!!

As I sat down to begin to write this post yesterday, I was overwhelmed with a flood of emotions.

To think that he was over 9 years old before he came home to us is almost unbearable to Dw and I.  Nee has told us about his abandonment, which he remembers well. We can hardly bear the literal pain we feel as he talks of it.  He has told us many stories of life in the orphanage, which are also very hard to bear.  And yes, his memory is impeccable!!

On top of all that pain, the fear and the extensive trauma, he then had all his hopes and dreams crash with the devastating loss of his first adoptive family.  The inevitable feelings of deep rejection are almost too much.  He speaks very openly.  We are so grateful he has found his comfort in the Lord and the God who created him so beautifully.

I know many people cannot imagine bringing home a 9 year old.  But friends, let me assure you he is one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever had the privilege of parenting.


When Nehemiah was first home, how precious are they?? And Emmy was still home then. 

Although Nehemiah’s first adoptive family was not prepared to parent him, let me assure you, they lost an amazing blessing when they decided to relinquish him. But their great loss was our over-the-top, tremendous gain!  This son of ours – there just aren’t enough words to describe how precious he is.

Few could imagine adoption through a disruption. I mean, we tend to think, “Wow, that kid must have been a serious problem!!”  (Which actually is extremely rare!)

Others could not envision adopting a 9 year old because of his age, but friends, not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for allowing us the joy of calling him ours forever.

It pains my heart if I stop to think of all he went through to finally be home, forever.  It wasn’t fair and he definitely didn’t deserve any of it.   This kid is an amazing gift to all who know him!!  

Nehemiah oozes with a tender heart, a gentle spirit and an obvious love for others.  He’s also helpful – always jumping up whenever anyone needs anything.  Hugging him tight the other day I thanked him for always being so helpful.  He smiled and kinda’ giggling responded, “I love to help!” True enough. He loves to help.


The stuffed animal and Barney were jokes. We found them up in the play things in the old Home Place here and turned them into part of a gag gift.  We had many laughs about it all. 



Vernon loves to laugh (as if you couldn’t tell!)….and Daddy loves to tease him….

IMG_8801I’ve told Nehemiah that if the Lord’s plan is for him is to live in the United States someday, then how about we have him and his wife buy the house next door or behind us?  Then we’ll chop a hole through the concrete block fence so we can go back and forth. He laughs and always says, “Okay!”   (And yes, I have the same conversation with the others as well!)

So as much I write to celebrate God’s gracious gift to us, I tell a speck of his story to encourage others who may be wondering if older adoption is for them? Or maybe even an adoption through disruption? 

We now have adopted three “older” – Jubilee was 8, Nehemiah was 9 and Vernon was just about to turn 14. Older child adoption is a precious gift to any family who opens their heart.

And every single day of the 365 days each year there are thousands just like our Nehemiah or our Jubilee or our Vernon praying, hoping, needing, dreaming and longing for a family.


((Birdie was in bed when we opened presents. She was just too tired to party anymore!))


Happy 13th Birthday Nehemiah – we are so very thankful God made you and that you are ours!!!

Nehemiah would be thrilled if you wished him a Happy Birthday!!  So feel free to wish him one!!

36 thoughts on “Our Great Gain

  1. You’re a very dear boy and gift from God!! Happy Birthday to YOU!!! It was MY birthday on the 19th. We July people are special!!! Lol!!!

  2. Happy Happy “13th” Birthday, Nehemiah! You are such a Blessing. I LOVE when your Mom shares about You here on her blog. I pray that this will be one of your very best years yet.
    Hugs from Minnesota – Jo

  3. Happy Birthday Nehemiah!!! A beautiful reminder of how God makes beauty from (seemingly) ashes! And great encouragement as we prepare to go bring home our sweet 11 year old daughter! Blessings!

  4. Hi Linny – God’s timing is always incredible. I was looking at disruption adoptions just last night. My heart longs for a child to call me Mama. And, the gift of being able to love on and raise a child. Love your stories about how you came to parent each child in your home. Oh, and Miss Ruby and those teeth! Or, should I say “lack of teeth”? My goodness, she is absolutely growing into ALL that He has planned for her life. You are one Blessed Mama!
    Love You! – Jo

  5. Happy birthday, Nehemiah! Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord, in His goodness, planned out a family just for you! I am so happy for you! It makes my eyes water thinking about it! Enjoy your birthday celebrations with your precious family!

