Monday, September 29, 2014

Moving Forward

I am the worst at management! Not organized, easily distracted. International adoption paperwork is my reoccurring nightmare. And Brad, well, he is honestly worse then I am. We are the blind leading the blind.

There is only one way that it gets done, and done right... God Almighty! Every-time we travel this road, dotting all the i's correctly and crossing all the t's without error, I'm amazed.

And Thankful...

...because throughout the entire process I am walking in circles scratching my head. Literally.

But while I walk in that circle, I'm praying, and praying, and praying some more.

If I can do this paperwork journey, just about anyone can!

But this isn't as much a post about adoption paperwork, as it is about stepping out and doing what the Lord is laying on your heart. The vision placed within you. That dream.

Maybe you're not equipped for the task, neither was Moses. Maybe there is a GIANT problem blocking your vision, remember Joshua.  Maybe you're afraid, so was Gideon. Maybe there's a haunting sin in your life, read about David, and become an over-comer. 

Get it?

This process of growing, this time of transition, this life-walk, often worries me. And then I remember, I'm not the only one who has walked this path. And I will never walk alone. 

This process really isn't about me. 

HE gives us what we need to follow that vision, to believe. 

 There are no excuses for not going forward. He has the equipment. He's not the least bit afraid of giants or failure... He's already conquered sin!

And as for the future... He's there.

So I'll fix my eyes on the goal... Jesus Christ! The Author and finisher of vision and life. The one who has this whole process mapped out in the palm of His hand.

And whatever task He has set before me, I know I can do ALL things, with Him.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Just a Friday Night Post

All I want is my little girl in my arms. I'm ready. Our paperwork is prayerfully on it's way to getting authenticated. Not sure we will have it back by next Friday, but a mom can pray...

Thinking about her getting a transfusion (and everything else!) without me... 
or not getting one when she needs it, makes me a bit batty. 

Life is rather good right now at home. Quite mellow. School is going well, life is going well. I was just talking to the kids the other day about possible "responses" from Elizabeth when she comes home. I want them to be prepared. I told them to prepare for the worse, and pray for the best. Not sure how much "faith" is in that but it's realistic. 

I pray for faith...


As well strength, and good health, and to hear Him clearly... just to name a few things I need.

But right now I just want, and need, to REST in His goodness. Knowing He is in control. Knowing He has this, and has had it all along. 

REST.

Good Night

Monday, September 22, 2014

Summer's Gone...

Goodbye Summer Time! I'm having a hard time saying goodbye! I wasn't finished... have more to do, more places to go. But at least we are heading into another wonderful time of year :) I realized summer was leaving when the Chinese Moon Festival (or Mid-Autumn Festival) was being celebrated. According to the Lunar Calender fall had arrived. And going by the chilly temps in August I agree...Fall had come early this year! We were totally unprepared for this celebration! Most people celebrate with Mooncakes but we all agree in this house they are disgusting so we bought apple cider donuts for the occasion. We now call them Apple Cider Moon Donuts haha. And had a cookout with Moon Burgers, Moon Dogs, and a family fire night :) Yeah we are corny but who cares... Not a big event here, but fun anyway!




And before our "offical" end of summer according to the Western /Gregorian calender, we did get one more day down the shore. We took a stroll through Cape May as well as a boat trip on the Atlantic.
We bought ocean tour vouchers earlier this summer through
 Living Social and since it was expiring soon
we thought we should use them now! So we did our Whale/Dolphin watch last Monday. It was a bit chilly, but a bright and sunny day. Enough sun for pale people (like me) to be burned, along with sun poison on my nose!


 They begged for Ritas, I said no. lol... it was early :)


The tour was a lot of fun but a bit long... 3 hours! 




We did make it out to the Atlantic, and we did see wildlife... a Humpback Whale... (no really good photos of that) it lunged and spyhopped!

... and Many Many Bottlenose Dolphin! Did you know that the dolphin you see here in NJ never migrate farther than the Carolina's? And that only half of their brain sleeps at a time?




Here's a Whale Tail... He's waving goodbye to summer.... BYE!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Wild Day

I posted some of these photos on our homeschool blog but wanted to post a few of my favorites. 
We love the Cape May Zoo. It's FREE too!!!

During the spring and fall I try to spend as many days as possible going to the zoo, aquarium, anywhere outside. It's good exercise! 


And this September is perfect for going outside!


And the Zoo is always educational, right?


