Deuteronomy 4:35

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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Peek A Boo

Thanks to my dear friend Christy, we have some great seating options for our baby girl now.  She is sitting up tall and secure in her bumbo playing a little peek-a-boo and being absolutely adorable!

Floor Time

Because there is nothing in this life that brings me more JOY than a baby in a onesie playing on the floor, I had to share this cuteness. This girl loves her some chains and we love her smiles!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Spaghetti Noodle Sensory Play

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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Feeding Her Sister

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.

On her Gotcha Day

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!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Home and Jet Lag

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Prayer Requests for Travel

If you all would be willing to present these requests to our Lord through prayer,  we would be grateful as we begin our travel home at 530 pm Friday your time.  We arrive home 27 hours later, after three flights, at 900 pm Saturday, April 22.  Just typing this seems exhausting.  
Here are some requests...

No bloody noses for Anna Mei.  She had three big ones on the last fight.  Her pjs looked like she had been through a war.  

Rest for all of us.

No flight delays.

Patience for waiting through each flight and layover. Guangzhou, China to Beijing- Beijing to Detroit-Detroit to Cedar Rapids
Ease as we exit the bureaucracy, suitcases, and paperwork.

Minimal trauma for our Ellie as we take her from all she has ever known.  

We can't thank you enough for all you have done to support our Ellie's adoption.  She is a treasure and we can't wait for you to meet her.  
If anyone wants to welcome us home at the Cedar Rapids airport, we arrive at 900 pm Saturday, April 22 on a Delta flight from Detroit.  We can't wait to be home! 
Leslie. Anna Mei, and Ellie Grace

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Silk Beauties

I took some photos of my girls today in their Chinese silks. They are ready to bust out of here and so am I. Two more days until we fly home!

She Is Into Everything

She is coming out of her shell and exploring.  She was playing in the trash can and I couldn't be more thrilled to see her exploring.

The Safari Park

We visited the Safari Park today and saw so many animals. Ellie actually reacted to some environmental noises today. She was terrified of the loud brakes on the train and the robotic T Rex. It was hot and we are all ready to go home, but we are making the best of it. We get Ellie's visa today, but we couldn't get a flight until first thing Saturday morning. We arrive in Cedar Rapids after 26 hours of travel. We can't wait to be home.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bedtime Snack

Seaweed still tastes good even with a tooth missing.

Cantonese for Dinner Tonight

Tonight we went to dinner at the very same Cantonese restaurant that we visited with Anna Mei's adoption trip. I was hoping we would stumble on it in this neighborhood because I often tell Anna Mei about this dinner where she consumed all of my BBQ pork belly. The girl loved to eat! She still loves to eat so we ordered the pork belly and bread with some sort of sweet dipping sauce (which she and I ate most everyday when I got her). It was just as delicious as I remembered. Anna didn't love the pork this time around but it was so sweet to be there with her. Of course, Ellie Grace was so adorable and it was extra special to be making new memories with her there too.

So Precious

I already cannot imagine life without this precious amazing girl.  Tonight as I sat with her at dinner I was praising God for those of you who gave so that this babe could be mine.  I am forever grateful for the gift of her that wouldn't be mine if it weren't for you!  Thank you!  Thank you friends!

Longing For My Washer and Dryer

After two weeks of doing laundry in the bathroom sink and hanging things to dry where there is no ventilation, I would kill for my washer and dryer. Yes, I used the bathrobe belts to make clotheslines. We adoptive mommas are a resourceful bunch. Longing for the comforts of home today, but also wishing I could keep the maid service and omelettes made to order each morning.

Visiting the Consulate

Ellie Grace had her consulate appointment today.  There are no cameras allowed in, but trust me she rocked that red, white, and blue dress.  She is now awaiting her visa and magic brown envelope which will allow her to enter the US.  It can't come soon enough as we are anxious to head home.  Only three more days here and we are reunited with our Daddy and sisters!

Monday, April 17, 2017

She Lost Her First Tooth

We will never forget her first loose tooth as it isn't everyday that we are China! What a great milestone to experience here.

Pearl River Cruise

Tonight we enjoyed a cruise on the Pearl River. It was a wonderful time. Last trip, we discovered a more authentic boat that is a dragon ship. We were the only foreigners on the ship and it wasn't at all crowded which always makes it so love.

Keeping Busy

We are just waiting for Ellie's paperwork to pass through US immigration so that her visa will be issued. We are doing are best to keep busy , but we are ready to be home. Tomorrow is our consulate appointment and then we will have the visa in our hand on Thursday. It can't come soon enough. We enjoyed a park today and it passed the time well.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

She's is eating!

