Monday, January 31, 2011

Need Some Cheap Bling?

Patrick made himself a paperclip necklace.

He said he needed some BLING!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Money Management

Funny!  Maybe we should have watched this before deciding to take all the crew to China! 

Kidding!  We have it all worked out.  The kids don't need college savings accounts, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Rhymes With "Smarticle Jive"?

Article 5! 

Now, we wait for TA!  (TRAVEL APPROVAL!!!!)


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wedgie Free!

I've been having some fun shopping as we continue to wait for our Article 5.



FUN!

The size is a guess, but she is small for her age, about the size of Patrick, so we just take him shopping and make him try on everything.  KIDDING!

Seriously tho, I knew the EXACT style of undies to buy--when a girl has a WHOLE LOT of brothers--these are the perfect choice!





WEDGIE FREE! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

We're Crazier Than I Thought! The Circus Is Going To China!

I think we might win the award for "Craziest Adoption Trip."  Not that it's a contest.  But maybe I can talk one of those reality TV shows into making it a contest--so we can win a lot of money.  And I'm pretty sure we would win because our family can be pretty hysterical to watch en mass.

We've decided to take SIX of our kids with us to China.  (Please SOMEONE talk some sense into us--before it's too late!)  We still hope to travel in March.

I'm not quite sure how it all happened.  It started with "only" taking the three youngest.

And now we are all going (minus Will--still in military training).  It will truly be a circus of chaos, craziness, crankiness, sweet memories, and FUN! 

A friend suggested we get one of those ropes that preschools use--the ones with all the knots.
Too Funny! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can You Tell He's From A Big Family?

Last weekend I took the kids to the pool.  It was Vu's birthday so I said they could all get a treat from the snack bar.  Vu walks up to the counter and says,

"What do you have on your dollar menu?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Waiting Child: "Julie"

From the Holt Blog:
Julie, a child in the Journey of Hope program, needs a family of her own
Date of Birth: 11/15/98
by Robin Munro, senior writer

This summer, several of us at Holt traveled to China to meet children in the Journey of Hope – a program to propel adoption of older children, or children with special needs in southern China. Upon arrival, I joined Holt China staff and local caregivers for a traditional dinner in the province of Jiangsu. Across the table from us sat three children who, along with their caregivers, had journeyed a considerable distance to meet us. Two little boys in matching red shirts sat side by side, charming the visitors. And then there was *Julie.


Though shyly looking away, her eyes held a glow as bright and genuine as her smile. She giggled and chatted with her favorite caregiver – a young woman who also taught in the orphanage school. Clearly very attached to her caregiver, she also recognized Sue Liu – the sweet-faced manager of the Holt office in Beijing – and, once at ease, got up from the table to greet her. She gave her a big hug, and squeezed into her chair – this tall, slender, 11-year-old girl with a Mickey Mouse button on her yellow Crocs shoes. Awkwardly smooshed together, they sat like sisters – playful and laughing.

Julie’s assessment states that she often shows great kindness and easily builds attachments. That night in Jiangsu, Julie brought that description to vibrant, glowing life. She bounded down the hallways to greet orphanage directors and Holt staff, her long skinny legs sticking out of shorts – an outfit in which she seemed more comfortable than the frilly frock she wore for the official Journey of Hope camp the following day. And her hugs – warm and engrossing – landed spontaneous and often on their recipients.

Julie entered care as an infant and has lived in the orphanage ever since. Because of a medical condition that made it difficult to control her bodily functions, she entered school later than other children. When we met her this summer, she was in the third grade. In November, she turned 12. After receiving surgeries that corrected her condition, Julie became more confident and outgoing in school. She now loves playing games with her classmates, and she says she wants to be a teacher like her favorite caregiver.

Julie recites poems from memory, speaks a few English phrases and is eager to learn more in preparation for joining a family in the U.S. Though she struggles a bit in school, she responds well to encouragement and praise. She helps out with what she can, including caring for the younger children in the orphanage, and has many friends there.

At the Journey of Hope camp, as the children arrived ready to perform songs and dances for the visitors, Julie approached Sue with a big smile on her face and, in her hand, a woven pencil box… a gift she’d made for her. Once more, they hugged, giggling like sisters.

Help Julie, the Waiting Child of the Week, go viral! Forward this to friends and family. Share every week at church or a community group. And repost to your own blog, Facebook page and company site. With the simple press of a button, you can change Julie’s life forever!

Contact Holt’s Waiting Child program for more information about Julie.

*name changed

Friday, January 14, 2011

Living Life For Christ

I just read this in Radical, by David Platt, in regards to living a life free-falling for Christ:

"Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous.  It is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier.  It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world.  Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things.  But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ.  And he is more than enough for us."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life

We lost someone near and dear to our hearts today.  It was unexpected.  And she was much too young to die--too full of life and love. 

As I sit here in shock, a million thoughts go through my head, but there are two that keep repeating themselves:  Life is Fleeting and Life Must Be Lived to the Fullest. 

Life is but a mist.  And we never know which day will be our last.  I know this better than most; yet it's brutally re-taught on a regular basis.

I think of Tim McGraw's song, Live Like You Were Dying. 

I want to live my life to the fullest, because I want to live for those who didn't have the chance.  I want my life to count--not just for me--but for all the family members who have been taken too soon. 

To make an analogy to baseball, I don't want to wait at the plate hoping for the safety of a walk; I want to be swinging for the homerun and then go flying around the bases sliding face-first into homeplate.   

For me.  For them.  For Christ.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Laugh of the Day

Overheard:

Patrick:  I never have nightmares.

