Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Early Birthday

Emma will celebrate her 7th birthday on December 11 and all she wanted was to go to the American Girl store in Chicago. So, Matt, Blake, Emma and I made a day out of it. This was Blake and Emma's first time in Chicago so they were both elated. I dropped Matt and Blake off at the Museum of Science and Industry and Emma and I headed down to Michigan Ave. We parked several blocks away from AG, so as we were walking down Michigan Ave and Emma spotted the store, she was giggling and jumping up and down. She was so excited. Once inside, she knew right away which doll she wanted. I thought she would pick a doll with blonde hair, but she surprised me and picked a doll with way brown hair, blue eyes, and freckles just like her. Emma was in awe of the store. Ag is two stories of dolls, dolls, and more dolls. It has it's own hair salon, doll hospital, photo studio, cafe, and restaurant. We did visit the hair salon so that the doll could get her ears pierced. Yes, you read that right, the doll was taken into a back room so she could get her ears pierced.


Bottom line is Emma had a fantastic time and I am hoping she will always remember going to Chicago to pick out her first AG doll with me. It was alot of fun spending that time alone with Emma, she is such a beautiful, caring, fun little girl.



Matt, Blake, Emma and I met back up at the Lego store before going to dinner at Ed Debevics. Matt and I had eaten there before and really wanted to take Blake. It is a really fun diner where the waiters and waitresses are deliberately rude to the customers. We did not tell the kids that this is what it was, we just wanted to see how long it would take for them to figure it out. Emma figured it out pretty much from the beginning when the waitress threw the straws at her. Blake on the other hand took a little bit longer to figure it out (poor kid). Anyway, they both had quite a bit of fun with our waitress and she even brought Emma a sundae for her birthday.



I also want to add that for lunch Emma and I met up with Melanie and her daughter Olivia. Melanie traveled to China last Thanksgiving to her her beautiful daughter Addison and was kind enough to take pictures of Mylee for us. Melanie and I have communicating with each other for over a year now and I was so excited that she and her daughter were able to meet us for lunch. We talked as if we had known each other for years and Emma and Olivia got along great as well. It was so nice to finally meet Melanie and I cannot wait to meet Addi soon too.


Helping to Spread the Word

Stephanie over at Ni Hao Y'all with the help from some other blogger buddies have created a fabulous site to help educate and advocate for special needs children in China. Stephanie is an adoptive mom to 4, yes 4 special needs children from China. And to top that off, she has 4, yes 4 biological children. With 8 kids I cannot imagine how she found the time to put together such a resourceful site.
Stephanie is an inspiration to me and many other adoptive parents. She is an amazing woman who God has chosen to dedicate a part of herself, a part of her heart to making a difference. Not only is she helping to make a difference in the life of a child, but she is also making a difference in the life of the family that child will enter. Mylee has only been home with us for 6 months, but I cannot imagine our family without her. She is a beautiful, smart, spunky addition to our family that I thank God for every day.
If you have ever thought about, or know someone who has thought about opening their heart to adoption, please check out No Hands But Ours, it is a great site with an abundance of information on different types of SN, letters from adoptive parents, agencies, and much more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday (A little late)

I fully intended on having this posted first thing this morning, but things got pretty hectic around here (no need for details). Anyway, today I am thankful that God spoke to me years ago by planting the seed that after years of hope, prayers, determination, love, and a huge leap of faith lead up to the beautiful flower we now call Mylee. Today marks the 6 month anniversary of the day that Yan Zhao Lu became Mylee Zhao Lu-Ann. 6 months ago today I sat across from several Chinese officials and answered their questions, "Do you promise to never abandon, abuse, or neglect this child? Are you aware that this child has special needs?" Why do you want to adopt from China?" And several more questions. I answered with a very positive "YES" to each question. The last one was a bit more complicated. "Why did I want to adopt from China?" I simply answered the best way I could, "Adopting from China has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager and with the support of my husband, family, and friends, my dream is finally coming true today." The man that sat across from me smiled, and then said "Thank you for willing to open your home to one of our children. Bless you." That was it, Mylee was officially ours to love, and call our daughter. Unknowingly to her, this was the last day that she would cry a tear without someone there to wipe it away, or the last day she would have to go hungry, or be cold. This was the last day that she would ever be alone again because she was being taken HOME to a daddy, a sister, two brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and many other friends who would make sure that she would never have to worry about anything again. In my mind, May 13, 2008 was the first day of the rest of her life. Enjoy the pictures.


Officially our daughter.


Mother and daughter at last.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

6 Months Ago Today

6 months ago today a little after 9:00 a.m. (China time), I was handed one of the most precious gifts from God. It was on this day that dreams were filled, prayers were answered, and wishes were granted when Mylee was placed in my arms for the very first time. It is so hard to believe that she has only been with us for 6 months, and in some ways, it's like she has been with us since the day she was born.
On May 12, 2008 Yan Zhao Lu was placed in my arms without a single tear (those came later). She was brought to the Civil Affairs Office by her doctor and nurse, and it was evident that they loved her very much and were going to miss her immensely.
She was a happy, curious, spunky little girl who seemed to have such a zest for life. As she toddles around the room I remember thinking that as one journey was ending for her, another was just beginning. She had no idea what awaited her half way around the world.
Today that little girl is know as Mylee Zhao Lu-Ann. We have gone from strangers to her parents, her protectors. When she sees us she greets us with open arms and a wide smile. When she is scared or hurt, it is us she turns to for comfort and safety. When she is proud of herself (for bending her knees), it us us she can't wait to show. Mylee went from a dream She has gone from being a dream, to our daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and friend in 6 short months.
She is a true delight and a blessing. She is still happy, curious, and spunky. She is extremely smart and is very persistent. She has picked up English much faster than we expected. The sad part is she is losing some of her Chinese. We are hoping to get her enrolled into a local Chinese school soon. She has a need to accomplish anything regardless of how hard she may have to struggle. We are so amazed at how well she "fits" into our family.
I know for some of you it is hard to understand, but she is as much ours as are Blake, Emma, and Gabe. Although she was not born to us in the traditional sense, she was born in our hearts. She is loved just the same as the others.
I believe she was meant for family just as Matt and I were meant to get married and Blake, Emma, and Gabe were meant for us. I truly believe that years ago, (before Matt and I knew each other) she was hand picked for our family and He was waiting for the perfect time to introduce her to us.
Mylee is the missing piece to our puzzle. She has brought so much joy and laughter to our family. She is an amazing little girl who I am blessed to call my daughter.







