Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One month together

One month.....we've had Elizabeth in our arms for a month!

It many ways it seems so much longer.....like I can't remember what it was like not knowing her. I remember what it was like to parent 3 children instead of 4, but I have to stop to think about when I didn't KNOW this little person. And for the record the jump from 3 to 4 is a JUMP. I didn't think it was much of a change going from 2 to 3 but I do think going from 3 to 4 children takes quiet a readjustment in parenting strategies.

Or maybe its just the fact that #4 came along with many other variables....like being in a foreign country and she thought she already had parents. Or maybe because 10 days after arriving back in the states we moved into our home. Anyways....we are readjusting our parenting a bit these days and overall seems to be going ok.

I know at "milestone" dates its always interesting to see the progress the children make after coming home. When you go back and look at the gotcha day photos its shocking. I think this is where you get a visual aid of God's miracle work in adoption. 

Gotcha Day....sad little girl

He has worked a miracle in her heart.....she is trusting us, seeking us, depending on us, and maybe, just maybe even learning to love us a bit. And He has worked a miracle in us too. At times, by the power of the Holy Spirit we have loved a little deeper, a little less selfishlessly, hopefully a little more like Jesus. Of course we have been awfully fallen at times especially when the weariness of body, mind, & spirit are overwhelming. But I hope more than anything that Elizabeth hasn't just experienced the love of a family but she has been overcome and captured by the love of Christ. He is big enough for that. To use a flawed family with parents who will mess up to work His miracle of love in one of His precious children. We are so humbled. We are so grateful. We are so loved.

Can't you see it? Don't you see the Gospel in the story of adoption? Each time a layer is revealed it amazes me.........God just wants us to trust Him, seek Him, depend on Him and maybe, just maybe we will learn to love Him a little bit. Have you experienced "Gotcha" with your Forever Father???

To Elizabeth.......Happy "1 month since Gotcha Day" my sweet Elizabeth.....I'll never forget the first time I saw you in the flesh....you took my breathe away. I was amazed by the beauty of your face and your spirit. I knew immediately we had been blessed far beyond we had ever hoped or imagined. And now that we have spent the last month together I am more and more thankful to call you my daughter. What a privledge to get to be your Mommy forever. You make me laugh and smile and have brought such joy to our family. Just like we said a month ago in China....we promise to love you forever!

A few more photos to enjoy

These 1st 3 are at the airport as a group of us welcomed home a family with their 2nd daughter from China! Langley is leading "ring around the rosey" while Elizabeth hangs out in the middle!
Then a photos of all the beautiful girls who made the same journey home.
And the 3rd photo is Elizabeth with her cousin Corinne.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our amazing little girl

I can't believe how God has blessed us with Elizabeth. You could not ask for a sweeter child. She has already been through unimaginable trauma in her past 19 months and especially those weeks we were in China. We brought her home and knew the "changes" were still coming.

See....we have been in all types of "limbo" for the past 2 years.....job, home, finances, etc. And just when we got Elizabeth's referral God starting aligning those stars in in our life. There were still several unknowns but by the time we went to China God had provided all the answers to those "limbo" issues.

So what did we do 10 days after coming home with Elizabeth?

Well, we closed and moved into our new house! It is exciting and long awaited for but I was very concerned with how this would play out with a newly adopted child, who just got ripped from her foster family and trekked across China in multiple hotels, then short stay at Grandparents house. Finally landing at the new home, on my hip as the movers unloaded the big truck and living among boxes and chaos. I am exhausted and overwhelmed......

My Elizabeth? She is smiling, playing with her siblings, only wanting Mama to fill the sleep, food, comfort needs(this is amazing attachment!), and trying to say new English words. Oh, and last night...first night in the new house. She slept in her new bed in her new room and the first time since we met.... without me sleeping next to her. I had a trundle bed ready beside her in case I needed to stay. I was (and still am) prepared to stay if she needed me. She fussed off & on until about 11:00 pm and then slept until morning without a peep! When she did "fuss" I made sure I was in her room (mine is next door) asap and comforting her. I want to PROVE to her that I will be there. I was like a mama with a newborn. I woke several times during the night worrying if she was ok. It was so quiet and she hadn't fussed all night...finally I got up and checked on her several times.....and thank goodness didn't wake her checking in!

