Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Official!!!


We're adopting again!!!!


More kiddos!! Yay!!

More paperwork for me to do....sigh.

Y'all, I hate paperwork. My brain doesn't do paperwork. 

It is single-handedly my GREATEST greatest mountain to climb. But somehow God got me through it last time.

So we'll do it, God, and all the people I have to enlist to help me decode questions. :)

Here's ONE example of my paperwork nightmares:

Me: Hey, what does nationality mean? Do they want to know my nation? Do I put "American" or do I put "U.S."? Or should I put USA?

Hubby: Seriously, Lisa? 

Then he sighs and says, "What would you do without me?"

Nothing. The answer would be "nothing." See? I know the answer to HIS questions, but not the adoption agency's!! 

So here's the story in a fast re-cap:

I thought I was done. (Don't ever tell anyone you're done...and don't tell God you're done either.)

Then one day it happened. I turned around in the car (see last post) to see who was missing. It felt like someone was missing from my vehicle even though I could clearly see they were all there. That may sound bizarre, but it happened ALL THE TIME before Johnny and Lily. Someone was missing...but both my kiddos were in the car...and now it was happening again.  I dismissed it even though I recognized that oh-too-familiar feeling. Anywho, I started reading blogs again, looking at photolisting sites of children from China again. I was being drawn like a moth to a flame!!! Ugh!! What was happening to me?

I kept ignoring my familiar feelings.

And then one day my husband was preaching and asked how many people read a chapter a day in Proverbs. He said to just start reading the chapter with whatever day we happened to be on in the month. I thought, wow, I haven't done that in awhile, so that night I began reading...then I got to Proverbs 24 (so it was Nov. 24) and I got to verse 11 and 12 and I started to bawl.

vs. 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
vs. 12 If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay everyone according to what they have done?

The emphasis to me was on verse 12. My eyes have been opened and I could NOT pretend I didn't know there were children going to bed at night without a mother or father. 

Without a family. 

You may say that verse 11 doesn't apply...that they're not staggering toward slaughter. Umm...have you been to other nations? Where there is no joy? Where God is not allowed?

Their faces are empty. Sad, blank, and empty. They have no hope.

Yes, they are like a group of people...staggering...with no hope.

I had tried to go back to my old life of being blinded to the plight of the orphan...and I just could NOT do it. God would not let me...he was holding me accountable to respond. I tried to tell God I'd pray for them. I would tell others about adoption. 

But that wasn't enough.

I'm supposed to do it myself.



We will go back to China for two more. :) I'm at the very beginning of this process. I may be the only person who took 18 months for our last adoption and I'd really love for it to not take that long but I'm not holding my breath. My home study took double  the time, my LOA took double the time, paperwork got sent back, yada, yada. I'll just trust God on His timing this time around because not ONE thing went faster because of all my ranting to God about it.


I will learn patience. :)

(Yeah, right.)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Let It Snow!!!

Oh yeah, baby...we got dumped on!! What do I care...there wasn't any school yesterday so I stayed home all day with the kiddos. We had lots of fun...watched Kung Fu Panda and ate popcorn and Dots. And of course, took the kids outside to play. This was Johnny and Lily Anna's first experience with snow. Johnny said it got really cold in China but he never saw snow. (He was in a northern province). And I knew Lily had never seen it because she was in southern China. Ok, enough with the yada, let's take a guess: Who loves snow?

And guess who hates snow: Yep, the Southern girl. She hated it. She said it was icky. 
She lasted 10 minutes outside...actually, more like 7. Or 6.
So big bro was so sweet, took her by the hand and brought her in.
But before that happened, she entertained us by falling over on her back (actually she was pushed by Brianna...sigh) and remember the clip from "A Christmas Story" where the little brother is so bundled up he falls over and can't get up? Yep, that was Lily. She rolled and rolled. I had mercy on her and helped her up. 

Oh Lily, it sure is hard being chubby. That jelly belly just won't give when you're rolling around in the snow like a tomato. :)

Btw, can you all believe I'm posting and it's not even a month later??? 

It's because I've been up since 2:00 am for no reason at all...or is there? The last time this happened God was prepping me for two little kiddos from China. And I was up yesterday at 3:00 am. Hmmm... 

