Deuteronomy 4:35

You have been shown these things that you might know the Lord is God besides him there is no other.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Waiting for a Word..

Saturday was the Connecting Hearts to the Forgotten Conference. This is an amazing, free event to encourage the believer to care for the orphan through fostering, advocating, and adopting. I set out for this conference with our second adoption in mind. I was heading there to get a word..a direction from God about where to go next and how.

As I drove, Satan was on the attack hard and heavy in my head. Making me doubt, bringing fear, and causing me to question whether or not we could really do this adoption thing again. I will admit..he was beginning to get to me despite all that I know about God and all that He has done for me so far. I was beginning to doubt myself. If we had no way to pay for an adoption a year ago..we really have no way to pay for an adoption now. How in the world will this ever happen? How will I be able to leave Jillian to travel to our new child? How can I go through the wait again? When will I have time to get a dossier together with a toddler home?

God must have been looking down with love silly child of mine. Don't you remember? Don't you remember who I am? Don't you remember I am in control? I love the orphan and desire for your next daughter to be home in a family..your family. Don't you trust me to do it? It's not about you at all my dear one. (Insert my duh I know this!! God has been faithful. Every. Single. Time. Every. Moment. Every. One. When will I stop clinging to the world and truly just remember? Fortunately, God is patient with me.)

Near the end of the conference..I was uplifted. I had listen to many amazing women (and a few men too) sharing their journeys, but still had not received the word or direction I was hoping for. The ministry fair was set up with many different agencies and was full of information about adoption programs that are in existence in lots of different countries... I searched and searched..prayed and prayed..even attended a session on fostering..No Word from God came about our next adoption.

Then near the end of the conference I was talking with a friend who asked if my heart was in China? Yes, my heart is definitely in China, but the mountains are stacked against us going there again. While we have ample funds to modestly meet the needs of raising another child, China's income minimum is absolutely beyond our reach now that I stay home. But isn't God able to move mountains? Can't He fulfill the desires of your heart somehow? Of Course, He can. So I have the name of an agency that goes to bat for waivers from China's "rules" for prospective couples and hope that just maybe God will see it fit to move the mountains that seem to be standing between us and another Chinese daughter. Praying..Hoping..that this is God's desire for our family as well as mine. I love the Chinese orphan. I love special needs adoption and I am willing to go again. We have room in our hearts and family for at least one more. Praying that the Lord will open all the doors and soon we will be on this crazy journey once again!

Friday, February 24, 2012

History and A New Beginning

I had a meeting with the school district this morning. My Jillian will turn three in just two weeks. (Just saying it makes me want to run scared as fast as I can in the opposite direction.) At three, she must be released from Early Intervention (EI) and be placed under the care of the special education department that is a part of my town's public school. I have a bit of a negative attitude about this transition..ok, I'll admit it...I have a big, bad attitude about this transition.

There are several reasons for this..

1. I have been a special education teacher in the public school for the past thirteen years of my life and quite frankly most of that time I felt like I was on a battleground. I was constantly fighting for the rights of my students when I felt they weren't being given what they needed or deserved. Most of the time, the battles were minor but frequently they were big. Many times it left me wounded and disappointed in a system that is supposed to be about doing right for kids. I don't mean to be mellow dramatic, but maybe I am. I just know from experience that this special education road can be bumpy and unpleasant. Having this much experience and knowing this much has tainted my "glasses" a bit and caused me to be sceptic where special education is concerned. I want better for my daughter. I want her to have the best..what she deserves..I worry that this might not be available to her because of the fact that she is going to be an IEP student. Personally, I don't want her education to be a fight, but I am passionate about her and am willing to fight if I must.

2. My dealings with Early Intervention officials so far have been less than positive most of the time. I haven't always felt that they understood my girl. I haven't always felt that they took into account the unique circumstances of her life. They didn't always make me feel like they valued who she is and where she has come from. Those who shuffled her paperwork always seemed to be about doing the least amount of work, spending the least amount of time for her, and challenging most of what I thought was best for her. This isn't to say that we didn't have amazing therapists..we have had, but the higher powers that be in EI have made things a bit more disappointing. At times, it made me doubt my decisions and second guess what I held to be true about what is best for my baby girl.

3. I am most comfortable with what I know. Emily goes to a small private school and in my heart of hearts this is where I would send all my kids in a perfect world. Perfect for me though not the best choice for everyone I know.

