Sunday, January 31, 2010

Queen Play











The Queen and I played pretend cook/eat/feed babies today after church. Mind you I had to feed the babies while she cooked and ate. She has stopped playing with the baby dolls once she discovered other toys. I think that playing with the dolls is too much like orphanage work. I am pretty sure, by her actions, that she cared for the younger kids in the institute and that she scrubbed spots out of clothes and helped with the laundry. So playing dolls is too close to being back in China*.




She is quite a hoot to play with though. She has a mind of her own and once she starts something there is no distracting her or persuading her to something else. She would rather let those babies starve than let me get near the kitchenette and get a spoon to feed them. However she was kind enough to fix me some food. She fixed me a jelly, balongna, and tomato sandwich. I vomited. Not really, just pretended since that is what she does with my cooking, ha ha. She cracks me up.




And she finished up our meal by pretending to hand wash her apron. See what I mean.




And the first picture is her with royal brother #1 showing off her poncho from her aunt Tracy. Thanks Tracy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

School Days























Today was Parent's Day at the kids school today. Middle school doesn't participate in this so I included a picture of Prince #1 at Home coming, school spirit day. Doesn't he look so cool.

Today first I went to Prince #2's class. Third grade sure is hard. They have been studying plants and that teacher had the nerve to give a class quiz- parents against kids. Parents Lost!!!!! As you can see in one of the photos. But it was a lot of fun going to class with my youngest son's class. He was so sweet and he really wanted to make sure someone was coming. I had already decided to go to his class since I went to The Queen's class last Friday for gingerbread houses. The Royal Baba went to her class first today. At the half way point we switched and he got to go see the prince's action and I went to The Queen's class. They were cute. They also had a parent competition that involved addition. Everybody got their problems correct but lets just say those kindergartners are much faster than their parents. Maybe it is all those calculators we use that makes our brains marshmellows. Then the kids had to fish for numbers to form 2 digit numbers that the teacher would call out like --79. Those 5-6 yr olds amazed me. They even included The Queen in this, her teacher called out the number 3 and she went right to it on the floor and placed in on the easel like the others. The class was so sweet all wanting to encourage her with hugs. Which is right up her alley because she likes to hug people that she knows and are good to her.

And then came time to leave and return to work. I had a late meeting today which made me rather late, later than usual. She is doing well and has adjusted great. No tears, excitement when she enters. But today, with me being late, she shed a few tears. It was something new, after nap they go to recess (and she has done this part but we usually get her during that time) but today recess ended and they had to go inside and to yet another new room for her. This The Queen did not like and apparently let it be known. She cried. But it must not have been much because she wasn't all red and stuff.
And she has added on a few words that she uses freely suddenly. As I type she is saying, mama hungry ( Mama I am hungry), kitchen mama (go to the kitchen and cook something mama)!! Gotta run and get this girl some food.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Wall Remembered











We are missing China, Royal Brother 1 and the Royal Mama. We enjoy looking back at our photos and I realized that I really haven't posted a lot of pictures of our sightseeing so I am going to go back a little at a time and post some. The only regret is that we didn't have The Queen with us to see all the sights round her country. But that only means we will need to return one day for her to see all those sight.
Today are pictures from The Great Wall.
Let me share a little bit about my experience there. It was cold, I mean Brrrjing cold. Which makes it hard to breath with the combination of cold and altitude. The steps are steep in many areas and there was ice on the left (coming down side) side of the wall. This all makes it hard to climb up or descend down the wall. There is a railing but you have to stoop down to hold it so really it is like holding your ankles as you go up the wall. Now try holding your ankles as you descend down irregular steps. You feel like you are going to topple over. Can be quite comical. While I was lagging behind on an area that was more like a sidewalk (no steps), I watched a man slip on the ice and slide most of the trip down. I tried yelling to him to grab the handrail to help him stop. He didn't listen to me. Then it hit me he probably didn't speak English. Oh well I tried.
The boys went up 3 towers high on the wall, but not me. I went part way then went back down. I decided that holding my ankles and having to climb back down that far was too risky for me. If anyone really knows me they all know I am super clumsy. I fell flat on my body this summer crossing the street at our town square shopping center. It really hurt my pride and my knees. So I didn't want to experience this in a foreign country with no medical care nearby if I needed it.
The Wall is massive and beautiful. Just like the photos you see in books.
We need to return when it is warm.

Updates











Just a few things to share with you abut our queen. She has had us up the last few nights with a constant cough. But the thing is she never has any fluids coming out of her, just a cough. Since the day we got her she constantly sucks snot in, but never needs to blow her nose, but lately it has lead to the cough. So today I ave in and took her to the doctor. Because she has dealt with something for so long she decided to give her an antibiotic and hopefully this will help. But I will tell you a miracle drug that does cut the cough for a few hours-- HONEY. It does miracles, at least she can fall asleep, may get up later, but can start her night out sleeping. As you can see in oneof the photos, she is getting her antibiotic. The Queen hates medicine and I don't know if you can see tht on her face but let me tellyou she was making faces and that vomiting noise.




We did experience another first. The Queen has learned to take a shower. When I would lean her back to rinse he hair she was like a fish out of water floundering around. So I worked on The Queen rinsing in the shower and we moved to full bathing in the shower. And she can do it without having to hold a washrag over her eyes now. She was so proud of her accomplishment.




And you can see her having dinner. I gave her a spoon for her peas and a fork for the macaroni-n-cheese and ham. She tried using the spoon for it all. So we showed her how to stab her food with the fork. But the girl is so stubborn and insisted on eating her dinner with that spoon. She is just so darn cute.