This morning I was the first awake in the house. All the kids were sleeping late. I checked on Elizabeth several times and she was still sleeping. Finally at 8:30 I went into her room to wake her....I didn't want her to wake up afraid in the new house. She looked at me and smiled and started babbling.....what a sweet girl.

It seems when she is hungry (which is every couple hours!) or tired is when she is cranky. So hopefully soon we'll get into a pretty good rhythm with those things. She is still a great eater!

As I'm typing this entry we are doing the "fuss" dance right now. Hopefully she'll settle into deeper sleep and we will have the same long time sleep as last night!

I have to brag on my other children a little bit too. Langley has been incredible. I really could not have done this move without her help. She is so good with Elizabeth and probably the most patient human being I've ever known. She certainly didn't inherit that from me! Mac is mostly hands off with E....he just often talks about how cute she is and is ALWAYS the first to announce to ANYONE we meet about his new sister from China! I know Mac will always protect his baby sister. And Gray...the dethroned baby in the family. What a great little boy.....he and Elizabeth are starting to enjoy playing with each other. He is very tender and nuturing (and roudy/boyish at times too). Gray loves to teach Elizabeth new things or show her new experiences. He is ready to show her the world as he knows it!

Also I have to mention the amazing support from friends & family. We are so blessed and they continue to bless us. Next week we have meals being brought to us and with a new house it couldn't be more helpful! Some sweet friends and NEW neighbors and family have brought meals this week. I love living in the south!!! And Sunday our community group from church is having a Welcome party for Elizabeth....I hope we get to share many, many years watching each other's children grow....what a precious group!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visits with our new niece/cousin Charlotte

Langley holding her new baby cousin, Charlotte.

Steph and I meeting our new nieces and the cousins meeting each other.

The boys looking cute in their Chinese PJ's and playing with Mac's China chess set.

Uncle T playing E's favorite game....hanging upside down!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Settling in at home

We went to a birthday party on Sunday night and it was good to see some friends from our son's preschool. Elizabeth did pretty good. She had her first pizza and loved it. She wasn't too crazy about the cupcakes though....not big on sweets.  A thunderstorm ended the party early but it was good to be among our friends and socialize a bit.

She fell asleep on the way home and went right to bed, but we ended up having a rough night. Probably jet lag and adjusting to the new time zone. But Elizabeth and I were up from about 3:00 am with crying spells and restless sleep. By 5:00 she was pretty awake and ready to start the day. Needless to say we both were exhausted on Monday. Plus my allergies have kicked in and I'm not feeling too well.

We had Elizabeth's appt today with her pediatrician just for a basic checkup. We are not doing anything with her brachial plexus yet...just wanting to get settled a little bit first. She actually showed up on the American growth chart for height...this surprised me. But weight she's not even close. I need to check on the Chinese growth chart and see where she lands. We also checked her diaphragm as sometimes with BPI there are issues with the diaphragm. It looks great! The doctor did say that her BPI is pretty severe. We'll be visiting with specialists in the future to see if any surgeries would improve use. Right now we will just be doing some physical therapy to keep the contractures from worsening. He also did note that we found the cutest girl in China to adopt! We agree :)

Elizabeth had a great afternoon playing with her siblings. She really does love them and I'm very proud how they have been with her. They love her so much and are excited to interact with her. Mac has told me several times how much he loves her and he's glad Elizabeth is his sister. Gray often says "I love my new sister Lisbith" He also announced to the nurse at the doctors office that "her arm is broken" which stunned the nurse and looked at me very concern until I explained he was referring to her BPI. Langley is simply amazing with her. They are going to be very, very close sisters. I was watching them this morning and thinking how special their relationship already is.

