Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet #13!

PA arrived today!! WoooHooooo!! So this little darling will be coming home too!!

We are so grateful to our dear Lord for these two special blessing! 

This is an old picture of her. She is currently 5 yrs. I have a few new pics that I will post later but this is the one that we saw... and after seeing it we could not get her out of our minds. She was named Arizona on some of the special focus waiting child lists. 

Annie- you can place her in the matched category now!! Thank you for showing us our darling little girl!! If you would like to see pics of other waiting children go over to my sidebar and click on Wonderful Waiting Kids button!

We did not hear God voice when we saw this little cutie. I did mention to him that it would be nice to have the certainty that we just had so HE should feel free to do it again! But no audible words were spoken. We prayed over our adoption situation for  couple months asking God to reveal our child to us. I had this feeling inside that he was saying to me... I have.

And sure enough he had! 

She is all ours!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Beyond Excited!

Okay, Okay- I give up! I guess it's time! (besides I need those purging tips!)

We are beyond excited for our new addition!

It has already been an amazing journey- one that only God could orchestrate!

It took us completely by surprise but once HE spoke we new he was ours! Without a doubt he was our son!

It began in late November 2009. I was blog hopping and stumbled on a pic of an adorable little guy who would be coming up for adoption in the near future. We were in process for Emma and Ellie so I was not necessarily look for a child to adopt. I was just browsing blogs...


Then I heard God speak...

It took me completely by surprise!

God said


I immediately answered back-

"What? Really? Your kidding me?"
"But God he is so young and well, we are not!"
"But God, hubby is thinking of adopting only girls?"
"This is not what we had planned?"

I knew after I said the last sentence how silly it sounded. "not what we had planned" like that even matters!

I had goosebumps from head to toe as I stared at this picture of this adorable little one yr old boy!

Hubby was just coming home from work and he looked at me- I must have had a silly smile on my face because he said "What happened?"

I looked at him and said "You won't believe it!"

We got dinner for the kids and sat down to talk. I was so excited to tell him that I had heard God speak and what He had said but at the same time I did not know how hubby would react. After all he had previously said no boys and no one younger than Anna (2006). This precious treasure was 2.5 yrs younger than Anna.

Of course, I was still smiling, bursting at the seams and in near disbelief at what had just happened!

I told him the whole story and without hesitation he said "YES". Now mind you, I have no idea what we were saying yes to- we had no referral, no information, no nothing- BUT we had Gods words! So I guess we were saying YES- to GOD!!

In the following months we tried to find out as much info as we could but it still wasn't much to go on and there was no referral available so we prayed and put our trust in God.

The process continued with Emma and Ellie and in July they came home! Still there was no referral and no new info on this little guy. Knowing that we are on the road to aging out of China adoption, we made the decision to bring home Sam and Ava. We felt nudged by God to continue our pace and get "our children" home.

I was concerned... had we gone against God's word? Were we testing God? Nothing good can come from that... We prayed that if doors opened we would move through them and if this was not his will he would close them. Our desire is to serve HIM and HIM only. (we often fall short but we continue to try)

As we proceeded with Sam and Ava's adoption and we continued to pray and pray for the little guy God had spoken to us about. 

The wait for him seemed endless and we often wondered - did we misunderstand, did we already miss him, why wasn't his referral showing up- anywhere??

I have heard God speak before, I was certain of what I heard and down deep our trust was completely with HIM. No matter what was going to happened we knew HE was in control.

Just as we were about to bring our 2 treasures home the referral came. Our agency had been searching for it and they found it!! Truly we were singing praises to our Lord! 

It brought me to my knees. The words that He spoke in November of 2009 were coming true in March of 2011!

I was speechless and every time I opened my mouth I felt like I was going to burst into tears- tears of joy! 

I wanted to share it with everyone but the time was not right. We needed to get our children home from China and start the new process for our little boy!

There are so many things that have happened already in this little guys life that have been miracles. Many of you already know his story. You have prayed and fasted for him. I will be sharing them with you in future posts.

Here is the picture that I was looking at when I heard God speak!

When I look at this precious child I feel my heart swell!
We cannot wait to get him home!!
I want to fall to my knees in gratitude to our Dear LORD!

This little treasure is number #12
We are waiting for our PA for #13.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Time to Purge...

We have put this off too long. It is time to get rid of things, time to purge!

We are beginning to burst at the seams and it just shouldn't be this way. Yes we have a big family but we also have adequate space. We need to be more organized and utilize the space that we have in a better way.

I have seen others post on this and read how freeing it can be- I want that for us! 

