Isaiah 43:5

Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. Isaiah 43:5

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ten Weeks Home......tales, tidbits and birthday blessings (part 2 of 2)

    As I was mentioning in the previous post, Lucy is getting increasingly more comfortable with routines, habits and details of everyday life at the Zimmerman ranch!  In fact, the way you do something with or for Lucy the first time in her mind is the way it needs to be replicated each sequential time thereafter, and in the EXACT same manner.  In other words, Lucy Kim likes SAMENESS, ROUTINE.  Like most little people (shoot a lot of big people for that matter!), there is great comfort in knowing what is coming or what to expect.
   While sometimes the urge to "skip a step" or "hurry through a part of a particular routine" is very tempting, it's not worth it.   You see a sweet little dark haired girl WILL mime to you the portion you have skipped and insist it's done!  Her little world is out of order.  And, most likely she will be persistent that you complete the missed step.
   If you put yourself in her little shoes, and think about it, it makes sense doesn't it?  WHY she would probably have some of those thoughts and feelings.  
   On September 1st, her life was turned upside down.    All "knowns" were thrown out the window.  All familiar faces disappeared.  The language she was familiar with hearing vanished.  The food she ate and the smells that accompanied those foods were gone.  For so many weeks, she didn't know what to expect was coming next, where she was headed or who she might be seeing.  (hopefully we eased those unknowns a wee bit by the infamous laminated photo ring (wink/wink)
   Now, after several weeks of sameness and routine, she knows some of what to expect and it feels good to her!  So, don't mess with even one step of routine!!
   An example of this happened not so long ago.  Supper time at the Zimmerman home is family time.  For twenty seven years I have tried my best to have supper as a family - together!  Having a large family  that has a whole host of age ranges, there are certainly times and schedules that simply don't allow ALL members to be here, but we try.  Lucy has caught onto this "family routine" and very much likes it!  And just like most families, we all have our (unofficial) "assigned" seating arrangements where we sit every single meal.  One evening, our daughter, Emily could not be here for supper due to her music rehearsal schedule.  The two youngest boys decided it would be  fun to have big brother, Kurt sit in between them since Emily wasn't going to be home (where she would normally sit).  So they moved his place setting between theirs.  We were all at the table waiting on Kurt.  While waiting on him, we held hands in anticipation of family prayer (as is our tradition).  Kurt, knowing we're waiting,  came running up the steps, sees his plate is moved and being the flexible guy that he is, simply takes a seat where his brothers have put his place setting.
   HOLD THE PHONE!!  Lucy immediately let go of Mommy and Daddy's hands and is unable to pray - she needs to get things "right!"  She sternly looks at big brother, says "Kut, Kut" ("r" sound is hard for her to say) and motions him to go to his normal seating place and says the word SIT.  She was distraught by this change. We all burst out in laughter at her stern face and perfect mime motions.  Laughing obviously because only the words "Kut, Kut" and "sit" were needed - she mimed it from there.  We also found it funny that this big twenty year old brother looks at us and says "should I move, so she's happy?"  (he's a sweetheart of a brother!!)
Kurt and Lucy

Thankfully it's only taken a few weeks for Lucy to realize she can share her Mommy with niece, Sadie and for Sadie to understand that Nana doesn't love her one ounce less because Lucy is now part of our family.  I'm thrilled that they have moved off my lap, and are playing together and having FUN with each other.  Lucy is seven months older then Sadie.  Although I'm pretty sure that Sadie thinks she's older.  One morning while baby brother Isaac was napping the two girls were having fun playing together in the bean bin and building blocks.

Sadie and Lucy

The infamous bean bin
Block building buddies

On another day, I dressed for the day and realized when getting Lucy ready that she had the same color pants and shirt as Mama - so we dressed alike.  She learned the word "same" that day!!


Remember our trip to the Asian grocery store, where I bought "roasted seaweed?"  Lucy loves it!
("don't knock it 'til you've tried it")
Lovin' the roasted seaweed
  Our family is blessed with the love and support of  family as well as friends.  In an earlier blog post here, I wrote a few ideas of how others could support an adoptive family.  I did not write "take other children out for a big bike ride to tire them out" but my dear sister, Rhonda did just that (great idea or what?!)  Obviously, a lot of time these days is devoted to taking care of Lucy and helping her with the transition.  This time was special for some of the others!  (thanks so much Aunt Rhonda!!)
Helping Aunt Rhon hook on the bike carrier
Ready for the bike trail!
We've learned that Lucy girl LOVES music!  For many weeks now, each night we play a particular cd for Lucy (and the boys too in their room) with songs about Jesus.  We think it's a great way for her to fall asleep, hearing over and over about the love and blood of Jesus.    Recently she's been singing along with some parts of some of the songs!  "What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"  (oh how precious to hear her little voice sing those words!!)  Lucy's also enamored when she hears or sees her big sister Emily practicing music or dance and will try and imitate.
Big sis and lil' sis!
It's been pretty many years since Daddy has come home each evening to a toddler to pick up and smother with kisses.  It's a role he's gladly resumed the past ten weeks!

