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

Friday, February 28, 2014

Seeking the Grace Giver

There have been times I have heard "I could never do what you are doing."  These types of comments make me laugh (ok, sometimes smirk).
 Are you kidding? I can't do what I am doing! It's only by the grace given by God which equips all of us to walk in obedience!

There's a saying/expression that says something like "don't be content to live on warm fuzzies from other's lives."  
 The world seems to be full of these contented people.  While I'm the first in line to hear, read or watch a good, "warm fuzzy" story, in reality I really don't want to rest in admiring God's work in someone else's life!  I want to experience all my Father God has in store for me and our family!

 Many of you have read or  heard me say that Jesus has our "yes".  While putting our yes out there is T.O.U.G.H. (and at times I want to withdrawal the yes) what you have to know and believe is that with that "yes" comes provision for anything and everything we will ever do in obeying King Jesus.  I can promise you that.  I've seen His faithfulness firsthand over and over again.  Take Him at his word! 

"If you do not believe that grace is enough, then you are not seeking the Grace Giver... because desperate seeking of Him leads to grace and more grace."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Five Months H-O-M-E!!

We’re home with Lucy Kim five months now.  If you’re a follower of this blog, you already know that our family's transition has been going remarkably well.  We don't take this for granted, and we continue to thank God for this blessing. 

 However, there is no such thing as stereotypical  in adoption.  Our adoption and transitions of our boys looked very different from each other and from Lucy's.  

Every. child. is. different.  Each child created with a unique personality and each one coming with different and hard past experiences and at varying ages.  The list of "why" each adoption looks different is as long as the number of children being adopted.  While that may seem obvious to some, it is not to all.  

  But just as the word (transition) implies – we continue to be in a period of adjustment.  When  a family adds a new member by  birth, fostering or adoption, there's no such thing as "returning to the way things use to be."  Does.not.happen.  You forge a new normal with your expanded family!   Change can often be hard.(notice I didn't say bad)  Everyone in the family needs be flexible and make adjustments. As a “new” Mom (in her forties!) returning to Toddlerville has been fun, comical, emotional, stressful and exhausting at times!  

Five months home, our little miss appears to feel loved, secure and comfortable in this new family of hers. She's blossoming before our very eyes.  That sad and expressionless face we saw five months ago is mostly a memory.  (although I know that she is still trying to process all that has happened to her life since last September?!)

Leaving our meeting place and headed to the hotel with our sweet bundle!
Sept. 01, 2013

Daddy's working hard to get a smile from his new girl!
Sept. 01, 2013

Daddy Lovin'!

Kisses from Mama!
 I was asked by a family member "what is Lucy’s favorite time of the day?"  An interesting question to which I responded “probably SUPPERTIME”.  Lucy loves when everyone is home and gathered around the table together!  We’re a hand holding during meal prayer family.  Little Lucy will do a hand check before prayer.  Knowing this, we sometimes like to tease her by having someone purposely not hold hands with their neighbor.  Lucy will call the person out by name and mime for them to hold hands with the person beside him/her before we can proceed with prayer.  She continues to be our routine loving girl!

In her “comfortableness” she also has been challenging some rules and showing her displeasure when told NO to things.  Displeasure meaning temper tantrums.(what she doesn't know is some of her siblings broke us in with similar tantrums and were far better(?!) at "holding out" then she!!)  Typically I tell her to "stop" - and then I cover my ears and tell her "she's hurting Mama's ears - stop screaming."  If she continues and needs to calm herself, Merle or I will take her to the laundry room (right off our kitchen) and have her sit until she's done' screaming or has herself calmed down.  Because of the quick pace that she's understanding English, often times we only need to ask her (at a louder volume then she's complaining) "do you want to go sit in the laundry room?"  Often she'll quickly shake her head and say no and end the tantrum abruptly :)  Other times - NOT!
Not a happy camper
Oh the over-riding peace God has given a midst the highs and lows of our transition period.  We rest in knowing that HE who has called us is and always will be faithful!  Faithful in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.   Having seen HIS divine hand guiding us from the start of the journey until where we’re at currently is so reassuring on the days we feel a little weary in the journey!  Remember the post HERE that I wrote back in Dec. of 2012 at the very beginning of our journey to Lucy Kim?  My faith continues to grow and I am so grateful that we serve such a good and FAITHFUL God!  To HIM be the glory  for all He has done and continues to do.

