Monday, December 27, 2010

Introducing.......













Mr. Bao Yun Fei....


....who is waiting for us in the province of Henan in Zhoukou city. Is he not the most handsome little dude ever?! I can't wait to get my hands on him!!
He is 7 years old and his papers say he can't wait to have an even more caring mother and father. I can't wait to give him that.

A little tidbit for ya~ Henan is China's most populous province with more than 100 million people. And yet, this 18-orphanage province placed fewer than 100 children for international adoption. I'm so happy he will be rescued from a life of no family or opportunities.




Isabella doesn't say much. She's so easy she'd be happy with whoever we got! Unless it was a baby. She is very certain she does NOT want a baby in this house.

Trey, on the other hand is excited! Bringing Isabella home has not been easy for him. (She gets a lot of attention. She REQUIRES a lot of attention! She's bossy and he hates that.) So, Trey is glad that he'll have a brother to shoot guns, play ball and wrestle with. Isabella is glad to do all those things with Trey, but then I stand on the side lines and constantly yell, "Careful! Easy! Be nice! Stop it!) Like right now as I type this- I'm telling Trey to STOP!

Another good thing about Trey getting a brother is that he won't be sleeping in the basement by himself. I'm not sure I would want to sleep in the basement by myself either!

Not sure of when we will travel. Homestudy is done. Dossier needs to be notarized, certified and authenticated. UGH! Then there's the fun part in getting fingerprinted (AGAIN) at the USCIS government office and waiting for DTC, LID, LOA, I-797, NVC, Article 5 and then TA! I have no idea how long all this takes.
But, I'll let you know as this progresses along.











Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Best Christmas!!

I have pictures of my sweet sweet girl's first years without me!

A group of us were tipped off about a website for a Chinese volunteer group in Isabella's city, Shenzhen. I spent all morning searching through several years of their various volunteerism.
I can't even put into words what it means to me to have these.

She looked at these pictures of herself over and over and when she got done she asked to watch her adoption video. I'm sure she's trying to put it all together in the order of her life, but I still wonder what goes through her mind when she looks at these younger pictures of herself.

I have over 60 pictures of her and her friends that she remembers. (Some of those pictures are of the back of her head clear across the yard/room though! I'm keeping any little bit I can get my hands on!)

This will be the best Christmas present I get this year, I'm sure!

Enjoy my sweet baby's pictures of when she was a LITTLE sweetie.







Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Worship in the Mall

This is way to cool not to share.
In fact, it made me cry.


Worship in the mall!
It's got to be against the law doesn't it?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saving for China



My sister found this on the table today when she got home.


It seems her 8 year old is going to China with us.







Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm THANKFUL.
I'm in LOVE.
I'm BLESSED.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Location

I ordered something yesterday and this morning they sent this tracking email.

Look under Location.

Shenzhen CN
That's China.

Where Isabella is from.

How cool is that?



All shipment travel activity is displayed in local time for the location
Date/Time
Activity
Location
Details
Nov 17, 2010 7:32 AM
Shipment information sent to FedEx
Nov 17, 2010 2:22 PM
Picked up
SHENZHEN CN
Package received after FedEx cutoff

Bonding

As I was looking through our adoption videos
I found this. I don't remember Trent (or Trey)
recording this.

This is Isabella 5 days after we got her.
I think she's liking this mommy thing.
: )

video

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Is It?

Trey: "Dad! I found this outside in the road! What is it?"

Trent: "Ah, yes, they used this in the Civil War."

Trey: "Dad. Really. What is it?"

Trent: "Well, little indian boys used to use these....."

Trey: "Dad! Seriously! What does it do?"

Trent: "Ok, ok. It's a bum plug."


Thursday, November 4, 2010

I LOVE THIS GIRL!

...because she is hilariously funny, sweet, loving, bossy, smart, very funny, trusting, faithful, obedient, and just plain fun to be around.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letters

This girl loves to write.
She has written since the day we got her.
At first it was Chinese.

Now it's names of her family.
She even does cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Miss K got her some letters to work with and she has been having fun spelling everyones name!

Isn't she the smartest and cutest little thing?!




Saturday, October 30, 2010

Language Loss

I knew this day would come.
Although, for awhile you think the days of it will never end.
I knew it would be a sad one.
But the feelings you feel when you actually find out that it's gone is different than I thought.
It was a sinking feeling in my gut. Almost like a death.
She's lost a part of who she is and I don't know if she will ever get it back.

