Monday, February 9, 2015

The Weather is Beautiful, We Wish You Were Here!

We are so thankful to be here and we are loving the sunshine!

Once we arrived we went out for pizza and met up with a rowdy crowd!
This group of about 20 retirees sat near us and one by one they came over to talk to us.
They were very kind and complimentary of our family.
We always try to greet people kindly and try to share appropriately.
Sometimes is gets challenging-
how do we answer all of the questions?

We want to encourage others to adopt (although this group won't be adopting anytime soon ;-).
And we want to show Christ in our lives but we don't want to differentiate between birth and adopted and to tell our story with little ears listening just doesn't feel right.
We handle each situation as it comes to us but I am guessing in time we will decide how much sharing works for us.

On the way down we met a family that is adopting a little girl from China and it was very joyful talking to them. She had 3 little boys and was so excited to have her referral for her daughter!

Last night hubby was cornered and asked question after question. The children were all around him. The man was so nice and only meant well but hubby didn't answer specifics- he just wasn't comfortable.
What's your story?
Where are you from?
No, I mean where are you really from?
Originally China, but we are from Minnesota.
What's this all about?
Hubby didn't feel he was in a position to share.
(I think, if I would have been there I would have said that God impressed upon on hearts a desire to adopt His children.)

And then he asked-
What are you doing?
No really, what are you doing?
And sweet Melissa said
"We just on vacation?"

So perfectly said dear beloved daughter!
So perfectly said!

Well this group was a hoot!
And after chatting with all 20 of them one by one we ended up dancing with them!

I couldn't take more pics because
I was dancing too!
So I just got the before and after!

Soon, we were all in a circle holding hands with a Grandpa and a few of our treasures in the middle!

They were such a kind group and they delighted over the children!
It was fun and God was obviously there in the hearts of many!

After wearing the same clothes for 3 days we were all so excited to finally be here! Fresh new jammies at bedtime and shorts for the next day!

After running some errand and getting groceries it was the moment they have all been waiting for -
swimming time!

Ben has graduated 3 levels from last year, in swimming!
We are so proud of him! 
Especially since the lower half of his left leg doesn't work so well.
When we brought him home we didn't know if he would ever be able to swim independently.

Even hubby joined in on the fun!

After showers and some relaxing we went to the beach to catch the sunset and eat dinner!

Shelling never gets old!
I told everyone-
 do NOT get wet...
But because of the "Chinese squat"
we had a few wet bottoms!

There's nothing like the beach!

Any kind of change is very hard for Mia.
She would just as soon stay in our home without leaving for the rest of her life.
(except to go horseback riding- which is only 2 miles away from our home)

So, while packing and preparing to go, she became quieter and quieter and quieter...
She almost looked like she was getting sick...
It takes awhile to heal from over 11 years in an orphanage...

We reassured her but also gave her space to work through her many feelings.

So after two and half days of driving and 24 hours after arrival we began to see
the real Mia.

No one wants to get into photo position for their Momma...
They cheer after I take the photo and run in all directions!
When I say 
"one more"
they all
moan and begrudgingly come back...

It's impossible for children to go to the beach and...

Not play in the sand and not get wet...

I obviously need to change my expectations!

So, I quietly whisper to myself...
Let it go, Jean.
Let it go...

All the children enjoyed the show on the beach!

She's back to herself for now!
We know this will happen again.
It's her version of post traumatic stress.
She needs time to work through feeling and get comfortable with change.

We try to introduce her to as many new things as we can because she is already 13 yrs old.
We do it at a pace she can handle and with us near her.
Even though part of her reaction is pushing us away while she deals with it 
(works though her feelings).
At first when we saw the way she handles change it was a little upsetting but now we understand it's part of the way she is processing her feelings, emotions and her ability to accept all that's happening in her life.

As we look back at the many challenges we have had over the years her version of dealing with stress and change is not so different from our version.

As her faith grows she will see that God is with her 
HE does not leave her side.
AND HE will always help her!

In the home we are renting in there are many uplifting and encouraging signs!

Literally, I mean signs!
And we love it!

What a perfect couch (sectional) for a large family!

And room for games on the floor!

It's amazing how entertaining a new deck of cards can be!

Sometimes Joey just likes to do his own thing.
Others are watching TV and playing games and Joey just wants to play legos/duplos... alone!
Joey is 6 yrs old and the size of a 3-4 yr old.
He had a tough life in the orphanage and is continuing to learn how to be in a family.
So sneaking away from the crowd now and then is his way of cooping. 
Good job, Joey!
This is a healthy way to do it!

Good night sweet girls!
We paired up the kids according to personality and maturity!
Melissa will keep an eye on Abby ;-)

Sleep tight!
Now is Anna going to keep an eye on Madeline or is Madeline keeping an eye on Anna?
Not so sure with these two!
But they are both very good at tattling so we are okay!

Ben's first time on a top bunk!
He is so happy to be able to climb up the ladder and sleep up there!

Good night uncooperative big girls!
Ava is with Sarah and Mia now because Em and El are not here yet.
We miss them and look forward to them joining us!
They are doing well with our sitter and enjoying their school!

I will obey!
Whatever you say!

I can do this one, too!

Morning cuddling and playing card games!

The family that owns this home has 11 children!
They understand the need for large spaces!
Love that all of the children fit around this table!
(We are only in this home for one week and then we move to a smaller home)

And since hubby and I cannot fit on it...

We are forced to eat our breakfast and drink our coffee...

on the deck...

overlooking the bay!

Life is tough!

(I will add a pick of our view as soon as my camera is done charging!)


Stephanie M said...

Coveting, coveting, trying not to covet! Enjoy your vacation, sweet family!!

kimjax said...

Awesome house, awesome pics - have FUN and relax this week!! :)