Monday, February 27, 2012

Prayer problems

Sarah lights up the room with her smile - and has tremendous drama with her hissy fits.  Jenny has a slow burn of complaining and whining all day - but is **generally** good natured and compliant (see below for exception!).  We are enjoying both girls, and they seem to be happy with "where they've landed."  We took them to Church for the second time this Sunday.  Jenny was NOT happy to have to wear a dress.  I translated that she could pick her clothes for home, but Mom (and the school) dictated what she wore to Church and school.

Then we had our first real issue with Jenny.  After many incidents of laughing and playing during prayer time (all of 5 minutes), I asked our guide to explain to her to be quiet while Rachel and I prayed in China. (all of 2 minutes)  We then explained again several times and she was mostly quiet.  She's gotten defiant again and talked over us a couple of times at home - but this morning at Church she brought Sarah into the mix, and after several warnings, continued to laugh and make fun of everyone praying - including talking out loud while the preacher prayed.    We had a Google translate lecture after lunch - where I told her how disappointed I was with her behavior.   Her consequence was early to bed while the others stayed up late.  Worked well for her 5:45 am wake up and first day of school.

I explained that she can have her own beliefs - but she may NOT mock others in theirs.  I would not go into a Buddhist Temple and disturb worship - regardless of my opinions about the religion.  I expect the same respect here for our family traditions.  It's all about respecting parents and others - not something she's been willing to learn so far. (includes talking over others, etc.)

So ends our first saga.  She knows now that she goes to bed early when she's disrespectful towards others.  We'll see what choices she makes in the future.  I've blogged this to help other parents that may experience this - and would love to hear the experiences of other Christian adoptive parents.  Blessings, Kim

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fun with friends!

A couple of friends came over yesterday with encouragement - and we had a wonderful time.  Jennifer, Annie, and Angie have taken care of Katie while I was gone, skyped me and translated for me in China, and been wonderful prayer support along with many others.  It was nice for the Wuhan kids (Cameron and Jenny) to get together, and Jenny and Sarah ADORE Angie's Colin!  At 14 years old, he's such a nice kid, and willing to help the girls get adjusted.  He never balks at chatting with my little ones - he's just a gem of a boy!  And to think that I thought of discouraging Angie from bringing back this older kiddo...

I had initially wanted everything to be finished by 4:30 - but was actually sad when everyone left.  Angie's family joined us for dinner at the Hong Kong Buffet which was heavenly - AMERICAN Chinese food!!  Jenny has also enjoyed eating and talking at my friend's restaurant next to the dance studio.  Jenny enjoys chatting in Chinese whenever she gets the chance - and I'm hoping she's not an imposition on the adults she corners!

My neighbors brought us a smiley face cake and the girls were thrilled.  I tried to get a pic of all of them smiling around the cake:

My other snacks for guests included "Little Debbies" and Capri Sun juice boxes.  That's all I could come up with because of our many activities, making Dr.'s appointments, and getting school ready.  The "home girls" were bummed that I didn't cook - but that won't come for a few more weeks - other than the essentials.  I employed all the girls in cleaning up for our company which was a good lesson.   School starts next week - so we should get back into our routine.  I am LOVING my girls!!  I can't believe how blessed we are!  Big Brothers returned from college with good grades and big hugs for their new sisters.  God has been faithful to watch over the "home kids" while we care for the new ones.

We truly have barrels of blessings - and each morning is a big "THANK YOU" to the God who has done immeasurably more than we could have imagined. (as my friend Lori's blog states!) I'm grateful for my hubby who has worked LOTS of overtime to buy us a new swing set and pay for all our adventures in China! I'm praying he gets a year of rest to recover from all the expenses.  Of course the girls both need glasses, braces, a new eye, a new ear....trusting God to provide as He has so far. 

Blessings, Kim

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First swim lesson!

Yes - we are getting ready for pool season here in the South!  The girls LOVED their first swim lesson and Sarah laughed continuously.  She's hilarious.  She was already in trouble by the end of the night for fighting over which seat she got in the car - but she always apologizes...AFTER steaming for a while.

Sarah also did a gymnastics lesson and enjoyed it - she's ready for bigger and more challenging things - despite the fact that she can't do the simple things they're teaching now (somersaults, etc.) haha!

