Home School & a Package

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

School is going well for the most part~
now that Jing has some sense of her life now
and we are in a somewhat routine.
Today when EK chose to write about our Christmas tree
Jing said, "I make a 'Chris-a-mas' tree too."
Thought it was the perfect time to work on shapes
so I drew one thing at a time and she colored~
then got to add the sequins.
She was very diligent and SO proud when finished.
When we were dressed and back in the kitchen for lunch,
Jing picked up her tree and said,
"I show Baba he get home. Be right back."
Just look how proud she is of herself.

Then we spied the UPS truck coming down the driveway~
you may remember from last Christmas
how much I love to see the brown truck! :)
He brought a sweet package from Jing's new friend
from China Olivia and her mom Robin.
She sent two gifts from Red Thread Maps~
A Putian City bear and tile with a Fujian map.
She loves them both
and the girls have already dressed the bear in a dress.
The tile map is in their 'China' cabinet safe and sound. :)

It's Been Forever for 3 Months

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the adoptive world,
a child is adopted into their forever family.
Jing has had forever for 3 months now~
August 29th was her family day
and she has come a long way!!!
How can one child change so much
in such a short period of time???
Just look at that little girl in the blue dress,
scared to death of what was happening to her...
breaks my heart to pieces to look back on her
and imagine what she was thinking and feeling.
SO thankful we have 3 months behind us
and she is very well adjusted~ loving life.

~She wakes up with the biggest smile every morning~
always in a great mood!
~She's very quiet, calm, and takes it all in much of the time.
~She loves for me to hold her A LOT
and snuggles up in my lap whenever I sit down.
~Loves and plays so well with EK...
like they have known each other forever.
~ Speaks in complete sentences all the time
and knows exactly what she wants and needs.
~Sings lots of little songs and LOVES for me to read to her...
especially ones with rhythm.
~Adores her daddy and sisters...
gets so excited when they all come home each day.
~Loves to eat! brush her teeth! take her medicine!
play with her baby! dress up! take a bath!
~Wants to do most things "by myself!"
~Always says thank you, bless you, 'excusa' me, and I wuv you mommy.
~Loves her purse and has to have 'magic soap' (sanitizer) in it.
~Says "I mommy's helper" and wants to help with whatever I am doing:
empty dishwasher, fold clothes, dust...
~Ready for bed every night
and wants me to lie down with her until she falls asleep...

Life with her in it sure is sweet.
Seems as if she has always been in our family.
Feels like I have loved her forever~
in a way, I guess I always have.
God has blessed us BIG with our precious Jingy Baby!!!

Luke 9:48 NIV

Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."

Connected with Red

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Saturday,
we met 4 other families with children adopted
from Putian City orphanage in China @ zoo in Greenville.
Our sweet friend and mom to Linden
was the one to make this get together happen.

Right after we accepted Jing's referral,
I found a Putian City yahoo group and connected with Linden's mom.
She actually talked to me about two hours one day
like it wasn't a big deal at all.
I got off the phone being completely at peace
and having a new friend.
She was very kind to email me lots, send pics,
and have her precious Chinese friend get new pics of Jing
when she went home to visit her family in none other than... Putian City.

Probably pretty crazy for most people when I say
I had never met any of these families
and knew them only from email, blogs, and talks on the phone
but felt an incredible connection~ by a red thread.
It is said...
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."
--An ancient Chinese belief"

I had butterflies when we drove up
and even worried that we might not know each other.
That was all silly~
we walked up to the sweetest group of people ever
and enjoyed our time celebrating the children
we love and now have forever families.

We shot photos of all the families and whole group.
Our family, the whole group, the Spitlers (Isaac),
the Reeders (Linden), the Morrises (Isabella),
Isabella's mom was the first person I ever talked to once we had Jing's referral.
She moderates our yahoo group and actually got me updated photos too!
God really blessed me big when He made me part of this amazing family!!!

I guess this get together was mostly so us moms could connect
but when we walked up, we were immediately
greeted by Sandy, Isaac's mom.
She has been home with him since May
and was so sweet to take a photo album
to Jing plus got us updated pictures!!!
She introduced Isaac to Jing right away
and showed her pictures of them together.
Here they are still living @ orphanage in China.
JingJing on the left and Isaac on the right.
Then Jing looks around at Isaac
and we could tell she remembered him~
she had a teeny smile on her face.
They definitely had a connection right away.

