Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life Beyond the Walls of an Orphanage.

We are experiencing so,
many firsts with our two Asian sensations.
If we stayed home and watched TV all day they would be perfectly happy.
Because, as they have shared with us, that was their "life" for the past few years.
Wake up. School. TV. Bed.
Wake up. School. TV. Bed.
Wake up. School. TV. Bed.

Real life has been a life change for them fo sure.
Yes it's much harder to pack everyone up and go.
Yes they are somewhat unpredictable as to how they will react to new environments.
Yes our life is much more complex than it used to be.
But YES God is at work in their lives and watching them explore the world beyond the walls of instituion living is an experience like no other.

Zoo experience last week.
Yet another first.

Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pre-Adoption vs Post-Adoption

Pre-Adoption our silverware drawer consisted of the following:

Big forks
Little forks
Big spoons
Little spoons
Butter knives.

Big forks
Little forks
Big spoons
Little spoons
Butter knives

Still makes me smile every time I open the drawer.

And in the spirit of keepin it real.....

the very, very messy drawer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Please Don't Laugh At Me.

I am about to show you something.....
but first I will ask you for your respect.
your understanding
perhaps even your sympathy
....ok, maybe not your sympathy.

You ready?
here goes....

We returned home on January 29th.
Today is....
a few days past January 29th.

Here is my upstairs hallway.

If anyone finds my dignity out walking around kindly redirect it home.
Sonia out.

Ok, actually before I go I do find it necessary in a very lame mis-guided attempt to retain some dignity, feel the need to tell you that these are actually unpacked.....just not put away. And that I've been really busy and had a lot going on and we are getting ready to move and well, you see, I have a lot of boys running around here and,.... and....oh never mind. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

My New Love.


My new gigantic waffle maker.

Our waffle maker broke a few months ago and when I was looking around at a standard replacement it occurred to me that if I buy a normal waffle maker it would take me no less than 4.5 hours to make breakfast one
for 8 people.....uhhhh nothankyou.

And let's face it.
Right after I finished that process it'd be time to cook lunch.
And as much as I like spending every waking moment in the kitchen I decided that a conventional waffle maker just may not be what our oversized family needed.

Thus the dream of this was born.

let's all just take a moment shall we....

It's big, it makes 6 waffles at a time, it's perty, it made me laugh when I noticed it said this on the side

and it should cut my breakfast cooking time down to only around 1.5 hours.

It also came with a recipe book with some yumminess such as this

and this

but not this.

I'm not feeling the love on this one but I'm willing to give it a try.
Don't hate....appreciate.

So come on in,
the kitchens open!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Relationally Challenged.

Ok, no idea if that is a technical term or if I just made it up,
but regardless,
it describes this sweet one


We are still struggling with his need to be incessantly "artificially" charming.
If we don't catch him quick enough or have a hold of his hand firm enough,
he will climb up anyone and everyone he can get his hands on for a snuggle.
And the words, "I love you"
are like a typical greeting to him.

"Good morning, I love you."
Thank you stuff-mart cashier for handing me the bag, "I love you."
Man holds the door open for him at church, "I love you."
"Mom can I have some water, I love you."
Not good.

Now I get that some of this could be lost in translation and he may just view it as a normal greeting, but gracious, it comes out of his mouth about every 3rd sentence.
And he has started saying it in Chinese as well, so I'm not entirely sold that he does not know what it means.

It's like air to him.
Inhale, "I love you."
Exhale, "I love you."

When we first came home Jacob had, what I would call, a normal reaction.
He was a little freaked out.
Had some fits.
Has figured out that we are pretty cool people,
and now is doing tremendously well.

When we first came home Joey had, what I blogged about, was an abnormal reaction.
He was being too good.
Too cute.
Too snuggly.
Too charming.

And now that I know him better.....
I can see right through it. 

I am convinced that this is how he found love in China.
This is how he was able to get his needs met, and get some extra attention.
Smile the smile, tilt the head, bat the eyes.
Oh yeah,
homeboy got game.

Conversely, when his charms do not yield his intended result you'd better look out.
Cuz for something that weighs 30 pounds dripping wet,
he will turn on you big time.
And stubborn has not known a name until it has met this child.

What he doesn't yet know,
and what we are daily trying to teach him,
is that he doesn't need to be like that.
We already love him.
He doesn't have to try and convince us,
we're sold.
Hook line and sinker.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

That's What Friends Are For.

For good times,
for bad times,
I'll be on your siiiiiiiiiiddde for everrrr morrrrrrrre,
that's what frien......oh who am I kidding....I can't sing.

The Bible says, "Make a joyful noise until the Lord." and sadly, though there is joy, I'm not the sure the noise coming out whilst I am singing sounds as such. 

But I digress....

When we came home I found our freezer stocked full of frozen meals for our family.
The joy!
Oh the joy!

I've said it before,
I'll say it again,
The Lord has blessed us with some tremendous friends.
New friends,
old friends,
red friends,
blue friends.

Sorry...I got carried away and have apparently been reading too much Dr. Seuss. 
But I digress....

Those meals prevented my children from eating cold cereal 3 times a day for the first two weeks home.
And because we were all sick and didn't really feel like eating a big meal everyday for awhile there we are still finding meals in our freezer.

Yesterday I pulled out a chicken pot pie made by my precious friend Kim.
Kim is a fellow AF wife whom I met our first few days at our last assignment and a few years later she still likes me.
We are now actually stationed only 3 hours away from one another and if more than about a month goes by without us seeing each other my heart tends to get ready for a road trip.
As much as I love my friend Kim and deeply value her friendship I equally value her chicken pot pie.
Ok, not equally exactly....but it's way up there.
I'm just sayin.