  6. Happiest of birthdays, precious Nehemiah! The joy you bring to your family is contagious; and I am SO thankful you’re a Saunders so I can experience that joy from afar! I pray this is the best birthday yet, and I truly cannot wait to see what amazing things the Lord has in store for you as you walk through life with Him by your side! Big hugs from Texas!!

  7. Happy Birthday, Nehemiah!!! You are one very HANDSOME new teenager!!
    Love hearing how you help your mom and others. You have a beautiful heart and soul, young man.

  8. Nehemiah, Happy Birthday! 13 is a very special age for a young man. I enjoy seeing pictures of with your brothers and sisters. I look forward to seeing you grow further in the Lord’s grace. Prayers for a happy day, a happy week, and a happy year!

  9. Happy birthday!!! So thankful for God’s faithfulness in your life! Hope you had a great day celebrating!🎂🍰

  10. Happiest of Birthdays to you, Nehemiah! What a treasure you are. May your life continue to be a blessing to all around you.

  11. Happy, Happy 13th Birthday, Nehemiah! You have brought such blessing to your family! They love you so much and I know you do them, too!
    With God, All things are Possible!
    Jesus loves You,
    Holly Mathewson

  12. Happy 13th Birthday Nehemiah – I am so very thankful God made you and that you have a Great family that L o v e s You!

  13. Happy birthday Nehemiah! You are an awesome young man with a bright future ahead of you! Praying your 13th year is full of blessings!

  14. Happy Happy Birthday Nehemiah! What wonderful words to read about the young man that God has made you into! I pray that you will always find joy in following Him all of the days of your life!

  15. Happy Happy Birthday Nee! You are officially a teenager now! WOW! What a joy you are to your family. We thank God that He has blessed your family with YOU! Have a great day and a super year! (:

  16. Happy Birthday, Nehemiah! The White Family from Georgia hope that you have a great birthday! You are LOVED, ADORED, and CHERISHED by your mom, dad, brothers, and sisters and by the God of the Heavens and Earth! Happy Birthday!

  17. Happy birthday, Nehemiah! Congratulations on becoming a teenager!

    Linny, I have one particular 9yo on my mind all the time. If it were up to me I would be on a plane tomorrow to get her. Presser pray with me that she finds her family soon. Honestly, I want it to be us but I also don’t want her to wait! It’s driving me crazy….

  18. Happy Birthday Nehemiah! You have an INCREDIBLE smile!!

    Love the photos – it’s crazy to see how much he (well… ALL of them!) have grown in four years!

  19. Happy birthday – joyeux anniversaire – from France! Wishing you great joy.
    I remember an earlier post by your mother, where she spoke about what a gem you are and how lucky your family is to have you in it. You might want to know that your story is one of the things that encouraged my family to pursue an older child adoption. We are in process to adopt an 8 year-old girl who has waited way too long for a forever family.

  20. Happy, happy birthday, Nehemiah! And many. many more – you’re family is so blessed to have you! What a gift to them your birthday is!

  21. Happy Birthday Nehemiah! As the other lady says, we July people are special! My birthday is the 25th. (but this year I need to celebrate another day because I have to be at the hospital at 7:15 for day surgery on my neck! No chance for a lie-in. On the other hand, I am meant to have someone look after me for 24 hours after, so perhaps having servants is the gift? Ha Ha!)
    I pray you grow up with the strength and favour of God that your Namesake had. The book of Nehemiah is one of my favourites!
    Have a wonderful day! Thank you for being so loving and kind.
    Sandy in the UK

  22. Happy Blessed Birthday Nehemiah! You are such a treasure! Asking for God’s favor to fill you to overflowing all Birthday Year long!!!
    <3Liz in Virginia

  23. Nehemiah, may your days be filled with joy in the Lord as you gradually see more of the beautiful masterpiece God is creating out of the life and course He has specially crafted for you. He has incredible good works for you to do that He is giving only to you. Your love of others comes from Him and He will certainly use you to bless many people. You already do! May your coming years be abundant. As in God’s holy book Nehemiah, God has heard your prayers and protected you, and you are faithful in your worship of Him. It’s a beautiful image. Priceless. Happy 13th birthday!

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