Thursday, July 26, 2012

Text Lesson and Bravery

My children have often given me lessons, the latest were  in texting and bravery.


Yep.  Did you know <3 is a "heart" sideways? I had NO idea. (Stop laughing kids) That wonderful Chloe taught that to me AND dad. I didn't feel so bad when DAD didn't know what it was either.


The "bravery." Oh.  That was Paisley. WOW. That girl is really something.  We went to her rheumatologist appointment. The doctor (one of the best in the USA) was not impressed with the treatment results so far of her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Not at all. Knees are swollen, as are elbows. Bones are deformed, that will not change for the better. Limitation of movement is much more than should be per doctor.  


The doctor decided she wanted to inject medication into Paisley's joints of her elbows, wrists and knees. Even though I am a nurse, let me tell you, when you see someone taking an inch and a half needle and shooting it in your child's wrist-- OIY. It's not pretty.


I felt so bad when they did her knees and it wasn't too bad, then bam, they did her wrists and it hurt her terribly. She sobbed. She let me hold her, she was in soooo much pain.  Her knees showed immediate improvement- which was a relief since we felt awful seeing her being stuck like that.


We go back in 2 weeks to see how the medicine helped and to determine if the medicine she is on needs to be changed (most likely will happen). We also will get started on PT/OT and monthly blood work.  I'm so thankful the Doc is very proactive in  wanting to get Paisley as pain free and mobile as possible.  Her treatment plan is complicated by her long term medicine (In China) she should not have been on long term:(


The doctor asked a routine question-- Who all Paisley lived with in the home? and when I said she had 3 brothers (Donovan is off to college now) she looked at me and went "Huh?" 


So I explained to her the doctor didn't mean how many TOTAL brothers she had- she knew 3 didn't sound right:) I told her I didn't forget any of the kiddos, it was only kids in the home. She really likes her big bro Derrik, as you can see, even though she is totally dwarfed  by her oldest brother. He's 6 ft 4.  She knows he's just a big ol' Teddy Bear at heart.


The doctor gave us the name of a fantastic Chinese restaurant, and off we went to find it. It hardly looked like a restaurant, but it had the best food! We thought Paisley deserved some great Chinese food. We didn't realize as we sat and ordered that her wrists were hurting so bad she couldn't use her hands:(
When Chloe offered to feed her sister, Paisley started to cry.


I had dad trade me seats then and I told her it was okay, we were the only people in the place and there was no one to see or care and I didn't mind helping her, so then she allowed me to feed her. Shrimp fried rice, one of her fave foods:)


She had to have help to get in the van, and up the steps, she allowed dad to help her. Later I had to help her in the bathroom and I carried her to bed, then to the couch when she was still hurting and couldn't get comfy in bed. Her one wrist is still achy but otherwise she is feeling much, much better. And moving so much better. She was singing earlier so I knew she was on the mend, she only sings when happy- which is often:)


Chloe and dad couldn't stand seeing the needles, they were sooo impressed with how brave Miss Paisley was as well. Dad turned slightly green when he glanced over at the wrong time.


I was supposed to meet up with Uncle Roy today to look at houses with him (for him) but my van had other ideas. Like let me drive in pouring rain and thunderstorms till I was mere miles away from destination and then check engine light come on and start sputtering. OIY.   I had to turn around, was praying like mad we made it home as we had an hour trip to make over a mountain and van was not happy to climb that hill. 


We made it (thank you God) and I even got it in to a mechanic who changed out spark plugs and wires so van is good as new (for now) and I was home for the call from agency with the news we did indeed, get the paperwork issue for Phoebe cleared up. WHOO HOOO.  Such good news! Prayers answered there!

So there's our last 2 days,  lots of progress that we are so thankful for:)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Corn!

Yep, we got us some sweet corn. Silly me thought 2 dozen (actually they give you 13 per "dozen") would be enough?  Since we aren't growin' it here, just wanting to EAT IT.


The kids LOVE corn. Paisley lit up:)  It was funny. We grilled chicken but some (yes, it was ME MOM) didn't even bother with the ol' chicken. Can have that any day.


The corn was Y-U-M-M-Y.  The kids were thrilled I brought that home since I ran around all day with Uncle Roy, yep UNCLE ROY is here. And Yep, he's a red head like me:)


Amazing what a whirlwind he is-- In one day we picked up rental car, took Dustin to doctor for stitches check, looked and found car to purchase, got cell phone, renewed driver's license.  And it was his birthday, I guess the car, or the phone could be his birthday gift to himself?  He's getting all set to move here with family from Japan. After 20+ years, that will be an adjustment.


The kids are thrilled, they LOVE Uncle Roy.  Cousin Dustin came too, poor lil' guy had a dumbbell (a weight lifting thing MOM, not callin' your grandson a dumbbell) dropped on his head by his lil' bro, right before flying here.  His eye looks so sore, although he's not complaining of it hurting.


We have a busy week planned, along with Uncle Roy being here and house hunting being on the plan, we head off tomorrow to Hershey Medical for Paisley's long awaited rheumatologist appointment.  


I am so glad it is finally here, that we can get her seen and determine what the best course of action for her is.  Her arthritis also causes anemia so we are going to see what all we can do with that. She has lost 13 lbs since being off the medicine from China. Our ped doctor is happy where she is weight wise, since she isn't gonna grow taller it's better for her joints and mobility to stay within a certain weight range.


