Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mercie is THREE!!!

I am so behind on blogging. So many things to share.

Like having Chinese guests last week and their passports being STOLEN from our van. Not even kidding.

I WILL catch up, I hope. (Facebook is so much easier to drop pictures on these days!)

But today is about our miracle baby girl.

Mercie Fei Evangelin is THREE today.

Ms Mercie started her life in China early.

She was just a little over 2 pounds when she was brought to the orphanage.


Sometimes this doesn’t sink in to me, but when I look at this photo, I am reminded of Gods mercy on our Mercie.

To survive being abandoned at that size?


To survive an orphanage at that size?


For her to be in MY arms?


In the day to day I sometimes forget what a miracle her story is.

But she is such a miracle.

Our baby girl has changed SO much in these 3 months.

She is a true JOY.

Remember the baby in China who HATED me?

Now she is a mama’s girl, BUT adores her daddy too.  Overall she is quick to warm up to people. She still loves Malaine, but I am enjoying being her favorite person right now.

She makes sure her shoes are with my shoes, every time. 

She sleeps IN HER BED! Granted it is her crib with the side off pushed up next to my bed and sometimes I have to hold her hand half the night. BUT, she WILLINGLY goes to sleep in it. This is huge and has been so much better. I am all for co sleeping, really I am. Unfortunately all we had going on was the CO part, there was NO sleeping for me. I am a light sleeper so every kick, thrash, basically movement had me awake. Which made me feel I was in a fog most of the day. We are all enjoying a bit more sleep.

She is so funny! She is very expressive and her faces are the best. She loves to make everyone laugh, and we do often!

She thinks she is 8 and wants to keep up with the big kids. Which makes me sad! Yet then in so many ways she is VERY babyish. When we took her to be evaluated by adoption clinic they put her at about 18months and I would say that is where she seems to be., more like an almost 2 year old than 3 year old.  She is small in size, weighing about 24 pounds now. Her language is VERY delayed. She babbles but there are not many clear words. Mama, Baba, Jie Jie (sister) Dog which is Da, Baby which is BB.  All things to be expected being born so small/early AND spending over 2 years in an orphanage.

She eats anything and is a really good eater.  

Not even close to being potty trained.

Loves to be held and snuggled and kissed and is so so sweet.

She is a busy bee for sure. We forgot how tiring this age is, the never blink or you are in trouble phase!

She can be stubborn, but actually her personality is pretty calm I think. She sits in her stroller SO good, in a highchair while out and is just happy!

One miracle with Mercie is that while this is her 3rd birthday, I have actually celebrated ALL her birthdays with her! She was turning one the year we met her and last year we had a party while in China with my team. This is a gift for me for sure. BUT this birthday we sure enjoyed waking up with her, all day giggles and sweet goodnight kisses!

There are times in the craziness of adjusting to 7 kids that I am tired.  VERY tired.  Sometimes the volume in my house is so loud I can’t hear myself think. The to do list is so long and someone always needs something.  But then God will whisper a memory of life before and I think how empty we would be with out the chaos. Mercie is a gift, and has really melted into our family perfectly. We have loved her for so long, and to have her home with us, to see the way God moved mountains is a story we  treasure.

So thankful for our baby girl. Happy THIRD Birthday Fei Fei!!

Friday, May 02, 2014

Syler's First Birthday HOME!

When we birth children, or adopt them as infants, a first birthday is such a big milestone.

We plan for months. We celebrate all the firsts that have happened over that year. We are in awe of how that newborn has changed from such a helpless being to a one year old covered in cake!

When you adopt a child at EIGHT, you don’t get that 1-year-old birthday party. You don’t see first steps, first teeth or first of ALL those things that make it so much fun getting to know your baby.

You can’t look back on newborn photos and remember tiny toes.

Sometimes you can’t look back on ANY photos.

BUT, you DO get a first birthday HOME, no matter the age!

And while Syler might not have understood as the day started what it was all about, by the end he knew HE was being celebrated!

My sweet friend Kathy had sent him a build a bear gift card so that was first on our agenda today. Overall we have not been going many places. Of course they get to ride in the car a lot as I taxi kids all over creation. But I try to avoid going in. Till we can communicate better on some things, it is just easier to NOT go in many stores.

