Did this really happen?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I certainly wasn't expecting this day to arrive so soon. Madeline is just three and a half years old. How could she possibly understand? But she does. Insert sigh.

Of all places this could've happened, it happened to take place at church. I volunteer in Madeline's class at church. I do this as a way to help foster trust and help her feel safe in the class before eventually "leaving her there" without me during the service, which will happen at some point in the future. We have been attending class together for about four months now and see a lot of the same kids.

She plays well with the other kids and participates in the singing. For bible story time, though, she sits on my lap on the floor with the other children around us. This one little boy sitting in front of us kept staring at her. Okay, this is not unusual. It happens all the time. However, most of the time, Madeline is oblivious to the stares because she's listening to the bible story. Not this week.

This little boy asked her what happened to her arm. Again, no big deal. Madeline promptly answered, "Dat way I born. Dat way God made me." His staring continued, as did his question. She finally got so fed up with him that she. hid. her. arm. *SNIFF* Oh, how my heart broke into a thousand little pieces for my precious baby girl.

I quickly told the boy, "She doesn't like it when you stare at her arm. It's not okay. Turn around." Thankfully he listened. But the damage was already done.

As if that was NOT enough, a little boy sitting on our right kept getting up to look at her arm and kept asking the same question, "What happened to her arm?" Again, she answered him the best way she knows how, "Dat way I born. Dat way God made me." Nope, that's not enough. He got right up into her personal space to get a real, close look at her arm. Again, she hid her precious, little arm. Okay. Enough already. I respectfully told this boy the same thing I told the other one.

As soon as the boys sat back down, I took Madeline's arm from behind her back and placed it in front of her. I told her it was okay and that she shouldn't hide her arm. I told her that God made her extra special, and she shouldn't be ashamed of that.

There's no doubt she is keenly aware of her limb difference. And up until this point, I thought we had prepared her for answering the same, basic question she always gets. But now it seems it's not enough. We need to help her deal with the "perpetrators" AND her emotions when the stares and questions get to a point that they bother her. Wow. I was not prepared for this to happen at the age of three, let me tell you.

Lord, help us to equip our daughter with all the wisdom, love, and support she'll need to live the life You have planned for her. Help us to prepare her for the stares, the questions, and the eventual ugly and mean comments all because she was born differently. We know in Your eyes, she's just perfect. Help her to trust in this truth. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(By the way, she's sporting one of cousin Leah's princess outfits. Just darling if you ask me.)

Sunday Snapshot: A little bit of Tennessee

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's not much, admittedly.  I have been swamped with lots of happenings here on the homefront.  But I thought I would share a few photos and one hilarious video from our China reunion in Tennessee.

Rebecca wanted to get a photo of the three precious kiddos from Guangzhou so she could email it to the orphanage.  So here is Caleb with two beauties by his side, Analise on the left and Hannah on the right.

Then we asked both girls to give Caleb a kiss. Um, they weren't exactly interested.

Now getting a photo of all the kiddos there (except little Hannah) proved to be a bit of a challenge...not because of the number of kiddos. Nope, it's because the children of the photographer were included in the shot. Yep, my precious dumplings (mostly Madeline) made taking this photo waaaaay harder than it had to be. All the other children cooperated. But Madeline? Oh geez....just typical Madeline.

We had such a fabulous time in Tennesse with our travel group. And I do promise to share more about our trip along with the photos. So hang in there. Promise. Before I sign off, though, I have to share a video I took of Caleb and Madeline splashing around at Little River. They really enjoyed collecting rocks and then skipping throwing them back into the river.

To see more Sunday Snapshots, check out Stefanie's blog.

Sunday Snapshot

Seven years ago

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's hard to believe that my mother went to heaven to be with the Lord seven years ago today. Truly. What has happened these past seven years? L.I.F.E. So much of it. My Gramma past away. Patrick and I have been to China twice to bring home our precious children. My sister, too, has adopted two amazing little ones. All of this has happened without the chance to "tell" my mother any of it. Sad? Yes. Has it been the end of me? No. Why not? Because the Lord has been slowly healing me.

Gosh, I remember so clearly in the days after she passed away, people would try to comfort me with their words. One of the comments I kept hearing was that time would heal my wounds. "LIE," I would shout. No way. Even after two years, I still claimed those words to be nothing but a lie.

But God's grace is sufficient for me. Seven years later, I can honestly say that my heart doesn't fall into a pit when I think of the loss of my mother. I know the Lord has healed her from her cancer, and heaven is a far better place than this earth. What more could I want for her? ;)

Now don't get me wrong, I still miss my mom a lot. I miss her big hugs and kisses. I miss her phone calls and letters (ah yes, old-fashioned handwritten letters). But I'm at a place where I can now rejoice in the days God has given me on earth without her instead of wishing for Him to take them back because she couldn't share in them with me.

I thought I would share here what was written in her Celebration of Life program at her memorial service. It describes my mom to a "T".

Susan was born on June 16, 1941 in Manhattan, New York to Edward and Eva Schaefer. In 1956, she moved to Hollywood, FL with her parents and her brothers, Harry and Robert. She attended South Broward High School, where she played the clarinet in the Bulldogs marching band.

She gave birth to her twin daughters, Eva and Debbra, in 1975. While she raised her children, she was actively involved in their extracurricular activities. Whether she was on the soccer field, volleyball court, or the softball diamond, she was always the teams’ biggest cheerleader. And when the girls attended the University of Florida, she became the biggest Gatormom there ever was!

She always enjoyed the time she spent doing craft projects for her family and friends. Birthdays, Christmas, or no reason at all, she always found the time to make something special for someone. She would even make gifts for folks she never met. She made everything with such love and care; you knew it came straight from the heart.

One evening in July 1997, she prayed with her daughter, Debbra, to receive the Lord as her Savior. So we know for certain that she is in a far better place, in the presence of our Lord. Although Susan will be greatly missed, she will never be forgotten. We’ll see you again, Susan. We love you!

We're back!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Yep, I know. With how infrequently I have been posting to the blog, you likely didn't realize we were gone. Ha. But we were. We were on a much needed vacation. Patrick had to return early for work, but the muchkins and I were gone for a whopping ten days.

We first ventured into the mountains of Virginia for some much needed r&r. We headed on over to Hot Springs, where we last visited over nine years ago as a couple. It was a wee bit different heading back with two young children. lol. Still, we had such an amazing time together as a family.

Next we headed south to Pigeon Forge, TN to reconnect with our China travel group for Caleb's adoption. The last time we got together was two years ago in Orlando, FL. At that time, only three of the five families could make it. This time, we were fortunate enough to have Sandi, Jeff, and Hannah join us. Pam, Bob, and Emma unfortunately couldn't make it. Perhaps our next reunion will have all five families back together again. It was as if time never passed when we all reunited. We had a truly fabulous time in the Smokey Mountains.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet uploaded any of the photos I took. So those will have to wait until next time. We have lots to get ready for, as Caleb picks back up with his 2nd grade school year tomorrow. Fortunately for me, I downloaded a bunch of new apps (like 60 for free!) on my iPad for Madeline. So she can do "school" right alongside us. We haven't checked all of them out yet. But I can tell you that some of them are totally awesome. I'm so pumped.

Anyway, I promise to be back some time soon with at least a few photos from our very long and lovely vacation.

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About This Blog

This blog is the place where shared our lives while waiting to bring our daughters Madeline and Havi home from China. (Our son Caleb was already home before this blog began.) It is now the place where we continue to share our life experiences, both big and little, as we try to glorify God and raise our 3 dumplings from China.

Feel free to join us as we journey through life, while I try to capture our days...

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