Otherwise, I did work on her Life Book, and no, the pics never did turn up. I don't expect them to. I reordered and did a front page of "Your Adoption from China" with NO pics at all. Then the pages of adoption pics and clipped them together, then went on to the first picture we ever saw of her. I captioned it--- "Our girl" and when I gave her the book she asked what that said and when I told her she smiled.


I explained to her what the clip was and very briefly showed her the "adoption pages" and told her I would like her to leave them in there, but she did NOT have to look at them until she wanted to, and if she ever wanted to talk about it we could talk, just to let me know. And she was cool with that:) Thanks for that suggestion friends. It worked out perfectly.


Paisley has decided she wants her bangs to grow out.  I told her fine, but same rule as Chloe, keep them over to the side so I can see her pretty eyes or they get cut. And she has done it. I got her cute little barrettes but she has been training it so it stays over most of the time.  She continues to do well, she's not gotten her I pod back, or had much access (nor asked for it) to computer or phone.


 She did have a friend call her yesterday and they chatted for a little while then it was supper time.  She's very content, still easily calling me mom, often quiet  but at ease.  It's nice to see since she's very much "one of ours" and we often forget she is the newest.  Such a perfect fit:)


All the kids went to Vacation Bible School (VBS) last week, Camden and Kat as students and the teens as helpers, Paisley was being picked on by one of the youth leaders (male) and he asked her if he would fit in if he went to China with his long blond hair and blue eyes. She looked at him and his pot belly and said "No, you look like you having a baby." And they all laughed and laughed. She's very HONEST, again, reminds me completely of Chloe who would have said the exact same thing.


Chase, on the other hand, did not make it past the first night of VBS. He got out of hand, we've come to realize that often when anything is out of the norm- aka, Bible school was 5 nights, not the usual Teen Group Wed/Sun evenings he is used to-- he isn't able to contain certain behaviors. 

And those behaviors are usually a situation where he acts out, laughing when he should not, throwing balls or other things when he shouldn't, being unsafe with things-- stuff he just doesn't seem to realize could hurt someone:( It's hard to see him do those things and then be stubborn about "he was right, he wasn't doing anything" yet, he admits that he had to be told to behave by an adult who wouldn't say that for no reason? OIY.  I *could*be frustrated to see this with a 17 year old, but it is what it is. We deal with behaviors not numbers around here. 


Chase has had great success with his little garden this summer, he has tomatoes, lettuce, flowers, squash.  He had a salad with his lettuce, it's made him feel good to be producing something he can see the results. I've seen him watching cooking shows, gearing up for culinary arts course he will be taking this year in Vocational Tech.  


Chloe is counting down the days till school, something like 36 or so I think she said today.  Paisley was looking at a store advertisement and said she "needed" shoes, Chloe corrected her and said "you want them not need, right mom?" I laughed and said, Well, us girls, we do like our shoes."


Still waiting on the issue with Phoebe to be cleared up, so hard to wait but knowing God has this and people are praying for Him to take care of this is a huge comfort.
We trust in Him and His timing as well as His protection over Phoebe:)  Our next treasure. 


She is totally worth it:) 




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sweet Sixteen

Who, you say?  It's the TWINS, of course.


Chance and Chloe are 16 years old. Amazing. Don't worry, no driving anywhere near in their future, mom and dad aren't ready for that yet, oops, I mean, the twins aren't ready yet. 


Chloe got her very wanted phone. We think she was ready for that. She was thrilled. Chance got shoes  he asked for and something really special. He asked for something a few weeks ago that I knew he would be sooooo excited if I pulled it off and I did.


You see Chance has been scared to death to face something quite normal.


A DATE. How does it work? What does he do? How to ask a girl? So I asked the wonderful friend of Chloe (Hannah) whom Chance has ADORED since he laid eyes on her 2 years ago, if she would be willing to go to the movies with him and cleared it with her mom and dad.


I put a picture of her and him on a paper and explained the gift.  A movie "date" paid for by us, including snacks and flowers for her.


He was excited, nervous, happy,  embarrassed. He didn't know if she had agreed, so he was worried at first. Once I assured him she had agreed (ahead of time) he was so nervous. We planned it for last night, right after their birthday party so he wouldn't have time to freak out.  


We provided the roses he gave her when he arrived at her door, he was even worried about how to hand them to her. I told him "Just don't throw them at her!"  He was so happy to take her, they went to a PG movie. I know he had a good time because he hugged me and thanked me like 5 times:)


The twins still have a hard time when any focus is on them, it's hard to get pics of them alone, harder yet together and not looking goofy. We managed a few, even with them being shy and moving faster than any camera can catch.


We're just so thankful to see these two, twins, growing up together, as they should. Having birthdays, dates, wanting to learn to drive, thinking of what they will do with their lives, growing in our love.


Healthy, safe, loved, so very, very wanted.  Treasures, they are, together and thriving because of God-- His miracles, and so many people that cared.  They both are so special.


Happy 16th Birthday Chloe and Chance!! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chloe's letter

As promised Chloe and I worked on a project together. What is it? 


