Hey there friends and family!! It’s been a long time since we updated here but we’re going to give it a go again! This has been a wonderful and miraculous and extremely difficult transition for our family. If you have seen me out and about town I have probably shared with you some of our difficulties. I’m not an overly private person, so it hasn’t been trying to hide information that has kept me from blogging here. I’ve simply been crazy exhausted. But things are starting to feel much, much more manageable and we really want to keep updating and documenting our journey for all the people who’ve loved and supported us through this. Kind of like having a newborn, you hit the 3 or 4 month mark and start to feel like you actually are alive again! I also realized that I documented and blogged so much in China because I had no access to movies or TV!!! Sooo, we’ve recognized we are media-oholics in this family and we’ve begun the journey of taking media out of our house as much as possible – that’s another blog for another day. Father Rob has written a great blog on his perspective of the past few months and I’m going to publish that one tomorrow. But I wanted to give a quick update about the girls’ names. Seeing friends out in town, I’ve been confusing people constantly because we are calling Lili Claire the name Clara Anne now. I just wanted to clear that up so that when we blog in the future everybody knows what kids we are actually talking about!! When we picked the girls names, Louisa’s was really easy. Her name was Louisa on the waiting child list we saw and I thought it fit her perfectly. It means “renowned warrior” and it is an awesome name for her. She is a really strong and determined person! Of course Louisa has to go with May, that was a no-brainer. Plus she was born in May. Perfect! She adores her name. She has loved it and has claimed it from the first. She won’t even acknowledge her Chinese name anymore. That is something we will want to address in the future because her Chinese name is truly beautiful and has a wonderful meaning as well – “wise brightness”. For now we’re letting her embrace her new American self. Hanli’s name was a little more difficult for us to come up with. She had no American name already. For a long time we didn’t know what her chinese name meant. We went through a bunch of options. Finally we really felt good about the name Clara Anne. Clara means “clear” and Anne means “grace”. I just think that is the most beautiful name for her. God truly has shown such grace in her little life. It is also the name of the little girl in the Nutcracker. Most of the videos we had of her, she was dancing. Very sweet. But at the last minute I got cold feet actually calling her Clara and changed her name to be Hanli Claire Anne or “Li Li Claire”. However when we got to China she was confused by us calling her Hanli Claire. She didn’t understand why we kept her chinese name but not Louisa’s. She didn’t seem as excited about it. We also don’t pronounce her Chinese name correctly either and that still bothers her. When we got home I really started wanting to call her Clara Anne again. So I did the best thing I think we could have done, we just asked her what she wanted to be called. She chose Clara Anne. And she loves it!! She seemed thrilled to have a Victorian sounding double name like Louisa May. In fact, whenever I call her Hanli now she gets frustrated and shakes her finger at me and says no mommy – “my(ah) name(ah) is Clara Anne(ah). So we have Louisa May and Clara Anne. Both have little nicknames in our family. To Rob they are Louisa and Claire, as he has always despised double names…! To Elizabeth they are May and Anne. But to all the rest of the world and myself they are Louisa May and Clara Anne.
They are sweet and lovely and funny and endearing and difficult and stubborn and sassy and ill tempered and easily offended, etc. and sometimes all these things on the same day. Some days I look at them and see my daughters and some days I look at them and see strangers. That has been very hard. But I have had excellent counsel from several adoptive moms who have helped me walk the very bizarre road of older child bonding. And we have absolutely felt the prayers lifted up for us!!! I feel we have almost been carried through these months. We are learning to take things one day at a time and to try to show love no matter what that day brings. That’s not easy but through Christ, we really can do hard things!
Louisa May taking a selfie!
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Thanks for coming back and let us know how it is going! Happy Mother’s Day!