Jenny is doing great and is such a lovie.  She's always telling me she loves me and really craves affection.  I didn't realize that in China as she was so outgoing with others, etc., and seemed a little aloof.  She's still assessing the status of everyone's belongings in relation to hers (in quantity) so that's a little annoying - but we just tell her to stop and move on.  She's a clever girl and will do well at anything she tries. 

Rachel and Katie are beginning to enjoy their new sisters - but they are exhausting - particularly to Katie.  She likes her quiet days - and this week has been anything BUT quiet!   Did I mention I'm exhausted every night, too?!  I'm hoping to get back in shape after my China "sit on the sofa, watch Chinese TV, and eat everything in sight" 3 weeks.  Did I mention that the Chinese have absolutely mastered the croissant - every kind - including chocolate?  I ate WAY too  many per day - peaking at an even dozen one morning and feeling queasy the rest of the day.  I had high fat overload, I guess, and I would definitely recommend limiting yourself at the breakfast buffet on your adoption trips...I should have stuck with the broccoli and coffee.  Much healthier.

We're doing well - and missing our travel partners a bit - but having fun reading their blogs.  I have a lot of work ahead as far as getting the girls up to snuff on American culture and education.  I was a little stressed last night about 1am - and finally realized that I just need to take one step at a time.  I'm always in a hurry - and I need to trust God and slow down.  He's got a plan, and thankfully doesn't consult me often.  He's always right, and I'm often wrong.  

I'm LOVING my new girls - even when I have to make one miss Chik Filet because she spit on her sister.  They're just so cute when they're not being naughty -it makes up for all the rest.  Please pray that they'll begin to understand that there is a God who loves them even more than I do - and has been their constant advocate since the day they were born.  Please pray for my Jenny's heart - so broken that she had to wait so long for a family.  With barely any English, she was able to ask me, "why did Rachel get to come home as a baby, and I had to wait so long?" It breaks my heart - but we WILL make it up to her.  She is ours and the Church's responsibility - and we DID wait too long.  Praying others find homes more quickly.  Blessings, Kim

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Princess bikes

The girls are having a ball playing outside.  Sarah took off on two wheels - after not being able to ride the bike 2 days ago.  Katie did NOT like being outdone, and took off her training wheels also!  So off to the store to get the big girls new bikes as they handed down their little ones to their sisters.   Notice the stinker look on Sarah's face - she was mad because the other girls didn't want to swing - so she reluctantly posed for this one.  We took another without her - which turned out much better!

I think the food differences, English, and all the rest are catching up to Sarah - and she's exhausted.  She fell asleep a little while ago - so I think the early mornings (read: turning on the lights for everyone at 5am) are catching up to her.   The Chinese restaurant didn't help much as she ate something much different in China.  She's eating 3-5 bananas a day - probably because she doesn't like much else.  She's EXTREMELY picky - liking something one day - and not the next.

She does have fun most of the time - and really wears us out!  Here she is dressed up in Perry's squadron vest (to match her Colbrunn boots) and playing with Dad:

Jenny goes with the flow - she's an easy kid - but does complain a lot.  Luckily, we don't understand much of the whining - so she turns it off pretty quickly.  Her complaints are usually about Sarah - but occasionally about the reported length of American school days, where she sits in the car, etc.  Nothing big - just very concerned with justice and fairness and whether or not she's coming out on the short end of the stick. :)

We just adore both of them, and they are both blessings in many ways.  The above issues are about all we've had to deal with - amazing for the big changes and difficult start they had in life.  We're thanking God for caring for them when we couldn't - and we have sent pictures back to China to reassure their foster families that they're doing well.   Neither girls are particularly interested in looking back - both are happy with their present thankfully - the gift of youth for the most part.  We're doing great - but looking forward to lazy school days again.  I can't wait till the girls start to pick up more language so we can learn their stories.  Blessings, Kim

Sunday, February 19, 2012

JOY and exhaustion!

So how's it going?  Here's a pic that says it all...

I finally got sleep last night - 6 hours at least - but it was straight through.  The girls are doing GREAT - and are full of joy and having a terrific time dressing up, looking through their new (hand me down) shoes and dresses, and trying on everything this morning.  Yesterday started with a happy wake up by Jenny - then an UNhappy wake up of everyone else who still wanted to sleep.

The girls played outside in BEAUTIFUL weather and loved the trampoline.

We posed for a family pic when a neighbor walked by - it's hard to get everyone together with the boys off at school!

Then the girls became acquainted with our local geckos, lol!

Later, we went to a playground at a Church picnic and they had a ball.

