Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday!

Hip, Hip - (you say, Hurraaaay!) Hip, Hip - Hurraaaay! Mama is STILL cancer-free. Our Miracle Mama is living up to her nickname!! Thank you, Lord, for this gift! What a fun Christmas we will have with Olivia and my Miracle Mama!

We are also very grateful to Sherri, who is in Haiti for her court appointment. She sent us this picture and note: "She (Patricia) REALLY wanted to make sure that I told you she loves and misses you so much. Even as we were getting ready to drive away she was in the window asking me to tell you :-)"
This of course brought tears of joy and sadness. It is bittersweet to be having another Christmas without them, but let me tell you, when these kids are home, what a celebration that will be!!! Love to get new pictures!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday!


Monday, December 07, 2009

Two Years Ago Today...

I saw this face for the first time. I would have NEVER imagined that she would not be home yet, nor that we would not have any idea at all when she would be home. Adoption is hard. It downright stinks sometimes. But for those adopting from Haiti, you know that it is different than other countries...it is indescribable. I heard one woman, who was adopting from Ethiopia, state that she was very eager for her kids to come home because they had been at their orphanage for almost six months (her kids were coming home within a month of her saying that). I know that any amount of time in an orphanage is too long, and I know that any wait for any child or any adoptive parent is too long, but there are kids who have been in institutions for years. Some perhaps have spent their entire lives there. Patricia has been at her orphanage since March 2006 and Philippe has been there since March 2008. Too long. They have been matched with us since January 2008 (Patricia) and March 2008 (Philippe). It is crazy to me that the entire time Philippe has been there he has been matched. Lord have mercy on all the children MATCHED with families and still languishing in orphanages and even more, bless the children waiting for a match.

Lord, we plead with you to move the paperwork mountains for all the kids who are waiting for their mommies and daddies to tuck them in. It is hard to even pray to ask to bring these kids home because it feels like the prayers fall on deaf ears. But we ask anyway. Even though it feels impossible. Even though we sound like broken records. Even though our faith is small. Even though...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Kissing Cousins

Olivia just LOVES her cousin, Isaac. When she sees him she practically leaps out of my arms to get down to hug and kiss him. We are so happy that they have a special friendship and can grow up together! Here they are at church.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please pray...

...for my friend and co-worker, Shawn. She is having surgery early Tuesday morning to remove a large brain tumor. Click here for her CaringBridge site. Please join us in praying for Shawn's surgery to go PERFECTLY, AMAZINGLY well and for a speedy recovery. Thanks!

UPDATE
From Shawn's CaringBridge page:
Shawn is out of surgery, and doing quite well. They were able to get the whole tumor out, and as of right now, thinks only her speech may be affected, and that she would be able to get that back. She has spoken a little bit already, and is able to get out about half the words, which is a very good sign. Additionally, her speech has improved since already over the 10 minutes that she has been awake. She is a little weak on her right side, but the doctor seemed very positive and not at all concerned. So, overall a very positive prognosis. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers (clearly they are working!) and we will keep you updated.

Another update: Shawn's tumor is cancerous. Stage 3. She has already started chemo and radiation. See above for the CaringBridge link.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Four Months Together!

We love you so much, Olivia!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Miss O Walking on Her Own!

Friday, November 06, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes

Dawn and I have joked that when Olivia babbles it sounds a lot like she's speaking Chinese. Well, I just read an article at Times Online suggesting that might actually be the case:
    Newborn babies mimic the intonation of their native tongue when they cry, indicating that they begin to pick up the first elements of language in the womb, a study suggests.

    Scientists were already aware that babies are able to recognise certain sounds from birth, such as their parents' voices, but they believed that infants were only able to imitate them from the age of about 12 weeks.

    Now research carried out in Germany suggests that babies develop a capacity for language much earlier than was previously thought. "Our study shows the importance of crying for seeding language development," said Professor Kathleen Wermke, who led the research at the University of W├╝rzburg.
We didn't meet Olivia until she was one, which means she had already been learning for about a year and nine months. She's a bright kid, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if she really is speaking Chinese!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween

On the journey to Olivia, I put a post-it note on my monitor with a quote by Jean de la Bruyere - "Out of difficulties grow miracles" (it's still there - we need a few more miracles). Never did I imagine that a flower this beautiful would grow out of that long, difficult wait.We went trick or treating with (who else!?) my great-nieces and great-nephew and of course Jenny. Another friend joined us later. Jenny's kids are all from Wizard of Oz (poor Minnesotan kids have to wear coats over their dresses!) We have Dorothy, Glinda the Good Witch and Toto. We decided that Olivia was a poppy from the poppy field so that she fit the theme :)
What a fun night! Jenny brought homemade wild rice soup, we sipped apple cider, we all ate too much candy and the kids fell asleep all over the house while Jenny and I talked and the Daddies watched football. Just look at that face! I get and give a thousand kisses a day and I LOVE my little blossoming flower!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Haiti Trip #2

In case you missed it, we, along with several other families, had to go to Haiti on short notice to appear in court, in order for our adoptions to proceed. We were told we would meet with a judge, but if he was in the room, we didn't know it. We all signed blank pages in a notebook...a smidge unnerving! Thankfully, folks were discussing how many times they signed while we all waited and it turns out that both spouses were to sign TWICE per child that you are adopting. Two families, us included, discovered that we had not signed enough times and we went back in. We are so glad that this was discovered while we were still in Haiti. Can you imagine if we hadn't caught that?

