Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Easy Way to Help

My bloggy friend Sonia over at His Hands, His Feet is blessed with four amazing boys. And I guess it wasn't loud enough at her house, because Sonia and her hubby are getting close to bringing home NOT one, but TWO more boys from China. And now we can all lend a helping hand to get these boys home, as well as get an ultra cool T-shirt from Wild Olive Tees.

There are two tees to choose from that are a part of the fundraiser. I just placed my order, and can't wait to get my new shirt!!!!

If you want to help, head on over to Sonia's blog (click the bold words) first, where you can read more of their story. You can also get the special code you need to enter at checkout so that her family gets a portion of the funds from the sale. Thanks for taking a look!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

He Holds My Heart

This little guy - he just holds my heart right in his hands. Because he's just so darn cute, and says things like this:

Today Daddy asked, "What's in that belly?"
And guess what he came back with?
A big giant grin and "Honey!!!!"

Why, of course!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


When this whole idea of adoption started to inch its way into our heart (which happened slowly, over MANY years), we really had no idea what we were in for. When we finally gave in to the calling and step forward to add to our family through adoption, the plans WE had for how that would happen turned out to be VERY different from the plans He had. Never in a million years did we expect that our adopted child would:

A. Be from a country clear across the world

B. Have been born with a heart defect and

C. Be EIGHT years old when we brought her home.

But, His plan is perfect and He brought us full circle, and filled our home with the indescribable joy that this child brings. I mean, just look at that smile!

And along with the joy, the challenges. Luckily, by this point we clearly see His hand in all of this, so navigating our way through the process of bonding is a lot easier. Because we know He will see us through. The challenges we expected. And frankly, they have been a lot smaller than was anticipated.

What I didn't expect was the way my heart would be forever changed in the process. I thought once we brought Abby home, that a whole chapter would be closing. I don't mean at all that she'd get home and we'd live happily ever after. I know in that sense, we're just getting started. We have a long way ahead of us, a lot of mountains to climb. What I mean is, I thought we'd be done with the whole adoption thing. Bring Abby home, and focus on bonding and helping her adjust, and go on with homeschooling, and living our daily lives. I thought China would be special because that's where our daughter was born, and of course we would teach her to love and appreciate her culture. But that would be that. Boy, was I wrong.

(OK, mom, sit down and take a deep breath. We are NOT adopting again).

I am not for a second planning on bringing another child into our home anytime soon (never say never, right?). But my heart has been completely broken for those children out there who still wait for families. My eyes have been opened to a whole side of life that we don't like to think about in the busyness of our daily lives. As Abby's English skills have increased, she has shared more and more about her life in the orphanage. And I ache for the children left behind..........

Some of the children in Chinese orphanages are blessed to be placed with foster families that show them the love of a family, at least for a time. Abby was not one of those children. She has no memories of anyone telling her "I love you", of anybody hugging or kissing her. EVER. She was eight years old when I met her. Nobody had ever told her she mattered. Only by God's grace can she be the loving, affectionate child that she is today.

As if what I was experiencing first hand and hearing from Abby was not enough, I recently finished reading the book Font sizeSilent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt. She spent several years volunteering at a Chinese orphanage, and witnessed what day to day life is like for children in these institutions. With every chapter it was furter confirmed in my heart that bringing Abby home and then turning my back on those children that are still there is just NOT possible.

I know I can't bring every orphan in the world home. I do know I can become a prayer warrior for them - and I have. I do know that there is a lot I can do to help them find families, and to help those that don't have some kind of a better life. And, very unexpectedly, I take off on a new mission that I never saw coming.......

Thursday, May 20, 2010

12 Days

We are a little excited here this morning, because we found out I had made a mistake.

Big news, I know. Mistake?? Me??? Who would've guessed?

Well, I miscounted the days of school we had left.

I thought it was 18. It is actually 12.

What a happy mistake.

Looks like our last day of school will be June 4.

Did I mention the movers will start packing us out on June 1??

THAT will be interesting!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They ARE learning!!

Not that I really needed the tangible proof, but it DOES feel good!