My Mother passed away 3 years ago and we inherited many of her things. Being a product of the depression she believed every item she owned was worth a lot! On top of that everything had meaning to her. She was unable to go through her belongings herself- so we now have much of it along with my brother and sister. 

I love my parents dearly but I cannot store their things, cherish every item, remember where everything came from and have 13 children (did I just say that, hmmmm?)! I obviously am not very good at going through things and getting rid of stuff- it's genetic!

I honestly am praying over it all now. Praying for God to help us purge. To keep what he wants us to have and to give away that which we do not need.

For so long we hung onto things... thinking the older children would want them when they moved in to their own place but that has not been the case. No one wants the pink dishes from 4 houses ago... and it's time to realize no one will ever want them. Maybe to someone else they will be new, fun and useable!

It is a daunting task filled with emotion...

At one point I said to hubby if we keep going at this pace I will be dead before we get the job done! It's time to move fast and dispose quickly! 

I do not like to throw things away- I feel like I am being wasteful but keeping things makes our home cluttered and we cannot have that with 13 children in the family (did I just say that, again?)!

Have you had to do this? 
How did you do it?
What advice do you have for me?
Would you pray for us as we tackle this humoungous job!

WE have basement storage and an off site storage where we have my mom's furniture. Her furniture is little, petite, delicate and breakable- we are not any of those things.

I really hope and pray to get this humoungous job done in a timely fashion so we can move on in our life. I pray to be free of the bondage of STUFF. And free of the emotional guilt that can go along with STUFF.

One thing I have to say is - my brother(and sister in law), my sister and I went through everything in our mother's home without even arguing once! That in itself was a miracle! By doing that and still maintaining our relationships- I believe we gave her the best gift of all!

(I prayed continuously throughout the whole process- thank you Jesus! Prayer was answered!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Anna Update and the Zoo Again!

Thank you so much for all the comments regarding Anna! I think you were right on- she needs time, extra love,  and some individual attention. Anna is almost like a birth child. Whereas the others where adopted older, she was not. This family life of ours is wonderful and yet a bit confusing to her.

We have been especially in tune to meeting her needs since I posted my question- extra love, extra kisses, making room on our laps for her and allowing her her quiet time away from the others. I have also talked to her in a more grown up way and had a sense of humor with her. She has responded well- although I know we need to continue to work on this I can tell she is doing an ounce better and appreciates the effort- how can I tell?? It's my Mommy barometer- I sense she is whining less and that makes me happy!!

Yesterday Anna asked if she could do the reading that Ellie is doing (Which the fact that Ellie is even doing some beginning reading makes me want to cheer and do somersaults! Yay God!). So I decided what a wonderful way to give extra time- we sat down in the school room and began to read the kindergarten HOP (Hooked on Phonics) book. I was shocked- she knew all the words! She did it perfectly!! I think allowing her to forge ahead in her schooling is helpful and self esteem building to her! She also was as still as can be- no fidgeting or dancing in circles which furthers my thinking that she is completely bored with some of the things we have previously been doing.

We went to the zoo again- this is what happens when a family gets a season pass to the zoo- lots of zoo pics, probably more than you wanted!

This time we visited the farm animals at the zoo! It was a perfect day! About 70 and filtered sun!

Anna was thinking that these goats are a little scary!
She decided it was safest in Daddy's arms!

The kids got to brush and feed the goats!

Anna warmed up to them after a little while!

Sarah, Sam, Emma and Ava are all crazy about animals!

I think Ava was planning to bring this little guy home with us!!

The truth comes out! Ellie let us all know that -
"Me no likea farm"!

They must have known we were coming!

These two didn't read the sign or couldn't read the sign and sought refuge with the goats until Momma (that would be me) got them outta there!

The pigs were interesting- kind of! Okay they were tired and boring so we worked on our numbers and everyone counted how many piglets there were!

Here's our piglets!

The corn on the cob lathered in butter and salt was delish!

Then we were off to see the chicks hatching!

But they were a little slow soooo off we went!

The moose was putting on a good show and was right up against the fence!

It was a great day and this time Daddy was able to join us!!

First Visit to the Dentist!

Ava and Sam had their first dental appt.!
We are trying out a new pediatric dentist which is closer to home. In my current world that is important to do whenever we can!!
All the children loved the waiting room!!

As you can see Sam is READY!

Ava loved the chair going up and down!

Usually for first visits they only do a quick check of the teeth but these two did so well they did everything!

Ava has two big teeth on the bottom and 2 slightly lose on the bottom. She has 2 of her 4 - 6 yr old molars, which is right on since she will be 6 in June. No cavities! Her permanent teeth are all there up in the gum and look great! Her upper baby teeth are small from grinding. Poor dear- she must have handled stress by grinding her teeth.