Vu:  I have nightmares every night!!!!  One time, I even dreamed I got MARRIED!!!

Patrick:  DUDE!  Someday, when you're like 19, you won't think that's a bad dream anymore. 



Those two make me laugh.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Protecting Our Adopted Child

We are getting closer to having Rose in our arms!  We are currently waiting for our Article 5 and then TA and we hope to be in China late Feb/early March.  How COOL is that?!!  Lots of smiles here!



Some of you may have noticed I still haven't posted Rose's picture--which I said I would do once she knows we are her family.  She knows.  And she has written us a letter and sent us some artwork.  She says she is excited to be adopted and her artwork is amazing.  How precious is that?!

And yet, I still have not posted her picture.  And I don't know why.  She is so beautiful and sweet, I can't wait to show you her incredible smile!  It's one of those smiles that makes everyone else smile. 

And yet, there is something that tells me to wait.  Maybe because she's older?  Maybe because I feel even more concerned about protecting my children's privacy as the world becomes ever more public? 

Our first social worker talked to us at length about privacy.  She was adopted herself, and she felt strongly that our adopted children should own their personal adoption stories.  Our children deserve to have privacy regarding how and why they came to be adopted.  When they are old enough, they can share their life story with whomever they choose--but it is THEIR choice, because it is THEIR story.  We have taken that advice to heart, sharing only minimal details with most people. 

Honestly, I am sometimes shocked at the details I read on some blogs.  Every part of their child's birth and relinquishment history is shared.  It just makes me cringe a little as I wonder what their adopted child will think someday when they are a teenager and realize that so much of their personal information was put out for all to see.  Regardless of what the situation was, abandonment/relinquishment is always a time of profound loss and grief--not just on that day, but forever.  And that makes it private.  And that makes it worthy of protection.  Ya know? 

And so, I think that may be why I'm reserved to share Rose's picture.  I want to preserve her privacy.  She still feels very far away and vulnerable and I want to protect her in every way I can.   

Once she's in our arms, then I will joyfully share that beautiful smile with all of you.  Until then, rejoice with us in the fact that we'll be leaving for China in just a few short WEEKS!  I seriously cannot believe the time has almost come!  SWEET NIBLETS!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Miracles Happen

A family will soon be in China to adopt the boy we have all been praying for!  They are scheduled to adopt him one day before his 14th birthday.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

And because I can't leave a post without a picture, here's a funny one from Christmas.  Santa seems to have this little obsession with Pillow Pets! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wedding Pictures

Finally, some pictures of the wedding reception!  It was a wonderful event.  C.'s mom made a delicious spaghetti dinner, followed by lots of desserts including wedding cupcakes made by Lizzy.






Friends since kindergarten.


My baby is all grown up!


We feel very blessed to add C. to our family!


Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.!


WE LOVE YOU BOTH!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Learning To Love Our REAL Child

Looking for me? 

Today I'm hanging out with the big dogs! 

I am honored to be a guest blogger at one my favs: A Bushel and a Peck.



I’ve been living in Adoption Land a long time. Thirteen years ago we sat in the livingroom of an adoptive family to learn more about adoption. I don’t remember a thing that was said in that meeting. I was too busy being mesmerized by their beautiful toddler from Korea and all I could think about was that someday we might have a little girl like theirs (and 18 months later, we did!).

Sometimes, it seems I still have so much to learn in Adoption Land that I forget I’ve actually learned a lot. Some things were imprinted in my brain so long ago I forget it wasn’t put there by osmosis.

Recently, I read a great blog post from a mom who just adopted a three year old. It’s harder than she thought it would be and he’s different than she expected. She fell in love with this still, sweet picture of a boy who was described as shy and quiet–and he’s not. And it’s hard. And she wonders why more people who have BTDT don’t share how hard it is.

That’s what this post is about.

It’s easy to fall in love with the dream of our child. It’s easy to think that even though some people have a hard time with attachment, ours will be easier because we love our child so much. We love that still-shot of their face. We love the descriptions we receive when we are matched. We love imagining all the fun we will have, the cuddles, giggles and laughter.

What we forget (and what I’ve learned) is that their still picture can also move. They can run and jump and throw temper tantrums and unbuckle their seatbelt while the car is still moving, then try to open the car door–in three lanes of traffic! They will spill grape juice on the new carpet (even tho they know they are supposed to drink at the table), and pee their pants because they’re afraid to go on the automatic flush toilets in Target, and they will refuse to ride their bike home from the park because they are hot and their legs are too tired and they don’t care that there is no way for us to ride our own bike, carry their bike AND them!

We discover that their still, smiling faces can be contorted in fear, anger, sadness and grief. They will chew with their mouths open, pick their nose, and have lice or scabies or both. They will yell and scream–both in anger and joy. They will run a fever on the day we are supposed to go on vacation and throw-up spaghetti–yes, on the new carpet. They will push us away when we ache to comfort them and wriggle in church and ask us to pick them up, which we do, and then they shout very loudly, so everyone in church can hear, “OUCH! YOU’RE SQUASHING MY PENIS!” (BTDT to all of the above.)

And you know what else? Our child won’t resemble the one described in their reports. The shy child will become bold with the love of a family and the child described as a leader, living in an orphanage with mostly babies, will melt into the laidback role of the baby in a large family (Vu).

It comes as a shock. And it usually takes time to learn to love this child. This new child. But you know what the best part is? We DO come to love this child, way more than we ever loved that child in the picture.

We come to love OUR REAL CHILD.