Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Winner!

Thanks for all your warm wishes regarding our Mei Mei.

"Mei mei" means "little sister" in Chinese.  That will be her blog name. 

I always feel badly not sharing, but I'll wait to post her picture until she is safely in our arms--I'm not even certain she knows about our family yet.     

But trust me.  She is so beautiful, with such sweetness.  I don't have recent measurements, but she looks tall and thin.  She appears very shy--but we'll just have to see what the love of a large family brings out in her!

I loved hearing everyone's favorite books and guesses.  Thanks for joining the fun!

I finally decided to do the drawing the good ol' fashion way--with paper. 

Drumroll please . . .

Vu had the honor of drawing . . . .

And the winner of The Family that Nobody Wanted . . .

my favorite book ever is . . .


Congratulations Nancy! 

Nancy is my new China-mom-adoption-friend, and we plan to travel together, so I had to laugh when her name was drawn.  Surely it's a sign we really will!

I have lots of books to weed out of my overgrown collection, so we picked five more names:

Daisy, Micaela, Are These Kids Yours, Stacey, and thecurry7!

I will send each of you a surprise book, freshly dusted off from my bookshelf!

Send me your address if I don't already have it:

Thanks again for playing and for joining our excitement!

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Are Incredibly Overjoyed To Announce . . .

We have been blessed by another daughter! 

A little Mei Mei, 10 years old, with the most beautiful, soul-filled eyes. 

She has been waiting for a forever family her whole life--and we are so incredibly, amazingly blessed, to be that family. 

We have been in process since last summer and hope to travel back to China in about three months.

We can't wait to add more energy to our crazy family!

Every good and perfect gift is from above ~ James 1:17

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clue #2--My New Favorite Number

For your viewing entertainment:  Sesame Street and 10 Chinese Things. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Urgent: Kate Needs A Family!

NOTE:  This is not the gift I have been referring to--but oh how I pray she will find the gift of a family!!!

Advocating for this child, and praying she finds a family in time! 

She has so little time left!!!

In China, once a child turns 14 they can no longer be adopted, and will never know the love of a forever family.

Once an orphan turns 14, they are forever relegated to the life of an orphan, and will face a lifetime of extreme discrimination.

Please pray for Kate.

*Note that due to the short timeframe, only families who already have a dossier in China (or have adopted from China in the last year), will be able to complete the adoption in time.  If you are currently matched and waiting to adopt a child from China, it is also possible that you might be able to bring home both children at the same time--both the child you are currently matched with AND Kate--call or e-mail Holt's Waiting Child Dept. for more information. 

Relishing Our Gifts

I love all your guesses and the sharing of your favorite books.  Thank you! You all make me smile!

I am excited to tell you the answer to the guessing game--but with the surprise new gift, I have to first relish in the joy of a new baby!

Did I mention how excited we are?

Within the hour I had purchased the first gift for my grandbaby.

We are so thankful to God for ALL His precious blessings.

We had a nice Thanksgiving, complete with lots of food,

followed by the traditional naps,

(have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE this giant couch--one of our best purchases ever!)

Then we concluded the evening with a trip to the bowling alley--Lizzy was working so it gave us a chance to spend the evening with her.  It was cosmic bowling and we had a (bowling) ball!

And then we joined the crazies to do some midnight shopping.  Oh, how I wish I had pics of Paul sitting in the Target shopping cart!

The guessing game will continue tomorrow, with the results on Monday.  Keep the guesses (and the lists of favorite childhood books) coming in!

In the meantime, I am relishing the NEW surprise gift! 

I hope you are all having a blessed holiday! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What A Blessed Thanksgiving!

I just found out I am going to be a GRANDMA!!!! 

This was not the gift I was talking about--how blessed we are this Thanksgiving!

Will and Cort announced the big news tonight.  They are going to be fantastic parents!

Will also returned from his difficult training today, safe and sound, so we have many blessings to be thankful for.  Praise God! 

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Congrats to the new Mommy and Daddy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Clue #1

The gift involves travel.

