Saturday, November 19, 2016

Birthday Party Time!

Melissa is 11 years old!

It's a never ending party at our house!

One birthday after another!
Stay tuned because Luke's b-day is in a couple days 
and then
it's Matt's and Hubby's!
And then it's Jesus's birthday
and then Abby's and then...

We love how excited they are for "their day"!
So thankful we can celebrate this sweet girl!

The birthday child gives us a list of ideas/ items they want for their birthday
and then we sneak out to go shopping!

Or/and we get a few things online! 
They get four presents!
One of the boxes usually has a variety of smaller goodies in it!
In the pic below,
Melissa is opening a box with new PJ's, a book,
book mark and a book light in it!

I usually bring about 3-4 kids shopping with me!

The criteria to shop with mom includes-
1. Shop for the birthday child (not yourself)!
2. They cannot tell the birthday child or any of the children what we got!
3. Be helpful- help make decisions, carry bags and have a good attitude!

It's too hard for the younger children not to share
(spill the beans),
so I usually bring older kids.
Since we shopped for Mia, Madeline and Melissa at the same time,
I brought Sarah, Ellie and Ava as my helpers!
They did a great job!
Thank you girls!

All three birthday girls wanted new bikes!
It was time for them to move up in size!

They know us well at the bike shop!
I like to think we are good for the local economy!

Melissa was thrilled with her gifts and especially with her new bike!

A Cheesecake Factory was her pick for dinner!

There wasn't a table available for all of us...

so we divided up.

The big girls sat together!

The grown ups had a table right next to everyone!
It's nice for us to have a moment with the big kids!
I spend all day everyday with our crew 
so when we can sneak in a moment with any of the big kids, 
we truly cherish it!

Johnny, Mark and Kari joined us!

The little kids LOVE it when the big kids come to their celebration!
So we had this gathering on the weekend evening when they could be there!
(Melissa's choice!)
Mark spilled his water... he didn't pee his pants ;-)

Birthday girls in their new jammies!


On her actual day the children and I went to the movie "Trolls"!
And then to DQ to pick up her B-day cake!

We all loved the movie Trolls!
AND, we are getting a "hug time" bracelet to bring to China for Grace!
When it goes off, we will all get to hug!
Wonderful for bonding!

Happy Birthday Melissa!

You are an amazing daughter, sister and friend!

Melissa is quiet and soft spoken.
She is smart, witty, funny and delightful.

We are so thankful that she is home!
Forever loved and forever our daughter!

Each child is an amazing gift!
This IS adoption and it's a beautiful thing!

Yes, the adoption process is not an easy one. 
It takes time, patience, money(you can fundraise and ask for donations) and prayer.

Parenting kids from hard places and an uncertain past is not an easy task.

(Although Melissa... is pretty easy!)

We didn't do this because it was supposed to be easy and fun...
We did this because every child deserves a family.

We are thankful we heard God's call!

What is He calling you to do?

Pray about it!

So thankful we did not miss out on THIS!

You have a lot of boyfriends!

Thank you God for being with us every step of the way!
You see us through the easy and the hard!


Jo's Corner said...

Happy 11th Birthday Melissa!

Jenny Leong said...

Happy birthday, Melissa!

Jean, Amazing how you keep up with the birthdays.
Maybe you use a spreadsheet and filter by month to help plan and shop?

MayLynne said...

Dear Jean I find your blog so inspiring. As an older mom with three birth kids and eight adopted kids, reading about your family helps me to feel a little more normal. No one in my circle of friends is living a life like mine, so it helps me to know that there are others out there with lives that involve some of the same things as mine. It is because of your blog that I was able to convince my husband that we were not too old for our most recent adoption!

One of the things that I do always take note of in your birthday posts is large amount of stuff that your children receive at Christmas and birthdays. Our western consumer society is one of many reasons that our adopted kids come from the difficult pasts that they do. Our lives of excess contribute in a very real way to the poverty many in the world experience. In our family, we keep gifts to a minimum, (each child receives one thing, a bike would probably count as a combined birthday and Christmas gift, although I don't know that we have ever bought a new bike, they are always passed from one child to another or generously donated to us when others are done with them) We keep other things in our lives to a minimum too, rarely buying clothing and toys new and usually giving something away when we receive something new. We talk often about why this is and on several birthdays, various kids have asked that money be donated to a charity in lieu of gifts. Don't get me wrong, there is lots of celebrating, cake, ice cream, homemade cards and notes of encouragement from siblings, the child's choice of breakfast and dinner items and a movie, bonfire or other special activity. It is definitely their day and they are definitely celebrated and the center of attention. All of us should be doing what we can to share the wealth of the world around, but to our older adopted kids this is a very real and meaningful idea. They know what it is to live with less than enough, they understand in a real way that the wealth of the world should be shared on a daily basis, (not just in large things like adopting a child or making a big donation to a church or charity). I don't think we need to teach them our poor western habits of excess and consumerism in order to assure them that they are loved.

Coes Zone said...

Well Maylynne what comes to mind is two things for me: first each family celebrates in their own special way and what Jean and her family do does not seem excessive, just more than you do and secondly I hope among the lessons you teach your children is manners and being of good will towards others since you did not show that in your comment to Jean.

Zanmei said...

Maylynne, I have been following Jean's blog for several years now, and I always LOVE reading the birthday posts. How wonderful to see a precious child, once an orphan hidden in a crowd, now getting the celebration he/she deserves. Remember that these are children that had nothing of their own for the first few years of their lives.

Each family celebrates in the way they see best for their children and we should respect that. Regarding Jean's family, I don't see the gifts as excessive at all. Some are practical and would be given anyway, such as pyjamas. As for books - a child can never receive too many books. I'm an avid cyclist, so I fully approve of the bicycles. Children raised in institutions tend to have poor muscle tone, so a bicycle is wonderful for improving strength, coordination, and overall health.

Some orphans do not know how to receive gifts. Teaching them to receive, and that they are worthy of the gifts, is a vital part of their healing process.

Jean has also mentioned that in recent years Christmas has become much simpler in their household so that they can focus on Jesus and His birth. The rest of the year they can celebrate the birth of their children. Sounds like a great balance!

Anonymous said...

My Dearest Jean, I can't express in words how heavy my heart is because of MaryLynne's comments. Her comments are inappropriate and completely unnecessary. I do not understand the purpose of her words. I'm so very-very sorry. I have followed your blog since you brought your sweet daughter Sarah home in 2008. I have traveled along with you on every wonderful journey to each of your precious children. I love and enjoy your family so much. I pray for all of you each day. I cry with you, laugh with you, and rejoice with you. Your family makes my heart so happy. I am so thrilled and excited that you will be bringing Jacob and Grace home very soon. Yay! Since last year when Jacob was with you, I have prayed without ceasing that he would come home to his Daddy, Mommy, brothers and sisters. I can't tell you the happiness and tears of rejoicing I had when I knew Jacob was coming home. I check on your blog every day. Several weeks ago I went back to 2008, and re-read all of your posts. Such a joy! Even though I have never had the pleasure of meeting your family, I truly feel like I know all of you. I love you and your sweet husband, your bigs and littles, and your two adorable granddaughters. I pray that all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving. I know you will be traveling soon, and I can't wait! I'm sending my love to you across the miles. God bless and protect your precious family. Lynne ❤️