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Showing posts from February, 2012

A break in the action

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We have been doing other things around here.  For instance, last Sunday we went to a Tet party sponsored by our Families with Children from Vietnam group.  It is always held a little after the actual lunar new year because that way the local troupe of lion dancers can come and perform.
There were dragon puppets to make:
K.
And lots of good food to eat:

L., A., and G. And of course the lion dancers:


Everyone loves the lion dancers.  Well, almost everyone.  There were a couple of little girls who weren't convinced that they were a good thing.  When the lions first came out, G. started to scream at the top of her lungs.  Eventually, she calmed down and decided she liked all the fluff and shiny stuff on the lions.  Of course, at that point, one of lions came a little too close which terrified L. who started to scream.

The fun thing is that after the performance, the children are allowed to come and try to be lion dancers.  K. LOVES lion dancers and would have happily worn this the rest of…

Details, details

Guess what?  I've been spending my morning making real, honest-to-goodness travel plans.  Yes, it's true!  We have a consulate appointment of March 21 which means we need to leave on March 9.  That's just a little over a week away.  It's so soon!  We'll have our little girl in our arms on March 12.  Hooray!  Hooray!  Hooray!

I am now plunging into all the details of things which have to happen before we leave.  The flights which I have tentatively booked work well, even if I have to fly on a carrier that I'm not overly fond of.  The price and direct flights were too good not to use.  It's still a big chunk of change, but not quite as big as I was bracing myself for.  There are still quite a few details that have to be worked out, but here's the gist of our plans:


Fly to Beijing, go to hotel for a night where we will meet our travel group.  The next day, fly to  Zhengzhou where the adoption will take place.After about a week in province, we fly down to Gu…

She knows!!

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Who needs words?
















Can you take some more joy and cuteness?

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I wanted to post this news here in case anyone missed it on the facebook page.  Ready?  There is a family applying to adopt Joseph!!  How exciting is that?  I have emailed back and forth with them a bit and they seem great.  Oh, how I'm praying that it all works out.  I am also incredibly humbled and joyful that God used my blog to help put this boy and this family together.  I love seeing God work.  (And even better?  They don't live horribly far from us, so it seems possible that H. and Joseph can keep in contact.)
And I know that in my self-absorption with all things travel-approval, that those of you who require frequent little girl pictures have been suffering.  So here they are eating spaghetti at lunch today.  (Which explains the messy faces.)  I know I'm biased, but I really do think they are the cutest things.
Here's L. (You can also spot A.'s new glasses in the background as she complains that she'll be in the picture.)



And here's G.:






And I don'…

Joy comes in the morning

Yes, it's true.
OUR TRAVEL APPROVAL HAS ARRIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you all for your support and prayers.  I appreciate it so much.  I can't tell you how much of a relief this is.  (Though maybe you can guess.)
But I can't get off my knees yet.  (That's kind of how this adoption has gone.)  We now need to get our consulate appointment and then all the travel dates are based off of that.  Our agency says they have two options they can apply for.  The first one would have us leaving the first week of March, the second option is leaving late in March and returning after Easter.  Obviously, this is not ideal for any number of reasons, but we are willing to make it work if we must.  But, oh, how much I hope it is the first date.  
Since we won't know for sure until early next week, I'm just going to enjoy knowing that I will be buying plane tickets soon.
Thank you Jesus!

Weeping may tarry for the night

As you might have guessed, this hasn't been a very good week around here.  Good friends who were on the same timeline as we were received their TA a week ago while we still wait.  Not only is it difficult to know that we can't plan yet on when we will meet H., it also means that we will most likely not get to travel with our good friends.  It all just stinks.

And while it is disappointing and frustrating, my reaction to it had been out of all proportion to the problem.  For the past week, I had plunged into a despair I have never experienced, its intensity increasing daily, with yesterday being by far the worst.  I ceased to function.  My children watched a lot of videos and J. made a lot of dinners when he arrived home.  More than once I found myself locked behind a bathroom door, sobbing and sobbing.  I would regain my composure and come out only to find myself overcome by sorrow several hours later.  This went on for days.

