So if Notre Dame was the highlight of our day, dinner with Laura's family was absolutely the highlight of the evening. Laura's mother cooked a genuine French meal for us and it was wonderful. They didn't just throw the food on the table and say "dig in" like we often do in America...... the meal was presented as it would be in a restaurant. Bread.... then salad... and then our main course. Laura said that they always eat their meals this way which really impressed me. So we sat around the table talking about our day and our new kiddos and our lives..... As we talked I watched Laura and Faith kidding around with each other and reminiscing about when Laura lived with us..... I watched Brittany and Marie do the same, remembering their times together. Laura's mom shared her experience growing up in a big family on a farm in Southern France.
After the meal, we were presented with a truly unique French desert. As they brought the desert to the table, they also brought small paper crowns. While they served the desert in slices (similar to how we would serve pie), they explained that one of the servings would have a surprise in it. They were so giddy as they explained the "game" and even brought out little treasure chests of "surprises" from past deserts that they had with their family throughout the years. We all laughed and joked as we eagerly ate our desert and waited to see who would get the prize. A few minutes into it, Faith pulled out a small ceramic piece that had been baked in the desert. She was the winner and got to wear the crown. It was fun and it felt like we were with family.
Our time in Paris has been made so wonderful not just because it's a beautiful city, but because it's like a reunion. We spend the days with Laura who is like a sister to Faith and a daughter to me and the evenings with Laura's parents who have welcomed us in like we're part of their family. As I reflect tonight on the past few days, I realize that even here in Paris, it's all about family....... As I think of Leah and the kids at home, it's all about family....... and as we prepare to pick up our new babies, it is all about family.
I've realized on this trip that families go beyond parent and siblings, and biological children and even beyond adopted children. Our family is comprised of people who we share our lives with. People who we love and care for and who recipricate that same love. It extends to foreign exchange students and their family who lives 4000 miles away and it even extends to the daughter of a friend who gives up 2 weeks of her life to help us adopt. No matter what we experience here in Paris, who we experience it with will always be more important that what we experience which confirms that......... IT'S ALL ABOUT FAMILY!