The kids had SO much fun playing
and eating a picnic lunch.

Then we were off to the zoo~
Jing's first visit and this pic shows her
the minute she saw an elephant for the first time.
LOVE the sparkle in her eyes!

Had many opportunities for photos~
just like Jing and Isaac had a connection...
so did EK and Abby.
They hit it off and had a ball playing!

November is National Adoption Month
and I haven't really posted anything about it
but this day was definitely a celebration
of 5 precious children who didn't choose to be orphans
OR to live a while @ Putian City SWI
OR be adopted by their forever families
BUT I do believe they have been blessed to have a future.
A future full of love, security, and family.

I can't really explain it
but the red thread really does exist.
There is always a connection when you meet
another adoptive family and begin sharing stories.
Scott and I have made some of the best friends
in the world through adoption.

I pray if there is anyone out there wondering
if this journey might by for you,
I would tell you...
"there is a precious child somewhere sure hoping
you choose to grab the red thread
and be connected with him/her."
Our family can't imagine our life without
these two precious miracles!

"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."

~ Edward Everett Hale

"Adopting a child won't change the world,
but for that child the world will change."
~ unknown

Reading Buddies

Jing LOVES for us to read to her
but there are just times when I am busy...
this morning EK asked if Jing wanted her to read to her~
made me so happy to see them there on the floor
right beside me just being together!!!

So thankful God made them sisters!!!

Thanksgiving~ First for Jing

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our family had one of the best Thanksgivings ever~
so wonderful to have all the girls home...
especially JingJing.
We enjoyed a weekend full of family, friends, and food!!!

Psalms 106:1 NIV

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
His love endures forever.

For the month of November,
I posted something I was thankful for each day.
Thought I would repost them
as a praise to the ONE Who blesses me everyday!!!

Day 1 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful for my 5 beautiful daughters who amaze and bless me every single day!!! Thank you Jesus!!!

Day 2 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful for my sweet husband who drives to Gwinnett each day to work... there no one like him and I am so blessed!!!

Day 3 of Thanksgiving~ it's been a good day!!! House is clean, laundry done, groceries bought, girls happy, and breakfast for dinner. So thankful!!!!!

Day 4 of Thanksgiving~ So thankful to be home each day for my family- homeschooling the littles and being here when the bigs get home from school. Available to talk to Sav whenever she calls. Priceless.

Day 5 of Thanksgiving~ So thankful for HEAT and coffee! We froze to death at the football game but oh so happy to go celebrate senior night with Amelia!!!

Day 6 of Thanksgiving~ A beautiful morning with all our chicks. Couldn't ask for anything more wonderful!!!

Day 7 of Thanksgiving~ Love this time of year and my first tree is UP!!! All the girls plus Josh helped decorate Jing's first Christmas tree. ;)

Day 8 of Thanksgiving~ Just got second opinions for the girls' dental work and got a much better prognosis. PTL!!!

Day 9 of Thanksgiving~ my friend Susan has her forever daughter Holland in China. God has blessed them beyond measure!!! To Him be the glory!!!!! Blog post later. ;)

Day 10 of Thanksgiving~ So thankful for this time of year and my sweet friend Cyrise who came over today and helped me decorate my house for Christmas. What a sweet blessing!!!

Day 11 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful for all the veterans and those currently serving today~ especially Oyran Lopes!!! So thankful for his dedication to our country!!!

Day 12 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful I am able to stay home with the girls and take them to the park on such a beautiful day as today!!!

Day 13 of Thanksgiving~ thankful a sweet friend trusted me to shoot their Christmas pictures today. So Fun!!!

Day 14 of Thanksgiving~ thankful for Sundays and time with Scott and the girls. ;) and

thankful I live so close to my mom and dad. It is so sweet that they get to be a part of the girls' lives. ;)

Day 15 of Thanksgiving~ my brother and sister are two of my best friends and I love them beyond measure!!! The other best part of that? They both gave me another sister and brother. Love Sissy, Jason, Chris, and Amy!!!

Day 16 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful for Dr. Morgan and the wonderful medicine that will make my two littles feel better. :) Jing talked about her all day and the last thing she said before she fell asleep was... I like Dr. Morgan. :) That is huge!!!

