Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Know What’s Making Him Laugh?

 I bought Steve a special gift for his birthday this last weekend; glow stick swords for the boys and glow stick wands for the girls, and the fun didn’t stop there ... did you notice the round glowing “balls” in the above pictures?  Yep ... glowing balloons. The children had so much fun playing with daddy in the dark with all the glowing fun goodness.  One of the children said “This is the BEST birthday EVER.”  I love that the most simple things can be the most memorable.  YEA on fun!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Journey To Comfortable

As you might guess, the adoption of older children has an element to it that I have not encountered with the adoption of our other children, who were adopted much younger.  Babies are just so easy for me to “embrace”, even though I don’t know them at first.  I would guess that this is the case for many families who adopt younger ones.    
The relationship with Noelani and Clive feels still very “new” and “uncomfortable” as we dance the unfamiliar.  There are many behaviors that I understand were allowed or accepted in the orphanage, that is not and cannot be allowed now in a family.  Little things like burping in our faces (yuck) to the bigger things of throwing fits, stomping feet, banging of the head in frustration, and stealing. 
I was thinking how my new children are not like fresh little plants just growing out of the ground that I am nurturing as they develop and grow.  They are already grown plants that have some unhealthy habits of growth and development that we are now pruning and restructuring.  Now mothering is hard, but I’ll be honest with you ... THIS is a different hard.  It’s hard not being able to speak the same language.  It’s hard training firmly intrenched habits that have been left alone.  It’s hard coming face to face with another culture and finding a way for their past and our present to converge into our “Family Culture”.  It’s hard when we misunderstand each other and I try to hug a child that turns a back to me.  It’s hard to “feel motherly” much, when I just plain ol’ don’t know them yet. 

I was up a little early this morning and read several things from Matthew.  I read Matthew 11:25-30 ... where Jesus says “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  I asked Him to show me what His yoke is.  I just needed to know.  I “knew” that there was something in this verse that could help me today and each day as we journey with our new children to a more comfortable place.  I didn’t get an answer at the time.  We got ready for church and headed out.  Our praise and worship music was fantastic today, and as clear as a bell, during one of the songs, the LORD answered me.  Now, please understand, this was His answer for me.  He may have different answers for other, so please seek HIS answer for you and your questions.
Back to what He told me ... “My yoke is LOVE.”  
I know ... this is pretty obvious I guess, but it meant something to my heart.  And I recalled that by faith we WENT to China to bring our children home.  And now today, we LIVE by faith (Galatians 2:20).  This, to me, is the perfect marriage of faith and works.  “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)
Tonight, I want to take up His yoke of Love, and “live” (works) out the faith that started us out on this journey with Noelani and Clive.
And tonight, I find rest for my soul in His promises, His mercy and grace, and especially His everlasting, never ending Love.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Didn’t Take A Picture

A special moment happened on my couch this afternoon.  Noelani has a magna-doodle and has been playing on it all day.  Later this afternoon, she sat down beside me and asked me to spell her name for her.  I began to finger spell (Am. Sign Lang.) to help her “hear” the letters I was saying.  She did a great job spelling her name, looking up to my fingers to make sure that she was right.  
Then something very special happened.  She began to ask me to spell every family member’s names.  We went through all her brothers and sisters names; me finger spelling, her writing and looking up at my fingers when she wasn’t sure.  Then we went through “Dandy” and “Gommy”, and her cousins, aunts and uncles.  It was really quite cute!  I wanted to get the camera and take a picture, but I also didn’t want to get up and disturb the special moment.   So I didn’t get a picture.
Also, Clive was wanting more bread at lunch, and he couldn’t remember the word for “bread”, but he did remember the sign (ASL) for “bread” and signed it to ask for more.  I was so proud for him.   
I don’t need more confirmation that “Signing Times” is being a huge blessing in helping our new children adjust!
However, I can’t leave you without an adorable picture.
We are really enjoying our new puppies.  They are really so good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Opps, I Forget...

