Is she your daughter?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

This past week, I saw a photo of our adorable R. with a beautiful little girl from her children's home. This girl has a smile that you wouldn't believe and is such an incredible child.  Honestly, if we could adopt two, we'd snatch this girl up in a minute. She is precious. Precious, precious, precious. And our agency has her file! Could this little eight-year-old be your daughter? If she is, you would be so blessed. Please email me here if you have any questions about this amazing child.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tonight, we went to a going-away party for our Chinese students.  It is their last day of class tomorrow, and then we have one day left with S. before she leaves to travel to the east coast and then home.

After the party, the students all gathered outside for a group picture. I set Grace down to take a photo and then started talking with some of the students.  Grace was standing a few feet away from me and as I glanced up at her, I saw a look of terror cross her sweet face..."mama," she whimpered.  For a moment, she could not find me.  She was standing in a sea of beautiful Chinese faces, but the face that she looked for was not Chinese.

She was looking for her mama.

I hurried over to my precious girl and scooped her up in my arms.
No, we don't look alike.
But, we share the same heart.
And tonight, in particular, I am struck by how blessed I am to be this little girl's mama.

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jie jie

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh my goodness! We have been having so much fun this past week with our Chinese exchange student. She is such an incredibly sweet, thoughtful young woman. We will all be sad to see her go next week. But in the mean time, we're making the most of her visit. On her first day here, we went to old town to listen to jazz music and eat ice cream...yum!


S. joined us for church on Sunday and had a great time. We're kind of an exuberant bunch at our church, but S. didn't mind a bit. In fact, she joined right in on the clapping and dancing!

On Monday, our good friend, Yi, came over. Our lovely neighbor, Kristi, also stopped by to chat.

S. has gone from fear to great affection for our dogs (except when Rosemary stole her sandwich today...oh my goodness, who's training these dogs?!).

Lily loves having a much older jie jie in the house. She's has been wearing many elaborate Chinese hairstyles this week!

There's been some serious silliness happening in the kitchen.

Lily and I took S. to Famous Dave's Barbecue. S. declared that barbecue was now her favorite food.

Perhaps the highlight of the week was the four-hour dumpling-making party.

Jadon stuck with it for the entire time.  He kept saying, "This is fun!"

Yep...Jadon really got into the dumpling-making!
(You should have seen his hair!)

Look closely...there's a flour footprint on the! It took us almost as long to clean up as it did to make the dumplings!

Lily's friend, X., also came by to help make (and eat!) dumplings.

Look at my cute little pumpkin in the middle!

Today, S. made one of David's and my favorite foods. It's a very spicy fish soup that we had at a restaurant in Fuzhou. We've never seen it here, but S. knew what it was. She called her aunt in China and got the recipe. Wow! It was fabulous! 

 I'm sure that there will be more adventures with jie jie in the next week! We're just trying not to think about her leaving after that!

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her eyes

Friday, July 22, 2011

David and I love to kneel down and look right into our children's eyes when we talk with them.
Oh, what a joy it will be when we are finally able to look into these beautiful eyes...

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I'm learning...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I am just crazy head-over-heals in love with my five (soon to be six!) kiddos. They are simply incredible and I can hardly believe that I get to be their mom. What an amazing gift our God has given to me and to David.

But, sometimes, I really mess up.  I'm grumpy, impatient, too quick to correct...(and the list goes on). For example, last week, Yana was correcting Grace and then I corrected Yana for being too quick to correct Grace! I wasn't, by the way, giving Yana any instruction on how she could do things differently, I was simply telling her not to do that (ummm, probably see the irony in that right away, but it took me a little while).

Poor Yana just crawled into a little shell and felt horrible. Oh boy! That was my cue...I certainly didn't handle that the best.  So, I changed my tactic and instead of continuing to criticize my beautiful girl, I apologized and decided to spend the rest of the morning doing some fun training. I had Yana do a bit of schoolwork with Grace and explained to Yana the importance of encouragement when we correct.  It took a little while, but my sweet darlin' came out of her shell and started to smile and laugh.  Then, she leaned over and whispered in Grace's ear. They both giggled and asked me if I would go downstairs for 15 minutes.  When I came upstairs again, they presented me with this... 


Oh girls, you are such beautiful treasures.  It's a pleasure to participate with God as He heals your hearts.  Thanks for being patient with me...I am learning.

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Everyone who is right becomes more and more loving, or they are totally wrong.
Jordan Bajis

Dear precious Jesus, help me to learn to be so right that anything contrary to love has no space in my life.