Well--- she wanted to help older kids getting adopted. She recalled having total fear of what it meant to be adopted, to come with me, what would happen to her once home with me, how she would be treated.


So what better way to ease the mind of a child soon to be adopted than a first hand account of what Chloe recalls? 


Here's the letter she wrote in English-- 



Hello,

My name is Chloe but in China my name was Min Lu Yun. I lived in XinYang in an orphanage in Henan. I was adopted to America in 2009.  You are getting an American family and I wanted to help you to know what that means and not be scared.

American people are very nice. They care about you very much. When my mom first came I was so scared. I did not know what to expect. I remember she smelled good. She had brought my little sister who was also adopted from China  many years before and as a younger child so she did not speak Chinese anymore.

We signed papers. We went to eat. My mom smiled at me often. She wanted me to pick anything I wanted to eat. We pretended our chopsticks were coming out of our ears, or out of our heads and we laughed.

We went back to a hotel and mom had a suitcase of stuff for me, clothes,  shoes, coloring pages, nail polish.  I got to play with my new little sister. I took a bath with many bubbles, it was my first bath. I learned my family had picked the American name Chloe for me and it meant "blooming" like a flower. I really liked that because Lu Yun was very hard for them to say.

We had a guide, a Chinese woman who helped us get to appointments we had to go to for my adoption, and who helped my mom go to the store. We went to a big store and bought many things to take back to my orphanage. I got to pick out anything I wanted for me.

Soon we flew on a plane, my first plane ride, to Guangzhou. Every American family goes to Guangzhou to finish the adoption papers to bring you to America. Sometimes I was bored, we waited for papers to get done and I was missing my friends from the orphanage.

But soon it was time to fly to America. It was a very long flight. I noticed in the airport in America no one looked like me now, so many people who looked different. Red hair, blue eyes, blond hair, brown eyes.  People were tall, short, heavy, thin. All different and interesting. I stayed close to my mom who made sure I was with her and safe.

We got home the next day. I met my new brothers and dad. I was scared of my dad, I had not been around any men who were nice in China. But I soon learned my dad was very nice. Quiet, but he cared about me.  Wanted me to be happy.

It was hard at first. I could not talk to anyone in Chinese. I missed Chinese food. I missed smells of China.  I cried. My mom and dad had someone come over who could speak Chinese to see if they could help. And they worked with me to teach me English. It seemed so hard at first but it really was not long and I could ask for things, I could talk to people in my family in English.  My mom and dad tried very hard to help me find foods I liked, to understand what I needed when I tried to tell them in English.

I was finding things that were good about America, not forgetting China, I will never do that, but there are good things in America and about having a family. First I always have enough food now. I did not in the orphanage. I have nice clothes, new things, my clothes are washed and clean, I do not have to worry that I will not get my clothes back. My mom takes me shopping when I grow and I got new shoes. In the orphanage I got 1 pair of shoes and if my feet grew I had to wear them till the next New Year when we got a new pair of shoes. Here, I get new shoes when I need them. And I have more than 1 pair.

That does not mean my family buys me everything. No.  I would like to have a cell phone, I wanted an  I pod. I just got an I pod for Christmas (big American holiday) I do not have a cell phone yet. That is the something my parents have to decide when I can have one.  My parents are good to me, they have never hit me. They do not make me do  a lot of work, I help by keeping my room clean, I take a turn once a week washing dishes. Americans want to adopt Chinese children to give you a family. That is a very good thing. It gives you people who care for you, who will help you, who will always be there for you, even when you are grown. Family is people you can trust.  

You will get an education. Some American families have school at home. Some send you to school in a big yellow bus.  I go to school on the bus. My mom made sure to find me a friend, who speaks English and she is my best friend now. She helped me every day to get to classes, to help me understand English. And you get a special teacher to help you learn English too. Teachers here are kind and everyone wants to help you. 

It is important to honor your new family, call your new parents, mom and dad. It is not okay to be rude, to be mean to them or to your new brothers or sisters. That is not good to do. You can chose to try, to learn English (practice) and be happy or be sad all the time from missing China. There is much good so I am very happy and I can still love my China. 

Having a family is good. I will always be Chinese, but now I am also American too. My mom says I have the best of both places.  I still speak Chinese, my mom found out when I was adopted I had 2 brothers who were at the orphanage. And she said they would go back for them. I did not believe her at first,  I saw pictures of my family and there were 5 sons, so I thought they did not want my brothers.

I found out my new parents did not know I had Chinese brothers, and they did not lie to me, they did paperwork and we went  to China 1 year later and adopted my brothers.  Now we all have a family.  My family love me and your family wants to love you. They want to get to know what you like, what you do not like, they want you to be happy, make friends, give you a chance to have a great future. You can dream here, of what you want to do with your life and actually do it. Be a teacher, be a translator, be a scientist, a nurse, whatever you wish. I get to cook Chinese food, we celebrate Chinese New Year and Moon festival and my family even celebrates each year on the date of when my mom came to China to get me, I get gifts. 

I had to learn with my new family that I was important but also ALL the children in the family were important.  I am special to them, they wanted me. My parents may tell me no and I do not like that but they want what is best for me.  They teach me about being in America- things that are different than China, so I can learn.  They care if I am happy, sad, tired, mad. They treat me the same as their other children even when I was scared and thought they would love the children already here more. They show me that they can love more than 1 child, they can love many. And I can have a brother with red hair, a dad with blue eyes, it does not matter. I get to teach my family about China. 

