I often wonder what God might do with this special little girl's life. Though Anna Mei's initial adoption file was special focus and said she had all sorts of special needs, I knew when I was handed her in China that she didn't have low or high muscle tone. As my first week with her in country went on, I also knew that she didn't have any developmental delays, and I suspected that she didn't have "poor brain development". Needless to say, this sweet six year old is completely typical. That is not to say that she doesn't have her challenges. She does, but here she is with unlimited potential sandwiched between a whole bunch of sisters who face some challenges that are considered pretty big by this world. My dear Anna Mei is my side kick. My number one therapy partner. She can tailor play activities to enhance Molly's practicing to use her hearing, can encourage feeding and swallowing in our newest babe, and can even sign to Jilly in no time flat. She is truly gifted in so many ways, and I honestly can't imagine how God might use her life.
The other morning, she brought out her baby doll, and told me that she was "reviewing her file". Her file said she had autism and hearing loss so she was doing some therapy with her sweet baby doll to help her. PRECIOUS! I pray that she keeps her eyes firmly planted on Him as she grows because she has so many gifts and such potential, as we all do with God's help, to do great, BIG things for Him! What a special, amazing little girl that I get to call my daughter. So good!
Our precious Ellie prefers to be held by her momma for her naps. This momma is, of course, happy to meet this need. She is absolutely precious, isn't she? As I watch her sleeping, I am in awe of all God has done to protect her and bring her to us. We have a lot of appointments in the coming weeks. Reports, diagnosis, and evaluations that are necessary, but that can overwhelm the heart of this momma. In these sleeping moments, I hold onto the reminders of how faithful my God is and that He will never leave us. We covet your prayers in the coming weeks as we try to get an accurate picture, medically, of who our girl is and what she needs to reach her full potential.
I stood on the other side of a wall just now peering through a tiny window just watching my very special eight year old get a pan x-ray taken at the dentist. To most, this would not be a major feat. In fact, most would mutter "crazy" as they passed me..the sobbing momma looking through that window..today at the dentist's office. You see this is my girl who I was told would never learn anything. This girl who I was told would never know that I was her mother. The girl who I was told was far too broken to be adopted and who would not accomplish much. This amazing, incredible girl, who signed hundreds of words all morning at the dentist outlining clearly each and every one of her anxieties as she clung to this momma for reassurance, continues to accomplish more and more every single day! As I held my newest babe in my ergo watching my biggest Chinese babe yet again rocking this medical situation, I was overcome with gratefulness to God that He would allow me this privilege. You see if I had seen you standing at a window like this six years ago, I may have muttered crazy myself as I passed. I wouldn't have understood because being a momma to this big girl of mine has changed me! She has taught me so much about what this life means, and just what a miracle every single day can be. I will care for her for the rest of my days on this earth as she will always be a child to some degree because of the very special way her mind is made, but, friends, this is, indeed, one of the greatest blessings of my life. I certainly would have never understood the great value in this journey had I not walked it myself. I would have never understood the immense beauty in my Jillian just as she was made. I have watched God allow the love of our family to absolutely transform the heart of this baby girl, and as I embark on another journey with my smallest, Chinese babe snuggled in my ergo, I am on my knees in awe of that fact that God would bless me once again with another very special treasure! This life is such an amazing blessing! What an incredible and abundantly loving God I serve to lead me to such great JOY!
Tonight I took my girl out for a little skate. The girl is seriously strong and after a block of wrestling to keep her up, I tagged Daddy and he took a turn with our happy, dangerous princess. I couldn't love this kid more.
The weather has been beautiful here, and we have been living in our backyard. Our girls love being outside, and while it is nothing fancy, our backyard is full of play things. We live out there all summer in the dirt, mud, sand, rocks, and water. It is our haven. In fact, nothing in this world makes me happier than looking out my window while doing the dishes and watching my older treasures enjoying the yard. It is the nearest thing to perfect this side of heaven.
Daddy built a fire for s'mores the other night and our girls were thrilled! Jilly doesn't eat them as she can't chew and still has some serious oral aversion, but she LOVES the fire!
My Molly had to get some shades like her Anna Mei. She still always wears them upside down.
Molly doesn't like marshmallows as she is not a super sweet tooth, but she loves cooking them.
This girl would live on marshmallows as she has a super sweet tooth. She loves fire nights.
Only chocolate bar consumed by this sweetie!
