Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First haircut

Stella's hair had grown so much since she came home (almost 6 months now!) so we visited the salon for a trim. She's been great with dentists, doctors, etc so I knew she would do great with her first at home haircut. I know she's had her haircut before when she lived at New Day but this was so special for us! I missed so many of her firsts... celebrating and making memories of her "at home" firsts means so much. 

I'll let the pictures do the talking here:

Enough pictures Mom! She keeps us in stitches our little funny girl. 

Big Sis "Jie Jie" made it to China safely and loves the work she's doing there. We miss her but found a glimpse of her on the New Day blog here:

It's a special time for her! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Four months

It's been four months since we welcomed Stella into our family officially, four very busy months. The first month was spent half in China, half at home in the US, and was a whirlwind of emotions (for both her and us). It came with grief and loss once again, and also a new beginning full of hope and joy. She had her own language, didn't understand what was happening, and couldn't fully express herself because of that language barrier. The second month was spent hunkered down, cocooning at home, limiting contact with others and just spending time as a family getting to know each other. She learned many English words quickly (she's a smart one for sure) and could better express herself as that language grew more. We learned more how she likes things and just how she is as a little person. She has quite the personality! Sometimes completely and utterly sweet, the other times sassy and strong willed. She's completely and utterly two years old! The third month together was spent exploring more and learning how her world now works. She learned to love to sit and read books, although she still doesn't like to watch tv (which is completely fine!) - she prefers to be doing something with her hands and gets bored easily. She loves the pool!  Hello Kitty is a favorite character as are real life kitties! She can talk up a storm, using more and more words, and doesn't get frustrated with that very much. It's amazing how little minds work and how they can soak up a new language so quickly! 

Four months home looks so different than that first month. We've all become more comfortable with each other (yes, moms and dads adjust too!), and while we've always loved Stella, that love has become more real and has changed as we have gotten to know her. The struggles before are becoming less and less now and our hearts are filled with joy over the obstacles overcome. She will cuddle now and climb up into our laps by her own accord, is easily comforted and accepting of loving gestures. The push and pull from before is more a give and take now. Grafting of a child into a family takes time, love, lots of patience, and more prayer than I can say in words. But it's coming beautifully, and for that we are very thankful. 

This past month our family had some time to travel to Austin and San Antonio. Stella got her first Texas history lesson at the Alamo...mostly she and I got very sweaty walking around the city! 

Daddy/Baba is teaching her to say "Come and get it Y'all"! ;)

She got her first real taste of Texas barbecue too at the famous Salt Lick near Austin. She didn't quite know what to do with all that meat! But she enjoyed the ribs the most. 

Some days it feels like she's been with us forever - other days we still see the work ahead of us - but all days we treasure having her home with us.  Happy 4 months sweet girl! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Taking love to China

Back to China! China became a special place when we went to bring home Stella and because she is a part of our family now, it will always hold a special place with us.  The stories and moments we experience there are still told - even the crazy times! Now someone is going back! Melissa, my oldest daughter, China travel companion and now a high school graduate, wants to head back to China to work with special needs orphans.  Her plans should take her back this Fall for a few months.

See this picture? This is Melissa holding a precious baby girl during our orphanage visit.  I'm pretty sure it's what cemented in her God's calling for her to return.  Before we even left she felt sure that mission work was where she was being led.  Now she's sure.  Volunteering at a special needs foster home and working with orphans - that's where she'll go first.  Working with the least of these.... the fatherless... giving hope.... offering love.... So proud of my daughter for giving a voice to those who can not speak for themselves.

 Melissa worked to help design a special t shirt to help raise funds for her trip (she's also working this Summer and that will go toward her trip too).  I'm sharing it here today because this is such a cool shirt! Raising enough for her plane ticket would be wonderful, but any and all funds raised will go toward her time in China and buying supplies to bring with her to take to the children.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders"..... Ya'll.... this speaks to all of us so well! Especially those of us who have adopted a child.  If you feel led to support Melissa, or just want a cool t shirt - click this link (or click on the picture above) and it will take you to the page to order one.  She thanks you, we thank you! Bonfire funds ships the shirts out directly to you about 2 weeks after the fund closes (in just 11 days!) and the shirts are 100% cotton - and super comfy.

And you can say you have a tshirt from Stella! She fully supports her JieJie "Big Sister" - but she's going to miss her so much! Me too...