A Guessing Game Give-Away

Several years ago I read that a blog isn't a real blog if there aren't giveaways. 

So I guess I'm not real.

But I've decided to change all that.  Just for today.

And besides, I have a fun little guessing game to add to the giveaway.

The giveaway will be my ALL TIME FAVORITE book--I have loved it since I first read it in 5th grade.  I have read it so many times I can't even count!  I love it so much I want to share a copy with one of you!

The Family Nobody Wanted, by Helen Doss. 

The guessing game ties into Thanksgiving.

I am especially thankful this Thanksgiving for an extra special gift.

Can you guess what that gift is? 

So . . . enter into the giveaway by posting a comment on what you think my special Thanksgiving gift is.

Get an extra entry by having a correct answer.

Get an extra, extra entry by sharing your all-time, favorite, childhood book. 

Get a bucket full of entries by sending me a Starbuck's card.

Kidding.  That wouldn't be fair.  But I do love coffee.  And chocolate.  And books.

Anyhoo . . .

The answer will be posted on Saturday and the drawing will occur soon thereafter (this means the drawing will occur when I get my tech-savvy teens to help do it through the computer). 

Happy Guessing!  And enjoy reminiscing about your favorite childhood books!  Looking forward to it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finally! And Update on Rose!

At this time last year, Rose was still an orphan.

But now?  Now, she has a FOREVER family!

Rose is amazing!  She is loving, generous, funny, energetic, and smart!

And did I mention beautiful???

Her English is coming along well--now we are just working hard to keep her Chinese! She goes to Chinese school every Saturday and frequently talks to Chinese friends who have also been adopted.

Last summer, she finally learned to ride her bike. It was difficult, and day after day she would try . . .

and fail. But then, one day, she finally just took off, smiling from ear to ear and screaming,

"Me can!!! Me can!!!!"

And now she's already counting down the years until she can drive.

Believe you me, she can do anything she puts her mind to!

I'm not saying there haven't been challenges.  There have been misunderstandings, cultural differences, and sometimes jealousy.  She can be competitive, determined, and bossy.

But mostly?  Rose adds so much joy to our lives!  She is full of love and affection. Sweet and spicy!  She wants to do everything and try everything!

Currently, she's taking ballet, Chinese dance, and art class. She's also starting basketball soon.  And she loves to swim.

We don't usually let our kids sign up for so many obligations, but she's such a go-getter--and it's hard to say no when she's never had the chance to experience the opportunities in life. 

She appreciates having a family-- tho she grieves the foster family she left behind.   She misses her motherland.  She hungers for real Chinese food. 

We are blessed to have Rose in our lives.

She is truly a gift from heaven. 

We are so grateful that she faced her fears and came to a new land, a new life, and a new family.

We are so thankful we put aside our own fears, listened to God, and proceeded with the adoption of an older child, who had been raised in an orphanage for most of her life, and who had waited on a photolisting for over a year. 

We are truly blessed. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!  We love you Rose!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alcohol: My New Best Friend

Woke up this morning and immediately googled how to get silly putty out of clothing . . . and blankets . . . and sheets . . . and hair.

(Apparently, Vu was having a little too much fun at bedtime.)

The answer?


Rubbing alcohol!  Just pour it on, rub the putty out--then launder.


Bring on the next adventure!

How did I ever live life without Google??

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Happy Ending

I couldn't repost yesterday's without also including this one from 2008.  I am happy to report that Prince Charming and Mr. Personality have since had several happy reunions!

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time there were two beautiful baby boys, born just days apart, sleeping side by side together in a Vietnamese orphanage.

The two tiny babies took bottles at the same time every day and soon grew bigger and bigger. The babies developed happy personalities and were a joy to their nannies who decided to name them, "Mr. Personality" and "Prince Charming."

The nannies loved the boys very much and hoped they would find families soon, but both boys continued to wait. Together, they learned to sit and crawl and walk.

Then, Vietnam closed their adoption program. Children could no longer be adopted by Americans. The nannies were very sad the boys did not have families.

