Sunday, April 10, 2011

Be The Change

Today after church we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. "They have Chinese food in South Dakota?" asked A. It made us chuckle.
One of our fortunes was this. . . You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
YOU MUST. I MUST. Wow, what a thought provoking fortune that many would read and discard. But not me, not today.
Oh, how I want to do something to change the world for orphans. I have been struggling for quite some time with my feelings of not knowing the direction the Lord wants me to go. Sometimes the feeling is so strong, I know that I am supposed to be doing something. The problem is that I don't know what the Lord wants me to DO. All I know is that I am supposed to do SOMETHING. For now, I pray for the orphans. But I feel so inadequate when that is all I am doing. I read blogs about what others are doing and I think, "Could I do that?". But nothing seems to be the right thing for me do right now where I am.
All this brings to mind the song While I'm Waiting by John Waller.

The song says, "I will move ahead bold and confident". I do wish to move ahead and be bold in my desire to raise awareness for adoption, but I must admit that I am not at all confident about how to do that. I desire a clear message as to what I should do. My heart breaks for the orphans of the world, but I do not feel like I am using my heartbreak in such a way as to bring about a change. So until I get a clear understanding of the direction I should take, "I will serve You, while I'm waiting".

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A's Foster Family in China

One of my adoption yahoo groups has been discussing their child's foster family in China. The discussions have led me to write this post about our experience with A.
We were told that A lived with a foster family while in China, however when she turned three in October of 2006 she was taken back to the orphanage. We were told that when the children turn three they are considered "pre-school age" and are returned to the orphanage. Our guide also shared with us that A was loved very much by her foster family and that they would frequently take her home with them on the weekends. He also told us that A was a favorite of the nannies at the orphanage. 
We were not able to meet A's foster family because A was from Wuzhou in Guangxi. We traveled to Nanning, which is the capital of Guangxi and about a four hour bus ride from Wuzhou. The assistant director of the orphanage and another lady accompanied our little princess from Wuzhou to Nanning.

It was very rough those first few moments when these nice ladies were telling our little girl that we were her new parents. She did not understand. As far as she knew she had parents. Her foster parents. She didn't ask for this, she didn't understand. But she soon settled down and was at least okay with the two of us. Until we got up to leave. Then the screaming and crying started. But as soon as we got to the hotel we gave her a bath, put her in some pretty pajamas, and got the crayons out and she was fine. She didn't cry again the whole time we were in China.
I wonder how much worse it would have been for her if her foster family had been there. I know that it would have been worse for Kurt and I. We would have had to witness her heart being ripped out by leaving the people that had loved her so much for most of her life up to that point. Not to mention the family's pain of losing this child that they loved so dearly.
I know there are things about China adoption that are out of our control, but at the time I really thought that it would have been nice to meet A's foster family. Now, almost 4 years later, I know that it was better for all of us that it happened the way it did. Good or bad, A does not remember her foster family. Really doesn't remember much about China at all. She was 3 1/2 when she came home. If she ever asks I will tell her that there was a family who loved her through her first few years of life.

Two weeks after we got home I had to put A into child care for two weeks. I had to finish my last month of work and Kurt got deployed at that time so we had no choice. This was a very difficult time for A. Each day when we pulled into the parking lot she would start saying "no" and crying. She would cling to me so tightly that I could completely let go of her and she didn't budge.
The first day was not only difficult during drop off, but also at pick up. Remember I said that her foster family would come and get her some weekends. Well I truly believe that she thought I was taking her to another orphanage to leave her for the week. When I got there to pick her up, she looked at me from across the playground and just stood there with her head tilted and a confused look on her face. She didn't know why I was there. After all, she had just seen me that morning. When I motioned for her to come to me she literally flew across that playground and flung herself into me. It broke my heart to see that look of confusion on her face and it continued to break each day after that when I would leave her. By that time we had already decided to home school the children. I know that we made the right decision. I would not have been able to continue to put her through that stress everyday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Have Chinese Eyes

The other day we went for a treat at Dairy Queen. While we were there we somehow got on the subject of eyes. The comment was made that all of the children had my eyes. Meaning the shape of my eyes, not necessarily the color. Then A said, "No, I have Chinese eyes!"
We all chuckled because she said it so funny. It was just matter of fact. Not a negative thing. I love her eyes. They are perfect just the way God made them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Orphan Sunday Video

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. November has held a special meaning for me the past couple of years because it is National Adoption Month. Each year during the month of November I have had this overwhelming feeling that I should be sharing with my church about the plight of the orphan. And each year I have made excuses (the main one being my terrible fear of public speaking) and not done it. Then I feel terrible about the missed opportunity when November comes and goes.
So this year was different. I decided to put together a slide show presentation. I included scripture, statistics and many pictures that other adoptive families sent to me. It was a privilege to see all those photos of children before and after adoption and I enjoyed putting the presentation together.
The following is just some of the information I included. It is really heartbreaking when you think of all those children without families. It is hard to think that just one person could make a difference. But I am reminded of a quote by Steven Curtis Chapman in the book Restoring Broken Things: "One bed at a time. . . that's how we need to think about the daunting challenge of caring for so many orphans. One bed at a time."

