FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen.
Heb. 11:1

Saturday, February 2, 2013


We are so fortunate to have a strings program in our school system starting in the 4th grade.  Emmi was the first to begin the program 3 years ago playing the viola and is now in her 4th year.  Maggie followed the following year with the violin and then switched to the cello and still loves the program.  Both girls still really enjoy playing their instruments and are learning with leaps and bounds.  I was really hoping, not pushing,but hoping that Jacob would do the same; and he did.  He also decided on the Cello.  It's kind of funny cause the cello is almost bigger than him.  

Jacob's special need was club radial hand.  He's missing a thumb on his left hand as well as the radial bone making that arm shorter than the other and his wrist doesn't align like his right hand.  I so admire his diligence to figure it out.  He tried several different ways, but this seems to work the best.  You go my little musician!!!

                                        Jacob concentrating on the notes and hand placement!! 
Jacob and Maggie playing a tune!!

I introduced Emmi and Maggie's strings teacher to Faith and discussed the best way to introduce her to an instrument.  He commented that our family would have it's own symphony.  Yep, can't you hear it now?   Faith is still interested and will need a few private lessons before beginning in school this fall.   Now what a wonderful sight that will be . . determined to overcome a once "I can't do it".  Oh yes you can my girl, you can do it!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A time!

Oh how much I have learned through this walk of faith!  And the funny thing is that we're never too old to learn, hmmmmm.   Just when you think you know what to expect, guess what, you need to expect the unexpected.   But just know, God's in control and He has it all planned out.  That's the amazing news.  Trust in Him, He will prevail!!

We've been met with lots of challenges and have been without a computer for a while.  We finally broke down and purchased a new one.  Not something I wanted to do right now, but it was certainly needed for homework purposes since our old one, 2003 model, contracted a mean old virus and can not be used anymore.    I have not been able to access any of my e-mails since late Nov./early Dec.  so I had to get a new one of those too. 

Oh what to say about our daughter Faith.  I knew her name was to be Faith for a reason.  Every day I'm reminded of our walk, just by her name.  Wow . . it's been a whirlwind, but a good one.  You know how tumbleweeds will sit and then a gust of wind gets behind one and blows it all over the place, well that's kinda how it's been with Faith's progress/transition.    As I said, everything is in God's timing (we just have to remember that).  Faith goes about everything in her own little way, as she should.   She's 13 years old and has been raised halfway around the world.  She's lived in an orphanage and with two foster families.  We all raise our kids differently, I call it investing, and so all our kids turn out differently, right?  And they all have their own unique little personalities too.  My challenge is giving her her time to grow and change and develop and learn her new family, lifestyle, & school.  We live at such a fast pace that sometimes we just have to stop and slow down.  If anything, I've learned to stop and slow down through this whole walk and especially now.   It takes Faith a while to catch on.  But when she does, she's like that tumbleweed, she's on the move and that brain starts working.  Let me explain - - we've gone from no self confidence, no independence, and a I can't/ don't know mentality to a willful I can attitude. 

Once school started, Faith is in 7th grade but in 6th grade ESL, just where she needs to be, It was hard to even get her out of the bed.  We struggled on what to wear (she wanted me to pick it out and would not make a decision) and she dragged through the house (slow, slow), to the van, and out of the van to the bus, onto her bus seat.  She would also get up saying "I sick, no school today".  (HA)   I would say "no fever, yes school today".  I'm in contact with her teacher too.  Faith has made a few trips to the school nurse.  Anyway, I have had to assure her that she's not sick.   So far we haven't missed a day of school.  We've had to work some things out at school like moving her locker into the 6th grade corridor.  I just don't know why kids have to be so stinkin mean.   Since we've moved lockers, things are much better.   Now, fast forward to today - - Faith picks out her cloths at night for school the next day along with a hair accessory and sometimes jewelry. And I assure her of how cute she looks.  And she does look cute!!  Her confidence has grown with leaps and bounds.  She gets her clothes on, brushes her teeth, eats and is out the door without any incident.  What a change?  She could barely do simple addition in math and now can add, subtract and knows her multiplication table 1 to 12 and is doing some division.  Oh my!!!!  And she does it on her own without complaining.   That's another post!!

I've had several conversations with Faith.   One was around her constantly saying "I can't" and "I don't wanna".
She's learned enough English that we can have a conversation now.  Some may not agree to this, but I told her about her adoption story, how we came to adopt her, how it was God's plan, how so many people helped us bring her home and rally behind us, prayer, and how I didn't give up.  If I had said "I can't", she would still be in China.  Since then, I haven't heard "I can't" anymore.   In China she told me she was told she was crazy.  And she was saying "I can't" because of her brain. It breaks my heart.  She had a brain injury as an infant, sequale.    I've explained to her that she's very smart and pointed out everything she has learned so far in such a smart time.   Learning takes a lot of work.  The sad reason to why she is so behind is her eyesight.
She sees less than 20/50 and 20/70.  Once we got her new glasses they still weren't strong enough and we had to go back for an adjustment.  Why should a child go 12 years without glasse?.  One reason she couldn't learn is because she couldn't see.  Since she's had her glasses, she is doing so well.  It's amazing what glasses can do.  I truly believe she could have gone to regular school in China if she had just had glasses.   It will take lots of time, but now she has the opportunity to one day catch up to her peers in school.   We're in no hurry.  All in His time.

 What a difference glasses can make.  And she looks soooo cute.  She opens her eyes more with her glasses.   Beautiful!!!


Faith's 13th birthday.   She loved the celebration!!!!   We did tooo!!

Christmas morning! 
Christmas 2012
Em, Faith, Jacob, and Mags with
Biscuit (adopted from our animal shelter)

So when I look at how far Faith has come, I know that its all in God's perfect timing.
All adoptions are different.  Transitions are different.  No two adoptions are the same. 