Seriously had an outing to Wal mart this week ALONE and I was giddy. That is really sad.  Sad that my time alone was spent at Wal mart for one, but REALLY sad how excited I was to go!

Anyways, we ventured to Build a Bear and it was GOOD.

Mercie now rides in a stroller, HAPPILY. Miracles do happen! That makes life much easier. Will have to do a blog on her, so much change! Sweet change in our girl. 

We were bummed that Build a Bear was out of super hero bears! But Syler found one he liked & quickly caught on to the concept and seemed to enjoy the fun of building his first bear!

I try to remember; I did not get first of MANY things, but I DO get to enjoy these firsts through his eyes!

He did so well at Build a Bear we tried the lego store. After asking for every set in the store (I can’t believe some of those are $400!!) we decided we should probably move on.  

We had Chick Filet for lunch our first week home and Syler, for whatever reason, was not happy with me there.

This is the fun of no language. He pouts, and I get to guess why, but of course even guessing I really have no idea.

Are you mad because you thought we were going out for Chinese food?
Are you mad because there is a picture of a cow and you are eating chicken?
Are you mad because I am eating a chicken sandwich and you have nuggets?
Are you mad because you don't like Chick Filet because honestly that is going to be an issue if that is why. 
Are you even mad or just in the mood to pout?

So I was not sure if showing him Chick Filet would result in a glare down contest or what. Thankfully he was excited about chicken, we ate and headed home.

For dinner we decided on a Chinese Restaurant that reminds us a bit more of China than most places. Especially because the tables spin in the center and really, that makes dinner with 9 pretty fun AND way more like China than a buffet!

BUT if you have less than 9 don’t think you will get a spinning table, you will not. I tried it last summer and they told me that is only for a big party and I only had 7. 


Syler SCARFED down the food. He eats well here, but apparently nothing is as good as some Chinese Food. We love talking to the staff there. They tried to talk to Syler and while you can tell he understands, he does not talk. It is interesting but we have heard him attempting to speak in English to us more than we have EVER heard him speak to anyone Chinese. IN china or here.

We came home and had cake and ice cream. He acted a bit shy but he seemed to have fun blowing out his candles!

He was so cute opening up all his gifts and VERY excited about his FIRST bike! He had learned to ride a bike right after getting home that first week, but was riding a pink hello kitty bike.

Tonight putting him to bed was the FIRST time he actually kissed me! He is always snuggly and lets us hug and kiss on him, but it was good to have it returned.

Things are going good with our sweet boy. Really he is just an easy kid. He is calm and quiet and very laid back. He gets along well with everyone here and seems happy. He is definitely happiest when the girls come home from school and LOVES to be outside playing with them.  He loves wrestling with Sawyer, and WOW are 2 boys together LOUD.(especially on top of 5 girls!)  J

The times when we both have frustration it is always because of communication. And I get that. I can’t explain WHY I am saying no, he can’t explain WHY he thinks he should be able to do something. So there might be pouting or tears, (on both of our sides!) but that is improving.

Language really is going well. It is funny, every Chinese person we have talked to laughs at me when I say we need a tutor to teach him English. They all tell me, “He will learn listening to all of you, no tutor needed.” And we are finding that to be true.  Though it can still overwhelm me when I work so hard on ABC every day and pull out a flash card of A and he says B. To imagine him READING like the girls anytime soon seems impossible.

But then again, I look back at a month ago, and how far he has come. (can you believe it has been a whole month, WOW!) and why do I even worry? Every day we see change.

It kind of goes back to that whole newborn thing. We miss out on those firsts, and that first year when they change SOOO quickly. BUT we are LIVING his first year home and seeing those amazing changes daily.  It is different; he is no baby for sure. But he is learning and exploring and trying hard to adapt in this new world.

We may have missed almost 9 years with Syler, but we are so thankful that he is now home. That we will celebrate every birthday with him forever! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Here we GROW AGAIN & Again!!!

We are off! Moving over to our travel blog, follow along by clicking HERE!!!!

Catching up 2014

Since I am leaving for CHINA and bringing home TWO children, I am guessing I will never get caught up on blogs if I don't catch up NOW before I go! :-) (and I do this because my children bug me when I DON'T, so here we go, in pictures! )

Chinese New year was the big event! 

