Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where Should We Park?

I'm just not sure where
 fit in?

Maybe it's here?

Or here?

Or it could be here?

And sometimes it's even here!

Other times,
I have a few more years before 
it is here...
(Praise the Lord!)

And yes, we fit in here!

Feeling blessed...
no matter where we park!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Lifelong Friendship!

We were so blessed to have this wonderful family visit us in MN!
Mia and Victoria were close BFF's ( plus Caitlin) in their orphanage in China.

This is a picture of Caitlin, the nanny in the orphanage that the girls
bonded to and loved, next is Mia and then Victoria.
We do not have this pic but I was able to take a photo of Victoria's copy.
It's truly is a treasure!

All three girls were adopted within 6 months of each other.
Victoria first, then Mia and then Caitlin came home a couple months later.

It's hard for Mia to understanding all that has happened in her short life...
It's hard for her to trust but she is learning to trust.
It's hard for her to love but she is learning to love.
It's sometimes hard for her to be happy
when she's sees her friend from her orphanage 
and she sees that she is happy
she feels a little more free
to be happy!

An easy and fun way to feed 24 people!

We had a cook out-
brats, hot dogs, potato salad, coleslaw, chips, beans, grapes, watermelon,
and of course s'mores!

The kids all got along so well!

Constant chatting, laughing, playing games and watching an evening movie!
(While the parents visited!)

Victoria and Elizabeth taught the children a new game with cups!

Thankfully a lot of people can play it at the same time!

For our sweet girl this visit was medicine for the soul!

God you are so amazing!

The girls are from a very poor orphanage.
For five years their orphanage was banned from adoptions.
They were supposedly punishing the orphanage for fraud and other wrong doings...
but it was really punishing the children that needed families...

Mia (and the other older girls) could have been adopted 5 years prior
but she had to wait 5 more years to be paper ready.
Yes, I am very thankful that she is our daughter
but 5 more years enduring life
without a family and in a very poor orphanage
was a steep price for our girl and the others...
to pay...

Mia has no memory of her past and yet she has the best memory I have ever seen.

She came on a bus at the age of 5 (with other children)
from a very very poor neighboring orphanage-
and was placed at the orphanage we adopted her from.

We heard this from one of the girls, there is no official record of it happening
and there was no mention of it in her file.

However, all of Mia's pics start from the age of 5 yrs old.

(this trough was the only water source)

They brought the children their because
"Love Without Boundaries" was opening a preschool.
This would give the children an opportunity to begin their education.
She loved the preschool!
Some of the children were able to attend school after that
but school didn't go so well for our daughter so they kicked her out.
She is a smart girl but was labeled
as "not smart and a trouble maker" by the school.
After all... why does an orphan need an education...
Sadly, they honestly think that way...

The older girls stuck together in order to survive and became close friends.
They became their own "family".
At first we weren't sure if she should see her friends from the orphanage.
She was a handful for us at home and
she had a tough time accepting us as her parents.
It took her longer than usual to bond to the other children in our family.

With time, she has made great progress and
we believe it is very important for her to see them
and have a continued relationship with them.

I wish we could know the truth about her past.
I wish the files would be accurate and honest.
It would be so helpful to all of us...

Pet therapy and doggy love are synonymous!

A little competition is healthy...

and FUN!

Other than the dogs being perfectly positioned- which was a complete accident!
I see

I feel
by GOD!

So thankful that a friendship that started in China, half way across the world...
has been continued in the United States!
Thank you GOD!

And you wonder why we have doggies and kitties?

Wonder, no longer!

It was hard for Mia to see her friend go...
With time, we are all understanding each other more and more.

I am a natural problem solver.
You have a problem?
Let's solve it!
(Right now works!)
I have learned that some problems are not solved quickly,
and that time is a great healer...

...so we will take all the time she needs!

The kids wanted to see them pack up and get into the van...
It's a process and they were interested if their process was similar to ours?
At one point, half of my kiddos were in their van!

Thank you for visiting us!
Please, please come back again!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

She's Baptized!

It is such a blessing to have our daughter Jenny, baptized!

We wanted to be sure she understood what was happening so we waited awhile
 before scheduling her baptism.

Baptism can mean different things in different churches.
In the Catholic church it means
that you are welcoming the child in the Christian Catholic faith and 
through baptism they are free from original sin. 

Be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38

Jenny's baptism was held after the church service.
Father Steve personalizes it towards the individual child and involves the whole family.

It helps the child and the other children to learn and to feel part of the sacrament.

Baptism is a sacrament and the Holy Spirit is a gift from God!

A gift the is offered to all of us!

Dear Friends, 
accept this beautiful, amazing and perfect gift!

It is a gift like no other...

The candle symbolizes the light of Christ,
who is the light of the world!

Oh yes, dear Lord!
You are truly the light of the world!

 I know that different Christian faiths, do things differently.
And that is okay...
the most important thing is to accept this gift.

The Holy Spirit give us peace, it brings us closer to our Lord, it frees us from sin...
the blessings that flow from the Holy spirit are innumerable!

Most baptisms are done on infants.
We are so thankful that our church was so kind 
and made this Baptismal garment specially for our daughter!