Not only has she has lost her people,
her culture,
her food,
her friends,
her Chinese Mama and Baba,









now she is losing her language.


Last night I discovered she can't count to 10 in Chinese anymore. I had to help her!
She used to be able to count higher than 10.
I spoke a few phrases in Chinese and she didn't know what I was saying.
I was a little surprised even though I shouldn't be. I knew this day would come.

Because she has lost these things doesn't mean that it's bad.
She exchanged one life for another to have a forever family, love, safety, education and freedom.
But it came with a price.
Not only has she lost her cultural heritage but she'll always look different than most of those around her and at different times in her life it might be hard to deal with. (It's hard enough being a teenager without throwing in other "stuff". )
But we will work through the "stuff" and always come back to the big picture- she is loved and has a family forever.

I have come to love China. The people are wonderful, smart, hard working, family oriented and they are grateful we adopt their "less than perfect" children.
I was personally thanked by a very sweet Chinese woman for adopting Isabella.
And all I could say was...
"No."
"Thank you."

So, while she forgets her language, I will do my best to teach her all about her cultural heritage and pray that she will always be happy exchanging one life for another.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lydia Faith

If anyone wants to follow along with the family who has adopted my girl you can follow along with the link below.
Everything has gone beautifully for all of them and their story is sweet.

Sorry. I can't figure out how to do the "click here" and make it work for you.
You'll have to cut and paste.


http://herewegrowagain3.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile.
But I'm not a writer and the words I put down won't even begin to describe how I feel about this girl. But she's all I think about- and I'm starting to freak myself out about it!

About 2 months ago I started checking different sites on waiting children. I would see her photo and think how beautiful she was. There was something in her eyes that drew me to her. She has no special need- other than she is older.

After about a month of looking at kids (dangerous thing to do!) I would find one and email their picture to Trent. You know....just to get him use to the idea again. : ) Stir the heart. I had already been hinting around that I was ready to bring home our next kiddo.

Well, over time I sent him several. Different ages, boys, girls, different special needs. Whatever caught my eye. I also requested their medical files to look at.

He never mentioned them.

After awhile I couldn't stand it anymore. I showed him who, what, where- any info I had on these sweeties and said, "We need to talk!"

He asked me if I wanted to know what he thought. I told him no, but go ahead. (I thought I knew what he would say.)






He thought we should go get her! She was already my first pick. I was already in love!
I mean look at her! She's in pink! Destined to be mine. : )



You see, when an orphan turns 14 in China, they are no longer adoptable. Many people don't realize the deep and ingrained stigma that an orphaned child often faces. Orphans are often felt to be unlucky or even "cursed," and so they often have many strikes against them when it comes time to go to school or find a job. There are different levels of school in China; many orphaned children are only able to attend the lowest level schools, as parents who are paying higher fees for the better schools don't want their children to have to attend with "unlucky" orphans. Education is so important in the Chinese society, and parents often push their children to try harder and work longer on their homework. Orphaned children rarely have anyone pushing them or encouraging them. To actually make it to university as an orphaned child is a true achievement. And even after graduating, jobs are often very difficult to come by due to businesses again not wanting to employ people who might bring bad luck to the company.

You might ask how anyone would know you were an orphan after you left the institution. There are several factors that make it hard to ever lose your "orphan" status. The first is your hukou, the formal registration that every individual in China has. Your hukou is family based in your home city, and orphaned children often have a "group" hukou that clearly identifies them as not having a family. In the past it was very common for orphanages to use "created" surnames for the children in their care. For example, many orphanages used the last name of "Fu," which directly implies an orphan, or else they used the first syllable of the town or district, like Bao or Long. Isabella's Chinese name was Long XiaoHua. She was from the Longgang District in Shenzhen City. Thus, the surname Long.
Fortunately, knowing the trouble that orphaned children often have assimilating into Chinese society, the government has recently been giving children more common last names, such as Li or Chang.

Almost everything in Chinese society revolves around the family, and great reverence is given to one's ancestors and lineage. Major holidays are big, for at all possible you return to your family to celebrate. For orphaned children who age out of the social welfare system, they often find life very difficult with no family ties.

This girl will turn 14 on November 5. I had 2 months to get my dossier put together. Not realistic. But knowing God works miracles and if she was ours, He would make it happen.

So, the next morning I talked to the agency through whom I had found her information. I told them we had not started any of our paperwork and asked if it was even possible to be able to get her in time? They said China had changed their policies a bit and that a child who has been on the list for more than 30 days can be matched with a family even though they do not have a dossier or homestudy. We would then have 6 months to submit our full dossier following the match.