And some cute moments with her.... We took the boys in for dental checkups and she went back with them to watch. She also watched a little girl get x-rays done and the dental assistant told the girl "good job baby" and The Queen said baby, wah wah and rub her eyes like crying. And last night her Baba was sick and laying around. She wanted to play with him and he explained that he had a cold and needed to sit around. She heard the word cold and ran and got him a big blanket. Again she is just so darn cute.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More New First for Our Queen































The Queen has had another busy week. After having a holiday on Monday, Tuesday was back to regular schedule- work and school. The Queen's only struggle has been when her Royal Mama would leave to go to work first but even that got better as the week went on. She did have a bump in the road when her teacher had to go home with a sick daughter before the school day even began, but The Queen was quite regal and held herself together just fine. Oh and there was the day that her schedule got off. We always go through what her daily routine entails (side night, for her as an adoptee, it helps her if we try to explain before hand what happens next. ex: royal brother #1 is going to hug you and she is fine, but if you don't prepare her well there can be repercussions on some occasions.) So each day we tell her first you see royal teacher #1, then after lunch you see royal teacher #2 and take a nap, then MAMA COMES! Well on one occasion this week her royal Baba had to come see brother #1 and she was at the playground after nap time and she spotted him. He went on for the conference and then I arrived, he got to her first and boy she was stiff and seemed quite unsure if she even wanted to come to him. Talk about a setback, but really it was only for a second. But hey we did things out of routine and I am sure she was confused since we always go through this routine. She is such a trooper and rebounds so quickly, she amazes us, but then she is so regal being The Queen and all.




Then Friday was a big day of first for The Queen. First her class made gingerbread houses. She seemed to enjoy it, maybe it was the candy but she definitely was not fond of getting her fingers all messy and sticky. I believe that really goes back to that royalty thing but she is an awesome queen and not afraid to get her hands into things, she is just quicker than most to get them clean. Next, at lunch the "Sea Hawk" showed up from our local university and you would think she would be scared of people dressed up in big sweaty costumes. No not our Queen, she is brave! She ran right over to that big bird and threw her arms around him and was kind enough to pose for a picture. After lunch I picked her up and we attended the school Homecoming parade with Royal Brother #2. This was the Queen's first parade. You would have thought with royalty among them that they would have asked her to ride on one of those convertibles, but really we try to keep her royalty under wraps there, we can have everyone wanting her autograph or to touch her or something. But she did get to see her 2 favorite buddies in the parade, they too were adopted from China, they were riding with their big jie jie. The Queen was quite unsure of the happenings around her but she noticed the other kids were excited so she, being easy going for what she has been through, joined in the excitement. Well not really but she was curious and watched with interest. Her dislikes were the loud sirens, but then who does like them blaring 2 feet from you. She did like the candy that some threw out.

We ended our Friday by going to the homecoming celebrations that evening including some basketball games and the crowning of the king and queen. The Queen's favorite part of a basketball game is the cheering with the cheerleaders. We can see what her future will hold. Since we knew this I decided to run to the dollar store to pick her up some pom poms. Got there and couldn't find one set. We walked that aisle 3 times looking for them. Went up and asked the clerks and they sent us back to that aisle if they even had any. So I decided one more time we would go look. As I walked I prayed that just one would show up, knowing we had walked it 3 times and there was none. We walked that whole aisle and got to the very end and saw none, but decided to stop and look up and down. And on top of some stick ponies was one set of pom poms and they were school colors. I couldn't believe it, but why should I doubt God when something is in His will. And this one dollar item made that Queen the happiest one at the whole homecoming. Every time the cheerleaders got on the floor The Queen stood on her bleacher seat and cheered every cheer. She did the motions, the words, the claps, and the jumps. To be so shy in crowds, this is one time she is not shy.
She just amazes us at how well she fits into our life and lifestyle. She is a happy girl. Even with all these brothers she is a girlie girl and loves her jewelry, nails polished, hair bows, and now her cheer leading.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Queen's Many Faces



When you have an infant you learn their cries, their noises, their faces, and you know what all of them mean without them ever having to speak a word of English. It is the same way with a newly adopted 5 yr old. Even if we can't fully commuicate you learn those sounds and those faces. As you can see one picture she is smiling in one and one she is not. The one without the smile is her mad or nervous face. Makes me wonder if what I have mistaken as nervous is really just a mad face. Her mad face is displayed here because she doesn't have a nintendo*ds like her brothers. Really it is kind of funny how she has learned to communicate. I just had to capture it because I know one day this will be a thing of the past when she learns how to communicate with words. And folks she is not hurting for toys, it is just that one toy. But she doesn't have the skills to use one yet.
But then I showed her what she looked like and how there was a difference in a smile and an angry face so she perked up and smiled for me. She understands! So I couldn't leave you with the angry face because really The Queen spends most of her time smiling (excpet when the Royal Mama has to leave her had bed time or mornings for work). Isn't she just precious?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Home 1 Month

Can hardly believe we have been home one month today, well at 1:25am this morning. This little Queen has just melded into our family and can't believe that it has only been one month. She has picked up so many words, she may not use them but she understands when we say brush your teeth, put on your shoes, etc. And more amazing is how much she tries to say. We went to the grocery story and as we went up and down the aisles she would point out things and say them or she would say who in the family likes to eat that. On the snack aisle she pointed out all these chocolate type cookies and would say Baba, boy she knows him, but that is because that is there thing- they share cookies in the evenings.
She has also started school. Learned to tolerate the males in the household. She has learned to nap at school. She has taught us that she actually has a very loud voice. That she giggles alot and loves to be tickled (which we try to avoid). She amazes us with her willingness to try new foods. We have also discovered her stubborn side, especially when it comes to LEARNING ~ like doing simple puzzles, writing the alphabet, saying the alphabet, looking at books. Anything that is educational, she avoids, I stare her down, and then she tries it my way. She is too funny.
She just fits so perfectly, that we know it was God ordained who our daughter would be. We love her.

