Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Reminder-

Today in church I came to the realization that I have gotten off course. I have forgotten my purpose, my joy and my mission. I have allowed myself to be of the world and to get sidetracked. I have spent my time worrying about neighbors, over thinking parenting and grumbling to myself.

That is not my purpose, that is not my joy and that is not my mission. I have thought of my journey as being "done" after this adoption- that is wrong. That is what the world would expect and that is not accurate. No matter how many children join our family or not - I will never be done.

It is my dream, my passion and my life's work to care for the children in some capacity (until the day I die). My first choice would always be to have them in my home with me but if that cannot be- we will find another way, another home, somehow... I will never be done. Not as long as there is a child out there that needs a home.

The Lord spoke to my heart today and reminded me what I am doing and why I am doing this. My dream and my mission is to to serve the Lord and love the children. It felt so good to be rekindled, to be reminded and to be redirected! Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All the answers are right there in his word!

Have I told you lately how good our God is? That the answer to every question we have is right in his book. That he never leave us even when we feel alone, he is still there waiting for us to let him back in.

Sometimes I just feel so needy to our Lord. I do believe the Lord wants me to want him, he wants me to ask and there are times when I need him more than usual. Sometimes my tank is running on empty and it just needs to be filled with Jesus. I truly feel my joy comes from him and the blessing that are in our live - namely our children, are all from him

The summer has gone incredibly well considering that we have had a revolving door installed in place of our front door (okay JK). We have all worked very well together- everybody helping each other and being supportive no matter what the latest need may be. The laundry room and the kitchen are crying out for help - they have been used and used again but soon life will slow down and we will be a family of 5 living in our home. The big kids will have school and jobs to occupy their time. I will miss each one but at the same time I will be able to enjoy the younger three. Change happens and I have found that it is okay. I always feel some sadness but try to focus on the excitement of what's ahead. 

It will be hard for the girls. Change is not as easy for them but with time they will get used to our smaller family and quieter home. BTW it won't last long because hopefully next spring 2 more little darlings will join this family!

This week in my devotional was a quote from Luke 6:28
Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God's blessing upon those who abuse you.

And Romans 12:14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

This is my current challenge. I have prayed regarding a neighbor situation- I wanted to handle it the way God wants me too but I wasn't sure how to do that. I asked God about it and the next night I read this in my devotional. God is so incredible- I am amazed how he answered my prayer. Foolish me- I could have gone to his word and there it would have been but I am thankful that my devotional had it waiting and ready for me to read!

Thank you Jesus! While I care for others it is so good to know you care for me!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time off!

We have more than usual in the house today (for some reason everyone ended up at home last night)- and they are all sleeping!! I just can't bring myself to wake up the younger girls!! Yes- I know it's 8:40- but I am totally enjoying this time!!

We have homeschooled all summer and now we are taking a little break! It feels good to take a break! I wasn't planning too- it just kind of happened with the busy back to school schedule for Johnny, Mark and Billy... And the Hello- I'm home from Katie-she has arrived- finally. Yes she does have plenty of scheduled trips back to her beloved college town in Iowa! So don't worry about her! A JOB? Naw, not yet... (actually she is trying hard but this home town of hers does not seem to need teachers right at the moment).

I am sipping coffee, bloggin in the morning, house is quiet- this feels nice!!

BTW- I got a new crown yesterday! however, I think that darn milk dud may have loosened the crown behind it- argh) Those milk duds are nasty! 

Monday, August 24, 2009


Our dear sweet youngest bio son gave me a milk dud... yep, you already know where this is going... I was a bit hungry and happy to oblige! With the first one I noticed an unusual suction... with the second one... my tooth was gone... 

We all have issues... my teeth seem to me mine.

We said to Sarah mommy broke her tooth and the tooth fairy does not come for Mommy's... With that we got a big huge "WHY?" 

"I so agree honey, I don't know why?" was our response...

I am hoping the dentist will make it look like new again- what a bummer this is.  Honestly about 2/3rds of the tooth is GONE - completely missing in action. Well... let me clarify, it is not in my mouth it is in the milk dud... What a bummer... Just because I know all of you want to know it is the upper right early molar behind the eye tooth- funny thing is you can't tell from my smile it is all behind that first cusp. Yep- I'm smiling on the outside BUT not on the inside...

