Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Nea watch!"

We had some coughing kiddos so thought it would be best to stay home this morning. Ethan's watching his favorite movie. Yep he's introducing her to the world of Tangled!!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Little mama

My sweet girl feeding her baby...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

so much change in so little time.

I am pretty sure that DP has mentioned this in an earlier post so sorry for some of the repetition but tonight I needed to journal some of my own thoughts or babble if you will....

Monday we had our first post placement visit with our social worker and one of the things she needed to document was the different places Linnea had been and how long she had been in each place - 8 months in what we guess to be with her biological family, 3 months in the Maoming Social Welfare Institute, 8 months at True Children's Home and then eight months with her foster family and now she is here with us. That is a lot of change in two and a half years.  Our social worker then began to tell us that she (Linnea) is probably wondering if not waiting for the next change to come which means fully bonding and attaching to us as her forever mommy and daddy will definitely take some time.

Overall Linnea is doing really well and she seems to be attaching to us and bonding with us - but she is still grieving and oh how it makes my heart hurt for her.  I think her hardest time is night - hence the sleepless nights - and in the morning.  Unfortunately it wasn't until last night that I think I realized what her crying was all about.  I had noticed the other day that she was kind of in a mood so to speak but she wasn't crying or even acting out she just kind of had a look about her - and that was probably grief too.  Last night she fell asleep fine - but when she woke up in the middle of the night she just cried and cried even when I held her and it was in those moments that I was so sad for her and I was so sad for her foster parents I know how much they loved her and they have to miss her, Linnea's laugh is contagious and she is so sweet and lovable,  and I will be truthful I was a bit sad for myself.  I know she will know one day how much we love her but right now she doesn't, even though she gives me unrequested kisses, prefers me over daddy (sorry DP) and knows I will and do take care of her every need I am not mommy to her and who knows when I will be.  I know she has to be wondering where the mommy she knows is.  DP used to tease me while we were in China because while we were there I wasn't feeling really guilty or sad about bringing her home and taking her away from all she knew - I was sad for her but I knew what she had in store here.  Well the sadness really hit me last night when she was so sad.  She has to miss her foster parents and it just breaks my heart. The great thing is she lets me comfort her and love her and rock her and I know some kids who fight that - so I am grateful for those moments. This morning she was really clingy and then tonight when DP came home she had to warm up to him again.  I cannot begin to imagine all the thoughts that run through her mind - so much transition!!  I rocked her tonight, loving on her and praying that the Lord would give her good rest and just praying for her comfort.  I am thankful that the day will come where she does know us as her mommy and daddy forever.  Most importantly I am so thankful that we can really share with her what forever really means and what it is all about.  The Lord handpicked her for our family and we have the great privilege and responsibility of telling her about eternity - the real forever.  So glad that HE never changes and HE sees us through all these transitions.

Monday, April 16, 2012

the inevitable question

So our social worker is going to be here in about 10 minutes and Ethan just asks me " How long do we have to keep Linnea?"  Of course I say forever she is your sister - to which he replies "no she's not...."  This should make for a real interesting first post placement visit.

We're still here...

I had a friend recently come home from China with her daughter and I can remember being on the edge of my seat reading her blog as she posted while they were in China and then she came home and then her posts were not as frequent and I was so ready to read what was going on her world and I wondered when is she ever going to blog again??  Ha ha!! I feel bad for ever wondering that now!!!

Sorry friends that it has been soo long!!  Life is busy!!  Four kiddos to keep me on my toes,  appointments to go to, laundry to catch up on (our dryer was out of commission for a short time) and most important on the agenda is sleep!!  DP I think has written a post updating you on our various appointments with Linnea so I will skip over those details.  As of tomorrow around the 2 pm hour we will have had Linnea for a month!! I cannot believe a whole month has gone by that we have had our sweet baby girl!! She seems to be adjusting well.  She is definitely a mama's girl and she LOVES to be outside and she LOVES to eat!! Eating is a whole other story but just know that while this girl might have a hard time chewing and eating she still LOVES to do it!!   She is not sleeping well - hence my lack of blogging - sleep totally wins over blogging!!  She slept GREAT while we were in China so not really sure what is different here except the time change but I would think she would be over that by now.  I think she may also be having night terrors as sometimes she doesn't even wake up but just cries and really fits around.  It makes me feel so bad for her.  I rock her to sleep every night and she really likes it when I sing to her - it is such a special time of bonding for us.  I was thinking the other day of how when you are pregnant your baby hears your voice the whole 9 months you carry it - so the baby comes out knowing its mama's voice and with adoption you don't have that - so for her to listen to my voice as I sing and it be soothing and calming for her is such a blessing.  Tonight I sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" - a great reminder for me of God's faithfulness throughout this whole process - we are so blessed.  She is loved not only by us but by our faithful and loving Father who hand picked her for our family.  The boys are still really enamored with her and she and Ethan are actually starting to get along a little better - they still have their moments and she only cares for him when she needs him to do something for her or if he has snacks.  I love to watch all of them play.  I LOVE being a mother.