Puppy Love!

The Queen loves doggies, from afar. It is so cute. Every time we see a dog now she starts yelling DOGGIE, DOGGIE, HEY DOGGIE, all the while waving.
Today we were loading the car with groceries and I told her to get in the car in her seat. So she obediently went to the passenger back door, opened it, and crawled in. Then I hear this yelling DOGGIE, DOGGIE, HEY DOGGIE. I come around to fasten her and she is on the otherside of the car with that car door open too and yelling at a dog in the next car over. I get her buckled in all the while yelling at the dog. Good thing this dog was just an old shoe hound dog, he just sat there unphased by this yelling child. Then as I was buckling myself in, the owner hops in and cranks her car and The Queen starts yelling, BYE DOGGIE, BYE DOGGIE. The dog still didn't wave, but The Queen never gave up.
Now when I shared this story over dinner her brothers were too excited. They take this acceptance as "she wants a dog." So after dinner, they kept asking her if she wanted one. And true to form, she shook her NO. She just likes them from afar.

The Queen returned to school today. She had a hard time when Royal Mama left, it makes her down right mad. But once she was over it, she did fine the rest of the day. She just walked right in for her Baba and put her things away like the other kids. The only thing she forgot to do was to take her coat off. During the day they went to art and our Queen got paint around her fingernails and on her shirt. She was not happy one bit about this when I picked her up. Every 2 minutes she would say mama and when I would look back at her she would either pull out her shirt at me or she would shoe me her nails. And this was not just any mama, it was that whiny kind that says, "I don't like this, or this makes me mad." I would respond will take care of it at home and she would nod, then she would repeat this 2 minutes later. I need to run now and get that spot out of her shirt before she ask again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Phone Call Away...

This afternoon, while her talking on the phone mood, I decided to see if we could reach one of her Changning sisters. We finally found one to talk to in Kentucky. Of course the language was a barrier, but nonetheless she has been thrilled all evening. She will say her sisters' name and then repeat it and add mama since we talked to her mama too. The Queen even lifted them up tonight in our bed time ritual of name each person that Jesus loves and they have made the list. It is amazing how one little call will lift ones spirits and they didn't even know they were down. She has just hugged my neck all afternoon and will whisper her name in my ears as she is hugging me. So so so sweet. Can't wait til they can communicate.

The Park


Today we went to the park, Ogden Park. We were going to have a picnic but it was just too cold, the wind was Brrrrjing cold. But we did play a little bit, moving helped. The Queen likes to swing, but needs to be pushed and then she liked the BIG slide. Then took a walk around the lake and she tried to talk and wave at al the dogs. She thinks they can wave a talk back.
But her favorite thing, even in China, is to talk on the phone. Here she is, caught in action, pretending to talk on the phone. Most of the time it is in Chinese but she talks low so that we can hardly hear her. That is also how she talks in Chinese to us now. She will come up and whisper in our ears in Chinese and then she looks to see our reaction and it must be something funny because she will kill over in laughter. Or maybe she is laughing because she knows we don't know what she said. But she has learned to say good morning without prompting, she did it on the phone today to her Baba. If only we understood enough Chinese!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Queen Cooks
















This afternoon we decided to cook some muffins. This is a Sunday afternoon thing for me, fixing muffins for the week. And the fact that that is really about the only dessert I can cook besides a pumpkin roll. Go figure I can't fix any desserts decently so I have to stick with simple things from a box, but yet I can make pumpkin rolls?? Anyway The Queen likes to cook, some how that is one thing that is not beneath her. Really she is a down to earth kind of queen. She even let one of her royal subjects join us in the kitchen for our endeavor.





First we made chocolate chocolate chunk muffins and next we made lemon poppy seed with glaze icing. As you can see they enjoy licking the spoons and beaters more than the actually work. Although they were quite good at mixing. And I have to say that royal subject is a smart one, he may even dethrone her one day. I put out two mixing bowls but I had not yet figured out in my mind how I was going to have them SHARE this process. But that subject figured it out all by himself without me. As I was cracking the eggs, he said, "you are going to give me one and her one aren't you?" Or maybe he was really thinking of himself and making sure he was not to be outdone by The Queen and left out. Anyway it all worked out and they were both quite happy. It went much better than when they tried to help me cook dinner over hot burners and pans last night. Let's just say The Queen didn't like when her royal subjects pan popped a splatter on her.





And then she wrapped her afternoon adoring her Royal Baba. As you can see she adores him now. She is just gazing up at him while he has that "man stare" at the TV watching football.

Isn't She a Doll


I couldn't resist posting this picture. This is a dress that a friend gave her and she was just too cute, as always, so I had to snap her in this for all to see. What you couldn't see is her fussing at me, 2 minutes before when I had to take off her PJ shirt. It didn't even touch her ears, but she always has to fuss and let me know that they are there. And you also can't see her matching accessories. She added on a bracelet and a necklace, she is The Queen of Jewelry.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Royal Ball Gown