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working boy

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I just LOVE that David takes each of the kids to work with him (okay, not Grace yet, but someday...).   Each of the older children are able to go with Dad one day a week during the summer.  What a great opportunity for them to have time with their daddy and also learn some great skills.  Adam has been going to work with David for many years, so he can run a tile saw, run a miter saw, set tiles and yesterday he got to use a hammer drill to make holes in a concrete wall so they could knock it down.  Whew!  Adam said that it was the toughest day of work that he could remember.  But he came home with a smile and the thrill of a job well done.

Thanks, David, for loving our kids and helping them to learn so many things!

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the first time I saw her...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The first time that I saw our little girl was about three years ago.  We were in the process of adopting Grace, and I had a very significant dream.

In the dream, I was sitting with our pastor at a table.  While we were talking, he got up abruptly, and walked away.  As he was walking, he turned into a woman.  The woman walked over to a littl girl, who was obviously experiencing a deep amount of pain.  The child had dark, curly hair and was writhing around on the floor, almost like a seizure, but I knew that her pain was more emotional than physical.

The woman looked at the little girl and then at me.  I knew that the woman wanted me to pick the child up, so I did.  I felt a deep amount of compassion for the little girl and she was comforted.  Then the woman took the girl from me.  The child curled up in the woman's arms and was completely at peace.

Upon waking, I knew that the dream was from the Lord and that it held a lot of significance.  I understood that the little girl in the dream was not Grace, because she was older than Grace and had curly hair.  I also knew that the woman in the dream represented the Church.  But that was all I understood of the dream at the time.  I wrote the dream down in my journal,  but after a time, I forgot about it.  It wasn't until many, many months later that all of the parts of the dream became clear to me:

I was at home praying on a day when the children were not home. The night before, at our church, we had spoken about how every member of the body should be involved in ministry.  Something about our discussion triggered the memory of the dream that I had had so long ago.  I looked it up in my journal and was struck by a number of details in the dream.  David came home while I was praying, so I began sharing some of the dream with him.  Suddenly, I looked up and saw a picture of a beautiful little girl with dark, curly hair.  It was a litte girl that we had been praying for and her picture was on our refrigerator.  I realized, in that moment, that this was the girl from my dream.  It was as if a veil had been lifted and I could see something that I hadn't seen before.  This was the little girl from my dream!

We kept this dream private as we sought the Lord for His direction...very soon it would become quite clear that not only was this precious girl the child who was in my dream, but that God wanted this child to become our daughter.

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just for fun...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lily spent about three hours on Wednesday, dressing Grace up, curling her hair, teaching her "special" dances and then taking her picture.  I just love how they love being together!
So sweet...

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Shining Like Stars

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oh my goodness!  What fun to meet these precious treasures...

Three months ago this beautiful family traveled to the Caribbean to adopt Ruth and Isaiah.
Now, along with precious Chloe and Jaxon, they have two sets of virtual twins!
Honestly, aren't they all so sweet?!

We were so honored that Jennifer and Brian took the time to "come down the mountain" and visit us while they were in CO.  I heard about Isaiah and Ruth about a year-and-a-half ago, and had been praying for a family for these two adorable children.  I know that others prayed for Ruth and Isaiah, as well.  Who wouldn't have been touched seeing their sweet faces, and knowing that they needed a family?

About four months ago, I found out that Brian, Jennifer, Jaxon and Chloe were on their way to the Caribbean to adopt Ruth and Isaiah.  Oh my goodness, I was so excited!  And can I just tell you that when God picked out a family for Isaiah and Ruth, He went all out!  They truly are shining like stars!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 KJV).

He has made every thing beautiful in His time...(Ecc. 3:11)

There have been many times in our adoption journey, when we have cried out to God for more--more of His love, more of His ways, more answers in how to help our precious children.  He is so faithful to answer these prayers.  Many times, He has given us a small piece of the puzzle.  It is enough for the moment and we do not despise these necessary small steps.  They help us to lean on Him and they cause us to seek Him for more.  Other times, He has given a larger piece of the puzzle.  We relish in the love and growth, but we know that we need even more.  Recently, we feel like God has been showing us major portions of the big picture...what an extraordinary gift!

