Saturday, May 31, 2008

Remembering my first trip to China

Once upon a time, there was a woman who dreamt of becoming a mommy. In her dreams, she would envision herself walking hand-in-hand with a beautiful, happy little girl. Years passed, and still she waited for God to grant her wish. In her heart, she knew that somehow a baby would be hers to love. Her desire to be a mother was so strong, and her determination even stronger. A few years later, the woman received a phone call from her adoption agency, letting her know that soon her wish would be granted, God heard her prayers. Somewhere in China, a baby needed a home. Within a few weeks, a package arrived from China. In that moment, her prayers were answered. She became a mother. The baby was perfect, a little girl with big, brown eyes and a beautiful face. Suddenly, the years of yearning melted away. They were replaced with love and happiness for the future.

Big Sister showing off her nails after Mommy gave her a manicure.

Big Sister at her dance recital. My first baby is now 5 1/2 and will soon start kindergarten. Where does the time go?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Baby Senegal

My friends, Lauren and Blake, welcomed their first child earlier this week, a baby boy named Senegal. He was born Monday night, on Memorial Day, at 11:18pm. He weighed 7 lbs, 10.5 oz, and was 22 inches long! (*Why Senegal? According to the proud parents, "It's a beautiful, strong, and unusual name, named after a country in West Africa. Blake is very into West African drumming, and Lauren speaks French, the language of Senegal." To find out more about Senegal, here is just one of many websites you can visit:

Congratulations Lauren and Blake on your new son. He is a beautiful baby! I am looking forward to meeting him, and watching him grow.


Monday, May 26, 2008

One year ago today

China trip, one week after adoption.

Last week, celebrating our Forever Family Day, with her new baby doll and stroller.

One year ago today, on March 26th, I returned from my second, two-week trip to China with a beautiful, yet deeply sad and fearful baby girl. She barely slept in China, and only about three hours on our long fifteen hour flight back to the United States. She was intensely frightened when I got her and angry. Although I had read many books and articles on adoption and attachment, I was completely unprepared for the challenge God gave me. Last summer was rough. She was a clingy, "velcro baby," grabbing onto my shirt collar all day long. I prayed to God, asking for help. He listened and over time, my precious daughter relaxed, learned how to trust me, and became a much calmer, happier child. Now, one year later, she is extremely affectionate and sweet, always wanting to help Mama in any way that she can, especially unloading the bags of groceries. This past weekend, we went to Home Depot to buy carpet cleaner for the steam vacuum and she insisted on carrying the container for me. She is only two-years-old, and the container was quite heavy for her, but she was determined to carry it for me. That's just the way she is with me and her sister, always wanting to help and take care of us. She also has a great sense of humor, one that usually has us in stitches. Out of nowhere, she will make a funny face or sound that will start us laughing. I feel so incredibly blessed to be her mother.

As the old saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words. Here are two photos of my lovely little girl, one from last year, and one from last weekend. I can so clearly see the difference one year of love can make in a child's life. For anyone who has yet to get their referral and meet their new child, please expect the unexpected and know that love will find a way to help your little flower blossom.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

David Cook wins American Idol

The battle of the Davids ended last night when David Cook won the title of the new American Idol. Host, Ryan Seacrest, said that Cook one by "12 million votes." I think that is amazing, especially since both Davids were equally talented in my opinion. The difference comes down to style. David Archuleta is more of a pop singer while David Cook can do both pop and rock. I also enjoyed the final show last night, especially the part where the Idol singers performed songs from various artists, and then that artist came out to perform with them or solo. It was great!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday's Reflection: China Earthquake

Dear Lord,

Please remember all the victims of the recent earthquake which devastated parts of China, especially the mothers who lost their children, and children who lost their mothers. May you come to their aid and give them strength and courage in their darkest hour.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Forever Family Day

As I celebrate the year anniversary of the day I adopted my second daughter in China, I feel grateful that my wait was only two years, and that God
choose this special child just for me. Little Sister turned "2" in April and enjoyed a birthday party with her family. She especially liked the Cookie Monster cake that
her Mommy made for her. At two, she is sweet, affectionate, intelligent, and curious. Little Sister absolutely adores her big sister and cousins. Her favorite possessions are her blankie, food, toy phones, visiting the park, and her baby dolls.

Once a week, we have a speech therapist come to work with her. At this point, she can only say a few words so the therapy helps. Little Sister is now 26 pounds and 2 ft, 8 inches. She continues to be a deep sleeper, sleeping 11 hours each night and taking a 2 hour nap daily. Her temper flares up occasionally, but she now knows how to self-soothe. She will be baptized this weekend at our church. The past
year has made an incredible difference in her life. I look forward to seeing what changes will happen within the next year.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Portrait of Mei Mei

Photographed by Big Sister last week.

Friday, May 9, 2008

One of those days. . .

Today started out being a very good day. I woke up early and drove to the social security office so that I could finally obtain a card for Little Sister. The traffic flow wasn't too heavy and I found the office without any problem. Once inside, I was happily surprised to see that I was only one of two customers. Usually government offices are packed, especially on a Friday. I kept thinking, "Wow, can my morning get any better." After I left the building, I decided to head over to our local library to work on my resume. (I'm still looking for a job!) As I left the library, I started rummaging through my pockets and pocketbook looking for my keys when suddenly I realized that they were not with me. I panicked and walked over to my car. As I peered inside, I could see them laying on the passenger seat right where I left them. Oh crap! Now what I thought! I immediately called my sister. No answer. Then I called her husband who just so happened to be at the same library as me at the exact time. Okay, I thought, maybe we can get out of this jam. My brother-in-law, who is always calm in a time of crisis, gave me his keys so that I could drive his car to my house and look for my spare key. Sounds like a great plan, doesn't it? I drove home, found 'the key' and returned back to the library with rapid speed only to discover that the key didn't fit my car and wasn't the right 'key' after all. Moving past crap at this point to more complex cursing in my head, I returned the key to my brother-in-law and then walked back into the library and asked the librarian for help. She called the non-emergency police line and within minutes, not one, but two elderly gentlemen arrived one after another on their motorized police vehicles to rescue a damsel in distress. Okay, it wasn't really that glamorous. The cops could have been my dad or grandad. I guess the good-looking, younger officers were assisting someone who really needed help. At any rate, I now have my keys and will be more careful about taking them with me in the future.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday's Reflection

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spring Photos

When Big Sister turned four, her daddy bought her a digital camera. At first I thought the idea was crazy, but she loves her camera, takes very good care of it and is a good photographer. Check out her latest photos taken at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Rummage Sale

Over the weekend, my daughters and I went to the annual rummage sale in Lake Forest, Illinois. By the time we got there, around 9:30, it was jam-packed with wall to wall people. I'm not even sure how I was able to navigate my two little girls in and around the sale items or people. Believe it or not, we walked away with five bags of clothing and toys. My best finds were the following items: Baby Gap sweaters for Big Sister, an Ann Taylor vest for me and a little school bus for the girls that converts into a classroom. They loved it! Big Sister also loved the sheer "princess" bathrobe that I purchased for a dollar. It was supposed to be for her dress-up box, but she hasn't taken it off since. If you love to shop, but need to stay on a budget, check your local newspaper for upcoming rummage, garage or yard sales. You can walk away with incredible finds.