A small glimmer came to me yesterday that this was…

The power of God

working through families who say yes to His calling.  I'm not up to writing, but it doesn't get much better than Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom.  I would suggest reading these links in order.  If you do, don't stop before you read the last one.  God can do anything, but often He chooses to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Start with:  If not us... then who?

then move on to The Power of One.

I'll pause now while you get some tissues and perhaps a calming cup of tea.

Ready?

There is hope!  Look what happens when families step out in faith and say yes to the least of these.  These are God's beloved children.  We are called to care for them.  To love them.  Even if it is hard.  Even if it makes us different.  Even if it means we have to give up other things in order to do it... including a comfortable life style.  It is worth it to see transformations such as these.  Read Seeing is Believing.

To look at all those pictures is difficult.  I don't know ab…

I'm here... sort of

I haven't posted because I have nothing to share.  And if I were to write what I really want to say, it would just be a written temper tantrum, which no one really wants to read.  I'm not sure it would make me feel any better anyway.

It's been a rotten weekend.  You can pity my family and I'll just say it's a good thing my husband loves me.  I am one walking, exposed nerve.  So if you know me in real life and happen to see me (which at this point seems very unlikely), and you say something benign like, 'Hi' and I burst into tears, don't take it personally.

So, please pray.  Pray that the &$^#* TA (yes Miss P19, Mom C. really did just say that) comes.  This afternoon would be nice.

And H. still doesn't know she has a family.

I'm going to go eat another piece of chocolate now.

Funny little girls

Another post to distract myself and save you from reading about endless travel preparations.

My two little girls are very, very funny.  At least I think so.  Two funny stories (so I'll remember them later on):

A week or so ago, I enter the little girls' room to get them up and dressed.  When I look at them, G. is all curled up, pretending to sleep and L. has stripped down to her diaper (not an uncommon occurrence) and has a blanket across her shoulders. She is standing in her bed with her arms outstretched, looking at G.  I pause to take in the scene when G. (while still pretending to sleep) says, "I, Baby Jesus, L., angel"  To which L. agrees saying, "Yeah.  I, angel, G. Baby Jesus" and continues to keep watch over her charge.  Evidently the Christmas pageant has made quite an impact on their little brains.  It is also interesting that these two year olds play imaginatively together rather in tandem.

And they love to imagine things.  L. often pretends to …

Hard things

I've been thinking a lot about this recently.  Life is full of hard things, and if you're a parent, there are even more. But is this really a bad thing?  Sometimes we have a tendency to think of hard and bad as synonymous.  I don't think they are.  Doing hard things, working at them, learning from them, and overcoming them are what help to give our lives meaning.  Without hard things in our lives to work at, our lives would feel emptier, shallow.  We think we want a life of ease, but I'm not sure we really do.

Think about it.  We are constantly looking for a new challenge.  It is what drives people to climb higher mountains, run farther, make or do something better.  It's why marketing campaigns such as, "The toughest job you'll ever love" works for the Peace Corps and "We do more by 9am than most people do all day" worked for the army.  (Though not being an early morning person, I always doubted the wisdom of that campaign.)  Overcoming cha…

For E>>>From J

Indulge me while I do a bit of whining

Because while I haven't been whining out loud (much), I've been whining inside my head quite a bit.  I'm tired of all this paperwork and waiting and I'm ready to bring my daughter home.  Now.  I don't want to wait another week to hear that we have travel approval.  I'm just really done with waiting.

We first saw H's picture in December of 2010.  That was a long time ago.  Too long it seems, and I have hit the wall.  I want her to know she has a family.  I want to be able to have doctors examine her and see if anything can be done to relieve the pain she is in.  I want to be able to hold her and tell her I love her.  I want to show her the clothes I have bought for her and the doll I've made.  I want to find out what she likes and doesn't like.  I want to know what makes her laugh.  I want her to know she is loved forever.

I told my friend Ann today that it feels as though I am pregnant and overdue and just waiting and waiting until the baby arrives.…

Group home or family?