Some of the upcoming posts I hope to include in the near future: update about Lucy's second visit to Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia, Lucy's first birthday HOME (4 years old on March 17th) and more.

**Please note if you look for updates to this blog by way of facebook notification, you may want to consider signing up for e-mail notification of new blog posts, as I will soon be leaving the facebook world for a period of time.  You can "sign up" for e-mail notifications on home page of this blog.  Simply enter your e-mail and submit.  BUT you will also need to approve it via e-mail.  You'll get an e-mail from feedburner asking you to click a link and activate your subscription to this blog (ourredthread).  You will NOT be activated until you click the link to confrim.  You should immediately receive a confirmation that looks like what you see just below this sentence!  *

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Dear First Mama

I recently read a beautiful blog post that was written in the form of a letter.  As I read the post and tears trickled down my cheeks,  I strongly connected with the words that were penned.  Although there are many details that are very different in Lucy's life story vs. the author's daughter, each orphaned child has a very different life story and most times we never know the details but instead can only speculate.
 In sharing this heart felt letter,  it is my sincere desire to have you, the reader think about the fact that there are many and varied reasons why a child may become orphaned.  Have you considered that Love could be one of those possibilities?

 **It is with permission from this talented author, Kelly Payne that I share this letter and also with her permission included pictures of Lucy Kim but again it is NOT Lucy's life story.

picture from book Motherbridge of Love by Xinran

Dear First Mama,

I just finished reading a very difficult book entitled Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran.

This is a book about you, precious First Mama.It is a book about your love for your daughter.  It is a book about the heart wrenching decision you were confronted with that no mother should ever have to face.

It is a book about the hole that will remain in your heart for the rest of your days on this earth.
 My focus through out this entire adoption experience has been where it should be; on the well being of our daughter, yours and mine.

Our little one has suffered great loss.
She has experienced the unfathomable experience of abandonment.
There is a hole in her heart; pieces missing that she will question and try to make peace with.
 I want you to know that after reading this book, I have a much greater appreciation for you.

I have always prayed for you, always.
When I rock our daughter to sleep at night, I think of you.
I think of you and the last time you were able to hold this little girl in your arms, stroking her soft cheeks and rubbing her little head; knowing what path you were about to walk down.
I ache for you.

 I am angry that we live in such a fallen world that a mother and father are forced to leave their child, abandoned and alone, on the front steps of a Social Welfare Institute, because they had no other choice.
I will never know all the details that led you to make this painful decision, but I know that you were backed into a corner.  I know there was no other viable option.
Our daughter was so very ill.
Your selfless act of courage 
Saved. Her. Life.
Do you know that First Mama?
Your selfless act of courage
Saved. Her. Life.

 Our daughter, yours and mine,
is alive today because you were able to let go.
I want you to know that I do not overlook the enormity of the sacrifice you made on behalf of our daughter whom you carried for 9 months and cared for for the first year of her life. 
You will ALWAYS hold a very special and honored position in our family, 
for we see you and are with you every day.

 Our daughter is amazing!
I often wonder if you were this beautiful when you were four years old!
I know you are so smart!
I see it in every puzzle she completes, in every letter she writes, in every story we read.

I know you are kind.
I see it in the way her eyes grow pensive and concerned when she hears another cry; in the way she knows just the right time to tell me she loves me and gives me a sweet hug and kiss.
I know you are funny!!!

Oh my, is she funny!  She brings a joy to our home that is immeasurable!
I know you have a VERY. Strong. Will.
You are a survivor.
Our daughter is a fighter and a survivor too.

 I want you to know that our daughter knows she has three mamas:
First Mama,
China Mama who took care of her in the orphanage 
Me, Forever Mama.

 When she is old enough, when she starts asking "Why",
I know without a doubt that I will be able to tell her that you love her with all your heart.
I will be able to tell her that you loved her so much that you chose life for her, not once, but twice.

 Know, that we are praying for you.
We pray that some how, some way, you learn about Jesus Christ and just how much He loves you and gave everything up for YOU.
He knows your heartache very well, First Mama, very well.
Oh we pray you know Him.
We pray that He binds up the gaping hole that was ripped into your heart the day you said good bye to our little girl.
Oh China Mama, He can and He will.
He is in the business of restoring what the locusts have eaten.
He will heal your broken heart,
and one day...
One day, we will hug your neck in heaven.
I pray this over you every day.

