Thursday, May 22, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

How many times can you tell the Twincesses "It's night night. No more playing!" ? Apparently a hundred. Their all-time favorite activity is throwing all of their blankets out of their beds. Tonight after the third, or was it tenth, time of settling them down, Tony and I were sitting and listening. We first heard whispers, then we heard them each say, as clear as day, "Baba told you NO!" Then it morphed into, "Abby, Baba told you NO!" (Insert adult giggle here) Serioulsy, if they won't listen to us, I wish they'd at least listen to each other!!!

On another note, Chris and Sarah are en route to Jaxson!!!! Their flight from NJ left about three this afternoon, so the way I see it, they should be going pretty crazy about now. It's ok though, their son is waiting on them in China! Keep those prayers coming for them...they're working!


Ok, off to tell the girls "NO MORE" one more time. Any other sugguestions???


Monday, May 19, 2008

6 MONTHS!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it has been 6 months? Yes, 6 months since we met our girls for the first time in that wood paneled room on an upper level floor in a big building in the small city (6 million people, give or take a few) of Nanchang. Wow, we cannot believe it either.

It is truly amazing to see the transformation (and I am not talking about just the girls) over the past months. These little sweeties have learned so much, picked up so much and have transfomed our lives, for the better of course. You can read our previous posts for stories of their love, laughter and learning. Even when we are at our wits end, we leave each situation thankful for the opportunity the Lord has given us.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. Take a look at the photos. There is at least one photo from each month we have been a family. As you will see, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same....see below...

The night we met...Abby not wearing any pants after we returned to the hotel room and they were fascinated with everything! (Look at her tiny little legs! Not so much any more!)

Here the girls are enjoying their first cruise in their new double stroller, a cultural experience, the Indy Auto Show. Ohh, remember Abby's first major boo-boo? Hopefully, her last!

The Huggies box photo. It makes us sad that they cannot fit into Huggies boxes like they used to...they are growing too fast!

Look at those cute piggy tails! Abby is cracking up over something... :)

The girls enjoying a "warm" March afternoon by taking a cruise in their big red wagon...
The girls enjoying a warm April afternoon in their playhouse!

The girls today (literally, we took this photo today). Note the similarities...Abby with no pants (and Laney has none since Abby took hers off). But note the difference...look at those big smiles and happy faces! They are happy little girls and we are happy little (big?) parents!

We are so blessed. God is good...all the time!

Thanks for stopping by. Please check out our My Adoption Website site soon. Rett will be adding a post there! (Hopefully by the weekend!)


Saturday, May 17, 2008

More earthquake updates...

I hate to post more depressing news, but it's important that our family and friends understand the devastation so that you can pray wholeheartedly for our daughters' homeland. Please read the updated letter (edited for length) from Jenny at Half the Sky.

Dear Friends,

I dearly wish I had more good news to report. The very best thing I cantell you is that we have not had a single report of injuries from thewelfare institutions.

As of this morning (Friday) there were 19,509 people confirmed dead. TheState Council today said there will likely be more than 50,000. Today’s government report describes one terrible scene after another: thousandshomeless, thousands missing, thousands injured, thousands trapped orburied alive. Hope for survivors is dimming. There is an urgent call forbody bags to prevent the spread of disease. There have been over 4,400aftershocks.

HTS Director, Child Development, Ma Lang has arrived in Chengdu and sendsthis note:I am deeply touched by your moral and emotional support. I only slept two of the past thirty hours. The first thing I did after landing was todonate some medicine to the Chengdu Red Cross. It was very muchappreciated – exactly what was needed. They gave me a wish list forfurther donations: antibiotics for children and adults, medicine fordiarrhea, cold capsules (not instant medicines that must be mixed inwater), bandages, gauze, tape, iodine, cotton swabs, herbal medicine tostop bleeding and some for pain relief. Other much-needed donationsinclude tents, tarpaulins, warm clothes and shoes. People in Chengdu aredoing everything they can to help with the earthquake rescue. I saw allsorts of vehicles carrying things to the donation centers. I registeredfor blood donation and was put on the waiting list – the blood center wasoverloaded with donated blood and it’s difficult to transport the blood to the hardest-hit areas. More to come…

If you prefer to donate directly to Half the Sky, of course that’s fine.
Here are the various ways:
You can donate by calling Half the Sky (+1 510525 3377) or on our website:'s+Earthquake+Fund

Thank you for your tremendous support. Although it is heartbreaking towrite these reports, we are so honored to be in a position to help duringthis terrible time.

