Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions.

Yes I do them. Yes I try to stick to them. Yes...I sometimes fail. Yes...I still think it's a good thing. I get much further with resolutions/goals...than I ever would without them. This year...I have big ones. We have big ones.

There is so much I'm beyond motivated to do before we go to China.

One 'little' thing is to have all of the children's digital scrapbooks DONE and up to date. Umm I won't tell you how behind I am. I won't tell you how packed my days are either...but...we always find time for what's important to us. :) And our children are in bed and snoring by 8:30pm every night and I'm...not. So I do have time and I'm committing to getting this done!

Another little thing is to have dates on the calendar. Period. The larger the family..the more essential it is. I often hear moms of large families joke about their annual date with their husband. Woah...it's really not a light matter. When the children are grown and out on their own ... it's you...and him. You might want to really focus on cultivating that relationship so it's number 1. Right now we date about...every 3 weeks. It should be every two. No matter what. Even if it's a starbucks and walk by the river. (Tough for me to do that when I pay a sitter...but ... regardless...it's the time that's important).

I will focus on as much one on one time with each child as I can. Each of our children are so different. We love our Mama/Daddy dates with the kids. But no one is the same. And...I love that. We think it's important to nurture their individuality.

Most of all...I will focus on my King and my loyalty to Him ... first. Because really everything else...is a result of that.

Happy New Year friends...I encourage you...go ahead...make resolutions. Fear of failure...is crippling. You'll do way more by setting a goal (even if you fall short...a little or a lot) than if you never set it in the first place.

New Year's bliss...

Oh I'm so ready for 2012! Let's bring on a new year and all the wonderful surprises ahead of us. Praying...the surprises are wonderful. Do you ever stop and think how very little control we have of our lives? What if you could see six months in advance...? I wonder if we would do things differently now if we knew what lay ahead....

With a large family it often enters my head of what if one of our children were diagnosed with cancer....or there was a terrible accident...or...or....

I don't mean in a 'worry way' because that's pointless ... I mean in a way to help us stay focused on the right things, in the right priority...b/c we really don't know what is ahead. To live and to parent with as few regrets as possible...

The things we DO know about 2012 are pretty exciting. We are so ready to get this ball really rolling (we are helpless in doing so...;) with bring Taizi and Zihao home. Oh home study process...you are long...and well...dreadfully long...and we are ready to wrap you up...

So at this point I am still waiting for CAN forms back from WA and MB and well Mexico. And fingerprinting from the FBI. Lovely. However...the moment they DO come back we are ready to go! Which also means agency fees start piling on us pretty quick...deep breath...

Jenny from TCH told us they do have Zihao's Christmas package (she's in the states right now) and her worker is supposed to be forwarding photos of him with it. Looking forward to that.

Ann from Red Thread China wrote that Taizi's orphanage said they are "much to busy to give her a photo of Taizi til after spring festival (end of January)." Lovely.

Dean and I watched the video of Taizi again last night. Oh little Precious. I'm fine until I see him rocking on the horse and his head falling forward and back with little control. I told Dean " I just want to scoop him up with a blanket and hold his little head into my shoulder"... Dean just said "totally...".

So little boys...we are praying that not only is 2012 your year to come to your forever family but 8 months into it. August. Yes ... that's the month... ;)


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

Oh the excitement in this house today...I wish every home could have this much joy! The children all had another sleepover in the playroom (cutest thing ever) and this morning they were all so eager to tell us that today is Christmas Eve! We (me...untraditional mama...) have become a family of traditions and there's no way out ;) The kids remind us of all the fun family traditions we have and ... they are special. Today Daddy made us brunch. Woah...we'll take that tradition any time...! ;) He made a big egg casserole and we can't eat it without thinking of his mom. Dec. 22 was 4 years since that day when we watched Mom / Grandma take her last breath. What a surreal moment... it all happened so fast. We couldn't even get our sleepless minds around what was happening...and then it happened. And we were left dumbfounded, stunned...and yet with peace. Mom was spending Christmas with Jesus...her first of many. We talk about her often...we don't even want our children to forget who she was and how much she loved them all. We know she would be completely over the moon with Chazano and Zunduka....and Zihao and Taizi. She never met Azahria...and of course Izrael. I had only announced a little baby girl was on the way 2 days before Mom passed away...she loved her grandkids. Tirzah (just 4 years at the time) still talks about putting a rose on Grandma's white coffin at the funeral...and Zion talks about different memories he has as well (he was 2.5).

