Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fun In The Snow

There's not much to report on the adoption end of things...still waiting on fingerprints, so in the meantime, life goes on...and because God has chosen to place me in the Arctic, I have 500 pictures of children in snow.

I really do not like the cold, but I have a daughter who does! 

So she takes Johnny and Lily outside for playtime.

 Well, last week she took them out, went down a hill with them, played, etc. 

I took a bunch of pictures and then darted back in the warm house for shelter. I came back out ten minutes later and this is what I found: 

Yes, Brianna had dug a pit and stuck her sister in it. 

Can you say, "Joseph and his coat of many colors, anyone??" Lol.

(Bible lesson for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about...Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers...only they weren't funning around...and he wasn't chubby and Chinese.)


Was Lily upset?

Sure doesn't look like it to me!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

She's Ruining My Photography Class!!!

Well, not really, ha, ha. But you know how hard it is to do a photography class when your subject thinks it's one big joke???

Look at her!!! The only time she's serious is when she's not fed on time or she's tired. Other than that, when my camera comes out, she turns into this:

Or this:

 She just started doing the rabbit ear thing, but this is kind of a whole new level!


Ok, Johnny struck a really cool martial arts pose before this, so Lily gave it a try...this looks more like a creepy, chunky version of the Karate Kid pose from the '80's. :)

No words. She makes this face all the time. For no reason whatsoever, except to amuse herself and anyone who's watching.

Ok, I gotta admit, this is my cracks me up...and she also does this 

This is just a selection of HUNDREDS of pictures she's ruined, I mean, made my photography class a joy!!

Actually, I'm totally kidding...these are the pics that childhood is made of...and why I want two more kiddos!!!!

 I would be seriously depressed if I had normal children!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Apparently Johnny has grown some rabbit ears!

Nope, just sister tormenting her big brother!

It will be very interesting seeing the personalities of the next two that come into our home!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fingerprint Drama fingerprints were rejected...again. Too smudgy, too blah, blah, blah....yada...blah, blah. So now they run the background check using my soc #.  Wow. That's a BRILLIANT idea...and it's quicker. Just a about do that the FIRST time??????!!!!!

 I swear I would love to be on a panel called "Let's fix everything wrong with the adoption process." Instead more rules are made that keep adoptive parents further from bringing their children home. Agh! Don't get me started!!!

Ok, because I have nothing to report on our current adoption (except that the home study is DONE, minus my fingerprints), I will post some pictures that I'm taking for my photography class.

I was taught to look at pictures in layers this week (not all the time, but sometimes). So we were told to take pics with something in all three layers, foreground, main, and background. I focused in on Lily Anna laughing at Johnny's antics. I informed the class that if you could hear the belly laugh with the picture, you'd be in stitches too. She has the best laugh and sounds like E.T. I really have to post a video of her talking sometime...and yes, I have taught her how to say, "E.T. phone home," and "be good." Sorry...I couldn't help had to be done!!!

This was taken for pattern (window) and empty space (also window). Brianna was beyond thrilled to have the camera in her face. Can't you tell?

This picture of Johnny was taken for the leading lines of the window/trim behind him, with camera angled. I love this pose...he always strikes this pose when the camera is on or if you want to wrestle with him. He's stronger than you think!!

This week my goal (which is out of my hands) is to have those fingerprints come back so I can move on to my dossier!!!

For those of you who don't know what a dossier is, let me translate: 

it means more paperwork!!!!!!!!   ;)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wrapping Up The Homestudy

Can I take a side note before I even begin? Is it spelled homestudy or home study? I'm completely irritated by this word! I personally think it should be one's actually a document, so it should be one word, but every time I type it, my computer wants to correct it. Btw, I don't care if the dictionary has it as two words (I haven't even looked it up). It should be one. There, I'm off my soapbox now. 

So, we're almost done with it, but with one minor setback, which I never even mentioned because it was in the middle of Gotcha Anniversaries, etc...we are waiting on my fingerprints (for the second time) because they looked smudgy. So, today was our last visit with our social worker, and she hasn't heard a word about the prayerfully it will be soon. 

The minute our home study (stupid computer just autocorrected...whatever...home study it is then)...ANYWHOOOO...the minute our HOME STUDY is done, we can move on to preparing our dossier...which I'm already sort of-kind of-round about doing already because I've done this before.

And then we will send our documents to China!!! 

