Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Update on our family...

So this past July we remembered our sweet Brady as a family; its been 7 years! I can hardly believe it some days, as it seems like just yesterday and yet so far away all at the same time.  He would be 8! As we shopped for fall clothes for the boys, my mom and I realized the sizing gap we have because he isn't here to shop for.  I have XS, S, and L.  Missing our medium boy :) So crazy how some months can go by and there isn't much found to remember him (though he is surely missed every day) and then some days a very obvious void is sensed.  The boys always remember him and speak of him fondly, and even Walker and Lincoln talk as if they knew him.  I think Aiden feels the most loss though, as he constantly wishes for a boy closer to his age to play with and share a room.   He does a great job at being Walker, Lincoln and Aynsli's big brother, but he longs for his comradery with his closest brother.  This being said we truly see God's hand at work, and blessing that has come out of the pain.  We are so encouraged at what He is doing, and will do in our lives and the lives of others.  Would I love to go back and change things, yes absolutely, but after knowing the growth that has taken place as a result, I wouldn't change.  That's so weird to say, and please don't take it the wrong way.

Sweet Aynsli is doing so well lately.  She has started preschool through our district in order to get the speech therapy she needs.  She loves going and I know she is learning a lot.  Instead of singing a few words to songs she can sing the entire thing now! She blows me away.  What she has been through, and how well she has adjusted.  Thank you Lord!

We started our third year of homeschooling this year.  Its tough. But so rewarding.  I have doubts sometimes, but I believe that is the enemy trying to thwart my efforts to disciple my kids and grow them up in the Lord.  I would encourage every one of my mom friends if you feel the urging by the Lord to homeschool your kids then you should.  Because the enemy will tell you every day that you shouldn't and you can't and you don't know how.  But with God everything is possible.  I don't think that it is for every family but we are, as parents, called to disciple our kids, and I don't feel there is enough time in a day to teach them everything they need to know (even with homeschooling).  We are learning amazing things this year and I give glory to Lord every day because I am blown away with how they learn it and put everything together! They are learning a timeline of the world and it incorporates Biblical events with secular events so they can see how it all fits together.  Something I never learned til now! We get to travel on off-times and take days off, as well as go to neat places.  Life comes at us at all different paces and we get to roll with it.  When our evenings become busy with friends or sporting events its fine because we have had family time together during the day and there's no homework at night (wahoo!).  I'm thankful for our co-op this year and all the resources on the internet these days, they are endless.

We, as a family, are hoping to make a change to a simpler, more sustaining, economical way of living.  What that exactly is, we aren't sure yet.  But hoping to pray about it and see where God is leading us.  In this day and age (even with homeschooling) there is a struggle to have the latest things, make more money, be busy, go more places, and save for retirement and college.  You can get trapped in a rat race of working hard and long hours, to provide more for your family when all they really need is you.  Luke and I don't want to get to the end and have regrets that we should have done things different for our family.  I do see God working so much already with all we have been through and our choice to homeschool; its been amazing! However we both still feel a pull to have a homestead of our own where the cost of living is not so high.  So we will see what the future holds.

We have made so many choices over the past year to become healthier as well.  I have changed over many of our cleaning products, candles, lotions, make up, medicines, and other health products to become completely free of toxins.  It is shocking to know how many toxic things we were using on a daily basis.  This process has been so fun and rewarding! Its much easier than you think and actually cost effective too!

I was a little long winded with this post, but want all of you readers to know I am blessed by every one of you.  And so appreciate all the encouragement you have given my family over the years.  God placed every one in my life for such a time as this.  So..thank you, and God bless.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Aynsli update...

Sorry its been a while, we have been settling in at home and getting adjusted as a family of 6! We have also had lots of medical appointments including cardiology, audiology, bloodwork, vaccines, cleft team, early intervention, and I'm sure more that I'm forgetting!! Aynsli is doing very well, when you consider everything she has been through.  Four different hotels and a new home in 6 weeks, changing a language and moving halfway across the world (and gaining 3 lovingly smothering brothers!).  She eats almost anything we give her, but does not raid the pantry or eat all day.  She takes an awesome 2-3 hour nap every afternoon, and if it happens to be later than normal she does fine with that too.  She goes to bed at 7:30 every night with a bottle of whole milk and sleeps all night until at least 6:30.  And in between she plays with toys and gets carted around from place to place. 

Obviously she can't talk yet because of her cleft palate, however the one word she can say is "mama."  So thankful for that!  Since getting Aynsli 6 weeks ago, we have taught her many signs and she picked them up so fast.  So now she can communicate what she needs, more food, please, all done, night night, hi, bye, etc.  She seems to  understand a lot already in English- its amazing! Only growing up in a Mandarin country and now she understands most of what I say in English! Every day its amazing to watch the blessing of Aynsli.  She has also made huge strides with gross motor development.  She could only walk, sit or lay down when we got her, but couldn't get in between on her own.  Now she can sit from lying down, or stand up from lying or sitting, and she has a much easier time getting around by herself.  She still can't do stairs yet, but I'm ok with that one it stops her from trying them!