Well I know that was a quick update - I'll leave you with some pictures.  Tomorrow we have our first visit with our social worker for the beginning of our many post placement visits.  Thanks for checking in with us.  We love you and are so thankful for your support!!

she loves to swing!! 

This was our best Easter picture and Ethan's eyes are closed and Luke is not a happy camper!

and these are my crazy big brothers!!

Ethan sharing some jelly beans with sister

mama's girl...

one of my favorite pics!!

in China they drive with mitts - she uses my kindle cover for her mitt!!

and when she does sleep - she is a sleeping beauty!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The past week...

This past week has been eventful. It has been a while since we have blogged (and several have let us know!!) so we apologize! It has been busy going to Doctor's visits, etc.

This week we took Linnea to the Dentist and also had a feeding evaluation done on her up in Atlanta. The next set of appointments will be speech therapy. The dentist was pretty much a horrific experience. Linnea had never really had a toothbrush in her mouth until a couple weeks ago and we just took her in to have her teeth looked at since they do not clean teeth of children under three years of age usually depending on the dentist. However, when the dentist saw how bad her teeth looked, they went ahead and cleaned them. She had lots of build up and three cavities. She screamed the entire time. LeighAnn stated this is the loudest she has heard Linnea (she usually has a quiet cry even when she gets hurt. This was more of a terrified cry) We were told she does not weigh enough to handle the medicine to get the cavities taken care of at this time so we have to wait six months. If at that time she still does not weigh enough, she will probably have to go to the children's hospital to be put to sleep to get them done.

The feeding evaluation really went well. Our friend Laura recommended a great person to do this up at Scottish Rite. Basically she is "delayed" in how she eats food...she eats more on the level of a 12 month old. However, with some tips from them, she seems to be doing better. Just putting a mirror in front of her while she eats has helped as she can see for herself that she needs to swallow. She will start speech therapy soon and I think in time, she will easily "catch up" to children her age. She is understanding us well so we know she is smart and can learn quickly. She still is not speaking any except for sounds and "uh-oh's" when she drops sometime. However, LeighAnn has taught her sign language so she knows how to communicate "thank-you", "please", "more", "stop" (for when her brothers are bothering her!), "help", "potty" and "all done."

Last Sunday we had a great Easter service at Church. Our Pastor had a wonderful message and it was so nice to have this as our first Sunday back. LeighAnn said she lost it singing "See What a Morning" with Linnea in her arms as this song basically tells the Easter message in song. This being Linnea's first Church service ever was special. The boys were amazed that she has never been to Church before! She sat quietly throughout the service with the boys so it was so nice sitting as a family of six! It was also great having some of our missionary friends back home and re-connecting with so many people. Our Church family has been so supportive and we are so thankful for them.

After Church we did an Easter egg hunt and Linnea loved that as well as the boys. She picked right up on what to do! What a fun day!

On Friday afternoon of this week we had a birthday party for Nathan. He had a couple of his friends over and they played and rode bikes. We can't believe he is already eight....he is growing up to soon! He tells us that he really wants us to adopt an older sibling around his age one day because he says "being the oldest by myself is just hard!"

Friday evening we had the Grubbs family over...they leave in May for China to pick up their daughter so we went through some of the logistical stuff (tips on what to bring, etc). It was a great evening and we are so excited for them.  Just love how the Lord is working!!

Pictures to come!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I hope these girls have a special friendship just like their mommies.

This is Linnea and her friend Caroline.  Caroline is so sweet to Linnea and is very helpful to her.  Here is what Caroline told her daddy about Linnea :

"She has brown eyes, a nose and teeth. Oh and she's from New Zealand."

Oh how I just love that girl and her mama!! Thankful for such sweet friends!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy 8th BIrthday Nate!!

I am not really sure where the time goes but 8 years ago today I become a mother for the first time.  Nathan means gift from God and indeed he is a special gift.
I often think back to when he was 2 and he was asking everyone all the time "where do you live?"  He is still quite the charmer and social bug.  He never meets a stranger!! He loves to play legos and be outside.  With summer right around the corner I am sure our days will be spent soaking up the sun.  
He has grown so much - almost as tall as his mama!! We thank God for his good health and continue to pray that he will grow to love God with all his heart.  We pray that Nathan will seek Him in all he does and may God use him to further His kingdom.  Nathan we love you sooo much and wish you the happiest of birthdays!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Here are the pictures that were supposed to be on the last post...