Mr. Personality and Prince Charming continued to grow and spent their days together laughing and sharing secrets. They played tag and hide-and-go seek with the other children. Sometimes at naptime the nannies would make them a special little fort with a sheet spread between two cribs and their sleeping mats underneath. The boys would giggle and tickle one another until the nannies made them go to sleep.

Years went by and the boys grew into active four-year-old boys. They filled their days eating, playing and sleeping together. One day, the nannies buzzed with excitement--adoptions between the U.S. and Vietnam would resume! They loved the boys and would be brokenhearted to see them leave but because they loved them so much, they wanted them to have a life they could not give them in the orphanage.

One day, Mr. Personality was told his forever family would be coming very soon to bring him home. Soon, the nannies made a cake and had a "Going Party" wishing him good luck and kissing his little head and crying sad farewells.

That night, Prince Charming and Mr. Personality slept side by side one last time.

The next morning a Mommy and Daddy came for Mr. Personality! He was very excited to finally have a family and go to America!

Mr. Charming watched them drive out the front gate. He was sad. He knew he would not see his friend again. He missed Mr. Personality's laughter and the excitement he brought to the orphanage. He missed the way he and his friend would hide from the nannies in the baby room, laughing as the nannies would feign an inability to find them.

That night Prince Charming cried. He asked his nannies when he would get a mommy and daddy. The nannies looked at each other sadly and said, "Someday, Prince Charming . . . someday."

Another year passed and Prince Charming said goodbye to nearly all his little friends. As each left, one by one, part of his heart left too and every night he would ask his nannies when he would get a new mommy and daddy.

"Someday, Prince Charming . . . someday."

Months passed until one day, the orphanage director brought him to her office. She was both smiling and crying. She had a package in front of her with toys and Skittles and Superman pajamas. And a book. A book filled with pictures. A book filled with pictures of Prince Charming's new family.

"Vu, you finally have a forever family! They will come very soon!"

And they did! And he was very, very happy.

Vu loved having a family but sometimes, late at night, as he drifted off to sleep he would hear one of his nannies in a distant land playing hide-and-seek and calling out, "Where are you two boys! Prince Charming, Mr. Personality, where are you?" He would remember how he and his special friend would run and laugh and hide. He missed his friend.

Then one day, Vu's mother told him she had a very special surprise for him! She told him he was going to get to visit his long-lost friend, Mr. Personality.

And they laughed:

And they shared secrets:

And they played tag, and hide-and-go-seek, and Bakugan, and Star Wars, and they made plans for their next visit together:

And they were very, very, VERY happy!

And when they left each other this time, they knew they would see each other again.

As they live happily ever after!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembering His Losses

Today, I was talking to a therapist who works with adopted children.  In our conversation I said that adoptive parents don't hear enough about the grief that occurs when our children lose their orphanage friends one by one--a reminder of the incredible pain our children have endured. 

In an effort to share, I am reposting this from 2009.  Please consider adopting an older child who waits, and waits, and waits.  Their loses are great--but their joys in a newfound life are also multiplied. 

This post still makes me cry.

It's Not Fair

I knew he would be sad. I knew he would grieve. I knew he would be confused and emotional and frustrated. What I didn't know was how angry he would be.

I expected him to be angry at me for taking him away from everyone and everything he had ever loved. He's not. But he is angry at me for a reason I never expected--for taking so long to come and get him.

Many kids repress their memories of life in the orphanage. It's a coping mechanism, one that draws a line between before and after; an electric fence that protects.

Some kids keep snapshots or let memories creep out in dreams.

And then some are like Vu. He talks about Vietnam every . single . day. His memories are as bright as a golden dragon--and as dark as a dung beetle. He was loved. He was also left. Over, and over, and over, again.

Vu was raised in the orphanage from the time he was a baby. He grew up with four other children, all the same age and for four years they slept together, ate together, played together. They were like siblings. And there were other children too, many living in foster care, but visiting the orphanage often enough to be close friends. There were babies and toddlers Vu loved--one of his favorite things to do was go play with the babies in the baby room.

