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.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Blessing


In my last post I wrote about how Olivia's birthday is hard for me as we don't feel like we know her true birth date or much concerning the events that surrounded her first few weeks and months of life.

Well, in the last three weeks, we have received one of the most amazing blessings.  A further look into Olivia's past and a note that in just a few words means more to us as parents than we can explain.

During Olivia's birthday play date we asked that in lieu of gifts friends could donate to send a birthday blessing to Olivia's friends left behind.  I mentioned this on facebook as well.  Altogether we were met by some very generous friends as well as the money we decided to donate as a family and were able to send a terrific care package to the children at the SWI of Huidong County.





Thankfully, we have a contact in China who knows the needs of the orphanage and was willing to shop for us and deliver our items.  In addition, I asked if she would translate some burning questions I had.  Miracles of all miracles, the same day that the orphanage received our package (in which they gave great thanks for), we got the answers to our questions which were directly emailed to me by the orphanage. 

I am satisfied with the answers and will keep them tucked aside for Olivia when she asks some day.  But, what socked and amazed me even more was that there was a note.  A note we never knew about that we assume was left by her birth mother or someone who cared for her very much.  I will not share details of the note as they are for Olivia but, I will say we now know that her birth date is accurate.  I can now celebrate with her on that day and know without wonder it was on that glorious day that my daughter was born.  

Because, Olivia who has biological siblings who love to hear their own birth stories, I am so happy that we now have this information.  When the questions start, I now have a note I can show her. It won't be the same as the stories of labor pains, hospital stays or first cries but, it is something.  It's a link to her past, evidence of her start.

We are in awe of this Christmas blessing and amazed at how our God continues to write her story.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Three!



I am not going to lie.  This is the second time we have had the joy of celebrating Olivia's birthday at home.  It hasn't gotten any easier.  Finally, earlier this month it hit me.  I wasn't there on her birthday. I didn't carry her for nine months. I didn't feel the pain of labor or the joy when she was placed on my chest for the first time.  In fact, I don't even know when her actual birthday is.  That unknown date has been one of the hardest things for me to overcome during this whole process.  How do I not know the date my daughter entered this world?

Olivia's Gotcha Day holds the same sentiments for me that my biological children's birthdays do.  That was the day I first laid eyes on my beautiful daughter, finally felt the weight of her in my arms and was able to lay with her on my chest while she rested that first night.

I think of Olivia's birth mother all the time.  I think of her when Olivia does something extra cute.  I wish she could see her in that moment. Or when she is sad, I want her birth mother to know I am comforting her.  When she learns a new skill I wish she were there to share my excitement.  But, the birthday, that's the hardest.  Her birth mother knows what it was like to carry her daughter for nine months, to feel the pains of labor and the weight of her newborn on her chest.  

It does not seem fair that I am the one to celebrate these birthday milestones.

"A child born to another woman calls me mom.  The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me"- Jody Landers.

The hard place I hold in my heart for Olivia's birthday is selfish.  Because like any other child, Olivia thinks her birthday is the BEST. DAY. EVER, I put on my happy face and delight in the joy that my daughter finds surrounding her special day.  
We started our celebrations two days early.  

Friday morning she awoke to her new Frozen bike which is what she has asked for day after day for the last two months.

As you can see, she didn't like it at all.





Later that morning we enjoyed a play date with some of our adoption community friends.  These girls and their mommies are such a blessing in our lives.





After all of the blue frosting someone wouldn't take a nap but she was ready for play date number two with all of her buddies from our street.













Her big day finally came and we celebrated low key at home with early morning presents, making birthday Olaf treats for her class party, fulfilling a shrimp cocktail request and a special Friendsgiving dinner complete with home made chocolate ice cream cake for the birthday girl.



HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS OUR SWEET GIRL


**Our traditional birthday balloon release to her birth mother had to be delayed due to freezing cold rain.  We will send a balloon while we are with her cousins in Kansas this week.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Glorious Day

Every so often I get the itch to get out of town.  This day was just what I needed.




At this point I went and hid in the woods so I didn't have to watch. 




Someone slept her way through the hike




Never had lunch in a more beautiful spot




Sign of a successful day