Going once, going twice....

Thursday, January 31, 2013

There is a wonderful family whom we know, who is in the process of adopting a 13 year old girl from Columbia. They hope to travel to Columbia this spring/summer and are raising funds for their daughter's adoption in the meantime. 

They have an AMAZING online auction going on with some wonderful things that you can bid on.

things like this:

and this:

The auction will end on February 10th, so hop on over to their site and see if there is anything that you would like to purchase.

Thanks so much, friends, for supporting this precious family and their beautiful new daughter!

These two...

are so in love with each other.

tears, tantrums and tummy troubles

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oh my! That's an ominous title.

But friends, I want to be real with you. I want you to know that even with the easiest of adoptions, there will be difficulties.

Why is that?

Because we're adopting human beings here...little persons who sometimes (or often) sin.
And not only are they human beings, but they are human beings who have experienced trauma, in the past, and who have just experienced trauma by leaving the place that they know and entering into a whole new world.

Oh how I wish that I would have understood this more completely with our first adoptions! Tantrums brought me to near breakdown, and I took many of my childrens' outbursts far too personally. I was more concerned with how I might look, than with helping to heal their little hearts. I was always trying to catch them up (emotionally, physically and socially), rather than appreciating how amazing and brave they were for coming through such intense trauma with so many wonderful qualities!

Up until this past weekend, this little angel boy has displayed hardly any of the behaviors that are so common with adopted children.

But then Kaikai got sick (serious tummy trouble--he threw up on the dog!). And then, he didn't sleep well for two nights. And then, he was g.r.u.m.p.y. on Saturday. Everything and everyone was "very bad" (his words--yay for learning so much English already!) and he had a couple of full-fledged tantrums. He was tired of feeling yucky and tired of not being able to communicate his needs to us.

Whew! It was a loooooong day.

But friends, even though it was difficult (and I will admit, I hid away in my room for a half-an-hour when I was in serious need of a break), I look back and know that it was such a good day! We overcame some real difficulty and came out on the other end with Kaikai being a little more sure that we will love him no matter what. I truly consider it an honor that God has entrusted David and I to help our son to heal from his past wounds. What  a privilege to partner with God to pour love out on this little man!

Most days it is easy (and I am sooooo grateful for that!). But, at the end of a difficult day, there is the satisfaction of knowing that Kaikai's life is being redeemed, that he is learning how to love and trust us more and that we are being formed more into the image of Christ, as a result. 

Thank you, Jesus, for wonderful days! But thank you, also, for days that involve tears, tantrums and tummy troubles, because those days help our son to trust us more, and they help us to trust You more.

Oh my goodness!
I LOVE adoption!

China Snapshot

Friday, January 25, 2013

Because of the sketchy internet connection in China, I wasn't able to blog about some of the fun little moments of our trip. I don't want to forget these moments, so I'm posting all of them on this China Snapshot.

We had two different groups that we were a part of in Guangzhou. This is our first group.

 Lots of sweet babies in this group...and lots of wonderful families.

Our next group consisted of just three families. We really had a great time getting to know the other two families!

Lily and David were the only two who were brave enough (or who had strong enough stomachs) to go on this ride.

 I love the beautiful, tropical flowers in Guangzhou.

David is just too much fun! He joined every hacky sack group that we came across (and there were a lot of them). These ladies loved him!

Kaikai's favorite perch.
He wanted to stay up there forever.

The breakfast buffet.
Oh my!
I'm really missing these amazing breakfasts.

Okay, he's not really sleeping here, but he's still super-cute. This boy was certainly the best part of our trip to China! Thank you, Jesus, for such a precious little guy!!!

baby, it's warm outside...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We've been having beautiful weather, so on Saturday, we decided to have an outdoor family day. The first order of the day was to get a picture of our SIX kiddos in their siblings shirts. It was critical that this photo was taken before their t-shirts got any stains on them!

Oh, how I love this crew!!!

After that torture was over (ummmm...some people really don't enjoy having their picture taken), it was off to the park!

Oh my! Aren't they all precious?! 

David always makes every outing fun! He's such a great dad!

Some good friends gave the kids TCBY gift cards for Christmas. What a wonderful treat after an afternoon of playing at the park.

Thank you, Jesus, for warm weather, yummy treats and making memories.
It was a wonderful family day!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Our family has been blessed with six amazing children, five of whom have been adopted internationally. Our most recent adoption has been the easiest one yet. But, is it because our new son meets up to all of our expectations?

Well, yes.
And, no.

You see, if there is one thing that I have begun to learn over the past 12 years, it is to try not to have unrealistic expectations of a newly adopted child (or any person, for that matter). I am not saying that you should expect the worst (because in my opinion, that is too negative), but I am saying that you should line up your expectations with the reality of what this child's life has been like, up until the point that he/she met you. And because the lives of most orphans have been pretty chaotic, expectations have to be pretty minimal.

So, in our case, we were told that Kaikai was bright and kind, but we also knew that after living in an orphanage for two years, he may have picked up some negative behaviors. So, even though we had an expectation that kindness and intellectual ability were a part of his personality, we also knew that we might have some work ahead of us in order to bring these things to light.

So, we were pleasantly suprised when Kaikai's immediate behavior not only met our expectations, but also far exceeded our expectations in many areas. He is not only bright and kind, but also loving, affectionate, brave, fun and determined.

On the other hand, Kaikai's behavior is congruent with what we would expect from a child who has lived in an orphanage for two years, who has a significant special need and who speaks a different language. For example, Kaikai often enjoys being contradictory, he pulls at my hair or David's beard when he gets nervous, he gets anxious and silly in a crowd, he can hold a pretty good grudge, and when he's angry he'll rattle off a string of Chinese that you know is not complimentary.

But, we're completely fine with that because we did not expect Kaikai to act like a child who was born into our family and who has lived with us for the past almost 9 years of his life. And if we consider all that he has been through and all that he has overcome, we are amazed by the beautiful parts of his personalilty that we can already so plainly see.

So, when I say that this adoption is easy and that Kaikai is incredible, I am not saying that our son is perfect, or even that he is without significant wounds. What I am saying is that, given what we know about his past, and knowing at least a little bit about what it means to endure trauma, we are absolutely amazed by our sweet son! He has certainly exceeded our expectations!

And that's the sort of expectation that I don't mind giving up!

wo ai...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

 I love to whisper "Wo ai ni" (I love you) into Kaikai's ear. 

In China, whenever I told Kaikai that I loved him, he would sweetly respond, "Wo ai Baba" (I love Daddy). 

It was so incredibly cute.
I loved it.
But, I was also ready for the day when Kaikai would feel safe enough to tell me that he loved me, as well.

Well, that day came yesterday.
Kaikai told me that he loved me,
not one time,
but three times.

He told me twice in Chinese...
"Wo ai ni, Mama,"

and once in English...
"I love you, too, Mama."

Oh my!
I am so in love with this boy!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for this precious gift of our beautiful son.

my favorite

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Because of internet issues, I didn't get a chance to post pictures of my favorite spot that we visited in China.

It was a beautiful park, near the hotel where we were staying in Gaungzhou.

We visited the park on the warmest day of our stay. It was such a relaxing and beautiful environment.


 This is probably my favorite photo of our whole trip. Notice that sweet little hand in mine. Oh, how I love this boy!

We returned with some friends on the next day. Grace loved hanging out with Carly.

It as a little bit chillier that day, but we had promised the kids a boat ride. They didn't mind the cold. They thought that it was great!

 Grace got to ride with Carly and co.

Isn't our God amazing, to have created such beauty?!

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