I mentioned that I went shopping at a friends house and bought a bunch of clothes for The Queen, while there we bought a ball gown for The Queen. Here she is posing in her Royal Ball Gown. She loves the dress and feels like a Queen in it. But I have finally determined what kind of queen she is, she is the "Drama Queen." Her emotions are always extreme. Disclaimer: I say this, but really they are only when she is teasing, otherwise her emotions are really normal. But when she is playing around, if you touch her she cries a loud scream but smiles great big. And when she sings she sings to the top of her lungs!! And when she teases, she is really loud squealing. For example she loves to turn the light off on me in the bathroom and she squeals with delight unless she does it while she is actually in there with me, then she screams to the top of her lungs but when I turn the light back on she is smiling and laughing great big. At dinner tonight were determined that really she is "The Drama Queen" but for the sake of shorthand we will just continue to refer to her as The Queen.
What I really want to know is what size is the cow that licked her head? Are there even cows in China? I don't recall eating any beef from China, it was Kobe or imported from Australia if you count that mince meat burger we got in Beijing, lets don't even think about where it is from. It had to have come from that other Queen in Europe somewhere. But really where is the cow that licked her head cause she has more cow licks in her hair than I do for sure. It is beautiful hair.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Queen Loves Shopping

Yes even royalty likes to shop for a bargain. We have a friend that is raising money for her adoption and is selling her daughters' clothes and shoes, even their house, lol. So another friend and I went over to her house and went shopping and let me tell you the Queen was right in our midst holding items up and slipping on different shoes. While the other kids were outside playing, not The Queen, she was picking out pretty things but really she is drawn to SHOES. She even came away with a royal ball gown, yellow one to be exact. Every queen should have a royal ball gown and this girl loves to play dress up. She has only had one hand-me down dress but just loves it. This dress that we got today looks brand new. You should have seen her when we got home with 2 garbage bags full of clothes and shoes. She wanted to pull out every item and look at them. I was excited to come away with so many good items for her as she grows and to be able to help another orphan have a forever family.
We have also completed our first full week of school. She has amazed all of us and especially her teachers. Her main teacher told me she was amazed at how much she has transformed and how comfortable she feels now from just a week ago. She now runs and plays on the playground with the other kids and fits right in. Her nap time teacher is also in shock after her melt down on Monday. On Tuesday she was a totally compliant child and by Thursday she was napping. She even had to be woken up yesterday and today. Plus when she went to music, which is with a male teacher (and we know how much she has had to warm up to the males in our household), she went in this week just fine and she smiled during music class and even tried to sing. The girl loves to sing and this week she has really come out of her shell and experimented with singing many songs. She is not afraid to try anymore. And the finale, during morning staff prayer meeting at her school, there were a couple of praises that morning and they were all pertaining to our Queen. When they told me about that I cried. Only a week like this can happen with prayer. Let's pray that her next week is just as great. She hasn't experienced a weekend break and then return. That is always hard on a little one just starting school and this weekend is a long one.
And tonight is another newbie for her. Her royal Baba is putting her to bed. We usually both go in but she insist that the royal Mama stay but this time we decided to try Baba since she was really clinging to him and even though she wanted me she was also still reaching for her Baba so we decided to push a new routine for her and she is doing pretty good. i hear giggles, but then that may mean her Baba is not able to leave for fear of a tear. Gotta start somewhere though and this way we can start switching off nights.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jesus*Loves*Me

Our favorite song around here. That was one of the first glimmers between The Queen and us that God is revealing Himself to our little girl. She has never had the light of revealed to her. China lives in darkness. It was decorated for Christmas and Christmas music played everywhere but the people were lost, it meant nothing to them. So The Queen came to us with no knowledge or understanding of her Savior. When we would pray she thought it was absolutely hilarious and made her so uncomfortable, she would giggle. But in no time her heart has been transformed. It started with her wanting me to sing Jesus*Loves*Me this I know to her when I missed a night of singing it. I always sing one part in Chinese so she is getting that line. Also at the same time she would sit at the table to eat and would yell Amen, meaning lets do that thing so I can eat. But something new has started happening. She wants to pray. At first she didn't know what to say so I would have her repeat me. But now she will spontaneously start praying and she prays for each family member. It is absolutely the sweeetest thing and so awesome to see God working in someone. It brings tears to my eyes everytime she prays. It is so genuine and pure. It is just awesome to be seeing God work in someone. You know it is Him revealing Himself to her. Wait til she really gets it. I can't wait to tell that some day. But I have to share what she did tonight. She always goes through Jesus Ayi (eye) ... each family member by name, but later in our night time routine, she said Jesus ayi.. and then she added her teachers' names. What a giant step from Monday when she melted down at having to leave teacher 1 to go to teacher 2 for nap time. I am amazed at how much she grasp God's love. I can't believe that our little Queen has already started praying, just glad I am on her prayer list.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

School Has Started

School has started now for all of us including me and The Queen. I went back to work yesterday, not that I wanted to. I didn't want to leave her, we have had such a good time together but all good things must come to an end. The Queen started full-time yesterday. She seems to love being around the other kids, the only down side is she has to leave me and she hates that. She is my velcro child and doesn't like for me to leave the room on her. She doesn't mind leaving me in a room but not vice versa. She is also happy with her teacher. Her teacher replaces me during the day, but she definitely has me distinguished as the Mama, which is nice, it means she is bonding. I think she is very happy at school, she seems to not mind the learning aspect of the day, she likes center time and has been caught smiling while at centers. I personally think she likes this better than the institute, it means no dirty laundry to have to clean. So compared to handwashing the laundry doing school work is FUN! The only downside of school is nap time and really I think it is because it means leaving her regular teacher and has to go with a new person. But today she has done better, not tears, just smiles and laughter, PTL.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Queen's Chariot