 It is the best thing ever, to have gotten a family. I am not an orphan any more. My only wish? I wish I had gotten my family sooner. It is funny but my mom says the same thing- she wishes she had ME sooner. I am happy to have them now, that I do not have to grow up forever without a family to care about me. 

Chloe 


And here's the great part--- the letter translated for you to use to send to your child, or to take along for your adoption trip.  This has been made possible by Jax 
Please, if you use the letter, I ask that you show your support and gratitude toward Jax and their adoption journey,http://jaxchronicles.com/  be it prayer, buy a t-shirt  at http://www.gojadeapparel.com/
        Or Chip in  at their blog http://jaxchronicles.com/ 

 Chloe deeply wants to see them bring home another orphan, so she asked that their adoption be supported by her help.




你好,



我的名子叫Chloe, 在中國我的名子叫楊明盧.我原來住在河南省,一個在信陽的孤兒院.我在西元2009年被領養到美國我想讓你們了解,被一個美國家庭收容的感受,藉此告訴你們沒有必要感到害怕.


美國人非常友善,他們很關懷人.當我第一次見到我母親時,我有一點怕.我不知道該有什麼期望.我記得我母親聞起來很香,她還把我同樣也是從中國領養的妹妹帶來,我妹妹因為很小的時候就被領養所以她不會講中文.

我們簽完領養文件以後就去吃東西去了.我的母親常常對著我笑容滿面,她讓我挑任何我想要吃的東西,我門笑著,假裝快子從我們的耳多和頭長出來.

媽媽帶著我回到旅館把一個旅行箱拿出來,裡面裝滿了我的衣服,鞋子,畫畫本,和指甲油.我和我的新妹妹一同玩耍,洗泡泡澡.這是我一生以來第一次洗到泡泡澡.我學到為什麼我的新家庭選Chloe這個名子給我,因為這名字的意思是開花的意思.我非常喜歡這個名字因為他們念我中文名子時有點困難.

一位中國女義工幫著我們接洽領養手續,然後帶著我媽去到一間商店.在店裡我媽任我挑選任何一樣東西讓我帶回領養院.

過了沒多久我們已上了飛機,這是我第一次做飛機去廣州,所有來中國領養小孩的美國人都要帶著文件去到廣州去完成手續.當我們在等待手續完成期間,我突然開始懷念起我在孤兒院的朋友.

過沒多久手續完成了,飛往美國的時間已到.這趟飛行旅途非常遙遠.當我抵達美國時,突然發現機場裡沒有一個人長的跟我一樣.每一個人看起來都不一樣.有紅頭髮,有藍眼睛,有金頭髮,有咖啡色眼睛.高矮胖瘦樣樣都有趣.我緊緊的跟著我媽.

第二天我們到了家,我第一次見到我的新哥哥和爸爸,我有一點怕我爸,因為我在中國沒有遇到過友善的男人.不過我很快發現我爸非常友善,雖然他很安靜不過我知道他希望我快快樂樂而且他也很關心我.

剛開始我很不習慣,因為沒人跟我講中文.我很懷念中國菜.我很懷念中國的味道.我想想就開始哭了.我爸媽找了一位會講中文的人來看看能不能幫上忙,同時他們也教我英文.剛開始有點難,不過過沒多久我開始會用英文問話.我開始用英文跟我的家人溝通.我爸媽想盡辦法幫找到我喜歡吃的食物,他們試著了解我的需求.

我慢慢的發現美國的好,同時沒有忘掉中國.我永遠不會忘掉中國,但是美國有他的好畢竟我現在有一個家庭在美國的好處是,我肚子永遠是飽的.以前在孤兒院時我沒有吃飽的感覺.我有好衣服,新東西,我的衣服永遠是乾淨的.我不用擔心拿不回我的衣服.當我鞋衣穿不下時,我媽會帶我去買新的.在孤兒院裡如果我鞋穿不下,我得等到下一年才能穿到新鞋.在這我只要鞋一穿不下我就可以穿到新的,而且我還不只一雙鞋.

不過這不代表我的家庭什麼都買給我,我很想要一隻手機跟Ipod.我聖誕節剛拿到一個Ipod因為在美國聖誕節是一個重大節日.我還是沒有手機.我爸媽還在決定什麼時後要給我手機.我爸媽對我很好,他們從不打我,也不會叫我做牛做馬.我幫忙盡量保持房間乾淨,我倫流一個星期洗一次碗.美國人想要領養中國小孩因為他們想要給中國小孩一個家庭.這是很好的一件事.這帶給你們會關懷你們的人,會幫助你的人,會永遠站在你身旁的人,即便你長大成人.家人是你可信的人.

你會受到教育,有些美國的家庭會在家裡教育小孩.有些會送你上學校的黃巴士.我都是坐巴士上學的.我媽確保我找到一個會講英文的同學現在變成我的好朋友了.我的朋友幫我每天去到教室,幫我學英文.學校裡也有老師會幫助你學英文.這裡的老師對學生很好而且大家都想幫助你.