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
Psalm 68:5 
According to UNICEF there are over 132 million orphans world wide, other sources suggest closer to 143-163 million.
-More than 46 million orphans in Africa.
-More than 71 million orphans in Asia.
-More than 10 million orphans in Latin America. 
-More than 120,000 orphans in the United States.

What can you do?
Pray for the Orphan
 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:16
Support an Orphan
When you have finished paying the tithe of your increase, then you shall give it to the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. Deuteronomy 26:13
Adopt an Orphan
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

Adopting a child won't change the world, but for that child, the world will change.
Our lives were forever changed when we answered the call to adopt.
Everyone CAN do something.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Birthday A!!!

A turned 7 yesterday. I can not believe that she is 7 already. She is such a petite child. I am reminded of it every week when she goes to gymnastics and is one of the older children in her class and still the smallest. But she sure is a bundle of energy, very graceful and determined to do her best.
We went to church yesterday, as we normally do on Sunday mornings, and I asked A to sit with me during church service instead of going to children's church. With Kurt in SD, I sometimes get lonely sitting by myself in church. While we were enjoying the music during the worship service A wanted me to pick her up. As I was standing there holding her and swaying to the music I thought about the fact that my little girl is 7 years old. I wondered how many other moms hold their 7 year old's this way. Yes, she is small for her age, but she is now 7 years old. As I looked around the room I was the only mom holding a non-infant child. So it made me sad to think that maybe, just maybe, my little girl is too old for me to hold.
Then I remembered that she was just over 3 1/2 when she came home to us. That means I have only been holding her for about 3 1/2 years. As time goes by I know that she will grow too big for me to pick up and hold her the way I did yesterday, but for as long as she will let me, I think I will keep holding her.
Another thing A and I do on Sunday is take C, J, and K to youth group in the afternoon. I usually sit and crochet while A plays. Since we live a half hour from the church and youth is only 2 hours long it really does us no good to drive home while they are there. So yesterday A wanted to watch a movie in the nursery, since we were the only ones there, I figured it would be okay. She wanted to watch Beauty and the Beast. She loves Belle. So I put it in for her and went just outside the nursery to crochet when I realized that I had never watched this movie with her. So I went back in. Again, I wanted to be closer to her realizing just how fast time flies by,  I asked her to sit with me in the rocking chair. It is those quiet moments that we share together that bring me the most joy. I am so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy. We are truly blessed to have her in our family.

Friday, September 3, 2010

"I miss China."

Yesterday I was taken by surprise when I heard A tell K that she missed China.

I have asked A a few times in the past three years if she remembered anything about China. Every time the answer is the same. NO. She was just over 3 1/2 when she came home to us. So it is totally understandable for her not to remember, so why now does she say that she misses it? So I casually asked her what she missed about it. Her answer was, "I miss my friends (none of whom she can recall by name, just the idea of having friends there) and the playground." Okay, that is what I would expect a 6 year old to say. I am so thankful that A is now and forever part of our family. She is a blessing to our lives and a reminder to us that God is in control and through Him anything is possible.

Weird Encounter

C, A, and I went to Sam's Club about a week ago and while we were there we had a very unusual experience.
Let me first say that it is very rare for me to get questions or comments about A being from China or being adopted. I do love answering legitimate questions about our adoption, however sometimes it is a good thing that encounters like these are rare.
So we were going along in the store and A was sitting in the cart and C was walking beside me when this older man walked by us. Then all of the sudden he is right beside us bent over staring at A in the cart. It kind of freaked me out. I said hello hoping to move on with out any further interaction when he excitedly asked me if he could talk to A and asked if she could speak. I was taken by surprise by the whole exchange and said, "Yeah, of course she speaks." I mean really what kind of question is that?
So the man begins to speak to A in Mandarin!!! I would have expected this if the man had been Asian, but he wasn't. A has not spoken Mandarin or Cantonese since a few months of coming home and knows only a few words. He said Ni Hao, something else I didn't know and counted with her to 10. Then we went our separate ways.
It was such an odd experience. I was completely surprised by the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Questions about Adoption