Were you aware that there are rattlesnakes in NJ? I was not, and I lived here all my life... look at the snake in the upper right hand corner. That is a Timber Rattlesnake!


Fortunately there aren't any of these freely roaming our coastal waterways!


The reptile house is my favorite at the Cape May Zoo.


Cute!


He's cute too!




I think I'll just have to do this every months until it gets too cold! Did you know that the CM Zoo is building a new snow leopard exhibit? And that there is a new baby girl giraffe? Born Sept 2!


Until the next time :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bringing Home a Teen Infant

I was searching my old blog recently looking for old photos and I was taken back to 2011... the year I brought home a 13 soon to be 14 year old daughter. 3 1/2 years later I am amazed at her progress and maturity. She even has her drivers permit. (please look through our current posts to see what fun we have!)

I never thought we would get to this place we are at today. 

Her first Easter Sunday - She got a pillow pet and still treasures it!
Sleeps with is every night, and takes it on every trip!


The journey is still ongoing, but for anyone who is just starting, hang in there. 
Don't turn back. Here's a little advice from a 
NON-EXPERT!

Remind yourself daily why you started this journey,
 and pray. 
Pray on all occasions. 
Celebrate the little things. 

And don't let the task at hand consume you. 

Create boundaries, and don't feel guilty about them. 

You are not effective if you are consumed by the situation and overwhelmed by the immense needs of your new older child. So create those boundaries early on. 

You can never replace what was taken from your child, 

NEVER. 

And that isn't your job as the parent. So don't burden yourself with that impossibility. Even if he/she expects you to. The holes that were left in the heart will only heal by the touch of God. 

Your child may act like a toddler... even if they are a teen. It's normal. I watched as my daughter went through similar early psychosocial developmental stages that we experience growing up. Only, she was already "grown-up". Infancy/toddler/school age/adolescent. I don't know if it's a phenomenon all older adopted children go through. But I've heard several families describe this. These were international adoptions. It may have something to do with language acquisition. Something I find very interesting. 

During this early time, talk to someone who's been there! Don't stay quiet! You need support, so get it...
Easter 2011


This stage went by rather quickly though, and getting through it was challenging. But we have a GEM. A diamond for sure! Which is still being formed. She's gone through many hardships, loneliness, and painful experiences most of us would never endure. 

I don't have many early posts of those days, But I'd like to share those that I have. I stopped blogging for a season to allow our family time to grow together. I didn't know how to express our transition in a way that was respectful to Arielle. I want her to tell HER STORY someday - if she chooses. Below is a post I wrote only 11 days after she came home. I was preparing her for a doctors appointment. She was dreadfully afraid of doctors... and created a scene (to put it mildly :)
Reluctantly learning English
We communicated this way for several months using google translate. Even her reading of Chinese Characters was limited but she knew enough to get us through.....




Blog Post From 4/11/11

Keeps me going...

Older child adoption....some know what it's like. It definitely is different than our last 2 adoptions. But in many ways it's the same. I keep looking at this girl expecting "something older". But what I keep getting is a little girl. And I know that this is ok, good, and maybe even necessary, but it's weird for me. It's almost like I have to close my eyes and re-adjust my brain. Reminding myself Who lead us to this place. And the many miracles that took place in the past 12 months that confirmed her place in our family. Her family.

But it's rough.

And rewarding.

And scary.

And wonderful.

and and and and...... I'm tired.

But I'll wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready. Like I did the day I wrote this letter.


Arielle, 早上好!(Good Morning!) 4/8/2011


耶稣爱你. 妈妈爱你。



(Jesus Loves you. Mama Loves you.)



这是我们今天正在做。



(This is what we are doing today)




你需要洗个澡 (淋浴)。(You need to take a bath (shower))



穿上干净的裤子。穿上干净的衬衫。(Put on clean pants. Put on clean shirt.)



刷牙。梳理你的头发。(Brush your teeth. Comb your hair.)



我们将离开12:00 (We will leave at 12:00)



我们将采取的男孩 (We will take the boys) 艾米的家 (Amy's home)



我会带你到医生 (I will take you to the doctor)




不要害怕。(Don't be afraid) 



我永远不会离开你。(I will never leave you.)



我们会一起祈祷。求神帮助你。(We will pray together. Ask God to help you.)



永远不要忘记,你是美丽的. (Never forget that you are beautiful.)



永远不要忘记,你很聪明。 (Never forget that you are very smart.)