Now when Ni Hao y'all broke her tooth she handled it with grace, but nooooooo not me it completely freaks me out. Actually it freaked me out that she broke her tooth.

Like I said we all have our weaknesses- I have just found mine!

Going to the Library!

We pass this tiny weeny, itty bitty library on the way to the swimming pool and I just had to stop and get a pic! We have not actually been inside - they probably have a limited selection- out of necessity! Isn't it just the cutest little library!

BTW we heard from C*S and we have our fingerprint date! It is in mid September! Step by step we are moving in the right direction! Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kids and their friends...

Sarah connected with Mikayla at the pool! It was so good to see them laughing and giggling while swimming. Refreshing fun!! She had another little girl named Julia from church and gymnastic that she played with- why can't they be our neighbors!

Big sisters and their boyfriends work, too!!

It has been challenging hooking Sarah up with other children. She naturally gets along with most kids (actually she does better with adults) but there are only a few that she really seems to connect with- and some of those are not who you would want your impressionable new child to hang out with. 

We have lately met up with a few unfortunate situations where another child has encouraged Sarah to lie to us and to disobey our rules. Sarah has been honest with us after the situation but we want her to hopefully begin to see characteristics in others that are good and that are not so good. We are hoping with our guidance she will choose the friends with the admirable characteristics. Let me tell you this is a challenge and it is ongoing and it will not go away- we need to deal with this often and always. We don't want our daughter to choose a friend just because she is available often, conveniently located and is entertaining because she makes poor choices. 

It is hard for Sarah to see past "I just want to play, I don't care who it is." She will allow herself to continually be treated poorly. She knows enough to come and tell us and to get comfort and conversation about it from us but when the doorbell rings again she is eager to put herself back in the same situation. It is hard to stand by and see this happen again and again. It is also hard to tell a child you cannot play with another child but the time has come, things are not getting better and we are stepping in now and teaching her to say "No thank you, I don't want to play right now." 

Our hope for Sarah is that she will find friends that are worthy of a friendship. That are kind and love to play. I know this sounds controlling and overbearing of me but honestly it is so different with older child adoption. These children have already had tons of kids to play with in the orphanage, they have a pack mentality and can be led astray very easily. As their parents it is up to us to show them right from wrong, good from bad and safe from dangerous- it's a full time job and it can be exhausting! (Just so you know Sarah doesn't go further than 100 ft from our house- so we don't let her go far and we are with her 97% of the time but trouble seems to find the other 3%.) She has met lots of really really nice girls- she just has a hard time deciphering the difference between them and it is the tough ones that cause this Momma to wrestle with the whole friend issue.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Naming your New Child!

If you are adopting an infant or an older child- naming your child is very important. For us it is part of the early bonding that happens between parents and children- whether our child is in the womb or on the other side of the world. It is part of the suspense as we wait to meet them. It help us to begin to bond with them even before we have met them. As parents we dream about our children - what they will be like, their interests, their sense of humor, things they may fear and what will make them happy. We may have a picture of them that we think gives us a little insight into who they are and what we think their name should be. We say the name over and over in our heads and then at some brave point we may utter it out loud and share it with others. When I share the name that we have decided on with others I like to be to a point that whatever reaction I get it will not change our minds because we know that name and that child belong together.

For us naming our child is a very important part of the bonding process and we always have so much fun with it! We will say an idea and then later go back to it and try a couple middle names with it along with our child's Chinese name. It feels so good when we can say "that's it"!

It is easy to name a younger child in adoption situation BUT an older child is a different story. They have a name and an identity attached to it. They are already losing so much of their past it is debatable whether taking away their name is even a good idea. 

When we went to China for Sarah we went with a name picked out but we were prepared to continue to call her by her Chinese name. After having Sarah with us for only a day our guide had a conversation with her regarding what her american name would be ( we did not start this conversation)- she was eager to hear it and then wanted to be called by it for the rest of our time in China. We ended up calling her by both names Sarah Ming Ming- so that she could get used to it and to give her the opportunity to change her mind. There have been a couple times while home that she has asked us to call her by her Chinese name and we do but then slowly everyone forgets and we call her Sarah again and she is once again happy with her new name.

We have found that many older children that are adopted from China like to have an American name. They want to fit in and this helps them to fit in.
We like to keep their Chinese name as part of their new name- if they someday feel it is too long they can choose to drop their middle name or their Chinese name or be called by their Chinese name- it is their choice.
If any of our children have strong feelings about their name we would do whatever necessary to help them- such as let them choose. We would never want this to be an issue or an obstacle in their attachment or adjustment into their new life. 