With love,JennyJenny Bowen
Executive DirectorHalf the Sky Foundation

Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I am sure many of you have heard/read about the earthquakes that happened in China. They are still suffering from many aftershocks and it has been quite devastating. Although the epicenter was not near the girls' hometown, it is still affecting thousands of children and families. Below is part of a letter that Jenny Bowen, Executive Director for Half the Sky wrote. This organization works in China for the welfare of children and orphans on massive levels. They have the respect of China's government and families in the US. If you feel so moved, you will see a link to donate to these efforts.

Please blanket China in prayers right now. Our daughters' homeland is suffering.

Dear friends,

I know you have been waiting eagerly for more news of how the children are
faring during the aftermath of the disastrous earthquake in Sichuan.

When something terrible like this happens, confusion is everywhere and
rumors spread. All of us are so worried about the children. We are
trying to be scrupulously careful to pass along only information that
we’ve been able to verify.

We have now set up a procedure whereby we can get an update from the
Ministry of Civil affairs each day. They are supervising all relief
efforts so have the most complete and accurate information available. We
also now have contact information for all affected welfare institutions
and have begun the process of reaching out to them directly to see if they
need help.

I will write daily with any new information that has been given to us.
Again, please do not contact us to inquire about individual institutions.
We will give you all of the information we have. If you do not hear from
us about a particular place, it likely is not affected. At any rate, we
don’t have any information beyond what I am passing along to you.

As of now, Wednesday afternoon in China, there are 12,012 people dead and
7,841 missing in Sichuan alone, and the numbers continue to rise. 26,206
people are living in temporary shelters. Only 30 children of 900 have
been rescued from the collapsed high school in Dujiangyan, Sichuan. At
least 20 children were buried in the collapse of a primary school in
Liangping, Chongqing.

What follows are the welfare institutions closest to the epicenter:
Mianyang, Zitong County, Dujiangyan, Deyang and Guanguan.

The following is a preliminary, and not necessarily complete, list of
institutions which are also potentially affected: Wenjiang County,
Neijiang, Rongxian, Zigong, Ganzizhou, Panzhihua, Luzhou, Santai County,
Leshan, Suining, Nanchong, Guang’an.

We will have a full list later today or early tomorrow. While we’ve heard
rumors about some of the above, we won’t pass on that information until
we’ve made direct contact and verified. I want to stress that we’ve heard
no reports of children in the welfare institutions being injured, only
that some have been relocated for their safety.

An update on the Chengdu CWI: There has been some foundation damage to the
rehab building and some cracked walls in other buildings, which are being
carefully inspected. The children’s building is in the best shape and all
children have been moved to the first floor but spend most of the day
outside, weather permitting – or in the institution buses if there is
rain. All institution staff and HTS staff are working around the clock to
care for the children and keep them safe.

In cooperation with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, Half the Sky has
set up the Children’s Earthquake Fund. The Fund will provide direct aid
to the thousands of children who are suffering in the wake of the
earthquake and aftershocks. Donations will be used to provide emergency
and long-term relief to children affected by the disaster, including
emergency shelter, food, and medical care for children orphaned or
separated from their families, as well as temporary or long-term foster
care or, if necessary, temporary institutional care. The ministry has
guaranteed that the funds will be used only to help the children.