This is already going much quicker than our last adoption. We'll see. It took 18 months before...a huge part of that was our home study, which was supposed to take 6-8 weeks and ended up taking 5 months. Don't ask me what took that long...I do everything I can to not look back and re-live those months! 

So right now, I'm getting things done for the dossier and I'm in the middle of my photography other words, I'm keeping myself very busy...intentionally. I don't do well with idle time. My mind goes and goes all day I make sure I don't have time to think. (Don't worry...there's not much going on upstairs in my brain anyway, tee hee.) 

Here are some random pics I took for my photography class:

Lily Anna looking so sweet. I should have increased my aperture so more of her face was in focus...sure is a pretty pic though! She was super tired and I took advantage!

Love this pic of Johnny...once again, when I begin editing my pics (or learning, I should say) the things such as dry lips will be a thing of the past.

Many times I have to pinch myself because I can't believe we're adopting again!! Johnny and Lily Anna have been such a tremendous blessing in our lives and I'm so thankful that we're in the process to bring home two more little cuties from China!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Johnny and Lily's One Year Gotcha Anniversary

Ok, for the record, I don't like the word "Gotcha" or "Gotcha Day." I remember reading it on someone's blog a few years ago and I thought, "Seriously, this is the word people use to celebrate the day they meet their child for the first time...GOTCHA??? For real?" I still don't like it. Who came up with that? It sounds like you're chasing a bug across the room and you finally smashed it with your shoe..."Gotcha, you little cockroach!" Actually, I despise it with everything in me...but I haven't even taken the time to be creative in this area (even though I've had an entire year) and come up with a new word. So, if you can't beat 'em...join 'em, right? I don't even like the other scenarios others use:

"Family Day"
"Forever Day"
"Forever Family Day"

Yeah, I don't like them. Oh well. I'll think of a better word later.

But let me tell you how we celebrated these two special days. It wasn't expensive. It was actually very cheap...but very special and sentimental.

We celebrated Johnny's day with dinner at Wendy's.

Yes, Wendy's.

Because it was that very same Wendy's restaurant that God spoke to my heart about adoption...almost two decades ago...with a very simple sign on the table that said something like, "Have you considered adoption?" I remember we were out on a Wednesday night after church with a huge group of people and I couldn't quit looking at that sign. It's like the whole room faded away and it was just me, God, and Dave Thomas in that room, ha, ha. Did you know Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's was adopted? 

So here we were, the exact same Wendy's, on a Wednesday night, with a huge room full of people from church...and my son and daughter from China were sitting in that room with me now. 

God looooves to bring everything full circle!

And then Lily's day was celebrated at McDonald's. The big things in our life don't happen at big, expensive places! Ok, why McD's? Because that is where my hubby said yes to adoption...both the first time and this time as well. 

He had thought about it all day (the first time) and then we decided to go to McD's with Josiah and Brianna and get a cone. While we were eating cones my husband said, "Josiah and Brianna, I thought we could get cones to celebrate today, because I think we should let Mommy start the adoption process." They were so excited! (And I was shocked...beyond shocked...actually, I was speechless...this "Type A" man who at one time thought about never having children was caving!! Ha, ha.)

And with the adoptions that we are currently in process with, we didn't plan it, but we were going to Mc Donald's anyway that night and that's when he said "yes" this time around as well.

I love that God is in the simple pleasures of life.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lily Anna's Foster Parents

Many, many thanks to a lady named Tammy, who recognized Lily Anna's foster mother in a pic I had posted from over a year ago!! It's amazing how God works.... 

In honor of Lily Anna's 5th birthday (January), I posted pictures from the previous year, when she was in China. I had sent Lily a cake and received back pictures of Lily and much to my surprise, her foster mother was in the pictures. Those pictures have been a wonderful treasure for Lily, and I believe, helped her when she came into our be able to see pictures of her second mother.

Well, last week I was contacted through my blog by a woman who recognized Lily Anna's foster mother. She said the woman in the picture looked like the woman who fostered her daughter. She was a little nervous that I would think she was a psycho, ha ha. I've been in that position before, wondering if the receiving end of the email/phone call would think I'm a total nut job, lol. 

Anyway...I'm so glad she made contact with me!! We emailed back and forth...and yes, it's true...Lily Anna's foster parents fostered this lady's daughter a few years before her. Previous to this, I didn't even know if Lily had a foster father, (she could never give me a straight answer...if you know Lily, you'll understand, ha ha).

So here they are, Lily Anna's second parents. 

