Monday, July 30, 2007

How Will We Know?

"Your heart often knows things before your mind does." ~Polly Adler

Back when we started the adoption process, we wanted Emily to feel a part of things. We were excited and we wanted her to feel the joy of anticipating her little sister. We had her sign our family letter for the process and even had it notarized. She was as much part of this decision as we were.

At some point, it became apparent that the wait would be longer than we expected and some days were so much harder than any of us had bargained for. So we would talk about Hannah, to each other, to friends and family, to the tree out front, to a fencepost if we had to, and most importantly, we talked to God about her. During one of our conversations as a family, we asked Emily, "How will we will we know which baby is our Hannah?" Her reply was quick and precise, "That's easy, she's the one in blue."

She said that many more times during our wait and I even began selecting more blue items than I normally would for this little girl because Emily was so convinced about the blue. I listened carefully on the phone the evening Hannah was placed in my husband's arms for the very first time (Emily had fallen asleep and I was here in the states with her). I listened as he became awestruck with yet another little girl he'd have the priviledge of calling his daughter. My question, "Is she in blue?" His answer, "No, but she looks beautiful in pink."

We didn't talk much about the "blue" once she arrived home and Emily was so happy to be with her, she didn't mention it either. Until one day...we received a package with information about Hannah and how she'd arrived at her orphanage. We read through everything and felt so blessed to have just one more compilation to add to her story. We got to the last line which read, "She was wearing double layered blue clothing."

I asked Emily how she knew...she said she saw her in her dreams.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"What a relief it is to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the smile of God!" Genesis 33:10

We finally had a chance to get some photos taken of the girls. We have plans to have portraits done in a few weeks, but empty frames around the house were bothersome and family members were crying out for some updated photos of both girls. Here are a few of our favorites.

Hannah was certainly tentative at first, but by the end of the session, she was laughing and really enjoying herself. Once the camera was put away, she was downright hysterical - isn't that always the way?

By the way, the dress Emily is wearing was a gift from our friends Laura, Rod and their beautiful Hannah ~ they were kind enough to bring this and another home for us when they departed China - thanks so much, we think she looks perfect in it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Who, Me???

I was flattered, honored and surprised when Amy over at Nesting for Natalie nominated me for a Rockin' Blogger girl award. (Many, many thanks) But you see, this is a woman who daily inspires, challenges and speaks to the hearts of others. Her journey is complex, yet beautiful and I check her blog everyday. Her writing is the finest I have ever known, so, my friend if it is okay, I would nominate you right back because you are so deserving of the praise and commendations of those whom you touch.

I have not even finished a list of my favorite links, sites and blogs. The adoption world has not only granted us the desires of our heart, but it has also opened for us a door to other families, people whom we would never have crossed paths if not for this common denominator. I am so grateful for these families, for their stories, their sorrows and most of all their joys. We pray together, laugh about parenting, ask questions, rejoice in the highlights of our children's lives, regardless of the manner in which our children entered our world. It is a community that humbles me and causes me great thanksgiving.

Soon, I will be posting a list of my favorite blogs ( I want to request permission first), so that others may share the joy of this special community of people. In the meantime, thank you Amy, I am grateful and as a true novice blogger, feel very unmerited in such a distinction. You, on the other hand, now, you rock!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Fishy Tale

The Night of Emily's Third Birthday

Two years ago, Emily began a love affair with Nemo. Yes, this little fish managed to capture her heart, and we had what we sentimentally refer to as "The Nemo Year". She was Nemo for Halloween. She read Nemo books, played with Nemo toys and even had a Nemo sprinkler. She had a Nemo birthday party, where she received her very first goldfish, which she adored.

(Picture this...the children are doing a craft at the rear of the home just before dinner - I have decorated the table with all things fishy, including her new fishbowl and beautiful big goldfish, Nemo. My mother and aunt are admiring the table when they notice Nemo does not look right. They grab my brother, a fish afficienado and he confirms their worst fear, Nemo is swimming with The Big Fish Himself. Knowing there are about twenty crucial moments until dinner, they run to the nearest pet store and grab a smaller, but just as golden fish, bring him home, and have my brother plop him in the bowl...and a Happy Birthday it is!)

