Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seventeen

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Today is Abby's 17th birthday.

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She is almost done grade 11.

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She played basketball this year and is now on the spring team as well.

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She completed both her swim instructor course and her national lifeguarding course.

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She is on leadership.

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She has applied for a internship with Alberta Health Services this summer.

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And she loves spending time with her parents. Shopping with her dad -- because he will buy her whatever she wants! And doing hot yoga with her mom -- because she loves to spend time with me!

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What more could a parent ask for?!

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Today, we are having a girls only Marie Antoinette inspired party.

Happy Birthday Abby!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Five

"Today I am four,
 tomorrow I am five,
 and I will be big
 and tall 
and glowing!"
 -- Zoe said this yesterday


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Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl!   You fill our lives with joy and laughter!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family is beginning a new program to encourage churches to adopt or foster orphans, support orphans and offer support to adoptive and fostering families. They are hosting a conference in May that looks wonderful, and if I wasn't in China at that time I would have loved to go. If you are someone who wants to adopt, get involved in caring for orphans or starting up an adoption ministry in your church, this may be the conference for you.

Focus on the Family has many wonderful books regarding adoption. The latest two I have read are:



This is a great read for anyone who is thinking of adopting, in the process of adopting or already has their child home. It covers a lot of different topics including attachment, discipline, integration and nurture and past abuse. It has many little short stories of families who have dealt with these issues. I have found then when you are are adopting internationally, you have to take courses and you are led to many adoption related books to study before you bring your child home. I have also found that if you are entering foster care or foster to adopt you get absolutely none of this. I have encountered a few families lately that are struggling because there is no support or guidance in the issues they are suddenly facing.



This is one families story about adopting from the foster care system. The many legal issues they encountered, the issues regarding adopting children who have been shuffled around from home to home. This book is very honest. But through the struggles and hurt, this family has been blessed by adoption.

This is my favourite "gotcha day" video. I love how it portrays the integration of an adoptive family. Of course, it isn't always quite this wonderful, adoption is hard and all children (and mothers) have their off days. But adoption is a huge blessing and these additions to our families are huge blessings! When you have biological children and enter into adoption, it really is a family effort. I love the part where the mother is sitting on her sofa just watching all her children and her husband... I can relate to this moment of awe... It probably doesn't help that I am less then two weeks away from getting Silas... I know these emotions and how powerful they are!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Reviews

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I have had a few people asking for more book reviews, so here are three of my latest great reads.



I loved this book... I couldn't put it down. It is a memoir of a young lady going through a very difficult time in her life, so she decides to "fix" things by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for three months. She was someone who had camped as a child, but had never hiked before. Through all her bleeding feet, encounters with wildlife and dehydration, I almost thought it sounded like fun. I could even do it. I couldn't! But I like to think I could...



Another hard book to put down. A story about a mother of three with multiple personalities. I don't know much about this condition, but it seemed realistic and believable. This book could be hard to read if you are someone who doesn't like to read about abuse, but it keeps you going to the end, just to find out what happens. The psychology of mental illness can be fascinating and heartbreaking.



A story about a woman who forgets everything when she goes to sleep and has to start each morning trying to figure out who she is. She has no memories, no identity and no past. She has only one person she can trust. This book is somewhat unbelievable, but a great and well written mystery. Another book you won't be able to put down.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Perfect Weekend

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This weekend was a perfect weekend of rest and relaxation. My friend Denise asked awhile back if I would go away with her for a girls weekend. Denise and I have very similar personalities where we can sit and read and be quiet for hours... We also have some great conversations and see eye to eye on a lot of things and those things that we don't... we still respect each others opinions.

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We went to a quaint little village called Pigeon Lake. I love it here. We spent time at the spa, shopping at the little shops, eating at one of my favourite restaurants, The Eco Cafe. We read, she studied, I prepared lists, we watched a Dr. Purvis video and we sat in the hot tub each night while the snow fell. We even took in a warm Yoga class.

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I am very guarded when it comes to my friendships and there are very few people that I truly trust. But Denise is a true and forever friend. We started our first adoption journeys together and are now waiting to bring yet another adopted child home in the next while. Denise is waiting for Giselle from Haiti and we pray she will be home this summer!

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A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh, the things they say!

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Zoe ordering a corn dog at a restaurant: "Can I have a puppy dog please?"

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Micah ordering lunch while we were at the diner on Route 66: "Can I have a Radiator Springs cheese burger?"

