Saturday, December 21, 2013

um...hi, I'm Julie...remember me??

Well, well, have so many months gone by with no blogging??

We have been busy.

We have just been living.

I have tried to SIMPLIFY life as much as possible...and it's a good thing...

Things have gone so well with Mia's adjustment to life here in our family...we are thinking God knew we needed an easy little one to balance out some of the more challenging (not mentioning any names, lol) ones in our happy little group.

Spring and Summer, and now Fall have passed by and I have just not sat down to blog about any of it. I have been savoring every moment, trying to live in the present, and trying to slowly ride the waves of all the adjustments of life after an adoption and focus on my family.

We have celebrated birthdays, holidays, and our 21st year of marriage. We have gone through lots of medical tests and a surgery for Mia, lived through the stress of a long term-illness of our PopPop, traveled, and returned to full-time homeschool for ALL the kiddos (full and part-time college for our "bigs"). We have celebrated with 30 family members at our house for Thanksgiving, and watched as our kids keep growing...(why is it that every time I turn around it's time for a meal???) ;)

As 2013 draws to a close I am overwhelmed by the care and gentle way our Lord has carried us through this adjustment time (it's actually been so much easier than I ever dreamed) and how he has honored our leap of faith to bring this little princess home. She is a delight and little love bug - truly. I can't imagine if we hadn't followed God down this path...

We have been so generously taken care of by our friends, family, and loving church family - the meals, clothes, shoes, toys, and even homeschool books keep coming in for all our little girls. I love how God takes care of us through others' hearts. These wonderful photos in this post and on our blog header (our Christmas card photo) were even a gift from a homeschooling friend/photographer highlighting adoption on her blog. Blessings all around.

Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas, filled with wonder and joy as we think about that little baby sent down from heaven. A baby sent to save the world - a savior sent to save you and me. I look forward to getting back to blogging in the new year (and filling in the gaps from this past year with lots of photos!) ... but for now I am off to enjoy a warm cup of tea in the family room with my peeps...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Well, I am pretty sure any of you that have been following this blog/China trip must be pretty certain I have slipped off the face of the earth by now... I just haven't kept you up to date... and I am sorry!

We arrived home and life took off running and well...we've been just living... and the blog...and my computer life...and pretty much all but the essentials, have been put on hold as we wobble to a new normal.

Minutes after arriving to her new home...

Discovering the fridge magnets the first night home...

We brought our adorable little China girl home to her house arriving late on that Thursday and she made her little self right at home. She investigated the toys and rooms and never seemed as tho' she didn't belong here. By day two, she met her future "partners-in-crime," when Jemila and Kulate arrived back on the scene.

My wonderful sister brought our two girls back Friday night from their pretty awesome time away at her house. They had been so awesomely taken care of - had lots of special days, homeschool, and even a birthday party (hope to do a little post with pictures from their time there). I think actually they were a bit sad to return to real life and to the "new" baby of the house. They arrived with gifts for Mia and sweet notes and sadly, Mia was a bit overwhelmed by them and hid during their meeting (under the kitchen table). This lasted all of 24 hours or so...'s it going now???

Beautifully in so many ways. Easy in so many ways. Stressful in some ways...

Mia, for the most part, is a sweet and easy little girl. The adjustment for her has been huge I am sure - she had been in a foster home with no siblings (tho' we do know she has had a least one foster sib in the past). She has much entertainment and attention here which she loves - it didn't take too long for her to realize it's a cool thing. She is calm and doesn't have any of the "orphanage behaviors" that our other little girls still exhibit all the time from time to time. She is familiar with family life, obeys for the most part (the first time!) - even puts herself in time out when she has been naughty - and usually she isn't naughty - she just thinks she has done something is actually pretty cute to see her pout, hang her head, and head over to the time out chair. VERY different picture than our other daughters who still go kicking and screaming to time-out!

And that brings me to the stressful, not Mia. Jemila and Kulate....bless their little ornery selves...Jemila has taken having a new sister in stride - after all she has always been a big sister - and a very good one at that for the most part. Kulate....well, let's just say she is doing what any other "baby" of the house would do. After the initial days and the newness of Mia had faded, the struggle for attention, amid a busy home where everyone was falling in love with this little darling from China, poor Ku began to show some not so nice behaviors. This has been the stress around here. Tho' even that has not made this transition too difficult. When we think back at what a struggle the days after our trip to Ethiopia brought, we stand in awe of what a gift this adoption has been as far as our early post-adoption days.

For those that are wondering if Mia ever warmed up to her bearded Daddy...Well, John won out and Mia is quite fond of his tickling, swinging through the air, and bedtime stories and kisses. She is on her way to being another Daddy's girl...knew it would happen...

