Introducing our family of five!

This is the very first photo taken of our whole family – and it turned out pretty good!  I would FINALLY like to introduce you to all three of our adorable children:  Shivani Ruth Swanson, age 7, Zinnia Judith Swanson, age 6, and Aashish Joel Swanson, age 4.  “Shivani” is pronounced “shih VAH nee” and “Aashish” is pronounced “AH shish”.  If you are not completely melting right now you officially have a heart of stone.

This whole day was a whirlwind, but we’re very pleased that the only tears today were from mom and dad.  We’re all pretty exhausted, and more photos and stories will come, but we wanted to at the very least send a family picture that we’ve been waiting over two years to be able to share.  Several quick stories:

First, it took Aashish all of about 30 minutes after us being at our “home away from home” here in Pune to hurt himself (he pulled a set of wind chimes down on his head).

Second, when we got home Shivani immediately saw the new shoes lined up by the door that Amy had brought for her.  She bypassed the Keens and tennis shoes quickly, and right away put on her denim sandals with the sparkly rhinestones, and she also wanted to wear her new headband with the flower on it to bed.  (For those of you who may not know Zinnia that well, one of her favorite words is “accessories” so she and Shivani already have something in common)!

Third, Aashish found every single button in our Airbnb apartment within about 15 minutes, including buttons that we didn’t even know existed.  If y’all ever need help locating a difficult to find electronic switch or button, our son is the man for the job.

Fourth, Zinnia was super brave today.  She sat and tried the Indian food at lunch with the rest of the kids, and in the afternoon spent two hours playing with Shivani and Aashish on another floor of the children’s home while Amy and I reviewed documents and conversed with the Deputy Director.

Fifth, it took me all of about 2 hours before I called one of my kids by the wrong name.  I guess I’d better give my grandparents some slack for going through their Rolodex before finally figuring out which grandkid I was.

And sixth, Amy and I somehow managed to feed, bucket bathe, and get three children ages 7 and under in jammies and in bed by 8 pm tonight in a home where your kiddos can only brush their teeth on the 2nd floor with the water you’ve trekked up two flights of stairs from a peeing Buddha filtration system from the ground floor kitchen, so we’re feeling like we deserve some kind of parenting award, or at the minimum a cold beer.

One other important thing that we want to correct is our previous language about where Shivani and Aashish have been cared for the past couple of years.  Their caregivers have always referred to the orphanage as the children’s “home in India” and we feel that this is a much more accurate description.  The staff and children relate to one another as though they are a large, extended family and it is a place filled with care, love, and belonging.  So, going forward we will always refer to the place we met Shivani and Aashish today as their “home in India.”

Here’s the best picture we took of the kids today:

Yup, we’re in love.


38 thoughts on “Introducing our family of five!

  1. Love love love the pics. I’m reading this first because we’re in the same time zone.. Praise the Lord! Blessings & so happy to see the smiles on all your faces especially your newest addition. What a beautiful blessed God moment. Thank you Jesus!!

  2. Love, love, love!!! Oh my gosh, amazing!

    I’m so impressed with Zinnia! She really was so brave!

    You have a son!! I’m glad he seems to be making it clear exactly how boys are right from the get go with injuries and buttons. 🙂 I expect an introduction to weaponry and wrestling are soon to follow.

    Sweet Shivani! You wear that headband and rhinestones, hon, 24/7! 🙂

  3. Praise God for your beautiful expanded family! So great to finally see all 5 of you together with such big smiles!!

  4. We are all beyond thrilled for you, Amy and Joel. What a BEAUTIFUL family of five! It sounds like overall you had a great first day together. The pictures exude much of the joy and thankfulness that you surely feel inside. Happy tears from your MA family back home… my heart overflows!

  5. Dear Amy, Joel, and family,
    You are amazing. God is amazing. Thank you for including all of us in your story so we can see what “amazing” looks like walking around here on earth.

    The Cripe Family

  6. Oh what a wonderful sight to see! I can not wait to meet them!! How beautiful to see you all together! We are all so excited for you here. Sending much love your way!!

  7. What an amazing ride you have been on!!! Its now a new ride you will be on for a long time, but your family looks like it should have always been like that!!! Be safe, and know you have been and will continue to be prayed for as your embark on this new journey for all of you.

  8. How wonderful – I can see the joy through your words and photos. What a beautiful family you are and enjoy this special time together! Safe travels.

    1. Umm, me, too. It’s official. I cry at all of your updates. So very amazing. Way to go Swanson Family of five. Much love from Maia and Rachel

  9. You have a beautiful family! Welcome to Shivani and Aashish to their forever family, and Zinnia for being such a good sister to her new bro and sis! Ciao from Turin, Italy from an adoptive Mom of a beautiful Ethiopian-born son!

  10. Oh Happy Day! How wonderful to see your beautiful family. Thanks for sharing your journey and the many ways you seek to know and to follow God’s will. Way to be brave, Zinnia! Sending you heaps of love!

  11. Stopped at Gram on the way home from work to show her pictures and she and I were both in tears… she already loves them and is practicing names. Agrees with Joel that there were NO coincidences about this!! She had been praying as well as recruiting her friends!! Hugs and kisses from both of us!!! What a beautiful family!!! ❤️ So excited and happy you are sharing your amazing story!!

  12. I keep coming back to look at those smiles! Holding you all in my heart today. Sending strength and love to Shivani and Aashish as they are welcomed with love to into your lives forever.

  13. I may or may not have read this post about 10 times. You guess….😀. I just keep looking at these precious ones we have prayed for and love. So proud of our Zinnia girl! Rest well tonight, Dear Ones.

  14. Guys! Congrats! This is amazing! I can’t wait to meet you all as a family.

    And I want to add that cold beers ARE a parenting award.

  15. Oh, Amy, Joel and kiddos, we are so excited for all of you! Your family is beautiful. 🙂 We will be praying for all of you as you bond together.

  16. Your beautiful post is a reminder of all that is good in the world. All your children are so very lucky and blessed to be in your family. Safe travels and wonderful rest for all of you! So happy for all of you. This has put a smile on my face and hope in my heart! Love to all of you.

  17. Dear Swanson family-hearts are full & overflowing at God’s goodness & love. No coincidence here. Abundant blessings as u finalize all the details & arriving safely to your Minnesota home. I am looking forward to meeting my new great-grandchildren. Grateful love-Great Gramdma Dorie

  18. Congrats Joel, Amazing Journey and Blessing. Praying for protection and quick travel home!
    Jim and the Highmark crew!

  19. Joel, I love these pics and your update! So happy for all of you! Thanks for posting this. Congratulations!!

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