Just last week I was backing out of the garage (not the time when I took my mirror off...that's another story...forget I mentioned that) and looked in the van to see who was missing. Nope...all 4 kiddos were there. But it felt like someone was missing. The last time this happened....well, I'll just stop there. :)

Btw, guess who looks all grown up going to her Teen Christmas party at church?

 Big brother doesn't look half bad either (even with the red eye...ugh...I WILL learn how to touch up photos in 2013). 

I'm so proud of them! They love God, they love church, and they love their family. What mama wouldn't be proud?

Friday, December 7, 2012

10 Months!!

Yesterday marked 10 months with Johnny and tomorrow marks 10 with Lily. It's been amazing watching all their "firsts" with us! 

First day of school (yes his hair was still wet for my pics!)

Lily Anna's first day of Pre-school

First time playing in leaves. Fall is my absolute favorite season!!

I loooooove this picture!!!! Look at those faces!!

First Halloween

First Thanksgiving (they decided they like chicken more than turkey!)

This isn't a first...I just love their outfits, ha ha. Blurry pic but, wow, these 
kiddos should model for Gap!!

And decorating their first Christmas tree.

While I am the sentimental type, I also love the comical things that happen with these firsts. Here are a few:

One day Johnny asked me when Christmas was and I replied, "It's right around the corner, Johnny." He got an excited look on his face and ran around the corner to look and then got confused and said, "Where?" I laughed so hard and had to explain that "around the corner" doesn't literally mean "around the corner!"

A few weeks ago we were decorating the outside of the house. My hubby was on the roof hanging a wreath on the house when Johnny yelled up at him in a very matter-of-fact voice, "Don't fall down and die, Baba."

Not to mention with all these firsts, I have to explain why we do what we do. Do you realize how stupid us Americans look to this 6 year old Chinese boy? I remember thinking, "This boy thinks we're nuts!" Here are some examples of what I've tried to explain to him:

"Johnny, Halloween is coming up. We have to pick out your costume!"
"What's Halloween?"
"It's a day where everyone dresses up in a costume. You can dress up like a super-hero!"
"Why you do that?"
"Umm...I don't know."
"Everybody does it?"
"Why? Who told everyone to do it? Why you all do that?"
"Umm...I really don't know. It's for fun. We do that in America, Johnny. We get dressed up like weird things on one day of the year for no reason what-so-ever." 

And Christmas:
"Johnny, it's time to set up the tree for Christmas!"
"Where you get the tree?"
"Well, some people get a real one from outside."
"What??? Why you do that??"
"Well, we bring it in and decorate it with lights and then put presents under it."
"What?? Why you do that?? Why you bring in a tree? Tree goes outside!! Just leave it outside. Why you bring a tree in your house?? That's yucky. Why you stick lights on it??"
"Ummm...for fun. But you're going to get presents. I wrap them and put them under the tree."
"What??? Why you do that??? Why you buy a toy and wrap it up? That makes no sense!"

The next time he says, "Why you do that?" I'm going to reply, "Because we're morons, Johnny. Americans are morons. We do things for no reason at all and we have too much time on our hands." I'm sure that answer will satisfy him because I know that's what he's thinking anyway! :)

Hope you all have a blessed Christmas!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

9 Months!!

Nine months??? Seriously? I cannot believe it...I had to count (on my fingers, of course) to make sure I had this right...nine months!

How's it going? Perfect, actually, thanks for asking!

 Playing piano with Baba

Thumb wrestling with Baba

Things really are going fantastic. Johnny and Lily were both in foster care in China and I am starting to really grasp how beneficial this has been for us that they were. Neither of them have any issues that is sometimes associated with being raised in an orphanage. 

Johnny is extremely helpful and likes to set the table and clear it when we're done eating. I never even have to ask him to take his plate to the sink (a big thanks to his China foster Mom!!) She raised him well. I barely have to discipline this boy. A stern look and just saying his name makes him crumble...Lily on the other hand...umm, I'd like to have words with her foster Mom...she was SPOILED! Actually, Lily is doing fantastic now, but it took months of daily showing her that the universe did not revolve around her. 