Jenny's Godmother, Kelly helped her put on her garment!

You did such a good job sweet girl!

 Big brother Billy and Kelly are Jenny's Godparents!

Thank you Father Steve for baptizing our daughter and for blessing our family!

The children adore Fr Steve and every weekend they look forward to going to church!

Thankful for their welcoming heart!
It was easy for these five girls to welcome their new sister last December!
Jenny fits in perfectly with this crew!
How does God know?

This tells me to trust HIM even more!

Praise You Lord Jesus!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Our July Birthday Trio!

On three consecutive days we have birthdays!
It actually happens twice a year for us!
July 20th, 21st and 22nd!
March 31st, April 1st and April 2nd!

This is what we did for Ellie's Birthday!
She really, really, really, liked it!

We went super fast and over lots of choppy waves!
Both Sarah and Mia fell off!
It was extremely funny!
They were hysterical the whole time!
I did take videos but I don't know how to put them on here?
I think they are too long...

Most of the children had a chance to go tubing
and those that didn't were able to do it the next time!
As I have said before, I am a bit of a safety nut
so we needed to try it out with a few kiddos before
opening it up to everyone.
And it went VERY well!

We had dinner out on the lake and then went home for showers and the rest of the festivities!

HaPpY 14th BiRtHdAy,
You are such a blessing to us!

Ellie has been home for 6 years!
She has blossomed in every way!
She has a heart of gold!

Birthday's are a big deal around here-
especially when you don't get to celebrate them for the first 8 years of your life!

And presents are 
the bomb!

Writing your birthday list is an event!

New bath and body wash!

Ellie chose a DQ oreo blizzard cake!

It's fun for Sarah to light the candles!

Pure joy!

She loves her mermaid blanket for TV and reading time!

Emma's Birthday was next!
We went to the movie
"The Secret Life of Pets"
We all enjoyed it!

Emma was very excited for her day!
I can't believe she is 16 years old!
Happy Birthday sweet girl!

I love the little smirk on her face as she opens her gifts!

Clothes from Justice and jewelry were on her list!

It was her turn to get a boogie board!

She picked her favorite restaurant and wanted everyone to dress up!
So we did!

We sang and she got the special birthday dessert!
Notice the fork in Joey and Madeline's hand-
 They were ready to dig in!
I saw that coming so I announced that Emma would get the first three bites!

What I didn't expect was that she would eat 
the whole thing in 
Oh my goodness was that a surprise!
Chalk it up to survival skills!

Auntie Barbie joined us for Emma's special day!

Emma chose red velvet cake!
And since we had three b-days in a row we went with the smaller one!

I often have to take many pics of Emma to get the right one.
She does this a lot!
There was nothing special over there to look at, she just does this.

Contemplating her birthday wish!

We didn't have 16 candles so we improvised!

The star candle was worth 10!
Happy Birthday to our treasured daughter, Emma Joy!

And the next day it was his turn!
Happy Birthday, JOEY!
(The parents are getting a bit tired! But we didn't show it!
No sirree, not for a second!)

For Joey's Birthday we went swimming at the pool!

Sometimes birthdays can be hard for adoptees.
In our family they are NOT hard for the birthday child.
Everyone of our kiddos loves to be celebrated and immerses themselves in the moment.
But for some of our children it's hard celebrating their sibs...
especially when there are three birthdays in a row.

We had plans to go out to dinner but we changed those plans and ate at home.
We needed to make the change for one of our kiddos.

Joey is a go with the flow kinda guy.
Plus this gave him an opportunity to play with his new birthday presents!
So he was very agreeable with the change!

Some kids wanted to look nicer while others were very casual.
I told Joey to go change his shirt, since it was his birthday!
So there he is in a wrinkled polo, nice move Mom!
Oh well, who cares!
I'm probably the only one that noticed it!

Big brother Johnny and his friend Abby joined us for Joey's birthday!
It was so nice that another family member could make it to each of the celebrations!

Please, can we be done with this picture taking?
I need to open these presents!

Joey loves life!
He loves having a family and his energy knows no limits!

Enthusiastic is his middle name!
 He is after all, Sam's little brother!

He loved the star wars legos!

He loved the turtle puzzle!

He loved the remote control car!

He loved that everyone wanted to play with his gifts
he was the boss of them!
And he used the upper hand to his advantage!
Luke could only play with his toys if he was really really nice to Joey
and then it was for only about 5 minutes!
Sorry Luke... your done!
Revenge comes in November,
 when it is Luke's birthday!

Look out world (or at least siblings)!
Joey has a nerf gun!

A happy birthday boy and his photo bombers!

Joey you have made incredible progress in every area of your life!
You are so happy to have a family and you love life!
We are so thankful that you are our little boy!

Happy 8th Birthday, Joey!

Each morning the birthday child would go with Daddy to get donuts,
a special drink from the coffee shop and pick up their cake!
When Joey and Dad were in the car,
Joey said, "Let's sing Dad! Let's sing Happy Birthday to me!"

I love the look on his sweet face in this picture!
I think he is happy!

 You have a lot of girlfriends!

Three cakes in three days!
I'm going on a diet!