As we prepare to adopt 2 new girls from China we have once again played the name game and enjoyed every minute of it! Our daughters names will be-
Emma Joy Fuyuan and Ella Mei Fuquan. This will be the third time these girls will have been "renamed"- we will again play it by ear. I hope that maybe someday they will be able to recall their original names. What precious girls they are and we are so excited to bring them home!

Since the process is going at a snails pace I will share with you every teeny tiny itty bitty step in the right direction! We have heard from USC*S they have received our paperwork and they will be sending us the date of our fingerprint appt! Yippee Jesus!! Our LOI has been translated and is ready to go as soon as we have C*S approval.

Our daughters at home are named Sarah Grace Jiangming and Anna Violet Leyi. Sarah is after my favorite relative, Grace is for the grace of God, Anna (Ann) is my middle name and Violet is Jim's Mother's name. Emma is a favorite name for all our children and Joy is the joy of our Lord, Ella is my grandmothers name and Mei means little sister in Chinese. 

Choosing a name for your newly adopted child or choosing to stay with their chinese name is a choice each family needs to make. Their is no right or wrong answer. Each family has to decide based on their child's reaction and adjustment.. Because we feel strongly about it- it may influence how are children feel since most children like to please their parents. Our two children at home seem happy and content with their names and who they are. It will be interesting adopting 2 siblings- will it be hard for them to call each other their new names?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reading to the Girls!

Awesome comments for my last post- thank you so much! Today we put aside our worksheet and textbooks... okay, truth be told we were done with them ;-) BUT we read our Sonlight books and that alone lead to conversation after conversation. I do love Sonlight!! The stories are so great and timeless! They are a joy to read!

When we first started my sweet Sarah really wasn't listening so we needed to repeat quite a bit- this will be a challenge for her BUT if she knows I will stop and discuss what we are reading she WILL listen! It just so happens that my sweet daughter from China is just as much of a gunner as her MOM! Which most of the time is wonderful and then sometimes it is very challenging!

We have actually gone all the way back to Sonlight P 3/4. I was feeling like P4/5 was too far ahead of her and knowing that we can go through this at a faster pace I decided to go back to the beginning. It's the all important picture to word ratio! It just has to be the right blend! But she is responded very well, today!

We started with the 101 bible stories- the story of creation. We reviewed it a couple times and then moved on. We got to a story about a robin building a nest. Sarah asked " Who built the nest?" "GOD?" which was so cute because of the lesson before but I did have to say "No, the birds built the nest for their babies."  ;-)  Sarah is pretty sure God does everything now! That was a successful lesson- by golly, I think she's right ! He does! Anna of course is with us but she is usually doing her acrobats during school time ;-) I will be doing this lesson and all of them again ;-0  I mean  ;-)
and again and again and again!

This post was supposed to be about naming your child in an older child adoption but I got side tracked SOooooo stay tuned I will let you know my feelings on this all important issue!

I hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Any Words of WISDOM?

I am in need of a little advice! I love homeschooling Sarah and Anna seems to do pretty well hanging out with us but I do need to get moving on a few preschool type activities for her.

I have a little problem... I am such a gunner, and a go go go list person. I love to write down what we need to do and then cross it off as we do it! I am loving Sarah's progress (it is incredible) but I feel like what I need is a few of you Moms to set me straight. I buy games to play but I don't do them. I have incredible books and Sonlight curriculums BUT I still lean towards the work books. Sarah is responding well to everything I do BUT I think we are missing out on some fun because of my desire to "catch up". Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I sure would appreciate it!

We are going to take the next week off, kind of :-) and try to do a few different things. I want to make sure we are all excited and ready for the new school year. Sarah just finished Saxon 1 math and Hop K last month! So we are at a nice point to take a deep breath- plus I feel like I need to take a moment to get the other kids ready for High school, for college, for their apartment, etc!

Thank you for your help!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Blessed Event!

Sarah and her godparents!

Our Kids- thank you Jesus!

Mom and Dad with Sarah on her big day!

The baptism!

Sarah with her candle and sash!

The whole family... for now that is!

Fr. Tim and Sarah!

The gang!

Sarah with her new cross from Katie and Devan. Devan got it for her from Italy! 

