Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sharing A Bit Of My Heart

My girls asked if all "first borns" were biological children.  No was my response.  Then they wanted to know how a baby gets in a tummy and of course my simple explanation was not one they were buying into.  After not budging on my age appropriate explanation, MK asked, "Do all moms have to have a baby in their tummy?"  I told her no, some mommies have children biologically and some mommies adopt - she immediately said, "Good! I am adopting!"

We often tell our girls that God created them, their birthmothers chose to give them life, and we get to teach them how to live life and love them forever and ever!  The older our girls get, the more aware I am that they will one day come face to face with the reality that they were abandoned as infants.  They were placed in very wide-opened spaces, well-traveled treks, and we choose to believe that their birth families purposely placed them there so that they would be found fast and given the care they needed.  We also feel that their birth families wished for them to have a better life, one where they would be loved and cared for and given opportunities in their lives to thrive.  The Chinese population knows of adoption, they know that Americans, as well as other nationalities, wait to adopt the children born in China.  I cannot tell you the number of "thumbs up" we have received during our time spent in China.  A moment I will never forget was the day we got Maddox and the look of happiness on the foster father's face - he was so proud and in that moment there were no words needed to know just how thankful he was to see his foster daughter with her forever family.

Girls, I pray you always know what a treasure you are to us.  I pray you always feel you were loved - always.  Though your beginning was not ideal, I pray it makes you stronger as you find your way in life.  God did create you and I trust he has big plans for each of you - without even knowing, you have already touched the lives of so many.  Your birthmother did choose to give you life - this fact was the stepping stone in your journey to us. We do get to teach you how to live life - and we will mess up, but we pray daily for grace as we strive to be the best parents to you.  And, most importantly, we get to love your forever and ever and ever.  Most days this is the easiest and most precious part of our job - we love hugging you, kissing you, laughing with you, smiling as you accomplish the impossible.

Ephesians 3:16-21
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” (NLT)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Going Back A Bit

January 2005
A new journey began for our family
We purchased our 5th home in just 7 years of marriage
Our boys were 4 and 2 years old
Fast forward NINE years
The boys are now 14 and 12
We have added two girls - MK and Maddox
A dog, Finley
A frog, William
And when this picture was taken, we were in the process to bring home our 5th child, Maryn.
Countless hours of memories were made
Dinner games
Birthday parties
Adoption gatherings
Friends over
Kids learning to ride bikes and swing solo
And the paintings were fabulous - the monkey in the bathroom
Funny to note that when we painted over this guy MK said, "Oh good, that monkey creeped me out!"
Our girls' beautiful room 
Suffice it to say that we were all a bit weepy when it came time to walk away from our home for the past nine years....
But the time came
We packed up all of our belongings and stored our memories in our souls
And a new adventure began.....

Monday, July 28, 2014

Five weeks of Maryn!

You smile so freely go to mommy and daddy and your brothers and your sisters with ease yet you shake your head fiercely when others ask to hold you - this is a good thing! say "uh oh" and "hot" and "mama" blow play love for the children to chase you....your giggle continues to make everyone sleep well but when you do awake in the night, you reach for mommy's hand to hold onto until you are back resting again....when you are awake, you are always on the go - climbing up the stairs, walking all around the house, playing with your beloved ABC bear....when you hurt yourself, you poke your bottom lip out and begin to cry softly - it is a pitiful sight! are walking on the grass without shoes on - your face has a "not so sure" kind of look on it but you trek forward as if you are trying to figure out just what grass is!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Celebrating 5 is a huge deal especially when it is something you have waited an entire year to do!
 One week before her "real" birthday, we gathered some friends and family together to help us celebrate our girl!
 Our artist, daddy, drew a splendid picture of Sofia for a game of pen the amulet on Sofia....
 and we did a cool scavenger hunt followed by opening of gifts!
 Our boys spent the week away in the mountains for their annual Gran and Pop mountain camp.  While they were sliding down sliding rock and driving ATVs around and around, our girls packed up and headed to the American Girl Bistro and store!
 Maddox was so proud to finally own her very own American Girl doll.  She chose the girl of the year, Isabelle.
 Isabelle is a ballerina and Maddox is taken with her!
 She held her and fed her and made sure she minded her manners....
 We posed for a photo after breakfast and shopped around for the perfect item to purchase!  We left with matching pjs for the girls - and Maddox could not wait to go to sleep for the evening!
 The big day!  5 arrived and the kiddos went to work making sure that our girl was treated like a princess!
 Because it was her special day, we did whatever she wanted to do, whenever she wanted to!  
 Maddox and I went on a little date for the afternoon - it was good to be with my girl for a few hours, just me and my newly turned favorite 5 year old!
 We arrived home just in time for make your own pizzas and cake and ice cream....
 one.last.time for the birthday girl!
What a fabulous week we had celebrating our Maddox and her special day!

A Whole Hand

Maddox Ren Drafts
 The one day you have looked forward to all year long has finally arrived - you are FIVE today!  
 At the age of five, you are all about being your own little person - pink boots are always on those little feet!  Pink and purple are your favorite colors and you love to incorporate them into your clothing for each day when possible.  
 You tell us you would like to be a doctor when you grow up, "I want to be a doctor like Ms. Doc Stuffins - a toy doctor, ok?"  Your favorite food is yogurt of any kind - greek, organic, the not-so-organic drinkables, frozen...
Singing is your favorite thing to do - your favorite song to date is "Bears, Bears, We Got No Cares..." The funny thing is that it is a catchy little song and we all chime in to sing with you!  The music from Frozen is a close second!
You are our heart, sweet girl!  Recently we flew to China to bring home your baby sister.  We worried about you - after all, you have been the baby for more than three years and you have enjoyed that place in our family!  However, you have embraced the new big sister title with grace and you cannot get enough of Maryn!  
Recently after we said a prayer thanking your birth mom for giving you life, you chimed in, "Mommy, I wish you were my mommy always...I wish you had me in your tummy."  I hugged you tight and assured you that God's plan was for me to love you forever and for both of us to thank your birth mom always that she chose to give you life!  
You are a gem, a treasure to our souls!  We love you with all of our hearts and we are forever grateful that we were chosen to be the family who will celebrate you forever!
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15