Cari won the book from last week.  
Cari, I will get it out to you later this week.  Sorry it’s taking me so long.
loves to you all.

No Go

No go on Caresse’s surgery.  She has a staph infection in her hand and it has traveled up her arm.  So we will have to reschedule it.
In other news,
 Kiana has been asking for two years, and saving her money to put with our birthday gift for her this year - a puppy.   We picked up her new little love on Saturday.  Name - Rider

And my sweet husband did something very silly - he showed me a Havanese puppy that needed a new home.  This is the type of dog that Bluez is, and we both fell in love with this new one.  These dogs are usually hard to find and very expensive, but an elderly couple was just wanting to find a good home for this little cutie.  We picked him up on Saturday as well.  Name - Jazz.
So, yes, we picked up TWO new puppies on Saturday, and now have three dogs.  My mom laughingly said “You know, you can’t save all the puppies in the world.”  (Inside joke)

 I thought it was funny/cute to see Chinese chalk handwriting on our drive way.

I was showing Noelani America and China on a map.  Then through various signs I finally understood that she wanted me to show her the countries where our other children where born.  So I also highlighted those for her. 

I was mixing up something yesterday, and Noelani asked to help.  I told her that I probably needed to do it because it was a little tricky to mix.  She said “Noelani, careful.”  Cute.  
Kalyn has been sick that last few days.
Our favorite subject for school is Signing Times.
We use the videos and a few of the books.  I really felt that this was the best way to begin teaching English to Noelani and Clive.  The other children LOVE it also.  After we watch a video, I have Noelani say the word, sign the word, and then write it several times.    She has good moments and not so good moments with her school.  Clive really only works in work books, or cuts shapes.  I just can’t seem to get his attention for much else right now.  I am going to just give him time to adjust and learn English before I really try anything formal with him.  
Well, onward with this unexpected day.  How are ya’ll doing?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Remember This?

Yea, that’s the HORRIBLE bone growth that is in Caresse’s shoulder.  And it has gotten larger.  She is having surgery on Tuesday to remove it, and to take out the plate that was put in her leg to help straighten it.  And we are praising the LORD, because the plate did straighten her leg and the dr. said it looks great! 

This shoulder surgery will be more intense than the others that Caresse has had.  Our amazing dr. has warned us that because the bone growth has grown threw her muscles there will be spasms after the removal.  Please pray for her surgery and recovery!!
Thank you so much!!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How’s It Going?