Yesterday was a big day for Sarah, it was her baptismal day! We tried to explain it to her but we could see she was concerned so after church last week we walked through what was going to happen on her big day. She was much more at ease and counted down the days until the big event! In the morning she announced "Today is my special day!"

We really wanted all the kids there to support her so it took us awhile to find a weekend where everyone could attend her baptism. Her godparents are big brother Billy and big sis Katie. Matt and Mark are godparents to Anna.

It was a challenge coordinating everyone- my fear was that we would be late to church - and that just couldn't happen, NOT today! After we got everyone looking somewhat presentable we snapped a few pics and head over to church.

The service was so so nice! They did a few things differently to make it special for an older child baptism. They introduced Sarah, her parents (us) and the godparents at the beginning of the service. We walked down the center aisle at church and then were seated until the baptism began. Everything was so nice and went so well. It was so special for her! We are so thankful for this special day. God is so good!

Katie's pics are much better than mine but right now I do not have hers so I am just posting what I have. One of the family shots or pics of the kids will mostly be our Christmas pic. Hopefully God will bless us with our two new daughters and we can photoshop them in!

When it was time to bring up food donations the 2 girls brought up there soup and hurried back to us. Sarah started to vault right over the rows to us and Anna was going to crawl under the pews. I think the look on my face was one of shock- oops, no no girls come around. All eyes were on them and the parishioners loved it. Here they are in the pretty little dresses behaving so well and then surprise- let's take the shortcut!

During the service Anna had many helpers taking care of her! She managed to tight rope the top of the pew going from one set of helping hands to the next! Thank goodness for their help!

We snapped more pics after the service and then went out to eat. Sarah was thrilled with her special day!! She is such a blessing to us! Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family Fun at the Pool!

Sarah under the water fountain.

Anna loves swimming!

The girls chatting!

Dad tossing Sarah in the air! She loves it! 

Katie- the family photographer!

A little basketball in the pool!

Two points!

Boys play like puppies!

Sometimes it's scary to watch! I'm afraid  they will get hurt- yikes!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This is a picture if a doe and her 2 babies! Isn't it beautiful! It might be a little hard to see, it was dusk and I only had my pocket camera with me- okay just kidding- it is impossible to see. I thought it was so funny that we could see their eyes but nothing else. Yes it was dusk BUT I thought I would capture more than this- there actually was a third baby but he was separated from Mom and the girls!

We have had a couple conversations regarding animals that are nocturnal- such as bats and owls.
So Sarah asked  "deer up at night?"

Mom- No honey, not all night but they are often out in the evening and parts of the night." I know vague answer... I really wasn't quite sure...

Sarah- Huh? 

Hubby - "they are more like college students honey"

Sarah - Huh?


Monday, August 10, 2009

Tell Me About Your "Other" Kids?

I often share about all of our children- I am a child crazy person- always have been and I always will be. I never knew these feelings would carry on to adulthood and still be so strong! The dear Lord has instilled this in me so we just go with it! Thank goodness hubby delights in them just as much as I do!!

Before we adopted Anna we decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I looked on the lists and started to pic favorites and then got completely overwhelmed with all the precious children in need. We then decided to just let them choose for us, figuring God would orchestrate all of this- we were matched with a little 10 yr old girl from India! She lives with her family- 2 parents and 2 brothers. They are very poor but our donation allows her to attend  a christian school and get a good meal once a day. Bless her little heart! When you sponsor a child through this organization you get regular updates on how they are doing in their family and in school. The children write a letter to their sponsor family and we write her back. It is very simple, they practically do everything for you! We just write words of encouragement, praises to our Lord and tidbits on our family along with an occasional picture. It brings us such joy to hear from her!

We have another little girl in Shangrao, Jiangxi Province, China where our Anna is from. The sponsorship is through Altrusa, an organization that helps provide foster care for children with disabilities. The first little one we sponsored in this Province was adopted a year ago she had cleft L/P just like our little Anna. Our new little one is just a year old and had a teratoma removed. We would so love to know more about how she is doing but the updates are vague- I am sure they cannot be specific. Since I am a nurse at heart I want to know everything.  Their are many children adopted from this Province. We were so thankful for the wonderful foster care our little Anna got we wanted to give back to the community.

