Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blessed Beyond Measure

We are so blessed to have made contact with these two wonderful women, Christel and Sara Hatcher. Christel has kept Leia many times and has so many stories, pictures, and videos to share with us. We are all so thrilled to have these. This means more than you can imagine to have these. These women are like angels to us, giving love to our baby girl. I cannot say enough how thankful we are for everyone in Taiwan that is caring for our little princess. You will forever be in our hearts and minds. Here are some videos that Christel has taken. I believe the video where Leia is wearing the lavender outfit was taken yesterday or somewhere close to it, not sure about the other video.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Soaking in the Rays

Click on each image to enlarge.

A lovely end to a day. I received a phone call from, Beth, a friend through this adoption, telling me about some photos she had come across on facebook of Leia. I was super excited. Then, I received another message from the person who actually took the pictures. I was so excited. Her name is Sara, and she lives in Taiwan with her sister Christel. They are from the states. I know Sara teaches at a school there. They help His Hands out and take the babies on outings and give the nannies a break. Christel, Sara's sister, kept Leia over Chinese New Year and keeps her on weekends some too. Sara says her sister has taken lots of pictures of Leia and plans on making a photobook to give to me when we travel to Taiwan. These women are truly amazing, just like all the others who are involved with His Hands. They truly show their love for orphans in a way that we all should. I am so thankful that my baby girl is in such wonderful care. I mean, she has already seen the ocean and has squished her toes in the sand. What more could a girl want than to soak up some rays? She looked like she had blast. They all tell me "she is such a doll." I would have to agree that she is a doll. I can't wait to meet Sara and Christel when we travel and personally thank them for the love they have shown Leia. She is truly a special little girl.
Trena says she has not heard if our homestudies have been submitted and to just pray that they have. She said all we are waiting for is our court decrees, and then I can say, "Leia, here we come." Please pray for us that we may receive our court decrees. That is all we are waiting on. Also please pray for the Brodines. They are in the same stage of the waiting process as we are. There are two other families that should be traveling in the next few weeks. Please pray for the Smiths as they are soon scheduled to leave. And please pray that the Farmers will receive one last piece of paper from the United States so that they can book their flights and pick up Miss Mylee who is already legally theirs and has been waiting for her forever family for 8 months. I'm praying that final court decrees will be granted next week....with God anything is possible.
Carson had his adenoids out today and tubes placed in his ears. He has been a little crank pot, but I am sure it was from all the drugs. I think he will feel like his normal self tomorrow. We hope so.
Thursday we made a very hard family decision and gave Candy a new home. For those of you who do not know, she was our Shih Tzu that we have had for almost 10 years. With 3 children and one more soon to come home, I just did' think she was getting the attention she deserved. I tried to do this a few months ago and I just couldn't break Olivia's heart. I told her then when we sold our house that we would have to give her away when we moved. Our friends Angie and Tim would dogsit Candy when we would go out of town and had a friend that has wanted Candy every since they kept her 2 years ago. He has asked several times if we were ready to let her go. I know she will be well taken care of and will get lots more attention where she is at now. Olivia managed. The compromise was we would buy a fish. We took Candy to "the man's house." Olivia went to the door and asked if she could look where Candy was going to live. I stayed on the porch so I could watch the boys in the car. When she came back to the front porch she said, "It is okay here. I like it and she will be fine here. He has 2 cats she can play with. And she has a place to sleep and eat." So there we have it...she inspected the situation and we were done.
Now off to find some fish. My idea was a fish in a bowl...the end. Well, well, my kids had another idea. Olivia wanted a purple fish and Logan wanted a Nemo fish. Do you think they have fish that look like that and can live in a bowl. HA!! No! Then the guy shows us the tanks and bowls, and what does Olivia see? A Mermaid tank. So, yes, we have a very small saltwater tank, and indeed it is Ariel inside the tank. They were devastated when they learned we couldn't buy the fish til tomorrow due to the water prep. So, we go tomorrow to buy "Nemo" and Olivia's purple and yellow fish that does not have a name yet. I sure hope we don't kill these fish, because it will be a travesty.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Front Cover of Better Homes and Gardens

