Monday, March 23, 2009

Reasons to Celebrate!

Today marks two years since Rob and Uncle Jim hopped on a plane to Beijing. They were fortunate to be on a flight that took them clear over the North Pole, so it did make for a slightly shorter trip to China. Jim and Gerry sat with us in church on Sunday and I had to laugh as I heard Rob say, "Yeah, I really wanted to come home when I was in China, but I'd go back in a heart beat to bring home another one." Heh, heh, a little like childbirth, that pain really does go away:)

Emily's teacher is expecting her first child any day now. We had the honor of surprising her with a fabulous shower last Friday. The kids had a ball and she was truly blessed and surprised by the outpouring of love and well wishes for her expanding family. We are very grateful for you Mrs. Morrison. We will pray for you as you begin this new adventure and we are grateful to Mrs. D, who will take excellent care of your students as you enjoy your son.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Angels Walk Among Us

"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

She is called "the stork". A professor in Beijing, Li Xinghong has a much higher calling. Though she teaches and shares her wealth of history, knowledge and experience, this is far from what makes her brilliant in the eyes of our family. A recent article stated that before families ever meet Li, she changes their lives forever. I could not agree more.

Li Xinghong is the facilitator for our adoption agency on the China end of things. When nerves plagued us about Rob travelling without me, when questions absolutely needed to be answered, when the staus and well-being of our daughter needed to be discussed, Li was a part of it. The first day Rob met Li, he felt a connection, a complete peace. That first weekend in Beijing, several travelers had the unique opportunity to sit into the wee hours of the night talking with Li. Rob was completely taken as she recounted major political times in China and bantered about Chinese culture and her views as she lives and works there. I know that evening changed Rob, softened him and educated him about issues he once doubted he would ever need to know about.

In so many ways, we have been blessed by the infamous red thread, but this red thread reminds us just how many details the Lord places Himself in to gain just the right result. Li is an integral part of the story that is Hannah. We are eternally grateful to her for countless reasons. Our agency assured us so many times that "our wonderful liason" would ensure the successful completion of our adoption. Their trust and devotion to Li is warranted, justified and completely heartfelt.

Our agency is sponsoring information meetings to answer questions and discuss International Adoption in the China program. The beauty of these most recent meetings are that Li is visiting to assist. We were blessed to be asked to speak at one of these meetings in our area. I had never met Li, nor had Emily, so for us, it was an especially tender encounter. Not to mention the reunion between Li, Rob and Hannah; it was fun to witness the mutual respect they share for one another.

Li and Emily were fast friends. Li was very taken with her red hair and sat with her the entire time. She remembered some very important details about Emily. We wondered, with all of the families she sees every year, if she would even remember Rob or Hannah. Not only did she remember, she anxiously wanted to reflect on memories from that trip and recalled details Rob had shared about us. Such a special woman, she called us "friends". A treasure of a friend and so much more, Li, we are so thankful for you.

And they lived happily ever after!

Monday, March 9, 2009

First Grade, First Grade

First grade, first grade
It is cool
No better way to be in school
I will celebrate with my friend
I will celebrate til day's end
With a friend, til the end
I want to do it all again!

Very obviously, I am no Dr. Seuss! But, I remember first grade. I had an amazing teacher, her name was Mrs. Kley. She was very funny and do you know what I remember most? She made me feel loved. I was six, I knew I had the love of my family, but after the debacle we called kindergarten, I did not feel much trust for teachers. Mrs. Kley healed an assortment of hurts I endured at the hand of Mrs. Radbill, a teacher who had probably long overstayed her welcome.

Emily has a great teacher, a loving, prayerful teacher who accentuates the positive and works hard to extinguish any negatives. She is pregnant with her first child and we are busily planning some surprises for her:)

I thought I'd dedicate a post to first has been quite a year. A year filled with activities, awarenesses and altruism. I have been blessed to be part of all of these activities and I have to be honest, it is exciting to be able to see our child in her learning environment in addition to all the other areas we hang with her.

Parenting is hard. Some days I wish I could go back to the first grade where Dr. Seuss and a bologna and cheese sandwich cured the ills that swirled about us. As parents, we have to make the hard choices. We have to say "no" sometimes. We have to break their hearts sometimes or watch their hearts be broken (even harder), we have to be the adults, seek their best interest, share their joys and find the joys when their little hearts and heads are too in-the-moment to "see it". We are responsible for these beautiful creatures, we need to do our best to keep them healthy in mind, body and soul. We need to grow our children spiritually and grow ourselves spiritually that we might be an example to our little ones. We need to help them develop healthy relationships and pray for their friends and even for their spouses (many, many years down the road:)

As a parent, I am thankful for the opportunities to meet other parents. I take this responsibility with the seriousness that God issued it to me. For all the years I prayed to be a mother, I am thankful every single day for the manner in which God allowed me this gift. And it occurs to me that my heavenly Father approaches me in this very same way. He parents us and when I think of the love I have for my children, it is overwhelming to think of how BIG His love really is for us.

So, take this moment of Hundredth day, Snow days and Seussical celebration to go back to that time when you were six. It will refresh you, renew your spirit and help you as you make the big choices today. Whatever parenting point you are in today, you are not alone. We walk this line together, prayerfully and with the love of Him who loved us first. Oh, to be six again!

Celebrating 100th Day!

Threading 100 Fruit Loops - the sheer joy of it

Emily and her sweet friend Sarah

It's never a party until the cake arrives!! (Okay, that's my rule:)

Even Hannah loves a good snow day!

Our little redhead mid snowball fight!

Played all day...

Dr. Seuss Day began with the reading (and acting out of) The Cat in the Hat

There were green eggs and ham and plenty o' pink ink!

Em's friend Dieter, is he cute or what?


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