Happy Baby


Tonight I noticed a couple in their late fifties with a southern draw sitting near the pool.  There was also a very handsome twelve year old Chinese young man quietly swimming alone amidst a group of large siblings with their new eleven year old brother.  The quiet twelve year old sat to the side and I assumed, being recently adopted, that he spoke no English so he sat alone.  Soon I saw that fifty something man approach the quiet boy and I watched a huge smile erupt on his face as he called Baba (Daddy in Mandarin).  The fifty something father swam with and wrestled his new son all the while this boy, new to having a father, beamed!  The fifty something momma approached us and shared their story.  They have adult children, five grandchildren,  an empty nest, and , by the looks of it, plenty of love to share so instead of choosing to collect shells or golf... they are opening up their family to this handsome, bright young man.  At a time when their friends are vacationing, grand parenting, and retiring.. they are answering God's call to care for the least.  It is absolutely inspirational to see the gospel in action right here in this land!  How might God use this young life because his mom and dad said yes to following God's leading.  You can bet I am in tears watching the example of this couple and so inspired watching them love their new son.

The Boy at the Pool

Tonight I saw an eleven year old boy swim for the first time.  I wish you could have been there.  He had the cutest, most innocent smile as he was surrounded by his five new siblings.  I watched his new blonde brother patiently coax him in the water while his new momma held his hand.  Then I saw him release and stand independently on the bottom of the pool floor while his face absolutely erupted with joy.  This was the picture of a physical new birth this Easter evening right before my eyes.  This eleven year old boy, who has waited far too long for a family, being accepted, loved, and wanted by his new tribe experiencing fully the benefits of being a loved and cherished son.  It brought tears to my eyes.  He waited eleven, long years, but all I could see in his eyes was pure JOY at being near to his people experiencing the water..a wanted treasure.

Ellie Swimming

  1. Aquatic therapy here we come.  She LOVES the water!

Easter on the Island

We were a bit late for church this morning on Shaiman Island, but we did hear a bit of the sermon and the last song. It was full today and people were standing outside. Anna Mei enjoyed ice cream, eating cheese pizza at Lucy's, and posing for photos. Ellie Grace was happy as a lark to take it in from the ergo. She is such a good baby.

Breakfast with my Babies

Breakfast here is busy and crazy so I put Ellie in a high chair this morning. I have never used a high chair in China, but Ellie did great! She was exploring and trying to get into everyone which makes this momma so happy. She continues to tolerate my giving her a few bites of food too. She almost always has spit it out, but takes it from the spoon. This morning she had a bite of yogurt and some syrup.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

On Your Fourth Gotcha Day

Dear Anna Mei,
Yesterday was your fourth Gotcha Day. It is so very special that we get to be in the land of your birth to celebrate this wonderful day together. You love your Gotcha Day because you love to be celebrated and yesterday was not different. We had a special box of chocolates from the hotel bakery, cheese pizza from room service, and then we went swimming. You were happy with all you got to do and assured me you loved celebrating your day. We then spent the evening, like we always do on this day, reading you travel journal from my blog. It is such a gift to have all of my thoughts recorded there for you. Watching your face light up as you saw yourself as a baby on the very stairs in this hotel, in front of the exact dresser in our hotel room, and laying on the very same carpet that we are now walking on was priceless. You talked and talked about it all evening. You love having my words read to you about your early life and I love sharing them. Today I see you as a remarkable young woman who is growing up before my eyes. You are a natural momma caring for and loving on Ellie Grace every chance you get. You have such an understanding of the world too. One that is far beyond your age. You are passionate and love deeply. Your are silly and love to laugh. In the front, leading is your favorite place to be. You inspire me everyday to do more and be better because of how closely you watch me and learn. I love you and count being your momma as one of the greatest blessings of my life. Happy four years home my treasure! I love you!

Looking to the Future

I really can't explain it, but this place doing this work of claiming one more precious girl is the reason I'm alive.  Being here, being used by God to be a small part of the redemption of this little one, is the thrill of my life.  It is hard to imagine a time in my life when this, welcoming more home, does not exist, but deep down I know that each of God's purposes for my life have lasted for only a season.  What might a season look and feel like that does not include adoption?  I have no idea, but it is hard to imagine anything that could make me feel more alive than this does.  I have said before that many people live their entire lives searching for their purpose.  These babies have given me mine,  and I am grateful to God for inviting me to do this work because truly through this I have experienced Jesus in ways I never could have if I hadn't said yes to this.  I have been stretched and pulled by the Lord through this.  I have seen miracles which I never could have dreamed would be.  I have grown a love and passion for the fatherless that I never would have known.  So as the trip wraps up this week,  I don't know what the future holds, but I pray that I am willing to lay this season of my life before the Lord so that I may continue to live in His will knowing that His plans for me are bigger than I could ever imagine.

Her First Swim

Ellie Grace loves the water and Anna Mei was dying to swim so tonight we headed to the roof top to try it out. Ellie was a fan! She will fit in at our house just fine.