Thought I would share what you might find in my house on any given day. I've been told that I try to make sure my house looks like something out of a magazine. Yes, I strive for it to be neat, non-cluttered, and a bit of decor that is what I call "a little art to express the heart." But, it would not be a home without the character enhancements from my children, whether that be toys, clothes, snack wrappers, etc....and yes, it does annoy me to find food and food wrappers, but the rest I can live with without much anxiety.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Party Time

We celebrated Carson's birthday pretty much all weekend. We went to a concert last night; Winter Jam. We saw Fireflight, Third Day, 10th Avenue North, NewsBoys. It was awesome and the kids had a blast. Carson was absolutely mesmerized by the lights and was jammin to some music. We all know Olivia can move to any tune and by was she ever. She even had some head banging going on. Logan was just wiggling to the music too. Mammaw, Pappaw, and Nana got to go to the concert with us.
Today we went the the Worldwide BBQ Festival at the river. The kids had fun there riding the "Carny Rides," as much as I hate those things. We chose the ones that looked the least dangerous with no height and not much speed, much to Olivia's dismay. Carson thought he was Mr. Bigshot just like his brother and sister. He smiled the whole time and didn't even act scared. He was the smallest little kid riding the rides.
We opted for a family party this year; makes things much simpler and less stressful. We left the BBQ festival salivating for some BBQ to take with us. Made a quick stop at the famous Whole Hog Cafe, picked up some MEAT to go and off we went. Made a run to the bakery for his cake, yes I did not make this one. Way too many things going on this weekend. The cake looked fine, tasted great with its whipped frosting, and the best part I didn't have to make it. Call me a cheater ;) It was way cheaper than when I bake them anyways, another plus. Carson fell in love with his cake when he saw it. Not many things are we able to interpret but you could definitely understand, "Buzzz....Wooody," in an escalating voice. BBQ ready to go, some homemade Texas baked beans, kettle corn chips, and yummy cake and ice cream. Dishes cleared and straight to the cake we go.
Carson was too cute while we sang. He tried to sing along with us and giggled the entire time with his cheesy grin the entire time. Don't have to tell this 2 year old how to blow some candles out. He knew exactly what to do. One blow and done. I will have to say this year was not near the mess as the first; he is learning.
Not many presents to open. He received his gift from Pappaw, Mammaw, Papa, and Nana back in October when they all got the kids their playhouse. Soooo ready for the weather to allow for some playing time on it. They have gotten to play on it as much as the weather has permitted, and that has not not been much. Aunt Lisa sent him some Bible books, shirts, and a stylish pair of little man jeans (way to go Aunt Lisa, I will look like a little stud). Money from Grandma that Mamma has not decided what he needs yet. And his very own tricycle from Mamma and Daddy. He couldn't stop grinning when he saw that. He loves it!! I think we did good. Hi brother and sister pushed the trike while he cruised the house.
Company gone, kids bathed, and all his quiet in the house. Fast asleep and praying for sweet dreams for my babies, especially the one so far away.

Little Miss Big Shot

We got a little update yesterday morning, and it was much needed on my part. They did not have any new to share regarding the status of our case and how close we might be to traveling. It is very hard; I would like to think that it could happen in the next 2-6 weeks. But who knows. I was looking in Leia's closet this morning wondering what is going to fit her. I thought I was set for her but it looks like none of the things I saved from Olivia, that are super cute, are going to fit her. I need to ask them what size she is currently wearing. Holly said Leia is a very content baby. They thought she was going to be a bit moody, because her biological mother is young and very dramatic.
Leia is holding herself up on her tummy and looking like a "Little Miss Big Shot." We are so ready to travel and bring her HOME. I think this next week I will get the suitcases out and start making lists. It will give me something to do.
Today we are going to celebrate Carson's birthday. We went to Winter Jam concert last night, and it was more than wonderful. The kids had a blast. Today we are going to the river for the Worldwide BBQ contest they are having. They have lots of fun things for the kids to do and then we will celebrate for Carson tonight. Better get everyone ready, so we can get out the door.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

To the Corners of the World, til Your Work is Done!

