Tomorrow my dear girl turns seven, and without fail I am up when everyone else is asleep mourning for the mother she will never know. My girl's birthdays always bring with them thoughts of their belly mommas. Was she laboring this night seven years ago? Did she first look into the eyes of my baby girl at this very hour or was it much later? When was it that she knew in her heart that she would have to say goodbye? Does she think about her everyday, but especially does her heart break on this day for the girl she will likely never know? This girl who is the one of the most special gifts given to me by a God who ordained this story for her. On this night, I wrestle through so much..so many questions unanswered that I will likely never get to ask. Pieces of my dear daughter's story that will always be missing, and it grieves me. I cry at the brokenness of it all, and cling to the promise that God uses all things for the good of those who love him. My baby girl loves Him so, and for that I am grateful because I know that He will use her story..and those many parts of it that will never be revealed to us on this Earth..for His good somehow. Grateful for the moments that I stand beside her treasuring each and every one in my heart, and so thankful for the woman who held her before I did. The dear momma whose face likely matches that of my treasured daughter. I pray that somehow she has God's peace on this night, and that, by some miracle, we will meet one day so that I can thank her for sharing her girl with me.
We have loved having snow on the ground. My Anna Mei loves to be out in the snow, and she was dying to build a real snowman so she was super happy when the weather turned warm enough to enjoy this white stuff.
While we waited to play in it, we read lots of snowman books! Snowmen at Night is one of our favorites, and we did this little art project inspired by the book. We talked about perspective as we created them as this is an aerial view of a snowman.
We used pastel crayons, and the girls absolutely loved using them.
They did not hold back when adding color to these unique guys, but I always encourage them to create anything they want so I resisted telling them what to use.
This girl's fine motor skills are truly amazing. She cut out all her pieces by herself with regular scissors!
This one is my artist. Her brain is definitely not black and white. She sees the world with an artist perspective for sure, and I enjoy her so very much!
The girls and I enjoyed The Lion King Jr on stage as part of the Playtime Poppy series before Christmas. Molly loved the flying bird kites, the costumes, and the music. Jillian always loves the dancing, and choreographed movement of the groups, and Anna Mei loved the story line. I am so thankful for this series as it is top notched theater for my girls, but costs only a few dollars to attend.
Molly even went up on stage as she is my most outgoing...
On a Saturday in December, Daddy and Jilly headed to Special Olympics and we headed to a Christmas party. With so many little ones, it is becoming more necessary to split up as they have many activities. I am so thankful to not have to go at this parent thing alone.
Molly is a Shriner's Hospital patient. We are grateful for the free care this organization provides our sweet Molly at their hospital in Minneapolis.
We also are so thankful for all the other special ways they serve our family throughout the year. Every year, they have a Christmas party for the patients, and it never disappoints.
They had a live band with brass and woodwind instruments. It was loud, but this girl slept anyway. I think she was unimpressed with the festivities. 😍
Molly was all smiles though because she knew she would receive a gift, and she was waiting with anticipation!
We met some some amazing patients and their families this year who are served by this charity. I am always so thankful for the time I get to spend with other families who are parenting special needs kiddos. The fellowship is always sweet.
I hate to think of taking down my tree as my sweet baby's face is so lovely in its glow. I may be the only one on the street with it still up into January, but I am enjoying every minute of her exploration.
A few hours ago, I was in the laundry room tackling the mountains of dirty clothes that come with a family of seven. Outside the door is our family and playroom. The door was open as I tediously complained in my mind about all this work, and outside the door as I was folding I could hear my Jillian. I could hear her laughing, and bouncing the giant exercise ball. I could hear her drumming the same huge ball with her favorite sticks, and my heart stopped complaining because I couldn't help praising Him for the miracle this girl is to us. Seven years ago when I was handed this baby girl, she could not be near a ball. Before entering any therapy room, gym, or classroom, I would have to make sure that all balls were well hidden because they TERRIFIED her. She would refuse to go into any room at Easter Seals for therapy if those balls were hanging on the wall, and, not only that, she would often meltdown for hours..heck the entire day.. at just the sight of a ball. Hear this fellow adoptive mommas, some of you are walking this hard right now. Life is so upside down with so many circumstances out of your control, and you're weary. Sometimes, it seems hopeless. You love and love..give and give.. and yet you can't fix it. You hold bodies in the night of your children as they revolt against you with no promise that they will ever allow you to comfort them...that they will ever love you back. You walk down medical corridors everyday giving up time with your others while you sacrifice for this one that you have chosen to love from hard places. You can't remember who you were before this started, and you honestly don't know who you will be when this all settles. I get it so much, and, if I could sit across from you right now sharing hot tea, I would say miracles happen. Love grows, and one day you will look back at this time seeing the work of God so clearly that you might just be thankful for it. Thankful that God walked you through this hard, and for the love that grows through it. Back then, I would have never dreamed that seven years later my little girl would play basketball with her Daddy, love PE, or tell us how much she loves us. Heck, I couldn't let myself hope that she would ever communicate at all back then. Yet, here she is standing outside my laundry room door..whole..healed beyond my wildest dreams living life to the fullest, and bringing so much glory to the God who created her that I can't help, but praise. Don't lose hope. God knows you if you trust Him. He sees your trouble, and He is good.
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who trust him. Nahum 1:7
After a very, very long week of medical appointments every single day, it is gloriously good to have all my babes home in their pajamas today! We are doing nothing at all, but enjoying the good that is called HOME!