Well, it’s like a dance that I really don’t know the steps to.  And poor Noelani and Clive sure don’t know them.  Adopting older children is very different and I find our days flipping between many emotions.  Also, I have made several mistakes.  I have been to hard when I should have been softer; not firm enough when I was being a push over.  We have laughed (some) cried (some), apologized for mistakes, and tried to find the steps to this exhausting dance.  
Yes, they are trying....
except when their not.  
How much do I share that can be helpful to someone else, with out “picking” on my newest children?
I knew that they could/would act younger than their age.  YES, they do.  I do know that it is good for them to revisit those areas of development that they might have missed out on.  An example - sometimes when Clive is feeling especially low or upset he wants me to feed him.  Now, of course, he is “able” to feed himself physically, but emotionally he needs some babying.  
Some things that REALLY bother me (which shows me my own “plank in my eye” - impatience with a fair mix of expectations), is Clive’s DIRECT and frequent, blatant, obvious, unmistakable, undeniable, overt (is that enough adjectives?) attempts to challenge  and disobey us.  It’s really more like a sick sort of teasing.  And when we try to tell him "stop" or sit him on the “sad chair” (this is what they called THE chair in China, so they are familiar with this), or anytime he gets mad about something he yells LOUDLY (the kind that makes you want to pull your hair out) and hits his head on anything he can find.  Now, my mothering heart hurts for his inability to deal with his frustration, thus the head hitting, yet I must also train him, thus the discipline.  So it’s always a simple math equation; Clive is naughty, we have to stop him, he get angry and tries to hurt himself, we have to hold him till he calms down, knowing that this will repeat itself again soon.  He’s a smart guy too, and will uses the whole head hitting thing just because he doesn’t like what we tell him.  It gets the same results - fine, we hold you till you aren’t hurting you or our walls.  Sometimes, when I’m in an ornery mood (usually tired), I think, “Fine little buddy - hit your head all you want...your not doing it hard enough to hurt anyway.” 
This dance is an emotional one.
On the flip side, I was up one night with him crying and scared, unable to sleep and after he finally went to sleep, I kept thinking “I don’t mind...”
-helping him when he is afraid;
-teaching Noelani manners and how to read;
-having extra work as we bring home these two children and teach them how to live in a family instead of an orphanage;
-watching them relax and actually play;
-ask a thousand times a day if they can go outside because they can’t seem to get enough of just playing;
-hearing her say for the millionth time that she is hungry, and teaching her to wait, because good food will be there;
-watching Noelani pout because she doesn’t like something I told her, and I tell her to give me a smile and stop pouting, and she does;
-helping Clive clean up the paper mess because he is ADDICTED to cutting paper;
-telling Noelani again and again, that she isn’t going to die because her muscles are sore from all the exercising that she is doing and is obviously not use to;
-finding things hidden in their rooms;
-wondering why Noelani still wears her purse EVERY SINGLE DAY;
-the thousands of times that Clive kisses me;
-seeing Noelani’s HUGE heart showing itself for someone with a disability;
-typing on google translator so that we can try to get to know each other.
No I don’t mind.  Except when I do.  Ha-ha...am I sounding a little like Dr. Seuss?
A side story about the google translator....Noelani was upset about getting caught doing something that Clive had asked her to do.  I knew that she didn’t know it was wrong, and I told her that on google.  Still she was upset, so I prayed and then typed “It isn’t easy when you and I don’t understand each other because of the different language, is it?”  She shed a little tear and nodded yes.  She still wont really let me hug her or anything.  I patted her hand and said I understood and was sorry.  She was fine in a minute.  Another time she was being very rebellious about doing her school work.  I typed in “I bet you never acted this way with your teachers in China, did you?” (Now, this was a bit of a trick question ... I met her teachers in China and knew about the "sad chair", and I also knew that they were very kind, but expected order).  She looked in shock at me and nodded her head “no”, as in no, she would never have treated them the way she was treating me.  Non-the-less, she spent some time in the sad chair before she decided to change her attitude.  
So, how’s it going?
Well, it’s like a dance...we’re a little rough right now, but we are practicing each day, and I have no doubt that one day, we will be dancing a beautiful dance.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Please Read This

My blog friend, Cari, wrote a post about relationships, and even if you haven’t adopted, please take the time to read it.  It was so encouraging to me as I mother my children, and try to understand what the LORD would have me do during some of the harder times...of which, we had several yesterday!  
I pray that we would continue to encourage each other as we each walk the journey that the LORD has for EACH individual family and our children.  May we seek His mercy and grace each day as choose to live for HIS Glory.  

Monday, January 16, 2012


I needed a little bit of adorable tonight...and how come my wrinkles don’t look that cute?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

You're Going To Laugh

(And look at the end for a surprise give away).
We were so excited that these wonderful friends were coming to visit us.  Steve got in late Friday night, and after a celebration last night for our anniversary here at home, we got the house ready for company.  The outdoor was picked up, supper was in the slow cooker, windows looked nice, and I was feeling pretty darn good as I looked around.  Steve ran to town for groceries and  I shot an email to Shauna to see when they would be here.
Guess what...they want be here till the first week of February.  LOL  I’m not sure that I can keep the house clean that long.  YES, IT WAS ME that got the dates messed up and I think that I can still claim post adoption dis - order on my part, don’t you think so?
 (He is so cute, isn’t he?)
(sorry, it’s backwards cuz I was using my computer camera)
And here is a great give away.  I read A Heart For Freedom on the way to China and really was touched by the story.  So I am going to give a book away to a lucky person.  Just leave a comment here, and we will choose one in the next few days.  And thank you all again for your support.

