Friday, April 29, 2011


With your ears, with your eyes and with your heart!

Sometimes I find I need to listen to the children more...

They speak to us in different ways. They often let their needs be known without words...

Sometimes it is through tears, through a whine or even distance.

It has been brought to my attention a couple different times that our Sam needs to be watched. He is inadvertently seeking attention and help through other adults. He doesn't understand what he is doing. He doesn't speak english- I can't tell him. he doesn't remember his first set of parents who were with him for the first 14 months of his life. He doesn't know what parents do or why he even needs them. It is up to us to show him, to teach him and

Between not feeling well, jet lag, many children and Hubby and JOhnny busy with the college search- I have missing some red flags. 2-3 days a week I have had to be everything to our little crew! Including the disciplinarian. Last night I spent some time praying over it and decided today was a new day.

Instead of "No Sam" today was going to be a "Yes Sam" day.
Instead of a frown and a disapproving look today I would make a point to smile more at my dear boy!
Instead of saying naughty- I said "Good Boy"!
Instead of being too tired to laugh I decided I needed to have the energy to laugh more and enjoy the cuteness!

Instead of focusing on learning, I am going to focus on enjoying what we are doing and having fun. I probably have jumped the gun with our two newbies as far as school goes. They need time... especially Sam. I don't know if he has even held a pencil before- it all seems so foreign to him. 

Sometimes I find myself learning some very important lessons from some very little people!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

He was so proud of himself!! He got his jammies on all by himself! Way to go big guy!! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you!! 

But I had to do a double take! What's wrong with this picture! Something wasn't quite right! haha!
He is such a cutey- I could just eat him up!!

Ahhha! Now I see what's wrong!! 

Yes, we did help him switch it around but not until we got some pics!!

Yes, I do have my priorities straight! Cuteness and giggles come way before dressing appropriately!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Problem Solving!

Can I have water, juice, milk? Yes!
Pop? No!

We go through so many glasses each day so I got the children mugs with their names on it!

The step stool is right by the kitchen sink and the mugs are right there also! Each one can get their own glass of water whenever they need it!

They did not have an Ava so she is princess!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Blessed Easter!

It is 4 of our children's very first Easter at home! Emma, Ellie, Ava and Sam have never experienced this  wonderful holiday celebration -the resurrection of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, life after death, the forgiveness of sins, the depth of God's love for us and what he has done for us! Can it get any better than that? I don't think so!

On top of all that it just happens to be the most beautiful day we have had in about the last 7 months! So may reasons to give thanks and to celebrate!

Auntie Kathy sent the kids bunny ears! They were a big hit!

When the kids woke up they went with Dad for coffee! They love doing that on the weekends! Someone at the coffee shop said to him- oh, it must have been a sleepover! Yep, something like that! 

So much to be thankful for!

Then we had a peaceful small breakfast and we were off to church. I really can't imagine not going to church on this day. I see some people doing their yard work and I think "not today- go to church and give thanks"! Celebrate the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ! There were times when our older children were little that it just didn't work out for us- someone was sick- it always left me with an empty feeling.

Then it was off to brunch at our favorite place! It was almost empty(no wait) because most families are having a brunch at home! We out smarted everyone again, Ha!! Yes, I know we(I) took the easy way out but sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!

If you are wearing a twirl dress, it is only natural to twirl!

Then it was back home for an Easter egg hunt! We have to do our egg hunt in shifts now or the littles would end up with nothing! AND of course the 23 and 17 yr old still wanted in on the hunt!

Shift #2 is waiting patiently for their turn to find the Easter eggs!

Yay Sam!

The egg hunt was a success as far as these two were concerned!

And these two enjoyed it also!

After the hunt the children got Easter pails!

And bubble guns!


Since it is so nice out we have to enjoy this while we can, so we took the bubble guns outside!!

300-500 bubbles per minute!

He finally has his very own Daddy to shoot with bubbles. 

Bubbles everywhere!

There are a few things we left out this year. Hubby and I are trying to be nice to ourselves. We can't do it all BUT we are enjoying what we are doing!!

Katie went to Colorado to see Matt, Caitlin and Mark. It just so happens to be Mark's 21st Birthday today!! 
Happy Birthday Mark!! 
They did a little celebrating with him! I didn't ask for details and if I hear anything I won't be sharing it! He will be home next weekend to celebrate with us!

Katie will be home this evening to join us for Easter dinner! 

Thank you Jesus for dying for us so that we can have life and for the blessings we have because you love us so much!

Friday, April 22, 2011

The New Children That We Welcome Into Our Families...

I have to say this... it may not sit well with some people and others may agree...

Whenever we bring a new child into our home that child HAS to abide by our rules.

I have seen / heard of so many families that have been in utter turmoil over the adoption of a new child or children. I firmly believe that that new child or children want to know the rules of the family and want to be accepted by the family, want to be part of that new family and want to be protected by that new family.

We have found that it has worked wonderfully to make our family rules clear from the get go!