You can donate to the fund by calling Half the Sky (+1 510 525 3377) or at
one of two dedicated sites online:

Global Giving:


Half the Sky website:'s+Earthquake+Fund


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Well...this was very first Mother's Day. Was it all it was cracked up to be? In one word. YES! (Warning--it's a looongg post! And pictures won't load...I tried! Maybe tomorrow?)

We have had one busy, emotional week and so I was looking forward to a day just celebrating parenthood. My mom and mother-in-law were even nice enough to allow me to spend the day with just Tony and the girls. They said this would be the last time I could say that it was my first Mother's Day, so I could be selfish. Aren't they the best?

Let me give you a run-down of how my glorious day went. I knew today would be special because I had a hint of what was to come, last week. Tony and the girls showed up last Saturday with Boyd's bears for me to commemorate the day...a week early! Isn't that sweet? But on to today-Tony let me sleep in! (He's SO good to do this on a regular basis. He gets turns too!) So when I finally started stirring, it was to two giggly girls coming in and saying, "Happy Day, Mama!"

I opened my eyes and stretched. The house smelled simply YUMMY! So I wandered down the hall to a table set with eggs, potatoes, juice, AND a present! I sat down to read a beautiful letter that Tony wrote from he and the girls. It was very touching and I was already about to lose it. Then, I opened my present...a beautiful silver Pandora bracelet with two charms. One was a silver ladybug and one a little girl. It was so touching. This first Mother's Day was turning out to be pretty special.

After breakfast, we did the unthinkable...we left the dishes in the sink! We then just hung out and played--and we were still in our jammies! After reading, and playing, and wrestling, and snuggling, it was already time for naps-remember, I slept in. So the girls settled in and, amazingly, fell asleep immediately! I had an hour and a half of blissful silence where I actually sat and painted my fingernails! FUN!

After naps, we got down to some serious playing in the play room. Tony and I were served pretend meals, played with little people, and just snuggled some more with the girls. We ended the night with a dinner picnic on the floor! (Great suggestion, Mom. It was fun!) The girls didn't want the day to end (and neither do I) so it took some convincing to get them to sleep, but they are.

I know I don't have other Mother's Days to compare this to, but I have to say it was simply the best. I couldn't wrap my mind around what parenthood would be like. I could never have envisioned it as good as it is. We are blessed to have two wonderfully smart, funny, and beautiful girls. And although she will never read this, I have to thank our girls' birthmother. She chose life for our girls. She chose to bring them into this world and do the best thing for them she could. And for this, I will forever be grateful. She'll never get to feel their kisses, or reassure them they're loved. I pray wholeheartedly that she finds peace and knows her girls are loved. I still pray that she finds Jesus as well, so one day our girls and she will be reunited.

I have to admit, there was a bit of sadness this Mother's Day weekend. We went to church last night (where our girls went to children's church for the first time!) and I was torn during the service. I sat there in awe that a year ago at this time, I had NO idea God had our daughters waiting on us on the other side of the world. And this year, they were happily playing in the nursery while I got to celebrate motherhood.

However, every time our pastor made reference to Mother's Day, I almost cringed. I thought about how lucky I was to be a part of that sacred club of mothers. I also had a pang of sadness for those who are longing to be mothers, but for one reason or another, are not. And what about those mothers who have lost their children. What a painful time for them as well. I remember last year when I left the sanctuary in tears in the middle of the service because of how unfair it felt. This year I felt guilty that I had crossed that bridge and got to sit on the "other side" as a mother. Trust me, friends, I still felt that it was unfair that some could bask in motherhood, while others wouldn't even come to the service because it hurts to bad. I prayed fiercly for the not-yet-mothers. All I can say is that God's plan is perfect. Having the daughters I do makes me thankful God didn't answer my prayers any sooner than He did.

I have to end this post with something happy...afterall, you DO say HAPPY Mother's Day, right? I guess while I was peacefully snoozing the morning away, Tony was battling two very wild little girlies. At one point he said he saw them get into my fingernail polish. They love to have their toes painted, so he thought, "Oh, it's fine. They can't open those." WRONG! Laney worked one open and was skillfully painting her toes before long! Tony smelled the polish and dashed for her. She did paint some toenails and only got a little on the carpet. That's my girl!

