Tuesday, December 29, 2009

6 months together

Yesterday it was 6 months since we met Elizabeth. Here is a quick photo review just to remember how far she has come! This is PROOF that God still performs miracles!

This was the first time we saw her....bless her heart she was so scared!

Sitting in our hotel room with this sad face....about an hour after meeting each other.

Morning after Gotcha Day....this is what depression and shock looks like on a toddler....

At finding place, she is still so sad, but allowing us to care for her more & more

4th of July in China, 1st day in Guangzhou, 1 week together

A couple of days later....we see more spontaneous smiles

This is a "break through" day. We see lots of playfulness, more affection.....attachment is getting stronger.

US Citizen, landing in Detroit

1st full day home with siblings, July 11th

July, 1 month together, 2 weeks home

August, 2 months together

September, 3 months together

October, 4 months together

November, 5 months together

December, 6 months together

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Its 2 days past Christmas and I finally have moment to visit this blog and share some thoughts & photos. Thank you to all our sweet friends who have sent cards, emails, phone calls, etc celebrating with us as we share Elizabeth's first Christmas!!!

We celebrate Advent in our home and it is wonderful in helping us prepare our hearts for the season. Really...I need to celebrate Advent everyday, all year! I am so "prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love". We use the Jesse Tree and open a door in our permanent Advent calendar each day from Nov 30th leading up to Christmas Day. It is great to review the Old Testament stories that lead up to the birth of Jesus. As I learned in a bible class many years ago....God has one plan...plan A....he didn't go to plan B or plan C as we "messed things up". Nope God has always been sovereign and Jesus was the plan from creation. So the Jesse Tree helps us remember that Jesus has always been there, always the Hero in the story....from Genesis and forever. The children also get to move around the Nativity characters....so Mary & Joseph "travel" during Advent, Shepherds move towards the stable on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas morning each of children place a "baby Jesus" in the manger (I have several little Nativity sets, so everyone gets their own Jesus!) We will wait until Epiphany when the wise men show up at the stable. My doctrinely correct daughter informs us that "really it was more like many months that they traveled..not days". But we'll give the wise men 12 days get to the stable in our house : )

We also light the Advent candles and as Christmas Day gets closer and closer...the light gets brighter and brighter. Finally on Christmas Day all the Candles are lit and the "Light of the world" fills our home. Isn't it beautiful!

Prior to Christmas we visited John's family out of state. This was the first time the aunts, uncle & cousins got to meet Elizabeth. It was also the first time since coming home with her that she spent the night somewhere else. It was alot to take in for her I'm sure. But overall she did really great. Our first night she was unsure and obviously insecure. She didn't sleep well at all and I slept with her. We both tossed & turned, very much like our first nights in China. But for the rest of the trip...she went to bed easily for naps and bedtime. She was initially guarded with meeting the new relatives but giving everyone kisses by the time we left a few days later. It is really remarkable how adaptable she is. She showed us that she has a strong attachment to both her grandfathers. She asked several times for Papou and sat with him throughout the church service. Here at home whenever her other grandfather Pop walks in the room she runs right to him to be held in his arms. She also loves all her cousins. I think whenever there are children around she feels much more secure.

Just from our experience I would tell future adoptive parents to be careful & mindful about traveling too soon after coming home. We've had Elizabeth almost 6 months and I think she was just now ok to deal with such changes. Since being back home she has shown us a strong need to things to "be in order". There have been more tears at night but we are working through it and showing her that we are still there in the morning. Even "good" changes must feel so threatening to a child who has experienced the trauma these little ones go through.

Here are some photos from Arkansas:

She did NOT like seeing Santa....we did not make her sit next to him or anything....this was just the sight of him!

Now a few more photos from Christmas Eve & day. Elizabeth had a great time! We had an even better time watching her!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season

Its a busy season! I have ton of photos to share so I'll keep the writing to a minimum. These first photos are from Thanksgiving, which we hosted at our house. We were blessed to have my 97 year old grandmother join us. She and my Aunt met Elizabeth for the first time. The photos with my grandmother are precious, don't you think?

The Thanksgiving Table
97 yr old Great grandmother and some of her great grandchildren
Elizabeth mets her Great Grandmother!

Girls night out at the Mini Nutcracker. So thankful that my sweet 9 yo still likes playing with her dolls and dressing alike! How wonderful!!
My kids are so much sweeter than I am! They put on a spontaneous nativity story. This is when the angel appears to Mary...can you tell "she was afraid".
This is my Gray.....love, love, love this photo!
This is Joseph with Mary on the donkey (aka backpack) : )
Watching the Franklin Christmas Parade
Christmas Recital
Charlie Brown ICE at Opryland
It was 10 degrees in there! COLD!!!
The kids had a great time on the Ice slides!!!

All made from Ice....really beautiful
More Ice sliding

In the Opryland Hotel...walking through the inside gardens.