Friday, November 29, 2013

I'm Thankful for….

So very much this year!

*I am thankful for Lifeline Children's Services.  Karla, Anna, Mallory, all of them.  They work tirelessly and put up with some majorly crazy adoptive parents.  They love these children so much!  If you have ever thought about adoption, if you have wondered about our process or how different countries work, or about domestic adoption- check them out.  They also have a wonderful orphan care ministry- (un)adopted.
(This is the (un)adopted link)

*I am thankful that , for now, I can put this notebook away.  I lived by this thing for the last 11 months. It's a thing of beauty.  Tabs organizing sections, page protectors galore.  Copies in triplicate of everything we signed.  Originals in folders in the fire proof safe.  Its a work of art.  But it is time to put it up.  Time for the work of parenting to begin.

*I am thankful that it doesn't take long to microwave rice.  Once the bowls come out the girl is ready to eat and she does not appreciate the whole, "Let's heat this up a little," idea.

*I am thankful for Will and Jenny,  for stepping up.  Not one complaint about me having to miss some things, about having to be a little quieter, "because if you wake that baby up…".  For loving this sweet girl who is still learning how to be in a family and who to trust.  The are pretty awesome!

*I am thankful for a changed heart.  I am not the same.  When the Lord lets you see the true least of these you can not be the same.  I can not read an article about fighting over "stuff" the day after thanksgiving.  I see news reports of people knocking each other over for TVs and toys and all I can see is a room full of hungry babies.  I am not perfect in this- so please don't hear me say that.  I struggle with greed and want like everyone else, but the sights I've seen come rushing back and I have to ask the Lord to forgive me-again.

*I am thankful for the first painting this little girl did!!  Can you see that she has a paint brush in each hand!  She is ambidextrous!  She hasn't shown a favorite hand yet- switches back and forth with ease!  And quite an artist!

Painting with shapes!

*I am thankful for an afternoon spent painting with my girls.  Thankful for making a huge mess because everybody should have paint all over them by the time they are 5!!  Messes mean experiences and trust me this girl is all about new experiences this week!  I had forgotten how big a mess a little person can make!

I'm also thankful fort hat little bit of belly you see there- it was most definately not there 3 weeks ago!

*I am thankful for the International Adoption Clinic at UAB and for Dr. Jennifer Chambers who saw my girl in China and saw her this week in Birmingham.  Thankful to begin getting my girl the help she needs to be all God has created her to be.

*I am thankful for an infectious laugh from a little girl I was prepared to spend weeks trying to draw  out.  I had a very withdrawn, quiet, scared child in my head and she has embraced life.  She laughs and hugs and can pitch a big ole fit when she doesn't want to take a nap. 

*I am thankful that she has learned how to blow into a toilet paper roll.  That is  a serious life skill that every 5 year old should have!  More importantly is the ability to aggravate your sister with your new talent!


*I am thankful that she loves a bubble bath!  (Her nose isn't bleeding- that is more paint!)

*I am thankful for my Saviour.  I am thankful that he adopted me to be a child of the King!  


Friday, November 22, 2013

First week at home

We have been at home a whole week now.  There are moments when China seems like a million years ago and there are times when it feels like yesterday.  We had such an amzing trip and I do feel sad that it is over.  Real life is harder. 

We have a good week.  Sarah is one brave and amazing girl.  We are still struggling to find a schedule and fill our days.  She and I are pretty homebound right now.  We have tried to get out at least once a day but it has been to drive through things like the bank and yes, McDonalds.  Ugh!  But we went and got a biscuit one morning after dropping Jenny off at school.  I told Shane tonight I know I've been at home a lot when I've been looking forward all week to the fact that we have to drive to Dogwood tomorrow to pick up a prescription.  Twenty whole minutes!  It's all worth it though.  We are still working on bonding and attachment.  Things are coming along nicely though.  Two steps forward, one step back. All in time.  