Day 17 of Thanksgiving~ Court was in session today for us as we completed SJ's re-adoption. She is officially SJ JJ Ankerich. :)~ US birth certificate on the way.

Day 18 of Thanksgiving~ So thankful that Two months ago yesterday Jing had heart surgery. We are on the way to cardio for our monthly appt.SJ got a raving report @ cardiologist! I truly believe love is mending her heart day by day!:)

Day 19 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful my meds finally kicked in and got rid of the terrible migraine I came home with last night. I always seem to get one after we leave the cardiologist.

Day 20 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful that my girls have each other to share their lives with... the happy and the sad. Sister love is so sweet~ I should know... I have the sweetest sister in the world!!!

Day 21 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful my family enjoys coming to eat lunch with us on Sundays~ sweet memories our children will have forever!!!

Day 22 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful to be taking A&R for their bridesmaids dresses... in preparation for one of the happiest days of our lives. Excited for Sav's wedding in May. :)

Day 23 of Thanksgiving~ I am thankful all the chicks are in the nest and my Christmas cards came today!!! Whoo hoo!!!

Day 24 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful we were able to take the girls to see Santa! :)
Day 25 of Thanksgiving~ Thankful for Jingle Bell and a house full of love!!!

Amazing the big and little things we have to be thankful for...
Now I need to do this everyday
until next Thanksgiving!!! :)

Thankful for Jingle Bell :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We are trying so hard to call her ShayleeJoy
but Jing, JingJing, Jingy, or Jingle
is usually what comes out.
If you ask her if her name is SJ,
now she says... Jingle Bell~
thus her favorite song right now.

Today for some reason she began
calling Scott and I
Daddy and Mommy instead of
Baba and Mama.
We are SO thankful this little one is home
safe and sound this Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL
and more to come later!!!

Hermie is Back

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

After seeing Santa this week,
I told EK I was pretty sure Hermie would be coming soon.
Can you believe he grabbed a ride in
Savannah's back seat?

The girls thought it was SO funny!

He was quick to choose a spot so he could watch the girls.

I'm pretty sure he was able to give Santa
a good report when he flew there last night.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!!

Santa Visit

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yesterday we went for bridesmaids and flower girl
dress fittings~ then to see Santa and a little shopping.
We stopped in a new store~ Charming Charlie
and SJ found a cute lip gloss that she loved.
I usually let her carry something around
and put it back at the last minute.
As we were walking through the mall,
I noticed she was putting lip gloss on~
Oh no... we forgot to put it back
so went back later and paid for it.

We made it to see Santa~
EK was still very shy with him
but SJ went right to him and wasn't scared at all.
He did most of the talking and they just nodded.
We shot a few sweet pics.
And when the visit was complete,
both girls walked away...
SJ turned around to look at Santa one more time
then went back for a hug. :)

The little girls wanted to ride the carousel
while the big girls shopped.
EK rides the black horse EVERY time~
she loves it.
SJ just rides the closest one to EK. ;)
They would have ridden 10 times if we had let them.

We ended the night with a yummy meal @ PF Changs
and looking forward to our next visit with Santa.

Sweet Brooklyn!

PTL! My friend Lyn has her precious daughter Brooklyn!
Click Lyn's name to find her adoption blog.

Lia is traveling with her as is her mom.

Brooklyn is doing amazingly well!!!
Sweet sisters!

Fruit of the Labor

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's one thing for the girls to get along
(most of the time)
and take care of each other here at home
(some of the time)
but oh so sweet when you are able
to see the Fruit of the Labor when out and about.
Saturday was one such day
when we were invited to Madelyn's 5th bd party.

The girls went in very quiet and took a minute
to get comfortable being there.
This was the first time some of my friends
had met SJ
so she was quite the spectacle of attention.

EK had a ball jumping and sliding with her friends!
Madelyn, Lyra Kate, and Myla~ EK & Rachel

The sweetest thing of the whole day
was watching EK take care of SJ~
the kids were playing duck duck goose
and EK sat SJ very close to her
and helped her feel safe and secure.
I couldn't have been prouder!!!

And when it was time to eat,
SJ made sure she saved a seat right by her for EK.

We are so blessed to live very close to two other families
that have daughters from China.
We had to get our 'red couch' pic
of them together for the first time with SJ!
Madelyn, Myla, SJ, and EK

Happy birthday Madelyn~
thank you for inviting us to your party.
We really enjoyed being with everyone!!!