There is no way I would ever bring a new family member into our family only to torment a birth child OR ANY other family member. The new children are prepared to be molded into what is acceptable and appropriate. I mean this in the most loving way. They have lived in situations that are much different than what we live in- they don't know how to act and depend on us to teach them. To not teach them appropriate behavior would be poor parenting on my part. This is my job and I take it seriously. In many cases it may not be easy BUT it is our job!

The current children in our home have adjusted- they are happy and usually agreeable. We have taught them (and still need to remind them) how to treat others- the new children NEED to learn how to treat others. The orphanage rules are different than the family rules. They cannot mistreat others to survive. They cannot teach their old ways to the children in our home- we must teach them how to treat others...

That's all for now!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How are they adjusting? Sarah, Ava and Sam!

These are the three that were in China with us!

Sarah is doing very well. She is kind to all her sibs and a positive leader. Emma and Ellie were so glad to have her home and then quite surprised at having to share her attention. It has all fallen into place now and the new normal is feeling very good and seems to be healthier all around for everyone!

The whole crew sleeping in the same room is working out great!! I can see in the future where it will be nice to split the group up (older/ younger/ boys/ girls) but for now they are sleeping from 8:45- 7:15! That works for us!! The 3 littles will sometimes fall asleep in the car if they are tired and that's okay!

Sarah is mostly speaking english now that we are home but she is still a great interpreter for us- when we need one! She has done such a great job we are really thinking she needs to keep her Chinese. In fact we are thinking as many that can keep their Chinese should keep it. Even Emma and Ellie started speaking Chinese to their new sibs- at first it bothered me because they struggle so much with English but it doesn't any more. Being bilingual is awesome and could really help them with a job in the future and keep them connected to the culture. This is a change for us because we were all about hurry up and learn english but a few friends (homeschooling yahoo group) straightened me out on this topic! I am thinking next fall they will go to a Saturday Chinese language class. Sarah did this a year ago but then we took a year off.

Ava has mourned her loses in her own way. When we were leaving her home city of Zhenzhou and she injured her ankle and could not walk. She actually did turn it a little but not as bad as she was playing it up to be. It was quite a challenge getting through the airport and on and off the planes since she "couldn't walk"! She has had various moments of crying about one thing or another and honestly I am guessing it had a lot to be with leaving what was familiar behind. It often ties in with being hungry or tired, too.

Most of the time she is happy and joyful. She is a sweet little girl and a blessing to have in our family! She is not afraid to speak up for herself and yet she is very reasonable and really "gets it". Ava spent the first 3 years with her birth family before being abandoned. She understands family and seems very happy to be part of ours!! The truth is we are the ones that are blessed!!

Both Ava and Sam have bike helmets now!

Both Ava and Sam love our doggies!
That makes the doggies very happy! They love the extra TLC!

Sam is a fabulous!! All the big sibs are crazy about him! He has a way with people and he has charmed his way into everyones hearts! He has also mourned in a unique way. As we were leaving Guangzhou and getting on the plane Sam broke down in tears.JIm and Sam had seats about 8 rows ahead of us. It was all too much for him- he did not want to be separated- I'd like to say from me but I am certain it was Ava and Sarah. We were able to trade seats and he was once again a happy camper.

Sam has tested the limits now and then BUT he does it with a smile on his face. We are on to him and need to make the boundaries clear. Sometimes that precious smile turns to tears. He is used to getting what he wants by having a good personality and charming disposition. Doesn't work quite as well when you can understand him ;-)

When he cries it is not a little whimper. No, no, not at all- it usually turns into a cough and then a choke and then well, he just might have to spit up, wherever he may be...carpet works!!  For him that is, not for me!! If it looks imminent we whisk him off to the toilet! It is a bit theatrical but I am sure it served him well in China. We have asked him to say sorry in Chinese a couple times for hitting a sister and he just wasn't able to... today I insisted and he successfully mumbles I'm sorry in Chinese to Sarah. I usually have both parties apologize as it is never just one persons fault!

When we got home Sam he was thrilled to sleep in the same room as his sisters! In fact he picked the green and pink bed but we quickly steered him to the blue bed! He is handling being the only younger boy, very well! Hopefully he won't have to be in that situation for long! wink wink!

We have been blessed by having him join our family! He loves having a family but still has much to learn regarding boundaries with others- he is a bit too friendly! Sam is a smart little guy and I have no doubt in time he will get it. He spent the first 14 months with his birth family before being abandoned. They cared enough to have his surgery done at birth and attempted to deal with his disability (colostomy)- that says a lot. Somewhere down deep he knows what a family is. I am sure the charms was needed for survival. The orphanage he was in was not a good one- no colored wall hangings, no freshly painted walls or semi clean white floors. The pictures in the previous post shows the situation... it is very sad...

Both Sam and Ava know the ropes around here already! They are happy, joyful, comfortable and as precious as can be! Both Hubby and I feel immensely blessed by these two darlings!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How are they adjusting? Emma, Ellie and Anna!