We've been so blessed with pretty weather this week and we have taken advantage of that.  We have played out side everyday.  She loves the swing set and we were so surprised that she could use the regular swing! We had a baby swing ready for her because we weren't sure what her trunk strength would be like, but she can rock that big girl swing!  I'm trying to introduce sensory things to her and I filled a box full of rice for her to play with and she has loved that!  We try to spend a little bit of time with that each day.  My plan is fill it with something new each week.  The children in her orphanage have very little exposure to the world - and not in a good way.  So much is new to her!  We are pretty sure there was no outside play area at all.  They stayed in all the time.  Makes my heart hurt.  She is loving being outside.  Even while we were in China she would stand at the window and point outside. Loud noises seem to frighten her.  things I don't even think about.  We were outside this afternoon and in the distance I heard a UPS truck and it didn't even register.  But I saw the panic on her face and she ran to em and climbed up my legs as the truck past by.  That happens once or twice a day with things we don't even think about. 

Our biggest issue is sleep.  That's not a suprise.  We had just gotten China time figured out when it was time to come home.  We are all just plain ole tired.  Sarah is an incredabley restless sleeper.  She moves constantly.  She also seems to think 2:00am is party time.  She is generally up from 2:00-3:30 and then sleeps again until about 4:45.  We tried her in our bed but she is just too restless.  We have been tkaing turns on the floor in her room.  This seems to be working best- except for whoever is on the floor :).  Shane has the floor tonight and he just said he is going all out.  Cot, sleeping pads, the works.  

I had the floor last night.  She managed to stay in the bed until 4:45, but was wide awake during her usual time.  She has come to the floor with us most nights.  As she laid there moving around, soothing herself back to sleep my heart ached.  I saw that room. I saw that bed.  A night doesn't go by that I don't think about her in that room and see the faces of those still there.  I reached up and put a hand on her back and she settled down and went back to sleep.  Several nights when she wakes in those early early hours I will pull her on top of my chest and rub her back and she will settle.  Im so thankful she doesn't have to put herself back to sleep.  Alone.  I wonder how long it will be before I don't think about that all the time.  

Her  eating is slowly coming along.  We've gotten a good schedule and it's very predictable.  I think that has helped.  I still would never deny her food but do sometimes try to distract her if I can.  She seems to have some trouble swollowing which is pretty typical of CP kids.  We let her eat until she's done.  She has learned the sign for more (cause she's just that smart) and we are working on "all done".  

I am thankful this week is almost over for Will and Jenny.  Jenny is tired and I'm ready to veg out during Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your continued prayers as we adjust.  We are doing as well as can be expected.  Better really, but it is a process.  Thank you for understanding as we keep our world very, very small right now.    

Here are pictures from our week.

First morning home!

I love a wet headed baby moe than just about anything!

Challenging me to a game of dutch blitz

Enjoying the beautiful day!

My favorite picture so far

Yea Daddy for building the rail!

Big strong girl!

Collecting leaves

Snack time!

Gluing leaves

Hanging out with sister

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pondering these things…..

Our plane touched down at about 11:00 on November 14.  I've never been so glad to hear the words "Welcome to Jackson" in my life.  China is far y'all.  Far.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited about seeing everbody at the airport! Many years ago when they Lord first began to work in my heart towards adoption I came across the homecoming video of a family coming home from China.  My heart ached for that moment to be a part of my story.  And here it was.  God is faithful.  

I have said before that one of the reasons Shane and I feel the Lord has called us to adoption is because of the verse that says "To whom much is given, much is required."  Shane and I have been given much when it comes to our families and this picture is evidence of that!.

Such precious family and friends that are like family welcoming Sarah home!

When I was a child I was confused by the words in the Bible that said, "Mary pondered all these things in her heart" after the wise men visited the baby Jesus.  I think I understand that now.  I have spent the last week pondering these moments in my heart.  It was a precious day.  The day my baby came home.  

My sister in law, Cameron, had the foresight to have a friend come and take pictures and I am so grateful!  After the airport our family came to the house to enjoy lunch and help keep us up for awhile.  It was a blessed day.  Enjoy the pictures.

My sweet friend Laura who will be bringing her baby home SOON!

The sweet smell of Chinese money!  

This made me cry.  I looked up and there were all three of my children walking together.