Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To my darling newest grand daughter....

Little Miss Evelyn Claire, i.e. Evie Claire for short,

Oh, how I've waited to see your perfect little face, kiss those ultra smooth cheeks, have your slender fingers on the end of your dimpled hand grasp my finger, and give your Mommy and Daddy a hug welcoming them to the greatest journey ever...parenthood!

My chance finally came today! Your Aunt Anna and I listened to your Mom tell of her aches and knowingly told each other that you were going to be here quicker than your Nov. 11 due date. That's what she and I did, and we figured your Mom would follow suit; and we were right. You were coming early. Once the doctors figured out that you were actually busting out, you were born about 5 hours later.  Your Papa, Aunt Abbey, Uncle Elijah and I were hauling butt to get to NY to see you and your parents. It's a long way from the south, (which, by the way, is God's country), a good 9-10 hour drive. But, my dear, sweet little Evie, I'd hop on a rocket ship and fly to the moon to see you for the first time.

As we navigated the crowded, and I mean, crazy crowded streets of the BIG city, I watched the zillions of people rushing to and fro. I wondered what in the world they could be rushing to that is any more important than where I was going? If they understood how much Papa and I love you and wanted to see you, they would have cleared the roads and given us a police escort!

You are part of a big family, my dear, like it or not. There will be times when you will love it. Having 5 doting uncles and aunts will seem like heaven. Then as you get older and they start to tell you what to do and how to do it, it might not be as much fun. But, I can assure you that during the good, the bad and the ugly, we always come back to loving each other.

One thing you can count on is your Papa's and my love for you. We loved you before you were born and will continue as long as we have breath! The distance between your home and ours may make it more challenging, but we want to be a big part of your life. We just might have to get creative in how we do it. But, even if we're not in the same town, my sweet girl, you will always be in my heart. I will pray for you, asking God to keep you safe and healthy, help you grow in all ways, give your parents' wisdom and allow just enough hard times in your life to make you strong.

It is such a privilege to be your Mimi! I'll always be there for you.  You are a gift from God and I'm so very grateful for you,  Miss Evelyn Claire.

With love always,

The new family...

The star of the show...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not Her Talent

Abbey has asked to play soccer on several occasions. This summer she got her chance. I signed her up to play with the Salvation Army. I had heard that they had a program that wasn't very intense nor expensive. We got her cleats and shin guards and she was ready to go!

That is until the first practice. It was on a hot August day. Elijah and I were sweltering on the bleachers watching the little boys and girls run willy-nilly with no purpose. After a little while, Abbey comes to me and complains, "I'm hot!" I told her we all were hot, but she wanted to play soccer, so she needed to get back to it. The afternoon of her 3rd practice, life hit and I just wasn't able to get her to practice. As I apologized to her, she was really indifferent. The next practice, she begged not to go, and then it got cancelled because of the weather. I really thought that once she got to play in a real game she would enjoy it.

I thought wrongly..

She seemed ready right before..

and during warm up...

she listened during the pregame devotion...

but once the game started, I didn't see any glee...

You could tell she just wasn't into it while she had to wait to play...

So that ended Abbey quest for soccer stardom. A few days later I mentioned the next game. She emphatically let me know that under no circumstances did she want to play soccer. Her words exactly were, "God gave me a talent and it is not soccer!" Well, all righty then, Missy, "What is your talent?"

What do you guess she replied???

Here's a hint...


Monday, October 21, 2013

Elijah's Gotcha Day Celebration~acknowledging the loss.

September the 15th, we celebrated the day God added our youngest child to our family. We met Elijah on a hot, steamy day in Guangzhou, China, 5 years ago.  Such a wonderful day deserves to be acknowledged. On our kids' "Gotcha Days", we allow them to pick a place to go and get a treat.

* rant coming up...Before I go any further, let me say I know all about the controversy regarding the term "Gotcha Day", and have decided that for our family, it's the term we will use for a most extraordinary days, the days God gave us two more blessings to love on. As far as I'm concerned it's a benign term, signifying a wonderful day for our family (albeit a very hard day for our new son and daughter). If you feel differently, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just don't happen to share this one. You can call it what you want, and we'll call it what we want. No need for judgmentalness here.  So there ends the mini rant.*

Elijah chose to go to the local frozen yogurt place.

So many choices, so little bowl space..

Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it does start with a loss. A huge loss. A loss that stays with a child deep down. This was apparent to us on Elijah's Gotcha day this year.

Before we were going to the yogurt place, Elijah was sitting in my lap. I started telling him about the day we met him. He was listening intently taking in every word. He then asked, "What did the orphanage tell you about me?" I reiterated the details, as I've done countless times before, about how our agency knew we were looking for a little boy who needed a Mommy and Daddy. The orphanage contacted our agency and sent a picture of Elijah. The agency called and said, "Could this be your little boy?" Our agency told us and we knew that handsome little boy was our Elijah! In the middle of my often told story, I noticed that Elijah's eyes were filling with tears. He began to blink, keeping them at bay. I then said, "You look sad, what's wrong?" He ruptured into spasmodic sobs! He just bawled. Then he did something so telling...he took his thumb, which he hadn't sucked in months, and stuck it in his mouth! I asked him what was wrong, and he said he was upset about John being sick. (John was sick in the hospital, with a couple of nasty stomach infections. He's fine now.). John, Sr witnessed the whole episode. We were dumbfounded! He wasn't upset about a sick brother... he was grieving. Grieving for an abandonment that he couldn't even begin to understand. He didn't consciously remember it, but deep down inside, he has a pain that is still raw five years later.