把榮耀獻給你的家庭是很重要的,稱呼你的新父母,爸爸媽媽.對待爸媽或新的兄弟姊妹千萬不能沒禮貌,這是很不好的你可以選擇去試著學英文,或開心或悲傷的懷念中國.不過終究在美國有很多好事所以我很高興而且我還是可以愛中國.

有家庭的感覺很好.我永遠是中國人,但是現在我也同時是美國人.我媽說我帶有兩面化的世界,因為我還是會講中文.我媽去領養我時發現我有兩個同樣也是待在孤兒院的兄弟.我媽跟我講說她會回去收容我的兩兄弟,我剛開始不相信,我看到家庭照片裡有五個兒子,所以我覺得我媽不會要我的兩兄弟.

我發現我爸媽不知道我有兩兄弟,他們確實是不知道.他們辦了領養手續,一年後去領養我的兩兄弟.現在我們三兄妹都有一個家庭我的家庭愛我,你們的領養家庭也想愛你們.你們的領養家庭想要認識你們,想了解你們喜歡什麼,不喜歡什麼他們想要你們快樂,想要你們交朋友,想讓你們有一個好的未來.在美國你們只要立志長大想當什麼,就會變成什麼.不管是老師,翻譯官,科學家,護士,只要你想的到的就做的到.我在這可以煮中國菜,我門慶祝中國農曆新年跟中秋節,我的家庭甚至每年慶祝我媽來中國領養我的那一天,而且還會送我禮物.

我從我新的家庭學到我是很重要的,不過我也同時學到每個在這家庭裡的小孩都很重要.對他們而言我是特別的,他們想要我.有時我爸媽會拒絕我的請求,雖然我不太喜歡,但是我知道他們是為我好我爸媽教我一些美國跟中國不一樣的地方,讓我去學習.他們關心我是快樂,悲傷,,或心情不愉快.他們對待我就像是對待他們親身的小孩一樣即便我剛開始有點怕他們會比較寵愛他們親生的小孩.他們讓我見識到父母能夠一次愛許多小孩,即便我有一個紅頭髮的兄弟,一個藍眼睛的爸爸還是不會改變他們對我們的愛.而且我還可以教他們跟中國相關的事情.

有一個家庭真的是我一生發生過最美好的事.我不再是孤兒了.我唯一的遺憾是沒有提早遇到我現在的家庭有趣的是我媽也這麼認為,她也希望他提早領養到我.不過我現在非常高興,因為我不再需要一個人孤孤單單的長大,因為我有一個愛我,關懷我的家庭.

Chloe敬上.

Please continue to help Jax-- every little bit adds up so don't think your $5 isn't enough, remember we got to the boys on $5, here, $10 there, etc. It matters:)


Of note- if anyone has trouble printing this out from the blog please e-mail me and I will send you a copy via e-mail to use, it looks kinda blurry to me on my computer on the blog.  ronvic7@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Older treasures


Gonna answer here for Rebecca--


She asked---


 Can you write a post for those of us newbies on some things to consider before bringing our older child home? And do you think we should ask her when we get there if she WANTS to come home with us? I know she has a choice.


I would NEVER ask an older child if they want to be adopted once you get to China. Nope. Never. WHY?  Well, just take this-- we asked that Phoebe, who is in foster care stay there till we come, not be returned to the orphanage when we get LOA.  What was the response? "We can send her back to orphanage now, we have not-- but we can?"  HUH?  We immediately said PLEASE clarify-- we do NOT want her sent back to the orphanage.


But see what I mean? Translation, even through a guide doesn't always come back right. You do NOT want to start out your adoption of an older treasure with them thinking you don't want them. And it's likely to come out that way. Don't take that chance. If she comes, take that as she wants to be adopted. 



Things you want to consider-- hummm.


Well. They are teens. They may be language impaired but they aren't dumb, deaf, or stupid. Don't yell at them. DO talk slowly. We talk very fast and don't realize how hard that is. I took Langenscheidt Pocket Dictionary (Amazon for less than $10) and carried it everywhere. It translates both ways. So Chloe and I could pick out a single word fairly quick and I could show her  "meal, bath, appointment" as one word and I was SURE of what I was telling her. Along with  hand signals, body language, etc. it makes it easier to communicate. 


We never had good luck with using guides too much, teens try to stick with guide, then when you leave province they are "lost"- I wanted her to know she had a way to communicate with ME not through another person. She used the book often and for a long time even once home. Much easier than electronic translators for both of us.


Be prepared to take an older camera for teen, if possible. Keep papers, etc, in folder YOU carry. They often will grab everything, they have no understanding of not touching things and they can be ROUGH. Fast and hard makes a winner in an orphanage, not so great on your phone, camera, computer,  even siblings, etc.


Have guide to ask child, (as soon as you get them on way back to hotel) do they have a cell phone,  a SIM card?  IF they do, TAKE THEM- have guide ask for them then take them. Tell child you will keep FOR them, then you decide when they use them.  And be careful where you put them- they can be sneaky.  I'm NOT saying it's not okay for them to have these, but I think YOU as the new parent need to know when they are being used.