One of the most common questions I get about adoption is, "How long did it take?".
My answer to this question is that it took our family 2 years from first contacting our agency in June of 2005 to the time we traveled in June of 2007 to complete our Special Needs Adoption and that if you wish for a non-special needs infant you will wait much longer. My answer always leads to other questions some I am very willing to answer, others I am not so eager to answer.
I always get the easy question of, "How old was she when you brought her home?". Well that is easy, she was 3 1/2. Then I get, "Oh, I didn't realize she was special needs. What is her special need?" I always answer with, "Her special need is not a visible one and to protect her privacy we don't really talk about it." Most people are okay with this answer and we leave it at that.

This leads me to a question of my own for other adoptive parents. When you are out and about in public are you offended if another adoptive parent comes and starts a conversation about adoption with you?

I am always a little hesitant to start the conversation, but when one is started with me I love talking about our adoption experience. We were so extremely blessed during the entire process that I don't mind at all talking to others about it. While we were on vacation during spring break we were at a restaurant when a couple walked in with three Asian children. I sat for about 15 minutes contemplating whether or not to go say hello to them. I feel such a kinship with other adoptive families. Finally I got up and went to say hello. They were so sweet. The girls all talked to A and I and the younger one and A were both from Guangxi. It was a very pleasant exchange, but I always wonder if other families feel as I do about the kinship or if they would rather not be approached.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A's Ornaments

When you look at this picture you might think--no big deal it is just a bunch of ornaments. In fact, these are the older children's "first year" ornaments and a family ornament from 2004. None of these were for A. This was the first year she noticed that she did not have a "special" ornament or any other ornaments with her name on them. So we needed to fix this situation immediately.

These are the new ornaments for this year. The top one has everyone's name on it. When I saw the bottom one I knew it was perfect. In one heart we had written 2003 for the year A was born and the other, 2007 for the first Christmas we were all a family. A was very excited to hang her special ornament on the tree.

Follow-up on Are You Her Mommy?

Originally posted 9/1/09
I spoke with A's teacher this afternoon about the subject of adoption. I asked her if she had any books on the subject that she could share with the class. She said that she has several books and that she could read them to the class on Friday. That gives me time to talk to A and make sure that she is comfortable with it. Please pray that all goes well and the children are not unkind to A for any reason. 

"Are You Her Mommy"

Originally posted 9/1/09
Today I walked with A to her class. I was helping explain her morning work when one of the students at her table started a conversation with me. Keep in mind, A is only in Kindergarten. It went like this. . .
Little boy--"Are you her mommy?"
Me--"Yes, I am."
Little boy--"OH! But you look white."
Me--"Yes, I am."
Little boy--"Wow!! That is freaky."

Little boy referring to A--"We like each other."
Me--"A is only allowed to have friends, she is too young for a boyfriend."
Little boy--"How about when she is 15?"
Me--"Nope, she will still be too young for a boyfriend."
Little boy--"How about 18?"
Me--"I am not sure."
Little boy--"What about 19?"
Me--"Probably when she is 19."
Little boy--"YES!!"

5 joyful comments:

Holly said...
oh my gosh!! I am impressed that you didn't change your mind then and there and take her home! Yikes!! KINDERGARTEN dude!! Kids tend to say what they think. I am so grateful that my kids have been exposed to international adoption and blended families :)

Kristi said...
Haha, love his reaction to you allowing her to date at 19!

Doug and Terrye said...
Wow!!! You really handled it well!!! It's so hard when the differences are so bluntly pointed out. Thankfully you have a teacher that is willing to work with you. As to the dating...I'm thinking 37 :)

Kristin said...
I teach at my daughter's school so perhaps have not had the questions you are facing. The kids just seem to know she is mine and from China. I hope the transition and help from Amilyn's teacher make a difference! And I agree,, not dating utnil 19 or later~

RamblingMother said...
Wow he is one determined little boy, heh.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Years Ago Today.

Originally posted 6/4/09
It has now been two years since that wonderful day in a far away land when we were united with A. It seems as though A has always been with us, so to stop and think that it has only been two years seems kind of strange.

I am so thankful that God chose us to be A's family. I don't think that we did anything "special" to be "chosen". . . we were faithful!! Faithful we would somehow make it through the 2 year process of adoption. Faithful we would be able to handle the expenses of adoption. Faithful when we would get so discouraged about the wait. Faithful when referrals would come in and A was not among them that God was with us. Faithful that we could welcome this child into our home and family and love her like we love our other children. Faithful that no matter what this child had been through in her first 3 1/2 years of life God would help her heal.