I've just spent far more time than I meant to looking for a post I was sure I had written, but evidently hadn't.  Somehow I really thought I wrote about the Chicago Tribune article on large families and adoption in Illinois, but I think planning for Thanksgiving got the better of me and I never did.  Perhaps that's why that article is still gnawing at me.  Actually it wasn't the article, but a line from it in reference to the position of IL DCFS that was written.  Let me quote it for you:  "But child welfare experts often see a fine line between a large family and group home and worry that parents can rely too much on older siblings to serve as housekeepers, cooks and caregivers."  Nice.
Hmmm... Yes, that was exactly my motivation for having a large family:  creating my own built-in staff so that I could loll around in the lap of luxury and have people wait on me.  You just have no idea how many bonbons I go through in a week.  I still have yet to get one that…

Sick of my computer

I have been sitting at the computer for more than a few hours.  I am in the process of making a photo book for TM's foster parents which will have photos of TM from the past 6 years.  It takes a while to sort through all the pictures, choose them, and then upload them.  It's fairly tedious, but I know it will be worth it.  Plus, if I want the book to arrive in good time before we leave, I need to finish it soon.

It's fun to scroll through all the photos and see how little everyone was 6 years ago, but it also makes my heart ache just a little bit because I want all my littler people back just for a moment so I can hug them again.  It also makes me realize just how behind I am in organizing the family photos.  I am seeing what my major summer project is going to be:  photo albums!  I think I have photo albums up to 2006 or so, but after that, I'm not so sure.  Having all my photos on disks and sorted into a CD binder has given me the illusion that they are organize, but…

Photo vocabulary cards

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Here is my solution for communicating with H.:

I found the best site last night and spent a while making all these photo cards which I printed out and then laminated this morning.  (I plan to put them all on a ring to keep them together.)  It took me a few minutes to figure out how to make it work, but after I did, I was able to make exactly the cards I wanted.  Essentially how it works is that you choose what word you want on the card and type it in.  Then there is a second box which you will type the key word for it to search for a photo.  You can scroll through several photos to find the one which works best.  I didn't always get a photo exactly as I was hoping, but for the most part they were close enough.  I used some of the example card sets, which you can change if you like, and then made other cards as I thought of them.  I covered food, clothes, modes of transportation, emotions, things found in a typical hotel room, types of places we might me (pool, hotel, park), and it…

Trivia you probably don't care about

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My friend Ann, over at Crazy for Kids, has passed on an award to me.  Thank you!  Thank you for giving me a topic to write about.  (Do you know how hard it is to come up with something to write sometimes?  I am so happy for prompts!)  Ann is a fellow adoptive mom of a large family... and a real life friend.  It is inconvenient that we live so far away from each other.  So what is our solution?  To adopt from the same country at the same time so we can visit each other half-way across the world.  Our plan is working out quite well so far.  She had her paperwork picked-up at the same time, so we are both eagerly waiting for our travel approvals.
Here is my new, shiny award.  Pretty isn't it?

The rules of the award are:  1) Thank the person who gave you this award (see above),  2) List 7 things people may not know about you,  3) Pass it along to a few other bloggers.
Hmmm.... 7 things you might not know about me.  If you don't already know it, I wonder if you are really interested, …

Being responsible

Sometimes being the grown-up isn't fun.  It means that you have to make the not-fun decisions; the decisions that  aren't glamorous, but are important.  Sometimes being the grown-up makes you unpopular, even with yourself.  In general, I try to portray adulthood to my children as something positive and something to look forward to.  I think we do a disservice to our children if we make adulthood out to be all worry, bills, and drudgery.  It is difficult enough to grow-up without adding a whole host of negative connotations to it.  Being an adult does come with some perks.  We do get to choose our own bedtime, what we watch for entertainment and when, what we do with our friends, where we go and how we spend our money, and we generally have access to a lot more resources than children.

But being an actual grown-up, as opposed to a physically mature child, means taking responsibility and making choices based on what is best and not what is immediately enjoyable.  This is very t…

Stretching chicken

How about a recipe?  I realize I haven't posted one in a long time and it's either that or I drone on a bit more about the travel plans I'm making.  I think you'll all take the recipe.

