Friday, July 29, 2011

gentle reminders

A few weeks back… Steve and the kids were at our town pool.

On this particular day we were given a gentle reminder... about loss.

As Grace was happily holding Steve’s hand as they walked along the pool they passed two women speaking Mandarin.

Grace abruptly stopped. And stared.

Steve gently nudged her forward to continue on their way.

Grace wouldn’t move.

In fact, as Steve pulled her little hand and tried moving her forward...she cried and tried to pull him back.

Five months.

And the sound of two women speaking Mandarin made her stop in her tracks. I can't help but wonder what went through her head. Did she think she should go to them... did the sound of Mandarin being spoken bring her comfort... or concern...

I cried when Steve told me the story.

It was such a reminder of the loss that she has endured. I HATE IT! I WISH such loss did not need to have to occur in her life. It's breaks my heart to think of it.

Of course, there was a part of me that wondered… would she have just gone to them… and never looked back?


She is happy… for sure.

She smiles. Laughs. Plays. Hugs. Kisses.

But, that doesn’t mean her loss is not real. Pain and confusion still exists. Attachment... still a work in progress. Healing doesn’t occur over night or in five months. There are very real issues that we are dealing with that are a product of her loss and 17 months of institutional life.

Can a person who hurts still smile. Yes.

But that doesn’t mean they still don’t hurt. And their hearts still don't need healing.

With four young children and a very busy household. We can easily get wrapped up in day-to-day life and forget where she is, where she was and all that her little heart and mind are dealing with... and how much she needs us.

I am grateful that God provides small reminders... like two women speaking Mandarin at the town pool... to focus us, give us perspective and not let us forget.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

five months.

I often wonder where her inner strength and courage comes from.

I have all kinds of images that play in my mind as to what her "China Mommy" is like. I often wonder if her strength comes from her. Or her courage from her father. Grandmother or Aunt? Coming from a rural part of China and one of the poorest provinces... I wonder what her China family has had to, or is, enduring. Poverty? Hunger? Illness? Maybe not. Maybe so. We will never know.

But, I do wonder... is the courage she possesses an innate feature of her heredity.

I have no idea. Just thoughts that often run through my mind.

What I do know is that it takes unbelievable courage for her to have opened her heart to us and to trust us they way she has. Courage I do not think I possess. I'm sure you glad she inherited that from someone else.

She amazes me. Every. Single. Day.

Five months ago...

she entered a different world. with people that looked funny. smelled funny. and spoke funny.

she had a big hole in the roof of her mouth.

she had moderate hearing loss in one ear, and mild in the other.


she understands everything we say.

she had tubes put in her ears and now she hears PERFECTLY!

after a very difficult surgery and recovery.... her palate is repaired and the surgeon is very happy with the way it has healed.

On Saturday, she drank out of straw for the first time. I know, probably not that big of deal to most... but a big deal for a little girl that has never been able to suck.

and her expressive language is coming along really well... she says several words.

Mama, Up (sounds like Mup), Ni-Night, Hi, More, Here, Mine, Blanket...

We are so very grateful for the skilled surgeons that performed her surgery.

She has a remarkable heart. A heart of courage. And full of kindness. She comforts her brothers and sister when they are sad or angry. She gives high fives and MANY hugs and kisses.

She is an extraordinary little girl.

and I think I speak for our WHOLE family when I say we are honored that God has placed Grace in our family to be our daughter, sister, granddaughter, and niece.

Five months...



Oh how blessed WE are.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fourth of July weekend. Magical.

To say I have too many pictures is a bit of an understatement. It has taken me this long to write this blog post because I haven't had the time to sit down and figure out what pictures to put on here. So, excuse my retro-posting.

While experiencing fourth of July in DC is one that I think every American should experience once in their life and in itself is magical....

Really, the thing that made it magical for us was seeing our friends L, S and Z again.

We met L and S in the Newark airport as we waited for our plane to depart for China. Instantly, I knew we would be lifelong friends.

