Thursday, March 31, 2011

2 years ago today........

It was such a surprise 2 years ago to receive a phone call from our social worker with a referral! We had been waiting for over 2 years but had last been told we would be waiting for a while longer. You can read the post about "referral day" back on the April 2009 postings. Here is the little face that I saw looking at me from a computer screen:

I know I haven't updated in a long, long time. Life with 4 active children has kept me super busy and blogging has fallen down the priority list. But I do want to keep some type of record of our journey and today is one of those special days we'll never forget.

An update on Elizabeth: She is doing well attending preschool. Her language skills are improving daily and she is very active! She has been doing therapy for her hand but we have stopped for a while b/c she and John are traveling to Philadelphia to see Dr. Kozin in a few weeks. We wanted Dr Kozin to assess her for surgery and determine a timeline. We had thought surgery would wait until she is about 5 or 6 but now we are rethinking that and waiting to see what Dr. Kozin thinks. When we first met Elizabeth she completely ignored her arm/hand but now she very much uses it as a "helper" and we've even seen some new movements....very slight but still its movement! Elizabeth is fearless and will try most anything. We went to Disney World and she loved the rides and thrills. She does NOT like people dressed up however. So we skipped meeting the characters. She is a girly girl and loves dressing up, playing with her dolls and driving her siblings crazy.

We have been attending a new Sunday School class at church and we are using a book called The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis. She is at Texas Christian and has groundbreaking work with attachment and children who are "from hard places" kids who are adopted. This class has been a HUGE help for us and has redesigned how we approach parenting for Elizabeth and all our kids. I STRONGLY encourage anyone who has adopted, has an adopted family member, works with orphans/foster kids, teachers, social works, therapist, ministers......pretty much anyone who reads this blog I'm guessing has an interest in adoption/orphan ministry. PLEASE read this book. You could be a great help to a child and or parents.

Here are some updated photos.....finally : )

First Day of School
Fall Break in St Louis

Elizabeth's 3rd Birthday
Christmas Pageant with cousins
Disney World

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Its fun being a little girl!

One of my favorite things to do when I was a little girl was to dress up my cats and treat them like my baby dolls. I'm not sure how much the cats liked that but they tolerated me and my sister doing this for years.

One afternoon Elizabeth came strolling into the kitchen with Cally bundled in the stroller. Our two little kittens are so sweet and tolerant. They've got to be some of the most easy going kitties I've ever seen. These pictures are classic!

Henry, who did not want to get in the stroller!

Cally, patiently enduring her role as the "baby"

Monday, July 26, 2010

One year home!

I'm a few weeks late posting about our 1 yr anniversary of Gotcha Day and coming home....but it didn't go unnoticed!

We have had an exciting, fun, & busy summer so far. The big kids have done more day camps this year and that has kept things busy. Langley & Mac also did swim team for the first time and the two younger ones got to enjoy each afternoon at the pool. L, M, & Gray have all improved their swimming skills. Elizabeth is completely fearless around the water (good & bad) and loves swimming. She has learned how to swim with floaties and enjoys moving independently around the pool.

We also took a trip to the beach! I was a bit concerned about how this would go for Miss E. This year it was a "family reunion" of sorts. We were sharing a big house with my siblings & parents and the rest of the group was in a 2nd house. There were 28 of us total! I thought E might get overwhelmed by all the people, the new sleeping arrangements, the chaos, etc. But she did GREAT! She interacted with everyone and really seemed very relaxed. She even slept well. Only the first night was a bit bumpy, but even that night was pretty easy. We all had such a fun time...I could spend my entire summer at the beach!

June 28th is a very special day for our family. God gave us both of our daughters on this day. Adoptive families recognize "Gotcha Day" in various ways. Since it is also Langley's birthday I felt it was very important to think through how we celebrate. When we "gotcha" Elizabeth it was June 28 in China but June 27 in the USA. So....we've decided to do a chinese meal on the 27th and retell the stories of that day & our time in China. As E gets older we'll see how she directs this as well. Then we'll have the 28th to focus on Langley's special day. I feel there is a balance to strike in our family. We celebrate everyone's birthdays but not everyone has a gotcha day. But at the same time each child's "story" is important.

Celebrating Langley's 10th birthday!

When I think back on our time in China I have fond feelings and also a grateful heart that we are now home. It really is the "honeymoon" with your new child. Not that everything is "perfect"...far from it. But it is a very special time of getting to know each other. It seems so strange to think back on that day we met Elizabeth and what a stranger she was to us. I now can look at her referral photos and see so much more in her eyes. Even the photos of our time in China I can see things so much clearer now. I think it is such a miracle, amazing transformation that these child go through.

We got 2 kittens in May...Elizabeth loves them!

So to our sweet, beautiful baby girl....Elizabeh Ani. We love you with all that we have and all that we are! You are the PERFECT baby girl for our family. Your brothers and sister adore you and we would be so lost and lonely without you. The joy you bring to each of us is immeasurable. I love your funny laugh, your goofy smile, your sassy spirit, your brilliant mind, your open heart, and above all I LOVE that God gave you to US!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Posting Drought but we survived a Flood

Its been quite a while since we've posted on our blog! We've had a busy spring with sports, school, trips, and most recently a natural disaster!

Elizabeth is still getting her weekly therapy and she is now wearing a brace at night. We have seen a huge improvement in her hand positioning. We are still waiting on her daytime brace to arrive and I think we'll see even more improvement. She still isn't very big but her legs seem to get longer every day. And she is strong & active chasing her older siblings outside now that the weather is nice.

We took a couple of trips this spring which we knew would be a bit tough for Elizabeth, especially sleeping wise. And we were right. She basically slept with us and the first night in a new place is the most difficult. I hope over more time & experiences she realizes a new place doesn't mean new parents. She still is very much a "mama" girl and is still jealous of affection that I show another young child, including her siblings. We are working on all just takes time, mercy, and patience I think.

Our first trip was to my college town of Athens. In some of the photos you can see the "kenesiotaping" we are using on her arm...its part of her physical therapy.

Then we went to Little Rock for Easter and Grand bought the 3 granddaughers beautiful matching pink Easter dresses. The boys were very handsome as well!

Footwashing at the Resurrection Trail

Most recently our dear town & city were flooded this past weekend. We were foturnate to not have any damage to our home or any of our family's homes. However many, many of our friends are suffering greatly and some have lost everything. We were trapped in our neighborhood for a few days until the water moved off the roads. We did make it to downtown before the waters receded was unbelievable.

Normal Backyard

Backyard with the "new creek"

One of the main roads going into our town.

Now the school year is quickly ending and we are getting ready for a busy summer for the older kids. Myself and the two younger ones will probably be playing at home alot. We are taking Elizabeth to the beach in June and there she will be another cousin from China! We are all looking so forward to that week at the beach!