After we got home, I pretty much gutted it out to keep my eyes open - almost giving up at 4pm.  Jet lag on the return is so much worse - I was much better in China.  I'm EXHAUSTED when I go to bed and even when I wake up.  I'm so thankful the girls are doing well - but it's a constant effort to care for them as they're so out of their element.  They're both fairly independent - just not in this environment.

We've already begun the "toilet paper wars" - a re-do of Katie's arrival.  It's cute to see her so upset about her new roomies refusal to use it as she had the same issue years ago when she arrived, lol.  I'm much more laid back about it this time - I must be losing some of my germaphobia.

Lots of folks have asked how they can help - but all I really need is energy and sleep! Perry's got the cooking covered - the girls are doing well - I just need to get my "A Game" back to keep up with them.  So I'll leave you with some pics of this morning's dress up excitement while I slurp down my 3rd mug of coffee!

Blessings, Kim

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 1 continued

When the clock finally turned to 4am this morning, I figured it was ok to get up, lol!  The girls are doing well - loving the trampoline, Wendy P., and having a great time on scooters (although we don't have enough for all - spurring "scooter wars!")   We're going to take our time getting to the docs this time since no one seems to have any life threatening diseases or contagious issues.  Dawn L., we'll see you at cardiology soon - hopefully for just a thumbs up that Jenny's surgery was done well.

Jenny and Sarah met their brothers for the first time when they arrived home from school!!  Kyle and Clint gave them big hugs are are such great big brothers!! I'm so thankful for boys with such compassionate hearts.  I'm so thankful their college is so close to home!!

The "home girls" aren't enjoying the "room invasion" much, and both woke up in tears yesterday morning.  Both new girls are like toddlers, and into everything.  It's exhausting watching them - but they don't have any idea of house rules, etc., yet.  Sarah just walks out the door if she feels like it, likely a rural village practice, and so I have to keep an eye on her constantly and know where she is at all times.  She has stopped spitting continuously, but much to Katie's chagrin, is having difficulty hitting the sink when she brushes her teeth.  We have MUCH to work on - and quite frankly, I don't know where to start!

Jenny is much more savvy, having lived in the city.  She fills every moment with noise as she attempts to parrot English and be her witty self - with no communication skills.  She's picking up English understanding pretty quickly.  She carefully watches everything around her and is VERY observant and interested.  Both girls are smart - but the jet lag is really making any clear thought by anyone nearly impossible, lol!

Neither girl has had any English training whatsoever - new for us - as the last children knew ABC's, etc., before they arrived.  We don't have the support system we had before where I had set up friends to help with translation of guidance here at the house.  I'll have to get on that, as the girls are unsure of our expectations, etc. (Like tell mom when you go outside!)  I just need to walk through the house with a Chinese speaking friend, and point out various things - like you can't help yourself to snacks all day - only fruit and veggies are unlimited, etc.

We are all still very tired, and I think it must be difficult for them to not understand why they feel so badly.  My home girls, who love their sleep, were completely dysfunctional by bedtime last night.  We just need to tough out this week until everyone feels better.

We saw lots of friends at an adoption chat yesterday - it was SO NICE to see so many folks who have been faithfully praying for us!! We are thankful for all those who prayed from far away places - like Ohio, Texas, and California!! We love you all!  We're hoping to get out in the sunshine again today - but will play it by ear with all the exhaustion showing on the girls' faces.  We may just stay close to home - we'll see. 

Praying for quick recovery and a back to normal clear mind as our internal time clocks adjust.  I'm going to try to dash to Walmart before everyone wakes up as I'm completely out of laundry detergent, dog bones and other essentials!! (the guys DID stock up on salsa and chips, however....)  I'm a little worried about Sarah in Church tomorrow....she doesn't sit still for long, and tends to laugh hysterically when we pray. (can't understand the humor - but I suppose it does look silly talking with your eyes closed if you don't believe in God, lol)  Hopefully, she'll behave, but I'm not counting on it!!

Love you all!  Kim

Friday, February 17, 2012

HOME!!!! (and a really easy flight!!)

I'm home, doing LOADS of laundry, disinfecting shoes, (yep, I'm a germaphobe) and enjoying coffee, Jennifer Petterson's bread and my REAL BIBLE vs. a kindle!!!  I"ll post more later about God's faithfulness - but suffice to say that Philippians 4 has been the story of the last year! Casting anxieties upon God, counting on his faithfulness to give me HIS peace, and trusting Him in all circumstances.