Daddy let Jillian burn the marshmallows which led to uproarious laughter!
Our sweet girl Jilly still loves to swing, but this year she has learned to pump! Praise Jesus! She can go super high, and Daddy says we are going to need to build her a more sturdy swing set really soon. Oh I am overjoyed to have me some summer coming!
During meals, I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve. I have done this feeding therapy thing before so I am armed with all the best tricks. I put food down on the tray for her to touch and explore. I also started putting an extra spoon next to the food on the tray. Imagine my surprise and thrill when she picked it up and put it in her mouth by herself!
One on one time with my girls is so important so I try to take each of my girls out as much as I can. I love love this time with them. Last week, Molly and I headed to the nursery together for yellow plants as per her request. She loves yellow and we have been busy planting around here. Such sweet memories are being made and I love it!
Over the years, we have been so blessed by the body. Again and again, they have met our physical needs and our spiritual needs. Sometimes these needs have been met in the darkest seasons of our lives, and sometimes they have been met in times of rejoicing. Regardless of the season having help is what God intended. He meant for us to live in community together sharing one another's burdens, joys, and day to day. I know this in my head, but when a dear lady in our church insisted that she bring us dinner this week, I almost said no. We are back to life. We are settled in quite nicely and I just didn't think I needed it. I am so glad that she insisted because it was our favorite meal..fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate chip cookies, and it gave me precious time. Precious Time that I didn't have to spend making dinner. Time that I had to sit next to my incredible six year old girl while she completed her first 100 piece puzzle. Time that I could cuddle my Molly Kate, swing my Jillian, and carry my newest babe. Time that I could just sit and be around the table with my teen talking about her day. Time that I wouldn't have otherwise had to do any of this. So, I thought long and hard about saying yes when those willing around me offer to help. I will say yes when someone offers because, even when I don't think I need it, help is a gift from one believer to another that is intended to lighten our load and bless us. When I say no to other's offers, I deny them the ability to follow the Lord's prompting in their hearts to serve me and I rob myself of a great blessing. Friends when those around you offer to help you in anyway just say yes! And who knows, you might find a little one who loves chocolate chip cookies when you didn't expect to....
Thank you, dear friends, for your willingness to offer so much help this last year as we have journeyed to this girl. You all are such a great blessing to us!
2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Dear, Sweet Molly Moo, It hasn't even been two years ago yet that you walked into my arms. You were hesitant to come to me, but since you have..you have never looked back. You adore our family. You love, love on us all, and so easily connect to whomever you are close to. You are happy..full of JOY..each day as you don't let anything keep your spirits down too long. Your sister, Anna Mei, is definitely your favorite person in the whole world right now with me being a close second. I often say that you don't have an identity apart from your sister because you just want to do and be everything that she does. You have a sense of humor like no one else in our family as you are rarely ever serious for too long. Often you are making silly faces or spitting your tongue at Daddy to get him laughing, and usually it works as he will play and play with you as you act silly. You are my most independent little one. You love to do everything by yourself for yourself like a big girl. You don't let anything stop you from accomplishing a goal, and as you grow that trait will be so valuable. It has been so exciting to watch you grow this year as you are so bright. You have made two years growth in most areas at school, and we are so proud of how excited you are to learn new things. You have clung tightly to orange cat (your stuffed friend) this year, but have recently begun to leave it behind. There are so many signs that you are growing up! Nothing will stop you from changing this world sweet girl, and we are so thrilled to be beside you as you do it. As I watch you, I pray that you will continue to embrace who God made you to be, and that you will boldly go into this life ready to be used in big ways by Him. We love you more than you will ever know dear girl, and are beyond privileged to be your Momma and Daddy.
All my love,
I have had this treasure in my arms about three weeks now, and I can't believe how much stronger she is getting. She spends most of the day sitting up on the floor playing. She was so wobbly and unstable when sitting in China that I was sure she would need a helmet when we got home to protect that sweet head, but already she is so stable and easily getting from a sitting to lying position on her own as she plays. She rolls all over creation destroying most everything in her path which is wonderful. Yesterday, she pulled a basket of magnets down dumping it everywhere and we celebrated her accomplishment. While I was at Walmart picking up some baby food, Daddy texted to ask me to get some outlet covers because she had found the plugs. YEAH!!! She loves to take off and dump at this stage so our living room regularly looks like a war zone with all her toys strewn everywhere. We couldn't be happier.