Today she left in her chariot with her Baba. Wipeeee!!!! This is a huge step for our little Queenie. As you know she has been my velcro child since we first got her in china. That is why just going to school was a tremendous step for her but true to every child she didn't want to be left. She did quickly recover each day at school and would even be caught with a smile. Our schedule everyday requires the Royal Mama to leave first since I get to work about 5-10 after seven. Then Baba leaves around 7:30am to takes the kids to school. She responds better if you tell her before hand what is happening, so we figured we better take the last 2 days this past week and have Baba take her to school. I followed close by and got her out at 1:15 each day but tomorrow she stays til 3:15, a long day. But this is how her day will truly be so we had to get her into the groove. Anyway back to the point. Thursday was the first time she was with the boys/Baba without me and true to form she had a fit all the way to school, remember she has been my velcro child. But on Saturday the boys had a full full day and she and I didn't see them once they left for basketball in the morning. We even went to bed before they got home last night. So that really made her miss her Royal Baba and brothers. So today we had to press things a little further so she would be ready to ride in her chariot off to school tomorrow. I first went to the grocery store to get some foods for lunches this week. Next her older brother needed something from D*cks Sporting Goods and we offered her the chance to go with them and leave Mama behind. And do you know what the Queen did? She left me!!! And she was smiling as her Baba drove away in her taxi. It makes Mama smile too, but you should have seen the Royal Baba's smiling face. I think he was more thrilled than I was. He had to be, I miss my velcro child.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Veggie**Tale Saga Continues...

She cracks me up! Since it was Saturday morning and I needed to get ready to go to the AWAA seminar and show off our "Spicy Girl" I put a cartoon on for her to watch while I showered (she has to be near me). But before I could jump in the shower she started pointing to the 3 bunny characters on the TV and started meowing like a cat. So I had to stop and straighten her out on her animals. I told her no they were bunnies and I proceeded to show her that bunnies hop. In her straight, dead pan, face she looked at me, hit her arms and pointed to the bunnies on tv. Yup they have arms so that was totally confusing since they hop and so do the vegetables, but these guys had arms???? It is all so hard for her little mind to keep it all straight. Wait till she learns to talk about it in English, boy will a lot of things become more clear.
So we ended our day with another veggie tale story. The boys are out of town, they went to the "Winter Jam" concert but I knew she wouldn't be up to that large of a crowd or the loudness of it so we went to a movie instead. Anyway after the movie she and I went for some Japanese food. Yeah I know she is Chinese but she loves the Japanese, it doesn't have all those sauces on it. While we were enjoying our meal a couple sat in the booth in front of us and we could see the mans head above the seat and he was bald. So she started patting her head and pointing to him so I told her he was bald. So then she pats her arms and points to the man. I lost it, we were back to figuring out this whole veggie tale thing. I laughed so hard she put her hand over mouth. I can't wait til she learns English....
Now let me put in a plug for the movie we went to see. We went to see the movie "Blind Side" with S. Bullock. It was a great story and it is true. This family takes in a boy and it is their story about having him and he has gone on to be a professional football player for the Balitimore R.avens. Many go to see if for the various aspects it hits in society, but I went because of his adoption story, you know it is close to my heart. But for whatever you may get out of it, doesn't matter, go see the movie or rent it when it comes out. It was so good that at various points in the story line, the audience would erupt into applause.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Veggie**Tales through the eyes of a non-English speaker.

If you have never seen the Veggie**Tales, well you need to to appreciate this. They are Bible stories acted out with a good moral story line too, but the characters, well are vegetables. They have no arms, hands, legs, or feet. And we English speakers over look it, even the kids over look it. But tonight I decided to show The Queen the story of Queen Esther. You know, from one queen to another. Anyway about 10 minutes into the movie she looks at me and starts hitting her arms and pointing to the tv. That's right, they have no arms. This continues so I explain that they are vegetables and vegetables have no appendages but listen it is a great story. Oh yeah, she doesn't know English yet. So this continues every time a new character enters or re-enters the scene. And I repeat yes they have no arms they are vegetables, and she says "oh." Then she starts hitting her legs and pointing to the characters. "Yes they have no legs, they are vegetables." "Oh" Then she gets down on the floor and starts hopping on two feet. Yup you guessed it, since they have no legs or feet they can't walk so they have to hop everywhere.
At this point I am laughing so hard I am crying. This is hilarious to watch it through the eyes of a 5 year old non-English speaker. Really it makes no sense to her and now to me either. As English speakers we don't pay attention to their oddities, you get hooked into their cuteness or their funny lines they deliver, but when you can't understand them and you don't know what they are, well you then point out the obvious. And did you know the king on there has no teeth and the gourd has no eyes? You really should pop over and watch them with The Queen, especially if you need a good laugh.

What a Difference a Month Makes!

I know I am on a role today but had to do it while it is on my mind or I might lose it and quickly.
Tonight while I was laying down with The Queen I was thinking about what a difference in just a months time. We have had her for 1 month this past Monday and it is hard to believe.

As I was lying there I was thinking about how in the beginning we had this scared little girl that was even afraid to share her smile with us. Oh she wanted to but was too shy to even let us in on it. Only when she wasn't aware of herself we would glimpse that smile of hers. And now she is always ready to share her joy, her happiness, her smile with us. She just lights up when she sees one of us coming.

Now she lets us touch her any ole time. In the beginning it was only me, the royal mom that could touch her. And even then I was constantly having to guess whether she liked it or if she really despised my actions. My only glimmer as to whether she liked my actions or not was through her actions with her doll. My stroking her cheek at night or kissing her forehead constantly (you can't help it) was carried out on her dolls when no one was suppose to be watching. Then I knew she liked it.

Hugs, well there weren't any. We would hug and she would just stay a stiff board, or if it was the boys she would push them off. She can still be reserved with them, but as for her parents, we can hug her anytime and she is always there with a hug back. And many times she instigates it now, especially with her royal Baba. When I lay down with her now she just molds into me and snuggles right up, no more stiff board.

