Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Article 5

We just heard from our agency and our Article 5 will be picked up on February 14th!! What a wonderful Valentines Day gift!! Boy, hubby is getting off easy this year!! I got an LOA for Christmas!! ;-)
Of course this is what I am giving him to- so it's working out well for both of us!

 also just heard about a TA that came in 7 days! Wow- that is quick!! I'm liking these dates!! We will see what happens and be sure to let you know!! It feels like it is moving so fast! Yippeee!! can't wait to meet our two treasures!!

Our little Ellie is a bit forgetful and quite funny! This changing underwear everyday is new to her. Often times she will have no underwear on at all and some days she has two pairs on!! She is so good natured and she can chuckle at herself!! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back to Reality!

Tomorrow morning - very early, we head home. Back to the real world (which is a good place to be) and back to the cold (which is not so great a place to be).

We have had a lovely time! The girls have enjoyed it and they will be a little shocked when we get back to our schedule.
Every time we go some place with them AND return with them our relationship grows. It is wonderful and at the same time very sad. I don't notice it until we come home and I wonder do they think we would leave them?? I don't know? I hope not but I think there is always that doubt in the back of their minds- especially Emma and Ellie.

A couple months ago I received reports from Ch*na and one of them spoke about when they were abandoned. The parents were separated and the girls were with Dad. The Mom had the younger sister living with her. One day they went to have dinner with their Mom. It was a nice big dinner and after that they went on a bus ride to the city...

I think I'm gonna throw up... I find it so upsetting. Can we ever undo what has been done? Honestly only by the grace of God can these children be healed of the pain from their past.

Ellie tells us that neither the birth Mom or the foster Mom liked Emma... How can children so young know that and understand that... heartbreaking...

When they were with their birth family- Emma was supposed to babysit the youngest child but she didn't do a good job and she hit the baby. If you know Emma, you will know that her cognitive/maturity level was probably similar to the baby's. This was something she was not capable of doing. She was probably about 4-5 yrs old at the time.

I wonder how the younger sister is doing? 

We do not intent to look for her- God has not guided us in that direction and we feel that there may be many unresolved feelings regarding her - after all, in their (Emma and Ellie's) eyes she was the one they kept...

Right now we need to love the children the Lord has blessed us with and work to bring home those he has guided us too...

Whats wrong with this picture? 
Oops- Ellie put on Anna's PJ's!

Okay, that looks much better!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

With Sparkles!

I was just wondering if anyone else knew about the Tomb Sweeping Holiday in Ch*na?? I forgot about that one- oops! Hubby calls it their memorial day- actually that sounds better to me, too. BUT because of this holiday and CNY our travel dates may be moving  back a bit. I guess that is just the way it is. 
I know that God's timing is perfect and we are getting very excited for HIS timing!

We just got a gift off to Ava and Sam! I hope they like what they are getting!! I cannot wait to meet them, hug them and welcome them into our family!
God is so good!

The girls had a special treat today! They were so excited!!
Emma is beaming!! She choose orange for her nails! With sparkles!

Ellie choose purple, with sparkles!
She just found out her formal name is Ella Mei... she doesn't like it ;-)
Sorry Honey, it is what it is! We love it!

Sarah chose red, with sparkles! She knows her name(Sarah Grace) and likes it ;-)

Anna was last in line.. the wait was all of 5 minutes... but it was a very difficult five minutes!

She's on her tippy toes here, just to see her sisters nails!

Anna chose pink with sparkles!
It was a two person job - Momma was needed to keep the ever moving hands still!

The finished product!


Now, lets see how long they last!

They were only $7 each- what a deal!

Right now 4 girls feel very special!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

NVC, Swimming Fun and Prayers Needed!

We got both of our NVC letters! Yippee Jesus! So thankful! They came yesterday! They will be picked up tomorrow!! WoooHooo!
BUT there is CNY and they do not know when they will be cabled because of the holiday. It is setting us back a week- bummer.
We will travel when God has planned- lets hope it's sooner rather than later!

The weather has been cool and cloudy but they don't care! They love to swim rain or shine! I love watching them swim! It never gets old for them!
I was in a sweatsuit taking pictures!

The girls are freezing when they come out of the pool- but that doesn't stop them either- they just want to swim and swim! I think it is so therapeutic! It taps into all of their senses and it is downright fun!
After swimming we go back to our place for a hot shower! 

