Oldfather Lake had to be coming up around the bend. Jas led the way for the caravan of family headed out to see the house on Christmas day, the house he had named Mount Hope.
The winding roads looked different with freshly fallen snow. Sunflowers and corn fields had gone to harvest, but hopefully back again next year. Safely they arrived, carried in their baggage, started up the fireplace and the furnace, checked on everything else that needed checked before they settled in.
They pinched their cheeks to make sure they weren’t dreaming, everyone except the kids. Kids accept things as they are, they had no trouble believing it was real. Everyone gathered in the kitchen, around the large oak dining table. Caitlin grabbed the rocking chair in the corner by the fireplace to sit with baby Ava, ready to rock her if she needed a nap. Junia got the coffee pot perking and the griddle heated up to make bacon, eggs and pancakes for their Christmas day feast. Jas had brought the juicer and oranges to make juice for everyone.
The Jasper family enjoyed relaxing by the fire, watching the snow fall outside. The kids played board games and then played with Rusty and Jazzy out in the snow. When evening came and with the kids, baby Ava and the dogs peacefully sleeping, the adults sat around the table enjoying conversation and hot chocolate.
Jas explained more about the essay he had written and submitted with the bid for the house. Junia had already known about it, but he wanted to talk with everyone else about the details.
“Caitlin, do you remember when we were on our road trip and you called your mother and talked about adoption, or taking care of foster children?”
“Uh…oh yeah…I asked you to come home to help with the boys…take them camping.” Caitlin grinned at that memory, it seemed so much had happened since then.
“Since then I started thinking about taking care of foster children myself…I know, at first, I thought I must be crazy, but thought about it more and more, prayed about it…anyway, I felt like God was leading me to bid for the house, but I thought, why would I need such a big house? Then it occurred to me, if I had a big family, foster kids that needed space, the outdoors to explore, time to heal…anyway I wrote in my essay that I wanted to make the house a refuge for foster children…and that’s why I was awarded the house.”
Again Caitlin and Ryan teared up, in awe of all the workings of God in their lives.
Jas continued on as everyone quietly listened. “Anyway, that was my dream, you don’t have to go along with it…but you can stay here until your house is rebuilt and since your name will be on the deed as an owner, which should work to keep you from losing the kids.”
Caitlin and Ryan didn’t know what to say, so Junia added. “Of course, think about it, pray about it. Jas just wanted to let you know the rest of the story.”
They wiped the tears from their eyes. Caitlin clasped her Dad’s hands in hers. “Can’t thank you enough Dad. Never imagined all this would happen. Of course we’ll pray about it, but can’t imagine God would say no.”
Ryan chuckled. “Thank you both. And I thank God! He’s already answered our prayers.”
Junia stood up, hugged Caitlin and Ryan and then proceeded to wash the dishes. John and Lynette quietly stared out the window, watching snowflakes softly falling on the trees, they too, in awe from all that had transpired.
Jas patted John on the shoulder as he got up to retire for the evening. “John, you and Lynette, Jenna too, you’re all welcome to live here too or visit anytime.”
“It’s tempting, almost as beautiful here, as Colorado.” He laughed. “But no, I…I wouldn’t take away any space from kids that need it.”
“Well if you decide to come, we’ll just build on another wing, right Caitlin.”
Everyone laughed, thinking about the possibility, then hugged each other good night.
This story is a fictionalization. Any mention of historical events, people and places are used fictitiously and any likeness to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.