Today we are watching Herbie...yes...Herbie. I reluctantly gave in...and reluctantly laughed. A lot. ;)

Tonight the tradition of a chocolate fondue DINNER (yes...dinner). Tirzah is so excited about this ... we have marshmellows, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, cheesecake...

And then the opening of Christmas Eve Jammies ;)

Christmas day is like a Procopio Christmas day. Yes...I guess I secretly liked the scheduled form of the day growing up. Breakfast...clean up the kitchen...THEN sit down together and open presents. It's usually about 10-11am before we start.

Christmas. It actually gives me chills when I put myself back in time and imagine hearing the news that Mary's child was born...Jesus...God became man. Time literally stood still...Heaven stood still...and watched...as the Creator became one of us...the created. Out of the darkness....Light. Out of the gloom...Hope. Promise was born that day.

Merry Christmas. I... am so glad ... He came. If He wasn't born...He couldn't have died. If He didn't die...I would be without Hope. Because He died...I am free.


So full...and yet...so empty.

With all the excitement of Christmas...I love watching the wonder of it all through the innocence of little children. I must have heard 22 times today how much I'm loved. Not sure if it's related to the growing stash under the tree...or.... ? ;)

... in it all is this almost ache that is getting stronger each day...until tonight there's a very obvious lump in my throat. Little Zihao and Taizi...we are longing to bring you home.

Zion and I had a little Mommy date today. We talked about how 'next' Christmas...we should be home with our little boys and how wonderful it is to celebrate their first Christmas in their forever family with them. Zion was so pure and kept looking out the window then back at me...then he said "Mama, but there's many more orphans to bring home..." It was very precious the way he said it. We are not on a mission to adopt the world...we are on a mission to go where God leads us and hopefully in that process...inspire many others to step out and listen to that 'still small voice' and see many many orphans brought home.

Merry Christmas Zihao Zhonghua. As you are surrounded by your loving foster family and the joy at TCH...may God prepare your little heart for all the changes that lay ahead...and meanwhile...may you continue to feel loved and cared for.

Merry Christmas Taizi Fu'An. My heart can't even get the words out without seeing your precious little face laying in your crib with your Haberman bottle...stroking your own hair. I will have Habermans here ready for you...and I promise you won't need to stroke your own hair when you come home...
Perhaps every day has been the same ... every sunrise...is the same routine...and you spend much of your days in your crib. ... but it's all about to change and life will never be the same. I pray as you lay your head down tonight and see your forever Daddy and Mama on your new pillow that your heart will dream of home. One very normal morning will soon take your mundane world and brighten it forever. You are so loved little boy. Merry Christmas my precious...Merry Christmas....


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas in our house.

This is the second night in a row the kids are all having a "sleepover" in the playroom :) Sleepover..just with their siblings but still that's a decent size party...;) We went out tonight again looking at Christmas lights. Dean does that because he loves his wife. And well of course the kids love it :) No snow...but it sure feels Christmassy watching these amazing lights that are all synchronized to music. Dean was holding Izrael and she was totally 'dancing' (as a 9 month old baby would) while holding the steering wheel...so cute.

The kids were all talking about the top thing on their "list" this year and of course we kept saying "you never know...lots of surprises coming" but we quickly turn it to others. Yes our children are young...but we are teaching them young that whether we have a lot or little ... we always can help others. This year they were so excited as we packaged up a large box of Christmas gifts to a family in eastern Canada as a "Christmas in a box" surprise. We all can't wait until Christmas morning to hear about their excitement of opening those gifts.

Today we made Oreo Truffles. Dean and the kids LOVE them...I'm just not tasting the 'wow factor'. They were fun to make! Google it...oreos in the blender with 8oz of softened cream cheese (ewww...maybe that's my problem) rolled into balls then dipped into melted chocolate (we did fondue chocolate...so easy) and then freeze for an hour. They tasted kind of 'nothing' to me but Dean said it was one of the best cookies he's ever had. We had fun making them:)

With a new year ahead...there's a lot of excitement in our house. We have a big year ahead of us in many ways. Azlan will be having his second surgery to complete his Baha implant for his SSD (single sided deafness). We pray we'll be going to China to bring our two preciousness'es...home. Ahhh. What a year. So much unknown. Yet it's all known by the One that matters...

Regarding Azlan...what a tremendous impact the Baha is having on his life. The problem with the temporary headband is that it's tight...and has to be tight to hold it in place on the bone. So...it hurts and we have to move it around constantly. He doesn't wear it all day...but there are certain times that are MUST times. In the car...is a must time. He's quieter. Calmer. Just...wow.