We had a much better sleep last night. She woke around 1:00 am but quickly went back to sleep. We are all awake by 6:00 am though. Today we went and played at a park. Elizabeth loved the swing but was maybe somewhat overwhelmed by the new environment. We saw a sweet friend from church and her children. It was really great to hang out with a friend at the park....life feels almost normal : )

Elizabeth experienced her first trip to the grocery store and enjoyed getting the free "kids cookie". We are still figuring out which foods to buy and what she likes to eat. Today she showed us she doesn't like strawberries, but she likes ham! I told my friend at the park today that even though she is 19 months old we are experiencing lots of "firsts". Like going on the swing....she might have done this before but its a "first" for us since its the first time we've seen her experience each thing. She really is a joy and we are continually stunned at this blessing God has given us!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We're Back!

I really appreciate freedom of speech after being "blocked" from several websites while traveling! So I'm back to using this blog!

Today we went to church and it felt great to be "home" and worshipping the LIVING God! Elizabeth  stayed in church for a little while but she was somewhat "vocal" so we listened to most of the service in the hall. She didn't seem too overwhelmed or scared, which was great. 

While we were in China...Langley and Grand (john's mom) picked out some matching dresses for the girls. Langley is a great big sister and wanted to wear their new dresses to church today...I thought they looked precious!

Also I wanted to get caught up with the quilt squares that we have received. We got quite a few right before leaving & while we were gone. Thank you so much to everyone! We still need to collect some more. So please still send them to us if you would like to participate....it really is very special to have our friends and family make this special quilt!

So here are more quilt squares & wishes:

This is #31 from our friends, the Williams. They are very special friends to us and Gray's godparents! We miss them so much and try to find some time each year to vacation together or see each other.

#32 This is from my sister Stefanie & Brook. Stefanie stitched this together from pieces of Corinne's quilt. A very, very special quilt square and wish!

#33 This is from some hometown friends who watched me grow up. They are a very sweet, supportive family.

#34 This is from my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in Atlanta. My cousin Kelsey particularly shares in my love for UGA!
#35 This is from Allan & Lorraine who are missionaries in South Africa. Such amazing, dear people. And yes, that is Lorraine's handwriting....stunning!
#36 This is from my cousin Sharla. Her family bought home Abby just one year ago. Sharla has always been much more than a "cousin" She is my sister, best friend, closest confidant. I love her with all my heart!
#37 And this is from Abby. My darling cousin who came home from China last summer. She has a funny, tender heart. I know Elizabeth will love her so much.
#38 This is from MacKenzie, Sharla's oldest daughter. She is an amazing girl. She has a heart of gold and is a blessing to all who know her. 

#39 This is from our dear friends the Smiths in Little Rock. They have recently grown their family through adoption as well. We cherish their friendship and their example.

#40 This adorable square is from a friend here in our town. She is very talented and made this adorable applique with E's monogram.

#41 This is from one my "oldest" friends...meaning we've known each other since we were little girls. Its so wonderful seeing this quilt made from so many parts of our lives.

#42 This is from family friends, the Januzelli's. We have known them our whole life and they are really family, not just friends. 

#43 This is from one of Langley's school friends, Anne Marie. She is such a sweet friend to Langley and helped Langley when it was decided she couldn't make the China trip.

#44 This is from Anne Marie's mom, Lori. She has been a great friend to me and always excited & supportive in this journey. She has done many things to help us from taking care of Langley to making video at the airport homecoming. She is a loyal friend! Sorry these are sideways....I was technically challenged!

#45 & #46 This is from John's parents....E's grandparents, Grand & Papou. They crochet these special pieces for their youngest granddaughter.

#47, #48, #49 Is from a sweet sorority sister whom I've recently gotten reconnected with. Of course the Bulldog is for our shared UGA love. And then the Coke and Polka dots are leftover from her mother's headcoverings when she was battling cancer. What a sweet way to share her love for her late mother.

#50 This is from our friends Eve & William Boger. Eve is more than just a friend. She is loyal, dedicated, and compassionate...especially in regards to children, adoption, and orphans. I'm blessed to call her my friend.  I hope I have the correct fabric w/ the correct child, Eve!!!

#51 This is from Alex Boger, he is the oldest boy and very sweet & excited about adoptions. He did a great drawing for Elizabeth's wish.

#52 This is from Ben Boger who has a very tender heart. He truly loves these little ones who find their forever families!

#53 This is from Jack Boger. He is also one of Gray's best friends. I think it is funny that Jack & Gray picked out almost identical fabrics!