This was all news to, me so I called a different agency and my friend Lori called her agency to see if this was possible for a child who would age out of the system in 2 months. Neither agency had ever heard of this. The adoption has to be FINALIZED in China BEFORE their 14th birthday.
So, I called the agency that told me I could be matched with her and asked them if I had read their email correctly. They said yes, if she had a family working to get her- she would stay at the orphanage after her 14th birthday until we were able to get there to adopt her.

After a few more phone calls and emails and many emotional ups and downs - knowing it was indeed NOT possible to adopt her at this point- decided to start our homestudy. Lori and I prayed that God would bring her home to us through a miracle. We would finish our dossier and petition the CCAA on her behalf to adopt her. I printed off her pictures and put them in my planner, on the fridge, and Trent put her photo in his pickup: a reminder to pray for her. I even named her! Knowing this would be a huge miracle for us to adopt her, I started praying that God either bring her home to us, find her another Christian family or take care of her in China after she ages out. I literally cried daily for this girl!
One day I checked FB and saw a comment a friend (through the adoption community) made about God moving mountains. I clicked on the link and it brought me to someone's adoption blog. As I was reading I recognized the Chinese name of my girl.
I had to read the blog post 5 different times I was in such shock!
You see, I hardly check my FB. I don't personally know the person I am friends with who had this blog on her comment box and I usually don't click on those comment links.

So! God has answered our prayers for my girl. Another family jumped in with both feet and left for China yesterday to get her. I had a good cry and am still sad that she won't be mine. But I am grateful she will have a family and that makes it all ok. This is God's answer.

The funny thing is-

We were both in China.

At the same time.

Getting our daughters.

In January/February of 2010.
(Why didn't I think of that route?)

God is bigger than two of the biggest government bureaucracies in the world. The way all of this worked out is truly a miracle. God loves this girl more than both our families put together and did what was best for her. Isn't HE awesome?

Please pray for her and her new family for a smooth transition. She will be leaving everything she has ever known to come to a whole new world. A world we think is better for her. But it's a world that won't always be easy for her, at least for awhile.

I can't wait to watch their story unfold...
.... and I hope that one day I can meet my girl.

(Info on Chinese children who age out was taken from Love Without Boundaries)

I Want What That Guys Got


Clay Dyer says, "When people see me I want them to say, 'I want what that guys got'."
Shouldn't we as Christians want people to say this about us?

Grab your kleenexes and watch this video.




Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adoption Awareness Documentary Short

My friend Teresa Rima made this video.
She did a great job and is such a blessing to us by her example of what it is to love the orphan.
They have 12 children and several of them are adopted.
What a picture of the true meaning of caring for the orphan.




Monday, October 18, 2010

Barney

Barney is in speech class tonight.

Isabella has such an awesome speech teacher right now and she is learning SO MUCH!
Miss K is such a blessing to us.

The video gets a little long at the end.....
.....but you get the idea.

She is so cute!
video

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Girl

Still learning about China and their culture, which I have come to respect and admire.

Table Manners
In America, parents always remind their kids to "keep your mouth closed when you eat" or "don't talk with your mouth full". It is seen as terrible manners to make noise when you eat or show the food in your mouth when you talk. Generally in China, it is no problem at all if one makes noise at the dinner table or carries on conversations with food in one's mouth. It may be disgusting to you, but to Chinese it is just a part of their happy life.

All this to say...
... my daughter is VERY happy!
: )

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the wagon

Dedicated to my sisters~
with their "Wagons".

You rock girls!




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

  • Application to CCAI ~ done
  • Homestudy done ~ done
Can you tell what's up?




Monday, September 27, 2010

All Star or Average?

My husband forwarded this to me from a buddy of his.
So well said.
And so true.



Your kid's an All Star? Wow! Someday he'll be average like the rest of us.

The church in America is puzzled. Young adults are leaving in droves. Magazines, books and blogs are wagging the finger of blame to point out who is responsible. Some say it is a failure of youth ministry, some point to church budgets and some nail the blame on outdated, unhip worship services. We parents are shocked that our kids just really aren’t all that into Jesus.

When I look for someone to blame I head into the restroom and look into a mirror. Yupp, there he is. I blame him. That parent looking back at me is where I have to start.

If you’re a parent, I’m might tick you off in this post. But, hear me out. I think that we, as parents are guilty of some things that make it easy for our kids to put faith low on their priority list.