We have been so blessed by this one small child.

June 4, 2008.
A fit right in with our family from the start. She adapted very quickly. We did battle the occasional night terror throughout the first year together, but now those are no longer an issue.
June 4, 2007
Our first day with our little Wu, Miao Qiu. She was so scared and unsure of what was going on. It broke my heart to see this beautiful child that God set aside just for us be so scared.

Two Years Ago Today.

Originally posted 5/31/09
We were on our way to China. What an amazing trip!! One that would change our lives forever.

2 joyful comments:

Jill and Rick said...
Hi Regina! I was thinking of your family today as we remember our Nanning trip to bring Annie home. I hope you're enjoying your own memory lane this month! We've been so blessed! Jill

Marla said...
Happy Two Years! Isn't it the best!


Originally posted 5/21/09

I was visiting Gwen's blog and saw these shirts that she is selling to raise money for her family's adoptions. I decided that I just had to have one. . . and I LOVE IT!! I just got it in the mail today and I can't wait to wear it.
Go on over and check out the Oatsvall Village. She has other items as well as this shirt.

1 joyful comments:

Kristin said...
Aren't they cute?? I have the long sleeved one. I may need to check out the new items. :)

Conversations with A

Originally posted 5/20/09

Today on the way home from gymnastics A was talking about how many children she wanted to have when she was all grown up. She said that she wanted one boy and two girls. Then out of the blue she asked me if she had to adopt them.

A has heard us talk about adoption before, but she never really asks questions about it or talks about it herself so she kind of took me off guard.
I told her no, she did not have to adopt her children unless she wanted to. She then told me that she wanted to adopt two girls. I told her that was great if that was what she wanted. She really didn't say anything else so I let it go at that. I figured that when she is ready to talk more about adoption she will.

1 joyful comments:

Julie and Dean said...
hi. I just found your blog and love it. The gymnastics video was priceless! I love the kitten in the blinds too. What a beautiful family you have :)

Urgent Need in Ethiopia

Originally posted 5/8/09

Another AWAA family has made me aware of an urgent need at America World's transition home in Ethiopia. This home is for children awaiting adoption. MANY of these children are severely malnourished. They need a specific formula. Many of the America World families that have been traveling to Ethiopia have begun packing extra luggage just for this formula - to deliver to the children that will still be waiting for their families. You can read more about one such family that is awaiting travel plans HERE. Children's Hope Chest is working to provide America World with this much needed formula. Please go HERE if you would like to donate money for the formula or to just learn more. Would YOU join us in giving for this formula so that one more child might live and grow as they wait for their family.

What would you do?

Originally posted 5/6/09

What would you do if the Lord led you to China to adopt a daughter and you found out that the child you were bringing into your family had two brothers that were being left in China? Wouldn't you do everything you could to bring these boys home with you?
Please go to this blog and read their story. If you feel led to help this family please do, but please pray for them and the boys who are still in China. Also, please share their story with others who may feel led to help.

Just a MINute Mom

A's Trip to the Doctor

Originally posted 2/18/09
Today we traveled about an hour and a half for A's 6 month check-up. I know that these appointments are important, but it seems like the same thing every time. They check her out then send us to the lab to completely traumatize her. She has gotten better though. Thank goodness!! As the mom who also HATES needles and the whole process of having blood drawn it is torture for us both. I hold her on my lap and talk softly to her while the very kind staff do what they must.
She is progressing, the last time we were there she tried to run out of the room as soon as she saw where she was. She used to SCREAM as soon as we walked in and would not calm down until it was over. But today she did so much better. She did not start crying until they actually started drawing the blood and only cried softly while I whispered to her. She immediately stopped crying when they asked her if she would like a sticker. Of course the sticker. . . it is the reward for having to go through all this, right!! It makes all the pain go away and everything feel magically better.
At least it will be another 6 months before we have to do it all again.
I am thrilled to mention that A has gained some weight. She is now (at almost 5 1/2) 34 pounds and 40 1/4 inches tall.

3 joyful comments:

Doug and Terrye said...
That sweet teeny-tiny little peanut! I would carry a purse full of stickers around if it got that result at my house ;) Terrye in FL

Monica said...
Bless her heart. It sounds like she is a trooper...handling each succeeding visit with more and more courage. I hate needles, too (and I'm a nurse, so that is pretty ironic)!