The other day we all had a time playing with the iPad, iPhone and an older broken-screen-iTouch we have. I told Azlan I was going to get his "ear" (that's what he calls his Baha) he immediately looked at me and said "oh...do I have to? Then I hear everyone else...right now I can only hear me..." ahhhh...yes, my boy...we can tell! :)

Zihao~I feel like we can already hear your laugh in our house. Your smile is so contagious and we can't wait to bring your joy home. Merry Christmas our little Zihao Zhonghua...

Taizi~we are longing to wrap our arms around you and hold you so tight. You feel alone...yet you never have been. You are loved beyond what your little heart could ever fathom. Your Christmas may not be merry...but it will be...hold on little Precious...we are coming.


All I Really Want For Christmas (Steven Curtis Chapman)

Well, I don't know if you remember me or not
I'm one of the kids they brought in from the home
I was the red-haired boy in an old, green flannel shirt
You may not have seen me, I was standing off alone

I didn't come and talk to you 'cause that's never worked before
And you'll probably never see this letter, anyway
But just in case there's something you can do to help me out
I'll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There's so much I could ask for, but there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

Well, I guess I should go ahead and tell you now
If it's really true about that list you have
Somehow I always seem to end up in a fight
But I'm really trying hard not to be bad

But maybe if I had a brother or a dad to wrestle with
Maybe they could teach me how to get along
And from everything I've heard, it sounds like the greatest gift on earth
Would be a mom

All I want for Christmas is someone who'll be here
To sing me happy birthday for the next 100 years
And It's okay if they're not perfect or even if they're a little broken
That's alright, 'Cause so am I

Well, I guess I should go, it's almost time for bed
Maybe next time I write you I'll be at home

`Cause all I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
Tell me I'll never be alone, someone whose love will never end
Of all that I could ask for, well, there's just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

A phone call that really made a difference..!

Lifeline is trying to get our homestudy wrapped up (and we appreciate that)...but these Child Abuse and Neglect forms are holding us back. So I called the Manitoba office and the voicemail said they are back logged but I left a message anyway. One person called me back yesterday and another individual called me this morning. She said she was so unfamiliar with international adoptions and definitely didn't want to hold that process up so she was processing it today and putting it in the mail tomorrow morning. She ended the call with "this is one call that saved you 5-7 WEEKS" (gulp) and said yes...that's 5-7 weeks that matters! Not sure really how big their stack of paperwork is since we were logged in with them since November 7...but thankful we just climbed to the top of the stack.

:)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tonight I was reading a bit on David Platt's blog (pastor and author of "Radical"). They recently adopted a little girl through Lifeline and from the same city as Zihao ... MaoMing.

Here is the link to the post I read.


It really hit me at the end. We don't adopt because we are the rescuers...we adopt because we are the 'rescued'...

My heart beats a little bit faster when I think about meeting little Zihao and Taizi for the first time...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas Taizi


Our gift is being sent off to Taizi tomorrow from Red Thread China.

Little boy...my heart hurts for you.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Busy...

but not far from my mind. All day.

Today we mailed our package to Zihao for Christmas. We were so excited when we found Hallmark's "recordable story books" in Walmart! What a fabulous gift for our little boy to hear his forever family read him a story! We had a lot of fun recording it too with the kids all having parts to say :) My favorite part of our book (Frosty The Snowman) was the last page "Thumpety-Thump Thump"...I read "thumpety" and each child read "thump thump". It was so cute.

We got him 4 play shirts, monster trucks, 5 pack of hotwheels, and another Hotwheels truck. A candy cane filled with Hershey Kisses and a special Christmas card.

Tonight we also sent a package to Taizi from Red Thread China. I so wish I could send him a gift from here but it's just not been confirmed that we would ever know it would reach him. We sent him a 2 piece outfit, another disposable camera (praying we get these when we go to China...how amazing to have photos of him waiting for us), a cute cuddly stuffed panda bear, and a pillow with a photo of Daddy and Mommy on it. Yes we are really wanting him to see our photo and what better way than a pillow in his bed...hoping he closes his little eyes each night looking at his forever family and knowing just how 'wanted' he is.