I do not recommend letting them use your cell phone, room phone, guide's phone without someone listening in (who can translate).  And use guide to set guidelines. "Okay you call orphanage teacher and let them know you are okay." This does NOT require 50 minutes of conversation.  Make a 5-10 minute time limit.


You have to understand you could have a child claiming you are mean, horrible, and they want someone to come get them. NOT GOOD. You really want to start that whole bonding with you, not hanging to all things China asap. They got the Chinese orphan part, they need the American family part now, the sooner the better they look to you for their needs.


As for before you go, we have to say BELIEVE IN GOD, that He is guiding you to your child for a reason. He will not guide you wrong. As long as this is HIS will and you are following Him, He will help you and give you the strength to get through the rough times.

Look at your family strengths, see the weaknesses, be honest in them. And accept the BLESSING. These kids are a blessing. It's hard to see the rewards at times, but they are there. Know that you may have hard times, but there is a treasure waiting to shine under that rough and tough exterior.  Wait out the rough, work on smoothing those edges, and scaling walls that are built from their fear. Under the gruff, you have a scared little girl or boy just trying to protect their heart the only way they know how to.


"Hurt you before you hurt them." It's a defense mechanism.  Be patient. Be unfailingly kind. Know that they will watch your face, they try to "read" your expressions, first. Even in China. So plaster a smile on, don't show them rejection on YOUR face. Show them love, acceptance, even when you are less than thrilled. I told Chloe in China "sit down" (via the book) because she was standing on a chair in a restaurant-- she pouted. I told her firmly and with hand signals to back up the word "down" from the book. And I had the "no nonsense MOM look on my face.


But I didn't HANG onto that. Let it go. She sat, she pouted, but as soon as she looked up I gave her a small smile and thumbs up, then made it look like I had horns (with my chopsticks) and she had to smile.  Don't tackle every small behavior at once. Be prepared for slurping of food, spitting, open mouths eating, etc. Let that GO-- once home gradually work on those.


Be encouraging. Not horrified- even when they climb out of cab windows and you think you adopted a  wild monkey instead of a kid:) Chloe did that and I laughed. The guide and driver were MORTIFIED and angry, I laughed. I looked at it as she was very smart, she wanted out, and she got out. Might not have been the way expected, but she got out:)  She told me  MUCH later she was very car sick  and needed out. So imagine if I had gotten mad, she would have thought in her mind, "Gee I'm sick and she doesn't even care."


To address how to "pick"your child or know it's the "right" teen for you. That's a personal family decision. Just know what you are working with at home is my best advice. Is the oldest insisting to stay the oldest? Is a middle child happy to help a new brother or sister or totally against it? Do they have an easy going personality or do they NEED their space respected? 


 Some kids do super with a new sib close in age to them, some do NOT. Sit down, ask the kids what adopting a child looks like to them-- do they realize sibling may be sad, may not WANT to play basketball with them, or maybe they will love basketball.  They may be outgoing and sing all the time, they may be a bookworm. Give the kids at home ideas of what they might be able to share with a sibling. Make it real.  


Your child should have the ones at home be their very first advocate. Their first "friends" ---their first of as many things as possible. Because they MATTER. When I saw another child offer Paisley a hand down steps at a youth event and Chase made fun of that-- I pulled ALL of the kids (except her, she was in the shower)  in the living room and said " This is YOUR sister. Do NOT make fun of her. I do NOT want to see her struggle to go down steps and not see YOU offering her a hand, helping her because she has difficulties," and I explained her arthritis to them.  They weren't understanding her limitations. 


 We protect, we help, we expect the pride and honor of being a family member to be what shines through to her. We've got her back. We've got all their backs. And they have each others backs. We get to see the shine of these gems, as they get those rough edges smoothed off by our love, their trust, their security within this family.


I'm working on a project with Chloe, it will also help those adopting older, I'll be bad here and leave you guessing what it is:) I know, shame on ME.


Pictures are from a birthday party we went to, we were amazed when all the boys took swings at the pinata, but who brought it down but Miss Paisley:)  I told her I was glad she didn't aim that bat at me, whooooa. 


They threw the candy out and Paisley had a hard time scrambling among the kids to get much candy, but I overheard Kat giving her candy and saying "That's what sisters are for, to share."  Yep, that's what I'm talking about:)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No news

I'm gonna say no news is good news at this point because that's all I have on the Phoebe front. We are trusting God and no problem is bigger than HIM. It's a paperwork issue, the prayers are appreciated and keep them up, will ya? We know God means for this girl to become one of this family- and our commitment to her will not stop, no matter what. It may just take longer, which is hard to cope with knowing she waits. 


Or any child waits for that matter. Can you imagine? Being little, or worse, a teen in an orphanage and seeing child after child leave and knowing day by day your chance is being lost?  Oh, it just breaks my heart.  Teens wonder why no one wants them. They think they are unworthy of love.


Them getting chosen then learning they really are wanted, they are important, they are LOVED--- well, it's something I LOVE to see over and over, them getting it. We wanted them, we love them, they are worthy, they do matter. It's like watching a child who has misplaced their mommy for a moment and then she runs up to them and says "Where have you been and folds them into her arms."  


We don't "fold them into our arms." We fold them into our lives. And when they have that day (or days), that something happens, maybe they act goofy and I say "You are sooo weird, you fit right in here."  And they stop a minute, then smile, and you see it on their face, I FIT IN HERE.  I BELONG.  Doesn't matter that we are all weird. WE FIT. 