Regarding our case, we are not going to share it all on the blog. If you want to know more, please email us privately and we will be happy to discuss it with you, but for the purposes of this open blog, we are simply asking for prayer over our kids and their adoption cases. We were told that they were likely about six months from coming home, but with some recent developments, their homecoming date is unsure.

Here are our photos:

Arriving in Haiti
A school girl, in uniform, walking home
Philippe swimming with Mama - by the last day he was going underwater and was much more gutsy
Three of us - Patricia learned how to swim on our last trip and she did great again, even wanting to take off her water wings...we let her but she had to stay by the edge in the shallow end!
Love it! This is one of our favorite things - watching our kids sleep. Can't wait until they do this at HOME
Our babes...We had a rough start, with lots of attitude and them pretty much flat out ignoring us. Even though we know they understand a lot of English, we asked a translator to sit down with us for a moment, just to make SURE they understood. We asked him to please explain to the kids that we know it is hard to have us come for such a short time and then have to leave. We know it must be confusing. That we want to take them home right now, but we have to wait for the paperwork. That we have only TWO days together and that we can make it a great two days, or it can be miserable. We expect them to look at us and answer us when we speak to them. We want to have fun with them. That we want to have a wonderful visit, but they need to help make that happen.

I guess this worked, because they were totally different after that!
I was asking one of the older girls about how to do Patricia's hair, and then before I knew it, I was actually DOING her hair. Here it is in transition...

Self-portrait by Philippe - eating a gummy worm
Another self-portrait :)
Philippe took some (many!) pictures of his gift from us...
Philippe pushing Patricia out of the bed! Just like last time!
Our dear ones...once again, check out that hair...those twists were done by me! Not too bad for a "blanc" lady! I need to get better, but when I finished, Patricia said, "Thanks Mama!"


Overall we had a great visit with the kids, those representing us and other adoptive parents. We left a bit downtrodden over our adoption process, and a few other things that happened, but the Lord blessed us with safe travels and good health. Last time we ended up in the ER upon returning home!

Please, PLEASE lift up our kids, their orphanage and the staff, and all the kids waiting to go HOME. We need to pray for paperwork to MOVE as it is such a WASTE to have children who are matched with families sit in institutions. Blessings to all the waiting families and thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Olivia (Almost) Walking on Her Own!



We hope she doesn't fully learn how to walk until we're back from Haiti!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Months Together!

Our Log In Date (LID) was 3-13-06. As the time dragged on to meet our daughter, I began to dread the 13th of the month. Marking that date was just a constant reminder of how long it was taking. Ironically, the day that we met our Olivia was July 13th, so now the 13th is a very happy marker for our family. It has been three months since we were united as a family of three. We still wait to be a family of five.
Here are pictures of our first meeting and pictures from September and October.
The first moment Olivia is handed to me - like my friend Beth said, "Those first few moments of ultimate joy and sadness colliding". That is exactly how I felt. We were so happy and she was so sad. Our tears of joy quickly ceased as we shifted our focus on comforting her.
Back on the bus
Who ARE you?
We recently received these photos from someone seated behind us - they bring tears to my eyes! Our poor baby. So confused. So tired. So shell-shocked. The girls had a six hour drive to get to us that day already and then to be handed to complete strangers who look different and sound different. It was so jarring.



Proud Papa. And finally she sleeps.
Back at the hotel, peering over the mattress (her crib was right next to my side of the bed). Such sad eyes. She didn't cry unless we picked her up. She just stared. At us. At the toys in front of her.

The very next morning she is like a different child and never seems to go back to that sad baby. She slept for hours and hours and it must have been what she needed. I find it so interesting how her eyes changed from day one to day two. From fearful to peaceful. Click here, here, here or here for more posts, or search back for even more, if you need to get caught up!
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Here we are in September. I just love this picture of Olivia with my Dad!
She likes playing with these rain boots that are too big for her so I couldn't resist adding the hat!
At her Aunt Sharla's wedding
She LOVES the computer.
She also loves Nutella...
Just before her first bite of Wild Rice Soup (she IS a Minnesotan, after all!)
And it's a hit! She devoured it!

At the dealership the day we bought the van. What a good baby...it took so much longer than we planned. Thankfully they had a play area!
I believe that this is the first of many looks saying, "Oh, MOM!"
At music class
Just a happy baby!
Such a good sleeper! We feel so lucky!
First pickle...not a fan.
This was after successfully pulling herself up on the couch. You can just see the look of accomplishment and pride, can't you?
Hanging out at the Mall of America

Music class again

She just loves it
And first snow. She isn't too sure what to think at first...(we aren't sure either! It is so early! But it was a pretty snowfall...)

But then she makes up her mind!

Olivia is a beautiful baby and we feel so blessed that she is our daughter. She is something else! For being a mere 15 months old, she seems to know exactly what she wants and when (no, she doesn't always get it!) She is tenacious, resilient and oh-so-feisty, but she is well matched. Bring it on, Olivia! hee hee! She loves music and taps her hands in her lap, claps and bops her head whenever she hears any music. She is walking with help (down to one hand now!) and says many words. She says, "Mama", "Dada", "dogga", "all-da" (all done), "guh ger" (good girl), tee tew (thank you), ett (eat), "dow" (down), "hi", and has said some other words along the way. She has grown a couple of inches and gained a fair amount since we got home and she just moved up a shoe size (stay little! stay little!) We love Olivia!! Thank you, Jesus, for this baby and for our many blessings!
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