An Almost Spring Picnic

Some News From Taiwan

Our court hearing was last Thursday night. I had heard from Trena a couple hours before the hearing and didn't expect to hear from them til the weekend was over because they had soccer tournaments for their children. David has been nagging me, yes nagging me, to email them ever since Saturday to see how everything went. I kept telling him I wasn't going to bother them. Well, I finally caved last night and emailed them. Come to find out, they sent me an email Sunday after they had completely forgotten to send one Friday. But, for some reason, it did not come through. So, we had an email waiting for us this morning.
Not a whole lot of news. They said everything went really well in court. The birth mother and her grandmother were both there. The jugde ordered for birthmom's homestudy to be done Friday afternoon after the court hearing. We are all really happy about that. Holly and Trena accompanied Mickey, Leia's birth mom, to the Catholic Social Work office for her homestudy. I believe the homestudies for the birthmother are simply to ensure and ease everyone's minds, judge inlcuding, that she knows exactly what she is doing by placing her child for international adoption. Holly and Trena think the Catholic Social Welfare Service was the "best organization we have worked with so far." Maybe this means they are efficient too. The social worker was to go to Mickey's grandmother's house Monday afternoon to speak with her. Mickey is 18; in Taiwan you have to be 21 before you are the sole legal guardian of your child. His Hands has to have a homestudy completed as well, but they believe this was done as well when they accompanied Mickey on Friday and were able to speak to the social worker as well.
As of right now, we could be traveling anywhere from 4 weeks away to 4 months away. We are waiting for the homestudy reports to be written up, sent back to the judge, and the judge sign off for the final decree granting her our child by law. Please, Please pray that the wait is 4 weeks. Leia is 3 months old today.

Note of My Other Children
As most of you know I work 2 nights a week. In case any are wondering, it is a horrendous schedule, and I loathe it. No one can even comprehend how it is to work nights, unless you have done so before. It is horrible in so many ways. It is not natural. I am up for 30hours straight 2 times a week and then will nap for about 4 hours and get up so that I can somewhat stay on a day schedule on my days off. I feel horrible all the time. Anyways reason for the above explanation....I try to sleep as long as I can in the mornings. I know people think I am lazy for not starting my day til 9 or 10 in the morning, but I am in survival mode. I get up around 7:00 usually and fix the kids their breakfast, give them orders to stay out of the kitchen, eat in the dining room not the living room, no running and screaming, be nice, and watch your movie or pay quietly, and Carson is put in bed with me because no way do I trust him. Olivia has always been so good to not get into anything and would not bother me unless she needed something. Well, I cannot say the same about Logan. If he is not supposed to do it, then it has been done. Yesterday I awoke to a kool-aid packet dumped all over my kitchen floor, and yes it was cherry. Grape koolaid was dumped in my kitchen sink. This morning there was a strawberry fruit dip gourmet packet split open and dumped in my pantry. It is nothing to find all kinds of wrappers for granola bars, candy, yougurt, american cheese, string cheese, grape vines, and other odd items all over my living room. He knows everyday that he is going to be in trouble. He is constantly busting through the door in my room to tell me Olivia has done something, which is usually in self defense on her part. He turns the dvd player on and off which he knows he is not to do as well. I don't know what else I am going to do. If I get up when they do then I lose my catnaps that I get in between kids running through my room to tattle. And , lately the boys have not been napping, until 2 hours after they have been put down. I pray for the day when I can be a normal mom and awake at 6:00 in the morning everyday, because I am on a normal schedule.
One of these days I will have a normal schedule and I am so looking forward to it; one cannot imagine how I long for that day. The plan is in place, and I see light at the end of my tunnel. Hope you do too!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

