Thursday, March 5, 2015
We didn't have a big wedding, in fact, we didn't have a wedding at all. We went to the local court house on a Friday, got married in front of a judge, and 5 days later Matt left for basic training in the Army. Our first 5 months of being married we were apart. As a matter of fact, we could only talk on the phone once a week.
After basic training Matt was going to be stationed in S. Korea for a year. It was an unaccompanied tour which meant the Army was not going to pay for me to go, in fact, they highly recommended I not got. Yeah, that wasn't going to work for me. Matt came home in August for 2 weeks before leaving for Korea, by the middle of September I was getting on a plane to join him. When I got there I was met by one of his Sergeants and was told that I wasn't allowed to be there. I informed her that I was there on an American Passport and Visa, and that I have every right to be there. She said they didn't have to set him live off post, my response, "try it." Needless to say, I lived with Matt in Korea for 10 months. I came home early because I was pregnant with Blake and didn't want to get too close to my due date and not be able to fly.
From Korea we spent 3 years in Honolulu, HI where Blake was born. Hawaii is absolutely beautiful, and we made many, many friends while living there. It was a great experience, but to be honest, we were ready to get back Stateside. We missed the seasons (what I wouldn't give to be in HI right now), and our family.
After leaving HI, we went to Washing DC for a little over a year. Absolutely LOVED living there. There is SO much to do. I highly recommend visiting there at least once. Anyway, while living there, I was working full time. Matt was never home, he was always at work. He was an MP (Military Police) and was either always working shift work or training. During this time he was also going back and forth to S. Carolina for Sgt. training. Blake and I lived as if I were a single parent, which is not something I signed up for. I'll be the first to admit I was a terrible military wife. It was not the lifestyle for me. People don't realize how much military wives do, and give up for their spouses. I have so much respect for ALL military spouses. It takes a special person to be able to live this lifestyle. So, after a year in DC, we decided to move home.
About a year after moving home, we were blessed with our daughter Emma. I cannot even express how happy I was to have a daughter. Don't get me wrong, I love Blake, but I so badly wanted a girl. During this, Matt was working and training to become an Electrician, and I was running a daycare out of our home. Life went on. We were happy, and had no plans to have any more kids. I was more than happy with my boy and girl.
A few years after having Emma, Matt started talking about having one more. So, along came our son Gabe.
God had blessed us with 2 happy, healthy, beautiful children. But something was missing. Before Matt and I got married he knew that someday I wanted to adopt a little girl from China. I have no idea where this came from, but since I was in middle school I wanted to have a Chinese daughter. A year or so after Gabe was born we started looking into it, saw the cost, and ran. There was NO way we were ever going to be able to afford to adopt.
A few more years down the road my urge to adopt got stronger and stronger. Finally, we made the call and set up an appointment to meet with an agency. By the time we left, we had filled out an application and were ready to go. We decided that since the wait at that time was about 2-3 years, we could easily save the money during that time. Until we got the call asking if we were interested in SN adoption and from there, things changed really fast for our family.
In 2008, we turned my dream of adopting from China into a reality when we brought home Mylee. Matt didn't travel with me, he stayed home to take care of the other 3. Never in a million years did I ever think going to China would change the person I would become. When I left China with Mylee, I knew somehow, someway, I would return.
I had no idea at the time what God was putting on my heart. He definitely made it clear that we had more than just 4 kids. After getting over the initial shock, Matt agreed that we would adopt from China just "one more time." So began the process to add another son to our family who we would call Andrew.
Just as we were getting everything wrapped up to leave for Andrew, God once again spoke to me about another child that we were to bring home. This child was different. This child was someone Matt and I said we would never do. This child was a boy, who would soon be 14 and no longer have the opportunity to have a family of his own. Once again I went to Matt with what I knew was an insane idea, but I had to at least try. After spending a few hours talking and praying about it, we decided that we were going to not only add one, but two sons to our family that trip. And so began the process to bring Jaxon home. Because he was aging out, our process was expedited to get us to China in time. He actually turned 14 while we were still in China.
By this point I knew Matt would never go for more, so I didn't push it. I personally didn't think we were done, but I didn't want to rock the boat. Until, I saw an absolutely beautiful girl with medical needs way more than we were thought we could handle. I first saw her picture only a month after getting home with Jaxon and Andrew (May), and waited until August before bringing her up to Matt. To my surprise, he wasn't as shocked as I thought he would be. In fact, he seemed pretty open to it. So, we began the paperwork to bring Kalia home.
When we got home with Kalia Matt made me promise we were done. He was adamant that we WERE done. I on the other hand knew we weren't. I knew I had one more daughter. It didn't matter how many pictures I showed him, or how many stories I told him, he was not budging. Until about a year ago he came to me and said that he had been thinking and praying about us adopting again. He said that it had been on his mind for awhile and that this was obviously my calling. "This is what you are supposed to do," he said. "Who am I to stand in the way?" Of course there were stipulations with this. He said that we would not start looking or doing any paperwork for a year. So, I waited, and waited, and waited, until I thought I was going to burst.
