Friday, April 17, 2015

Rest


I just read this post  on one of my favorite adoption related blogs, No Hands But Ours.  It made me think a lot about our first year home.  At the time it didn't seem too hard.  We had been taught by our social worker, fellow adoptive families and our agency to focus solely on attachment with our new child.  We did and as we watched Olivia fit seamlessly into our family it seemed all things were sailing well.  However, in hindsight I see that to focus solely on your new child is not healthy.  Family suffers, marriage suffers, friends suffer and YOU suffer.  Everyone needs REST.

For the first time in 8 years I do not have a baby or toddler in my home and I am not pregnant, nursing or paper chasing.  I am finding REST.

I set out in the beginning of this year with a personal challenge.  I am not sure where this came from as I have always loved working out but, I have never had the desire to run a race.  I signed up to run a 10K.  I found those long training runs to be RESTFUL.  No I wasn't sitting or sleeping or really doing anything restful at all.  But, I was doing something for ME and spending time with ME in my own thoughts.  I prayed a lot on those runs.  Most days my prayers get interrupted by the little voices of my children so praying in solitude feels luxurious.  

REST comes in all forms.  I encourage you tired and weary mamas to find your way to REST.  You deserve it.  Your children deserve it.  Your husbands deserve it.  Your friends deserve it.






Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Easter

Few words are necessary.  It was a perfect day spent as a family, playing, eating and worshiping the One who gave it all so we may live this life only possible through his Grace.




















Spring Break


Our spring break didn't go quite as planned.  Friday, after school Brooks complained of a belly ache.  I hoped and prayed it was from the candy consumed at his class Easter party.  But, my mommy gut was telling me something was up.  Just as Kyrie and I cut the cauliflower to make our cauliflower crust pizza, Brooks puked.  And it happened over and over again for the next twelve hours.  Meanwhile, Kyrie also got sick within a couple of hours of Brooks falling ill.  At that point I told Brad to cancel our hotel.  We were supposed to spend the weekend in Hilton Head meeting our friends.  This would have a been an extra special meeting as their daughter Kate and Olivia have a connected past as they lived together in China.  

Come Sunday, I decided I would be brave and make the 10-12 hr trek to Nana and Poppie's solo.  I was pulling out of the garage when I noticed Kyrie looking rather green.  I asked if she was going to be sick.  Her "I don't know" response was enough for me to call off the trip.

Don't worry though!  In true Nana fashion everything worked out.  By 7:00 pm that night Nana's flight landed and she was ready to surprise the kids when they woke up the next morning.

Our Hilton Head and Florida Spring break turned staycation ended up turning out to be a fantastic alternative.  We enjoyed going to the movies, crafting, doing science experiments, visiting Carowinds, parks and just spending time together.  Brad and I benefited from many date nights thanks to Nana.


I may have won super mom honors when I let them paint faces for no reason.  I'm pretty sure the neighbors weren't too thrilled when Kyrie painted all of their childrens' faces as well.  Sorry guys.


My Hulk


Little Lady bug





When it was time for Nana to leave all three kids sobbed the whole way home from the airport.  Mommy may have shed a tear or two too.  We hate having all of our family so far away. 

Don't fear. Nana left a little spending money to brighten everyone's day. Olivia sure likes what she picked out.  Miss sassy!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015

We were able to attend a wonderful Chinese New Year party thrown by a few local adoptive families this year.
It was a great time filled with Chinese food, crafts and singing and dancing by local language teachers.










                               

                             


We did learn that right now Olivia would prefer to keep Chinese New Year low key.  She preferred not to wear her silks, did not like the Mandarin singing or dancing and when I suggested I throw a party in her class she ademently said, "no" and may have gone so far as to throw her Chinese New Year book across the room.  I'm not sure what this all means at 3 but, we are following her lead.  Thankfully her preschool party that I planned was snowed out.

Going Back

That's right.  I'm returning to China.
While part of me wishes I was announcing another adoption, that's just not what God has in store for our family at this time.

So, here's the whole story of my return to China.

About a year ago, I was encouraged by a fellow adoptive mom, Kelly to join her organization, The Sparrow Fund on their annual mission trip to China.  The Sparrow Fund was in need of professionals who could help with developmental assessments for the children in an orphanage they work with. Being than I'm an Occupational Therapist, Kelly thought I could help.  Everything in my head wanted to say "yes" but, my heart knew it wasn't the right time for our family.

