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!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It was one year ago .....

March 31, 2009....."referral day".....the first day we saw Elizabeth's face.......

John was home and got a phone call.....from our social worker...he blogged about it on our first blog. Here are his words about March 31st.......

It seemed like a day like any other. I had taken Mac and Langley to school, Gray was at Mustard Seed. Later that afternoon, your mother was at Gray’s preschool with your sister and brothers to get their pictures taken. I had been working on my presentation for a new job at Vanderbilt for several hours and was taking a nap. I was awoken by the phone ringing. It was Rebecca with Children’s Hope. She was the social worker there. Your mother had spoken to her several times before, but I rarely did. I could sense excitement in Rebecca’s voice. She started right to the point. She said that there was a 16 month little girl who was on the multiple agency list. She explained that you were on the special needs list and that Rebecca thought of us because this precious girl had minor orthopedic problems. She told me you had brachial plexus injury and wanted to know what I thought. What did I think? All I could think of was that God had sent us a wonderful little girl. You were a gift that your mother and I did not expect for a long time, if even ever. Yes. I told her. I asked anxiously. “Can you lock the file?” This meant that no one else could look at you and that we could hold on to you. Rebecca said yes. I told her that I needed to share this with Shannon and that I would call her back. Rebecca said she would send me your file and picture right away. I could not wait to see what you looked like. Now, fully awake from my nap, yet somewhat feeling this was a dream, I called you mother. Just like me, she was stunned by God’s hand bring you into our lives. We were expecting this at some point, but when it actually happened, it still seemed surprising. I know that your mother and I will feel this way when we see you for the first time – brought to our knees by God’s awesome presence seen in you. Your mom was overwhelmed. She was in “the zone” gathering your siblings together, trying to get their picture made at Gray’s preschool. I told her briefly about you. “Yes, absolutely, yes.” That was her answer. Soon she called back once things settled down. By that time, Rebecca’s email came through. I got to see you for the first time. You were beautiful. I read about you at the orphanage and with your foster family. I looked at your picture again. Tears welled up in my eyes. You were to be a part of our family forever. I called Rebecca back. I wanted to make sure. Yes, she said. From this point on, you were ours.

I blogged about it as well:

On March 31, 2009 a miracle occurred. John was taking a nap when a call came from our social worker. She described to John a darling 16 month old girl. John asked her to "lock" the file immediately so we could review her paperwork. John called me ( I had the 3 kids and was in the midst of getting their photo made) So I now a photograph of the siblings the moment our family grew! We were also juggling conversations with our realtor about the contract we put on a home less than 24 hours prior!!! Eventually John and I got to speak on the phone and he read to me her special need and what was written in her paperwork. He saw her photo and said "she is really, really cute" pause pause pause "yep, she is adorable". I drove to my sister's house since it was closer than going home and got on her computer so I could she the referral myself. I fell in love when I saw her photo. She is beautiful. She has soft features, round face, lots of black hair. Her ears tip at the top like my side of the family! John had to go to a meeting so he and I still didn't have a chance to talk. While my son was at soccer practice I spent the time googling her special need. The more I read the more comfortable i became. I consulted with my dear friend who is a pediatrician as well. She pointed out to me that I had blogged in June 2008 that I felt God speaking "November" to me. Well....guess what.....she has a November birthday, my Aunt's birthday. Basically as I just let it all soak in I just knew we had been given a tremendous gift. Her special need is not one we had previously researched but we know she is ours. We didn't know who she was but God did and He brought her to us. We are so grateful. Finally, late last night John and I had a chance to sit together and talk about this little girl. Usually you consult with specialists about the child's special need, etc. With John's training we felt we had some basic insight and realized we just needed to discern if she was our daughter. And God revealed to our hearts.....yes indeed this is your daughter. So before we went to sleep we email our agency our LOI and prayed together thanking God for our new baby daughter.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little Sprouts Consignment Sale!