Fast forward to now, and you know how this ends. In just a few short months we will be adding yet another son to our family who we have decided to call Owyn. this adoption is like no other. We are the fast track to getting to him before it is too late. Like Jaxon, he too only has until he turns 14 to get home. What typically takes a year to do, we have less than 3 months. Stressful doesn't even begin to describe these past 2 weeks. I have done nothing but sit at a computer and fill out paperwork after paperwork after paperwork. But in the end, when I am able to wrap my arms around this boy, it will all worth it.
Why am I tell you all this? Because for the 20 years that Matt and I have been married, it has all been about our kids. We don't take lavish vacations. We don't live in a massive, overpriced home, or drive fancy cars. We don't go out and party and drink. We would rather sit at home with our kids and have pizza and movie night. If you would have asked me 2 years ago what I wanted for my 20th anniversary I would have said a new wedding ring (Mylee flushed mine down the toilet right after we brought her home. At the time it was new, I got it for our 10th wedding anniversary). Now, when I look down at my ring finger, that is missing a wedding ring, it is a reminder of everything I have. I certainly don't need a big diamond to prove Matt's love for me. I don't need a big diamond to make me feel like more of a person. What I do need is to know that when I walk through the door, I am going to have not only a husband who loves me and would do anything for me, but 7 beautiful, happy, healthy kids, that God has so graciously entrusted us with to call me "mom."
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Monday, February 6, 2012
We have been home officially a month today and to be honest, things are going extremely well. Our only "real" issue is that Kalia does NOT like school and will NOT go. We are slowly working on easing her back into it with the cooperation of the school, so things are getting better. I will post more on that issue later, but overall, she is truly a fabulous addition to our family.
I have to work on taxes today (ughhhh), but before I did that I wanted to post a funny story about Mylee. Mylee is a hoot, all the time. She may be small, but she has the biggest personality. EVERYone at school knows Mylee, and they all say how much fun she is to be around. She cracks us up on a daily basis.
Anyway, last weekend she had a project due for school so while she was taking a shower, I was getting the craft supplies out so we could work on it. She came downstairs, hoisted herself up on the chair and was ready to go. Mylee LOVES school and anything to do with school, so doing a craft for school was an added bonus in her book.
I noticed right away that she had some sort of mark on her eyebrow. She had a red mark going through her eyebrow so I asked her what happened.
Me: Mylee, what happened to your eye
Mylee: I don't know
Me: Mylee, did you fall down?
Mylee: I don't know
Me: Mylee you have a red mark on your eye. Does it hurt? How do you not know what happened?
Mylee: I don't know.
And then with a very serious face, she says...
"Probably somebody jacked me up. Everybody jacks me up in this family except you."
Me: (trying NOT to smile or laugh) What do you mean somebody jacked you up? Who would jack you up?
Mylee: (still very serious) Can we do my project now.
Mylee is always saying stuff like this and it obviously keeps us smiling. She is such a funny little girl.
I can assure you no one "jacked" her up. If anything, she is usually the one doing the "jacking up."
I just had to share this, because I laugh everytime I think about it.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
It has taken me over a week to get over jet lag. I have NEVER had problems before with jet lag, but for some reason this time has been really difficult. Plus I came home with a horrible cold so that plus the lack of sleep has left me a mess. The first week home I felt like I was living in a haze, seriously. I couldn't manage to get anything done. I simply could not sleep. I would go to bed by 8, then wake up at 1 or 2 and not be able to go back to sleep. I couldn't even take a nap in the afternoon. My body was just not wanting to sleep.
I am finally starting feel somewhat normal again. Kalia did great on the flight home and has done great with jet lag. The first couple of days was tough, but after that, she was set.
Okay, things are going GREAT! Really, really GREAT! I absolutely could not have asked for anything better. I realize we haven't even been home a month yet, but we are amazed at how well Kalia and the other kids are doing.
For Christmas we got a family pass to the YMCA so within the first few days home we utilized that. All of our kids LOVE to swim and Kalia is no exception.
Alot of the pics were taken with my phone so the quality is not the greatest. Sorry:(
We also got haircuts! Kalia has beautiful hair. It is very thick and has a natural wave to it. I wanted to get it trimmed up a bit. At first she was reluctant, but once she realized we were only going to cut a tiny bit off, she was okay. Plus Emma went first so I think that helped.
Emma has natural curly hair and has been wanting to get hers straightened for a long time so I finally gave in.
Kalia, Emma and Mylee share a room which I will get pics of up soon, I promise. I have a few finishing touches I want to take care of before I post pics. Anyway, they each have their own bed, but for some reason Kalia always ends up in Mylee's bed. This is what I found one morning...
I am so in love with this girl. She is such a sweety.
