Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Nothing much....and lots...

Yes, both girls are in their toy basket. Big fun!

So this will just be a quick update of some of our life events...

  • The girls got dedicated at Church Saturday night! It was a special time for us. Six months ago we couldn't imagine our lives this full, but Saturday night was the reality. Many of our friends and family came just for the three-minute ceremony. It just proved that our girls be raised by one big, loving village. And we're so thankful! (Thanks to Aunt Robin for hosting a dessert party afterwards at her house! It was perfect!) God is good and we wanted everyone to know that Abby and Laney are not ours, but our Heavenly Father's. Thank you for taking part in that!

  • A HUGE THANKS to those of you who donated to the Yifeng SWI snow relief effort! Our girls were at the Yifeng SWI for the first 22 months of their lives and we're so thankful they were taken care of. You all stepped up and help make life even better there! Due to the recent snowstorms, they were without heat and needed to purchase some new heaters. Well, everyone gave above and beyond and they didn't just purchase three new heaters, but SIX new heaters! They were also able to purchase some formula and other necessities. YOU DID THIS! YOU SAVED KIDS' LIVES! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  • We FINALLY got Abby's Certificate of Citizenship corrected, which meant that we could get her SS card. Well, we received it last Thursday (we were getting our taxes done on Friday)! However, the lovely government made yet ANOTHER mistake. Both girls now have the SAME Social Security number!!!!! How frustrating! Thankfully, Tony got in contact with Congressman Pence's office (they offered to help us before---and did, on another occasion) and they are helping us work it out. It might take three weeks, but we'll take it! We know they wouldn't have been quite as apologetic if we called them. THANKS AGAIN to Congressman Pence's office! (Debbie you have been just great!)

  • Since we know we'll get a little something back on taxes, we did go ahead and make a family purchase. NO, it wasn't a minivan! It was a nice camera. My mom got us our other digital camera and it has worked perfectly. However, you couldn't adjust the shutter speed and, man, these girls are fast. Tony found a great deal on a Cannon Rebel XT and we LOVE it. We've taken hundreds of pictures already! We just haven't figured out how to download them yet...or upload them, or whatever. So, no pictures from that camera this time. I'm sorry. But just wait until you see some of them. They're amazing!

  • Otherwise, life has been great. The girls are growing every day. I am just flat amazed at their vocabulary too. Just when you think they can't communicate with you, they throw out a word like, lid, mickey mouse, house. They're amazing. I'll be sad to start back to work full-time next week.

Ok, that's it for now. I just had to post before I got chastised for the lack of updates! Have a great Tuesday and remainder of the week!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy 3 Month Anniversary Girls!

Our beautiful girls...we've been together three months today!

Dear Sweet Abby and Laney,

As of today, you have been with us three whole months! Time has surely flown! It seems as though just yesterday we were nervously sitting in very hard chairs listening to the cries of newly formed families in the Civil Affairs office in China.

We blinked and now we've been together three months! It is amazing that we have only known one another that long. It seems as though we know you inside and out. We know every silly face you make, every squeal or cry, your favorite foods, and can understand almost every word you speak.

Just this week, you have added many new words to your vocabulary. You tell each other, "No, no, no Mei Mei!" and "Help, Baba!" You've also been connecting more words like, "Mama's drink". We're so proud of you!!!

When you were especially quiet this evening, we knew you must have discovered something new. And you did! You are now strong enough to open the refrigerator on your own and get your cups out to drink! This is both scary and exciting at the same time!

You are also learning about thanking Jesus. Before we ate dinner tonight, Abby, you immediately closed your eyes and folded your hands in prayer. We almost forgot to thank Jesus, but YOU reminded us! And you two pray so sweetly before bed that our hearts just overflow with love. We know God is rejoicing in your love as well! WE thank Jesus for YOU!

You have grown too! In China, you were both at 23 pounds. Laney, you now weigh 23.8 pounds, and Abby, you weigh 24.8! You're growing little by little and we LOVE that we get to witness it! We love every single ounce of you!

You make us laugh daily! We swell with pride at each new thing you accomplish, and cry over each fear you overcome. Because we have learned so much about you over the past few months, we're excited to see what the future holds with you!

It's just unreal that God chosen us to be your parents for forever and always. We are blessed beyond measure. Happy Anniversary Baby Girls!

We love you!

Mama and Baba


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Girls' Homeland

Ok, friends and family...Laney gave you a little bit of information about the serious situation in China right now. They have been hit by record-breaking snowstorms, and it has brought a lot of the country to a standstill.

