Saturday, June 23, 2012

Body of Christ - Please pray for this family!

I just now read of a family who is in Ghana right now to adopt a sibling group of four.  The parents have been placed in custody with a charge of child trafficking and their two bio children who are traveling with them have been placed in the very same orphanage as their four adopted children!  Please pray for this family and intercede on their behalf right now for their protection, for the grace and mercy of the Father to set things right quickly for the sake of these parents and their six children.  Our prayers will rise!  Thank you so much!
No Greater Joy Mom: very urgent prayer request

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Promised

Since my friend Lauren  gave me the "Versatile Blogger Award", I  promised her i would write 7 random things about myself and post them on my blog.  So here goes:

1.  I love the color green so much that several rooms in my home are painted various shades of green.
2.  I love cats.
3.  I've wanted to adopt ever since i was five years old.
4.  My favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road.
5.  I have flat feet.
6.  I love hiking in the mountains.
7.  I love watermelon.

There!  Done!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Latest

Okay, do not do what i did today, and that is delete pictures from your picasa web album.  And do you want to know why not?  Because you will also delete pics off your blog!!!!!

Suffice it to say....I now have many posts without pictures, and I am really not so sure i am up for replacing all of them, or even remembering which pics i had where, for that matter.   Lesson learned, the hard way....

Well we just returned home from a two-night stay at a water park in Sanduskey, Ohio.  Cassie's first ever experience with inner-tubes  and water slides, and let me just say right now, me the proud mama, she did fantastic.  This girl is truly fearless!  All this time I think she was just waiting for a family to show her who she really is.  

Unfortunately I did not get even one picture of them in the water, but i will share a few others with you that i think are cute.  Hopefully you will like them too!

While we were away from home, Cassie lost another tooth, her third one since being with her family!  these are EXCITING times, friends!

The next picture was taken by Cassie while we were at the restaurant.  It reflects what Randy and i have always known - that Sonya is a mommy's girl.  Oh sure, Sonya loves her daddy, and he's the best toy she's ever played with.  Not to mention a wonderfully loving and gentle father to her.   

Now we are learning that daddy has a girl of his own.  Don't get me wrong, Cassie can't live without me.  I mean, I'm the first one she runs to when she wakes up in the middle of the night filled with fear and panic that her new life isn't real.  But no doubt about it, Cassie is a daddy's girl from the top of her head to the tips of her toes!  This next picture is of Cassie at Zhongshan when she is probably five years old.  When I saw it for the very first time, there were two things i identified about her from studying her face and posture.  #1:  She is a perfectionist and likes to do things well.  #2:  She needs a daddy so she can do things well and without fear.  Cassie, once called Zhong Feng Mei, is the last one in line.

But look at her now!

More Pics!

We visited Maple Lane Wildlife Farm in Topeka, IN in late May.  The first pics are of Cassie on her very first EVER camel ride!  Notice the sense of accomplishment that seems to envelope her.

And this is Sonya's second camel ride ever!

More pictures from that day...

Let's Try This Again, Shall We?

Okay, here are some of the pictures i promised you the other day. 

At our recent ENT visit, the following pictures depict a vastly different response/reaction from  my girls when the nurse started probing around inside their ears.  

FINALLY!!!  All done!


Monday, June 4, 2012

A Long Overdue Update

It's been a long time again, hasn't it?  I have pictures to share later, but for now, just some motherly observations involving the growth we've seen in our youngest in the past five and one half months home from China.  Today i need to remind myself just how far Cassie has come because in my humanness i can get caught up in thinking about how far she still needs to go in the overall healing process, and I begin to feel overwhelmed and incapable of helping her the way she needs to be helped.   Of course, a verse that brings me back to sanity and reality is, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  Philippians 4:13

I cannot do anything well without His divine help and intervention to lead, guide and direct my every step. In other words, when I step out of His way and let Him do it, VICTORY IS ACHIEVEDWhen I forget this and try to do it on my own, I fail miserably - as a wife, as a mother, as a Christian.  I know many people who might say otherwise of me because they are only familiar with my "public self".  But only through Him does my public and personal self fuse.  By Him and through Him alone, I can behave the same toward those who I am the closest to as I do with the people with whom my path intersects in the world. 

How has Cassie grown?  Allow me to enumerate:

1.  She no longer follows me or Randy around begging to "go bye bye" every half hour.  Actually, Cassie can stay home now for a full day without going completely berserk ( I kid you not). And even then, when we would take her out on daily excursions, we could be home for less than an hour before she would start begging to "go bye bye" again. 

2. She no longer, generally speaking, takes things that do not belong to her.  In the past, i would often find Sonya's stuff mixed in with Cassie's treasures. 