Now it hasn't been all roses either, but when I think of where she has come from we feel truely blessed.  She definitely is a toddler and lets you know when she doesn't like you saying "no" to something! And it has also been interesting getting to know, essentially, a stranger living in your home.  But every day we feel more bonded to her and she seems to be attaching well to us.  We have been enforcing the typical adoption attachment techniques such as Lucas and I being the only ones to change her diaper, feed her, comfort her, and really care for her.  So naturally she comes to us when she has a need that needs to be met.  We are so thankful for this smooth transition. 

Aynsli is scheduled to have surgery to repair her soft palate on June 11.  She will also have tubes put in her ears as there is much fluid behind both of them.  Once she has healed we can begin speech therapy in hopes of her speaking! Prayers are appreciated for things to go smoothly and that there would be no complications and that the boys staying home with family would be safe.  We will be traveling up to Massachusetts for the surgery at Shriners children's hospital. We are praising God for a great report at the cardiologist regarding her heart murmur.  She still has a murmur however the structure and function of her heart are normal! YAY!

Aynsli is a very content, resilient and happy girl! We thank God for the blessing of being able to have her in our family.  We look forward to all that God has in store for her in the future- mighty things!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The beautiful miracle of life...

Many people have said to me this, adoption of a little girl must be a dream... it is a dream but not the kind you would think.  God has called our family to rescue and care for an orphan. God created her as a beautiful girl and we think she is truly beautiful but the world won't think so according to worldly standards.  Even from looking at her newborn pictures (below) to now she has already gone through an amazing transformation. We didn't sign up to adopt a perfect little girl but one with special needs. That means there are lots of unknowns, lots of medical care(6+ surgeries) to come and also other various therapies.

We have no idea how she will be cognitively or socially but this is what God called our family to and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and get dirty for her sake. She might look different and I know for our friends and family it might be a little different than what you are used to but we ask that you love her through Jesus's eyes as we do- simply beautiful and perfect.  We have been provided the opportunity to save her physically from this world, but we pray that God has bigger plans to save her spiritually which is the greater reward.  Even though we have had an emotional start realizing that this mission is out of our comfort zone, it brings tears to our eyes when we think of how God can redeem her life!

We think of it as an honor to give this child of God what she needs when she never would have got it in her birth country.  Thank you Lord for giving us this privilege and using us.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. -1 Samuel 16:7

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Last day here!

Yesterday was a busy day! We went to the US consulate here in Guangzhou to finish up the final paperwork to get our little girl home! Everything went very smooth. So today at 4 pm we get her visa and then catch a train to Hong Kong. Then fly out of hong kong the next morning around 10:30am here! Prayers for the 15 hour flight would be great! Hoping she sleeps a lot of it and will be pleasant! :) 

Last night we went on a river cruise down the pearl river! It was so much fun and a beautiful night out! Enjoy some of our pictures! I probably won't post again until we are home!! Landing Thursday around 2 pm your time! Yay!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Guangzhou Safari!

Today was another free day to sight see so we went to the famous Guangzhou Safari zoo! It was a long hot day but so much fun! 

They have amazing exhibits and take care of their animals! Saw giraffes, elephants, hippos, rhinos, tigers, lions, pandas and so much more! 

Aynsli did great! Took a nap in the stroller, barely heard a peep from her all day! She didn't seem overly interested in the animals but was entertained enough to be quiet! She has a new friend- another little girl who is 10 years old and being adopted as well.  She really loves Aynsli and stayed by us the whole time! 

Tomorrow we go to the American embassy to be sworn in.  We can't wear watches or bring pens, umbrellas, cameras, batteries, cell phones, or strollers. Yep sounds like an American embassy :) crazy!!! We are lucky if we can bring in a diaper and some wipes for our baby! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

I was a little bummed to be missing Easter at home in NJ with the little boys and our church body but God had a bigger plan for us this Easter.  

We got to spend Easter this year in China rescuing our precious little girl.  It made me think how Jesus came to rescue us, died and rose again for us- and how rescuing this child from a world of darkness into light is a perfect picture of Christ rescuing us from our sin and darkness into light!  Praise God for what an amazing gift!! 

We conquered the chinese subway and went to shamian island for church and shopping! It was such a fun day! And of course we went to the famous Lucy's for lunch and got a burger! :) 

Friday, April 18, 2014

In Guangzhou!

We are in Guangzhou now- after a quick 1.5 hour flight! Aynsli did awesome and slept the whole time. I hope that is an indication of how she is going to be on our 15 hour flight home! ;) 

We met up with 16 other families here with our agency adopting as well! It's neat to meet people from all over the US adopting! 

This morning we had our medical visa appointment. It went well- aynsli did awesome! However we have some new information we will need to follow up with later.  Her cleft is pretty straight forward but she has an umbilical hernia which may or may not need surgery and the doctor said he could hear a heart murmur?! Which I know we need more information on when we get back home. She doesn't have any of the classic symptoms of having a heart condition. And we know that God is in control so we are at peace with this new information.  He also said it could be transient which basically means it comes and goes and may not ever be anything of significance.

Papa johns for lunch! I needed that!! A little taste of home and comfort food! 

This afternoon we have a meeting for more paperwork and then I think we will find a new restaurant in the area to try with some other families.  Continued prayers for health and safety would be appreciated!!