Friday, January 13, 2012

“Do You Love Me?"

Steve had to leave for a week on Monday, and that really threw Clive.  He was horrible on Monday and Tuesday.  I was asking the LORD what I needed to do to help all of my family this week.  I knew that it was going to be especially hard with Steve gone and me trying to start school.  As I was going to sleep Tuesday night, I felt that the LORD was reminding me that He is my Shepherd and that I was to follow His example right now with my family.  
I have prayed and sought the LORD these last days, and have felt Him asking me “Do you love Me?” 
The next day I heard His sweet voice saying “Feed my sheep.”  
So many of you have sent precious encouragement, prayers and notes to me.  THANK YOU so much.  I wish I could write to you all, but I am just not having time right now...I’m so sorry.
There are some things that I don’t want to forget...
-Noelani went with me to gather eggs and give the chickens their scraps.  After she had put all the eggs in the bowl, she bowed to them and said in her broken English “Thank you, chickens.”  ADORABLE.
-The first weeks, Noelani and Clive both spoke to Kiana, who came home from China when she was a baby, in Chinese.  I think that they thought she could speak Mandarin and would translate for them.  Kiana would look at me and ask “What do I do?”  I just laughed and told her that they would figure out soon enough that she couldn’t help them.
-We are using the Signing Time Videos for their school (love these!!!!).  And they are getting it!!!  Clive walked up to Kiana and signed “silly Kiana" to engage her in playing.  
-Clive gives me a dozen kisses a day.  Of course, I love those!
-Noelani is very helpful!
-Noelani is having a horrible skin eczema all over her body.  We went to the dr. this week, which made her very nervous, but I knew that we had to get medicine for it.
-Clive LOVES Nemo....so we are watching that a lot right now.  Our other favorite movie is Dolphin Tales.  Noelani was asking about the dolphin and his  hurt tail.  She seems to be very sensitive and sweet about people with a disability.
-I am feeling a little more comfortable with them.  In China, I would beg Kalyn to not leave me alone with them.  Now, I went all the way to town by myself with them, and even took them to an indoor play area.  Good on me - right? LOL
-They LOVE to eat....especially Noelani.
There is more, but daddy just got home, the pressure cooker is broken, so supper is late.  
Tonight, I am thankful and TIRED.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This Is All I Have Today...

We are having some “hard” days right now.  I was trying to write a post, but,
well, little hurt hearts needed me.  And as I am trying to help them, I am crying to the LORD to help me help them.
So I’m letting the “heavy” post wait for a while, and decided to post something that made me laugh.  

Karlie took this picture of my mother, Gommy.  When I saw it, I laughed and said “Wow, mom, you’ve got some large “ta-ta’s”.  I think that whole “ta-ta” thing came from my grandmother (Gommy’s mother).  Anyway, I believe my mother laughingly said something like “Well, thank you!”  Then I showed her this picture and we all had a great laugh.
Please keep praying for us.  I am not able, but I know that my LORD is.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Want To See A Totally Awesome Photo

Yep, that’s my oldest throwing and yes, catching my youngest ... who, by the way, still had his broken arm in a cast.
Karlie, Jace’s new and precious wife captured this photo.  It really is awesome, don’t you think?
Here’s my edited picture of Karlie’s original....
Keshawn looks like he is suspended, doesn’t he!  
Got to love digital...it is so fun!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

She Is Trying!!!

In broken, and very difficult to understand English, plus made up sign language, she tells me “Good job, Mommy.  Yea!!!! I love you”. Now, if you would have been here to see/hear this, you wouldn’t have understood any of it.  But I did.  What prompted the above?  

Were do I start?  The first day in China when she made it clear that she hated me/our family?  The days after when she communicated that she was going to run away, or at best, get a job as soon as possible, asking the translator just how soon that was, so that she could leave us?  Telling me that my (and her new) family was ugly, especially all the boys (and especially her new daddy)?  Or how about what I hated most - telling herself and my new son, Clive, that no one in America was going to love them and they needed to run away? 