We had strong believers with us during every part of our trip - an incredible guide, and really fun new friends in the adoptive families that we met.  Our friends, the Lims, made our stay in Guangzhou special and a memory our new daughters will keep for a lifetime.

The last blessing was three seats ALL TO MYSELF on the plane! (the girls wanted to sit together, and the man next to me fled at Sarah's first holler - way to go, Sarah!)

I closed my eyes and when I woke up there was only an hour and a half left on the flight! Woohoo!!!  Life is good!!  Anyway, I'll leave you with a few pics, and post more later when we recover (or not) from jet lag.

Love you all - and know that your prayers were answered!!!  Blessings, Kim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Goodbye China!

We took the traditional Red Couch pictures at the White Swan yesterday.  We met up with a few other couples and got some pretty shots!

It was so sad to say goodbye to my travel partners - they have been such a blessing!

This is the part of the journey that becomes easy for me and difficult for the girls - there is so much to learn, so many changes to make in the way they do things - and of course, the communication gap.  They will be overwhelmed, like I have been, with the inability to communicate and understand what's going on around them.  We will likely experience some frustration and tears - which I completely understand!

So off we go to the airport in a little while - leaving a trail of clothes, toys, and food behind us like Hansel and Gretel!! It doesn't all fit in the suitcases.

Here's a pic of Sarah having a fit about something - she eventually left the picture.

But she needs grace for a while - as her change has been the greatest.  More on that in the future.  Gotta run and get everyone dressed for breakfast and TRAVEL!!  Thank you LORD, for a wonderful trip and two new wonderful girls!!!  Love you all! Kim

The NEW Guangzhou!

For Valentines Day, the Lims treated us to another sight seeing tour of the NEW Guangzhou.  We started out from our 2008 base of operations - Er Sha Island - which brought back fond memories of Katie's adoption trip!  It was still decorated for Chinese New Year - and I took a pic by the pool just for Katie. (she loved it!)

Then we strolled a bit in the park set up for the Asian Games.

 Then went to dinner at Papa Johns - actually more like an upscale Italian Restaurant in the States!  The pizza and food was even better - but smaller portions for smaller appetites here.

Next onto the main event - to see the Guangzhou TV tower lit up at night!

This is Flower City Plaza - at the base of the Canton TV Tower (2nd tallest structure in the world), and encompassing an opera theater to rival Sydney, the new Four Seasons Hotel - also one of the tallest structures in China - the Asian Games Stadium, and a beautiful new museum.   It was clean, scenic, and part of the new financial district where much global business is conducted.  The girls were more interested in the lighted sidewalks!

We loved the Opera Theater and sculptures outside

The Four Seasons Hotel starts on the 65th floor of the IFC Building and the Museum has an interesting mix of red lights and rectangular architecture - an engineer's dream on every corner of the plaza!  The Canton Tower changes colors throughout the evening - really spectacular!

Here's a pic of the lighted river.  Notice the Gold buildings on top of some of the structures.  These are the owner's residences - like floating mansions in the sky.  Amazing!

We had a great time posing in front of the opera theater and generally looking silly for the crowd, lol!

Edward and Ashley Lim have made our visit wonderful once again - we're so thankful to have such good friends on this side of the world!!  We can never thank them enough for their hospitality! 

Perry - tell Fedex to put their pilots in Edward's capable hands - he's managing a brand new facility right next to this beautiful plaza - better, cleaner, and prettier than Paris.  They've even perfected the croissant here - much to my chagrin when trying to fit into my jeans...yikes!

Jenny and Sarah continue to argue quite a bit - but I think being FINALLY home and in a routine will make a world of difference for Sarah.  It's hard to find food arrangements and find comfort when living out of hotels and suitcases.  I am grateful that I was able to show them some beautiful sights in the more international China vs. old temples and old museums.  Last night's plaza was a world class exhibit that brings China into the global market for tourism and the arts.  The Stadium for the Asian Games was lit up as well - and it was just a spectacular sight on a beautiful night.  Sarah fell asleep after all the walking and excitement and everyone slept late this morning.  We are enjoying ourselves, but will be happy to be back in our routine.

Please pray for our travel as we head out tomorrow!  It will be a LONG 30 hour trek - and a LONG time for little Sarah to sit in one place.  We appreciate your prayers for just a few more days!! Can't wait to see all of you and get to Church on Sunday. Blessings, Kim