你可以祈祷的祈祷:亲爱的耶稣,(You can pray this prayer: Dear Jesus,)



请帮助我不会害怕。(Please help me not be afraid.) 



请帮我了解耶稣基督的爱。阿门 (Please help me understand the love of



Jesus Christ, Amen) 




妈妈爱你!(Mama loves you!) 


She was so excited to read this letter! She ran upstairs and a few minutes later she came down with this:


The top is cut off but she wrote her whole name.

It's challenging, it's rough. But the reward will one day far outweigh any fleshy feeling I have about my momentary inconvenience. She is His Child. Not mine. Later on that day, she had a meltdown at the doctors and I totally forgot our morning moments...until now.

But I don't think she did.

When we put the boys to bed, she joins us. We pray and snuggle with the boys and kiss them goodnight. The other night, maybe the same night as the meltdown, after we put the boys to bed, she started for bed too. We usually pray downstairs together but she wanted us in her room, next to her on her bed, praying for her at nite nite. We prayed hugged and kissed her goodnight. Like tucking in a little one! How often was she ever tucked in!?

NEVER.... until now.  Lord, Keep reminding me...

For more posts on the early days you can get to Arielles Pages HERE

Friday, September 5, 2014

Birthday Food, Fantasy Football, and Frozen... What more could you want?

 This week we celebrated Arielle and Amy's birthdays. Time flies by so quick. Arielle has a "legal" birthday in June, but we celebrate the birthday she has celebrated all her life to be her birthday. She now has her permit and this time next year she will be an experienced driver...we hope! And we also hope we will all still be alive along with this young NEW driver! Haha!

They celebrated with Chocolate on Chocolate... and Granny's Cheesecake made by Grandmom. Ain't nothin' like Granny's Cheesecake <3


My mother eluded having here picture taken again! 
But we got Poppop!




 Amy Lynn is 31... hardly seems possible since I'm only 30 :) They do grow up quick, bitter sweet. Amy is a Beautiful Lady! Pictured here with Amy is my beautiful daughter in law Melissa.  These two women of God have been a blessing to me, especially this past year. Love buckets are overflowing!


Melissa, Bradley & Evan

Asher, Amy, grandson Micah, Lauren, Arielle
 I'm Hungry!!!



After dinner, cakes, and goodies... 

 Family Fantasy Football Draft. 
Yeah, exciting news, I know! Happy Faces and intense feelings!
 This was pretty intense stuff!

Even our beloved Son-in-law! But wait, it was his idea!







But not all were excited about this Family Draft... those who were "non-joiners" watched a movie. FROZEN. 
Again.




And Micah Moo Moo was totally ok with that!

And when you've had just a little too much of Frozen, this is what you get!

Ok, time to add more crazy to this!!! Lizzy we are coming! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Just a little walk...

 I love our times this summer just walking in the woods. It's been fun. And the kids really like it. Asher just asked me today if we could go hiking. Recently we took a little hike through Brandywine Creek State Park. We had been fingerprinted earlier that morning and dropped part of our dossier off at our agency. We thought we would make a family day of it :)

 Here are the youngins being silly!
And the Daddy being a Dad. It was a perfect day!
 Photo-bombing has become a favorite past-time of Evans. And Asher too!

This is mid bomb! Look how nice Arielle and Asher are sitting.
 I wonder what she is thinking... perhaps the coming school year and all she is going to learn! Perhaps she is envisioning her future with an education and a drivers license and how far she can go!

Nah.

Probably dumplings!
 More sillies! He is pondering dumplings as well... or maybe pork fried rice, or better yet...

ICE CREAM!

Evan is doing most of his schoolwork online this year... mixing it with some really good books. And going to work on some cool projects that I haven't come up with yet. LOL! And of course

FIELD TRIPS!
 And I haven't seen this kid so full of energy in over a year! I'm am so glad we got him back. I mean, we didn't actually lose him, but we did. He just wasn't here after last years emergency with ACS and seizures. He was better last fall, but then after Christmas seemed to drift away from us, always in a state of confusion, and often seemed depressed.

Not Now!

After his transfusion a couple weeks ago, he is packed with energy! And this past summer he is definitely thinking better.

I can't wait to start with his new language arts. It's multisensory and I think Asher will love it!

 And here's the token photo of mom and dad!


I love my husband, he was so tired and he still went out with us because he's a great man!


You can't really see how steep this hill was in this photo but look at their faces haha!

We all slept pretty well that night! Especially Brad!

And that's where I'm going now. Good night.