I brought my bible down to the pool and spent this time praising God! I love to open it up and see where he takes me! The degree of my faith does not match my biblical knowledge. I hope that it will change as I read and learn more!
It seemed that God was guiding me as I read! 
I opened it up to Isaiah 1-5! It was great reading! So many messages that are so important! 
And of course I had to go a little further to Isaiah 6:8 - Who will go?

What does the Lord want from us? He wants us to serve him, he was us to trust him and he wants us to obey him!
I always think of the future- I do this to a fault. I plan and I plan again. It seems to me that among many things, God was saying to me to be ready- be ready to go when I ask.
He wasn't telling me when we would be done adopting or that we wouldn't be done- he was telling me to be ready to go- when he asks.
GO? Where?
I don't know?
So much for my planning!

Once again our Mark has a friend in desperate need of prayer. His friend was skiing and accidentally when off a cliff with rocks. He has a severe head injury and multiple facial fractures. he is in ICU and critical- please pray for Joe L.

(Mark just lost a friend in a car accident a week before Christmas)

My heart aches for these families and for these dear boys. There is something about this age (around 20-21 yrs old) - the boys are a little reckless, they make mistakes and feel invincible.
Mark's heart is heavy and he is concerned for his friend.
Please pray!
Thank you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Waiting and Blossoming...

We are waiting for our NVC letter. It should have come by now BUT the state of NH has had a ton of snow. People could not get to work last week, including those lovely people at the NVC office- bummer! I am hoping they send our letter very soon to the US Consulate in GZ. It is so out of my control- we are praying over it and hoping that tomorrow is the day!

This is Emma... she could not do this 2 weeks ago. She could not tighten her legs around this pole and let herself down gently. Today she DID IT!!

Big Sis Sarah helped the others- we watched and instructed along with taking pics! 
Sarah loves to help! It is so rewarding when they learn! It continues to happen- slow but sure!

She has only been home 2 years and she is an incredible daughter! So full of life and love!

This is Ann's first time, too!!

Success! How sweet it is!!

This will be taking the place of continuous Gymnastics! We will do session but not all year!
In order to do this the brain must be integrated- right side talking to left side, alternating hands while legs hanging on tight and gently letting yourself down.
 It is a huge step for Emma- one that I do not even fully understand. We are learning as she is learning!

Good job Ellie! Ellie can do many things but often will view them as too much work ;-) We encourage her to try and praise her for her success! She is so much happier and healthier right now! Praise God!!

We have seen tremendous progress in Emma. She is trying so hard to talk to us, she wants to converse with her parents. She is beginning to stutter often and trying to get the words out- sometimes she can't find the words or she gets hung up on the first sound. We just help her get over the hump and she says what she can. It is short and sweet but let me tell you she is so happy- it is heartwarming!

I am continuously amazed at the progress. It is slow but continuous! It makes my heart feel so thankful and often I just want to fall to my knees in thankfulness.

Her attachment to me is going very well- I am kind of the last one but I am no longer worried. If I must say so myself- she adores me! There is a big smile on my face as I type this!

We see nothing of the child we saw in China. The child that scared us big time. The child that I needed permission from peers to possibly disrupt if necessary.  Just so you know once I got that permission- God made it clear that was not in his plan. I knew we would keep her but it did go through my mind and it never had before with any other adoption.

She is the nicest girl and she tries so so hard. She is so happy to be loved and cherished! We felt that even thought their was sibling rivalry, Ellie was also relieved that her sister was loved and treated kindly. I don't think she was ever treated very well. We also think that Ellie was a bit shocked that she was not favored but instead she was treated fairly.

How did God know?? If I had known I wouldn't have chosen this path- but he chose it for us- how perfect it that. How thankful we are that He is in control! God, you just keep doin your thing, we'll keep praying to you and you just let us know what is next!

Why would I want to decide when he does a better job of it!

Thank you so much for your words of wisdom on my last post! I will be implementing them immediately!! I knew what I needed to hear and you all said it! THANK YOU, THANK YOU so much!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reality Check!

I have to post this- I need your input! I would so appreciate comments! Did you do this, too? How did you make the necessary changes?

I love everything we are doing but I need to cut back. It has been challenging running around in the winter months with the 4 kids, freezing temps and gobbs of snow!  I need to cut back to a more manageable schedule as we prepare for our new children.