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Zoe sees a big cardboard picture of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blowing up: "Mommy, look! It's an angel!"

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Me: "Lilah, does your new toy say Phoenix Zoo on it?"
Lilah: "No. But remember mom... I can't read!"

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Zoe: "Mom, I had a really bad dream."
Me: "What did you dream about?"
Zoe: "I dreamed I had glasses!"

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Josiah and Zoe were playing "Got your nose" one day. Josiah pretended to eat Zoe's nose after he took it.
Zoe: "Well I will just take another one out of my pocket!"
She reaches in her pocket and puts on a new nose.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Answers

We had asked the orphanage director some questions about Silas, but never got any response. We asked our agency to inquire once again and finally got some answers...

Here are the answers to your questions:
1、孩子是否参加了半天边基金会资助的寄养项目?
孩子没有参加半天边基金会资助的寄养项目。The child is not in the program of Half Sky.

2、 孩子所在的寄养家庭,是否还有别的孩子居住。
孩子所在的寄养家庭没有别的孩子居住。There is no other children in the foster home.

3. 孩子的脊柱问题是否影响其大小便,孩子现在方便后,能否自己清理?
孩子的脊柱问题有一定影响,孩子现在方便后还不能自己清理。His spine problem affect him some degree.

4. 孩子的脊柱问题对其运动能力有无影响?
孩子的脊柱问题对其运动能力暂时没有影响. His spine problem does not affect his physical movement.

5. 请提供孩子现在的6项指标。
身高:102cm;体重:16kg;头围:51cm;胸围:52cm;齿数:20颗;His height: 102 cm, weight 16 kg, head circumference: 51 cm, chest circumference 52 cm, tooth 20. Foot: 16 cm.
足长:16cm

6. 孩子现在是否上学了?
孩子现在在上幼儿园, The child goes to kindergarten , it may call preschool here.

We have also asked if we can meet the foster parents. CCCWA has made a new rule that we are not suppose to meet the foster parents, but really it is the decision of the orphanage director. We won't know until we get there if we can meet them or not. I hope I will be able to meet them. I have missed so much of Silas' life already, that I would love to get a feel for who they are and bombard them with a thousand questions!

This is the director of the Changsha Social Welfare Institute.



And this is the SWI that oversees Silas' care. He lived here very briefly.



I just want to go now. I hate this waiting stuff. But it will be here before I know it... patience is a virtue right?

I have sent in our applications for our visas. Travelling with me will be my mom and Micah. It is so hard to leave Tim at home. He is so much better at travelling then me. I guess this will be one of those growth experiences. My mom is very excited and I am excited that she will get to see where three of her grandchildren are from and that she will get to experience our Gotcha Day and the days that follow. Micah is coming along to play with Silas and hopefully help ease some of his pain and fear.

24 more days!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Year of Graces

My March gratitude photos are a little late, but what better day to show gratitude than Easter. Of course, the thing I am MOST thankful for is Christ who died for me.

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I should point out that the top photo of cereal boxes, is Micah's school project (yes, he does not care too much for arts and crafts!).... but this was the Taj Mahal he built for Jesus!

"Holy joy lies in the habit of murmuring thanks to God for the smallest of graces."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Phoenix

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Why is a vacation never long enough?! We are having a great time in Phoenix. The kids are loving the pool. Zoe yells "Halleljuah" every time she jumps in.

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I bought the girls a little doll that swims with them in the pool. Lilah has gained a lot of confidence in the water now... she is jumping in, splashing and trying to swim and put her face into the water.

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The "pool boy" came by yesterday...

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Besides going to ipic theatre to see The Hunger Games (which was excellent!) we have done a lot of shopping, eating and a trip to the Phoenix Zoo.

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Although we may not want to come home, I do want to go home. To pack, to prepare, to get ready to get my boy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Road Trip Continued...

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After a bit of last minute fun in Park City and then driving on to Henderson, Nevada (a suburb of Las Vegas)...

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We drove on to see the Hoover Dam. It was quite a sight to see.

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We then drove on to the Grand Canyon National Park, where we stayed for one night.

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We did a six kilometer hike the first night and then the next day took a tour to Desert View Watchtower.

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Zoe thought for sure that this must be Rapunzel's Tower.

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We drove along Historic Route 66. Stopped and visited a museum and ate at the Route 66 diner.

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We are now in Phoenix for six days of rest relaxation and SUNSHINE!