And no more vomiting sounds. In the beginning that was how she communicated if she didn't like something, like a food we picked out etc. And that was ok. She also like to tease with that a lot. She would sniff my lotion, that she had also put on, and would make the vomit sound but then sniff hers and say mmmm. We see very little of that now or should I say hear little of it. She communicates more with shaking her head for "no" and "yes". And she is just communicating better each day, she is very creative.

We are just amazed at how comfortable she feels with us and around our house now. Hard to believe it has only been a month.

Thoughts on Adoption

I have just really been thinking about adoption in general lately so I am going to attempt to post them.

I had no idea how much we would love and enjoy her. I can tell you I am just as protective and anxious about her starting school as I was with my boys. It is hard to imagine for those that have never adopted but it is true.
Before we actually took the plunge and adopted I was proceeding with a bit of caution. Never sure how I would really feel once we had her. When we first entertained the idea about adopting, we came together as a family and prayed about it many times. We did our research to see what type of adoption was best for our family etc. But when we took that first step and said YES we are going to adopt and we made the commitment to proceed with the paperwork and all, it seemed like a huge burden was lifted off of me. You would think it would be the other way around, hey we had just committed ourselves to a huge life change and lots of money was expected. But instead it was the opposite, relief. Why because we had answered God's call on our life. We didn't have the money when we finally took that step, but we knew we had been called and we were going to step out in faith and trust that if it was God's will He will provide. And provide He did. Sometimes we didn't know where the money was going to come from to make the next payment on it, but it was ALWAYS there, always. We had to do a lot of the leg work, we did fundraisers of all sorts. We had to make our house ready for a 3rd child but it all came together in record time, because our adoption timeline was a record too. Once we had the ball rolling, my feelings changed. I no longer viewed her as an adopted child versus a biological child. I realized there was no difference. Why had I made it such a big thing in my mind to have biological children, an adopted child is no different, you feel the same. And God always matches you with the perfect child. And if they have a design flaw, it can happen to your bioligical child too. And that is why we chose to go the special needs route. We would love her just the same. And really it is no biggie that she was a special needs child. People say to me you can't tell she was special needs. That is because only we know what it is, and the doctors, and that is not even confirmed yet anyway.
My other fear and this was my own lack of confidence in myself and my discernment. I was afraid of getting ahead of God in this process of being matched with a child. I was worried that if the agency called with a child for us to look at her file, would I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was the one. AND each month when the agency gets referrals from China they match the children up with families that would consider those children's special need, they will have some left over at the end of the month and they post for families in the process to look at and consider looking further at their file. Would I know? Well one thing I knew was that I would never find my child on that list. If I picked one off the shared list then I was afraid that it would be "us" picking and not God. So I felt that, for us, we would have to wait for the agency to call us with a match. Knowing this in my heart, I would show my DH a child on the list that we might want to consider and he would always say, "ehhh maybe," then a no. I had to leave room for God to do what He wanted. When we finally got a referral, I was nervous then. I was still scared of making the wrong choice. I just wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was the one. I hear of everyone saying, "they just knew that was the one." And when we got the referral, I didn't "just know." But we prayed about it as a family and we were all in agreement. Then when we called the agency, she was gone, someone else in the world had locked in on her but they would call if after the 48 hours lock was up if she became available again. We go the call on Saturday morning at the soccer field. I had to run home, take her paperwork to a pediatrician to review and that was it. When I walked out of the doctors office I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt she was the one. All my fears were lifted. God used that visited to take away my fears. And I have never had to second guess the decision.
I just want to encourage anyone that is thinking about adopting or ever thought about it, to truly consider giving a child a home. An institute is no place to live. And my daughter, had she stayed in China, would have not had a life worth living. Because of her special need, which is so minor in the USA, she would have never been able to attend school for a higher education, never had the chance to go to college, could never of had a job, and would not have been able to buy a home. She would have lived on the street and made her living on the street. If a person is not perfect in China, they are an outcast. In Beijing we saw many deformed and sick people begging or selling things on the streets to make a living. This could have been my daughters life, but now, well she lives like a Queen! But coming from the life she had, she will never look at her royal subjects as peons, she will always consider them her equals. She doesn't mind getting down to the nitty gritty with me while I clean and work. But at the same time, the Queen in her comes out and she must have her nails done when we are finished with our tasks. Love her heart.

The Queens Life.... thus far!







Ok so she is not exactly leading the life of a queen. It may not be the "Queen's Life" one would expect, but she has a pretty good life and she seems to be adjusting well. Today was another newbie for her. Today she had to leave the house without Mama and she had to do it with Baba. Now she loves her Baba and jumps up and down and squeals when he arrives home in the evenings. What a drastic change from the first week we had her. But leaving me to go with him, well that is just unheard of for a Queen. Her royal subjects are just now listening to her cries and screams. But well for the rest of us life must go on and "The Queen" is learning to adjust. Royal Mama has taken her to visit school all week and she has gotten to know her teacher and classmates and can even stay in there without crying, but we have never had Royal Baba take her to school or the classroom itself. Today wasa the first day for that. I left the house first since that is how it is on a regular school day, the slave, I mean royal Mama, but leave the house early before everyone else. So true to tradition we went with that today. When I told her bye bye, her little eyes filled with tears but she tried to stay brave and not let it out, but eventually when I had to go out that door the wailing let loose. So they went on and got in the car to follow me on out and we all arrived at school early. She wailed all the way to school, I could hear it... you thought in my car didn't you, no over the phone. But when she arrived at school she calmed down, this of course is where her royal subjects are. She recognized her school and calmed for daddy so he put her in the front and let her pretend to drive til time to go inside. She went in brave, like a Queen should do for her subjects, and that was it. Routine routine routine. She loves her royal teacher and feels safe with her like she does with Royal Mama. They even said she was smiling during center time.