Sam has 2 small cavities on the back upper surfaces. Otherwise his teeth looked great also. They both will have tight fits for their permanent teeth but it looks like they may all fit in.

I am thankful they have not had any pain from their teeth and it's looking good. Sarah came to us with two painful cavities and in need of 2 crowns.

So if by chance in are a dentist you may have found this post interesting- to the rest of you... I apologize!

(Anna update is next)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Input Please!

I would love your input! 

Things are going amazingly well with 6 new children in 4 years!
I am seriously down on my knees thankful for God's blessings!

I sometimes feel like I am living one of his many miracles!
To think that love, prayer, family and health care could do so much for a child is completely beyond me!
I wish that others who have not considered adoption would go down this amazing road!
It is nothing short of a miracle!

My question is about this little cutie in the picture- our Anna.
She is independent and often chooses to separate herself from the group.
She was our first child to come home and often thinks she is one of the birth children (which is kind of good in a way). She has no memories of China, she cannot speak Chinese and does not like rice. But she does have anxiety(cleft L/P) - to doctors, to being with people she does not know and is easily scared.
She did great in preschool and does wonderful with our babysitter!

We had one birth child that we always thought was meant to be in a small family but he ended up adjusting extremely well to this extra large family! He is able to hyperfocus and read as we are all around him. He comes and goes as he wants to and he has a ton of friends but only socializes as he chooses!
That is our Billy! Okay he is all grown up- you can call him Bill!

Anna is extremely smart, she has trouble sitting still but can work on a puzzle or project to completion- so maybe she is just bored with my school ;-)...

Since Ava and Sam have come home we have seen more whining, pushing the limits and refusal to cooperate. She wants to be held a lot. She can play well with Ava and Sam BUT seems to have a hard time when all the kids are together playing. She is bossy and need some work on her people skills at home although she did well at preschool. 
She is not a follower and probably doesn't want to follow the crowd. Whereas the others can easily follow the group- not necessarily a good thing... unless you have a positive leader! 

She is impatient with Emma who has a severe cognitive disability- we are trying to teach her tenderness and understanding but right now that is not at the top of her list.

Do you have any thoughts on -  
How we can help Anna with her social/family skills?
How we should handle her frequent whining or crying?
To feel more secure?
Allow her time away from her sibs?
Do you have a similar situation?
What are you doing for your child?

Thank you so much!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Wonderful Celebration- in pictures!!


Yes, yes, yes... things are happening here- good good good things!! I cannot wait to share BUT... I am going to wait... I am so sorry, that is so mean of me! 

It is my birthday to day and so far it has been a wonderful day! 

 Matt and Caitlin are visiting from Colorado!! We are so happy to have them home!! They have a new puppy dog that is just adorable and they are finding out how much work is involved in raising a puppy!! 

Last night the adults that were in town went out to eat at a favorite restaurant! We had a good time!!
It is so wonderful to have a chance to spend time with the big kids!! I know the littles would have loved to have been there but... sometimes the grown ups need to hang out!

Can you believe they gave me the mask with the grey hair- come on people!

Right now hubby is grocery shopping for dinner with... the crew!! God Bless him!! I hope they make it back before bedtime!!

I love seeing my guys together! We are missing Johnny and Mark.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Carnival Time!

Well thank goodness we did something fun on Friday night because this weekend has been a wash!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday have been periods of heavy rain showers, hail, winds, and tornadoes. We have been house bound the whole weekend except for an hour at church- which was at the time the world was supposed to end.
We decided how perfect if it did end while we were driving to church! Surely we would have found favor with God ;-) (Just Kidding)

We went to Katie's school carnival. Since we homeschool it is so nice to be able to attend this function with Big Sis Kate, I mean Miss Mulvahill!

It is so simple but it is such a thrill for the kids!! At first they were overwhelmed with all the activity and so many children. Ava reached for my hand- she did not want to get lost (like what happened at the zoo). It was so precious.

Ava's Daddy is a lot of fun!
And very silly looking!

Ava thinks that America is a very good place!
This, along with a healthy hot dog and chips is what the children had for dinner!

I do not like cotton candy.. at all! Yuck!
But sometimes when Dad is around they get to have it...what a nice guy!
We have dental appts scheduled for Ava and Sam this week. 
If they didn't have cavities before... they do now!

Katie put two of her students in jail- they had to sing to get out! I was tempted to put a few of my students in there too! ;-)

Looking forward to some decent spring weather. We feel so "cooped up" in the house and are longing to get out and get some fresh air. The sun is shinning right now but I am not very hopeful - this has happened a number of times over the last 3 days only to have a down pour, black skies and tornado warnings 15 minutes later.