Here are some common phrases Johnny uses:

"Check it out!"
"Why you do that?"
"How that work?"
"I dunno."
And, of course, "ticka." (Still don't know what it means; it's the only Chinese word he uses anymore.)

Lily talks in basics...she cuts all the fluff out of the English language...but it's the WAY she talks that's funny. She has a very low voice that is sometimes shocking to people and very comical. She sounds like, umm, well...ET. Or Roz off of Monsters Inc...but probably mostly like Edna from The Incredibles...I need to teach her how to say "darling" like Edna..."daaahhhhling," tee hee. I know God has a sense of humor because I requested a video of Lily before we went to China and do you think she said one word in that entire video? Not one. I remember watching the video of Lily over and over and thinking...I wonder why I received this video and didn't hear one word from a girl they claim is extroverted...I wonder if she has a funny voice...that would be just like God to have me adopt a cartoon character.  

And that is exactly what she is. She has everyone wrapped around her finger...including the dog. She torments the dog mercilessly but takes food off her plate and intentionally drops it on the floor for her, so our poor puppy endures the abuse for the food. side note I'm typing, Lily is playing X-box and just kissed R2D2 on the screen and said, "Hi baby." Ok...that was disturbing.

Alright, back to our regular scheduled program:

My favorite word she says is "careful," but she says "share pole" instead. 

They are both so stinkin' cute...I wish I could adopt 20 kiddos from China!! 

I know not everyone has fairytale endings. I totally get that. I just read a post from a lady who went to China at about the same time I did. Her child was listed as "developmentally delayed." The description made it sound was not...her child will need lifetime care. I cannot fathom that. And I know that some people take months and years to bond with their children. I'm not trying to take away from that. But all I can say, is that for MY family, and OUR experience, being in China was ROUGH, the 3 months after were just as rough...but it gradually got easier. I did not force any expectations upon myself, Johnny and Lily, or the rest of our family. I allowed us to bond on our own time. Although Johnny and Lily bonded to me right away, it honestly was at about 4 months home that I was 100% connected to them. 

That's the beauty of adoption: everyone's experience is different. If God told you to do it, if it's on your heart and not going away, then He will see you through it all the way...through bonding, through post-adoption depression, all  of it...He's bigger than all of it. 

His grace goes with us!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

8 Months

Yes, this is becoming a trend; posting once a month. Oh well. I used to get so ticked when people came home from China and didn't keep up with their blogs. It's like they disappeared off the planet and left us all hanging. I would have so many questions about their adjustments, etc...and nothing...they would either never post again, shut down their blog, or go to a private blog. Which is all fine. But it made me mad. And now here I am not posting. The reason? I'm soooo stinkin' BUSY!!!! 

Johnny is in public school, Lily is in pre-school, Brianna is dual enrolled, and Josiah is homeschooled. Which means I'm running kids all over. Somethings gotta give cuz I'm losing my marbles. 

Because I always seem to be flying by the seat of my pants,  I have had several "I've turned into my Mother" moments. Once when dropping the kids off for school I realized later when I got home and looked in the mirror that I still had hair clips in my hair to keep my bangs out of my face. And I looked down and realized I was still wearing my slippers. And then upon further observation, I realized I never changed my shirt...I was still wearing my pajama top. This wouldn't be so bad if I was just dropping them off and not getting out of the car...but I had gotten out and handed them off to their teacher and even carried on a conversation with her. 

I can't even imagine what the teacher was thinking when she saw me. When I realized what I was wearing I remembered where I'd seen this's on know...the people of Wal-mart who shop in their pajamas. 


I'd like to say this happened on only one occasion, but no, sadly no, I've done it multiple times. And my mind flashes to my Mother picking us up for events with rollers in her hair and some bizarre type of rain bag on her head (hi Mom). 

So anyway...eight months...we've been good for quite a while now so their's nothing new concerning adjusting...we're all good. The kids all bicker so I guess we're normal. Ha ha. 