I have been savoring my moments of having a little one around. Mia is home with the big kids during the day, doing some preschool with me and taking turns being read to and played with by her older sibs. I have been able to snuggle her and love her without feeling badly in front of Jemila and Kulate while they are in school. I took Mia to the library this week for the first time and realized I have NEVER taken just one little one to the library.  Lest you think that I have never taken a kid to the library, read that sentence again...I have never been to the library with JUST one little one - ever!!! I think I started taking Drew to the library around age two but had a baby on my back by then...I have always had a group with me when we visit the library due to homeschooling (and having so many kids...). What  a total treat it was to show her what a library is and to sit and look at books together...I am so enjoying my little one.

Mia's first day homeschooling...

And for the rest of this post, I am just going to share some of the favorite photos since we have been home...2 months exactly today. It has flown by...Mia is understanding so much and starting to speak in long English/Chinese sentences. She is smart and funny and charming and shy. She is helpful and well- mannered and tries to please. She is cute and tiny and is starting to prefer forks to chopsticks (sad...). She still cries out some in her sleep and seems to be mourning some at bedtime when she gets a sad faraway look in her eyes and then moans some while sleeping (she is still in a pack-and-play beside our bed and will be till summer when we will move her in with the girls - I am loving being able to rock and read/sing her to bed and cuddle her in bed in the morning before everyone gets up - we felt this was best for bonding with her and with all her crying during the first weeks at night, felt it best to not put her in with the girls til school is out).

At the Dr's office...not her favorite place...

All my girls on Easter morning. Mia finally let me put a bow in her hair. She will allow one for church but still prefers her hair free of bows. lol

Quite the multi-cultural group, don't ya think?

Friday, March 22, 2013

China Trip - Post 15 - Leaving Guangzhou for Hong Kong, on to Japan and then home!

** Like my last post, I am posting this once home. We didn't have Internet access for the last two days of the trip. So I am posting this on my first full day home (Friday).

Wow...hard to believe we have reached the end of the journey. I think each of us are a bit weary and ready to be home, sleeping in our own beds (the beds in China were smaller and harder than we are used to). I am ready for Mia to be in a regular environment now instead of constantly getting in different kinds of vehicles, eating in a different restaurant each night, etc. My little girl needs to be in her forever home and start living her new life.

We spent the morning sleeping in and enjoying the last of our glorious buffet breakfasts. We all needed to get repacked for international travel (ah, the plastic bags...), and get showered and organized to head out and home.

Sarah picked us up at 3:00 and we said goodbye to the Garden (I have included some photos of the waterfalls and koi ponds behind the Garden hotel - so pretty and peaceful - this was our view each morning at breakfast). We went by van to the train station where we waited with two other adoptive families while our guides went to the US Consulate to pick up our paperwork and new children's passports - with their exit visas. Once Sarah came back with the all important sealed brown envelope for immigration (to be delivered to immigration upon arrival at Dulles Airport, Washington, DC), we headed to Burger King for our lunch (yuk - and by the way, they weren't too happy to "have it your way" here in China).

It was sad to say goodbye to Sarah. What a sweet lady and so knowledgeable. She took such good care of us. I shed a few tears saying goodbye and then we were off to catch our train. A bit exhausting getting all the luggage to the very last car on the train and then traveling with a cranky little one who didn't want to sit still. We arrived about two hours later in the center of Hong Kong (not sure of city name but it is a huge city). After quite the ordeal to find our way through the station and more security (it never ends), we made our way to our hotel. Just across the street proved much more difficult than it seemed (our hotel was just across from the train station). The crowd was quite difficult to walk through and we had to walk up an overpass and through a mall to get to the hotel lobby.

Our hotel rooms there were quite tiny and we were wall-to-wall people, beds, and suitcases. No big deal as we were just sleeping and leaving early in the morning. We caught a bus to the airport (about an hour's drive) early in the am. Then more security and catching a plane to Tokyo (bummer, smaller plane without little personal TVs - requiring me to provide lots of entertainment). Then an hour til our connection in Tokyo. Thankfully the final plane was a biggie (with personal tvs - yay!) and John, Mia and I were together in the last row (more leg room, closer to bathroom - Mia made many trips - and lots of special attention from the airline hostesses)

Our flight was 12 hours from there and it went very well. I slept maybe an hour or so here and there, Mia slept several hours. She watched tv and LOVED having headphones (think she felt like a big kid since she'd seen the bigs wear theirs throughout the week).

Mia slept through landing and becoming a US Citizen. She is an American, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, and cousin - an orphan no more!

We arrived in the afternoon and of course got tagged for extra security checks (ugh). After finally making it to the door of the airport (and digging out our coats - who knew it would be so cold on the first day of Spring in DC??), John took a cab over to the hotel (remember this trip started out with a few day's stay in a DC hotel?)to get our van. Can't begin to tell you how great it was to finally be in our van and heading home...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...