We're on our 6th year of homeschooling, and although we move around quite a bit, we haven't yet lived in a state that required achievement testing for my kids. We decided to go ahead and have James test this year, just to give him some practive and get him used to standardized tests. I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a feel for where we stood, considering he has a giant test of that type standing between him and COLLEGE.

Just got the results back in the mail, and I opened the envelope with shaky hands. What a thrill to see that his composite score was higher than 93% of other 8th graders nation wide!!!!!!!!!!!
He had several areas where he scored higher than 99% of kids - WOW!
And even in his lowest scoring area (which was NO surprise to us - spelling), he fell right within the "average".

I suggested we should just quit school now for the rest of the year, since I don't think the next four weeks we're trying to cram in will really make a difference. I mean, I feel WAY ahead now. Unfortunately, the principal quickly nixed THAT idea. Oh well. At least we are inspired now. Fuel for the fight.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Four Months

Four months ago (tomorrow), a very scared momma got to meet one VERY scared eight year old. It was a day were emotions ran high, and confusion reigned for all involved. But how nice to look back and see that we've gone from this.........

To this:

It has been an uncertain road, especially for me and Abby. But I love knowing those baby steps are making a great difference. And it is very evident when I stop and look at these pictures. She is certainly flourishing - and I would do it all again in a heartbeat!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Say What????

Abby has been making incredible progress with her English. Those who meet her for the first time can hardly believe she's only been here for less than four months. We don't always correct everything she tries to say, because, well, it would just be constant and we thin it must be aggravating to have someone constantly in your face telling you how to say something right. So we correct here and there, but a lot of times we let it go and let her figure stuff out.

It's cute, too, because we're at that point where we can't discuss things in front of her that we don't want her to understand, because she GETS it. Kind of like when you hit that point with your kids when you can't spell things out in front of them anymore. So sad.

But I digress.....
She is learning a mile a minute, and I hope it continues, because we've noticed a little side effect of having a language learner in the house that we didn't anticipate.
Little man's English is, well, regressing. He's starting to speak like his new sister.
Yesterday, when we were leaving the house, he turned to me and said "Mama, we go what?"
It took me a minute to realize who had said this to me.

I guess we had better stay on top of the correcting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Year

One year ago today, I opened up an email from our adoption agency to see these pictures for the very first time.

Then the wait began, and it took what seemed like the longest eight months of my life to be able to get on that plane that would take me to our daughter. Shorter than a pregnancy, and yet it seemed so much harder. I think knowing your child is out there, needing you, makes it a much more difficult wait. When you are pregnant, you are nurturing your child, bonding with him, witnessing their growth. When your child is waiting in an orphanage on the other side of the world, you can just wait and pray and wonder.

I am so happy to be at this end of it now, a full year later. And to be experiencing the miracle of a child blossoming right in front of my eyes. It is just now the beginning of our journey together, and there will be many challenges ahead. But we're making our way, and it is such a great feeling to be TOGETHER.

And this is our girl about one year and a half after those referral pictures were taken. she has now been home 3 1/2 months.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vacation Pics Part 2

We were very excited to take Abby on her first trip to the beach, but even more so to give her the opportunity to meet some of the family memebers she had not yet met. I am very grateful for how she was taken in with open arms and shown so much love. She absolutely thrived in the loving arms of family. At the same time, everyone was careful that Lanie was getting plenty of attention and did not feel left out. Things couldn't have gone better if I had written a script, and it made me so happy to be reminded of how incredibly blessed we are to have such a great family.

The beach was beautiful, the weather perfect - we couldn't have asked for more. Abby loved digging in the sand. Although she liked the water, the waves were a bit too much for her most days and she did not want to spend too much time in there. She LOVED the pool and spent most of our day on the beach asking when we could go to the pool. We told her at Y*kota we'll have three swimming pools on base and she was very excited. The highlight of the week was probably seeing dolphins swimming pretty close to shore.

As I suspected, she did a great job eating all week and it was a non-issue. I had already explained that she would not be able to play until she had done a decent job at each meal, and the kid ate things that she won't touch at home. Too bad I don't have an ocean outside of my front door to entice her with. On what she thought was the last night of vacation, I saw the first hints of regression to her habits around the house.

