Sunday, August 31, 2008

Remembering Summer

It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the first of September and that fall will soon be here. We have had an action packed summer with baseball, a camping trip, VBS, sewing camp, drama camp, science camp, a beach trip, and lots more fun. Instead of focusing on the fact that we are still waiting on TA after 5 1/2 weeks, that we will most certainly miss Ellie's 2nd birthday, and that consulate appointments are now booking into October, I will for now focus on the terrific summer we have had. The following is just a glimpse of all the special times we shared as a family. Enjoy the pictures and please keep praying for God's perfect timing of our TA and for all of us to rest in His plan.

For now we only have Ellie's picture to hold, but we pray that soon, very soon, she will be here with us to make more wonderful memories! I found the children in our den holding Ellie's picture and taking pictures of themselves. Too cute. We all want her home- to hold and to love.

Silliness at home when it was TOO hot to go outside and play. What a hoot these boys are!

Lilly loves gum and ice cream and had plenty of both this summer. Note the wad of gum in front.

Fun in the sun during our annual beach trip. Lilly loved the ocean this year and the birds. This year was extra special because we had friends from home there the same week as us so we got to spend time with them as well, and our LOA came on the last day.

We had a garage sale in July in hopes of getting rid of some of our junk and making a little spending money for our trip to China. The children sold lemonade and cookies to raise more money for Ellie's orphanage. It was hot, but fun and successful!

June 30, we started school in anticipation of Ellie's arrival. We wanted to have several weeks to get to know her without bothering with school. Who knew we would have SO much time. We will have already completed more than one third of the year by the time we get her home. Photo Hint: The number of fingers corresponds to grade level.

Hanging out at home with Wags, our sweet lab. Lilly loves animals. Despite the extremely hot weather, we had fun just playing outside on many days.

Baseball- Fulton enjoyed his second year and improved quite a bit. Lilly was his biggest fan- the candy from the canteen was an added bonus.

Our family's first camping experience - well actually we were in a cabin, but it was a rustic cabin.
We all had fun playing in the very cool water, hiking, and fishing. Shelby caught the only fish!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The TA Wait Continues

This is how I feel yet again during this adoption journey. Today marks 4 weeks since we received LOA and yet we still wait. I can not fathom why we do not have TA because the CCAA is working. People are receiving LOAs and TAs - just not us! Many 7/24 LOAs have received TAs and now even 7/31 LOAs have started getting their TAs as well. Our agency is asking the CCAA about our case, but the "TA lady" is out now until Monday so we won't know anymore until then. I had so hoped to have Ellie with us for her 2nd birthday, but that is not likely to happen now. Consulate appointments are really booking up for September. What can a mommy do but cry and pray?

"He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in Him." Isaiah 26:3

I have been reciting that verse over and over because I am in desperate need of His peace. I have been so burdened by this wait, and I have not surrendered it to Him as I should have.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, (That's me!!) and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalms 139: 16b
I know that God is sovereign, and that He has obviously chosen not to bring us to Ellie until later, but it is still extremely difficult for me to accept.

I'll make it with His help: "I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2

Thanks for your prayers and support!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An update on Ellie and Lilly

We received a brief update on Ellie today. Our dear friend who has contacts in China was able to find out that Ellie has been released from the hospital and was "healthy". We assume she had her lip repair surgery and is recovering with her foster family. Thank you so much for praying for her. I have had an amazing sense of peace while waiting and wondering about Ellie, her surgery, and her recovery, and I am so thankful for that.

No word on TA, but we are hoping and praying that it may come later this week. This Thursday marks 3 weeks since we received LOA. TA usually comes 2 to 4 weeks after LOA. Of course, that timeline does not factor in the Olympics.

Lilly's New Bed
We decided a few weeks ago that it would likely be a wise decision to move Lilly into Katie's room so that we would not have 2 toddlers attempting to co-sleep. Katie has always wanted to share a room with a sister, and she was so excited to learn that we had decided to let Lilly sleep in her room. After we received LOA, we purchased a toddler bed and moved some of Lilly's books and stuffed animals into Katie's room. We purchased a Princess sheet which Lilly loves, and it has been remarkably easy so far.

Katie and Lilly both love sharing sleeping quarters! Katie is such a wonderful big sister and has welcomed Lilly into her room. They have so much fun together before falling asleep! We plan for this to be a temporary arrangement until Lilly and Ellie are a little older. Then Lilly will move back to "Ellie's room" as she now calls her room. She only sleeps in Katie's room, but I guess that is just too confusing for her. Hey, it's working and that's what counts!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lilly's Prayer for Ellie

Our family talks about Ellie often and of course we remember her in every family prayer. Well, just a week or so ago, Lilly prayed her first very own prayer from her heart. She put her hands together, bowed her little head, and squeezed her eyes shut and then she quickly said "Dear God, Ellie. Amen." Very simple but oh so precious! She now says this sweet prayer at least once a day.

A friend invited me to join her in a smocking class several years ago when Ethan was only a baby. Since then, I have managed to find the time to smock each child one special outfit. This is Ellie's dress. For some reason, I think purple is her color, and I am really pleased the way it turned out. Lilly wore the dress I smocked for her as her "Coming Home" dress, and I plan for Ellie to do the same. I can't wait to see it on her!

I have finally done a little shopping for Ellie. My friend Kim and I managed to get away for an evening when we were both still fretting over our LOAs. We had a great time and found some cute outfits for Ellie, Lilly, and her Cate. Lilly is still in a 2T primarily although she can still wear a 12 months in the waist for shorts but in long pants of course the length is too short. I purchased 2Ts for Lilly and 24 months for Ellie. I hope that's right!

We have not heard anymore on Ellie's surgery. We assume that she has probably had it by now. Please continue to pray for her recovery and healing. Also please pray that the Lord would prepare her heart to love us and trust us as her parents. Although we have loved her and longed for her for 10 months, she has not had those same feelings for us. We sent a care package with a picture album in it back in Feb. It was given to the orphanage director (thanks Becky!), but we do not know if or when it was given to Ellie. Kunming SWI is known for not giving the children the care packages until right before they are adopted. We know the transition may be difficult for her and so we also are praying for wisdom for us on how to handle her grief and that we will all be patient and compassionate with her. We'll post as soon as we hear an update.