Thursday, March 28, 2013

Two Year Family Day Anniversary

Two years ago in Jiangxi, a very tiny seven year-old walked into the civil affairs office in Nanchang, saw me, said, "Mama," and walked right into my arms. What an amazing experience it's been to be her mother!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Still Waiting Patiently

I'm still waiting for LSC to arrive. It's still within the time frame it should take, but I do expect it to come by the end of this week or early next week, if it follows the same schedule that Jie Jie's adoption did.

It's sure a lot easier to wait with three children already home. First, they are such wonderful girls, they fill my heart. Second, after going through this process already, I know that it works and there's a child at the end of it. The path hasn't been smooth, however, so some of the anticipation was more frought with worry instead of joy recently. But, I had over four YEARS of eager, patient, fun (super fun!) planning, shopping, and dreaming if only Apple before I knew about Jie Jie.

One of the biggest, most important things I learned along the way, is that the love I felt for each child before they came was very different than the love I felt when I met them and "fell" in love with them for who they are. The other love was very powerful, but missed the most important element of all, the actual child. Now I know that the first love is excitement, wonderment, my own dream, and preparation for actually falling in love with them once they are in my arms and I get to know them. Really get to know them. Jie Jie wasn't at all like I imagined she'd be. Her picture made me think of a shy, demure girl and that's not her at all. She was a dynamo of personality from the very beginning.

Today I sit and wonder what Apple will be like. I'm completely open, without expectation, ready to bring her into my little family, wondering what her personality is like and preparing myself to change in the most positive ways to be the best mother to her that I can be.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Introducing Apple!

China said YES!

She is 15 months old and resides in Hunan. The girls are beside themselves with glee, each deciding who will teach her this and that and pulling out the toys they want to share with her. It's very cute. She has a "limb difference," so she'll have some hand surgery at some point. Thank you for all of your prayers! If it wasn't for the long, long wait for this little one, I'd never have the three amazing daughters I already have home. God had it exactly right for me all along!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fun Family Weekend

Yesterday we had a fun, full day. We began with a girls' church activity that began with breakfast and ended with lunch that had ice cream sundaes for dessert. In between were little classes and lots of socialization. Each of my girls made new friends, shyness and language issues left behind. My girls were amazed to see how tall and independent American girls are. Sissy was particularly impressed with an 11 yr. old girl who walked to the church building alone and was there without her mother. Other girls sang solos on the spot or read aloud from scriptures and talks given by leaders, all very impressive to my three.

In the afternoon, we crossed the Bridge into San Francisco and went to China town for a play presented in Chinese and English in the Classic Chinese Opera style. At the end of the play were demonstrations of Chinese dancing, kung fu and tai chi, which we liked even better then the play. The girls simply LOVED being around so many Chinese people again. It was an excellent reminder for me of the culture they left behind. After the play, we crossed the street and played at a park. Since it was in China town, the playground was full of Chinese children, parents and old men smoking and playing cards and various board games. It felt just like being in China. The girls had sooooo much fun! Another milestone and indicator of how far we've come is how much trust the girls have in me now. Each girl learned how to slide down a pole (like a fireman's pole) that was quite high. They were very, very nervous and had to work up the courage through a series of aborted attempts, but they finally each did it and gleefully announced how I much I love them that I would not let them fall!

I feel so very fortunate to live in this area where there is such a strong Asian community and, specifically, a huge Chinese community for me girls and me, too, because I am, after all, 1/8 Japanese and 1/8 Hawaiian!

We drove home via Lombard St. and I think the steep hills of that area was the highlight of the day for the girls if one measures by the shrieks of delight. As we waited along the Embarcadero to reach the Bay Bridge, we saw the new lights placed on the western span by an artist. I thought they were really neat, but the girls couldn't tell those lights from the rest of the gorgeous city lights so they were not impressed.

Today was also fun, again we went to a park, but our local park. The day was very warm and spring-like so there were many children with their families there. The girls REALLY play now, even Sissy, so being at the park is very fun for all of us more than ever. I donned my rollerblades, for the first time in years, and the girls were dazzled by my skill (I don't know why they didn't notice my arms waving around to keep me on balance!). Now they each want to learn to skate. I can easily imagine how much fun that is going to be - my little Family of 4 skating down the beach!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fire-Breathing Dragon Cake

For Jie Jie's 9th birthday last month we made a dragon cake. We decided to make this cake a few days after her birthday last year and we'd been looking forward to it all this time. It was very fun and the results were GREAT!

How to make a dragon cake:
Cut two or more bundt cakes in half and place them in a serpentine pattern. The cakes don't have to be the same size. Trim it here and there to get the right head and tail shape.

Frost the cake!

Beady eyes and scales down the back.

Feet are a must or it will look like a snake.

We used Ner*d candy to make the scales but it was hard to eat the cake with such hard candy in the frosting. M*Ms look great, but take a very, very long time to place.

Fire Breathing!

A very happy Birthday Girl!

Chinese New Year Party

We recently attended our local FCC Chinese New Year party and the girls had a great time. We made a snake cake (a spin-off on our dragon cake) and enjoyed Chinese food and crafts. The girls were very excited and I barely managed to get this one picture of them before they took off to eat and play.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

It's a Roller Coaster Ride

What a week it's been! The news on the first lock was not good. A promise was broken, but hope remains. It's hard to give details because I don't want to jeopardize me or my agency.

I am looking closely at another file. Doesn't that sound cold and terrible? I really wish there was a better way to do this process. The reality is that there is a baby in China who needs a family to love her and care for her and I might be her mom. It's a very prayerful time for me and I would greatly appreciate your prayers, too. Specifically, that I make the best decisions for my family, especially my three girls that I already have. Also, to find all the information I need in order to make sure I can provide proper care for this little girl. Lastly, that if this little girl isn't mine after all, that her family find her fast.