It is more important to me that we bring home the children and that they have a family, love, security and a future than what activities or therapies that we are involved in... I hope that made sense. 

I have to be honest- I have a bit of a gunner personality and we really just need a sense of peacefulness. When we decided to do this we decided to do it differently. We knew we couldn't do all the things that we did with our other children AND we re evaluated our priorities and we decided we didn't even want to do that again. Honestly, 14 years of traveling basketball and 16 years of traveling soccer is enough for anyones life time!! We are choosing not to go down that same road again...

After bringing home our last two I find myself slipping into old patterns- so friends I am asking you - what do you do, what don't you do, what would you like to suggest to me.

I am praying for discernment. I am trying to evaluate what is benefitting the kids and what can really be extracted from the weekly schedule.

We are having an extra large family and because it is coming in shifts I think we forget that fact. All of our children still need us- some only periodically but still we need to help them when they ask.

We are adding two more treasures and this is so much more important than activities of any kind...
I am a seasoned Mom BUT I am not used to making these type of decisions. I tend to do do do and drive myself crazy- so before driving myself crazy we are going to make some changes and allow Ava and Sam to come into a family that has this problem solved!

We need to make more time for Homeschooling and we will need to have time for all our important Dr appointments and surgical procedures. 

On top of that, so many of our activities are so expensive- because we multiply everything by 4 and soon 6 and then by _?_ !!

So friends,
Could you help me prioritize and help me to think straight like the Momma of an extra large family needs to think! Could you give me tidbits of advice to set me on the right track. Could you relieve the feelings I sometimes have of - we should do that or we should do this - otherwise I am not a good Mom.

Could you remind me that my children are fine even if they never learn how to do a cartwheel! A cartwheel- isn't that silly, like who cares... but me!

We want to bring home more BUT we need to live like an extra large family and find the simple pleasure that God has blessed us with - instead of the craziness that could await us in this world.

Please help us to be successful!
Thank you!!

We want more of this!

and this,

and this,

and this,

and this!!!

(Does an extra large family do any activities?? How do the do them? Do they do a few things seasonally?)
What we do is all good... it's just not good for us, to do it all!

Thank you for your help!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alligators, Tigers and Donkeys, OH MY!

We have once again escaped the cold of the north! It's not exactly warm here but I am not complaining! AT ALL! Thankful to have this time together before heading to China.

Since it was not a swimming pool day we went to see the alligators! The kids were mazed at those very scary creatures that come in all sizes. They kept asking "eat me?, Yep! Eat me??? Yep, they will!! Hey, no reason to sugar coat it!

They must be from the dinosaur era! What an unusual creature!
The place wasn't exactly high in cleanliness and upkeep- I felt kind of bad for the animals there.
These animals otherwise do not have any other place to go and if were released to the wild would die immediately (they paid me to say that)...

A little show!

Obviously, not everyone enjoyed it!

Hubby holding an alligator! That's all the closer the girls would get!

So sweet hubby moved the alligator closer to them! What a guy!

Even I was brave enough to hold it!

See girls, you can trust your Momma!!

They had two beautiful siberian tigers!

This is Daisy!

Daisy kept staring at the girls... I think she liked them! 

Either for Lunch or...

to play with!

Or both!

 Boris and Daisy together. They are hoping for baby siberian tigers. Look at Boris giving Daisy the evil eye! Tonight must be the night... I think she has a headache! 

As the day went on it got colder, cloudier  and more windy. Again, I'm not complaining, It's -1 at home!

We ran into a lot of happy faces there... NOT!

 The welcome committee!

Even the donkey was cranky! He told Sarah a thing or two when she went to visit him!

Is that a mule or a donkey?

And folks, that concludes our wildlife adventure!

All the girls loved our little outing! It doesn't take much to make this family happy! Of course ice cream on the way home ended our adventure on a high note!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Whole Family! (for now)

Be still my heart!!

They did this for us at Hubbies work- I love it!!
Thank you so much!!

Thank you Jesus for so many blessings!!

And here are the kids- bigs and littles and everything in between!
(plus Matt's girlfriend Caitlin- who will hopefully join our crew! Just a little pressure from Mom!)