Thanks Stefanie over at Ni Hao Yall for helping me figure out how to upload my video to blogger. I really appreciate it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Who's 4 Today!!!

A year ago today we had some fellow adoptive parents (to be) over with their kids for dinner. After dinner I surprised them with a cake that said "Happy Birthday Ava Lan." One year ago today, Ava turned 3 in Nanjing China without her mom, without her dad, and without her 2 brothers and 2 sisters.






This year was a little different because not only did Ava celebrate with cake and ice cream, and presents, she also celebrated with friends and family. This year, Ava got the greatest gift of all, her "forever family."









Weekend update

Last Friday Mylee's Nanjing "sisters" (along with their moms) came over for a play date. Below are pictures of 4 of the 5 that are home right now. Unfortunately, Elsa was not feeling well so she was not able to make it. We missed you Elsa and Susan. Anyway, I surprised Tara who is Ava's mom by having a little "party" for miss Ava because she turns 4 today. It was alot of fun. The kids played, we ordered pizza, ate cupcakes and Ava opened presents. Below are some pictures taken on Friday.


Millie, Clara, Mylee, Ava



video












On Friday evening we went to Emma's school for their annual Fall Festival. The theme this year was something to do with cowboys and cowgirls so Emma had to wear some sort of Cowgirl getup to school on Friday. Luckily, we had just the thing in our enormous box full of costumes. The kids really enjoyed the carnival, games, candy, balloons, and their friends.
Sunday was my birthday so we went out with some friend's on Saturday night. We ended up at a steak house and then bowling. Unfortunately I will NOT be posting those pictures as they are WAY too embarrassing.



Mylee in the jumping castle



























Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am so very thankful for my father in law because he has been the one taking Mylee to Indy for her checkups. It is really hard for me to get a day off so Steve stepped up and offered to take Mylee. She really looks forward to these trips with Grandpa and can't wait for him to pick her up. This morning we had to have her ready by 6:30 am (her appt. was at 8:30 am) and once she realized she was going to the doctor with Grandpa, she was ready and waiting at the door. So thanks Steve for taking time fron your busy schedule to help us out.




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OOPS

Sorry, I forgot to post this picture of Emma.


Catching Up

It seems like forever since I have been on here that is how busy I have been. Obviously we spent Friday evening trick or treating with the kids. They seemed to have had a really nice time and got WAY too much candy. Blake (and a friend) was a Prom King Zombie, Gabe a Storm Trooper, Emma a Butterfly, and Mylee a ladybug. Mylee really got into the whole thing at first, but then she was more interested in eating the candy than getting more (fine by me). She did go to several houses and said "trick or treat" in her sweet little voice. We only trick or treated for about an hour and then the kids went to Grandma and Grandpa's for the night because Matt and I were having our (kid free) Halloween party. This is the first time we have done anything like
this and we had a really nice time with our friends. During the day on Friday I gutted the playroom and decorated it with fun Halloween stuff (I will post some pics later). We also did a little decorating outside and I was really surprised that Matt was getting into it. Now, if I can just get him to get as enthusiastic about hanging the Christmas lights this year. Anyway, Halloween was a lot of fun this year with all 4 kids.













I don't know why, but I LOVE this picture!

On Monday nights Emma has dance class. This year she is taking tap, jazz, and ballet. She really enjoys it and seems to be doing very well this year. Yesterday was watch night (parents can sit in on the class and watch what their children have learned) so we got to see Emma's dances and costumes for the year. Her tap and jazz costume is SOOOO cute (not sure Matt is going to agree with me). It is black with bright pink polka dots. And her ballet outfit is a simple white leotard and white tutu. Anyway, those are just her normal dances. She is also dancing in the Festival of Trees for tap and ballet, so she is learning a total of 5 dances this year! Again, she is doing fantastic. Her song for tap is Frost the Snowman and ballet is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I was asked again this year to make their costumes for the Festival of Tress (last year I made them and there were only 3 in her class). So, I ended up making 8 red, white, and green tutus with matching head pieces for ballet, and 6 snowman shirts, skirts, scarves and hats for tap. Yes, that is 14 costumes and I was literally sewing as I was running out the door last night. I still have some headpieces to make and finish the hats, but they all turned out so cute and the girls were really pleased with them as well.
By the way, Mylee finally had her first First Steps therapy session today. She did really well and will continue to have therapy now twice a week with them, and once with a pediatric orthopedic here in town. This Thursday she goes back down to Indy for a check to see how things are going. I am hoping that the doctor continues to see some improvement. I will let everyone know how it goes.
By the way, thanks again Denise for helping me out with the pictures. I really appreciate it.