Thursday, April 18, 2013

2 months ago today!!

We have been with our sweet daughter for 2 months today!!  Wow!!  Seems like yesterday we were in China; yet it seems like she has been with us forever!

I honestly never dreamt life with her would be so joy filled.
I love her more than I ever thought possible (feel that about all my babies). :)

She has had so many firsts this past month:
1st Easter Egg Hunt

1st time to church and Easter (still hasn't gone to nursery but is doing great sitting with us)
Can you tell Aili likes to wear matching dresses??
First trip to Legoland

First time to Target and Publix...and ummm...Publix spoiled her... Cool cart to ride in, free cookie and free balloon..  Now when we go she points to balloons and says, "Mine."  lol 

First time to Moes (Maybe last for a while - $$$ to take 5 people to eat at Moes!)

First time through a tunnel on playground alone (usually Aili helps her through) :)
First time to a homeschool science class
First time riding in our wagon
First time in our pools in our subdivision - today we went to celebrate 2 months!!  She is getting so brave now - actually letting me hold her hands instead of the tight grip around my neck she did have! :) She even wanted to jump in today (yes we had a swimmie on her). :)

Many ask how her language is doing and I think she is doing great for being home just over a month! She has added more words to her vocabulary and says over 20 words clearly.  New words this month is: Mommy, Daddy (was Mama and Dada), look, come, there, that, yay, help, sorry, kiss, hug.  The last two are my favorite because she says them and then puckers her lips and reaches out her arms. :)  When she says sorry - she hugs, and kisses whatever is hurt... so so sweet! :)  Oh and last week she counted to 5!!

People have also asked how she is doing with Ian.  The first month home she really warmed up to him.  He adores her and she does him too. :)  Now he has to watch out for her tackling him unexpectedly for some hugs, kisses and cuddles. :) 

Some things about Meisi -
She loves to laugh, loves to dance, loves to sing...and it is oh so sweet to hear her singing herself to sleep each night even though I don't know what she is saying. :)  Her favorite English song is definitely, "itsy bitsy spider."  She asks for it over and over... we started that in China and she loves humming along and doing motions. :) 

How am I?
I am learning how to deal with 3 - don't think I will ever be caught up on the laundry (and not sure how many loads I have had to wash twice because it sat too long), never talk on the phone unless driving (yes, I know...but at least not texting..)...  I have been trying new recipes and doing my best at cooking (not a natural gift for me - lol).  I also have been training myself to wake before the kids to "find my chair" to study God's word, do a little exercise and shower.  Now this is big for me because I LOVE sleep and I am a night owl...but I knew I desperately needed my study time more than any other thing.  So, off to bed before midnight it is for me now! :)   Truly has made a HUGE difference in my attitude and heart to start our homeschooling days. :)  We still have many rough spots but it is much better overall. 

Last night was our Sparks Awana box car race - Ian got 5th in speed out of 78! Meisi had so much fun running around yelling with the kids and cheering when Ian won races. 
While there - two people came up to me and said something along the lines of how Meisi was melting their hubbies hearts...  This may sound funny - but Praise God!!!!  I have been praying more hubbies hearts will melt and be open to adding one more precious child to their family.  :) 

We are blessed beyond measure... even on those hard days when the older two are fighting or being a difficult student...  So thankful for where God has led us and all that He has blessed us with.  I can truly say my heart has never been so full nor my cup overflowing as much as it is since God gave us our sweet Meisi. :) 

Said it before.... thinking it may be our new family motto -

Faith, Hope and Love - but the greatest of these is love.

Got love? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The FIRST time we held her...

Oh my...
As much as I reminisce about Gotcha...this is about another day...

I've been wanting to share this story
but had to wait until home and well, once home things have been busy...

As I said before, we got to visit New Hope on February 14, 2013 to drop off the bags of medical supplies we had brought for them.  We were so excited to have the opportunity to see LWB Heartbridge unit and New Hope Foster Home where Meisi had lived most of her life.  We had been told that Meisi would have gone back to her orphanage probably a day or two before we arrived...

However, upon arrival - Robin (the sweet co founder of New Hope) greeted us with the most amazing Valentine's day greeting EVER!  He said,  "I don't know how to tell you this, but your daughter is still here."  Due to the Chinese New Year Holiday the train tickets were harder/more expensive to get, so the orphanage had to postpone coming to get her.
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest! 
He asked if we wanted to do the tour first and of course as much as I wanted to see her, I knew if I saw her first then the tour wouldn't happen...
Actually I think I was in such shock still!  I was still just thinking about all the things I wanted to see and hear about LWB and New Hope, where she had been for so long.