Speaking of fit, Chloe my girl, oh how she has grown in that love. It's amazing to see it. I took her to a doctor appt for Paisley, to translate if needed. She was surprising everyone with all the longer she has been home with her English. I mean, she can communicate anything and she was discussing what she would need for the upcoming school year as we waited and did testing. And she was really kind to Paisley, joking with her and making her feel more comfortable.


When Paisley first came, the girls kinda circled each other for a few days. Figuring out where they fit. Now it's very obvious Chloe is the big sis and Paisley is the younger sis. Chloe guides. Paisley follows. Chloe has come to deeply love us, Paisley will too. She already tells everyone how happy she is. 


Chloe has seen, Paisley is taking nothing away from her. My love grew. My heart grew. Room for both, nothing taken away.  She's very happy to have a sister closer to her age, I've heard them chatting away in each other's rooms, as well as singing together, laughing and just getting to know each other. It warms my heart. I can just see Kat and Phoebe sharing a similar bond.

Paisley continues to find her fit with us, she is more and more comfortable and seeing that we love her and that she is worthy of that love. She is the first sister willing to teach Camden any Chinese, so they are building a bond as she goes over words with him till he gets them pronounced just right. Camden really likes her. I get the impression the other boys "tolerate" her as a lil' sis, you, know, 'cause after all she is a GIRL:)


So funny, these kids of ours. They make us laugh. They make us joyful. They keep us busy, on our toes, and young at heart.  They are such a blessing to us. 


Just as Phoebe will be. Our blondie caboose. (No laughing MOM- she is our last) I'm just thankful we are not alone, people out there have ridden the roller coaster ride of adoption and know what I mean when I say "We need prayer" and they pray. They know what the wait it like, even trusting in God's timing, it's HARD to yearn for your child who is so far away.


We'll get there, we sure will. I've learned enough about waiting and patience:) 
At least I think so, now GOD??  He may think I need a bit more fine tuning, so I'm trusting in Him to get blondie home ASAP. And I'm anticipating having another wonderful daughter to treasure. 


Ohhh, YEAH!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Please Pray

I can't get into details here, but we've hit another BUMP.


With Phoebe's adoption:( Agency tells us they are trying to get it resolved asap.  


I ask that you pray, lift up our precious girl to God, asking Him to intercede and our LOA (Letter of Acceptance) comes sooner than later.


We are trying to be patient, waiting on God's timing, but knowing this child waits, knowing of us and we are sure she is wondering why we haven't come for her yet is HARD. 


We do know she is in foster care, a true blessing-- that she looks good and well cared for. But she needs her momma and her daddy, her forever family.


Best case scenario is a resolution within days, so please, lift this up in prayer PLEASE for Phoebe now.


We need to get this girl home, let's pray her home!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kat's special day





Off we went to the annual baptism service at our local Lake-- I had no clue that girly wanted to be baptized. She had been in children's church for the announcement and silly mom thought she was too young. 


But as soon as we got there, she said "MOM, I want to be baptized," and when I told her that she had to accept Jesus as her Savior, into her heart she said "YEAH?"  Like well, duh mom. (Did I mention she is 8 going on 18?)


So she went and talked to Pastor Dave (on the left) and she looked back at me and winked and gave me thumbs up (I kid you not).

 I was totally unprepared I had NO camera (thanks Jenna's dad for these shots) nor a towel. (thanks Hannah for sharing)


Even unprepared my pride in my girl is HUGE, she loves "her Jesus" and I know she will be an amazing steward of God's love in her life.  She will be a doer when she knows children are suffering- she already has a heart for adoption:))))


Kat's baptism 7-8-12  She is SAVED.  One less orphan, one more precious daughter of God.  


Thank you Jesus for this wonderful girl. She loves YOU so much.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Suffering

My last post and comments left have left me pondering.  As in wondering what is it that bugged me the most about it? Petty complaints? Really burnt toast? 


No it was the whole suffering children comments. And I have to say, it's a burden on my heart. For sure. Because I DO NOT believe God wants children to suffer. But they do. And I'm reminded of the saying that if I asked God why children are starving, cold, dying, that HE may ask me right back "Yeah, why are they?"


Children DO suffer. I suffered as a child. Do I think God "had it in for me?" Not at all. I didn't enjoy my childhood, but I also learned some really great lessons from what I endured. Things that help me understand my children now. I can help them because  I know where they come from in their behaviors.


That's not to say Paisley suffered with first family or that God let her suffer to get her to us. That we were meant to be her family all along. No, firstly God spared her. He showed first family WITHOUT A DOUBT they were meant to adopt her. We would not have been in a position, we did not even MEET her in time to do an adoption of her before she turned 14 and aged out.


So did He want her to be adopted-- YES. He did. MANY people who deeply love her prayed like mad for her to get adopted.  This is NOT to say she was thrilled to be adopted. Nope. She was not. She, like our other teens at first, had NO real understanding of what would be their future, or if they did they denied it would happen to them as teens are apt to do.