I look back over the years of parenting and realize that there are many things that I wish I had done differently.  But I also recognize that if we hadn't experienced the struggles that we did, we wouldn't have had to seek God so diligently in this area.  A few years ago, I was looking everywhere for answers, but was discouraged to find very few who could help.  I determined in my heart to be able to have answers for others.  In His great grace, God has been leading us to answers.  He is making so many things beautiful in His time.  Karyn Purvis says that everything that she has learned about helping children heal comes directly from her understanding of the Father heart of God.  I agree!  Our Father loves to heal and I am so grateful for Dr. Cross and Dr. Purvis for developing TBRI, and helping give answers to our questions of what heals a child's heart.
So...where to begin?  Perhaps, it makes sense to start with some of the things that I would have really liked to have understood better when we began our adoption journey:

1) Children who have experienced trauma may be emotionally/socially much younger than their biological age.  They may look like a nine year old, but their little soul may have only progressed to the two year old stage.  Start where they're at and try not to have too many expectations for their behavior.  They CAN catch up, but it takes time.

2) The attachment cycle.  When a baby cries, Mama or Daddy picks baby up, feeds her (her needs are met).  Baby cries again.  Mama or Daddy picks her up, cuddles her (her needs are met).  Baby cries again.  Mama or Daddy picks baby up, changes her diapers (her needs are met).... Most of the children who have lived in orphanages, etc. did not have their basic needs met.  If they missed that stage in life, they need to experience it now, even if they are 10 years old.  Saying "yes" to as many of their needs and even their wants, as possible, is essential to building attachment with a traumatized child.

3) Many of the behaviors that children from hard places display, are a result of fear.  Oftentimes, these children are in survival mode.  Fear (displayed in fight, flight or freeze) is their first response, even in situations that may not seem scary to anyone else.  These children often cannot use the higher functioning parts of their brain.  What looks like rebellion or "checking out" may really be a child's response to fear.  It is imperative that our children feel safe in our homes.  Of course, we know that they are safe, but THEY must experience "felt safetly" as well.

4) Children who haven't been held, touched, etc. will oftentimes experience sensory processing issues.  I wrote a little bit about sensory processing issues here.  Oh, how I wish we would have known this from the start for two of our sweet darlins...but I'm so grateful to be learning about it now!

5) What works for children who have been in your home from birth (and before), may not work for children who are struggling with fear, identity and attachment.  We have to be open to new ways (which are really old ways!) to parent our beautiful gifts from God.  May He be glorified as we learn to love as He loves!

Well, that's a start anyway.  I'm hoping to fill out all of these areas (and more!).  Please let me know if you have any specific questions or if you have input to offer.  I'd love to hear your stories!

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

I don't know if you've ever noticed, but I have some really unusual eybrows...really unusual.
My saving grace has been that my eyebrows are so light that they're not really noticeable.
So...along with my legs that get shaved about twice a year

That is...
until Meredith and I went to the mall.

Meredith was buying cute girl clothes,
but I was showng great powers of restraint.

As we were walking out of the last store, we went past the eyebrow threading kiosk.
mmmhmmm...eyebrow threading
I casually mentioned that I've thought about having my eyebrows threaded (is that the right verb tense...?).

"Why don't you do it now?" Meredith asked.
"When's the next time you'll be here without kids?"

She had a good point...
So, I plopped down my $10 (so much for restraint), and had a seat.

If you haven't ever heard of eyebrow threading, here's a photo:

The only difference between this photo and my experience is that in this photo the woman looks very relaxed and there are no tears streaming down her face.
No tears streaming down her face.

The very kind young woman who threaded my eyebrows informed me that "some people can take it, and some people can't."
I guess we all know what kind of person that makes me.
But, in my defense, I think that I mentioned that I do have very unusual eyebrows.
I'm thinking that made it much more painful than it is for the average person.

I actually like how it turned out, though.
I might have even posted a photo.
Except that 24 hours later, it still feels like my eyes are sunburned.
Not thinking that's normal.
But, then again, I do have very unusual eyebrows...

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Adoption fundraiser for a beautiful family

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Please check out this family's adoption fundraiser.  God has lead them to adopt another precious little treasure from China and I know that He is also going to bring in the money that they need to adopt this little one!

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Well, it wasn't bad news, so that's good!

Our file is currently with the Head of the Department and as soon as he/she makes a decision, our agency will let us know.  Thank you for your all bless us so much!  Please continue to pray that we would have a YES soon.  We put our trust completely in our amazing God who is completely able to bring this all about.

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Asking for more prayers!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I just got an email from our Ind*a agency representative.  She said that she is going to call Ind*a tonight and try to find out if they have made a decision about our family adopting R.  Please pray for a YES tonight!  Thank you so much, friends, for your prayers on behalf of this precious girl and our family!

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