Keys to Making Your Kids Apathetic About Faith

1) Put academic pursuits above faith-building activities. Encourage your child to put everything else aside for academic gain. Afterall, when they are 24 and not interested in faith and following Christ, you’ll still be thrilled that they got an A in pre-calculus, right? Instead of teaching them balance, teach them that all else comes second to academics. Quick … who graduated in the top 5 of your high school class? Unless you were one of them, I bet you have no idea. I don’t.

2) Chase the gold ball first and foremost. Afterall, your child is a star. Drive 400 miles so your child can play hockey but refuse to take them to a home group bible study because it’s 20 minutes away.

2b) Buy into the “select,” “elite,” “premier” titles for leagues that play outside of the school season and take pride in your kid wearing the label. Hey now, he’s an All-Star! No one would pay $1000 for their kid to join, “Bunch-of-kids-paying-to-play Team.” But, “Elite?!?” Boy, howdy! That’s the big time!

2c) Believe the school coach who tells you that your kid won’t play if he doesn’t play in the offseason. The truth is, if your kid really is a star, he could go to Disney for the first week of the season and come back and start for his school team. The determined coach might make him sit a whole game to teach him a lesson. But, trust me, if Julie can shoot the rock for 20 points a game, she’s in the lineup. I remember a stellar soccer athlete who played with my son in high school. Chris missed the entire preseason because of winning a national baseball championship. With no workouts, no double sessions, his first day back with the soccer team, he started and scored two goals. Several hard-working “premier” players sat on the bench and watched him do it. (Chris never played soccer outside the school season but was a perpetual district all-star selection.) The hard reality is, if your kid is not a star, an average of 3 new stars a year will play varsity as freshmen. That means there’s always 12 kids who are the top prospects. Swallow hard and encourage your kid to improve but be careful what you sacrifice to make him a star at little Podunk High here in Maine.

2d) By the way, just because your kid got a letter inviting him to attend a baseball camp in West Virginia does not mean he is being recruited. You’ll know when recruiting happens. Coaches start calling as regularly as telemarketers, they send your kid handwritten notes and they often bypass you to talk to your kid. A letter with a printed label from an athletic department is not recruitment. When a coach shows up to watch your kid play and then talks to you and your kid, that’s recruiting.

3) Teach your kid that the dollar is almighty. I see it all the time. Faith activities fly out the window when students say, “I’d like to, but I have to work.” Parents think jobs teach responsibility when, in reality, most students are merely accumulating wealth to buy the things they want. Our kids learn that faith activities should be put aside for the “responsibility” of holding a job. They will never again get to spend 100% of their paychecks on the stuff they want.

3b) Make them pay outright for faith activities like youth retreats and faith community activities while you support their sports, music, drama and endeavors with checks for camps and “select” groups and expensive equipment. This sends a loud and clear message of what you really want to see them involved in and what you value most. Complain loudly about how expensive a three-day youth event is but then don’t bat an eye when you pay four times that for a three-day sports camp.

4) Refuse to acknowledge that the primary motivating force in kids’ lives is relationship. Connections with others is what drives kids to be involved. It’s the reason that peer pressure is such a big deal in adolescence. Sending kids to bible classes and lectures is almost entirely ineffective apart from relationship and friendships that help them process what they learn. As kids share faith experiences like retreats, mission trips and student ministry fun, they build common bonds with one another that work as a glue to Christian community. In fact, a strong argument can be made that faith is designed to be lived in community with other believers. By doing all you can to keep your kids from experiencing the bonds of love in a Christian community, you help insure that they can easily walk away without feeling like they are missing anything. Kids build friendships with the kids they spend time with.

5) Model apathy in your own life. If following Jesus is only about sitting in a church service once a week and going to meetings, young adults opt out. Teenagers and young adults are looking for things that are worth their time. Authentic, genuine, relevant relationships where people are growing in relationship with Jesus is appealing. Meaningless duty and ritual holds no attraction.

There are no guarantees that your children will follow Christ even if you have a vibrant, purposeful relationship with Him. But, on the other hand, if we, as parents do not do all we can to help our children develop meaningful relationships in Jesus, we miss a major opportunity to lead them and show them the path worth walking.

I want my kids to see that their dad follows Jesus with everything. I want them to know that my greatest hope for them is that they follow Him too.