When you're feeding a lot of people, you learn to stretch you meat.  A lot.  For instance, one dinner last week, I made about a pound of chicken stretch to feed all 10 of us.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Here's what I did.  (It's nothing spectacular, but is easy and tasty.)

Lemon Chicken Tenders on Egg Noodles

~1 pound of chicken tenders
Panko bread crumbs
Olive oil for cooking
Egg noodles, cooked
1 or 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Take the chicken and cut the tenders into smaller pieces.  I usually try to get three pieces out of one.  Take a meat mallet (or rolling pin or something heavy) and carefully flatten each piece.  I find this therapeutic.  But don't take all of your aggression out on the chicken, or it will not remain in one piece.  Pour the Panko bread crumbs into a …

Prayer requests

As I begin the whole host of preparations to be ready to travel when the time comes, I thought I would share my list of prayer requests.  These are not in any specific order, just as they come to mind as I write.

That A. and TM's passports will arrive soon so that I can start the visa processWe are trying to make it work so that we can do a very quick stop in Vietnam and have a reunion between TM and his foster parents.  There are a few more steps to this than I had anticipated, but our agency thinks it seems very possible.That the reunion would be healing and not overly stressful for TM.  I really believe he needs this closure.That we receive our TA soon so that we have a bit more time to make travel preparations.  I am still holding out hope for travel in March; it is the best time to fit into J.'s school schedule.For H. as she is told she is going to have a family.  As we get closer to her learning, I become increasingly nervous about how she will react.Money.  We have been …

Book organization... or not

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When we switched the schoolroom to A., P., and H.'s new room, we discovered that they were in desperate need of storage, especially bookcases.  We decided to move the bookcase which had been in the hallway holding our picture books.  This was not a difficult choice because if you have ever tried to store picture books, you will know that they don't fit on shelves very well.  It was one of those areas that end up looking messy because it is difficult for small people to put them away correctly.  So off it went to the girls' room where it is much better used.
That did leave us with the problem of what to do with the current season of picture books.  While we were deciding, they were living in baskets in the hallway.  Not great, but not horrible either.  I thought we had hit on the perfect solution:  baskets which hang on the wall.  The pockets looked big enough to hold the books, it looks nice, and seemed likely that even the smallest could make it work.  Here is what it look…

Getting older

Yes, I am.  I don't really feel older, but every so often, I have one of those moments where reality hits.  Take yesterday.  I was doing a bunch of adoption paperwork (again), and looking to see what passport size photos I had and how many more I needed.  For some reason I had one set of myself from the beginning of 2011 and one taken from much later in the year.  Oh my goodness.  I think the year was harder on me than I imagined.  Comparing the two pictures, I seem to have aged more than 10 or 11 months.  It looked more like 4 or 5 years. It may sound as though I'm fishing for compliments, but really, I'm not.  I was just shocked at the difference in the two pictures.  (I'm justifying it by saying I must have had several nights of poor sleep to explain the second picture away.  Don't dissolution me.)  It wasn't until that moment that I fully realized how anxious I have been about this adoption.  I knew I felt a little stressed about it, but until I saw it writ…

Hair Dos

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A. enjoys fixing her hair and other's hair as well.  It's a shame that she is surrounded by sisters who don't share her enthusiasm.  M. isn't much for fiddling with hair, so A. is out someone who will style hers and P. does not particularly enjoy having new hairstyles put in, so A. is out someone on whom to experiment.  Enter her littlest sisters, who do enjoy having someone fix their hair.  (I will add that A. is also pinning quite a few hopes on H., that she enjoys it as well.)  Thanks to Pinterest, A. has also found quite a few websites that have instructions on how to do interesting and/or elaborate hairstyles.  She even found one for little toddler heads.  L. and G. were happy to oblige.
These two pictures are of L.:


And another of L. which demonstrates why she doesn't seem to appear on the blog quite as much as her sister.  She's a little goofy and wiggly.


Here is G.'s:


And here is G. showing that her sister doesn't have a corner on goofiness:



In r…