Friday, May 18, 2012

Congratulations, Samantha! We’re So Proud of You!


We are so very proud of Samantha Ann Hall, for today she will walk across the stage to receive her diploma from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Sports Science and a dual minor in Spanish and Dance.  Samantha is graduating with a 3.43 GPA and has made the Dean’s List multiple times.  Did I mention that Samantha is only 20-years-old?!?!  Yep, that’s right, this amazing young lady is such an inspiration and encouragement.  I truly stand in awe that Samantha is graduating from college before her 21st birthday.  Incredible.


Some of you already know our relationship with Samantha, while others are left bewildered by the extra blonde girls in many of our family photos.  (Samantha recently dyed her hair dark, but she’s one of the blondes in our “before Conner and Cooper” family photos.)  We haven’t gotten an updated family photo with our famous blonde girls since Conner and Cooper came home because going to college in a city far away interferes with complete family photos where every member is present. :-)

Team FSR

If you ask Samantha to explain our relationship to her, she’d proudly say that Matt is her daddy and Lorraine is her momma #2.  Simple as that, no questions asked.  In fact, here’s a snippet of a Facebook message that Samantha sent me yesterday:

I can't believe how blessed I am to be in this family. The whole reason I even want to do international missions is because I know how much your love for these orphans has impacted their lives, mine included. I would never have listened to God about missions if I wasn't a part of this family. I am soooooo blessed!  (written by Samantha, sent to Momma 2)


If you view Samantha’s Facebook timeline, you’ll see that she has me listed as her “mother” and all of our kiddos are listed as her siblings.  You see, God designed our family to include Samantha, her sister Emily, and her mom, Stephanie, even if it’s not official through an adoption, it’s official through God.


Let me attempt to explain how God knit us all together, as family, without the same last names.   Almost ten years ago, devastation swept through The Hall Family (Stephanie, Samantha, and Emily) when the father that Samantha and Emily once knew and adored betrayed them all by walking out to live with another woman.  They didn’t know how life would continue after such a tragedy, but God had a plan to trade beauty for ashes.


Our family became best friends with Stephanie, Samantha, and Emily Hall.  So much so that all three of them truly became family members, designed by God.  Samantha and Emily went on all of our family trips, outings, excursions, and vacations, both near and far.  We spent nearly every day with them, for years, and nearly every holiday we spent together as well.  We lived in the same neighborhood, and then, over the years, God moved The Hall Family to our ranch.  My husband built them a home, and Stephanie joined me in co-teaching our homeschooled children.

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Then God called us to adopt Chrissie, and because of Chrissie’s level of care, her many hospitalizations and doctor’s appointments, Stephanie offered to take over teaching our children full-time.  Samantha had graduated from her homeschool high school at this point, and she was already attending Texas Tech, but she came home as often as she could and always joined right in with our big ole family, never skipping a beat.  It’s all part of God’s glorious design of building beauty from ashes.


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I, Samantha’s “Momma 2”, feel that I don’t deserve to be called Samantha’s  “Momma 2” because God blessed Samantha with such an incredible Momma 1!   Samantha doesn’t really need a second mommy, but she absolutely needed a loving, committed, faithful, Jesus-loving daddy.  God had a plan all along, and He chose to use my hubby (Matt) to become the daddy that Samantha needed and wanted.  I always struggle with stating how many children I have because I’m not really Samantha’s mom, even if she graciously calls me that; however, my hubby truly is Samantha’s God-chosen daddy.  The Halls even awarded Matt with a special Psalm 68 award (father to the fatherless), and this was before we had ever even officially adopted any children!  Yep, it’s complicated, I know, but it’s all by God’s glorious design, even if it’s different than the norm.

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Samantha is truly an amazing young lady, the type of daughter every mom would be blessed beyond measure by, so I feel so unworthy, yet so very blessed that Samantha claims me as “Momma 2”.  I also feel so very grateful that God has blessed Samantha with an incredible “Momma 1” (Stephanie) who loves her dearly, is 110% committed, is faithful in all times, is Samantha’s #1 fan, advocate, and cheerleader, and is truly Samantha’s #1 Mom.  Stephanie graciously allows Samantha to call me her “Momma 2”, but it is Stephanie who is responsible for raising such an awesome daughter.  It is Stephanie who has poured years into wholehearted devotion as a stay-at-home mom to Samantha; it is Stephanie who homeschooled Samantha all the way through till college;  it is Stephanie who has supported Samantha through college and continued to help her in ways that only a “real momma” is able; and it is Stephanie who has held Samantha’s hand and her heart from birth until present, never wavering, always guiding, and always loving .  And yet, somehow, I get the honor of being “Momma 2”.  God is incredibly gracious to bless me with such a privilege.


Stephanie Hall (center in above photo) pictured with her daughters, Samantha (right) and Emily (left). 


So today I celebrate not only Samantha’s incredible achievement of earning her college degree at the young age of 20, but I also celebrate the non-traditional family relationship that God has knit among us.  Stephanie, Samantha, and Emily Hall are blessings beyond measure, and we are so very grateful to not only claim them as ministry partners, but as treasured forever family members.  Thank you, Jesus, for sharing the gift of Stephanie, Samantha, and Emily with us.


We are so very proud of you, Samantha.  Keep living for Jesus and making Him proud! 

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