We had the youth mystery ball with our church youth group. I was in charge of the dessert bar. :-) 

Celebrated my moms 60th birthday!
(also my grandpa and aunts!)

Had a fun day at Cahokia Mounds.

AND prepared to travel!!

Prayer and Blessings

 Sunday our church called our family up to pray over us. It was such a sweet send off. Our church family has been so supportive of my mission in Chenzhou and of our adoptions. So thankful to be a part of a church that has a heart for the orphan! I think it was so good for even my little girls to be a part of such a beautiful time of love and encouragement! 

 Then after that my friends and family gathered at my favorite coffee shop for more prayer and encouragement. It was beautiful. They each had a specific area they prayed over from our flights to luggage to our guides, each of us by name, the kids, etc and so on. 

I know that many do not have the support of family and friends when they adopt, and I am SOOO thankful that we do. Not only did I feel loved, I felt that my new children to be are truly already loved by them.

They say it takes a village, and I am so grateful to say that I have one of the best around! When the going gets tough, as I know it will, I know that these dear friends will be there for me to love us through those tough times. Thank you friends for loving us well! 

Who's going to China?

The question keeps getting asked, who is going to China this time? On our previous adoption trips we took NO kids. And it was heavenly. :-) It was the right choice for those trips and honestly what our new kids needed at the time. 

But this trip we knew we would consider taking kids. In particular one kid. Who has a HUGE heart for the orphan, a HUGE heart for babies, and DESPERATELY wanted to go. 

Makenna had no interest in going. She has been to China 3 times on mission and LOVES that. Wants to return again for that. The thought of NOT being in the orphanage the entire trip was to much for her to even imagine. Plus she is saving up to go back next summer on mission. 

Sawyer, we wondered. It is a brother, would he want to go?! But Sawyer has yet to travel overseas. He is a VERY very VERY picky eater. Though I know that when God calls him, he will work through that. He is thinking he wants to go on mission, so he is saving his money for that. I do think he will do better on a mission trip over than an adoption trip. To much down time on adoption trips! 

Sage & Mavery.... I really did want to consider taking Sage. This is her orphanage after all. And this trip would be easier than a mission trip. (I will not take her on a mission trip there till she is MUCH older) Plus she is just easy. BUT, Mavery is not ready for this trip at all. Mavery could not handle the flight let alone China!  And to be honest, I am not sure that Sage is ready either. 

So, the decision was pretty easy. Malaine will travel with us! She has wanted to go on mission, and I think this is a good step in that direction. Malaine is the one who knows the kids in the orphanage by name, sometimes better than I do! (and she has never been!) She knows the nannies, she knows their stories. She listens, she bears the burden of life there through what I share. 

This will be her very first flight. She is SOO excited and I am SOO excited to share this with her! I know that she will do great with the kids, and will just be a joy to have along. She is an easy child as it is, and is laid back. She is excited to try the foods, she is NOT excited about squatty potties. :-) 

I have had the privilege of seeing China through Makenna's eyes 3 times, and I have loved that. Now I will see it through Malaine's eyes. I pray that God will capture her heart and she will return changed, as China seems to do for all of us. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A room for a Superhero

My mother is amazingly talented. Unfortunately that talent skipped right on over me and landed on Makenna. Which are both to my benefit, I get out of much of the decorating work! :-) My kids young and old are obsessed with super hero's. So when adding a boy, the choice for his room was so easy! 
 A super hero room for our superhero! My mom has spent MANY hours on this. Painting and drawing and sewing curtains and painting some more. My parents are so generous with their time, $ and talent and we are so thankful. You can just see the loved poured into this room for a boy they have yet to meet. But whom is already loved. 

Makenna painted the letters below. She is such a good artist and enjoys drawing and painting. And as you can see, she is also VERY talented! You might remember, Syler was one of her favorite's from our mission trips. So the fact that he gets to actually be her brother is pretty special. I can't wait to see him finally seeing her! 

Can you imagine the look on Sylers face to walk into this room? We will have a bed set up in our room for him, but he can keep his things in here and when he is ready, he can sleep under the city of super hero's!