I LOOOOOVE consignment sales. And the spring consignment season is about to begin with one of my favorite sales. I have participated (both buying and selling) in this sale for 3 years. I really like this one because it is only boutique brands. After owning a children's clothing business I have developed a strong preference in children's clothing but I don't like the boutique prices. MANY of the outfits that Elizabeth wears comes from consignment sales. I also have gotten great toys & shoes at this sale.

So if you want to find some beautiful clothes for your children and you live in the Middle TN area then check out this sale next week!

Little Sprouts Consignment Sale:

1725 Columbia Avenue, Franklin
*A Few Doors Down From JumpZone*

Guests & New Moms Pre-Sale

Thursday, February 25th, 8pm
*You must have a pass for the presale.*
New Moms Register on website:

*No Children Allowed at the Pre-Sale*

Open to the Public

Friday, February 26th, 9am-6pm
Saturday, February 27th, 9am-3pm
Sunday, February 28th, 1pm-5pm (1/2 Price Day)

*Cash & Local Checks Accepted. Sorry, NO Credit Cards. You can, however, use your credit card to purchase a gift certificate ahead of time. See the Home Page for details.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Elizabeth was baptized this past Sunday. It was wonderful having so many of the family members present. Both sets of grandparents and most of the aunts, uncles & cousins were there. It was a big group! She wasn't too excited about having our pastor hold her but overall she did great. When he was holding her (for like 5 seconds) she was wimpering "mommy, mommy, mommy", reaching for me. Our pastor is an adoptive Dad and was very sweet and quickly handed her back to me with his hand still dripping with baptismal water.

A fellow adoptive mom at church came up to me afterwards and said she and her husband were crying watching the miracle of adoption and hearing Elizabeth call for me and see me as her mother. It really is a miracle. I told her I still get a "kick" out of hearing her name me like that. She said she still does too even though her daughter is elementary age.

But I also want to share that its not always that sweet and endearing. I know other adoptive parents read this blog from time to time. It has been so good for me to have seen other's walks and not feel alone in the "bad" times. So here is some of the struggles as we are 7 months since Gotcha Day.

Ever since we traveled at Christmas time Elizabeth has become rather OCD...obsessive compulsive. I've seen kids who are just quirky and want things very orderly. But I truly believe a lot of what we see in her behavior is just an expression of her fear of change, instability, trauma. It is very, very understandable. I mean, this is a 2 yr old trying to make sense of circumstances that even adults can't understand. I want to share this so if other families experience this they might recognize it might be more than just quirkiness if your child is adopted.

If we do something a certain way (like the order of getting dressed) then she wants to do it EXACTLY the same way next time. She cries & has a tantrum if I don't comply or don't understand that ORDER. And she is still very impatient when it comes to eating. The moment she decides its time to eat she wants all the food in front her her NOW. Sometimes that just doesn't work when you are in a family with 3 other siblings. I have to say the food thing has gotten better but it can still be challenging. Where we see the most fear/OCD come out is at bedtime. There is a fine line you walk as an adoptive parent with being compassionate & providing security but then you don't want to enable unhealthy behavior. So we have about 6 steps at bedtime (I'm talking the actual getting in the bed phase...not bath, storytime, etc). If something isn't quite right then Elizabeth starts crying "uh oh". Sometimes I realize one of the two doors is still open (bathroom & closet doors must be closed) or maybe I tucked the sheet but I didn't tuck the comforter. Sometimes I can't figure out for the life of me what is causing the "uh oh". So we've gone round & round with the "uh ohs" several nights. Hearing "uh oh" over and over and over at 2 am is rather un-nerving. Its kind of like have a fussy don't know how to fix it! Now we are doing those 6 things that usually are enough and have stopped trying to fulfill whatever else is not "perfect". Walking that line.....hoping she feels secure as best as we can provide but also helping her learn that real security won't come from a perfectly ordered world. Bless her heart, how in the world can she ever understand? We just pray for God to give us wisdom & patience. And for Him to heal and fill the scars on her heart that only He can do.

Godparents Thomas & Eve

With Pop & Softa

Reading a book with Grand

Giving Daddy kisses. She now calls him "Dahhh Dee" instead of Baba...just like her brothers & sister : )