I told my mom about the trip and she and I both agreed that some day we would love to serve the orphans in China together.  However, as the opening for this year's mission trip got closer and closer I got more and more scared.  How could I leave my children?  What about the cost?  What about that long flight?  I was so sick in China last time.  Will Brad be too stressed?  
You get the idea.....FEAR

In December, Brad and I enjoyed a night away in the mountains.  We used that time to ski but also to talk budget, year goals and of course as our conversations tend to do they led us to China.  I expressed that I had a growing desire to go back.  I brought up adopting again.  He said, "I'm not going to say never but, I'm going to say that I know that now is not our time".  I accepted that as adoption has to be something both people are 100% on board for.  We know now more than ever that it's not an easy road to walk and you have to be a unified team.


At this point my heart was still leading me to China but, my fears were still in the way of saying "yes" to the mission trip.  Isn't it crazy that I was less fearful of another adoption?  I guess that's because it's something we have already lived.
 
In late January, I heard a radio host on our local Christian station talking about Jesus' disciples and how scary it must have been for them to hear Jesus say, "drop everything, leave your families and follow me".  Scary. Yes, but, they obeyed.
Later, the host said, "If you hear God calling you to something and you are not responding for fear of how it will affect your children or your family then you are putting your children before your God".  
 Wow!  Yup, God spoke directly to me through that moment on the radio.
 
I prayed, then immediately called Brad, and said, "I'm going to China".  He was ecstatic as he had been encouraging me all along.  I then called my mom and said, "We are going to China!"  She too was thrilled.  
It was amazing how at that moment my fears didn't go away but have been reassured.  God has given me a peace similar to that which he gave me through the adoption process.  What a comfort it is to know I am walking according to his plan.
 
So it is with fear, excitement, anticipation and a humble heart that I look forward to returning to China in October of 2015 to spend 11 days serving the precious babies that are so dear to my heart.  I look forward to using my OT skills to help update their forever families as they wait or to possibly help make a child's file ready for adoption.  But, mostly I can't wait to snuggle babies and share the love of Jesus with his precious ones.  

Prayers for our group as we come together are deeply appreciated. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Years Forever

On January 28th, we celebrated Olivia's second Forever Family Day.

This day stirs up so many emotions in me but, this year was a little different.  Olivia watched her adoption video for the first time. 



She understood some of what it meant and started asking questions.  The slide that stuck out to her most was of Kyrie snuggling Olivia's referral photo.  We explained that while Olivia was in China her whole family loved her and couldn't wait to meet her.  Kyrie told her that she slept with her picture every night because she was so excited to have her sister. Olivia loved hearing this and for a week repeated it every day to Kyrie.  But, she also was sad during the video.  She watched herself get passed off to me and watched how scared she was.  She asked, "where were you mommy when I was in China?"  Oh I know this is just the start but, I liked the sweet innocence she lived for the first two years.

Our Family Day was a happy one.  

Little Miss woke up to a new Doc Mc Stuffins Book (her request) and a game for her Leap Pad.

I love how excited B and K were to celebrate her
 

Olivia went to school but, only for a bit.  

Her amazing daddy picked her up early and took her on a surprise lunch date to her favorite restaurant.  He's the best!


That night we indulged Olivia in her favorite dinner of shrimp and enjoyed time together as a FAMILY!

Happy 2 years forever little love!

Christmas

Wow, I haven't blogged in over a month.  That's not because we haven't had anything exciting happen, it's because we have been busy with life.


I can't miss documenting Christmas.



So proud of this boy!  He rocked his preschool Christmas performance.  What a difference from last year's anxiety filled tear fest.  Mama was the one in tears this year knowing it's our little man's last preschool Christmas performance.  Next year he's on the kindergarten.
 

The first day of the kids' school break a friend and I gathered our crazies and took the train uptown for some festivities.

We saw giant Nutcrackers, The Singing Bears and a huge gingerbread display at the Ritz.


The next day we made our way to another fancy hotel for their gingergbread village.


Christmas day was great compared to last year when Nana got hurt and ended up needing emergency ankle surgery.  As sad as it is, I must admit I kept waiting for the ball to drop and for someone to get sick or hurt as it seems that happens every year.  Thankfully, Brooks had a minor fever but, it didn't keep him down and we had a great time celebrating. 


We had much quieter Christmas this year as Nana and Poppie were the only ones who came to visit.  We loved it but, sure did miss having little cousin Lillie with us this year.

My girls sure did look beautiful at Christmas Eve service.


Kyrie loved her secret gift from daddy on Christmas eve!  New crutches for her favorite pretend play game....broken leg.


The traditonal "Twas the Night Before Christmas" reading with Poppie.


Santa Came!


Poor sleeping beauty was woken by brother and sister to tell her Santa came.  I agree Olivia.  5:30 am is waaay too early!


Pretty sure this was Nana's favorite gift.


After all of the Christmas cookies we needed some exercise.


Mommy and daddy's favorite gift was a night away in the mountains for a little skiing.  We didn't mind that it was 50 degrees and raining.