Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Alan completed his work on the deck last weekend. I know he is very glad it's done. I really appreciate all of his hard work, not to mention the tons of money saved because he did the work himself.

There was only one injury which can be directly related to work on the deck. One evening as we were eating dinner, I looked out to see my kitty figurine sitting in the chair on the deck. I remarked that it looked cute sitting there. It normally sits on the deck, near the plants. Alan asked me where I originally got the kitty. I thought that was sort of an odd question. Then he admitted that he had accidentally stepped on it's tail and broken it. You know, I actually felt sort of sad about it and went out to take a look. I think we do get a little too attached to things sometimes. :) Sure enough, the kitty now has a hole in her tail. The funniest part of the story is what Jadyn said. "Mom, I have an idea! Glue!!" I thought it was so funny. So here's a photo of kitty. Her tail will indeed be glued soon.

Here are some things we did this morning. If I didn't have a 3 year old, I would not be able to do these things. I am a lucky mom.
I drew her hand, and she drew mine on her Doodle board. Who knew that my pinkie looked like a goose head??

I was a princess. "Mom, I need you to wear this crown." Photo of crown only. I was still in jammies, and slept with damp hair. It would not have been a pretty photo. The crown is a bit tight for my head. I take it off when she's not looking. :) She comes back and says, "Mom, where's the crown? You 'posed to wear it!"

I was served pizza with my coffee at the computer. How many of you had such a delightful breakfast? :) The pizza was a nice change. I'm often served Duplo block candies.

We went to a Twins-White Sox game on Monday night. That was an unexpected and fun night out. Our friends shared free tickets and parking with us. It was fun to see a ball game and spend time with them. Here's a photo of us at the Dome.

This is a photo of Jadyn that I took last week. We were eating outdoors at a restaurant with family. Jadyn had a lot of fun out there. I took this photo because the color of her shirt almost matched this leaf.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Fun Day At The Lake

We had fun yesterday with friends. We were planning to go to the lake, and we almost thought the rain was going to ruin our fun. We were able to go out on the lake and to the beach in between rain showers. Thank you to our friend Michelle, for a really fun time!

Jadyn really surprised me by being daring and doing some tubing. I could not believe she did it! I figured she'd get into the tube and as it drifted away from the boat, she'd begin to cry and decide it was scary. Well she certainly shocked me. She loved it! I even saw her laughing. She certainly made me laugh too.
Jadyn's on the right. Laughing!

Bryan is back from church camp. He had a good time, and was just bubbling over with stories last night. I'm glad he had a great time.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope yours is the same.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Random Photos Found On My Phone

Occasionally, I look to see what interesting photos I might have on my phone.

Bryan's at camp this week and I see that he left me an interesting photo on my phone, as my screensaver. Crazy boy! It was such a goofy face. I thought about including it here, just to get him back. I won't though. Next time he does it, I just might!

Here are some other photos:

This is Kaitlyn in a rose garden. We've taken a few "field trips" recently, to look at some possible wedding venues. The arboretum that we visited was gorgeous.

Here's one of Jadyn, which is also from a field trip. This is her "I don't really want you to take a picture" face. We've all seen it before. :)

Here are 2 photos from our most recent playgroup day. We are blessed that one of our families has a wonderful pool that they share with us.

Here's one of Jadyn painting. Looks like she also painted her face a bit that day. :) She really loves to paint and do anything involving markers, scissors, stickers, etc. I was shopping yesterday, and I saw finger paints. I wonder if we are ready to try something this messy and fun?

Monday, July 21, 2008

My last post was exciting, and I can't say this one will be as newsworthy. It has been a fairly normal week. We did a bit of this and that.

Alan and I went on a date on Thursday night. That was awesome. We don't get out alone often enough.

Bryan went to Sonshine (large Christian music festival) with friends for 3-4 days. Today, he's off to spend a few days at church camp. I'm so glad he went.

I'll add a few photos of things we've done during the past couple of weeks.

We went to our city's parade. Bryan's band marched in it. It was the last time he will march this season. We had a lot of fun at the parade!

Here's a photo of Jadyn waving. We've been to so many parades, she should almost have the princess wave down by now.

This is Jadyn with our friend Esme'. Esme' sometimes babysits Jadyn. They are great friends.

Our favorite band!

The family at the parade. Alan was out of town and unable to attend that evening.

Here is a photo of Kaitlyn and Chris, shortly after they were officially engaged. He was nice enough to sing the song for me, that he had written for her.

Alan, Jadyn, and I went on a picnic one evening. Here is a photo we took of Jadyn.

Jadyn and Alan, playing the fishing game. What could be better than playing the fishing game, with your dad, in your fairy costume?

Jadyn loves bubbles! She asks to blow bubbles every day. It's a great activity that she can do out on the deck by herself. She'll sit and be content with this for quite a few minutes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our Adoption Story, Part 2

On September 7, 2004 we signed with our adoption agency. We spent a lot of time looking at the different programs for international adoption. We chose China because the program seemed to be a good fit for us, for a variety of reasons.

Guess what happened after we chose China? I fell in love with Asian people. I will never forget what this was like. I have no doubt it was God working in my heart. Suddenly I had this love I'd never experienced before and it just grew and grew. I felt this love and sort of a kinship with all Asians. I feel it to this day and I sometimes have to restrain myself from going up to complete strangers and asking them if they are family. :)

From the time we signed with our agency, until the time our adoption was complete was just over 17 months. It was a very long process, and it was so painful to wait. But, God was very faithful to sustain us through the wait. Adoption is not an easy process at all and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It was definitely a growing experience. I am so thankful that God called us to do this, as part of his plan for our family.

It was kind of scary to take this step in our lives. Were we crazy, to go back to diapers, high chair, crying, and sleepless nights? I remember wondering what our family and friends would think when we told them our news. They were so supportive and I am so thankful.