Well, today, the information got a little more personal. Our daughters' Social Welfare Institute (orphanage) has been affected greatly. Although Yifeng SWI was not the ideal place for our girls to spend nearly all of their first two years of life, it is those staff members and nannies that kept our daughters alive and loved until they could come home.

We are fortunate to belong to a Yahoo group of families that have children from the Yifeng SWI. One of the mothers took the initiative to find out how severe the situation was for the SWI and contacted Love Without Boundaries (LWB). This is an organization of volunteers in China that works with various SWIs on nutition, medical issues, education, and foster care programs to improve the lives of orphans.

Several of us emailed LWB to find out how serious the situation was and what we could do to help. Below is the reply I received today.

Thank you everyone for your concern for Yifeng. I just received an email from our facilitator in China and Yifeng is in desperate need. They are in one of the worst hit areas. Director Yao has said their solar heaters (for heating water) and all their air conditioners (which are also used for heating) have all broken due to the cold. The normal power supply has not been restored to their area yet but the local government has given the orphanage the highest priority so their lights are on. The local government has also given money for blankets and coats for the children but it wasn’t enough for all the children and the price of formula has jumped 30% . Director Yao has asked for 3 A/C units to keep the children warm as a first priority. The price of the A/C units (wall or tower) are $350-$625 each so we would need between $1050 and $1875 for all 3 units.

Now, a little information about Love Without Boundaries (LWB) and how to donate. LWB is a volunteer organization so 97% of all donations reach the children. Also, all donations are tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for tax purposes. We can take donations either online or by check.

If you would like to donate online go to
www.lovewithoutboundaries.com and click on ‘Donate’; click ‘Other’; enter your information and in the ‘Notes’ section please write ‘Yifeng Orphanage Assistance’.

To donate by check make your check payable to ‘Love Without Boundaries’ and write ‘Yifeng Orphanage Assistance’ on the Memo line. Mail your check to: Love Without Boundaries, 306 S. Bryant St., Ste. C, PMB 145, Edmond, OK, 73034.

Thank you for your help and if you have any questions please feel free to email me at

Kate Finco
Director of Special Projects
Love Without Boundaries
'Every Child Counts'

You know where this is headed. First of all, pray. You prayed for our girls and our family so much, and we felt every prayer
. I'm asking you to rise up and do that again...but change the direction. Pray for those little babies, and those little toddlers, and those younger children, and the pre-teens, and teens, and nannies, and directors. Pray that they are all able to stay warm. Pray that sickness doesn't overtake the staff or the children. Pray that the little ones that are coming home soon, can do so safely. Pray that those who haven't found forever families thrive well enough to do so. Pray that the directors make wise decisions on behalf of the kids. Pray that everyone at Yifeng have full bellies and warm beds. Simply put. Pray.

Beyond prayer, Kate laid it out how we could donate. I'm amazed at how giving people are...around the holidays. We're included in that. But now is the time to think bigger than yourself. Think outside of Indiana. Think across the world where your granddaughters, neices, cousins, and friends, Abby and Laney, lived. Their best friends are there. Their first caretakers that represent the only love they've felt before all of us are there. They need us now. It doesn't matter how much...just give. You gave so much before and the impact was staggering to our family. Now give again, to make an impact worldwide...in the lives of orphans.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Honestly, it's bigger than me. Jesus challenges us to do this.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Thank you!


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Laney's Turn

It's MY turn!

OK, so Mama said that it's my turn to do the post. FINALLY! Get ready, I have a lot to say!

I haven't been feeling so hot this weekend. Well, actually, I have been super hot. I have been running a fever off and on. I'm not sure who to blame. Abby was sick last weekend and is again this weekend. She keeps coughing. Mama has been with some sick kids at her school. And Baba's sick now too. He said he blames Mama for his sore throat and my sickness. It's ok though, we still love her. Besides, it hasn't slowed me down much!

My cool cousin Jarrett spent the night last weekend. He was BIG fun! Here, he pushed me on my trike! I love him so much!

So you want my take on what has been going on around here? Not too much, really. I was doing this "potty" thing for a week or so. It was a hoot. Every 20 minutes or so, Mama or Baba would say, "Potty, Laney?" and of course, I'd echo it back to her (they don't call me a mockingbird for nothing) so then they'd whisk me off to the potty. I'd do my thing, they'd cheer and clap and I'd get some major attention. All for doing that?