Taking all of this history into account, I head off to this meeting a bit apprehensive and very nervous about how it will go. My girl looks scary in those exit reports written by her old therapists. It's not their faults because truly they have been amazing. My baby is just really, really low. I know that when another professional sees her on paper it is going to be hard to see past those low, low scores. So I worry. I pray. I go to the meeting ready for the worst.


I sat in a small room with four professional women around a table. My sweet daughter made it about 20 minutes of that time before leaving with her daddy. I signed papers (on the parent line) and talked with these ladies about my baby girl.

Then, I leave the meeting with the feeling that these professionals working in the public school truly care about my baby. BECAUSE..They spent time asking about who she is and affirming the fact that she has had a difficult start. They played with her. Pursued her. Reaffirmed me. They even teared up as I talked about all she has been through. The speech professional who attended even adopted and we were able to talk shop as far as international adoptions go. They mention to me that because of all that I am doing with her and the knowledge I could be best to keep her home a while. The psych shared that working one on one with her and providing all the therapeutic activities that I do could be best for her versus being in school. I can give her my undivided attention and she is making huge gains she assures me! She asked questions about bonding and attaching (another concern I continually have about school and my sweet thing being away from me) and then I see in this kind woman's eyes that she really understands (and I completely agree with all that she said). They love all that we are doing to work on skills and love that I socialize her so much. They commend me for the way that we are raising our precious one and best of all...the psychologist says that sending her off to school may not be the best option now, but when it is they have several ideas of places she could attend. I can visit each one and make the decision about which one is best for her.

Then, I share this is 100% how I feel. She isn't ready to be in a school setting during the day yet. This is exactly how I think. This is the issue that has caused me grief for months and one that the EI powers that be made me doubt on a regular basis. I leave feeling like these professionals are for my baby girl not against her and that I am a huge part of deciding what is best for her..not paperwork or funding or the amount of time it will take to work out a plan. They are in this for her and will work with me to do what's best for her!!

Relief. That's what this momma is feeling. Also guilt. My bad attitude for the last few months about this event does not glorify God. Repentive. History is just that history. Time for another new beginning for my baby girl.

Three years old?

Ready or not here we come!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our First Valentine's Day as Four

So blessed to have both of my girls together this year!...

A handmade card.

Gifts..chocolate gifts..the best kind at our house.

Heart shaped pizza..


Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Budding Artist

I have been begging her for months to hold these in her hand. She hated it at first. She couldn't stand to touch them let alone make a mark with them.

Now look at her go to town...I don't think she has quite decided if the right or left is best.

So determined..

She even sat at the table in the nursery today next to a friend and colored for a few minutes. On Tuesday, she sat in the craft area at the library and made the craft (with lots of help from momma) with the other story time kiddos. I am blown away at how far she has come.

She always claps for herself when she is done. She is even understanding momma's praise and seeks it out for her job well done. It is so darn cute!

Her latest work of art...

the dining room wall.

That's right...

She is so comfortable picking up those writing utensils that she decided this wall was her canvas. Too funny!! I did teach her to use these so I only have myself to blame. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012


This morning was hard. Hard because my sweet treasure melted down..completely down. It is so hard to watch her crying, screaming, and thrashing for over an hour. The first 30 minutes I can hang in pretty well. I try to stay calm, meditate on scripture, pray, and sing..but when she starts banging her head on the floor I always weep heavy over her. I wish there was something I could do for her. I wish that I could understand her need and help. I don't quite know what to do for her yet and I may never know. She may never be able to tell me what is happening and how she is feeling. This is the hard part...never knowing why and the fact that there is no sure fire "recipe" to help her come out of it. Today it just had to run it's course and I had to make sure she was safe. She was exhausted after it was over. She's sleeping soundly now. I praise God for that and pray that He continues to give me the strength and wisdom I need to be the best momma I can be to this little treasure.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bball and Piggy Tails

We love us some basketball at our house. Daddy coaches Darling Kiddo's junior high team at her school and it has been an awesome week for her team. They won their regional game and are headed to the state tournament next Saturday! We are so excited because we are crazy about basketball and winning is fun! My girl has turned into quite a player these days. She looks so big and so grown up out there that it is hard to remember the chubby three year old who couldn't even dribble. She has turned into such a great player and while this isn't her most important attribute for us to cultivate as we shape her into a Godly woman..we love ball so much that it is so rewarding to see her being successful!

