Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being ramblings

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Yan and I slept in, then went to our friend's house (Thank you Jill-everything was wonderful) to join her family for a yummy Thanksgiving dinner. Jill just recently brought her beautiful daughter, Mallory home from China and it was their first Thanksgiving together. After dinner we passed around a jar, each time we received the jar (5 times), we dropped in one dried corn kernal (like the Pilgrims did to remind them of when they had virtually nothing to eat) and told another thing we were thankful for. It was a great way to reflect on so many blessings.

Really, we are SO blessed, I mean I could have come up with lists and lists of things that I'm thankful for. We live in a free country, with the ability to worship and live life as we choose. I try to sit and grasp what I have...and I don't think I truely can. There are so many things that I've grown accustomed to, yet deep down I do not want to take them for granted.

Then tonight, I read my friend Amber's blog and then wonderful Angie's blog and was challenged to sit and thank God for something that I didn't really want to be thankful for. There are several things that immediately popped into my head. One was actually mentioned at the Thanksgiving table today...being thankful when other adoptions did not work out because God knew that Yan was my daughter. Tonight as I thought about other things...hurts, wounds, trials, deaths, relationships lost...stuff that really I don't like...there's nothing fun about it, it sucks, it hurts...but it all falls under the same category "Things that God allowed, that I do not understand, but I must trust that He will use for my good". I'm so short-sighted, I don't see the big picture...but I must trust. I choose to trust that God will use it and work it out for my good.

I'm writing this for me tonight...just to remind myself...God is in control, and for that, I will be forever thankful!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I'm not updating a lot right now. Life is a little crazy with toy selling season...but I'll update as I can. Thought I would share Yan's "Thankful" comment tonight.

The first Thanksgiving that Yan was home she had only been home for about 2 weeks...we still had jet lag, she was still in shock, but just kind of went with the flow. At the Thanksgiving table everyone was saying what they were thankful for...jokingly they asked her (she couldn't talk/understand much even/sign, anything)...and surprisingly she just pointed to me. Sweet, sweet moment.

Fast forward to tonight. We're driving home from toy shopping and I started talking about being thankful. I said, "Yan, I'm so thankful for you!". I said, "What are you thankful for?" Hoping for a glimpse of "Yanny love", she looked at me, pointed at me and said...

........."BARNEY"! And then she started laughing her head off.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! We are all so blessed!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fun Family Weekend!

I am just winding down from a wonderful, family weekend. It had been over a year since I saw my brother and his family, but they were able to make the trip here this weekend. We had an awesome time. We had the joy of watching our children play together nicely (okay, well most of the time) and just enjoying each others company.

Anyone who truely knows me and my family knows that we went through a lot and that John and I were not friends for quite a while. But God is so faithful...He has repaired and healed so much, I just stand in awe sometimes. It was such a pleasure to have John, Yvonne and the girls here and I we can't wait for them to come back!

Here are some pics from the weekend. I was not "quite prepared" for these photos...but Ally said, "I want to have a tea party by the fire, with everyone in their fancy dresses". Well, the fire didn't want to stay lit, I couldn't find a dress but I appeased them with a poncho and a tutu made into a "head covering".

The fabulous cousins/nieces are: Emily Yan 7, Aletheia Mercy 6, Adaryn Jennifer 4, and Chasah Joy 1. Emily loved following the girls lead and joining in the fun. Ally has a delightful imagination and keen observation skills. Adaryn looks just like mom, and she is ready to party at any time...and since she's my namesake I just have to say there is nothing quite like hearing "There are two Jennifer's in the car right now" over and over again to make your heart sing. Chasah is the spitting image of my brother and is doing everything in her power to keep up with the big girls. They are all amazing little girls and I can't wait to see what kind of amazing young women they become.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just so you know...

We now have our Christmas decorations up! The party can start now!!! WOOHOOOOOOO!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fabulous Fall Pics!