Last but not least is our precious Luke! He is in the Morning Star Family Home.  Check out their website- they have children in need of sponsors. This is a very special "orphanage". It was started by a family from the USA. The caregivers all love the Lord! The children are prayed for daily! What an incredible blessing! Often times it takes more than one family to sponsor a child- there may be someone else out there that is also sponsoring Luke or one of the other children. If by any chance it is you- please share!! 

I have to be honest that sometimes I forget about these darling children. With everyday life being busy, I need to remind myself to pray for them. That is why I am posting about it - if you have children you sponsor or you hope to someday sponsor a child please share with us! There us nothing more blessed than a child! Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


We moved bedtimes stories to the basement. That pink bump under the blanket is Anna. She was scared.

Oops, I may have misjudged the storm that just past by our area. Hubby was reading to the girls just before we put them to bed. I heard unusual noises outside, hubby thought it was thunder but as I went down to the main floor I could hear the sirens. The skies were not looking friendly so I turned on the TV. It seems we had a tornado in the area... well, not really the area it was more like the neighborhood. It touched down about 4 blocks from our house jumped over us and touched down again 2 blocks on the other side. It bounced down the road that is right next to our house for a couple miles. The sound we heard was not thunder... it was the train sound of a tornado.

By the time we actually new about it - it had passed our home. I did not take it seriously enough. I sent Hubby and the girls downstairs. I watched it on the news without taking cover- not a smart idea. I did call Johnny at a friend's house and told them to take cover and turn on the TV.

I was wondering why they were making such a big deal about this UNTIL I heard how close it was and the damage it did. It has been making it's way through the Twin Cities for the last hour and creating havoc everywhere. Compared to many it was not bad but it did knock down trees, electrical wires,  and destroyed a few garages. The roads around us are closed because of the live wires in the street.

As far as I know no one has been hurt. Thank the Lord!

Not a Done Deal (BUT we are moving along!)

We have all our paperwork done and turned in for our LOI.  It will be sent for translation on Monday and within a week after that it will be in China! Praise the Lord! We are thrilled to have it done and on it's way! Our adoption is not a sure thing, PLEASE pray for us, pray that we get our PA! Please pray that we find favor with the Chinese government and that hubby's little mishap with the meter maid does not cause them to say no to us. Please pray for God's intervention in bringing our daughters home to us!

We have also finished all of our C*S  I-800A papers and they are on their way to wherever they are supposed to go! They should arrive on Monday, August 10th! That is another praise the Lord! Again we are thrilled to have the paperwork done and on it's way!!

Bring on the dossier!! We just want to get the show on the road!

We received a movie with the girls in it, a while ago but I have been unable to open it. Today our oldest son got it open! It is so great to see the girls in a movie! The are so precious! I get so excited when I see pictures or videos of them- my heart skips a beat! We are eager to moving along the paperwork trail and getting our girls home!

God is so Good!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


They are playing "ring around the rosy"! It was Anna's idea... honest!

They all fall down! That's the best part!

We were at the local hardware store getting some wood cut for the girls doll bunk beds! The saw was a bit loud!

Our Johnny is home from soccer camp- thank goodness! Like many of you said I love having our children home! He got an awesome evaluation from his coach at camp!

Little Kate will be moving back for good within a couple days. Big brother Matt and Kate are going to live together. I think it is kind of sweet- however I did tell them don't bring your little disagreements to family dinners! I hope all goes well.

We are working very hard on our adoption paperwork- it takes so darn long- ugh!

Anna is going potty in the big girl potty- we are thrilled!

Our son MArk -who is my helper is ready to go back to college- no, school doesn't start soon - he just wants outta here! He loves the freedom of college but we love him and were all over him- actually the girls are! He is gonna miss us!

It is very interesting the feedback we get on adopting again. Many who know us are very happy for us but some who are close to us are not so happy about it- hmmmm. (All our children are very happy about it.) It is too bad. How can a person not be thrilled for a child that will get a home and for a couple/family who love children. I just don't get it? Sarah says to me "Mom, Emma and Ellie don't have a Mom or Dad, that is so sad. We need to bring them home!" You got it sweetie- we need to bring them home!

Homeschooling is going great! Sarah has had many light bulb moments! I love homeschooling her- it is down right fun! Anna is doing really good with it... so far... she seems to enjoy sitting on my lap and playing near us.

We have been so busy- I have hardly had much computer time- I am so sorry if I have not been by to visit your blog. I miss my bloggy friends! I will try to get there soon!

God bless you!