She scored 13 points on Friday and she loves, loves, loves to play. She has gained so much confidence and watching her daddy coach her just makes me happy inside!

Oh yes she did...Jillian let me put her hair in piggy tails. It is getting longer ever day and my is it at that messy growing out stage. Can't wait until when it is long enough to really put up and she will finally sit nicely for a good haircut. Until then, we will just have to settle for this hairdo. The three of us were all surrounding her in her room last night. Big Sis with the camera, daddy with his camera phone, and momma with her flashlight trying to get a smile out of her. She must think we are all nuts. Of Course sissy said..You're going to blog about this aren't you? Yes, sweet one..I AM!

Great shot of the piggies..

Oh Be Still My Heart..She's so cute! Hair bows here we come!

Monday, February 13, 2012

In the Cart??

Really, you would have thought I was vacationing in Hawaii. My face exuded joy and I beamed this morning as I walked the aisles at Walmart. In fact, I stuck out so much..I had a fellow momma approach me as if to say..I have never seen a momma so happy to be at Walmart with her little one. (It's true! I was really approached.)

This Jillian rode in the grocery cart at Walmart!!!!

That's right!! She was in the cart-standing in the basket-while I pushed it back to grab a box of diapers. This is huge! This is incredible. This is reason to rejoice, scream, shout, and dance shamelessly in acknowledgment of the Lord's great power in helping this little treasure overcome her fear!! Remember with me friends that ten months ago she couldn't even walk in a store in my arms without a major breakdown. A breakdown lasting hours after we left at times. She wouldn't go near a cart without screaming in anguish. Slowly, she has become familiar with the social routines of shopping while safe in her momma's arms. Slowly, we have explored different stores in said arms and purchased one or two items. Slowly, the breakdowns while entering the stores and having to wait to pay have lessened. Slowly, she has even become sure enough of the environment that she is able to get down and walk a bit. Finally, she is more comfortable with the sights, sounds, and faces of strangers as we shop. She is trusting me more and more.


Today she got in the cart!

She was in the cart throughout most of the store. She was anxious a bit, but she held it together. This means a whole new life routine has opened up to shopping with a list. I don't know if she is ready to join me for my weekly grocery outings yet, but she is getting closer.

Ten months ago, I took so much for granted. I would have never teared up over the fact that my daughter was able to ride in a grocery cart and I would have certainly never been so happy to be running an errand at Walmart, BUT this little baby has changed my perspective so much. Each experience is a HUGE victory allowed by the Lord to bring glory to God through her life. Each new day..a chance to see His redemptive power working through her. Oh, I am so blessed to be able to be a part of it.

The biggest thing I have discovered is that when I started this journey, I often thought about how much this little baby would need me, but was so oblivious to how much we really needed this little baby. She has shown me so much, changed me so much, expanded my heart so much..a miracle is my baby girl indeed. She is a miracle that God is not through redeeming yet and I am praying for His continued healing of her heart!

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Brave Girl

Dearest Baby Girl..
Today the Lord reminded me just how brave you wonderful. We had therapy in a different room than usual and while you were extremely nervous, anxious, and sensitive to all that was new around you..You eventually overcame and had some fun with momma's help. How you trust me sweet one and look to me to meet your needs is just one of the greatest blessings of my life. You glazed over initially in this new space, got your coat, took momma to the door, and began to cry. You let me come to you, hold you, and calm your fears. Then in desperation, we turned to sensory play Miss M and I..swinging you by your hands and feet and crashing your body into the mat and you laughed..It was a small and reserved laugh at first. The kind of laugh that seems to accidentally slip out even when joy seems fleeting. Suddenly as if the flood gates let smiled and really laughed. You gave us your eyes and overcame your fear because you felt safe there with me. You trusted me. After that you were all smiles and engaged Miss M and I for nearly thirty minutes swinging, putting rings on the sorter, and playing peek-a-boo in the mirror. You are so brave and I am so blessed to watch you overcoming your hurt taking on the world a little bit at a time. I have been thinking a lot about what it must have been like for you to live without the love and support of a family those first two years of your life. I have been thinking about how it must have just been easier for you to hide inside yourself and refuse the world. You don't have to do that anymore. Praising God that you are home with us now and that you have a family to help you feel safe and that by God's grace you are overcoming the things that have kept you in darkness and isolation for so long. I love you and I will fight for you all the days of my life. You are a blessing and a true treasure. Take on the world baby girl and momma will be standing right by your side cheering you on every step of the way! To God be the glory!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sensory Play