And then Vietnam reopened bringing a tapestry of joy interwoven with grief. One by one Vu's beloved friends and babies left; piece by piece, his heart left too. The orphanage began to empty out leaving Vu feeling like the last kid to be chosen for the playground team.

His saddest memory was when Mr. Personality left. Vu tells me, "After he left every day, every day, I had to sleep ALL ALONE! And I was scared!" Vu rarely cries. Vu cries when he tells me this story. I cry too. I cry just writing this.

Vu tells me it's not fair. It's not fair he was left behind. It's not fair that everyone's mom came and his did not. My feeble explanations fall upon ears unable to understand, a mind too young to comprehend, a heart too broken with hurt and ultimately, words cannot explain what even I do not understand. What matters is the truth.

His friends had a Mommy.

He did not.

And it's not fair.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You For Fighting For Us

My daughter-in-love sent me this link. 

Thank you to all the men and women who fought for me, my children, my country, and the world.

Sending special prayers and love to my Will, who is currently in a very challenging field assignment.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Question For God

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it . . ."

" . . . but I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Waiting Children

So many children wait.  Does one of these faces belong in your family? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shop 'Til You Drop

The Three Musketeers decided to combine their candy.  What a great idea, yes? 

No, I don't think so.  And I would have said as much if they had asked.  But they didn't ask.  I am just waiting for a fight of who ate who's whatever.

BUT, those three do crack me up! 

They put all their candy in a pillowcase.  Then, one will shout out, "Time to go shopping!"  The child who is "shopping" will then proceed to put their head in the pillowcase, rummage around, then come out with the "purchase"--the chosen piece of candy.

I love having kids!  Too funny!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Party On

As long as I've been on the birthday party wagon--thought I would go ahead and prove that saying of "better late than never."

Before we went to China (yes, that would be, like, forever ago), I intended to post birthday pics for Vu, Kim, Patrick, and Lizzy.  They have birthdays one right after the other. 

But then, life got crazy as I packed and prepared and packed and PACKED for China.  (Did you know it is very complicated to take 9 people to China?) 

Anyhoo, highlights of our last birthday season.

Vu's party was at Chuck E. Cheese.  I am not a big fan of commercialized parties, but The Ticket Blaster and his smile was worth every penny.  This kid is FULL OF JOY!

Kim had a party at home.  One of her gifts was contacts!  Yipee for the girl who doesn't like (and can't keep track of) glasses!  She also got invited to join the family in China (originally, she and Lizzy were staying home because they had travelled to Vietnam).  Pretty sweet birthday gift for a SUPER SWEET girl!

Lizzy had a family party and then a surprise party!  Lots of fun and we were so glad the girls joined us in China.  Lizzy is a wonderful daughter and one of my best friends!

Patrick celebrated at the bowling alley, then followed with some mattress sliding at home.  FUN!  Patrick is my MORE boy--more of everything!  He is an amazing kid and I love him so much!

For James' birthday, we were actually in China.  When we returned home, we took him out to a fancy dinner.  It was DELICIOUS with quite the view.  James is one of the nicest people I know.  My first born.  He always makes me smile and I love him tons!

Whew!  I feel better now!  All caught up!  Just in time for birthday season to roll around again!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chocolate Poisoning

Halloween was wonderful!  Martha Stewart was busy, but the pumpkins got carved.

And the kids were so excited!  No rain (despite rain earlier in the day). 

Rose was absolutely THRILLED!  Here she is trick-or-treating for the very first time. 

It was fun just watching her enjoy the thrill of the hunt.  She was a bit freaked out by the neighborhood haunted house, but the boys were pumped!

Paul's impromptu party went well.  He even cleaned up!

My children are now drunk with chocolate--and will be for a few days. 

I used to dole out the candy piece by piece, day by day.

Now?  Now, I am a seasoned mother.  This is a nice way of saying I am a lazy mother.  I let my kids eat all the candy they want until it's gone!  (Unfortunately, they still want me to cook meals.)

No fights, no begging, no candy for weeks on end. 

Eat it up kids!  Hopefully, you'll barf along the way and keep from poisoning yourselves!