# 2

Today is Carson's 2nd birthday. I can't believe it has been two years already that he became ours. I can can truthfully say that he has already hit his terrible twos. Sweet one moment and naughty the next. I guess that is the toddler years though. He is our cuddle bug though. This afternoon his biological aunt called to wish him a Happy Birthday. She is always so thoughtful, she never forgets to ask how the other children are doing or how David and I are doing. She said that Molly, Carson's birthmother, has bought a nail shop in Bryant. They are now on speaking terms again. Anna, Carson's aunt, says that Molly is doing well and that they talked about Carson last night and his birthday being today. She says she is slowly moving on. Anna told Molly about seeing him at Christmas and how happy he is and how he is thriving. She described what he looked like, chubby cheeks, smiles, and full of good health. We are so thankful. I know so many people who think I am crazy for maintaining a relationship with his birth family. But I cannot tear away from them. They are good people and I love having a relationship with them as well. They only wanted what was best for Carson even though it was the hardest things their family has ever endured, aside from their conditions in Vietnam. Anna says it is hard for her parents to talk about, but they know Carson is being well cared for and loved beyond belief, as Anna informs them. She said she went to Vietnam right after Christmas and stayed for 2 weeks. She took pictures and they all say that he looks like Molly. I am preparing myself for how I will react if I run into Molly while in town. Anna informed me that Molly has purchased, with their help, a nail shop in Bryant and will be moving here next month. She also said Molly is trying to do the same things because she knows it will be difficult to see us should we run into one another. Molly sends her love on Carson's birthday and everyday, Anna says.

1. Carson is running everywhere, climbing on everything.
2. He loves to eat most anything.
3. His favorite drink is milk : )
4. He loves snuggling in bed with mommy in the mornings.
5. He loves to watch movies with his siblings. All snuggled on the couch.
6. He wears a size 6.5 shoe
7. He is learning to assist brushing his teeth.
8. Loves to play hide n seek with his daddy and siblings.
9. He is not a fan of taking naps right now...but mama still wins the battle.
10. He has started trying to pray with us when we do bedtime prayers...so cute.
11. Loves to sing at church.
12. His favorite toys are the Schluck Animals.
13. His first word was mama.
14. The mosquitoes eat him alive.
15. Cutest little chunk a monk ever!

We took him to Wendy's for lunch, one of his favorite foods, chicken nuggets. We will be having his birthday party next weekend after Nana and Papa are home from their vacation. We are planning on an outside party at the park. I can't think of a better place with this beautiful weather.

Olivia is outside cooking supper with weeds, grass, and leaves. The leaves are her plates, the grass is spaghetti. Oh, and we can't forget the pine needles are suckers. And an appetizer is sea weed. Ah, the imagination of a 5 year old who is so happy to be outside. She is acting like she is a chef.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life? What is it?

What does your life mean? What are you doing with your life, and is it really acceptable to God? Are you doing the mission you were set here to do? David and I have been talking about these things for so long now...yes talking...but you have to do more than talk. You have to take action. Our steps will be small at first but we pray they will be the steps God has planned for our lives and the lives of our children. Think about these things as you plan extravagant birthday parties, 5 star vacations, eating out every night, gorging oneself at a potluck...is this really what we want to be doing when the Lord comes back. Will he be happy to see us spending so much money on these things that don't matter. In the end is it really worth what we think it is? These are things we have thought about and encourage others to do as well. Life is far to precious to waste our efforts on those things. Speaking of precious...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Let's Play

Saturday was such a beautiful day. We had so many things that needed to be done around the house, but they will still be here next weekend. Next weekend my children will be a week older, a week gone. So, I said forget all the work to be done and let's play today.
We all slept in, Daddy cooked us breakfast. Simple...Mr Pillsbury dough boy is my husband's friends when it comes to cooking. But it was all the more yummy because I did not have to prepare it. Then we all got ready and headed to the park. I think everyone else must have had the same idea; it was packed. The kids had a blast...I think the pictures can describe their intense fun without my wordiness. Once we were finally able to convince them that we needed to leave and go eat lunch we headed to chick-fil-a, like the rest of the town : ) We were there forever, because it can take a 5 year old and a 3 year old almost an hour to eat an ice cream cone. I thought David was going to get an ulcer from having to sit still and wait until they were finished. Logan thought he was so big going up the the counter trading in his book for an ice cream cone, while Daddy thought he needed the bowl of ice cream instead of the cone. But, hey they are only a child once, and it was Saturday with no pressing appointments or naps at 1:00 on the schedule for this Saturday. Afterwards we headed home, kids down for a nap. When they got up from their nap at almost 5:00 there was still daylight so they went out and rode their bikes. Logan had a crash and required a Spiderman band-aid to make it all better. And this morning before he could leave for church we had to replace the Spiderman band-aid with a new one.
Olivia has been telling me she can whistle for a couple of weeks now. But every time she would try and whistle it was just soft air that came out. Well, yesterday she was successful and has been whistling like a bird ever since. She is so proud of herself.
Carson will be 2 this week.....We will be celebrating his birthday next weekend since my mom and dad are in Hawaii right now. I'm thinking we will be doing something outside. Boys...simple...dirt...slides...rocks...swings...what more could a toddler want?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Court Date

