The Amish Cook: Perfect chicken marinade

Take a moment to get the picture: it’s Wednesday evening of the big day — the final adoption of our precious foster children. Hosanna, age 4, flitting here and there through the group of family and friends, gathering for the celebration party at Daniel’s shop. I took a moment to observe her holding Julia’s hand, both wearing their new lavender dresses. Yes, they are sisters forever. Then there was Jesse, age 3, in a lavender shirt and blue pants, matching Elijah, who is only four months younger. The most awaited day has come. As of this morning, we are a forever family.

Daniel’s whistle quieted the group of 130 people. I stood at his side as he welcomed everyone, using the story in Luke 15, that deeply spoke to his heart, where the shepherd found the missing sheep and invited all his friends to come rejoice with him. “That’s what we are inviting you to do. Come, rejoice with us, we have found the lost sheep!”

After a prayer of thanks, the children were ushered through a food line which, upon Hosanna’s request, was on smaller tables so they could reach the food. Six child-size picnic tables had been set up and decorated inside the large U shape of 10 regular folding tables for the adults.

There was a large variety of food to choose from; each lady had brought a hot dish of her choice, besides the salad, adoption cake, pie, and an ice cream bar with ice cream Uncle Paul had made.

The evening before we had a wonderful time setting up and decorating the tables. Hosanna wanted purple and pink flowers, and Jesse requested blue. We used plastic table cloth with red hearts along with pink and gray plates on the girlish decorated tables. The boyish ones got gray tablecloths with blue and gray plates.

Candles, string lights, little mottoes, and bunches of helium balloons graced the center of the tables.

Now I glanced around the shop, instead of the sound of the usual equipment, it was buzzing with the happy sounds of family and friends chatting over a feast. On the realistic side, somehow, I just didn’t feel hungry.

After supper came the part I still cherish deep within my heart.

First, we sang “Rescue the Perishing.” Next, the church ladies sang a song which I sang a lot during my girlhood years, “I Love you, for you are my Child.” The song testifies of our heavenly Father’s tender love for his children.

Daniel then shared a bit on how we got started on our foster journey and how God miraculously orchestrated many details to have these children placed in our home several years ago. In conclusion, Daniel asked everyone to join in singing, “Follow the Path of Jesus.” At the end of the song, he asked Julia and Austin to step up and share the poem, written by a friend. I blinked back the tears as their voices blended, reciting the words, “Somewhere a child is crying, lost with no one to care…” Austin’s eyes met mine, our hearts glowed. How can one feel so many deep emotions all at once?

The song, “No one can Heal the Pain Inside, Like my Father Can,” was sung next. More tears were shed throughout the shop. Surely, we do have a tender God who cares for and heals the pain like no other.

Next, all the children from grades one to three were asked to step up and sing, “Jesus loves the little children”, followed by those from ages two to six singing, “Jesus Loves Me.” One last congregational song wrapped up the program. The adults were dismissed as they sipped punch with fruit chunks and visited.

Daniel and I took the little children to the other end of the shop where Mary Esther, a well-loved Grandma in our church, told an adoption story from the Bible. When the story had ended, we helped the little ones with craft projects, and passed out glow-in-the-dark sticks. Next came the fun of unwrapping some gifts that had been given by friends.

One gift that especially touched my heart was a musical clock from Daniel’s family. Surely they didn’t owe us a thing, and only God knows the many times I felt badly when we added so much ruckus at family gatherings, especially that first year when the trauma levels were high; now here there was nothing left for me to do, but accept the love they were showering on us.

Another note-worthy gift was a note which said, “The church is giving you money towards a pony wagon for your family.” Daniel and I read the note together in stunned silence; emotions were too thick to talk. After a bit, he hushed the crowd and thanked everyone. The evening passed on wings. All too soon, the evening was only a memory.

Hosanna received a pillow from a friend with the words “Beyond Blessed,” on it. I swallowed the lump in my throat and smiled at her shining face.

Surely God has been so good. Let us not grow weary and lose heart when it seems there is none to help or understand and remember, the darkest hour is just before dawn! Here is a delicious chicken marinade recipe that is always a hit in this house.

GLORIA’S PERFECT CHICKEN MARINADE

2 cups water

2 cups vinegar

1 cup butter, melted,

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

5 tablespoons salt

Mix all together and pour over chicken pieces of your choice. Marinade several hours, or up to two days for maximum flavor. Grill as usual. A hit by all!