Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look what Ellie can do!

A bubble! Proof that Ellie is learning how to use her new palate! For all of you moms of cleft children, I know you can understand our enthusiam over Ellie's recent accomplishments. For those who do not know, a child with cleft palate does not "know" how to suck or blow bubbles as non-cleft affected babies do. Once the palate is closed, the children have new sensations and new abilities, but of course, it takes time for them to build up muscle tone. It also takes practice to learn how to apply enough pressure to suck from a straw or blow bubbles. WE are so proud of Ellie!

Speech therapy is also going well. Ellie receives services through Baby Net, our state's Early Intervention program. She has therapy twice a week in our home. Our therapist used to work with Ethan, then Lilly, and now Ellie. Mrs. Jan is awesome, and Ellie is willing to work hard so she is making great progress!

Working so hard to suck through a straw! She finally did it! Yeah, Ellie!

A proud little girl who worked really hard to master blowing bubbles and finally sucking!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Sisters sharing some love. They are doing so well together these days. What a blessing!

I do have to share one quick story about Ellie which is perfect for a Valentine's Day post. I have been teaching Ellie to say "I love you", and she has been repeating that phrase back to me for weeks or even months now. However, on Wednesday, as I was carrying her to brush her teeth, Ellie laid her head on my shoulder then lifted her head and said "I love you". She said it all on her own without any prompting at all. Oh, she melted my heart! What a wonderful early Valentine's gift!

Our 2nd annual Valentine's at Chuck E. Cheese. Rather than buying something for each child, we go to Chucky E. Cheese's where there is something fun for all of our children. This year was another wonderful night of family fun. At first, Ellie was a little scared. She never would ride on any of the toys, but she did have great fun with the toy phone and did manage to sit by Barney long enough for a picture. Lilly and Ethan went right up to Chucky as Ellie hid behind David's legs. I tried to get a picture of that, but as I got close to her, she ran over to hide by me. It was so cute! Eventually she said "hello" when she was secure in my arms.

Ellie's first Valentine's Party. This was with our homeschool group. All the children made crafts and then ate lots of goodies. Ellie had a great time as did all of her siblings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Our first Chinese New Year with Ellie! I just love this picture of her. She looks so happy! Well, eating is still one of her favorite things to do, and she just had plenty! She has really gained the weight these last 4 months. I didn't realize just how thin she was when we first got her in China. Compared to Lilly at Gotcha Day, Ellie looked like average size as Lilly was malnourished for those who don't know. For Ellie though, I think she was underweight and is now where she should be. She's got such cute baby fat where as Lilly has never really had any! So cute!

Lilly and Ellie in their new outfits that we brought home from our recent adoption trip. I'm so thankful that God called us to adopt these sweet little girls and that He also gave us the courage to accept the call. Oh, the blessings we would have missed had we said "No!"

Our crew after eating way too much Chinese food! As you may notice, Shelby is not dressed in her Chinese dress. Being that she is 12 now, I guess she felt she was a little too old for that. Aren't the boys cute? This is their first time wearing their outfits together. Ethan actually wore his to school one day despite our trying to talk him out of it- too funny.

How cute is this with the big girls smiling down on the little ones! Family is such a beautiful gift from God yet so often we take our families for granted.

Brinley and Bailey look a little lost without their big sister who couldn't join the celebration! I love how these older girls look so very happy with their little sisters. (Ellie and I were in the bathroom which is why she is not in Katie's arms!) Sophie and her little sister Cate are in the middle. Cate just came home right after Ellie.

Aren't these Asian beauties just adorable? I was overwhelmed with God's goodness as I looked at this picture. Five precious children, made in the image of God, born half a world away, orphans by the world's definition yet now they all have loving families who cherish them. How beautiful, how amazing, how perfect adoption is!