(L and S just after arriving in China and going through customs in the Beijing airport)

We then experienced the highs and lows of 15 days of an adoption trip to China. Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Laughter and Anger. And every emotion in between.

We climbed the Great Wall together.

And visited the Olympic Village.

And we were there together when we held our children for the first time in that chilly government building.

We came face to face with the realities of our children's past. and we did it together. and then we were there for each other in the several days that followed as we shed tears of grief for our children. I will forever be grateful to L for being such a comfort to me after the visit to Jiaozuo.

According to China's records, Z is just a wee-bit younger than Grace. They lived in the same orphanage.... but on different floors. We don't really know if they knew each other at all... but we hope they did.

I thank God for putting these three beautiful people in our lives on that trip.

During the painful wait for TA prior to travel, we all wonder why we must wait SO LONG. We would do anything to travel just a week or two or several sooner.

But, I just can't help but think that if L an S traveled earlier, or if we did... we wouldn't have met.

Everything happens in God's perfect timing.

Now... here are the pictures of our visit to DC. Too many I know....

S and Kailey, fast friends.

L, S and Z live right on Chesapeake Bay. Beautiful.

Braden catching a crab!

Feeding the ducks.

at the White House.

Taking break to cool our feet at the WW II memorial.

Lincoln Memorial.

Watching the changing of the guards at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

At the National Mall waiting for the fireworks.

Watching the fireworks!

YAY Fireworks!

Thank you to L, S, and Z for hosting our crazy crew of six. For being our tour guides. and for making Grace's first fourth of July as United States citizen unforgettable!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have never camped.

I know, I know. HOW can that be having grown up in New England?

Actually, I do vaguely recall camping in high school once. But, that's it. and I have almost no memory of it for some reason.

So, after packing up more stuff than we would normally take on a 10 day vacation. We went to a campground up in the western Massachusetts last night with a group of our good friends.

I was reluctant. I'll admit it.

The thought of all those bugs. Not very clean bathrooms, or no bathrooms at all. Sticky sweaty bug sprayed skin with dirt stuck to it. Yuck.

What could be fun about that?

I'll admit it. I was so wrong. It was fun. A lot.

So fun, I didn't take pictures. I was too busy enjoying myself.

If I did you would have seen pictures of kids and friends swimming, during the heat of the day, in a cool clear river.

Friends playing bocci, frisbee and croquet. Swimming in the campground pool.

Eating burgers cooked over the campfire and, of course, kids and adults alike enjoying s'mores.

Two adults and four kids all tucked into one big tent in their sleeping bags to fend of the chill of the night air.

Pancakes and fresh picked blueberries for breakfast and then poking around charming New England towns in the Berkshire's this afternoon.

Beautiful weekend.

I think we will be camping again soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sshhhh! Don't tell his friends

Braden, our lover 0f everything sports...just like his Dad...

also loves OPERA!

Grandma treated him to the MetOpera's Live in HD performance of La Fille du Regiment.

He watched intently...

All 3 hours.

In French.

Without an intermission.



Like an experienced opera goer, not only did he not talk the whole time (an amazing accomplishment for this 9 year with the gift of the gab) but he didn't move. at. all.

He sure did me proud.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

11 years.

11 years. hard to believe

What's difficult to remember is what life was like 11 years ago.

Four kids later, to remember a time without them is almost impossible.

I'm pretty sure 11 years ago we NEVER imagined this life.

My facebook status from yesterday went something like this...

thanks to my husband for dinner out with four whiny kids, followed by a trip to Target to buy a dustbuster and a coffee maker and then a late evening run through of the DVR'd Red Sox game.

Gee... Dreams really do come true. :)

Yes. This is life.

and I wouldn't have it



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

celebrating independence

There is no better place to celebrate independence than our nation's Capital on Independence Day.

Independence means more to me now than ever before.

Independence....Never looked so cute.

More on our fantastic weekend in DC coming soon!