Well, things were fine if they'd remind me, but I'm a kid and playing is my job. So I'd be hard at work and forget to mention that I might need to go. That made Mama and Baba frown, but we'd try it again later. I did try to get their attention sometimes though. I'd try to make eye contact and I'd do this thing that I learned in China. I'd drop my right hand down to my side and point at the ground. *shrugs* I'm not sure why they don't understand that motion here. Maybe I'm supposed to TELL them I have to potty. Who knows...they're teaching me so much I get confused sometimes! I'll get it soon!

These are my pretty toes after Mama painted them!

Other than that, we've been hanging out with Jiselle and Jessica in the mornings. I have a really good time there. It takes me a few minutes to warm up to the idea, but once I hear the other girls, I remember how much fun I had there the day before! Those girls are teaching me so much! Their Baba, Jerry, is pretty nice too. He fixes great mini-pancakes! I can't get enough!

Here I am at Chinese New Year in my red gown!

We went to the Chinese New Year party Abby was telling you about. We had a really good time. I ate lots of Chinese food, decorated a mouse cookie (because it's the year of the mouse/rat), practiced my chopstick skills, played with a hula hoop, and tried to hang out with the older girls. I wasn't afraid one bit! Abby had fun too.

We're practicing our chopstick skills on some Apple Jacks. It's harder than it looks!

Everyone kept saying, "Ohhh, the twins!" But I don't see the big deal. I mean, seriously, Abby gets on my nerves sometimes. Especially when she spots the microphone (thanks Lynn) that I wanted first, or takes my chair at our table. I'm trying to be nice though, so if I ever grab a toy she has, I give her something to replace it. See? I try!

Here I am trying to figure out what to give Abby so I can get my hands on that hula hoop!

Abby and I got to go to Mama's school last week too. We got to dress up in our red gowns again. Mama left the squeakers in our shoes too. That's always a hit! The preschool class was taking a trip to China! Now, I don't think it was a real trip, but they were learning a lot about China. They knew more than I did! They said "Happy New Year" in Chinese and counted to seven in Chinese! I just don't understand it here though. Mama and Baba are always trying to get us to speak English and here are some kids learning Chinese. So which is it???

Speaking of, well, speaking...Abby and I have been learning a lot. We are now telling Mama and Baba things without them saying it to us first. I just realized how when I say certain things, it will get me attention or what I wanted. Want to know some of my favorites? "Drink". Yeah, I use that one a lot. I'm one thirsty girl! I still use the sign with it just in case they aren't listening. I also say "cold" a lot because every time we go outside it is SO cold. I have stopped crying when Mama puts me down near the snow now. I know it isn't as scary as I thought it was. But if it's too cold, I still cry...loudly! I hate the cold!
I also use "Varoom" a lot when I'm looking at, watching, riding in, or playing with cars. I love cars. Actually, Abby and I both do. We love watching monster trucks with Baba. It's about the only show we'll sit still for. But I heard a loud varoom the other day and, boy did it scare me. Mama said he was just scraping the ice and snow to the side of the road, but he looked so close to me when I looked out the front window! Bet you can guess what I did...yep, cried. Mama loved on me though and I felt safe again. When he went by later, we all just waved and said "Bye-bye" and it was ok. (As long as I could see Mama, it was ok) Abby, well, she wasn't afraid of him though. She's a pretty brave sister.

Ok, well, I've talked long enough. I better go take my nap. I'm getting pretty sleepy. Please pray to Jesus that Abby and I feel better soon. Also please pray my Baba's throat stops hurting. I miss our play time!

One more thing, will you please pray for my China sisters and brothers that are really cold right now? Lots of snow (yuck) fell in China. More than they've had in a really long time. Places where kids stay to wait on their Mamas and Babas are in a lot of trouble. They can't get the heat to work and they're running out of supplies like food, safe drinking water, and coal. Those are my friends and I want them to be as warm as I am. I know they don't like the cold either.

There's a group called Half the Sky that works with nannies to help them take better care of us. They also do other things to help my China brothers and sisters. They're stepping in to help raise money for the necessary supplies for the hardest hit places. If you want to help our friends in China, please go to the website: http://www.halfthesky.com/

You can read about what they're doing, and then go to the bottom of the page. There's a project called Little Mouse Emergency Fund. Mama and Baba donated and so did some of their friends. If you can give a little something, it will definitely help our friends. They need to be healthy kids so that they can meet their Mamas and Babas!

Ok, I really have to go. Abby is already asleep. Thanks for reading!