Today's my birthday,  and  I am blessed far beyond what I deserve.  I just love my nest full!

At this time of year when we turn our minds and hearts to reflecting on all we're thankful for.....we're so appreciative of your love and support and for being pieces of the puzzle in bringing Lucy home! In God's provision through you, there is one less orphan this Thanksgiving and Christmas!   We'll keep the camera handy as we look forward to celebrating Lucy's first Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family!  Stay tuned......


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ten Weeks........ Tidbits and Tales (part one of two)

Ready to hear about my last few weeks?
November 21st brought us to the ten week mark.  Lucy Kim has been HOME for ten weeks already!   In looking back over the past month since I last updated about Lucy specifically, we've experienced many "first"s, and have become increasingly more comfortable with daily routine and habits.  It's also been a month of reflection and thanksgiving!

Completed application mailed 11-2-2012
One year ago, we officially began our adoption journey to Lucy Kim.  November 2nd, 2012 we mailed our completed application to our adoption agency. And because November is National Adoption Month, our agency allows you to take 50% off application fees! (and discounts, coupons or sales always make this girl smile :)
 And on my birthday, November 27th, we mailed our completed contract and first set of related fees.  Last November we were only starting the process, we had no idea where our little girl was waiting in China, how old she was or when we we might first see her.  But it's so beautiful to me that GOD knew all of that and was going to disclose it to us within the year.  We needed to walk in faith,  with our hands holding His, trusting Him for guidance, direction and wisdom for each step of the journey.....

Log Cabin Road Covered Bridge
Beiler's Home
As you can see from the above pictures, we are privileged to live in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania.  This autumn has been exceptionally gorgeous with much vibrancy in color!  It was a great time to be outdoors with Lucy and her brothers and capture some of the colors of fall in photos!
Pop Pop grew some pretty mums here....

Can you see the ladybugs on my dress?
"Yellow Lucy", the flowers are YELLOW!
Before we traveled to China, we made a trip to one of our local Asian grocery stores to purchase some Chinese foods.  It was time to go back and "restock" on some of our Chinese cuisine. Our first trip there was fun and educational and crazy enough made me feel somehow more connected to our daughter-to-be.  It aroused many of our senses especially the sense of smell!  This return trip, I had our Asian princess with us and her big brother, Karter.   Walking into the market and smelling those same smells and seeing all of the different Asian delicacies, it immediately triggered memories of being in China just two months ago.  I had to wonder what was going through my little one's head?!  Did those smells, sounds and seeing others who looked similar to her make her a bit homesick for China?  
Fresh fish on Fridays!
Oh wow - the familiar smells of my homeland!
Mama got us roasted seaweed!
Last month, Lucy girl had her first visit with our pediatrician.  This month, she got to go along with her big brother, Kaden and watch him have a check-up at his eye doctor.  While waiting for the doctor, she climbed up in the big chair with Kaden to keep him company.
Waiting for the eye doctor with Kaden
Our communication system (lamintated photo ring) continues to be used just about daily!  If we are making multiple stops while running errands, Lucy wants to to hear about and "see" each stop and in the order we'll be stopping.  Then I get to hear the re-tell of our day's journey :) with pictures and broken English.  Works for us!
Re-telling Mama which stops we'll be making today!
"Dr. Scott" - Lucy loves her chiropractor!!
Today is National Adoption DAY!  Our family has been profoundly touched by adoption and we celebrate and rejoice in the family God created for us.
Three youngest Zimmermans
These fun events, bring us to about the middle of the month!  We have a few more fun experiences (and maybe a video clip or two too?) to share with you soon.  Part two coming soon.......

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Giving thanks for fabulous foster parents!

We're about half way through a very special month of the year.  November is National Adoption Awareness Month.   Having brought Lucy Kim home just over two months ago, there hasn't been a day that I have not thought about the gift of adoption.
I've also been thinking often about Lucy's foster Mom.  This Mama gave us such a gift in loving and preparing Lucy girl for a family.  We are so grateful and thankful for her and her hubby!  Qu Yan was blessed to live with her foster Mama, Baba(dad) and foster siblings for approximately ten months before we brought her home.  Those ten months were a gift that Lucy doesn't yet understand she received.  Her "China Mama" lovingly put a photo album together with some very sweet pictures that were taken during her stay with her foster family.  It is so very precious to me and I know that it will be an invaluable treasure to Lucy too!