One of the best things I can do for my little peanut is provide her with lots of opportunity for sensory play. Sensory play basically excites her senses, exercises them, gives input, and helps to organize her. It also helps her overcome her sensory deficiencies. Lots of kiddos with autism have sensory processing deficits and given my baby girl's lack of stimulation for the first two years of her life..she just didn't get the input that she needed as a babe to develop those brain sensors. This is a big part of why she is so anxious in new situations and so hesitant to try new things. Touching a crayon is terrifying to her because she has tactile defensiveness. Overcoming it means providing her with lots of tactile activities that give her the input and experiences she needs. Playing in the sink full of water and bubbles is great to awaken her senses and lessen her tactile defensiveness. (And she thinks it's a load of fun these days!)
I remember the first time I introduced her to water. She hated taking a bath. Having the water touch her was way too much input and she would scream bloody murder the entire time. She loves the water now. She even loves bubbles though "bath foam" is a whole other story. We are working on tolerating that shaving cream texture on her skin and hands these days during bath time therapy.

She enjoys playing with her toys in the water too. When I first got these toys out during bath time, she was terrified and wouldn't even look at them let alone touch them. Now these little guys spend many hours in the water with her riding in boats, jumping over the edge of the tub, and squirting water from their squirt holes. Oh, we have come so far my friends.

She gets that little stool off the shelf each morning for our sink play. She carries it to the sink and places it in front so that it is just right. Then she climbs on and goes at it. There is always lots of water everywhere, but that smile and a little fun is worth mopping up a bit.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Wish

I wish you were here in our living room so that you could really see the joy that this little treasure radiates. I wish you could hear her laugh, a deep belly kind of laugh, like she does when her daddy plays with her. I wish you could see how her sister loves on her every time that she walks by her.I wish you could see my JOY each time she gives me a hug! I wish I could describe to you by typing something the change that has happened in her little heart since coming home. I wish that you could see for yourself that this orphan, once left alone, is now alive and well in this family. I wish I could tell you with adequate words thank you for giving so this could happen for her.
I wish that I could express to you the amazing gift that you gave to us when you donated and prayed for us as we were bringing her home. If you are ever tempted to think that you can't make a difference...If you ever feel overwhelmed by the need around made a huge difference in the life of this amazing little girl when you gave what you had to help her home to us.

You have forever blessed us by giving so that she could be ours. I haven't thanked you in a while...those of you who supported our adoption and helped us pay the ransom for our precious treasure are forever in my heart though. THANK YOU!! Thank you for giving to the Lord on our behalf. We are blessed beyond measure by your love and friendship!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


After nine months home, my little treasure is beginning to be secure enough to go out and participate in some typical activities! She is growing like a weed. Growing so much in fact that her pants are getting too short. I knew that there were some good clearance sales going on, but with Daddy gone four nights last week there was just no way to get out to look. Last night, it was just the two of us again. She has enjoyed going out so much lately that I decided to give it a try. This was the first shopping trip that I had attempted that wasn't about going in after one or two items and getting out fast. We went to one store first and browsed. While I looked at the clearance racks she stood (yes stood) right beside me. She didn't even need me to hold her. She walked around a little bit even and looked over some of the items. She never got anxious, never cried, never acted up..She even got away from me a bit, but always came right back when I told her to. The first store had nothing that I thought was clearanced enough and she did so well..I decided to try another store. Again, she was calm..She may have even enjoyed it a bit. So I found her three new outfits and paid less than $20.00. Not garage sale prices, but ok none the less. The best part was she was there with me!!! And I'll tell you what..she is a showstopper. She gets so much attention when we are out. A Chinese baby is not the norm in these parts and she is so stinking cute. She's sporting one of those new sets today though I don't think she will ever be able to keep up any pair of pants because she just has no bottom to hold them up yet. She still needs a sz 18 mos and must have an adjustable waist. So different than my first girl who could hold her own at nearly twice that size when she was about to turn three. Love my tiny three year old, but dressing her is going to be a challenge with that tiny waist and long torso. Still, it was much easier to select sizes with her there and so much more fun!!! What out Daddy..she's a shopping girl now!