Right after the girls saw the pic with the new kids they talked about how much they loved getting their family pic with them in it, while they were in China!
It helps them to feel part of the family right away!
Thank you so much to the very kind people that work with hubby!!
This is so appreciated by us and Ava and Sam!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who Will Travel?

I am still doing handsprings about yesterdays post! I am so in love with God! He truly amazes me- over and over again!

We are talking about who will be traveling to China this trip. We thought about bringing the whole crew- which would be quite the site. Last week we heard from our friend and she is able to stay with the kids. We are very happy it works for her- it wasn't that long ago that we were in China and as you all know it is quite expensive.

This trip we are visiting friends in Beijing and then going onto Zhengzhou in Henan Province and down south to GZ. We are planning to make it a shorter trip than last time and get home to the kids asap!

Hubby and I will be going for sure - I am so glad he can go, especially with 2 little ones- 5.5 and 4.5 yrs. I know their not babies but they are little to me! We are also thinking about bringing Sarah with us. She is excited to go back to China with us and she is such a sweet girl- she will be a huge help! Sarah is crazy for children! Honestly God new exactly what he was doing when he made her our daughter! She is so much like me- loves kids, loves control and can be bossy at times- where practically twins! Sometimes I have to remind her- I'm the Momma and your the little girl! She has developed a wonderful sense of humor and she will look at me and smile while saying "Ohhhhh, ya, that's right!)

The other positive thing about bringing Sarah is- a couple weeks ago she was saying to me while we were in the car- Mom, say a sentence in English and I'll say it back to you in Chinese." Sentence after sentence, she did that without any problem. We were shocked! She has these moments when her Chinese comes back to her- it is so cool! We think going to China in July really helped her Chinese and going again in March would again help her to continue to speak it!

We are feeling like Emma and Ellie should stay home. They are already struggling with English and we want them to continue making progress instead of going backwards. I do not think Emma will be able to maintain two languages. I am guessing she will continue to understand Chinese but hopeful she will at some point be fluent in English (with time). (I don't really want to be away from them but I gotta do what I gotta do)

Anna.... ahhhh, well she's not really very helpful! She will have the joy of meeting her new sibs once we come home! I am sure she will have mixed emotions- excited to see people her height - new bro, new sis and yet at the same time wondering what the heck are they doin in my house and sittin on my Momma's lap?!

Oh Yes, you are wondering about Katie? Ahhhh, she's not invited! Just kidding- although her work ethic did plummet (to an all time low) last time in China she is actually unable to go- she has a job and a few plans of her own. The timing didn't work for her. We will miss her because even though she didn't work too hard, she was lots of fun!

Soooo. at this point it is Dad, Mom and big sis Sarah going to China!
I am getting excited but wow, do I have a lot to do! Can't wait to show you the boy room!! I'm working on it!!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Praise God!!
This sweet boy has a family!!
Thank you Jesus!!

Isn't he precious, isn't he perfect! God doesn't make mistakes! 
He is exactly the way God had planned for him to be and now a dear family has seen him and stepped forward!
He is their son- they recognized him!
How wonderful that is!
He has a home and a family that will love him forever!

I am so grateful to you, God!

Please pray for his friend on my sidebar! 
The boys actually are close friends in the orphanage!
God hears our prayers- He just did and he will again!
Thank you

Sunday, January 16, 2011

29 Years!

Today is our anniversary!! We have been married for 29 years! I feel much too young to be married for that long! 
Katie and Devan asked us to go out for dinner! They even gave us a gift- that was so nice of them!!
We had such a great time!

I feel blessed beyond belief to be married to the man of my dreams! He is so wonderful! He is an incredible Father to all our children! I love him so much!! I think he feels the same way about me (PTL)!!

You may be wondering WHY on earth did you get married in January?? 
It wasn't about the perfect wedding or the weather, it was about the love and commitment- time of year didn't matter to us!
Hubby was in law school and January was the beginning of a new semester- kind of a down time for him, kind of...
My Mom did not want us to be married in December- obviously not a down time for Mom's with children and holidays looming!
It brightens up a long and gloomy winter- it's a highlight for us!

Was it cold?
Oh my yes- freezing cold!! I believe it was 30 below windchill. We had an attendance in the parking lot starting cars for people!
Today it was 11 degrees- picnic weather compared to 29 yrs ago!

The time has gone to fast, the blessings have been so great! I am bursting with thankfulness to our heavenly father!

Thank You Jesus!!