Those examples, as I soon learned, were not my new daughter speaking, but her fear.  And boy, did we encounter that every hour.  
Then her fear pushed us all over the edge when it and its companion - anger, gripped this poor child in a traumatic fit of rage in the hotel lobby in China.  The hotel manager actually politely asked that we keep her in the room (ha- thus our “house arrest”, which was actually a respite for me - LOL).  

After this, my new daughter pulled the anger and fear in a little and we made it home to America without any major displays ... although, I’m sure that having motion sickness over the course of two days, didn’t hurt the emotional energy level any (sad, but true...she was to  sick to fight us).  
As you have seen in the previous post, we had a wonderful time in Texas with my family, and Noelani really began to let down her walls, and receive a little love from us all.
Now we are back home and we am trying to familiarize Noelani and Clive with our family routines and structure.  We have been telling Noelani that we would begin school this coming Monday (which honestly, scares me more than anyone).  She seemed fine with that till she finally understood that I was her teacher, and we did school here at home.  She was VERY upset by this.  Today I have been busy figuring out exactly WHAT the next part of our school year looks like and more specifically, what Noelani and Clive need for their school RIGHT NOW (knowing that their educational goals will change as they learn English).  Noelani has been in and out of the “school room” as I worked among books, videos, charts, curriculums, my computer and work schedules.  The room was A MESS.  I communicated through google translator what school would look like, where her desk was, and generally, how things worked.  She got angry, hid in the bath room, cried to “baa-baa” (daddy), and then, like in China, seemed to resign herself to this new unknown.  I have been working pretty much all day planning out the next few months for all the children’s school, including our soon to graduate, Kalyn.  AND we met with our new social worker for the follow up reports (she was great).  So, to say that today has been long and hard for me would be, well, on the light side.  Yet, I also love seeing what the LORD has planned for the children’s education...but that is for another post.

Do you remember where this post began?  I know my rambling might have lost you, but I hope not.  The more that Noelani asked and began to understand that she was doing REAL school here at home, she got EXCITED.  Which usually includes a lot of screaming (working on that), huge hugs (working on that because it hurts), and general EXCITEMENT (she has that in spades - LOL).  
After supper, when I had pretty much organized the room, Noelani came into the room, and that is when she blessed me with the words “Good job, Mommy.  Yea!!!!!  I love you”  She lovingly looked at all the books on her desk and then asked me where all her brothers and sister “do” school.  She will say each name and ask me to show her where they will sit.  And then she pretended to be me, the “teacher”, telling everyone to sit down and be quiet.  So funny.  
When I say that “she asked” something or told me something, it is really more of a mixture of made up sign language, Chinese, and incomplete English words.  I am learning more each day what she is trying to say, and she is learning more each day how to communicate in any way that she can with us. 
AND that comes back to the title for the post.  See in China her fear made it very clear that she had no intentions of working with us.  However, now, in the safety of  our“home” and “family”, she is learning, and SHE IS TRYING.  
Now, I call that a BIG, THANK YOU JESUS!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

He Is Making UP...

...for lost time...mommy time.  I don’t consider his “age”, I look at his heart.  And it is one precious, hungry little thing.  He has so changed from the stressed little boy that we saw in China.  There are still several “instinutional” behaviors...hiding toys and food, unwilling to share, yelling and acting “younger” than his age.  
But what I see is a little boy who is HUNGRY for the love of a mommy and family.  He has kissed me a dozen times today.  And not to be outdone, when “Baa-baa” (daddy) came home from work and kissed me, Clive launched in right away for his kiss.  A prayer request here is that he is completely rejecting and is horribly mean to Kalyn.  This is really hurting her feelings.  I am now keeping Clive with me “constantly” as if he were a newborn, and am praying that he comes around to Kalyn.  He is so loving, that I am a little confused by his rejection of Kalyn. 

Since the day that he came to us, I found out that he LOVES fish.  We would daily visit the fish at the hotel. 
And that didn’t change when we were at the Texas coast.