Some things about Lily:
Lily now says "Daddy" instead of "Baba" sometimes, which secretly breaks my heart, but it's fine. She loves to tell off Josiah, which is hilarious...a 4 year old telling off a 13 year old. She is incredibly smart. She knows her ABCs, can recognize them and give their sounds. She knows her numbers 1-20  and recognizes 1-10. I think that's pretty good for only being home 8 months! And she's a tech nerd. I had no idea. Let's just say I have to keep my phone away from her because she deletes apps, orders apps, and rearranges all my settings. 
Oh, and another thing...she has her Baba COMPLETELY wrapped around her finger. She can do no wrong in his book.

Lily looking innocent.

Miss Cheeks

More of the cheeks words for this pic.

Dressing up

So sweet...a moment with Lily and Josiah

When one spoon just won't cut it.

About Johnny:
His number one ambition is to be a super hero and get muscles. He must not have ever seen the whole super hero thing in China because when he got home he kept asking why he couldn't fly like Superman. When I finally realized he was dead serious about thinking he had super powers was when I was on the computer one day and I saw something out of the corner of my eye go flying through the air. I looked up and saw Johnny do a flip off the couch. Thank God he didn't land on his head. He looked at me with a confused look on his face and said, "Why my not fly?" 

Don't you just love boys?

Visiting his classroom...that is THE cheesiest smile btw and totally fake!! Ha ha.

He loves his legos.

Going for a walk...and needing a serious haircut.

Hitching a ride from Brianna.

Don't you just love Chuck-E-Cheese? Video games and overpriced cardboard pizza, ha ha.

Yes, he got his fingers stuck and couldn't get them out.

He always insists on wearing his towel like a cape...Johnny you're my super hero!!

Ok, one more pic...Y'all want to see the best 4th of July pic?
Ha ha...doesn't this just say, "We love America...we're so happy to be here!!" ???

Yep, I seriously think I'm going to frame this...their first 4th of July and they look so excited about it. 

You just can't make this stuff up. You have this moment and you want it to be a Norman Rockwell moment...and well...they don't comply and you get a picture like this.

See y'all at my 9 month post!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

7 Months

Seven months ago a very scared little 5 1/2 year old boy walked into our lives and an absolutely petrified, horrified little 4 year old girl was literally handed into our lives. 

What a difference 7 months can make! Johnny has been speaking strictly English for so long now that I can't remember him speaking Mandarin. The only word that remains is "ticka." I think it means "this" or something from what I've figured with using our translator app. He actually uses it every time he speaks. Every sentence begins with "ticka." Kind of funny. Lily actually uses the same word. She also uses strictly English, except for "ticka," "how," and both of them use the word "Baba" for Daddy. 

They both also just started school!! Johnny started kindergarten and Lily started pre-school. Yes, I homeschool Josiah and Brianna, but I didn't begin homeschooling them until they were in 2nd and 4th grade. I've had total peace about putting them in public school right now, and will probably keep them in until they hit middle school or so. I will post their first day pics in about 3 years when I get around to it. Tee hee. 

Some of the things that also come with being home a little longer has been that, with Johnny expanding his English, he's able to tell me things about his life in China. He has told me that his foster Mama and Baba had a motorcycle. That didn't surprise me...those things were everywhere in the city. They're more like mopeds. He told me his foster Mama (we call them The China Mama and The China Baba) would set him in a chair to take his shower. He said they didn't have a stove. He told me about a scar he has on his forehead that I'd wondered about. He said he was standing on a chair and he fell and hit his head on the corner of a desk. He said his China Mama put him on the motorcycle and drove very fast to the hospital and they fixed it. He gives everything in accurate detail...he remembers everything.


There was one night in particular he was in the mood to talk and he gave extremely detailed accounts of moments of his life. That will be a post for another day...sometime soon. Let's just say I cried in front of him...I couldn't hide it...and he cried too. That was about 2 weeks ago. And to be honest, I just have not been able to bring myself to post it. I wondered if I's his personal life...but at the same time I wish everyone knew his story and then got to meet him. What an amazing overcomer. God Himself raised this boy. He is the happiest little boy I know. And soooooo easy to raise!!! He helps me cook and clean. He actually enjoys it and asks to help. (And no, it's not to just be a pleaser...believe me, I can tell the difference!!) When I'm cooking he pulls up a chair and watches. He's such a sweet boy!!!