I'm sure some people must have thought we were crazy though. Our children were 12, 16, and 19 when we began the process. I cannot count the number of people who have asked us why we would "start over." "You had it made, and now you've decided to do this." You know, it used to make me sort of sad when people would say this sort of thing. I don't feel that way anymore. I know how very blessed our family is. I just tell them it was God's plan for us.

Now for the best part of the story. On December 9, 2005, we received a phone call from our social worker. She told us that there was a little baby girl waiting for us in China. Her name was Jin Ai Tong, and she was living with a foster family in Ruijin, Jiangxi. Oh what joy and celebration we had over the weekend. We saw her photos for the first time on Dec. 12th. We were immediately in love with that little face.

On Valentine's Day in 2006, we had the joy of flying to China to go get our beautiful baby girl. Jadyn Alyssa Ai was placed in our arms in Nanchang, Jiangxi on February 19th. She was 14 months old. What an awesome experience it was. Words could never describe how it felt to be united with our child.

We are so blessed to have Jadyn as part of our family. She is a sweet, joyful child and has added so much to our lives. It has not been a piece of cake though. For quite some time, the hard times were about equal to the good times. We did make it, with God's help and our little girl is worth every difficult time that we experienced. She is a precious gift and we look forward to the coming years.

Our family looks different than some of our friends' families. Most of our friends who have teenage and adult children don't have a three year old like us. Sometimes I look around, when we're at a school event for our teenage son. I think to myself, "Umm, why are we the only ones here with a 3 year old?" It's kind of funny. I do know that we are very lucky to have our Jadyn.

Thanks for reading our story. It's been sweet for me to think about it all again, to remember and be thankful.

The wait for an adoption from China now has grown so long. My heart goes out to each of you who are waiting now. The wait that we experienced seems minimal, compared to what you are experiencing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Here's one of the first photos we saw of Jadyn. What a precious little one. This mommy cried tears of joy upon seeing it.
Do you love this haircut? I still don't quite get it. :) We're glad she's ours though.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our Adoption Story, Part 1

A friend asked me to share our adoption story here. She was kind enough to share hers some time ago. Lea's Story

I will try to be as concise with it as I can, but there's kind of a lot of information to share. I'll do my best. :)

Here is our story: I don't actually know the exact date of when it all began. It was 1998-1999 and we were living in Texas. There was a family at the church we attended, who was very involved in foster care. They had cared for many children over the years and had adopted once. At the time our story began, they were caring for a baby who was severely handicapped. We'd seen them care for other children over the years.

I began to feel a tugging at my heart. I felt that maybe we too could help children. This evolved sort of slowly. I also remember being so touched when I would see the commercials on TV for world relief organizations. I would sometimes cry when I saw the extreme need, and the hungry, starving children.

Somewhere along the line I also became interested in international adoption too. I would secretly look at adoption agency sites on the Internet. I never told anyone. When I looked at how much an international adoption would cost, I figured there was no way we would ever do something like that. I just put it in the back of my mind.

The tugging at my heart to possibly become involved with foster care became more and more insistent. I definitely felt that it was God who was speaking to me, whispering in my ear, "You need to do this." I felt that we were to do foster care with the possibility of adoption.

I prayed about it. I told God that I had no idea how I was going to broach this subject with Alan. After praying about it, for what must have been numerous times, I told God if he was asking us to do this, he would have to make Alan agreeable to the whole idea.

One night it was late, and our children were in bed. Alan and I were alone in the family room. I believe we were lying on the floor together. I finally found the courage to bring up the subject. I laid it all out there and told him what was on my heart. Here is what Alan said, "I love children very much. Why wouldn't I want to add to our family and have another child?"

Now writing his response here looks so simple. I'm sure though, when I heard his response, my mouth must have fallen open and my heart and mind were just freaking out. Did you hear that, world?? My husband just had a simple and precious reaction to what must have seemed like the monumental million dollar question to me at the time. That's God! How very simple it was. It was simply God working in our lives.

After that, we decided to become involved with foster care and we took all of the required classes, had a social worker come for a visit, had required inspections, etc. We'd almost completed everything required to become licensed for foster care.

Then our lives completely changed. Due to changes within the company Alan works for, we ended up moving from Texas to Minnesota. This was one of the hardest things we've ever had to do. Moving away from all of our friends and family was very, very hard. For months afterward we just took the time to get our family settled here, and make a new life. Everything regarding foster care and adoption was put onto a shelf. It stayed on that shelf for a long time.

Much time passed. When God puts something into your heart, it never really leaves. Plus, there was our daughter Kaitlyn. Somehow, God used her as a little tool to also give reminders every once in a while. "Mom, when are we going to adopt?" or "Are we ever going to adopt??"

Finally we started to talk about it again. By this time, it was the summer of 2004. I remember that's the summer when we bought the vehicle we are currently driving. I told Alan that we would need to make sure it had plenty of room, "just in case we decided to adopt or something." :)

Alan and I decided that we were not getting any younger and it was time to get the ball rolling again. We went to an orientation meeting for foster care in our county. Then one night we went out alone on a date. We sat talking for a long time in the Chinese buffet restaurant where we had dinner. We then continued the conversation in the car, just sitting in the parking lot. Somehow in that conversation, I told Alan that I also felt a calling toward international adoption. I told him that more than anything else, I was interested in doing that. He said, "Well if that's what you really feel we should do, then what on earth are we doing, about to start foster care training again?" That's my Alan, always the logical one. :)

We spent the next 2 weeks, researching adoption agencies. We received information in the mail and also spent time on the Internet. We went to an orientation meeting for an agency and it felt so right. We turned in a preliminary application that night.