"there's a time for everything 
and a season for every activity under the heavens

 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."

Ecclesiastes 3


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!   I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day!!!  I am so grateful, appreciative, and thankful to all of you who helped us bring Faith home.  And I haven't forgotten you.  Life
is well, busy.  The transition has been loooooong and not easy.  But we are making some progress.   I will be back on my groups and FB one of these days.  Working full time with 4 kiddos is a little challenging.  But I'm finding my way. 

We just celebrated two birthdays this week; Emmi turned 13 on Monday and Faith turned 13 on Tues.  They are like night and day.  I think about it often how Emmi was adopted at 1 year and has grown into this beautful young lady.  Now with Faith, I think about all she has missed.  She is a beautiful young lady as well and I look so forward to seeing her heart warm and grow, especially in God.   We are having to go back and reteach behaviors.  But we are making some progress.  You can read all the books there are to prepare you for an older child adoption, but nothing I read prepared me for this adoption.  It's not bad, just challenging and sometimes a little overwhelming.  But we've come a long way in the last six months. 

Here are some pictures of my virtual twins (age only).  Aren't they beautiful? 

Emmi with Jacob!!!  She chose strawberry cheesecake instead of a traditional birthday cake.

Mmmmmm!  Cheesecake!!!

Jacob taking pictures of the event!

Faith turned 13 too!!!  The very next day! 

Oh my goodness!!!  She loved her cake!!!

Emmi recycled her groovy girls and gave them as a gift!!!  Faith loved 'em!!!

She loved opening her presents!!!

This child grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug for this ring and bracelet!!!  It's very glitzy costume jewelry which she loves!!!  I think it was her favorite gift.  Oh yea, she LOVES pink!!!! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

family update

I apologize that I've not posted this summer.   I've had several families e-mail me to check in and quite honestly I feel very bad that I haven't "made" the time to write a quick post.   Needless to say, trying to find the new normal has been WAY harder than I imagined.  In fact, a few weeks ago I told myself why do we have to have a NEW normal?  Why can't we still have some of the old normal.  I miss the old normal!!!!

I so admire those who return home and can get right back into the groove of things.  Honestly, I don't know how it's done.  There have been many days that I'd just like to hide under my pillow all day.   Faith has been amazing in the transition.  She is an extrovert with a capital "E".  She reminds me so much of Maggie when we brought her home, but she was only 20 months.   Everything I read didn't really prepare me for her becoming so attached so quickly - immediatley.   Thankfully, the shadowing is calming down and since I've been back to work and school has started, she has become much more comfortable when I'm not around.   Please don't think I'm griping cause I'm not.  I'm just putting some of it out there.  All is quite good and I couldn't ask for a better transition. 

Here's where we are now:  Faith is in the 7th grade in ESL.  She has an amazing teacher with an assistant and is making progress in her English.  In fact, I think she's doing better than Jacob did at 4 years old.   She loses her patience very quickly and gets frustrated.  Hmmm, just like Jacob.  They have something in common.  In fact, just 2 days ago I heard him tell her that she needed to not get mad playing her DS or she was going to break it.  He said it so calmly too.  Sounds just like something I used to say to him.  I think he finally gets it.   I've seen so many blessings in just the small stuff.  Faith attends Chinese church at our church on Sunday mornings.  At first she didn't want to stay, but now she goes right into the class and doesn't say anything.  She probably figures it won't do any good, anyway.   I find that she does much better if I push her to try to excell in something (even if it's just picking out her own clothes).  If I don't, she either wants me to do it for her or she won't do it at all.   Really, it's just like having a 4 or 5 year old.   Her confidence level is growing with leaps and bounds.   The girl's pick out their school clothes the night before and Faith used to want me to pick hers out.  Now she will pick it out on her own.  Hey, we're ,making progress.   She is learning not to say "no" to mamma.  That's a no no.  I think the first time she tried me and said "no", the other kid's eyes got sooo big.  Respect is huge in our household and it goes both ways.  So learning to respect not only me but brothers and sisters has been a little challenging, but we're getting there.  I just have to remind myself that this child has lived the first 12 years of her life somewhere else, not here.   Sometimes I just forget.
All in all, all is good.  With each new day, our new normal is coming together.  It doesn't happen overnight, like we'd like.  It takes lots of time and tlc.   Below are a few pictures that were taken over the summer.  I'll try to post later with some updated pictures.  I don't even know if I took school pictures this year.  We need to rewind just a wee little bit.   I'm feeling just a little behind.

Maggie and Faith on the playground

Faith, Emmi, Maggie, & Jacob

Maggie's 5th grade graduation - she's on the stage walking off

Maggie's 11th birthday.  WOW!!!  So hard to believe she's growing up so fast.

Maggie's birthday again with Emmi.

Faith learning to ride her bike.  Bless her heart, she had many wrecks but finally got it and now can ride without training wheels!!  You go sweet girl!!!  We knew you could do it!!  We had the faith!!!

Jacob's birthday (11 days after Maggie's)  He turned 10!!!

Oh yea, Emmi made Jacob's cake!!!  It was amazing!!!  And he wanted her to make it too!!

Make a wish!!!  Hmmm, wonder if it's for a brother?

All of us incluidng our puppy dogs!

Again, thank you so much for praying for us, following our journey, checking in on us, and supporting our journey.  We are so blessed to have so many sweet and caring friends.  God has been so good to us and He alone knows the plan.  I'm so glad we obeyed and followed His plan to bring Faith home.  

I will do my best to post more frequently.  And get back to normal with updates.   I have some other ideas up my sleeve and just need to plan my time so I can have mommy computer time.  Thanks so much again!!!!

Many blessings,