2008 Family Update Letter

We just sent out this letter to a bunch of family and friends, and we wanted to share it here as well.

Greetings from the Coates Clan! We hope that you all had a peace-filled and joyous holiday season. Although a bit unconventional, we have decided to deviate from our “norm” and send out a post-holiday newsletter this year. This would be in large part due to the shifts in our household during the last month or so. (Translation: we are a bit behind.)

However adept we may be with words, there is simply no way to convey all the triumphs and struggles our family has undergone in this last year. A repeated message seems to have been echoed: a message to simply trust God with everything. Through God’s unending patience He has continued to impress onto our callused hearts the truth that He is indeed trustworthy!

After being gone for a bit more than a year, Rachelle has finally returned home to us. She worked hard while away and is looking forward to a bright and glorious future. She will be finishing up her senior year this semester and hopes to attend Sacramento State University in the fall.

Ariana has undergone a fair amount of transformation as well and enjoys surprising others with her wisdom and wit. She has been doing incredibly well in school and plans on taking a college class this spring. Much to her parents chagrin, puberty continues to launch Ariana toward adulthood with increasing speed. Ariana will finish her sophomore year this spring.

Emily, our dear, sweet, not-a-toddler, four-year-old rebel, grows increasing more “big girl” every day. Emily has become incredibly astute at using her charm and beautiful smile to coax the most skilled care-givers into succumbing to her wishes. Much to our delight she was thrilled to become a big sister and is taking her role very seriously.

And then we have our newest addition, Miss Annastacia Hope! She is our incredible gift from God and is the sweetest little baby girl one could hope for. Annastacia is truly our “hope fulfilled,” hence her middle name. Anna’s birth mother Petra was gracious enough to allow us to be an intimate part of Anna’s birth and life in utero, and to her we will be forever grateful! Anna is delightful in every way, and we are enjoying every second with her. No child was ever more cherished or wanted.

Sadly, we have said goodbye to four foster children this year as well as to our beloved beagle Gracie. Mary and Paul* were reunited with their father in March, and Rose and John* were reunited with their mother in December. Gracie was hit and killed in December by a car after getting out of our yard during a “potty break.” We continue to foster a 2 year old boy whose case has just been elongated.

Greg continues to be an amazing husband and provider while maintaining his programming position at Chico State University. Additionally, he does much of the behind the scenes work for our photography businesses. I, Crystal, juggle my duties as a full time mom, home school teacher, and photographer. In June we launched a new photography business named Très Bébé Photography, and we are loving every minute of our work!.

What more can we say? We have four of the most beautiful, amazing, and talented girls God could ever give. We are blessed beyond words. Sure, we undergo our hardships, but we have learned that God can do a lot with broken hearts. We are learning about the sweetness that comes from trusting our Lord no matter what joys or storms come our way, and that is the greatest gift of all.

We love you and thank God for gracing us with the knowledge and love of you! We pray that you have a year of peace and grace in abundance.

* All foster children's names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Rachelle, Ariana, Emily, and Anna

Posted by Crystal on January 10, 2009 at 8:00AM.

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