Of course, once the candles have been blown out and the days begin to pass, Emily is concerned that Nemo will grow lonely. Let's face it, Dr. Shermann had quite a variety of fish in that tank. Oh yes, and she begins to negotiate for a tank, no more fishbowl for this little one. She was spouting out "42 Wallaby Way, Sydney" long before she ever uttered our address. Thus, the tank comes home with yet, another goldfish, she named Dory.

Now, we have gone through several Nemos (goldfish are not the most resilient pets), but Dory is still swimming strong in her pink tank in the playroom. We even added an Asian piece to the tank in Hannah's honor.

Fast forward two years, Hannah is home. We still have our original tank in the basement (the black one which was replaced by the girly pink one). Emily has the grand idea that Hannah NEEDS a fish, too. We concede. Emily chooses a beautiful black and white angel fish whom she appropriately names, Gill. I must admit, I love angel fish and I was even thrilled with Gill.

Emily handles the entire process (with Daddy's guidance, of course), but she is faithful about feeding her pets and caring for them. She loves to help clean the tank and every morning she greets her two fish with a big smile and some lovin'. Here's where the story gets a bit ugly...

Leaving for our weekly evening at the library, Em tells Daddy that Gill's light is off, she can't find him and could he turn it back on (yes, literally the light). When Daddy goes to check the tank, uh, we share the sad news. And she wails; and Daddy is shocked when I begin to wail also, but her sobs were from deep within her little soul and there is nothing more painful than the agony of one's child. At age five, time has no space or continuum, so this fish, who has only been with us one week is mourned, deeply so. Upon gathering herself, she tells me quietly, "We had some good times with our Gill, I will choose to remember those." She is brave and hopeful - I just love that about you, Emily.

She has asked to get another fish (for Hannah, of course) - she says she will name this one Bubbles. Bubbles, it is....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Frankly Speaking

Loved this video - discovered it on a friend's website (www.nesting for It inspired me to share...

"Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

I rarely discuss the decision making process to adopt a little girl from China, not because it doesn't matter, but more so, because it matters so much. It was a personal and innate decision that we, as husband and wife, shared and had for some time. We discussed the prospect of adoption long before we were even married and found that both of us were all for it, and perhaps we would not even try to have children. We just knew that we wanted a family.

Then, remarkably, shortly after our honeymoon, we discovered we were pregnant with Emily - we were, needless to say, "over the moon". Eight weeks into that pregnancy, I lost Emily's twin. We were certain the entire pregnancy had been lost. We were anguished about it, but it reestablished for us our plan. The doctor suggested an ultrasound. We went to that appointment sad, but stoic, and thankful that the Lord had chosen to take our baby from us early on. I was so happy my husband was there, he was comforting, kind and I was reminded that day all the reasons I married this man. The technician showed us the empty sac and then moved the wand to display a tiny lima bean shaped object beating a mile a minute. She did a double take, called in another technician and then began to giggle and cry at the same time (she had a three month old at home). Upon all of this activity, we could only assume there was good news and so we joined in the giggling and tears. That pregnancy would prove flawless. Emily came into this world and into our lives with such joy. Delivery was easy (sort of) and the aftermath would prove much more difficult as I had some complications, but nothing we couldn't handle and we were hooked--couldn't wait to have another.