Jillian is digging in the rice tent.
Molly is doing some writing while listening to her Jolly phonics songs.
My artist is at her easel...and my heart is full of JOY. Home never felt so good!
At 4:00 AM this morning, I dragged myself out of bed to face the still dark day. Starting a load of towels, and brewing a strong cup of green tea from my daughter's birth country, I prepared to wake my little one for a trip to the U to have a sedated procedure in an attempt to gauge the progression of her hearing loss. Progressive Hearing Loss..those words sting as I type them. They have caused me sleepless nights, worry, and tears over the last few months. They have haunted me..causing me to take my eyes off the cross, and forget just how faithful my God has been. How could I let mere words have such power over me? Today, I was a bit nervous, but couldn't wait to face the results of this test head on. At least, after today, I could be sure what we were up against. I could be armed with information used to get the next ball rolling if need be. If, indeed, her loss had progressed to a severe..almost deaf status as her behavioral booth results had been suggesting..I would know and could walk on clinging to the HOPE that I have in Christ. I held her as she was poked, and the IV was inserted. I walked beside her bed, and then settled her in the sound booth. I stroked her while she was given the sleeping meds, and I watched her go to sleep so quickly that I wished we could give her some of those meds at home when I was particularly anxious to get her to sleep so I could watch the next episode of This is Us. ☺ Then, I waited with a wonderful friend from church as Daddy had home duty. She prayed over Molly asking for Him to perform a miracle and heal her. Then our little princess came back to me an hour later, and close behind her were those ABR results I had been anticipating all these months. Her hearing has not changed!! Her loss is still mostly moderate with a pocket of severe in some tones and a few moderate in others. This is unbelievable news! I am absolutely praising God for this great news! God does not change because this good is what I had hoped for. He isn't any better or worse because of it, because either way He will be glorified. Either way He has a plan for good, but what a relief to this momma that our merciful God has spared Molly at this time from loosing more of her hearing! We are grateful for so much after today. Grateful for a day spent with a church friend, and the many who have been praying for her. Grateful for the dozens of wonderful medical professionals who so compassionately cared for my baby girl, and for the state of the art facility that she was treated in. Beyond grateful that our dear audiologist met us at her office @ Wendel and reprogrammed Molly's aids saving us another trip to the U, and making sure that her aids match her need perfectly! Above all, I am grateful for Molly's life and the future that lies ahead of her as I anxiously anticipate all that God could use her to do! Thank you to those who have been praying!
We have been flying solo most nights as Daddy is in the thick of bball season, but we have tried to make the most of it. My Anna Mei is always, always happy to create, and after 18 years as a momma I have a pretty stocked craft room so it is easy to throw together just about anything. These ornaments were so fun to make, and kept my girls busy (and not fighting) for a good part of the night.
(You can get the free ornament printable here.)
While we created at the table, Ellie played happily in her wrapping sensory bin.
She is still a HUGE fan of dumping, and loves to squish each of the shiny bows while also tearing up the wrapping paper.
After the ornaments were complete, the girls proceeded to use the entire shoe box of craft sticks to make random creations with glue. My craft sticks supply is totally depleted, but what fun to watch their hands create for so long!
Today I cradled my youngest in my arms as she slept, and I took a minute to breath. I watched the sun pouring in my huge front window, and, as I took it all in, I caught a glimpse of our family gallery wall to my left. In that moment, I looked at the beautiful pictures of my Chinese daughters hanging there on the wall, and it was completely ordinary, as many families hang their children's pictures, and completely miraculous at the same time. These daughters with Ch*nese eyes hanging on the wall next to us. It is such a juxtaposition with which we live. Our sweet, precious babes going about life in an absolutely ordinary way yet each with a path to us that is beyond miraculous. Living simultaneously between the ordinary and the miraculous is such a place to be. I can be so overcome with emotion so quickly as I watch my girls living out this life. I am struck by how God has orchestrated it all, and what an incredible miracle it is that my eight year just hopped in her Daddy's truck to head to a Special Olympics sports day with him by her side. An eight year old, that at two was literally dying while waiting for a family, walking so strong, and so full of life as she touches so many. I can watch my six and four year old (sisters and the best friends) playing soccer together in the backyard..completely ordinary..and be moved to tears. Girls, with very different stories, from very different parts of China..sisters in this life..miraculous. I hold and comfort my smallest babe singing "This is the Day the Lord Has Made" while she endures another medical procedure..Ordinary and So Unbelievably Miraculous all at once. These miracles are something I could have so easily missed if I had gotten too caught up in the ordinary that was my life before my girls came home. I could have listed a million reasons why I could never do this that God has me now living. I would have looked at others doing this and thought they must be special or super spiritual or possess some great powers that I never could. For years, I pushed away the longing in my heart to welcome more into our family as we were too ordinary to do anything this miraculous. One thing that I now know is that God can make my ordinary miraculous if I just let Him. Now, because my girls are in them, each and every ordinary moment contains a good dose of miraculous, and I can't imagine living any other way. Beyond grateful that each and every ordinary moment I have includes these incredible, amazing babies because sharing life with them is the greatest blessing I have ever received. That God would entrust me with such a precious gift is, often times, so beyond my reasoning, but I am grateful to Him for it. This Christmas is it my deepest desire that other babies get to experience the same ordinary life that mine are as I pray earnestly that each and every orphan will be welcomed home.
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.