As a committee, we asked the family for a reference letter that we could use in applying for some help with our project. We received the following letter, written by Jeremy's mother, and it was so beautiful that we wanted to include it here:
I have been asked or assigned to write many different articles in my life . . . but never before have I been so delighted to do so. As a mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother to this exceptional family, I feel highly qualified to write a reference letter.
First, about Jeremy. He has always been an incredible human being with an almost constant smile on his face. Always eager to learn, to help, to laugh, to entertain, to play, and to try any reasonable new activity. From about age 12, his best friend was profoundly deaf. It was a wonderful, mutually beneficial friendship that still continues today. I am sure their friendship was a great foundation for Jeremy's ability to easily accept, and grow to deeply love, these five special-needs children that have come into his home.
Now, let me define Christianne. The best way, the easiest way to do so, is to quote myself. Whenever I introduce her or talk about her to anyone, I simply say, "My son married an angel." And I mean that with all my heart. I've often remembered a conversation that I had years ago with Christianne and my own two grown daughters. The four of us were chatting, and somehow the conversation turned to a disabled child we had just seen. (Christianne did not have any children yet.) My daughters and I were feeling incredibly sorry for the problems that this child obviously had and how sad it was that she would never be really pretty. Christianne didn't say anything until I asked her what she was thinking. Her response was typical of her heavenly spirit, "I think the baby was beautiful. She's perfect the way she is." I was shocked by her words. But as I studied her face, I realized she was serious. I believe she honestly saw a perfection that I could never see. Through the years, as Christianne and Jeremy have adopted more and more special-needs children, that conversation has repeated itself in my mind over and over again. And I have grown to love this angelic daughter-in-law more and more.
I am thrilled that a whole community has been inspired to help my son and his family obtain a home that will allow them to live a little more comfortably and to offer them a better opportunity to reach their full potential. Through the years, I have spent many nights in Jeremy and Christianne's homes. From their first little townhouse to their Herriman home. It was in Herriman that things began to feel especially tight. A few years ago, Jer and Christi had finished a storage room and turned it into a bedroom, "Especially with Grandma Rose in mind." And I loved it! But within about two years, it became "Elli's Room." My sweet little blind and severely autistic Elli had become incredibly strong. And her screaming fits could be frightening. And any noise could wake her in the middle of the night. No matter that all of the other children in the house had to share rooms, Elli had to have a room of her own. And, of course, she still does.
Besides being thrilled, I was also incredibly humbled when I found out that these friends and this community were working hard to "puzzle them home." It is a dream come true for me. As a grandmother to this precious family, I have observed much to which most people are not privy. I have seen roaring laughter, faith-promoting experiences, gardens being planted, swing sets being installed, huge dinners being cooked. I have enjoyed hosting jewelry parties for the girls and teaching little blind hands and little armless feet to bake cookies and cinnamon rolls. I have wept experiencing the unadulterated joy that my little, blind Lexi Li pours out over the most simple of experiences. But all too often, I have observed struggles that could be easily solved with a couple more bedrooms. A few more closets. A real laundry room - versus a closet in a hallway. A kitchen that would hold a table around which the whole family could fit. A kitchen with double the cabinets. A room for Elli, fitted with the special items that she could use to brighten her doubly dark - both blind and autistic - life. And now, maybe an elevator especially for our eagerly-expected, confined-to-a-wheelchair Cali.
As I have pondered the spontaneous eruption of support for my dear Jeremy and Christianne, several thoughts have sprung into my mind. I am not ashamed to admit that I personally could never have adopted all these special-needs children. Not monetarily, physically, or emotionally. As deeply as I love these precious little people that have come into my life, I simply could not have done it. But I can help a little. And I think a lot of people feel the same way. Though they can't do what Jeremy and Christianne have done, they want to do what they can do. By participating in this wonderful "Puzzle Them Home" fundraiser, they can find great joy in supporting the whole concept of adoption. Of helping some dear children with no families of their own. Helping some special-needs children with an especially hard start to their lives.
One of the most precious observations I have made during the last few years is the absolutely amazing kindness shown by Taylor and Parker to their younger siblings. I have never seen an indication of irritation because of - let's be honest - the extra responsibilities they must bear. It is not just Jeremy and Christianne who adopt these children. Whenever a new sibling comes into the home, each member of the family pays a certain price in time and loss of attention. And they are - there is no other word - amazing! It will be wonderful for Taylor and Parker to have a little more room for themselves, too.
One last thought. A few years ago, someone asked Jeremy, "Why do you adopt children from China?" Jeremy answered quickly and simply, "Because that's where our children are." And that was the best answer possible.
P.S. To me, it seems utterly impossible that the following statement is true: I have never, ever, heard Jeremy or Christianne raise their voices at any of their children.