Debra said...
I found your blog on CWO. You have a beautiful family. I also do not like needles!! SMILES, Debra

Knock, Knock

Originally posted 11/11/08

So Kurt and I were in our room this evening talking about some things. We had our door shut. Then we hear "knock, knock". I then asked who was at the door and I hear a very quiet "A". I asked her (through the closed door) what it is that she needed. She replied, "Are you having a connnverssssattttion?" She cracks me up!!

1 joyful comments:

Denise said...

That is so cute! I just love to listen to what kids say!

Conversations with C

Originally posted 11/10/08

About a week ago C was having a lot of trouble getting out of bed in the mornings. Since I am home schooling, I would just let him sleep and when he got up we would work on his lessons. As long as they were done before basketball practice, no problem.

Well about 11:00 C came downstairs and said to me, "When I woke up there was someone in my bed with me."

My first thought was the cat. He has a habit of getting in bed with people and he likes to lay on C's bed and look out the window. So, in an attempt at humor I said, "Was he orange?"

C said, "No, she is Chinese."

I started laughing. I never knew that A had crawled in his bed. He asked her why she was in bed with him and she said, "because I want to be just like you!!"

3 joyful comments:

Kristin said...
How sweet is that?! My little ones have crawled in bed with their sister before but never big brother. Now, they'll very willingly go into his room to wake him up though! That is great fun. :-)

Denise said...
Yeah, my girls would never crawl into bed with their brothers because they complain that their rooms stink!

day by day said...
Awwwww!!! Ella adores her big brother, too! : )

Dinner with A

Originally posted 11/5/08

Tonight at dinner during a conversation we were having I made a comment about "all the little Chinese girls running around."
A looked at me and said "Mommy, don't tell everyone?"
I asked her, "What am I not supposed to tell everyone? That you are Chinese?"
She hesitated a moment and said, "Yes, don't tell everyone that I am Chinese?"
I am not sure who everyone is, it was just our family at dinner.
Kurt tried to explain to her that anyone who looks at her will know that she is Chinese.
Later I did explain to her that since she was born in China she is Chinese, but now she is an American too. I don't think at the age of 5 she truly understands all of this, but it was kind of strange to hear her respond the way she did.

8 joyful comments:

Kristin said...
I do think that it's hard for the kids to understand it all. My girls know they were born in China and can state their Chinese names and stories. They will often speak about that in public if prompted but not always. They will usually proudly state they were born in China and include their Chinese names. My feeling is to let them be who they feel like being that day. Somedays they feel more Chinese; other days they feel more American. Does that make sense? We may never totally get it. Unfortunately.

Marla said...
Oh to know what goes on in their cute little heads.

Monica said...
Maybe it is like my son...she doesn't want it pointed out that she is Chinese because that is different from her family...kind of a belongingness issue.

day by day said...
Awww.....she is so sweet! My girls are sooo proud that they are Chinese now at the age of 4, but I expect that may change back and forth over the years.

Carla said...
It's such a hard thing to know what to say. You almost have to know where it is coming from before you can properly respond. *sigh* Soooo hard.

Holly said...
Oh sweet girl. Perhaps she just doesn't want to be different. Josiah was adopted right before he turned two, so he was younger,but from the beginning we have told him his story, made a little lifebook for him with pictures and now when we say anything about China he says, "I live in China" and we correct him and tell him that he USED TO live in China and he was born there. I think it may be awhile before A. realizes that some of her features are beautifully different from yours so that people will know that she is Chinese when they see her. Sweet girl. Hope to see you at GIFT next week. Holly

Doug and Terrye said...
Grace is always asking about people: "Are they born from China too?" She hasn't quite figured out what's all about either. Terrye in FL

Rachel said...
Anytime Olivia sees a Chinese girl she will say "I knew her when I was in China." She also thinks all babies come from China. At four it is really fun watching her get the reality of her heritage.

Wordless Wednesday

Originally Posted 11/5/08

3 joyful comments:

mommy24treasures said...
oh I love this photo:)
Beverly said...
Kristi said...
This photo gives me hope that one day I'll catch my kids like this again...

Update on A's First Sleepover

Originally posted 10/20/08

A had her first sleep over the night of her 5th birthday. It was more out of convenience on our part to let her take this big step. We were not sure if she would stay all night. When we are away from home she will have night terrors. She has not had any in quite a while, but we were not sure how she would do.
To our surprise she did great. Here are a few pictures taken of her big night. Smart to let the children play and get good and worn out before putting them to bed.
Can you see the excitement on her face? She was having a blast!!

4 joyful comments:

Michelle said... glad her first sleepover was such a success!!!!

Beverly said...
love the blog look. great pics of the sleepover.

Marla said...
Such a big milestone, looks like she did great.

Meaghan said...
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