I'm amazed at what God has done in 7 short months. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm continually amazed at how God answers our prayers. If I gave the timeline of our adoption and how I tried to hurry it along and kept getting so mad and frustrated that it was taking us twice as long as others to adopt. If my home study would have been done just two weeks sooner, I would have only been able to adopt one child. If my dossier would have gone to China just one month sooner, I wouldn't have received my referral for Johnny because he was with a different agency at the time. As a matter of fact, when Johnny was with that particular agency, I was constantly drawn to their website and I had no idea why at the time. It wasn't until after we adopted him that I found out he had been listed with a different agency previously. It's amazing watching the hand of God work. And we get so mad and wonder if God remembers we're here, and we want everything now, in our time line...little did I know a little boy was searching, hoping, and waiting for me as well. That was one of the things he told me that night about his life in China...he was waiting for me just as much as I was for him. He was hoping for me to come get him as much as I wanted to go get him.

I know sometimes we say that children from China didn't choose leave everything behind...but this time...this one did. 

Thank you Johnny Le Hai for wanting me as much as I wanted you!!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

6 Months!!!

We have now been home six months!! I can't believe how fast it's gone...and how much things have changed. When we came home, I brought two strangers into my house, and (to be perfectly honest) I didn't feel any sort of "Mommy" love for them. I felt like I was babysitting someones else's kids and I kept looking at the clock thinking, "When is their Mom going to come get them??" Ha ha. Today...well, (to be perfectly honest again) I love these kiddos so much that recently I've thought about adopting again (did I just say that)????  Johnny and Lily just make it seem so easy. They are just really good kids!

Of course, some day they drive me bananas, but actually every person I know drives me nuts at some point in my life!!  Johnny is a MASSIVE talker. I had NOOOOO idea of this when we adopted him. He was fun and very sweet. Then he went quiet after about 3 weeks home. I knew he was processing the English language. Then he started talking in English...and kept expanding his vocabulary...and kept talking...and talking...and talking. Oh by the way, have I told you yet that he likes to TALK?
He asks questions about everything. Everything!!! Here's a sample:

Baba, what you doin'?
Changing a light bulb.
Why? Is it broken?
Well, kind of. I need to change it.
You need to change the light bulb?
Baba, you fix it?
Yes, Johnny, I'm fixing it. you do it?
Well, I need to take it out of the ceiling.
It goes in ceiling?
It's broken?
You can turn light on?
It's broken?
You fix it?
Yes Johnny, I'm fixing it.

That is a sample of two minutes of our life. Keep in mind that Johnny is curious about everything. So whatever you do, he's right behind you asking how it works and what you're doing. He is either going to be another Thomas Edison or he's going to a mechanic. I don't care which, as long as someone can answer his million and one questions he has during the day!!! The boy wears me out!!!

But, ohhhhh, that million dollar smile!!!

Then theirs Lily, the drama queen. She loves hair, nails, and shoes. Are we sure I didn't give birth to this girl?? But she's not very lady-like. She will be in her underwear with boots on and a necklace. Yeah, not very attractive.

Not to mention Lily is fun to be around! She wears her personality on her sleeve (understatement). You don't have to guess about the mood she's in...she makes it very, (very) clear. Here's proof:

 (Sorry, you can see her crusty nose...kind of gross, but I don't know how to edit out kiddo grossness).

 (Ha ha, think she was mad in that pic?) Tee hee, sorry, in my house, you have a 'tude...I break out my I can have payback time at your graduation reception and all your friends and family get to see your meltdown from 2012. 

I love Johnny and Lily with all my heart!! They've blossomed here and are doing fantastic. I get kind of sad when people say negative things about adopting two at once. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!!! They love to play with each other and have bonded with every member of our family. 

Six Months...thank you Lord their lives have changed!!! As have ours. I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

Meeting Johnny 6 months ago

6 months later

Meeting Lily 6 months ago

 6 months later

The biggest thing I see from the before and after pics? A glow to their faces, a light in their eyes...and hope.
It's amazing what the power of a family can do.
I love watching God transform their lives (and ours with them...remember, He's not done with any of us yet.)

Bring on the next six months!!! 
(And maybe two more kiddos???)

Yikes! Did I just say that again?