I shared on another post how fantastic New Hope is.  The heart of Joyce and Robin who founded New Hope... can't explain how amazing they are!  Their heart for these children and their hard work to develop the level of care they provide has resulted in reformation of orphanages across China.  What a ministry this precious, Godly couple has.  So thankful they said, "Yes!"  when Joyce first felt the calling and that Robin listened to his wife's heart. :) 

After hearing their story and getting the tour....

We were in the room Meisi had been sleeping in at New Hope - amazed that our pictures we had sent months before were hanging in the crib where she slept...

Then Robin asked, "Would you like to see your daughter?"  My heart stopped as I turned around...tears from my eyes when her nanny handed her to us... It didn't seem real... Looking at the pictures afterward I cried looking at all the nannies smiling... oh my heart...the love these ladies give!

Just when I though I was in Heaven...
Robin asked if we wanted to feed her because it was lunch time...
Yes, I cried as I fed her..
So amazing to get to do this with her in her comfort area...
God never ceases to amaze me!!

This next picture...this was after she had just KISSED Brian on the cheek!  She definitely was Daddy's girl from the start!!
 My cup was overflowing already...but God wasn't done with filling us up...
our precious daughter, handed to us 4 days before Gotcha day - fell asleep in my arms.  I just held her for a amazement that she is ours. 

 Brian took her in and laid her on her mat where she napped.
 One last picture before we had to say goodbye...  for now....

Walking out of New Hope that day was the hardest thing I think I have ever done.  I didn't want to leave.  I wanted to take her with me, but the peace God gave us that day was beyond understanding...

Brian and I were quiet on the way back to the hotel.. we just held hands and I cried a little... It was like an amazing dream.  Had all that really just happened?  We got to see and feel the love of the people who cared for her.   We got to see they had prepared her for us with pictures.. Then with great surprise we got to hug her,  kiss her, feed her and hold her as she slept... All this with the loving smiles of the nannies who have cared for her. :) 

I truly believe this day greatly helped her transition into our family.  The orphanage folks came and got her from New Hope the next day I think.  They traveled by train back to Anhui from Beijing,  then three more days after that - we walked into a room to see a very sad little girl...
However, she lit up when she saw Brian and I and immediately reached to him smiling and said, "Baba!" (Daddy in Mandarin)
I keep reliving all this!  Over and over... recounting in amazement how awesome our God is! 

I wish every adoptive parent had the opportunity to visit their child before gotcha with their nannies lovingly handing them to their parents as we had...  If ever given the opportunity - take it!!!  Honestly, it made the days leading up to Gotcha easier!  I wasn't stressed because of how great our first hours with her had been.  I was able to relax and enjoy our tours of Beijing. :) 

The down side of visiting New Hope and LWB Healing Homes (both Heartbridge and Anhui) is all the precious faces I saw that are still waiting...
waiting for surgeries,
waiting for paperwork to be made ready for them to be adopted or
just waiting for someone to choose them... those are the hardest for me....
I go to sleep at night with their faces replaying in my mind....
I wake up and they are the first thing I see.  Covered in prayer are these children... 


Is it you they are waiting for? 

Not all are "paper ready" at this point...but they will be...
Is God calling you to go? 
Is He calling you to open your heart and home to one of these precious children? 

I know everyone is not called to adopt a child... but we should all do something.

All of these children receive medical care, nutrition and love through either and sometimes both Love Without Boundaries and New Hope.  Maybe you are not called to adopt - maybe you are called to look after them until they are adopted through sponsoring them and/or praying for them - their surgeries, their nutrition, their nannies, their education... Both of these organizations are completely amazing!  You can have peace in knowing the money you send is changing the life of a child.  You will get updates on the child you sponsor as well. 

You can find their information on how to sponsor a child through -

I really didn't mean to turn this into a picture album post...but sometimes God leads me in different directions than I started. :) 

Will you pray with me over these children...and all the others waiting? 
Caution though - looking at their pictures and praying for them... It may change your heart and your life - forever!  :) 

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces
It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms,
But once you do, everything changes."  from Radical by David Platt

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homeschooling fun and frustration

One good thing about homeschooling is the flexibility in scheduling and the ability to turn anything into a field trip and learning experience.

A couple weeks ago Brian's Uncle and Aunt came to visit a friend in Tampa.  We were blessed to get to spend a few days with them during their stay...and a bit spoiled!  Lots of firsts for our Meisi!

They took us to the zoo
to Ft. Desoto - which is pretty cool

After checking out the cannons that have never been fired we went to the beach next to them - Meisi's FIRST beach experience - she LOVED it!!  Aili tried to learn to surf and her sweet brother held onto her fearful she would be pulled out to sea.