Mt. 6:33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (The Message)

On a personal note: I know the struggle. My wife and I have lived the struggle firsthand. My son was recruited by a few D1 NCAA schools for baseball and opted instead to attend a small D3 school. My daughter was recruited to play field hockey by a couple D2 programs and ended up playing D3 when the scholarship offer was not enough to make her top school affordable. Both played in “premier” leagues. Both got A’s in high school though we often told them not to stress out too much over it. Both are in honor societies in college and my son now has offers from UNC, Univ. of Wisconsin, Johns Hopkins and Weil Cornell for a Phd in Pharmacology. Neither ever missed a youth group retreat, conference or mission trip because of their sports or academic commitments. Both missed a game or two to attend faith-based activities. Both missed school for family vacations. Both held down part-time jobs in high school and learned to give employers advance notice for upcoming retreats. My son often changed into his baseball uniform at church to arrive in the third inning of Sunday games. Robin and I did all we could to make sure they connected in student ministry even when it meant driving straight from a tournament to a music festival at midnight so that they would not miss out. It was that important to us. My youngest, a culinary student, lost a restaurant job because he went on a mission trip. That’s fine. Thankfully, all 3 have strong faith walks today. That is due only to God’s grace. But, I do believe that our efforts and example helped them long for a community-based faith.

written by Scott Linscott

Use this post however you find helpful. Reprint, repost, link to it or whatever. A link back to http://scottlinscott.wordpress.com would be awesome.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Spring Is Coming

Trent created this Flip Video with little clips of our time in China WHILE IN China.
Make sense? Did I say that right?
I just now figured out how to get it to the blog.
I'm either an hour behind or a year behind.
Either way......I'm behind.
Just ask Trent.



video

Saturday, September 18, 2010

YouTube & Gotcha Day

I'm doing it again.
I sit here and watch other people's Gotcha Day on YouTube.
Older child adoptions.
Then I bawl.
And it consumes my thoughts for the rest of the day.






Monday, September 13, 2010

Izzy


She is a constant, non stop, little sweetie full of energy!





Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This picture of Isabella is actually the day after her birthday. She got high heels, gloves, jewelry and Fancy Nancy Leg Warmers and they have been her favorites so far.


The perfect way to end the summer is to have a birthday
and swim (one last time?).
This girl is a fish and LOVES to swim.




We have a tradition where we sing the Ice Cream and Cake song for whoever's birthday it is. Isabella knows it from Kanakuk. She has ALWAYS participated in everyone else's song and dance. But tonight she was so overwhelmed that it was all for her that she just stood there and watched everyone else sing and dance for her. I was very surprised at her shyness.

This is the look on her face as we all sang Happy Birthday. Everyday she would sing Happy Birthday to herself. When it came time for the real thing- she was very quiet.


After all the singing and cake eating. She dived right into presents.
She wasn't shy about this part of the party.



We had a princess pinata and each kiddo got a turn at trying to bust it open.
They loved it!


The Princess Palace Balloon is still flying high in the living room.


Me and my sweet Birthday Princess.


This is the "Fancy Birthday Princess"!
She's 6 going on 16.



Isabella's first hair cut!
Actually is was just a trim.
But she LOVED being in the chair and getting all girly.










Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of School

Isabella's first day of school as an American,
with a mom and a dad,
two brothers,
lot's of aunts, uncles and cousins
and wonderful grandparents.
She was so excited! She has not stopped talking about her birthday or school since I showed her on the calendar.
I considered taking her the first day just to make sure she knew what to do. But I didn't.
Trey was responsible for helping her.
She did great!





Thursday, August 26, 2010

Flipping Around

Ok. Let me explain.


We had just gotten our Flip.
It's a little video camera that is so easy and convenient to use that even your kids can work it.
(Not that that's always a good thing.)

Trey and I were in Hobby Lobby last summer and unbeknownst to me......
Trey was Flipping!

I didn't find this until a month later.
After I got over the dread of knowing I have "old lady stinky butt", I couldn't stop laughing.

Just watch and you'll see what I'm talking about.

video

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Twenty-one


My baby turns 21 today.


I really can't be that old- can I?


Yes, he is still my baby.
While he was growing up I read Love You Forever by Robert Munch to him all the time.
I cried every time I read it.



Makes me teary just thinking about it!




He was the sweetest, most fun, and most loving little guy ever.
Always smiling. Very smart.
And of course the cutest thing I have ever seen.

He is still sweet, and definitely fun and has a huge heart.
Even though he's forgetful, he's smart.
Even though he's got facial hair, he's still the cutest guy ever.







Now he's 21.
That makes him an adult.
But, he's still my baby.



I'll love you forever
I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be.


I love you Wesley!


Monday, August 16, 2010