They took care of her, nurtured her, fed her, loved her, (spoiled her, ha ha), and helped mend her little soul. They showed her the life of a family...took her shopping, etc.  I have all of the reports on Lily's foster life...the truly cared for her. 

This week I celebrated one year with Lily. And I thought about the two sets of parents across the sea...the one who gave her life, and the one who showed her how to live life.

Thank you to both of them...without them, I wouldn't have Lily!

Friday, February 8, 2013

One Year!!!!!!!!

Ok, so my intention was to post Johnny's 1 year on his day and Lily's on hers. It didn't work out that way because we are in the middle of our home studies and had to travel this week for one of the meetings. So I was going to at least post pictures of them, but apparently our computer has too many pics on it...I didn't know that could happen. You mean computers won't hold 100,000,000 pictures of my kids? Lol.

I've had a lot happen this week and they each deserve their own post. Johnny and Lily's Gotcha anniversaries, as well as a special picture I received...these are all priceless and I won't post them until I can have the pictures to go with. I will have my hubby back up our pics (so I can add more, tee hee).

My life has been wonderfully changed by these two little treasures from across the ocean! 

Tonight we celebrate Lily's Gotcha (and I will take many pictures). Prayerfully, I will be able to begin posting them tomorrow.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My 3:00 A.M. Prayer

Once again, I've been up since 3:00.
This is the norm when I'm adopting or even praying about adopting. Why 3:00 a.m.? Because my two new little ones are awake on the other side of the globe.

That's why. And I know it.

So I get up, make some coffee, and pray.

Would you like to know what I pray?

The same thing I prayed when I was pregnant with Josiah...and Brianna...and then adopting Johnny and Lily Anna...

"Thank you, Lord, that my children are protected, that they are healthy and whole...complete...that there would be no complications. I speak with all my heart that they would attach immediately to every member of the family...that they wouldn't have any of the complications that I've read about.

Prepare their little hearts, Lord. Prepare them to come into our home. I pray that they will learn to love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength...all that is within them.

That they will walk on the straight and narrow path, and not turn to the left or the right...but they would follow You all the days of their life.  

I thank you Lord that you have already chosen those children for our family...lead me to them. Direct my path...lead the way. Help me to stay calm when something doesn't go my way, or in my timeline. 

I thank you, Lord, for providence. You have never failed me. I thank you that You're in control. I surrender my will to Yours."

That is my simple prayer. It's my heart. Do I pray the exact same thing every day? No, then that would be a repetitious prayer that I would be saying just say it. No, it varies, but it's always from my heart.

Because it is my sincere desire.

God hasn't failed me yet.

And He doesn't intend to. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Photography Class

We are creeping up on a year with Johnny and Lily Anna, and I want to wait to show some pics I've been taking of them for a photography class...but I just can't stand it...I've gotta post a few!!

Let me just say, I have a new-found respect for ain't easy. I took over 300 pics this week and maybe 5 are pretty good. And out of those 5, I was kind of bummed that I had a bit too much sunlight on Lily's face and didn't realize it until I saw them blown up on my computer. (Yes, it would help if I actually looked at the wonderful device on my camera that tells me if I'm about to take blinding pics).

The assignment was to use leading lines and rules of thirds, but also to think creatively, not to just center the child's face and shoot away, but to focus on something else, in this case, the heart Lily is creating.

Focused in on the flower on her headband.

Using rules of thirds and leading lines. I looove this pic of Brianna!

Using leading lines (on the floor as well as the baseboard).

Rule of thirds and creative crop using hands etc. There is also a leading line from the floor going straight to Pucca's face. The lines of Brianna's fingers also act as a leading line.

 Rule of thirds. This is a beautiful pic of Johnny. 

I'm going to begin editing my pics as the obvious thing here is the scratch on Johnny's face. Pucca has a love/hate thing with that toy in Johnny's picture. It's actually a monkey dressed up in a Spider-Man suit and it goes everywhere with this boy...and Pucca wants it!

 Well, a few days ago Johnny lifted it in the air to rescue it from a Pucca attack and his face got scratched by Pucca's paw. 

Boys will be boys and dogs will always be Spider-Man/monkey attackers.  :)

I have learned words like aperture and ISO and fixed lens, yada, yada. And I'm shooting in the Manual Mode!! Yay! 

This week we celebrate Johnny's 1 Year Gotcha Day (Feb 6) and Lily Anna's (Feb 8). It is so amazing the transformation that has taken place in one year's time...not just in them, but in our whole family. 

Adoption has truly changed us all.

Have a blessed week!!