The fun part was that, unbeknownst to the kids, we were not coming home when they thought. The next morning they woke up expecting to drive a LONG way home and start school on Monday. Instead, we told them we'd take a short drive to Disney. The boys were like "yeah, right. Real funny." It took the girls a minute to even understand what we were saying. When they saw we were serious, the boys said "So we're really doing a day at Disney?" And we got to say "No, more like five days". And then I don't remember exactly what happened because there were too many squeals around me. We did get it on video, though, and will post it soon.

We had an amazing week, and again were blessed with perfect weather and healthy kids - always our two main worries when traveling. The look on Abby's face when she got to see the princesses face to face was absolutely priceless. I actually got teary eyed when she met Snow White, because that is her very favorite princess and her smile could not get any bigger. I think meeting Snow White was even more thrilling than meeting ME was. All our little girls dream about meeting the Disney princesses, but I don't think in Abby's head could even wrap around the fact that it was a possibility. She had seen pictures of our last trip, but I don't think she really believed SHE would get to do that. The Wishes fireworks just filled her with awe, and watching Tinkerbell fly overhead made her giggle for what seemed like forever. It was very exciting to see everything through her eyes.

Cy also had a great time on both parts of the trip. At the beach, he preferred sitting down and snacking (who would've guessed) to playing on the sand - and he didn't really want anything to do with swimming. He did like playing with the little water faucet they had on the dock so people could wash the sand off when coming back up from the beach. He would've spent the entire week there if I'd let him. He enjoyed all the extra attention he was getting, and actually did some playing with his little cousin this time around. Oh - he HATED the elevator at the resort. He called it "alligator", and everytime we were going somewhere he would say "Not riding the alligator, mama". Totally cracked me up.

Disney was more his style. He liked riding around in the stroller and taking in all the sights. Of course, every time we let him out of the stroller, guess where he ran???? Straight to the TRASH CANS - to push on the doors. The kid has some serious problems. And every time we walked past the bathroom he would point and yell "That's the bathroom!!" Don't understand why someone who doesn't want to USE the bathroom insists on pointing out every one he ever sees. The cutest thing was, he woke up every morning that week saying "I want to go to Disney".

Abby did a great job eating at Disney, too. But now that we're home, she's back to her usual routine of "I don't want ANYTHING - no matter what it is". I can make things that I've seen her gobble up before, make Chinese food, lo mein, ANYTHING - she doesn't want it. She eats it. Under protest. Eventually. But it takes a really.long.time. Maybe if I hired Snow White to be a permanent waitress at our house?????

Anyways, I feel incredibly blessed by the two weeks we just had, and don't ever want to take times like that for granted. It is so precious to have time together as a family to just laugh, have fun, and relax together. I know that God watched over every little aspect of these trips, He made them possible, and He made them go off without a hitch. And now we have another heaping measure of fun family memories to make us smile. Which will hopefully get us through the next few weeks of craziness ahead.

We have 5 weeks of school to finish. And the movers will start packing us out in 3 weeks. So I guess we'll be doing school in the backyard while they do all the heavy work inside.

In 52 days we'll be on a plane to Japan.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vacation Pics

Now this girl knows how to do a beach vacation! Fast learner! And check out those thighs!! Solid muscle - so unlike the scrawny little legs we first saw three months ago. That trampoline is paying off.

More pics to come. Disney included.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Well, we're finally back home. We had an incredible, amazing two weeks. First week, on the beach at Sanibel Island, for a last get together with most of DH's family before we leave for Japan. Amazing beach, perfect weather, and wonderful people all added up to a fantastic time for all. It was great watching Abby take everything in, and I was so HAPPY for her, not only for how much she enjoyed the beach, but how well she fit in with everyone. And I am so grateful to have such a loving family, so glad for the way they all just welcomed her and made her feel incredibly loved and accepted. Not that I ever had any doubts that's the way it would be, but it was touching to watch.

Then, on our last day of the beach vacation, when the kids thought we were going home, we broke the news. We were actually going to make a short little five day stop at Disney before heading back. We got their reactions on video when we broke the news. Will post soon. Lots and lots of pictures to come, too.