Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Pictures

Hope & Maggie received their 8th grade school pictures last week.  So of course, I compared it to their 6th grade pictures (their first school pictures).  The change in them is very obvious.  God is SO Good!  So thankful for the miracle of adoption.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two Years! August 6, 2014

How on earth did we get to 2 years since the day we met Hope & Maggie?  The first year went slow.  I'm sure because of all of the adjustments we all were going through.  Boy was that year H.A.R.D.!  There were a lot of tears, yelling, meltdowns from all of us.  The 2nd year has gone better.  We all seem to have adjusted to our new lives.  Hope & Maggie LOVED school last year. Their teachers are amazing. Very loving and compassionate.  Hope & Maggie really need that from others.  For some reason, they accept other's affections (not physical) quicker than ours.  It's hard to see them bond fast with strangers, but at least we know they are capable of bonding.

I have to look back to realize how much they have changed.  Physically.....Emotionally....Spiritually..... They were very weak little girls.  12 & 13 years old that looked like they were 7 & 10 years old. I remember taking them to the doctor for the first time and the doctor saying there is no way they are 12 & 13 years old.  Well, after going to the dentist, and doing a hand x-ray on Hope (orthodontist wanted this done), we did confirm that they are in fact the age we were told they were.

Last night, I have to admit, was one of the best nights we've had in a very long time.  School has been back in for a week.  So we've been adjusting to that.  Well we just decided to have a game night.  We sat around, playing a game and laughing so hard.  Hope was being SO silly.  Saying things and making the craziest faces.  W could not stop laughing.  It's so amazing to see that when she puts her guard down, that she truly is a fun, crazy girl.  She has learned to put her guard up to guard her from pain, hurt, people etc.  After 2 years, we are seeing that guard leave occasionally.  This is progress.

Pray for us, because Maggie is blossoming into a beautiful teenage girl.  She has grown a lot, she is maturing physically fast. And she LOVES to dress pretty.  We had a "fight"with her the other morning because she was dressed too nice for school and it concerned me.  We already know the boys are looking at her.  I need to protect her for as long as I can.  She is naive and has not had 14 years of a mom telling her about boys etc.  She has seen and heard so much more than she should have while living in the orphanage.  So pray that she will be protected from anything that could be negative.  Even though she is boy crazy, she still thinks they are yucky (at least that is what she's telling us).

There are days where I still feel like they are not my daughters.  There are days when I don't feel bonded to them at all.  Then there are days when I want to do everything in my power to protect them, to love them, to be their mom.  It's definitely been a lot harder for me to bond with them.  Even though I have loved them from the day we decided to adopt them, it has been hard for me to bond with them.  Adopting an older child (let alone 2 older children) is very hard.  Especially when you adopt kids who put up this huge barrier and would have been happy staying where they were (so they thought).  Thankfully now, after 2 years, they have admitted they are happy here and they do NOT want to go back.

I'm praying that this 3rd year will be even better. That life will feel more natural.  This year they are in 8th grade.  And they are riding the bus.  The only thing they don't like about it is that they have to walk to the bus stop (a 5 minute walk).  On the 3rd day of school, Hope begged that I not walk with them. She said "we're big kids, we know how to do this".  And she was right.  I have to remind myself that they are 14 & 15 years old and they can and they need to do things without me.  Bill reminded me that they did a heck of a lot more stuff on their own when they were living in China.  We need to let them learn and grow up.

Thank you for following our journey and praying.  If I can be of any help to anyone reading this please contact me.  I would love to talk about our adoptions and help you if I can.

Our first family photo

Our family.  Easter 2014

Pirate night on the Disney Dream. June 2014

1st day of 8th grade

1st day of 8th grade

Monday, March 24, 2014

19 Months with Family

19 Months.  Hard to believe we've been a family of 8 for 19 months.  Some days it seems fast, other days it seems like we've been this large family forever.

A lot has happened in 19 months.  I wish I could say everything is perfect and great.  But honestly, who has a perfect family?  I have not met one yet, at least one who is being honest. :-)  I can say that we're doing better.  19 months ago was HARD!  I realize now that I had a lot that was going on at the time we adopted the girls, that I had not really dealt with before we adopted them.  For example, 1 month before Gotcha Day my brother got married.  A very happy day.  12 hours later my grandmother passed away.  I grieved hard.  5 days later, we received our Travel Approval for the girls and then quickly started planning our trip.  I did not get to fully grieve my grandmother's passing. I did not get to fully grasp my brother being married before we added 2 preteens to our life.

Not only did adopting two preteens cause some hard times, 10 days after flying home from China Abby & Jadyn got baptized.  This should have been a glorious moment, but I was overly stressed out by the 2 newest additions and their lack of social capabilities. And 12 days after flying home, I turned 40.  This was supposed to be a BIG birthday.  And yes I was celebrated. But I felt it was pushed aside because of all the newness of the girls.

So for a long time, not only was I dealing with having 6 kids, and 2 preteens who had a lot to overcome, I was also dealing with the happiness of my brother getting married, the loss of my grandmother, trying to enjoy a glorious moment of Abby & Jadyn getting baptized and turning 40.  It all just hit me all at once.  Then was the icing on the cake, Tiffani was a senior in high school and graduating.

Fast forward 19 months.  And yes, somedays it does seem to have gone by fast.  I feel a normalcy here now.  Not what we were used to.  It's definitely louder here now. There is still a lot more stress and frustration here now than there used to be. And there is definitely a lot more teenage hormones now.  We are all dealing with this.  It's been hard. But we're getting by.  The tantrums from the kids (and from me) are less than they used to be.  There is more silliness. And we're still trying to show craziness/fun to the girls to get laughs.  We're getting there.

Pictures say a thousand words.  And I agree.  I look back at photos and I see a huge change.  I don't notice in the every day dealings.  But looking back, wow!  The girls have grown.

We are scared. I will not lie.  We're scared of what their future will be like.  We know that God is with them. We are teaching them about His love. And they are asking questions.  We want them to fully, 100% without a doubt understand what it means to accept Jesus as their personal Savior.  We're getting close.  And they are asking the right questions.  But we're still scared of their physical future.  Will they find true love.  Will they get the social skills they will need to get a job. Will they get a job? And what kind of job?  Right now the girls are not at their age of maturity.  They are at an age 7-8 and age 9-10.  Yes, they have grown in maturity in the 19 months.  We're praying they will catch up before they graduate in 5 years.

Life has been different.  It's had a lot of hard moments.  BUT, when I hear "I love you mommy", then my heart melts.  That's all I ever wanted.  Was to have children to love, and who loved me back.  I have not been the best mother these past 19 months. But I'm trying.  It's been hard for me.  I want to be the best mother that they deserve.  I pray to God daily to help me to be what they need.  Satan has been attacking.  He knows my weakness is "quick to anger".  And he's used that against me a lot.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Adoption IS Awesome!  But it's also hard.  It does get better.  If it didn't, then we would not have have adopted 5 kids.  :-)  And we would not be discussing adopting again. (yes, that has been discussed several times in the last month).  I know I would not have been able to get through the hard times without God, without family and friends being there for me to vent to, or cry with or to just talk.

I will leave you with some photos of the girls.  God is SO good.  He loves us.  He cares for us. He will never leave us alone!

The first 4 photos were all taken in China:

these next photos were all taken once HOME!