Because of our loss at eight weeks of Em's twin, we decided to wait a little longer to share our good fortune when we discovered we were having another baby. It was hard to hide though, because I was violently ill with that pregnancy - I was certain something was wrong and the doctors were not pleased with my weight loss and the constant sickness that plagued me. They prescribed medicine I could not take with an 18 month old, it made me entirely non-functioning. So, I stopped that real quick and just suffered. All of a sudden, whammo - the sickness stopped and I remember wanting a doughnut in the worst way. I think I knew. A few days later, I called the doctor to tell them the sickness was subsiding - I was about 17 weeks along. They assured me that even if something was wrong, we had to let nature take it's course. An ultrasound would tell us what we did not want to know, our baby had died, and so I went in to have the baby taken (that is the way they put it). When I was in recovery, the nurses placed a yellow rose on my door - it is their way of alerting staff that the patient has lost a child. I went home without our baby.

So, we were back to the discussion again, adopt or try again?? We would become pregnant one more time. This time, we kept it a complete secret. We shared only with our parents and the family with whom I work (because there are certain hazards in my job). Everyone around us was having babies or trying to and we didn't see the point in scaring others if we would have another loss. Everything was going smoothly. My belly grew, each week we were more confident. There was a lot of movement - it was all good. I went for a routine check up, only it turned out to be not so routine. And this time, I was by myself and much further along. I'd see that yellow rose precariously placed on my door once again. Long story short, our Noah was born to heaven on a beautiful fall day.

We agreed that God's plan was for our child to come to us another way. The geneticists were optimistic and implored us to "keep trying". We felt the call to do something else and my, are we thankful. Hannah was meant to be our daughter. Emily saw her in her dreams, early on. Our strong conviction to adopt a child was always there for a reason and each day when I look at her, I am certain we were chosen for each other.

I have discovered that there is healing power in the experiences of others. Though, we typically do not bring up the elephant in the room, I have found that someone, somewhere may benefit from our story. I recall a good friend, whose sister had been diagnosed with Cancer. We were together one evening and she offered for her sister, "Hi, I am ____ and I brought Cancer with me tonight." It broke the ice, allowed for some embracing of her sister and the difficult time she was experiencing. From that point forward, whenever we meet, we discuss which issue we have brought with us when we are together (loss, unruly children, sick parents, etc.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Three Months Together

A Tale of Two SIsters
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I love my brother. He is a great guy, good husband and teriffic father. But...I always wanted a sister, too. Greedy? Yes, I know, and at this stage of the game, I am doubtful it is ever to be. In the beginning, my brother wanted to send me back ( he probably bargained on a different model - like the brother type!) but I think he's pretty used to me now. At least I hope so.

Emily said the other day, "I love my little sister." My heart melted. I was humbled, awestruck and honestly, thankful. We celebrate the miracle of how our family came to be, every single day. Enjoy along with us...

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Happy Fourth of July!

How appropriate that Hannah would take her first unassisted steps on the birthday of our great country!

I pause to think about our freedom and I am so incredibly thankful. Thank you to all of our service men and women, here in the states... and in far away places that we cannot imagine or fathom. Your service, integrity, dedication and selflessness is appreciated. My father served in the military. When my grandfather went home to be with Jesus this spring, we found some pretty awesome pictures of my dad in uniform. It made me proud, a bit teary-eyed and thankful that he never had to fight the hard fights... that he is here with us today.

Our Hannah has found freedom in mobility these last few weeks, but in her journey to us, she will have a different kind of freedom - how blessed we are to share that gift with her. She will be free to worship as she chooses, free to learn and grow, free to be an all American girl, if she so chooses. Somehow, this year became more technicolor with the addition of our spicy little girl. This fourth, rain and cold dampened our day, but certainly not our spirits. We went to the parade, jackets and sweaters in tow and we will go to the rescheduled fireworks, so that Hannah might utter her first "ooooohhhhh and ahhhh" and begin the traditions that endear our hearts. I grew up in a small town that prides itself on the celebration of our country, it's still always good to "go home"!

All set for my first Fourth of July (the night before!)

It was a dark and stormy day....but they look pretty happy!

Em made brownies with red, white and blue m & m's for the occasion (I interrupted her fabulous reenactment of Bambi to get the cooking done!)

The rain cleared just long enough for some fun on the porch and then it was back inside for the rest of the day!


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