Sunday, October 31, 2010

Four Years Ago...

...we met our little Charlie for the first time in southern Taiwan. What an amazing experience...quite different from China in that we knew about most of his birth family, and had been sent monthly updates with photos and developmental milestones from the time we were approved to adopt him. What a treasure to have so much information to share with him as he grows. He was obviously loved by his birth family, as well as the nannies that cared for him during the year he spent in the orphanage. We are so grateful to all of them for giving him such a sweet start in life. He has been the baby for the past four years. We're excited to see him soon with his new little sister...experiencing adoption from a whole new perspective as he travels to China with us. We love you, buddy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My baby's 5!

My baby boy turned 5 today...a full hand of fingers. That's a pretty big deal!
Charlie won't be the baby for long, so we're going to let him soak it up while he still holds the title!


Not that Char's one to sit back and let the world fly by him. Oh, no. I've never seen anyone with the zest for life that he has! He runs...and runs...full force to embrace every opportunity he can. He has the physical strength of a bull, the speed of a cheetah, the business of a bee, the energy of an ant, the stubborness of a mule, the heart of a lamb, and the cleverness and silliness of a little monkey!


With our Char, there is never a dull moment...not since we met him on Oct. 31, 2006...the day after his very first birthday. Even in those those first few days, we saw his personality...the insistance of playing by the toilet no matter how many times we moved him away, the determination to feed himself sticky rice only to leave a sticky mess for the waiters...and all over himself, and the speed at which he could climb on top of tables in the hotel room! And his tender heart that broke as he was handed to me, and had to leave his favorite nanny at the only home he ever knew. The nannies told us how intelligent he was...one of the most intelligent babies they had ever met. We understand now.


And every day I thank God for the way He made our little Charlie. And every day I pray that God will use all of those strong character traits for a mighty work for Him. Earlier this year, Charlie gave his heart to Jesus, and we're watching closely the way God is directing his path.


Charlie, we love you so much! You have added a special spark to our family...one we never knew we were missing. You have a zest for life that not many possess, and that's something so valuable and precious. I can't wait to see where God leads you, and how you're going to grow into a mighty warrior for Him.


Happy 5th birthday, sweet boy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gimmie 5

ARTICLE 5, THAT IS!
It was released today!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's Here!

No, not our Article 5.
I think someone ate it.
Or it's buried on someone's desk who doesn't realize how
much we wanted to bring Jenna home yesterday!
So, what's here?
It's our first online raffle item!

Why the raffle? To raise funds for our travel to China.
We just got word that because of the Asia games happening in Guangzhou,
prices could double for transportation and hotels. Ouch!
And, when newbies visit the blog, perhaps their hearts will be touched for the orphan.
So, are you ready?
from Amazon.

It just arrived today, and it's ready for some heavy-duty reading, my friends.
So, here's the scoop of how you can enter the raffle.
1. For every $5.oo donated through our Chip-In, your name goes into the raffle 1 time.

2. If you mention this raffle on your blog, and link to this post, you get one entry.

3. If you faceb**k this raffle, with a link to this post, you get one entry.
Be sure you let me know if you blog it or FB it so your name can be entered into the drawing!
Very easy!
And with Christmas around the corner, it's an easy gift for an avid reader!
We will have the drawing on November 4th, so check back to see if you won,
and we'll ship it to you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Your opinion, please...

I've been chatting with a young lady from my church about international adoption. Her name is Ashlee. She is the sweetest thing! As soon as we step foot into church, she whisks Laura out of our arms, and either chats or they head down together to the preschool room where she sometimes teaches. After church, she reappears, whisks Laura away again, and they go hang out with the teens. It's funny...if I can't find Laura, I know she's with the teens. Girls...they grow up so fast! What a blessing it is to have Ashlee, and some of the other teens, so involved and lovin' on Laura each week!


Anyway, Ashlee is a senior in high school, and has chosen to write a paper on international adoption. She told me how hard it was to narrow down the topic. There is so much information, and so many topics within international adoption! But she did narrow it down, and is writing her paper on whether or not children should have the right to locate their biological parents at some point. We've emailed back and forth and discussed some of the issues involved with this.


The latest question she posed was, what would be the benefit of a child being able to locate their birth parents? The two ideas she has so far is to obtain a medical history and to learn about their heritage.


So, here's my question to you.
Can you think of any other positive reasons for a child to locate their biological parents? Now, this is not a debate, and we're not choosing sides. I'm just trying to help find some more thoughts on this particular question. And what better place to get some feedback than from all of you, many of whom are involved in one way or another with adoption.


So, what do you think? Please share, as I know she'll be reading comments to see what you have to say!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Stay tuned!


We're getting closer each day to Jenna. Yes, I would love to get a phone call tomorrow from our agency saying that our Article 5 has arrived and that our TA miraculously was sent at the same time, and that we can travel ASAP. Yes, that would be nice...unrealistic...but a nice dream. So with a little extra wait time on our hands, we decided to have some fun.