The First "Talk" with EK

Friday, November 19, 2010

No... not the birds and bees.
Something these two beautiful princesses have in common...
The "Talk" I have anxiously dreaded...
worried how I would ever eloquently explain...
how they came to live in an orphanage
and then became our precious daughters.

What "Talk" you ask...
the "Birth mother Talk".
Why so worried? Why such a big deal?
I have been the only mama EK has ever known
and always wanted to be the only one~
but there is another...
one she will never know,
one I can tell her nothing about,
one who for a reason unknown abandoned her,
a birth mother somewhere in China.

There was one day not too long ago
when I thought our conversation was leading to this Talk
but was not to be until yesterday.
We were at the cardiologist for SJ's monthly checkup
and while waiting for the dr and an echo~
EK picked up a book about the human body.
We looked through the book page by page...
she asking lots of questions
and me answering as many as I could.

We came to a page with a baby inside a mom.
EK looked at me and asked if that was how babies grew
and I said yes... (my heart beating out of my chest)...
I knew where this was going
and began praying for just the words God would have me say.
EK: And I grew in you?
(I pulled her into my lap so she would feel secure)
Me: Actually you and Jing did not grow inside my tummy.
You grew in a China mother's tummy.
She is called your birth mother.
I don't know anything about her
but she was not able to be your mama
so you went to live at the orphanage
so I could come to China and get you.
(EK just sat there very serious taking it all in, processing)

That was it.
I asked her if she wanted to ask me anything else~
she said no.
I believe it was perfect timing for us to open the convo
and I know there will be many more...
I will continue to pray God will lead me ever so gently
and the girls' hearts to be willing to take it in.
I'm SO thankful they will have each other
to talk with, cry with, and be with!

It amazes me that we have read
SO many times but EK has never asked
why all the babies were there
how she came to be in an orphanage.
In her little mind,
that's just the way it was.
She lived in the orphanage with her nannies
and we prayed for her
and God allowed us to come to China to get her.
She's always known she was adopted.
Now she has another piece of her story~
one she will have to process in her own way.
One that I will spend my whole life praying about...
one that I will always be grateful for
because two birth mothers far away in China
chose life for my two precious daughters
and I get to be their Forever Mama!
Forever I will love them like crazy cakes!!!

PS! The cardiologist said SJ's pulmonary arteries have grown
1 mm since last appt and that is significant.
Her heart is stronger and healthier
and for that,
we are eternally grateful!!!

Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

SJ's Re-Adoption Day... B&W Wed

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today was a 'sweet' day for SJ~
Re-Adoption Day...

Re-Adoption is not a requirement when both parents
travel to China for adoption
but is helpful for a few reasons:
~ Enables you to specify your child's name exactly
~ Allows the child to have a birth certificate in English
because if the foreign BC was ever misplaced,
it would be very hard to replace
~ Allows you to receive a final decree of adoption from the US
~ US documents are easily replaced... not so with foreign ones.

The beauty of the whole thing...
you can file the petition "pro se"~
(without legal counsel)
and that is just what we did today for SJ.

We were scheduled for court @ 9:30
and were led into Judge Bailey's chambers.
He looked over the documents since we were "pro se"
and approved everything signing our petition.
The whole very formal and legal meeting
took about 5 minutes...
and we were on to my favorite part~
the photos.
We thanked Judge Bailey and he so graciously said,
"It was my pleasure.
This is one of the only happy things I ever get to do in court."

Aunt Susan and Uncle Tony (Chief Magistrate Judge)
were able to be there...

and so was my mom. :)

The only part missing from this shot was our sweet Nana.

If Scott and I have said it once,
we have said 1000 times~
We don't know what we would do
if we didn't have the littles...
the bigs are gone so much our nest would be empty
WAY too soon!!!

Here is the guest of honor~
SJ herself... Judge Bailey gave her a little treat
for doing so well and smiling for the pics.

After filing everything with the Clerk of Court,
the girls were excited to get outside...

then head for home. :)

for a little blast from the past~
Here are the girls on the day we Re-Adopted EK.

EK and Judge Jackson

Our family photo way back on Oct 24, 2006.
WOW... seems so long ago and yet just yesterday. :)