When I arrived to pick her up at recess, she was eating her snack and looked at me but didn't move til we said it was ok. I told her we were leaving and she waived goodbye. I think she thought I was leaving her on the playground again as I did yesterday, but I communicated she could come and she jumped up then and told her Royal Teacher bye. I thought I would be able to run home and get alot done but instead I had too many errands and well it looks like we will be home a short time before returning for the boys. And she has already asked for the Royal Princes. She is ready for them to come home.






What she Needs...



So many have asked what does she need. I don't say this for people to go out and buy her something but this is for those that have been asking and want to get her something. We are good for the winter time now, but spring will roll around soon and we have nothing but a couple of dresses for church. So if any of you that has asked me what she needs, she needs the spring/summer wardrobe, any piece of it. She is a firm 5T now that she has adapted to eating for us. Shoe now seems to be around a size 10.






Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jesus Loves Me.... and Bed Time

I have so many things to tell you about her and the last 2 days but the top of the list is this...
Every night when I put her to bed I always sing "Jesus Loves Me" but when I get to that part in the song I sing it in Chinese and add her name to it. When we were working on her crying it out versus not crying it out, her Baba also sang it to her the same way. Well last night when I laid down with her I didn't sing it. Something just told me not to. I had kicked it over in my mind but opted not to for some reason. Really I wasn't sure it was making a difference and worried that she was associating it with something bad, us leaving her alone. But as we were laying for a while, she started to attempt to sing it and she sang the part "Jesus loves Wen Li." I just about busted inside. She got it, she wanted it, and she let me know she liked it. Isn't that just like the Lord to give us those affirmations when we need them. So I sang it the usual way and then she said Baba so I sang the chorus and replaced her name with his. So then she attempted the chorus and replaced it with each family member. She doesn't know who this Jesus is that we pray to and sing to, but she knows something is special about that name!!!!! And crying it out is a piece of cake now. She does it for 2-5 minutes and is done, and the way she starts it up is sooo fake. She has to work herself up into a real cry.
Now on to the other events. She had her teeth cleaned today and she did GREAT! We were all amazed at this office today. Dr. Skip kept coming by saying wow, she is doing great. The girl cleaning her did awesome. She sat her up and showed her each instrument and how she would use it, but demonstrated on Wen Li's hand. The only part Wen Li didn't like was lying back. But she got over that quick. When the doc checked her out, she pushed me away. I was in shock, she pushed me away y'all. But I didn't mind really, glad she felt that comfortable.
Then we went to visit her school again. First we went to visit her big ge-ge's class and they loved seeing her. Then he walked with us to her class where they were lining up for a potty break and then off to art. I let her do the potty part by herself, it is time to sink or swim. Then we went to art and I stayed for half of it. I left half way through and she really cried, poor art teacher was probably lost at that point, but again she has to do it on her own next week sooo... time to learn. But the good thing is she calmed right down for her classroom teacher when she came to pick her up. Good sign. She also did the lunch thing again and went through the line to learn how to do that too. Tomorrow we will visit longer and I will stay for her during recess and snack time and some class time, then leave. We are also taking in some of our things we brought back from China to share with the class and maybe some candy too.
And tonight!!! She was the most loving thing to EVERYONE, hear that EVERYONE in the household. She was even loving on those brothers. I guess distance DOES make the heart grow fonder because she sure was excited to pick them up after school today.
And tonight I also pulled out one of her Chinese outfits to try on her, I had remembered that a silk pants suit that I bought her ran small and might fit now. Oh when I got that on her she threw herself into my arms and just hugged me. She was very excited about that outfit, then she went off to find her brothers and show them. She returned to me and started to sing one of our Chinese songs that we ALL know off of a Mei Mei video. Some of the songs the girls wear outfits similar to the one she had on and then it clicked, she looked like the girls in the video. She was excited that I had her an outfit like that.
Let me tell you how smart the girl is too. She has memorized all the songs on the Mei Mei videos and many of the dances. And we have only been watching it now for little more than a week. The girl has a photographic type memory. We are amazed!!!! She should do well in school once she picks up that language.
Speaking of bed time.....goodnight

Your Invited...........

Meet and Greet for Gracyn Wen Li Driggs
When: Friday January 8th
Where: Grace Baptist Church
Time: 6pm
Cake will be served.
Directions from I40: take 40 east to Wilmington. When I40 ends at Wilmington, there is big church on the right and that is it. The fellowship hall is to the far right next to the woods.


Adoption Seminar
America World Adoption Association
is hosting an adoption seminar at Northside Baptist Church
Where: their fellowship hall
When: Saturday January 9th
Time: 10am- noon
This is for anyone that has ever thought about adoption or if a family member has thought about adopting and you want to get informed, this is for you. This is the agency we used.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Some New First for The Queen




Today were some first for The Queen. She went to school today. Not for a real full day, she visited her class today. We visited right before lunch and went to lunch with them. The students have been anticipating her arrival and were so excited to see her. They were sweet trying to speak some Chinese to her, but you all know how she reacts to that--she shuts down more. And some wanted to touch her soooo bad, I don't blame them we do too. But our boys can attest to the fact that she really doesn't like that either, I guess if she could have pet peeves they would be the ones. I am the only one that can consistently come up unexpected and touch her and I can kiss on her any ole time and she lets me love all over her, but anyone else-- they have to ask The Queen permission to touch. That's what makes her The Queen. You must be from royalty to get into that inner sanctum. The brothers have not been as privileged yet, she was even standoffish with her royal Baba today at his work which leads me to our 2nd first today. She got to visit her Baba's workplace. She loved him coming to the car and was screaming his name on the way to his work, but once we arrived, well, he was just a peon. No not really, but she still made sure the royal highness Mama was close by. I mean we had left the royal palace and it was just all so new across the moat.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Day in the life of a Queen