It has been an interesting 2 plus weeks! We have seen a variety of reactions from all of the children.
Everyone was very excited when we returned home! We had American flags waving and tons of smiles and hugs!

This is a huge change for everyone BUT we are amazed at how well they have handled it! We see them wondering what is going on, what is MY future in this family AND what does this CHANGE mean to me. They don't verbalize it but it was written all over their faces...

As the Mom of this crew it made me a little sad. We made a point of reassuring everyone that they are ours forever and have been giving lots of hugs and kisses since we have been home! 

Emma was thrilled to see us and so happy we are home. She immediately accepting her new sister and brother. Then the concerns and stress hit her... another change?? What does this mean for me?? Mom, Dad and Sarah are sharing their time and attention with two more people now. Her natural smile left her face for about a week. She often blankly stared and looked confused. Emma is unable to tell us how she feels but she didn't have to we could see it. I was not feeling well and had jet lag- the first 2 weeks we just did the best we could.  The normalcy of Ava and Sam made Emma's disability so very apparent... I felt sad for her and frustrated for myself because I just didn't feel well... She would look at us with a frown and she stopped speaking.
Two weeks later- the frown is gone. Her face is relaxed and once again we see "her" smile! She is good with sharing her sibs and her parents! In fact it has been good for her in the sense that she will now chose others to play with instead of just wanting to follow Sarah. She is HAPPY and joyful!!  In fact she is actually doing better than ever right now!! We are thankful and thrilled!! THANK YOU JESUS!!  

Ellie was so happy to see us and have us home!! She immediately accepted her two new sibs! THEN the confusion started... Who are these two new kiddos anyways?? Remind me... why did we do this?? Sarah is not paying enough attention to me??? I think I need Mom and Dad to hold me and kiss me more?? Oh my? they can repeat sentences from Mom and Dad, I cannot? Her self esteem waived for the first two weeks. She almost had a fearful look on her face as if to say now that they are here will this family keep us?
I felt like I was hit in the face with a pie... This poor dear how could she even think such a thing? Oh ya- this has happened to them over and over again- of course she wonders what will happen next. She became quieter- she wasn't her giggly self. smiles where hard to come by...
Two weeks later- She is chatty again- it's not always understandable but she is trying to talk as much as she can! She is smiling smiling and happy! She is joyful! She is really trying to be a good big sister! She loves us so deeply and lets me know! Like her dear bio sis- she loves to be loved!! What a blessing God has bestowed upon us with these two girls!

Anna- Our first child home! So happy to see us and if she could have her way we would carry her until she was 18 yrs old!! Again, she was also very accepting and loving to her new sister and brother... unless they want her toys!! She is questioning where she should draw the line with these two?? It's a grey area and she knows it... She thinks she is the Jie Jie (big sister) but Ava is older and Sam is younger. However she has been home the longest- the new situation is just not logical to her... She tells them "I don't speak Chinese, I can't understand you?" I think she has had moments of feeling left out because of the language issue but that seems to get better with each day that passes.
She is not used to such a full house. Anna was in a foster home early on- all these children in one home- this is very different for her! 
Two weeks later- She still wishes she was older than Ava AND refers to herself as a Jie Jie! I have a hard time arguing with her when she is so helpful and shows Sam and Ava what to do! She does seek out quiet time away from the others. She may choose to play alone sometimes. She will go outside ONLY if she wants to, even if everyone else is playing outside. She will often find us for extra hugs and kisses. Sharing and not getting her own way are still tough for her... she is happy and does love playing with all her sibs especially Ava and Sam! The three of them are adorable together!!

As you can see!

Somehow they seem to work things out!

I'm just thankful they didn't spit on each other!

We had a few concerns the first week but already everyone is doing so well! The kids are all blending in and playing together. When one wants a little space they just create it and then join in with the others when they are ready!

We are a little surprised and very thankful!!

Next I will post on how Sarah, Ava and Sam are doing!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The cameras we send and the children left behind...

With all of our adoptions we have sent cameras to the orphanages in hopes that they will take pics of our child, their friends, their nanny and the environment they live in. We want our children to have some documented memories of their past.

We sent 2 cameras to Sam's orphanage. I have heard that his orphanage is small and very poor. When we asked for past pics of him they did not have any because they did not have a camera. I also heard they did not have a computer or internet. I could not find any other children that have been adopted through this orphanage. 

God Bless these sweet children... These pics break my heart... I am so thankful to have our boy home but then my mind goes to the other children... Those that are left behind...

I think they ended up just giving Sam the camera and he snapped away for most of the second roll of film. They are of partial people and a random plant. I am thankful for the pics we got but it never seems to satisfy me- I want to know more about our little boy's past...

Ava's camera also had many pics of the children... God bless these sweet kids... Honestly I want to bring them all home and mother them... 

These two pic are of Ava. Again, I am so thankful she is home!

All of these children are in Henan Province. I do not know if they are up for adoption- I am hoping so... And praying that they find families soon.