We did see a Pelican eat a fish and dolphins swimming - see educational! :) 


Then they took us to dinner at our favorite restaurant here (Fred's).  Their friend brought their dog they are training to be a seeing eye dog!  Now that was educational! Although, I think she got petted a bit more than what was supposed to be allowed! :) 

That week was a lot of firsts for going out with Meisi.  We went to the library and to MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), to a science class at Alafia Park and Legoland!  We got loads of hands on learning!  Which is great because that is my learning style - "I need to see it to believe it" kinda gal!

Our oldest, Aili, had been homeschooled in Kindergarten.  She went to public school then a public charter school after that until January of this year (3rd grade).  We pulled she and Ian out for many reasons...which I should've written down....because since our exciting field trip week (we did still do math and writing those days) has been HARD.  Oh my HAARRRDDD!!!! 

Some things to know about me...
I don't cook (at least not well)
I don't sew (although I'd love to learn)
I'm not crafty (although pinterest has made me desire to be)
I am not a good housekeeper either (my house is in dire need of a fairy godmother)

My extroverted self is lacking the energy gained from being with others
My serving heart feels empty from not serving others
I miss Group Bible Study - but none exists for me with Homeschooled kids and can't leave Meisi in child care yet...

This is all pretty new to me... I have only been a stay at home mom for around a year...before this I worked outside the home since we've been married (nearly 15 years).

So...trying to stay at home, homeschooling one very strong willed, gifted child and another hyper, loud little boy with a newly adopted 2 year old in a terribly messy house eating meals even Meisi refused...

ahhhhh..... I want to scream, "Calgon take me away!"
but I'm too tired to run the bath and have no Calgon anyway (do they even sell it anymore?)...

One thing to note here is how AMAZING our church family is... we were TOTALLY spoiled with 3 ENTIRE weeks (every single day) of meals when we got home... Thank you so much Debbie for setting this up for us!  Thank you to all the ladies who made us and brought us such wonderful meals!  Meisi licked the plates opposed to saying no to my cooking :(

My hubby keeps telling folks who marvel at how easy Meisi has been for us that "God will not give you more than you can handle." 

OH. MY. WORD... could not be more true...

This week was so bad with trying to get the older two to do their school work that I visited a private Christian school today...

and nearly choked...
or  vomited
when they told me it would cost $1000 per MONTH - YIKES!!  That is our house payment! 

THEN she asked how well Ian (Kindergarten) was reading and when I said, very little, just "Bob" type books...
She said, "Well, all our K kids read at first grade level so he'd need remedial classes next year, but we could do that."

Can you see me nearly crying...

THEN she says, "And your daughter will need to provide a writing sample like a short story." 
Aili (3rd) looks up at me and says, "Uh-oh."  Writing is both of our weakest subjects... Very little writing required for a PharmD...poor handwriting is ok too. :) 

Now, I am not trying to get a pity party nor do I want comments that lead to fights over the best way to educate your kids... I am so thankful we have the choice to choose what path we think is best for our child at the moment...  I'm just sharing that while our adoption journey has been AMAZING - our everyday isn't always as chipper. :)

Truly... I almost walked back to the public school today and asked if I could re enroll them at 2:00 (school is out at 2:15)... I think 15 minutes would've given me a little sanity...

My homeschooling friends have been supportive - I've tried -
changing schedules
letting Aili make her own schedule
taking breaks
skipping school altogether for the day
adding/removing curriculum...

So change in behavior or attitude.... defiance, disrespect, complaining, jealousy over who gets to sit next to Meisi, or help Meisi or hold Meisi, whining

As much as I want to send them to someone else to learn this, I know it is my job as parent to teach them these things (they struggled with same issues when in school)...  Ah of the many reasons we decided to pull them out....  Yet, I fear I've failed somehow... What did I not teach them about living, loving and forgiving?? 

My dear hubby told me he didn't think I had failed.. I just hadn't given it enough time in the midst of all our change... I guess I can't go sign them up for school tomorrow. ;(  Just kidding...kinda

Tonight - this was the verse that was on the bottom of someones email...

"Be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you or abandon you." Deut. 31:6

Strong and Courageous is what I need...
I feel so weak right now
Afraid?  Absolutely!
Panic??  Lord, help me!!
He will PERSONALLY go ahead of you
He will neither fail you or abandon you...

Thank you Lord for giving me what I need for this moment. :)

One thing I can say is that I believe Brian is right about God not giving us more than we can handle evident by Him giving us our sweet Meisi who has been such a joy from day one. She is such a ray of sunshine on these dark, gloomy days. When the older two are fussing, complaining.... She just hugs me, smiles and kisses me. Which melts my heart and makes the sun shine brighter.  Sometimes she even stops their issues by loving on them and smiling... What a blessing! Amazing how God is using HER to change US!

Love is a VERB - hmmm....may be our language arts topic tomorrow. :)

Praying, seeking Him and thankful tomorrow is a new day - I will rejoice and be glad!