Well the Queen went to church and Sunday School today. She wore a sweet little dress and put her hair up in piggy tails so everyone could see those new pierced ears. She is doing great with them and hardly fusses when I clean them (3x's a day, uggg). When we got home today she jumped into our game of crash-m-cars. She thought it looked fun til it crashes into your fingers so then she decided it was better to just watch from atop daddy. Who would have thought 3 weeks ago she would be all over him like that, he's not liking it one bit, yeah right.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our New Chef


The girl likes to cook too. Usually it was A. Man under me while I cooked but now that he is into sports, well.... I lost him. So now I have a new cooker, The Queen. She seems quite comfortable and confident around a kitchen too mmm.... makes one wonder. Here is a snap shot of our new chef cooking with me tonight. Our dish, Dijon Chicken, rice in our rice cooker, string beans (which she gobbled up first), cranberry sauce (which she despises), and celery with cheese which she loves and licked the cheese off the plate when it was all gone.

At the moment she is telling her Baba to get his ears pierced. She just doesn't have this male role verses the female role down yet. She keeps trying to get the boys and Baba to paint their nails, ain't happened yet....

Pierced Ears











Our prissy girl asked for pierced earrings last night. DH asked me last week, after noticing some other kids with pierced ears, if I was going to get hers done. I told him that when she ask me one day then I'll get it done but not before then. I said this thinking it would long after she learned English. But she has learned to communicate with a sort of grunt when she really wants something, and of course she acts it out too. So that is how I know when she wants her nails painted. And she usually understands what I am saying when I verbalize it to her and act it out to make sure I am understanding her. Remember your ESL now, one learns to hear it before they can speak it many times, new English learners many times don't like to verbalize it til they are comfortable. Anyway, as I was putting her to bed last night she started pointing to her ears and doing that sort of grunt she does. So I asked if she wanted earrings. I then acted out how it was done and that it hurt and acted out crying, then I asked again if she wanted it and she kept shaking her head up and down -yes. So I told her we would talk to Baba. I kissed her again and she told me bye bye and I left, she never cried. (Hope she hasn't learned that if she ask for something that I may give in so she doesn't cry, ha ha ha.) Well she didn't forget when she got up. Once she was awake that was the first thing she asked for so we went to Baba and of course he agreed. So we went to the mall and got a little girls ears done. I asked her over and over in different ways, even in Chinese, if she understood that it hurts and did she still want it? Yes every time. And let me tell you NO TEARS!! She is a stubborn thing and she had herself set to NOT CRY!!!!! And she did not. She was amazing. And sooooo proud of those gold little balls on her ears.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Happy "Daddy" New Year











Ok so daddy, aka Baba, is having a happy new year. What a way to start 2010 but with a little girl all over her daddy today. She still checks in with Mama, but she has been quite comfortable with her Baba today. It all started with me waking her and putting her in our bed. After waking up some she grabbed her baba's hand and pretended to paint his fingernails. We went to a friends for a cookout and she let her baba lead her to a bench swing and sat there for about 30 minutes with her baba watching the boys catch a football. And once we were home she let her daddy play with her, bathe her, dry her hair, and after I painted her fingernails, she sat in her baba's lap throughout the entire movie MULAN. She has been all over him hugging him and looking up at him for approval. I missed her curling up in my lap tonight but it was worth it to have her curl up in her baba's lap and to have her interact and love on him.




And on top of all that we had another biggie, tonight we put her to bed and she always expects me to lay with her and stroke her and say sweet loving things to her. Well tonight she interrupted our time to ask for pierced earrings. I explained in my charades sort of way that it will hurt and she shook her head that she still wanted them. Then she told me bye bye so I got up to leave, turned and said I love you and she said it back then said bye bye again, laid back, and has not one time cried!!!!!!!!!!! Did you hear that, no tears tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO TEARS tonight!!!!!!! I think she is learning to trust us.




And I forgot to mention the cookout. They do this every New Years and I am sorry to announce that they may not do it next year because of it being such a cold day. Anyway they served pork ribs and the girl loves her ribs, she cleaned the bone and she did the same with her chicken drummet. They also served plain sweet potatoes and she gobbled it up too. But I knew she would do that, all over China there were street vendors selling hot baked sweet potatoes everywhere off of carts, so I knew that was also a staple. She loved it. So we have discovered something else she will eat. We had this dinner around 2:30 and she ate til she was full, then came home and I fixed a big thing of rice in my rice cooker to serve her over the next few days. We she ate a bowl of rice too. And during the movie we had popcorn and she finished that off too. But it was obvious that she had had popcorn too. She didn't bother to take it to her nose and sniff it prior to eating it.




I have to add that she has become more and more loving to us, especially her parents, the boys she can be more reserved with. And she has understood that we pray before we eat because if there is food in front of her and she is wanting to eat she will start saying AMEN AMEN and then waits for us to come hold her hand and pray. She has got that down and even does it for snacks. It is really cute and such a change from the first few times we did it. She thought we were crazy closing our eyes and holding hands before eating and would snicker at us during that time which would set the boys off into giggles. But she has gotten pretty serious about it now and just means progress. We know she has no idea what it is all about but you have to start somewhere and it is a good sign of things to come.




Have a great New Year in 2010!

About Me

I am a pastor's wife and the mother of 3 active children. Two boys and a daughter from China. We live on the East Coast and enjoy the beach.