You all know the awesome story of our first-ever adoption fund raiser...the rummage sale, last April. If you didn't hear the awesome way God provided every penny (plus one dollar) that we needed to send two days later, then you should read it HERE and HERE. It was an awesome story...a Memorial Box story if I kept one. But I don't have one...so it's in my bloggy memory!


So now we're getting ready and looking around at hotels and airfare to China, as well as the final payment to our agency that will be due very soon. We've been wanting to do an online fundraising "something," but weren't sure what to do. Some of you have had such great ideas, but it just wasn't clickin' with me. Then two days ago, it came to us, and it should arrive soon. Just in time for Christmas shopping...or whatever shopping. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How many do you have?

How many do you have? Shoes, that is.
Most of us can probably say that we have some kind of athletic shoe, shoes for church, casual shoes, shoes for summer, maybe some slippers, shoes for doing yardwork, perhaps a pair of cowboy boots, snow boots, or fancy-schmancy-kill-your-feet-party shoes.
There are a ton of stores in which to find them, and usually at decent prices, so buying multiple pairs is not a problem.
And there's certainly nothing wrong with having multiple pairs of shoes!

But since my minivan will be full once Jenna is home, I have to find other outlets to care for the orphans. I found a great one. Shoes for Orphan Souls, which provides new shoes for children who don't have, and most likely have never had, any shoes. Can you imagine walking around in some of those unsanitary conditions, like dumps and sewer waters, with no shoes? Can you imagine the disease that is absorbed into their feet that have been cut by rocks and garbage?
So, our family has organized a shoe/sock drive at our church for the month of November, coinciding with Orphan Sunday and National Adoption Month. These shoes will be shipped somewhere within the U.S., or sent overseas through Buckner International. We were not at church this past Sunday since we had to take Ruffey back to his trainer, but apparently the donations are already coming in at church. We had to get busy preparing our treasure chest for the collection!
The boys colored some paper shoes to decorate the treasure chest.
Then they cut them out...

and finally stuck them all over the treasure chest. Looks like we're ready to go!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hello??

Hello? Anyone out there see an Article 5 floating around that could possibly belong to us?
A friend had this on her blog as she waits, patiently like me...ahem.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Farewell, Little Buddy

Well, we had to say goodbye to Ruffey today.
We were gone the entire day, driving him back to his trainer, and then back home again.
Ruffey just didn't match up with Laura like it was anticipated, for various reasons.
He's a sweet dog, but just couldn't settle into the work mode for her.
So, per his trainer, they will try to find a home for Ruffey with an elderly couple, perhaps, where there's not so much activity.
He gets to enjoy an early retirement.


So, now we wait.
We want to bring Jenna home and get settled. Then we'll talk with the training facility to get matched with another dog for Laura.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

His Soft Heart

Our Amarin...home for 14 months already.
He's not often the focus of the blog.
He's such an easy child...obedient, happy, compliant, funny, and such a servant's heart.
And of all the kids, I think he has the softest heart of all.
He's so sensitive...actually all of our boys are...but Amarin especially.
Just "the look" can envoke tears.
But he's such a funny boy, too. Such a sense of humor, and a contagious laugh.
He loves to help in the kitchen, and wants to fly airplances someday.
I wonder sometimes what his life would be like had he not come home to us.
But God...He knew all along...since before Creation, that Amarin was to be in our family.
That we needed him as much as he needed us.
And that he would be the little brother needing a mentor, and also the big brother with a soft heart for his little siblings.
We are thankful everday for this sweet boy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Laura's Field Trip

Laura was able to go on her first ever field trip today.
And I got to go with them!
It was the most beautiful, autumn day...
a little crisp in the morning, but we were peeling off the coats as the morning progressed.
Laura has 5 classmates, and 3 teachers.
I drove and met them at the pumpkin patch.
Here they are getting off the bus.
Laura's primary teacher, Ms. Mary, was helping her.

Laura watched the donkey and sheep.

And the corn table...that was a favorite for all of the kids.

Laura was chosen to dress up like a scarecrow.
The worker helped Laura bang the sticks together to "scare away the crows!"
I don't think she realized how much Laura hates anything on her head,
but Laura was a good sport.
Then the kids got to help stuff old clothes with straw to make their own scarecrows!
I think the kids had just as much fun rolling in it, and tossing at others!

OK...who tossed this on me??
This stuff is a little bit pokey!

One of Laura's bigger friends...I think she thought he threw straw on her. Look at that glare!

And a trip to the pumpkin patch would not be complete without cider and donuts.
"Look at mommy, Laura."
No, I'd rather look at you, Ms. Mary!
Laura's teacher is so sweet and patient, and has such a bubbly personality.
We are very blessed that she is Laura's teacher.
The other assistants in the classroom are very sweet, too.
I could tell that they all care so much for these precious children in their care.
Laura in the pumpkin patch.
My pretty little girl.

Laura had a tummy bug yesterday and missed the tailgate party at school...
for the big UofM/MSU game on Saturday.
So, we just had to show our UofM spirit today in honor of Daddy's alma mater!