I know, ADORABLE, or what!!!!  And guess what, he actually caught this beautiful fish with a child’s fishing pole (by accident)...hey, we will take it.  Now, there was a major sad moment, when Clive accidentally saw his fish being cut up for supper.  However, I think he understood later when he kept saying “fishy yum-yum”.  LOL
Time for night night....more tomorrow about our precious Noelani...the one that God named.

Monday, January 2, 2012


 We are back from our Christmas vacation to the Texas coast - Mustang Island.  We just got in after three days of driving and I “begged” Steve to watch everything and everyone so that I could catch up with all of ya’ll.  (Isn’t the above picture great - Dandy took it during our beach bon-fire night.  Those are glow sticks that my brother, Kim brought).

 I’m sorry that I haven’t written sooner, but we were desperate for some time with these precious people...brother Kim, sister (in-law) Karla, and my parents - known around the world as Dandy and Gommy.  
I know that it is absolutely crazy to take two newly adopted and (older) children and stick them in a van (for a grand total of 14 people and a small dog), and travel to Texas.  However, if ya’ll have been around much, you know that our extended family is extremely important to Steve, me and our children.  I knew that do or die, this trip was part of the journey that we were to travel with our new children.
So, what about our new children, Noelani and Clive?
THANK YOU SWEET JESUS, and THANK YOU for all your prayers and sweet notes to our family.  The LORD has heard our prayers, and they did AMAZINGLY well!  
Want to see some pictures? (I knew you were just waiting).

It was so GOOD to see happy after all that we had all been through.    They each, in their own way, warmed up and feel in love with their new family.  I’m not sure that I understand it, but once we were together in Texas with all of my family, things begin to “relax” with Noelani and Clive.  Not that there weren’t (and still aren’t) certain behaviors and battles, but it seems that they began to get a picture of “family” and, of course, what could be better than a family that has fun?!!!  Each day they seemed to relax and love a little more.  My family was amazing, as usual.  

 My new daughter (in-law), Karlie, knows sign language very well, and 1st up taught Noelani the sign for “you are beautiful”.  After that we would all say that to her, and within a few days she was saying it back to all of us, including Dandy (LOL-we think he is beautiful too).  Noelani wasn’t to sure of her new Dandy at first, but he would look at her and tell her “I love you”, which she understood and she would say “no”, kind of in a teasing manner, but by the end of the week she was saying it to him, just to start the game of love.  Gommy showered them each with her normal laughter and fun and just included them in her beautiful world of joy and blessings.  

And as the stress began to melt away (at least SOME), I began to fall in love again with this little boy;
And this little girl.  
And I began to let go of some of my expectations and embrace the gift of these children, with their past, their fears and our future together.
Our other children are doing awesome with their new siblings.  They are very patient and do what children do ... play.  
It’s good to be home again.  Clive did cry when we drove up to the house.  Best I can figure from sign language and Chinese words is he thought he had just enjoyed a great vacation and we were going back to China.  But, what I also saw in this precious little boy is that he LOVES deeply.  He cried when Jace left, and then again when we left Uncle Kim and Aunt Karla, and then he cried a long time when we left Dandy and Gommy.  I think he loves his new family and also, naturally, misses the only “home” he has ever known.  He settled pretty quickly though and began to look at family pictures as I was writing this post.  He would point to each family member and tell me their name; 
and then, just to make me fall in love with him more, he would kiss each picture.  (I know, precious, or what).
Noelani is doing so well.  She did cry some and look out the window at the beach house when she listened to her music that we bought in China.  But she is also so very helpful and sweet and will give us a hug when she is excited and tell us “I love you” in both English and Chinese.  So Cute!!!  She really wants to work with us now, and I think the biggest frustrations will slowly go away as she learns more English, and we just get “to know” each other more.  She loves having a family that cares about her and seems to be a “people person”.  
Well, I must go help Steve now...but here are a few more pictures and I will catch up more this week.  

I love you all so much, and can never thank you enough for your prayers, support, encouragement and help through this time in my life.  You each have truly meant more to me than I can say.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...