You are precious and you are so very loved.
Know we love your treasured gift more than life itself.
Until we meet someday,

 Forever Mama
***this is not Lucy Kim's story by merely a different perspective on why a child may be left to be cared for by another.
with permission to re-print by author:  Kelly Payne**

Zàijiàn Cast!

Good-bye cast!  After almost six weeks, we gladly bid farewell to Lucy's right arm cast!  Like before, we rehearsed (via words and mime) many times what would happen in the casting room.  She confidently relayed the story to Daddy, Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop several times before leaving to have the cast removed.  Our brave girl proved to be a real trooper yet again.

  You will notice how close her face is to mine in some of the pictures!  That's because sweet girl had a strong neck hold on me as the VERY LOUD machine removed her cast!

She was mesmerized with seeing her right arm again!  However, she was far too nervous to just let it "dangle" beside her.  So King Daddy was happy to abide by her wishes to "hold her arm" for awhile after it came off :)
Trying hard to be brave

Scissors are waaay better then the machine

Almost off

The "stuck on" bean from playing in bean bin

Yucky McDoodle

Why doesn't this feel right?

Afraid to let her arm down

Daddy needed  to "hold her arm as it didn't feel comfortable on her lap! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chinese Pre-School

In September when we brought our Lucy girl home, she was three and one-half years old.  She both understood and spoke Chinese, her native language.  For the past four plus months she has been immersed in English (with a few rare occasions when friends who know Mandarin would sweetly  chat with her in Chinese, but because of her shyness and lack of confidence usually the conversation is one sided :(
Lucy and Sweet Sarah

We have been asked on several occasions, "is she going to keep her Chinese language?"   That can't happen unless she is exposed to hearing and talking in Chinese on a regular basis.  We weren't sure how we could  "help Lucy keep her native tongue and learn more" while also learning English.
During our last visit to the Asian grocery story, I decided to inquire if there were any local places that teach Mandarin.  The lady at the check out told me she had remembered seeing a sign that was posted about learning Mandarin (Chinese dialect Lucy is familiar with) at a local church only a few blocks from the store.   I put both Sadie and Lucy in their car seats, loaded the the groceries and sure enough forgot to "run by the church she mentioned."  Can I still blame it on "adoption brain" or have I been home too long for that? ;0)

Later in the day it occurred to me that I forgot to check out the church the lady mentioned.  I decided to "google" Chinese churches in our county.  I was very surprised to find that a church I was very familiar with and only about 10 -15 minutes from our house had a Chinese school!  I called and inquired.  It was interesting to learn that the school was newly formed and had completed it's very first semester in December 2013. Their second semester was scheduled to begin in a week and a half (mid-January through May)!  Classes meet weekly and one of their classes is for pre-schoolers 3 to 6 years old.

We have decided to give Chinese school a try for a semester but for more reasons than maintaining and learning Chinese.  We're also interested in connecting with more Chinese, Chinese/American families locally.  It would be nice for Lucy to meet, get to know and see other families that she can relate to.  Being a multi-racial family, we feel it's important that our children are able to have the opportunity to be with other multi racial families and also be with others who look similar, and share the same cultural heritage at they do.  We purposely look for some occasions to learn, participate or observe African American  holidays and/or events and now we're enjoying adding Chinese culture to the mix!
As expected, Lucy was hesitant when we arrived at our first day of class.  (classes are 75 min. long)  There are a total of seven students in her pre-school class- three boys and four girls (two of them having the name Lucy!).  While portraying a rather stoic looking face, she watched the other children and the teachers intently, hesitant to participate.  She made sure to have physical touch of either Mom or Dad at all times during the first 45 minutes or so.  But slowly, she started to warm up and even show a hint of a smirk.  About 60 minutes in, she was participating with the hand motions and also taking her turn during circle time when asked to repeat a particular Chinese word or phrase!  We have no idea if this will be a one semester activity or longer but meeting new friends is always fun!

See my "stoic face?"

Let me observe here what they're wanting me to do

Alright this isn't too bad

 warming up and having fun - 1st week

Learning to write in pinyin - week 2

Not bad for writing as a "lefty" when you're right handed!