3.  She no longer glares at Randy and me and stomps out of the room threatening to put herself in bed when we tell her "no".  Not so long ago, while we got the "evil eye" several times per day, others got her smiles, laughter, hugs and kisses.

4.  She no longer pinches, kicks, spits on, strangles or hits.  And for the most part she's given up belching.

5.  She no longer tells me she wants a "new mommy".  :-)

6.  She no longer wets her pants or bed.  Cassie told me at the orphanage she would wet her bed or her pants and she would be left in it.  Now she takes pride in the fact that she can keep her bed dry by getting up in the night and using the bathroom.  As far as wetting her pants, she's had to spend a few times sitting on her bed for ten minute intervals before breaking this habit. 

7.  She no longer climbs in bed with me several times a night for fear that I will not be there when she wakes up.  We're down to one time a night when she comes in for me to walk her to the bathroom and tuck her back into bed afterwards.

8.  She no longer picks the cat up by the tail or, generally speaking, holds her against her will. 

9.  She no longer runs into the arms of strangers or acquaintances while throwing her arms around their neck and kissing them profusely about the face while turning away from Randy and me for the same.  Now she will ask permission first to give someone a kiss on the cheek but only if it is someone we know and she knows.  And she will openly volunteer kisses and hugs for Randy and me, moreso than before I should say. She still has a ways to go in this area.  I think while Cassie has helped Sonya to become  more affectionate towards other people because of the affection she herself has lavished on Sonya, Sonya is teaching Cassie that hugs and kisses from mom and dad are "the best".

10.  More and more, she sees herself equal to Sonya, in worth, merit, ability and love.  Cassie has been very jealous of Sonya in many ways and at times takes it out on Sonya while in a public setting which, of course, has
served to horrify Sonya to no end.  But slowly, Cassie is beginning to feel or understand that Randy and I truly want to be there for her just as much and in the same way we are there for her big sister.

There is more i am sure, but all of the progress sometimes gets clouded over by the glaring reality of what abandonment and rejection and neglect will and can do to a young life.  But I do have a short story to share with you that just happened today, and if I could step back from my own life for a moment i would see that everyday there is a new story to tell and a new breakthough which occurs in the midst of emotional outbursts and challenges.

So here's what happened.  Something I've been working on with Cassie is to tell on herself when she does something wrong.  For instance, one day while I was in the kitchen I noticed there was yogurt all over the ceiling, the cupboards and floor.  Immediately I went to get Cassie because, honestly, had it been Sonya she would have come to get me to help her clean it up, probably apologizing profusely in the process because that's just Sonya, but the long and the short of it is this - Sonya has learned it is far better to tell on herself when she does something wrong than for me to find out about it on my own. 

Anyway, I took Cassie by the hand, I lead her into the kitchen, pointed to the mess all over the ceiling and cupboards everywhere and I asked her if she knew anything about.  She only looked at me and shrugged.  I proceeded to tell her I knew she had done it and asked her why she didn't tell mommy.  Cassie could only insist that she knew nothing at all about this and that it must have just happened on its own, or something like that.

I asked her next time that something like that happened to please tell me so I can clean it up right away.  I told her if she were to come to me she would not get in trouble, but if she were to keep it from me that when i found out about it, there would be consequences.  That day I left the situation with her not really sure what she understood me to say.

Until today that is when Cassie showed me she had knocked some of her father's clean work shirts to the floor which had been hanging up in the laundry room.  She pointed to them and looked up at me and said, "Mei Mei did that, Mommy. I sorry, Mommy.  I no do again."

And of course, I gave her the biggest hug, kissed her on the forehead, and then looked her in the eyes while telling her how proud i am of her.  Cassie, BEAMED, and she said, "Thank you, Mama."

Well i didn't stop there.  I hurriedly took her out the door where she was to meet her daddy and sister for a date and exclaimed, "I have some very exciting news to share with you about Cassie!  Cassie just told on herself!"
I proceeded to tell Randy what had just transpired, and he too gave Cassie a hug and told her how proud he was of her. 

Our words to Cassie were like a healing balm to her fractured soul. I could see this in her eyes and in her countenance.  And i am fully aware that as i type this that tomorrow will present us with even more obstacles and challenges which will probably appear huge and insurmountable in my eyes, and have me shaking my head or leave me with a quivering lower lip until i look up and ask for help.

AGAIN. :-)

Now onto the pictures!

I know!  I know!  I promised pics, But can anyone tell me why blogger is disallowing me to add pics to this post?  Everytime i hit the Publish button, the screen goes blank? I would LOVE a little help here if you have a sec.