10 months.  It has been over 10 months since we walked into a small room in Hefei and met the two girls we’d been dreaming off for a year and a half.  Unbelievable.  It’s hard to imagine life without them.  It has been an amazing adventure since the day we looked at Louisa May’s picture and knew we saw our daughter.  We have had so many wonderful “firsts” with them.  Had wonderful family outings and vacations.  They have been camping, fishing, swimming, to the beach, to the lake, to an official school for the first time in their lives, and on the list goes.  Adopting special needs children certainly has not slowed us down.  The first few months home however were extremely difficult.  It was so hard to adjust that I wasn’t sure if we had done the right thing.  I was simply surviving.  I praise the Lord every day for the women He sent into my life to help me make it through that time.  Women who have been there, done that.  Most of whom I have never met in person but I owe them so much.  There were several ladies who I would send out emergency SOS emails to who always responded immediately.  They encouraged me that the season of difficulty would not last forever.  That the girls would learn what it meant to be in a family instead of in an orphanage.  Who shared with me their hard stories and even just through that lightened my load.  It was hard for two reasons.  One reason was that I took my eyes off of Jesus.  I wasn’t spending time with Him, praising Him or searching His Word to help me or sustain me.  I was burying myself in TV and in any other mindless activity to try to ease my burden.  But you know, that really never works. You come up empty every time when you seek answers away from the One who can give them.  The Lord eventually opened my eyes to the rut I had gotten myself into and started pulling me out.  He used a fun, silly movie of all things to start breaking my self imposed chains.  But I’ll need to write a separate blog about that!!  The other reason is a very understandable one – I was all of a sudden the mother of two VERY sassy preteen daughters, who wanted everything their own way, who obviously thought that life here would be like a constant Disney land and who have a whole decade of hurt built up inside of them.  Within a couple of weeks of being home, everything I said to them they would just automatically tell me “No”.  “Good morning girls” … “No”.  “How are you”…”No”. Etc. etc.  I thought I would go bananas.  I was constantly sitting down with them to ask them why they were upset, were they remembering their past, did they miss Ch*na, how could I help them…  I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere.  Rob gave me excellent advice as well as did another adoptive mom – just to let go of the idea of using all these moments to “bond” with them.  I was being hypervigilant about the mother and child bond we were creating.  Rob felt I needed to not focus or worry so much about their emotional state.  To just parent them and then to let the other unfold more naturally.  It was very good advice and it worked.  Rob had noticed that they loved getting money.  So, they started getting an allowance and they would have a certain amount taken away whenever they were, well, obnoxious.  If they told me no or rolled their eyes, etc.  (Louisa May is quite possibly the world’s best eye roller!)  They responded immediately.  The change was very noticeable and our whole family began to recover.  We began to recover remarkably quickly.  They did not understand the person in charge of them being so consumed with how they were feeling.  They’ve never really been asked those kinds of questions by an adult I don’t think.  I didn’t earn their respect with that kind of leadership and respect is so important when trying to parent a child from an institutional background.  Most people I talked to told me to give it at least a year, I would say after about 4 months we noticed a big change.  I am INCREDIBLY thankful for that!!! We have had so many wonderful, heartfelt conversations now.  Louisa especially has really poured her heart out at times and has shared a lot with me.  But I had to earn the right to hear it first.  She had to trust that I wasn’t going to fall apart emotionally with her.  Figuring this out and trying to come up with strategies was absolutely exhausting.  I will be very blunt and say that I’m not sure if we would have made it out of that time so quickly if it hadn’t been for all of… YOU!  ALL OF YOU who supported us, prayed for us, encouraged us and financially backed us in bringing home our daughters!!!  Whenever I would think, “I’m done, I can’t do this.  I don’t even want to do this anymore”, I would immediately remember all of you who stood behind us and it would steady me.  I felt and will always feel accountable to you.  And that is a miracle in our lives!!!  You thought praying for us to get to Ch*na and giving financially was how you supported us, you did so much more and didn’t even know it.  As I would think about each one of you I would feel what the Bible describes as “a great cloud of witnesses”.  I knew I had to do this.  I had to stay the course.  I had to love them well and do what He had called us to because I was accountable to all of you dear ones.  And for that I thank you with all my heart!!!  We have constantly praised God for you and thanked Him for hemming us in with this debt of gratitude we owe.  We often hear about peer pressure in the negative sense, but peer pressure can be a very good thing too.  Remembering that we do not live life on an island.  That our decisions and actions affect so many around us is such a wonderful thing when we are struggling with a difficult situation.  When I look at my girls I will always think of you.  I will think about the amazing couple who gave to us so graciously with their anonymous matching donation.  I was at my lowest ebb in the whole process when I received the call from them.  Only moments after I had finished begging the Lord for the huge chunk of money that I had no idea how we would come up with, they called with that exact amount.  They felt led to bless us with the EXACT amount we needed.  I cried that day.  I’ve cried every time I’ve talked of it since.  It was miraculous and was a beautiful gift to our family.  I remember every time I checked my email and saw that someone had given to us, whether it was $5.00 or $100.00, it was so amazing and so special.  I remember all the people who came together for the fundraisers we did.  The wonderful friends the Lord brought when we had our massive garage sale.  We had so much given that we were able to do 3 separate sales!  The friends and models who helped me put together what I consider to be the most fun fundraiser ever, our Vintage Fashion Show.  So many helped us put that on and came to watch.  That’s one of my favorite memories now!  The friends who came out as we served a very special woman at her home, just to be a blessing to her as well.  I am so grateful for all those times of joining together with those we love for the purpose of our daughters and serving our King. So many gave to us and helped us.  It was and is a blessing.  So, this 10 month post is really to say THANK YOU!!!  You will always be a part of our girls’ lives and a very important part of our family.  We are grateful, we are humbled!!!

I thank my God every time I remember you.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:3-6


{If you gave to us and/or prayed for us I would love to send you a personal “thank you” note. Please message me your address either here in the comment section or on my Facebook message. No one else will see the address.}

Highlights from the First 10 Months

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My favorite picture from the day we got the girls! With Mami!



Their first Christmas tree!


Louisa May goes to her first birthday party.


The boys did a USO show.


The girls got their ears pierced.  Quite possibly the most exciting thing to happen in their lives next to being adopted!



Louisa May turns 12.




Celebrating with the friends who were with us in Ch*na.


The girls go to the beach for the first time! Oh my goodness. LOVED it!





Clara Anne started out this summer trembling and crying in the water and had to wear baby floaties. She ended the summer by swimming like a fish!


Mobile, Alabama


The girls go to camp!! Absolutely a blessing and a gift from the Lord.  They had an amazing time!




Betty Jane!


Calloway Gardens butterfly house.



Clara “Kitty” as we have nicknamed her.  She meows…literally…all the time…even at school.  She’s quite the comedian!


Fourth of July with some of our newest citizens!! They love being Americans!



Louisa May got to lead the Fourth of July parade around our town square with the boys and their Scout troop.  That was an AMAZING moment for us!!


With fellow new citizen James!


With their much adored Mima!  She takes them to school every morning, BEST grandmother ever!!




One thought on “THANK YOU

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