I want to take the time to THANK all foster parents both in the United States and abroad.  Thank you for caring for, love on and preparing (some of) our adopted children for their forever family!  The gift of having loving foster parents to an orphaned (broad base meaning here) child is priceless!  Your reward is waiting for you in heaven!

 I'd like to take a minute to thank two other very special  foster families who have put their yes on the table to care for children unable to be cared for by their biological parents.  They have said "YES" to God's call to show HIS love.  Their work is hard, often thankless, time consuming and always full of emotion. 
 Earlier this year, our dear daughter and her husband  had a life changing decision that needed to be made relatively quickly concerning a situation where a little guy needed a safe, stable and loving home.  Already having two children 2 and under, it would have been so easy to say "not us, not now."  But instead they put their yes on the table and walked forward in faith believing they were doing what God has asked of them.  Thank you Linsey and Joel for putting your yes on the table!

There's also a very special foster Mama living in Thailand who has invested many years in caring for children who have no family of their own.   She also practices true religion daily (James 1:27).   Recently she posted some of her thoughts concerning the children whom she cared for and loved during the season they were in her care and then adopted into families.

I thought some of you may find it interesting to read her thoughts and feelings.(copy and pasted with her permission)  Thanks L.B. for loving Jesus in such a tangible and caring way!

As a foster Mum caring for Thai children who will be adopted I have to allow the parents to decide how much contact they would like to have with us once they have adopted their little one. In my experience most families want their child to know where they came from and who cared for them before they came home to their forever family. I don't put any pressure in the families to keep contact with us but I can assure you that when we get an email with some pictures or a chance to chat over Skype it is an absolute joy. It fills my heart to see the child I loved and cared for being loved and cared for by their forever family! We also send an album of pictures with the child when they are adopted, pictures of their past, friends, family (if there is some family) and their life experiences from when they are here. Forever families always tell me that the album is much loved and treasured by their child as it is a connection to their past. It helps them to understand that someone loved them while they waited for Mummy and Daddy to come and collect them. So I would encourage all adoptive families to have contact if you can, in different countries that would look very different. If the foster parent doesn't have internet maybe consider sending some photos in the post, it will make their day to see the one they loved (and still love) so happy and so surrounded by love. I promise you we NEVER forget, your son or daughter is in our heart forever!

During this month of recognizing adoption, let's remember too the foster parents who are making a difference in the life of a child!  Sending an e-mail, card or note of appreciation is such a sweet act of love and appreciation.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  I. Thess. 5:11

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  Romans 14:19

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Supporting Adoptive Families.....

If you haven't personally adopted, you may not be sure what you can do to show your support and love to a friend or family member that is bringing home a new son or daughter.  In honor of adoption awareness month, I have put together seven easy and very  practical ways you could show love to the newly adopting family....

Whether the adoption is domestic or international adoption - these families are making major family adjustments!  Much like when a newborn is born into a family there are lots of  "new norms" to establish.  Some of them are fun, some very tough, and all are energy and time consuming.  I can guarantee that showing your love and support will mean so much to an adoptive family.

  Early days, weeks and months need to be filled with spending as much time as possible loving on, getting acquainted to, playing with and adjusting to the newest family member!

Here are seven suggestions.  Maybe you'll find one or two you can chose to bless an adoptive family?!

1.  Send a card.   Adoption cards can sometimes be hard to find (especially if the child is not a baby, which is a pet peeve of mine!) but you can always use a blank note card and send a sentiment of love!  This simple act can be so encouraging to an adoptive family.

2.  Take their dirty laundry home and bring back clean and folded.  I'd even go as far as to suggest not "asking" if you can but instead tell them you'd like to bless them in a practical way by doing their laundry and  you'd  like to come and pick up their laundry on such and such a day.  Does that day work or would there be another day that would be better? You can tell them you'd be happy to just grab it off the front porch if they want to through it all in a garbage bag  (you get the idea here) and you'll not be staying for a visit as you understand things are busy and you'd love to bless them.  

3. Offer to clean a floor of the home (or the entire home).  Cleaning the house often has to take a backseat to meeting all the demands of a family that is transitioning.  Having someone offer their cleaning services would be a huge act of love!

4.  Run errands.  Going out and about can be very stressful to a newly adopted child.  "Cocooning at home" is often helpful with the bonding process.  Having someone offer to get groceries, prescriptions, diapers, formula can be a gift to the newly adoptive parents.

5.  If the newly adopted child is not the family's first child, perhaps you could offer to take the other kiddos and do something fun.  This gives the parent(s) a break and  "alone time" with the new child but also gives the other children something extra special to do.

6.  Gift card for dinner out (might not be able to be used for several weeks or months) - but it shows your love and support!! And the adoptive family has a fun, free evening to look forward to!

7. Deliver a meal..... fresh or frozen - not having to plan, prepare or cook a meal is a big blessing.