Introducing brushing teeth to Linnea. Ethan is demonstrating!

In the waiting room at the cardiologist office

Taking some shoes back to get a different size. Linnea likes to shop!  She loves the purse LeighAnn had made and sent to her in a China care package
Her first Chick-fil-A meal after the Doctor visit. She loved it!!
Enjoying a banana pudding milkshake! Yummmm

Now that was good!!
Relaxing outside!
We were given some power wheel four wheelers from some friends to give the boys. We have been saving these for several months as we knew the day would come when "brothers" were a little jealous of "sister." Today was a perfect day for these. 
They came down the hill with Mommy blindfolded. They were so excited to see these!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cardiologist appt...

We started off today heading to the cardiologist to get Linnea checked out. This is her second Doctor's appt since she has been home. As I was sitting in the waiting room, you prepare for the worst news and pray for the best. I was also thinking to myself..."oh yeah, she is 'special needs' and that is why we are here." Sometimes I must admit that I forget that part....especially seeing all those pretty smiles all day long, hearing her laugh, etc. The cardio appointment lasted about 3 hours and they did a couple tests (EKG, ultrasound, etc). Linnea didn't like the EKG too much but did fine with the ultrasound. Mainly she didn't like the little electrode tape all over her body! The Doctor gave us great news that the hole in her heart was small (and may be shrinking) so she would only need to have a check-up on this once per year. Her feeling is that surgery would not be required (and she is hoping that she will never have heart surgery so that is good as well). If the hold had been bigger, then open heart surgery would have been necessary. Praise the Lord for this good news. The Doctor also stated that her small size has nothing to do with her heart condition. So, basically she feels it is mainly nutrition. Since Linnea had an appointment on Friday of last week, she had already gained a pound by today. Now she is up to 19lbs and still a little ways to go to get in the "normal" range for children her age/height, etc. Linnea is eating well. We are finding out what she likes and dislikes on a daily basis. We are giving her Pedisure each day which I'm sure will help her. She also likes eggs, banana, and is starting to like chicken! She actually had her first Chick-fil-A meal today and loved it! (I am relieved!!!) Linnea still has a couple Doctor's appointments to go so hopefully she will continue to do well.

We came home after the appointment and played in the col-de-sac all afternoon. All the kids love playing outside. The boys were given some four wheeler power-wheels from friends so we gave those to them today (we had been waiting for a while to give these to them as we knew there would come a day when the boys were not so keen on their new sister!). They loved this surprise!

Last night Linnea slept through the night and she just went down tonight at 8pm so I think she is on her new time schedule now. The jet lag has worn off for us so we are ready to get back to normal!

I will post some pictures soon of our happenings today!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

a quick update...

There is soo much I want to blog about and a post I haven't even finished - but all in due time!! I am so thankful that the Lord is keeping my memories fresh - I kind of relate to the verse in Luke 2:19 this is after the birth of Jesus and it says "but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Clearly I can only somewhat relate as I am no Mary - but I am thankful to be treasuring up all these moments and pondering them.

We were greeted by such a warm welcome home at the airport!! Thank you so much to all our family and friends who came out to welcome us home - it was such joy to see your excitement for our family!  I did not expect to be so emotional as I saw the boys for the first time but the tears did flow as I missed them so!!

We are still trying to get over jet lag and Linnea is trying to figure out this whole time change!! (I have to say I really miss my "Guangdong" family - as we are now scattered all over the place!! There is nothing like having people going through the same exact thing as you are!! Thankful for the internet and being able to stay connected that way!!) Other than the sleeping thing Linnea is doing so well!! We love her soo much and it feels like she has just been here forever.  The boys are doing well for the most part - Linnea is like their new play toy!!  She has really taken to Nathan and it is so fun to watch him with her.  Luke loves her as well and well Ethan - it depends on the moment.  He is definitely suffering from some jealousy and will often tell me Linnea is not doing what he told her to!! He doesn't quite understand the language barrier issue.  I know this will all get better with time and I feel sure they will be good buddies.

I am so thankful that the Lord knows us so well and even when we don't understand how He works in certain ways  - it is all for our good.  He knew Linnea would be perfect for us -  she loves shoes, purses and the water - seriously she was meant for me!  Really - someone asked me tonight how I felt about not bringing home two little girls.  In all honesty I do not have any idea how we would have done it!! I know by God's grace - but that wasn't His plan for us.  His plan was for us to have just Linnea right now and His plan is perfect!! There is some sadness that there are still millions of orphans in the world and 277 just at the orphanage Linnea was from - but I know God has a plan for those children too - and as I said before His plan is always perfect.

So right now - I am taking life day by day as a new mother of four and I am loving every minute of it!!