Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Potty Training

Well, guess who is using the potty? Yes, it's Lilly! After coming home from our weekend camping trip (well staying in a rustic cabin is as close to camping as I get!), I decided that I would try potty training Lilly on Monday. It was Memorial Day and David was home so I thought that I might just need his help in managing everybody else while Lilly and me did the potty thing! It was so easy that I really didn't need his help, but we enjoyed his being at home just the same! She has done amazingly well! It's like she was just waiting on me to take off her diaper and put her on the potty. She loves wearing her big girl panties and those M and M's help a little too! I am so proud of our Lilly girl! A little news on Ellie: We have been told by our agency, Children of the World, that we are getting an update on Ellie including a recent picture. Their agency representative is in Kunming with another adoptive family and is planning to pick up the update and Fed-Ex it to us! It simply can not get here fast enough. We still do not know if her lip has been repaired. We are trusting in God's sovereignty, and if it has not been repaired, then that's ok. The pictures we have are 13 months old so we can not wait to see how she has grown. I am betting that she has a headful of beautiful black hair. We hope and pray we will receive it by next week at the latest. Still no word on our LOA (Letter of Acceptance). It could be only a week away or a month or more away. We just don't know. Once that comes, it will likely be at least another 6 weeks before travel. We are getting closer though!
I just have to add that our hearts broke last week when we heard about the tragic death of Maria Chapman, Stephen Curtis Chapman's adopted daughter. It was an article on the Chapman family's adoptions that actually first led David and me to consider adopting a child from China. We continue to pray for their healing and and for God's peace to surround them each and every day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One Year as a Forever Family

Wow! It's simply hard to believe that one year ago today I finally met the little girl that I had prayed for and loved for months. This past year has been full of joy, delightful surprises, and new beginnings. Lilly has learned a great deal in the past year. She couldn't walk at all this time last year or even push herself into a sitting position. She had never heard English before meeting us. Now Lilly runs, jumps, talks in 3-4 word sentences, and is a bundle of energy always ready to go!
This past year we have also experienced many sad and difficult times. First, Lilly's illness in China and our "hospital tour" consisting of 3 different hospitals in 2 different Chinese cities. Lilly's continued fight for health once we got home, and her open heart surgery last June. We gained a daughter in the last year, but had to say goodbye to my dear grandfather. Lilly also had to part with her great-grandfather whom she only knew for 6 short months. Lilly loved her GG and called for him often after he died. During these difficult times, our faith saw us through. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Our God is truly an awesome God. I feel so unworthy to have been given such a precious gift as Lilly. I am honored to be her mother. I thank God for giving David and me the courage to adopt. I thank God for choosing us to take care of one of his children whom he loves far more than we ever could. I thank God for seeing us through the trials of this past year. I thank God for healing Lilly's heart through the skilled hands of a surgeon at MUSC. I thank God that his power is revealed in my weakness. As Jen reminded me during our trials in China, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 I hope it is obvious to all who know us or read this that our choosing to adopt a child (soon to be children) is not just something to do or a need to be filled. No, it is simply our choosing to be obedient to our God. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27 We serve a mighty God and without him, David and I could not even attempt to do this. Praise to him who makes all things possible! "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

This picture was taken one year ago today in the Civil Affairs Building in Changsha, Hunan China. This is the moment we first met our baby, Lilly Kaishu! What a blessing!

Here is our Lilly waking up in her crib in the orphanage. This photo was taken in February of 2007 when Lilly was known as "Su Su" and was about 16 months old. Adele at Blessed Kids made this and many other photos of Lilly possible.

Here's Lilly waking up this morning, a year after joining our family. A year ago today, Chen Kai Shu woke up in her crib in the orphanage in Chenzhou City, China for the very last time. Every morning since, she has woken up in a home full of love. A home filled with love for a precious baby girl born on the other side of the world and love for an amazing God who brought us together. Adoption is indeed a miracle and is the work of our loving Heavenly Father.

This picture was taken in early June last year when Lilly had only been home for about 2 weeks.

And here is our Lilly girl in the same chair on our porch not quite a year later. She has changed quite a bit and has grown alot! She has gained about 7 pounds and grown about 5 inches taller.

Lilly has always, from day one, felt my hair between her fingers as she is doing here. While she does this she also sucks her tongue, and it is just precious. We watched her "Gotcha Day" video today and saw her doing this while we were still in the Civil Affairs Building.

We are so blessed to have been chosen by God to be Lilly's parents. What a gift! "Every good and perfect gift is from above. . ." James 1:17 For this and all gifts, we praise our Father in heaven and offer him our hearts full of love and gratitude.

Lilly loves her Daddy and oh, does her Daddy love her! It all started a year ago today!!

Not only was today our first anniversary of being together as a forever family, it was also David's birthday! Here he is surrounded by all the little ones who call him "Dad". However one little one is missing, and David mentioned her today saying "we will be heading to China to get Ellie soon. " "Soon" just can't come soon enough when it comes to finally holding your child who has been in your heart for months. We're coming Ellie! We just don't know how "soon" it will be.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Country Living

Shelby and Katie taking a break to show off their piles of weeds. They are a huge help around the house and the garden! Thanks girls!!!

Shelby and Katie hard at work doing some serious gardening! It's a hot and dirty job but someone's got to do it!

Gardening by Fulton! He doesn't care for weeding too much, but he wanted to be included in the pictures. SO this one is pretty much a staged photo- LOL!!!

Fulton is better suited for picking blackberries- instant gratification. He and David picked a bucketful of blackberries from around our property. Yummy! Time to make blackberry jam.

Ethan helped a little and now he's tired and ready for a break- A cold Caprisun and blackberries!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Log In Date - WHAT???

We received our Log in Date (LID) this past Wednesday. It was quite a disappointment to say the least. We were dossier to China (DTC) on March 4. Typically a dossier is logged in within a few days to 2 weeks. Well, our LID is April 7. What a shock! We took some pictures of Lilly showing a range of emotions through her facial expressions. These pretty much sum up how we feel about this LID!

"WHAT? April 7?"

"Please say it isn't so!!!"

"This is not right! That's over 4 weeks!"

"I really want Ellie to come home soon!"

"This is just too much for a 2 year old to take!"