This week she has overcome her jet lag and is back to sleeping 12 hours all night. Insert huge sigh of relief from this momma! If she naps during the day, she prefers to be in my ergo to catch a quick 20 minute snooze which, again, makes this momma so happy. I love having a sleeping baby in my ergo!
The girls absolutely love taking care of a baby! By far, this has been the easiest transition our family has ever had with a new little one. It is so sweet watching my other girls care for this little treasure, and it is so healing for them too.
On the eating front, she is now taking three full meals of rice cereal via a spoon in her high chair. She opens her mouth and she wants to eat! This is HUGE, and I am absolutely thrilled! She getting so much better about using that tongue to swallow, and not pushing everything out. She is still not thrilled with flavors other than the rice cereal, but again I love that she can swallow the cereal and use her tongue to push out the other less desired stuff. Last night, I even had her chewing! I was dancing and praising God with the girls at dinner because of it! I even continue to sneak baby food flavors, medicine, and vitamins in her bottle and she sucks them down.
She is absolutely precious! We are smitten with our newest little butter ball! We can't get enough of her chubby cheeks and big, bright eyes! Watching her reach milestones every day as we love her is amazing! She had her first round of doctor and therapy evals. We are getting packed with labs, immunizations, specialists, and the like, but I know that they will all help her reach her full potential and I praise God that we can access all these things for her! I can't wait to see where she goes!
Miss Kay brought us some yummy spaghetti for dinner on Tuesday. We are so grateful for all of those wonderful people who have feed us! Having our physical needs met as we adjust to having a new babe is such a tremendous blessing. We ate a good bunch of the delicious stuff, and then we decided to do a bit of sensory play with some of the left overs.
My big girls loved using the noodles to make art. I put it on trays for them with plastic knives, scissors, and other utensils and they can play for hours. As I was watching all the activity around my table, I was overcome with gratefulness to God for allowing me this overflowing life! Everyday I am so aware of the fact that I could have missed all of this, and I am so glad that I didn't as I experience blessing after blessing caring for these sweet, sweet babes.
When first bringing home my sweet Jillian, many told us that she had severe Reactive Attachment Disorder, that she would likely never attach to us, never feel safe and trust, and that life would be a huge challenge. Life for her is, at times, a challenge just as it is for all of us, but this girl's heart has been healed beyond my wildest dreams. Despite a very traumatic start, she is so attached to us, loves us as her family, and participates in family life like most other kids her age. She is very interested in her baby sister, and when I was feeding her dinner last night Jillian couldn't wait to help. Oh my heart, the wonders never cease to bring me to my knees with choruses of "God you are so so good! So many things have come against my Jillian in her life. As a baby, she wasn't nurtured, cared for, or fed, and yet she is able to care for, feed, and nurture this little one. It is so healing for her heart to have this new baby! Each time we add a sibling and I watch her learn to love them, I am in awe of all God has done.
Six years isn't long, yet to me it is nearly impossible to remember what it was like six years ago without this precious girl in our family. She has changed everything. She started all this crazy of following God to China for my babies. She gave the orphan a face and a name forever breaking my heart for the fatherless. I couldn't be more thankful to God for the amazing gift of this girl and all the ways that loving her has radically changed who I am today. I can't talk about her without being moved to tears because she is an absolute miracle. What a privilege to celebrate her on her sixth Gotcha Day with pumpkin pie while remembering God's faithfulness and all He has done!
We arrived home a bit over twenty four hours ago, and let me tell you it is glorious to be in the USA with our clan. Anna Mei and I missed our people so very much. Rounding the corner at the airport to see Daddy, the girls, Grandma, Uncle Anthony, and a few dear friends waiting always makes my heart soar. Ellie is doing very well as are the other girls who are thrilled to have gained this sibling. Jet lag continues to rear it's ugly head as it always, always effects me. I had a very productive night though while everyone was sleeping and I should be able to run on very little sleep until the adrenaline wears off. Hopefully, I get a few more projects and chores done before that happens. Thank you for your prayers as we traveled. Please keep them coming as we adjust to this wonderful, new, and blessed life.
I am a Christ follower, wife of 20 years to my best friend, and a stay at home momma to five amazing daughters. I am currently waiting for one precious special needs treasure to come home from China. I am passionate about the orphan and special needs adoption. I love to teach God's word, am involved in youth ministry alongside my dh, and love,love, love cooking. Above all, I desire to serve God and surrender my life to His call.