This week has been super crazy. All of the kids have been sick, I still had to go to work because I am having to save ever bit of time for when we go to Taiwan. Plus I have called in the max I can until April due to sick children and me having the flu. Linda took Logan and Olivia to the doctor on Monday. Olivia finally stopped running fever yesterday, after 7 straight days of a fever. They both have pneumonia. I took Carson to the doctor yesterday, first the ENT then the urologist. Urology appointment went well; no surgery will be needed, just a little painful procedure before we left. We go back to the ENT in two weeks to address the possibility of tubes and adnoids being removed. Carson has a double ear infection and a horrible cough that sounds like the other two. Hopefully everyone is on the mend, and I may just keep them in a bubble so they are not exposed to anything else.
Last night was our court date. Trena sent me a message prior to the hearing that Leia's birth mom was already there and everything should go well and to not worry. Leia's birth mom's homestudy was a couple hours after the court hearing, and they think that Leia's is soon to follow. I prayed that the social worker might have decided to do Leia's homestudy while she was already there. I have not heard anything about the court date, so I am hoping that is a good sign and maybe I'll hear something soon. I just want to hear, "Second Court Decree is hear and you can travel." Look at all the sweet pictures. She is precious, the kids can't wait to have her home. Us too! I know God is watching over her and will protect and comfort her. With God at my side the days are passing and I am surviving without my baby girl.

Another Addition to the Family

I've been waiting for pictures to make this post. Wow, I am going to be an auntie again. Our precious Leia is being taken care of by her older cousin Caysen Ming Jia Kirk. He has been watching over her since she was born. It is so wonderful that they have each other. He is such a little man, who has stole his parents' hearts. I can't wait to hold him and Leia together, hopefully sometime very soon. They were born in the same town and will always know each other....wonderful.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A New Season

We are so ready for the Spring season in our house and the things that it may bring. We pray that we will be bringing our baby girl home this spring. Olivia and Logan are no more praying for snow, now we are praying for flowers. They are so ready to play outside everyday.
Also ready for the winter germs to leave and the spring allergies to come. Weird of me, uhh? But allergies are much more welcome than germs that make my kiddos super sick. You know that Logan is REALLY sick when he doesn't wake til 9:00 and cries for his bed at 10:30. He climbs in my bed, I cover him, get Carson his milk, pour Logan's medicine, go to my room and he is fast asleep. His lungs sound horrible, as well as Olivia and Carson's do. They are all sick, with Carson being in the best shape at the moment.
No stories about the kids really to share, they aren't as funny with they aren't feeling well. They have become everyone else and have started asking everyday when are we going to go get Leia. David put together her crib this weekend and we got the beddding all in it. I will take some pictures to share when we are all done with the girls' room. Logan asked, "Is Leia going to sleep here tonight?" when he saw the crib.
Our court date is Thursday night our time. Please pray that the judge will have complete favor for us with no glitches, and yes I pray no glitches. We have been praying that maybe Leia's homestudy and her birthmother's homestudy have been done since there was a couple weeks between when we found out the court date and when it actually was scheduled for. Please pray with us that that is the case. Because if that is the case, we could be traveling very soon.
Justin and Brittany came this weekend. I took Brittany to the hospital and scanned hre. We are having a niece, Lydia Jean. YAY!!!!! Some more girls : ) Then we went to Rhea Lana's and did some shopping.
Olivia had her first girl birthday party that she attended. We went to the ice rink Saturday. Good thing I can ice skate fairly well, because she tried really hard to bring me down. I think it took about 15 minutes to make it around the rink the first couple times. But she got better and faster, and she had a blast.
Pray for us this week as we wait for news about our court date.