Friday, February 26, 2010

One year ago

It was one year ago today that we received the very unexpected call from our social worker telling us that she had a file for us to look at. This was the first photo we saw of Li Futing. We immediately fell in love with him and went full speed ahead to make him a part of our family. It is so hard to believe that was only 1 year ago. In so many ways it seems like he has been a part of our family forever. In reality, it has only been 3 months since we have returned home from China. We have come so far in the last 3 months and we still have far to go. We have settled into a routine that works for us. We are continuing to work with Jonathan and his grasp of English. He has learned so many words in 3 months. He has learned and will continue to learn the most important things which are that God loves him unconditionally, we love him unconditionally and he is a part of our family forever. He is our blessing sent from God.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A day in the life

It is snowing here once more. Ben and Jordan tried on bathing suits and then decided to model for us as they drank lemonade.

All 6 of us taking Emma for a walk in a very wet snow!

Monday, February 22, 2010

We began 2010 by celebrating Tyler's 9th birthday on January 14th.

A month later on February 14th, we celebrated Amanda's 11th birthday

Then because we felt life was getting a little too mundane we adopted Emma from the SPCA. Actually, Amanda has been begging for a dog for years. She has demonstrated responsibility. And we ran out of excuses. So, Emma has joined our family. God answered our prayers and Emma is a great dog. Very laid back and low maintenance as far as dogs go.

We then celebrated Chinese New Year at Bethany's Annual Celebration.

We made Dumplings

Ben peeking out from under the Dragon's Costume

We watched a performance of the Dragon Dance- Jonathan sobbed and was scared to death of the Dragons

Trying out Chinese yo yo

The next day- Sunday, February 21st Jonathan was dedicated and prayed for by Pastor Tom at our church. We were honored to have family and friends surround us as Pastor Tom prayed for Jonathan and our family.

That is the last 2 months in pictures. As all of those events have unfolded I have continued to wonder more and more about Jonathan's past life. I have often asked Jonathan "did you have toys when you lived in China?" and other such questions. He will just look up at me and say "huh" and we move on. My bloggy friend Shirley wrote a post about the shape of her daughters head. We have always thought Jonathan's head is a little distorted but never really gave it much thought. After reading her post. I now wonder how many hours Jonathan just laid in a crib, not being picked up or moved. Based on the shape of his head he spent a lot of time just laying flat on his head. We will never fully know Jonathan's story before he became a part of our family forever. I do know that now he is a happy, healthy 3.5 year old boy who keeps us on our toes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Everyday Life

Me- "Jonathan, tomorrow to celebrate Chinese New Year we are going to go to the Chinese Buffet! What do you want to get to eat there"
Jonathan- "Pizza!"
Now keep in mind we have cooked Chinese food at home, but have not gone out to a Chinese Restaurant yet. This will be quite the experience for all of us. Besides being Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, it is also Amanda's 11th Birthday (yes, she was born on Valentine's Day). Thankfully, Amanda loves Chinese food and is more then happy to have her birthday lunch at the Chinese Buffet. (Yes, we are getting off easy having 3 celebrations with one lunch out :)

We also had another success this week as Jonathan went in the car with Mom mom and Ben to help watch the other children during Bible study at Mom mom's church. Each Tuesday, Mom mom has asked Jonathan if he wants to go with her and each week he has declined. This week he decided he was ready to go with her. He is very comfortable with Mom mom and Pop pop and I figured with the extra security of having Ben with him he would be just fine and he was. He had fun with all of the kids and loved that they catered to his every want and need. It will be interesting to see if he goes with her again this Tuesday.

Jonathan LOVES trains and is getting quite creative at setting up the tracks.

Jonathan loves Amanda. He thinks his big sister is the best! He loves to do anything with her even if it is helping clean the guinea pig cage.

Jordan made it to about 11:00 and then fell asleep watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Up and down all night

Here is a video montage recap of the last eleven days. (This is the video that Jeremy made and posted while we were in China)

Last night was a rough night- for some reason Jonathan was restless and up and down in the night. In between not sleeping, my mind kept drifting to our time in China. (Probably due to the fact that I wrote the last post right before I went to bed) I thought of this video that Jeremy made while we were there. The song with the video is an awesome reminder to me of our desire not just for Jonathan but for all of our children to walk with the Lord and to follow Him in all their ways. My job here today is to prepare them to do great things to God's glory. My job is to teach them how to use their wings!

Monday, February 8, 2010

3 months ago tomorrow

3 months ago tomorrow our lives changed forever. It was on November 9,2009 that we were taken to a run down hotel in China, which also housed some government offices, where we would meet our new son face to face. He was scared, not sure of what was happening. We were scared, not sure how all of this was going to work out. He was told we were his Mama and Baba. I am sure as he cried out for Mama that I was not the Mama he wanted. He grieved. He grieved hard for his foster Mama. She must be an incredible women to have raised such a wonderful boy. We slowly began to win him over. We had toys, we had music, we had french fries. We had love and time.

3 months have passed. It is hard to believe that it has only been 3 months, in some ways it seems like he has been part of our family forever. In 3 months, we have all begun to learn what it means to be a family of 7.

Jonathan has been introduced to the all powerful God who loves him very much. He has learned to sing the BIBLE and Jesus Loves ME. He has been introduced to the concept of prayer.

Today, when he cries for Mama, I know I am the Mama he is looking for. He is one incredible boy. He's so resilient yet we know he remembers some of what he left behind. He is still learning to trust us; to trust that we will never leave him. This is made evident as we enter his church classroom each Sunday and the tears just start to roll down his cheeks if we leave his sight for even a moment. I believe he is remembering being left by the only other mother he knew and being left in a room full of kids never to see her again. Trust is something that is earned. Each day we are earning Jonathan's trust. Each time we answer his cry. Each time we come running when he calls. Each time he asks for a huggie and we respond with a big hug and kiss. Yes, Jonathan remembers some of what happened in China 3 months ago. We try and help him remember by looking at pictures. By looking at the photo albums made for us. We look at the pictures and relive those days with him. We don't want him to forget where he came from. We don't ever want him to forget the day we became a family. We don't want him to forget his heritage.

A few weeks ago, we attended an International Dinner hosted by Bethany. Jonathan was so proud and excited to put on his Chinese outfit. He looked so handsome.

We have been asked by our local Bethany Director to share our story at an information meeting. She was impressed with Jonathan at the International Dinner. She was impressed with how well he got around on his crutches; impressed with how adjusted he seemed; and (quite bluntly) impressed by how normal he is. With the exception of missing a leg, Jonathan is just like any other 3 yr. old!

So many people are scared when they begin the adoption process. Afraid of the unknown. We were! Jonathan is a great example of a success story. There are so many other children out there who need a loving home. If you know God is calling you to open up your heart and home to a child who needs a family. Don't let fear stop you or you could miss out on the biggest blessing ever.