Today was Kalia's first day of school. She was SO excited and has been asking since we got home when she would go. We held off on sending her so 1 she could get adjusted at home and 2 because we wanted to get her blood work results back. In her original file she was listed as being Hep B positive. After having our doctor go over her file, he wasn't sure she was positive and told us that her body had probably regenerated which means she may have had it, but then it went away. So, before we "alarmed" anyone, we kept the possibility of her being Hep B positive to ourselves. So, before sending her to school we wanted to know whether she was in fact positive or negative. We got the results back Tuesday and she is NOT Hep B positive.
So, we spent the day Tuesday getting her a couple new outfits for school, a new backpack, and all her school supplies.
Kalia and Emma will both be in 4th grade. They will be in different classes, but will have math together, lunch, and recess. They were both a little upset about not being in the same class, but are excited to have math together.
First day of school
In other news, Blake is doing great. While I was in China he ended up in ICU due to his Diabetes. Blake was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2010. Over Christmas break, he numbers were out of control which caused him to get very sick and almost ended up in a coma. Thank God, he is doing much better and his numbers have been awesome. He feels so much better. Thank you to all who prayed for him.
Also, remember this post? You know, the one where I got in a wreck right before Thanksgiving. Well, after over 2 months we finally got our van back last Friday. Well, you're not going to believe what happened. Monday morning I was on my way downtown to meet Matt's cousin because we went to his Aunt's house on Sunday and I left my purse there. His cousin had to come to town so she was bringing it to me. Anyway, long story short, I got hit again. YES, again. We just got the van back Friday and Monday I was in another wreck. I will say that the first one was not my fault, but this one was. No one was hurt, thank God, but my van is going back in the shop for another 2 weeks.
Other than the wreck, things are going awesome. I cannot thank you all enough for your thoughts, prayers and rallying to help us get the funds to bring Kalia home. She is by far the BEST Christmas gift I have ever gotten. Matt and I are in awe of what God has done for us and our family. We are truly Blessed.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
We had many people waiting for us to get home besides the kids and Matt. Matt's mom was there to welcome us and Steve home, as well as some of my adoptive mommy friends. It was SO good to be home and see everyone. Pics will be posted soon.
I think Kalia was a bit overwhelmed by all the people, but she did well. I don't think we were in the house 10 minutes and she, Emma, and Mylee were up in their new room.
Kalia is fitting in so well. She and Emma are getting along great, better than I expected. I am assuming she was a "mommy" figure in the orphanage because she is trying to be one too Mylee too.
She and Blake act like they have been brother and sister for years. They love teasing each other.
I promise I will upload pics soon. For some reason I am having a horrible time with jet lag plus I have a terrible cold or sinus infection. Once I get back to myself, I will post pics and a more in depth update.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Sorry for the lack of posts, but we are having trouble getting on our e-mail and since I cannot post to the blog myself, I have to e-mail the posts home for them to be posted.
The last few days have been busy, busy, busy. Sunday was an “off” day for our guide which was no big deal. We took advantage of it and rested around the hotel. We did walk across the bridge to the herbal market and pet area. All I can say is it is a must see for anyone coming over. It is truly an experience.
There were tons and tons of seahorses, not sure what they are used for and I wasn’t about to ask
Bags like this lined both sides of the streets.
Once we crossed this street we were clearly in the pet market
Monday our guide took us to a temple. I went to one when in Nanjing when I was here to get Mylee, but never to one in Guangzhou. We are clearly Christian however; it was very interesting to see.
After that we just headed back to the hotel to rest and get some dinner. We ate at the Italian place which is still extremely good.
We also stopped by Susan’s Place. If you have ever been to GZ before I am sure you are familiar with Dong. He is one of the nicest people and is truly a genuine guy. He loves to make tea for the families. Of course Steve shared some tea with him.
Tuesday we went to the Safari Park which is something else I had never done. I have been to the GZ zoo, ad I highly recommend going to the Safari Park instead. Part of the park is taking a train through a safari and some of the animals were so close we could touch them (we didn’t, but that is just how close they get). It was really cool and I was able to get some awesome pictures.
I LOVED seeing the giraffes up close.
Kalia even got to feed the giraffes
I have no idea what these trees were, but the flowers on them were beautiful
After the zoo we made one more trip back to the fabric market. Our guide asked me if the fabric market was the highlight of my trip and my answer was “no, Kalia has been the highlight, but the fabric market is definitely second.” Seriously, I could have spent hours in there looking, and looking and looking. Let’s just say I cannot wait to get home and sew.
And today was THE day. We went to the Consulate today to take our oath and as soon as we land in Chicago, Kalia Faith De Le will be an official American Citizen.
Our guide picks up her Visa tomorrow and at 4:30 pm we are on a van to Hong Kong. We will spend the night in Hong Kong and our flight home on Friday leaves at 10:00 a.m.
This will most likely be my last post until we arrive home so please pray for safe travels. I am SO ready to be home and have all seven of my kids in one place. I miss them and Matt terribly and I know they miss me.
All I can say is God is SO good and we are So Blessed…