I've been having one of "those weeks" I decided to take Yan and Alex (little boy I watch) outside this afternoon and try to get some fall pictures. I LOVE fall, because it looks like God just spilled a box of watercolors all over the place. I put the pics in this slideshow, but have not edited or cropped them yet. My favs are near the end!

new 11-7-08

Monday, November 3, 2008

Four Years Ago this week...

Yan during our first meeting!
A recent backyard pic!

My life took the biggest and best turn ever! During our last presidential election, 4 years ago this week I was FRANTIC! Thankfully I voted early (as I did this time) because I never would have made it to the polls on election day. I spent that day and night (and I mean staying up all night) packing and wondering, and basically just being a bundle of nerves. All because early that Wednesday morning I boarded a plane (yes, little old me, scared of flying) to go to Hong Kong and meet my daughter.

I have been reminiscing over and over in my head lately-so grateful for the turn my life thankful for my daughter! I can't believe it's been four years! Sometimes I still can't believe that she's mine...she's my daughter.

I remember my friend Bethany taping me as we took the transit through Hong Kong. We were walking through these courtyards and when we finally got to the building where Yan lived with her foster family-I felt like I was going to implode with excitement and nervousness. We loaded the elevator and Bethany turned on the camera, she said something along the lines of, "Jennifer, you're about to become a mom, what are you thinking?" I said I was scared and excited and just overwhelmed...but really I couldn't even put my thoughts into words. We stepped out of the elevator to the floor and I could hear squealing down the hallway. Yan's foster mother had a little vase of silk flowers that she had for me that Yan was holding. She kept telling her that I was coming, and Yan squealed with delight and anticipation. She was jumping up and down holding the flowers for me when I reached the doorway.

I burst into tears upon seeing her and remember saying, "Oh, she's so little"...because compared to her pictures, she looked so tiny. I wanted to squeeze her immediately, but knew that I had to ease into my new role. I remember wanting to talk to her foster family but all I could do was drop down to the ground to finally see my daughter, meet her at her level and soak it all in.

We started to get to know each other, but as Yan saw that I was there for more than a visit, her walls went up. She was so attached to her wonderful foster family (and I am SO grateful that she was so loved...thank you IPS, we know you read the blog and love you so much!) and she really wanted nothing to do with me. I don't know how many times I got slapped by her during those first couple of days. She was saying "Back off lady!"

Finally the day came to say good-bye to her foster was simply one of the hardest days of my life and hopefully the hardest she will ever have to endure. To literally watch her taken from her foster mother's arms screaming, see her foster mother crying and know that I (though for a wonderful reason long term) was causing that pain was beyond hard. Yan screamed for 10 minutes and then she shut down, she went into shock...I didn't see her cry again for almost 4 months. She was heartbroken, I was heartbroken for her...and those moments of first becoming an official mommy were somewhat bittersweet.

But God is faithful. He truely , "...sets the lonely in families"...he has healed so much of Yan's heart. He has given her an indescribable joy, a zest for life an innocence that is amazing. Through Yan, God has opened my eyes to see beauty that I never knew existed. I remember hearing someone say when they adopted their child, it was like they saw life in color for the first time. My life is colorful with Yan. She has taught me that love is not given by blood...but by choice. She has shown me a deeper level of love, joy and thankfulness. She has taught me that success is not measured in dollars, or status, or degrees-but in the difference you make in the lives of others.

To her I say, "Thank you! Thank you my beautiful daughter for being who you are! You are a true gift from God and I treasure every moment that I have with you! Words cannot ever express how much I love you, and how you are CHOSEN!! Though your little life started out rough, I am so grateful for your birth parents who gave you life. God designed for our lives to be lived together and I could not be happier. I am far from perfect, I make so many mistakes...but I will always love you. You will never be alone, you have been chosen and designed to be mine...I LOVE YOU!!!!"

Okay, so I should have warned you that I'm very emotional this week. I'm going to attempt to post the slideshow I made a long while ago, of my trip to Hong Kong to get Yan...and some other pics. If it doesn't work, I'll post later. Much love! Jenn