I love the verse about God making beauty out of ashes, I know that's what He does through adoption. But the hurt of the "fire" is still there and probably always will be. We as adoptive parents, and siblings need to remember this. It doesn't make it any less beautiful, it just makes it real. It's not a fairy tale, it's a child's life. God redeems the hurt and blesses the family, but there is hurt, real hurt. Hurt that doesn't go away.

My Mama's heart hurts to think of my children experiencing pain. I'd rather it be me a thousand times over, than one of my kids being hurt just once. But that isn't the way life is. What happened to Christ was painful and ugly, but because of his pain, something glorious and beautiful was achieved. The same thing happens with adoption. We must choose to embrace the fact that our children coming to us is a result of a loss. But, praise God, that loss doesn't have to stay a loss. It's part of who they are and God will use it to write their story. A story that I'm forever grateful to be a part of!

This is the Elijah we see the most...

I love this little one so much and it breaks my heart to know the pain he feels from time to time, because of his early beginnings. I will do everything in my power to help him deal with the pain, starting by acknowledging there is a sense of loss.   I hope and pray that, with God's help,  John and I can love him to where the pain, while it might never disappear, will diminish with every year!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Abbey's 7th birthday

At exactly 7 am on Sept. 6th, I was startled awake to find two almond shaped eyes pressed so close to my face that our noses practically touched. The face very excitedly said, "I'm seven!" Knowing that she's not allowed to get up before 7, Lord only knows how long she had been waiting to be able to come to my room and wake me up.

My impulsive little one was one year closer to not being so little. I just had to grin back and say, "Yes, you are, but go back to bed so I can take you're first picture as a seven year old!"

Then I went to the kitchen and whipped up Miss Birthday Girl's breakfast request...pancakes with strawberries, syrup and whipped cream.

The combination made my teeth hurt to think about it, but my sweet tooth girl ate every bit of it.

Little brother was a great sport and happy to celebrate his sister's special day.

That night, she had a great surprise.

Big brother, Daniel, came home just to celebrate Abster's birthday.

Elijah was also ecstatic to see Daniel.

That night, Abbey got to pick where we had dinner. She chose McDonalds. Grandma was also in town for Beth's baby shower which was the next day.

We went home and had cookie cake, which Abbey wanted to decorate herself.

making sure she beat Daniel to the candle

Oh me, oh my, how this little girl fills our lives! She's come so very far. This year especially,  I've seen such amazing changes. She's become pretty obedient. Not perfect by any means, but oh, so much better. She's begun to express sadness and pain, instead of holding it all in. This year the story of her adoption has begun to sink in. She's begun to discuss more things about it with us. I'll never forget her ahh haa moment, when she exclaimed, "So I was born in someone's tummy?" Emotionally, I know that she's secure in her family's love and in her ability to return that love.  Although, she and Elijah occasionally drive me crazy with sibling spats.

She's incredibly competitive. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes not so good. She loves to play games, and has quite an addictive personality for any of the video kind (much to my chagrin). Physically, she continues to be extremely athletic. In school, she's becoming more proficient at reading and understanding math concepts. She still makes friends easily with complete strangers, but has several "best friends" that she loves to play with.

Abbey is cultivating a relationship with God. She loves to go to AWANA and learn the verses. Of course, the jewels and badges are certainly part of her motivation. We are having more and more discussions about Jesus. She readily tells us that she believes Jesus is God and knows he died to forgive sin.

I'm so very thankful that the Lord whispered to our hearts that there was a little baby girl in China for us. I'm also so very glad that that little girl is our very own special Abigail Grace!!

Your Mommy (and Daddy) love you more than you'll ever know, Miss Abbey!!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Abbey's 7th birthday~the party.

This past Sept. 6th, Miss Abbey turned seven years old, so very amazing to me. It's hard to believe, but then I see her and how far she's come and I recognize those changes don't come overnight. In every area, I look at her and just marvel.  Emotionally, she now finds it a little easier to express sadness. Physically she's extremely talented and fit. Academically, she's started reading and does really well at school. Socially, she has lots of friends and doesn't have a hard time making new ones. Her favorite pastime indoors is playing the Wii. She loves all of the Wii sports, but her favorite game is "Dancing with Disney". I regularly have to limit the amount of time she spends playing Wii. She's into fairies and princesses. Her favorite show is "Sofia the first". Therefore, that is the birthday cake she chose for me to make for her party.

Because the family of some of Abbey's best friends was traveling to China around her actual birthday, we decided to have her party early and at the pool.

They did the pool thing...

colored paper fans...

ate hotdogs...

hit a piƱata..

 The candy swarm

and ate cake.

Nana and Grandaddy enjoyed the festivities.

She actually didn't turn seven for a couple of weeks, but no one ever complained about having a birthday party before their birthday, and Abbey wasn't about to be the first!

She had a blast!!