So as I pulled out the pie I see this on top,

and as I pre-heated the oven I couldn't help but smile and thank God for our friendship.

But then I pulled back the foil and check out what was staring back at me

That dear readers, is a chicken pot pie with an entire welcome home scene cut out of the crust.

I love that girl.

And then there are my newer friends.
My Bible study friends.
I have no words to describe the love that pours out of these women.
The love, the servanthood, the grace of Christ just exudes out of them.
They were incredibly supportive during our wait on every level; emotionally, financially, prayerfully, and as excited as I was to go get those boys I think they were even more excited if that's even possible.

Upon our arrival home they again blessed us with this.

An envelope containing enough $$ for a photo shoot with a photographer whom they had already contacted and negotiated a kah-razy good deal for us to get new family photos taken.
I am feelin the love......even though I can't sing.
So coming soon to a blog near you,
New header pics and new sidebar pics!

And because I feel like I can't say it enough to really express our gratitude,
THANK YOU freezer stocking girls!
THANK YOU Bible study ladies!
I will never, never, never forget your love or be able to adequately convey to you how much you mean to me!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Parenting After the Process.

I remember saying on more than a few occasions while we were waiting for the boys that I couldn't wait to actually parent them.
That I was so over the process, and just wanted to be their mom already.

And now
at that point.

A cookies and milk pit stop between bike rides.

Basketball with your brothers.

 A silent protest in the middle of the cul-de-sac when you have to share.

Ahhhh, it's parenting.
let me tell ya,
is so much more fun than the process.
This beats the heck out of paperwork any day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Real China

The second day we were in China,
the day before we met the boys,
we thought it would be fun to trek across the pedestrian bridge and check out life off of the island.

Yes this is the same bridge where I temporarily lost Justin a week later but we won't talk about that because it still gives me shivers...
so anyhoo,
we hiked across the bridge.

And my blood pressure shot up a notch or 12.
many people and I was incredibly nervous I was going to lose one of the kids. (again, little did I know....but we're still not talking about that...)

So we hastily walked around, I pretended that it was super fun, and then headed back to the island.
At which point through a very fake smile I said, "Well that was fun, we should do that again before we leave!"
hoping to not let on how much nervousness I really had.
To which Jordan replied,

"No way, I like fake China. Real China freaks me out."
I guess he found it to be slightly overwhelming as well.

"Fake China".
Crackin me up. I thought that was such a good description of what the island is like.
It's China.
But it's definitely not "Real China."

So that became the way we referred to the island side of the bridge, Fake China,
and the other side of the bridge, Real China.

Fast forward a few days and we were kickin it with Lilly's family and I shared with Angela that we had been to a bookstore that we wanted to go back to over in Real China.
Well, let me tell you, she tells this story better than I do,
but she thought that was a pretty good idea and that she wanted to go to the bookstore too.

So she apparently inquired with her guide as to where the Real China Bookshop was.
You can imagine the reaction she recieved as her guide looked at her like she had two heads.
Real China Bookshop?
Ummm, no.
Crazy Americans.

She was telling me this story over dinner about how her guide didn't know about the Real China Bookshop and could I please tell her where exactly it was.
At which point I nearly spit my orange tea out all over the table from laughing so hard as I explained that that was not the actual name, but just what we called it.
Still makes me giggle just thinking about it.

Alas, we ended up heading back over to Real China to show them the bookstore.

And in case you too, want to go,
now you have the real name....cuz the Real China Bookshop....isn't quite gonna cut it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1 Month Home

You are not going to believe this but I have - gasp!- actual pictures to show you of Joey and Jacob.
Go ahead,
be shocked,
I'll wait.

1 month home and life is goooood.
Their English is coming along remarkably fast.
They speak to each other about 95% of the time in Mandarin but every now and then we hear them mix in a few English words with their Chinese.
Chinglish at it's finest.
Chinglish is my new favorite language, it's especially cute coming out of these two little people.

I'd say at this point there is very little that they don't understand or on the flip side there is now very little that they cannot communicate to us one way or another.

We have learned how to think more abstractly when listening to them.
For example I told the boys we were going to go to the store on Sunday to buy out the produce section....again, stock up on more fruits and veggies.
But I failed to tell them what time.
So after church as we are walking to the car Jacob begins gesturing to drive and outlining a square and saying, "Apples, Oranges, Bannanas,..."
Well, that meant store.
He wanted to know if we were still going to the store.
It's charades on steroids.

Blows my mind that we have been home a month already.
Since the first two weeks we were all basically comatose it kinda only feels like we have been home a little while.
Yet every Sunday that we walk into church it dawns on me how far they have come that week.
And then the next week
and the next week.
It astounds me how relatively seemless this transition has been.....again, the first two weeks not withstanding. ;)

We still....of course....have our hiccups here and there.
Joey still shows no discernment as to who he will go to/cling to.
So in that respect I'm not sure that he really views us any differently yet than any other person on the street.
And along those lines, I came across this post the other day, which I highly recommend adoptive parents take a moment to read...
it just screams Joey to me.
Though honestly it's hard to know how much of this is just his personality or how much he is being "artificially charming."
My best guess is that it is a combination of both.

Jacob is doing 300% better than the first couple of weeks.
He is one ridiculously smart boy and I think the lack of communication was driving him kah-razy.
Now that he can tell us things he is much, much better.

So 1 month home, and we are family.
Simple as that,
just a family.
One big crazy Jesus lovin adoptive family.

Ok, I just realized that was only two pictures....that's probably not enough. If I wasn't so lazy busy sipping my coffee I'd get up and get the memory card out of the camera......but indeed....I am that lazy busy so I'll try and add more later.  Peace out.