Azlan is doing great with his new Baha. He doesn't wear it all day b/c it's really too intense. Crazy ... but true. Tonight they watched a Max Lucado children's movie (LOVE them) and I asked him if he wanted it on and he said "no thanks...it's SO loud for me" ;)

I'm noticing a significant difference during school with Azlan's BAHA. I teach Tirzah and Zion first ... then Chazano, Zunduka and Azlan. So while T and Z are in school, the others are playing 'quietly' in the playroom as it's during Izrael's nap time. Well Azlan is loud. He just is. Now with the BAHA...it's quite incredible how he's much much quieter and I'm not having to come out and tell him several times that I need him to try harder to talk quietly. He calls the BAHA his 'ear' ;)

My boy. He has such a huge piece of my heart. And I'm so thankful. Because he needs a Mama with a big heart. Oh they all do...but Azlan requires extra.

When we were in Spokane last week, I asked both his audiologist and his plastic surgeon/ear reconstruction specialist (he's an amazing doctor) about Taizi and Zihao. They both (separately) told me something interesting...they said in their experience...75% of children adopted from China have hearing loss. The Audiologist said that there is something definitely causing significant hearing loss in China...and that it's wise for all adoptive parents to make sure they get their child's hearing thoroughly checked when they bring them home. When I showed her our boys' files she said "it's highly likely both have significant hearing loss". Dr. Husein said very similar when we spoke as well. Interesting.

Tonight I ordered Christmas cards. Yes I know how late it is in the month. Somehow December has been flying by for me. Tirzah told me today how many days until Christmas and I was quite shocked. Ahhh. I'm rather behind and well...looks like I'll be out with all the males in the stores again shopping on Christmas Eve....(yes I was out of place last year with all the men doing their very late shopping...)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sending Christmas

We are getting a Christmas box ready to send to our little Zihao. Hotwheels cars amd monster trucks and socks and shirts and something chocolate-y will be sent to our boy. We will also send a package from Red Thread China for little Taizi.

Our last home study appointment was Thursday. We are waiting for all of our clearances to come back and then the home study will wrap up. We are so glad we will have years of post placement visits with these two wonderful social workers! We have become good friends.

Happy Saturday to you all. Hope you all get to spend lots of quality moments with your family today...and think about those separated from those they love.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A little update

I had a few questions answered about our precious Taizi today.

Tai Fu An update:

1, He only did lip surgery not palate.

2, He can stand and crawl not walk yet.

3, He is not deaf. He can hear for sure.


So he will still need his cleft palate surgery done and we are happy to hear it is not done yet so that Dr. Husein can do it.


We aren't terribly convinced he can stand and crawl but if so...he's at the same level developmentally as little Izrael who is 8.5 months. He is 2.5 years old. :(


Regarding deafness, this was actually silly of me to ask. I guess if he turns his head when you talk to him they are saying "he is not deaf". It is almost unlikely that he does not have any deafness.


The good news is...we are going to love you just as you are, little Taizi.



A funny little story that happened yesterday here:

I was teaching the kids in school and it was Azlan (who I was sitting with so I could speak directly into his left ear so he could hear the sounds clearly as we are learning to read) and across from us was Chazano (Zunduka was to our right). The kids all know that you just don't touch Mama's feet. You know how kids will come stand on your feet? I think I have a lot of nerve endings in my feet ... or I'm just plain weird...(possible) but I don't like anyone touching my feet. Even in a pedicure I endure some it because I'm so sensitive. So under the table, Chazano puts his foot on my. I move my foot. 10 seconds later his foot is back on mine. I look at him...he didn't miss a beat in his school work. I subtly move my foot. A few seconds later...his foot is back on mine. This happened several times til I acknowledged to myself that I think ... my Chazano boy is bonding with me....and it just so happens...to be by touching my foot (!!!). So I left my foot there. I even stuck my phone under the table to take a picture for Dean (who would appreciate the gravity of the situation). Honestly...it was so hard for me to leave my foot there simply b/c I really dislike my feet being touched...but I was warmed by the fact that our little boy just wanted 'touch'. :)


Later in the afternoon I was showing them something on the iPad and he 'fell' on me ... in what 'just so happened' to be a full hug. So I took the opportunity and hugged him. He laughed and said "mama...I fell, I wasn't hugging you". I wasn't buying it;) 5 minutes later the same exact thing happened...ok...so this time he got a full bear hug.


These are the moments that are so much bigger than they appear at first glance in an adopted child.


...


Tomorrow we will try to get a Christmas package ready to send Zihao in China. Jenny said they do celebrate Christmas with the child there in the foster home.


Good night our precious babies...you are so loved.