Did God want her to be re-homed? No, I do not believe this was His plan all along. I think He gave the call for her to be adopted, first family answered. I know for a fact they did all they could to make it work.  Many factors went into it NOT working and even when that happened they turned to God and prayed for the best road for this girl.  Just as sometimes it works out with a "Bubba" sometimes it does NOT. 


The thing is, we are not changing any 14, 15 year old child's personality. IF they have an intense dislike of younger children and the family is made up of all younger children, then what?  Some teens handle the issues of lack of communication okay, they handle the intense frustration- and trust me it is INTENSE. Others do NOT and need Chinese speaking siblings or parents.


Can you imagine being dropped in the middle of China and trying to get someone to understand you were hungry with no language, no money, nothing? And not just hungry but you wanted a certain flavor of noodles. How hard are you going to try to convey that? Till you give up, cry, take whatever noodles you can get? If you can get any at all?


These kiddos come here and most often can't convey the smallest thing. To ANYONE in the family.  I've been spared a number of "complaints" only because Paisley tells the other kids in Chinese and they don't bother to tell me all of them, mostly just "she complains a lot."  It doesn't surprise me and they have told her "tell mom" and she won't so  I don't doubt they are NOT big issues. Because she does come to me for the big issues. But yeah, she's got complaints. 

Which is very typical. All of the kids complained once they realized they had people who CARED to listen. It's a growing of sorts. Because in China, mostly the caregivers didn't really want to hear it. They don't have time for petty complaints. But here we do care and when they learn that they tend to go overboard the other way--- complaints galore.


I sometimes have to put them in perspective. When Chance told me he only wanted H*lister shirts, not shirts from Walmart, I told him at the orphanage I bet he was happy with ANY shirt, didn't matter where it came from. And he said "Yeah, but I have a family now."  That's not to say he wasn't being a spoiled bug, but he's right in a way--- it MATTERS now. He matters. Where he didn't before. He knows NOW he matter to US.


That's what we are parenting these kids for. To let them know they MATTER. They are special people we love, we care about, we want to see happy.  We answered God's call not to be "looked up to" or be "special" we did it to give them LOVE. And we do love them deeply.


Do we think that they suffered? Yes. Children are dying today. Children are starving, being raped, tortured, sold, killed. My children have seen most of this, even experienced some of it.
Yet, not one of them is anything but loving. Giving. Tell them of someone who is starving and they want us to DO something. Because they know we all have the ability to DO SOMETHING.  Every last little one of us.  They DO NOT try to keep stuff for themselves and say (As many of us would do) "we better not feed extra people, we MIGHT need that food for us." My kids have been on the streets BEGGING to eat, starving and yet they don't even entertain that thought when learning of someone who is hungry.


Their first words are "We have to DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEM."  How about that?


This isn't about "Why does God allow children to suffer" it's about WHAT ARE WE DOING FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE SUFFERING. He has given us the instruction, He will give the means, He gives the passion in our hearts, mine is ADOPTING, children from China, foster children, children with special needs, older children, etc. I don't want patted on the back for adopting. I want to use what I experience, learn, live with others to encourage adoption of older teens from China (or anywhere)


Paisley is a treasure. Even though she was not thrilled to be adopted, she NEEDED to be. I said in past posts that older children who do not want to be adopted should be listened to.  And then God sent us her. And I realize how hard a position not only the child but also the workers at the orphanages that do care and want the best for these children are in.  They knew it would be a bad situation for a girl with her medical issues which even then were not being treated in the best way. For her to be stuck there.  Never adopted.  People who knew her prayed she would be adopted knowing this would be the best option for her even when she didn't like the idea.


It was truly about what was best for her. And God paved that way. In impossible looking situations. Time was a huge one, an adoption  from China completed in 3 weeks?? Yep, that would be hers. It ended up with her here, with us. Do I think God allowed her to suffer to get here, NO. I do not at all.  She struggled, she may have suffered, but she was also getting all the medical care she desperately needed, dental care, personal care, and efforts of first family to try to make her a part of their family.


And when they saw how desperately unhappy she was they prayed and asked for answers for her, they did not mistreat her, they didn't want her to be miserable, which she was doing because she had decided to be. She was not willing to forgive them for perceived wrongdoings, none of which they were aware of/ could help/change.


We got a new start with her. No blame for taking her from China, 'cause we didn't do it. The wonderful blessing of Chinese speaking siblings that help her and guide her to blend into our family. A different family make up, different parenting style.  The blessing of having done this before, to know when stuff is typical, not to worry, and when to put our foot down and insist a behavior stop and how to handle that. Even now we are not perfect. (hence the whole picture issue and me insisting those pics be in her life book) But it works for her.


Would we rather have had her stay in China and never be adopted? Never know her? NO WAY. We are thrilled she is a part of our family, we love her. She's a wonderful person that we see an amazing amount of talent, potential, and a girl who is learning she is worthy of love. Our love, God's love. She is very special.  We are honored to be her parents.


We hope her story helps others to see that rehoming does happen. And it will continue to happen, it should not be something we persecute families for, sometimes it just happens for many different reasons. Just as children suffering happens, for many different reasons. But it's how we respond, isn't that the KEY? 


And wherever Paisley life, her story, her past, her future takes us, well, we'll see and we'll ask God to help us guide her, give her all she needs and hopefully we will see her become the amazing person we already know she is:))