Also, when we were getting the girls ready for bed tonight, we saw Abby had a diaper in her hands. Tony reached for it and realized it was wet and used. Hmmm, where'd that come from? Well, little Miss Houdini some how worked it off of her own body while she was wearing a pantsuit jumper. You know the kind that snaps between the legs and all the way down the inside of the pants. Yeah, she got it off and out the pant leg I guess. She did this WHILE standing in front of us and we had no clue! Look out David Copperfield!

A very Happy Mother's Day to all of our friends and family. Without you, I would have never survived to see my first Mother's Day. I love you.

For all the moms-to-be...hang on, God hasn't forgotten you!

To my're like second moms to me. Thanks for setting good examples and loving your kids through it all. I hope I can do the same. I love you!

And to're the best. Thanks for caring so much. And thanks for giving me Tony. I'd be lost without him. I love you!

Mom, what can I say? Ok, what can I say without crying? Nothing. I love you more than this world. Thanks for being the best mom a girl can ask for. And thanks for being my bestest friend. I hope I can be at least half the mom you are. I hope I can make you proud. I love you.


Monday, May 05, 2008

MAN, I love those girls...

The girls have been KILLING us with cuteness lately.

The girls are just getting too smart for their own good. Abby has now leaped to a whole new level of manipulation. Every night when we put them down to sleep, we anticipate a good amount of giggling, jumping, and peek-a-boos coming from their room. We try and let them jabber for a while before we go in and play Night-night Nazis... Well, the past couple of days have been a riot. After giving them a sufficient amount of time to wind down, I have gone in to "settle" them down. Lately when I've walked in the door, Abby does her belly-flop into the bed (she knows I'm going to lay her down) and then starts saying "No more!" See, that's what I say when I go in. "That's enough, no more girls! It's time for night-night!" It's this vicious game and Abby KNOWS my next move before I even make it. That's just funny.

Well, it has reached a whole new level now because when I'm trying to use my "serious Mama" voice, Abby has started interrupting me and saying, "Night-night Mama...I wub you!" How in the world am I supposed to fight that one? It's worse if I'm getting on Laney, because Abby will continue to say "I wub you" a hundred times to deflect my annoyance from Laney! Man, they look out for each other.

Laney, on the other hand, will show how irritated she is with me for ending their fun and refuse to tell me I love you. I normally just say, "Well, Mama loves you anyway," and start to walk out. I'm not three steps away before she's belting out, "I love you!!!!!" It's like she has proven her point, and now wants to ensure I'm loved too. (My heart swells at this point)

Other than the night time hilarity, the girls have also started this "good girl" gig. Randomly this weekend, Abby looked at me and said, "Mama, LaLa a good girl?" (Yes, they still talk in third person although Laney DID say "MINE" this weekend!) I of course responded with, "YES! Abby, you ARE a good girl! You're a very good girl!" It's too cute too, because it sounds more like, "Good gurl".

However, once again, these girls take it to a whole new level. We lovingly refer to them as our Chinese hillbillies (no comments please) because they LOVE to be shoeless. So yesterday, when we were in the car and they kicked off their shoes, Abby immediately piped in with, "Mama, Lala good girl?" Laney giggled, squeezed her piggies out of her shoes with reckless abandon, and simply announced, "MeiMei a good girl!" They think they're cute....lucky for them, they ARE!!!

Abby also wanted to ensure that everyone in our family was a good girl. She did this little banter with me...It looked like this:

Abby: LaLa a good girl?

Me: Yes, LaLa, you're a good girl!

Abby: MeiMei a good girl?

Me: Yes, MeiMei is a good girl too!

Abby: Mama a good girl?

Me: Yes, I'm a good girl.

Abby: Baba a good girl?

Me: No, Baba is a good BOY!

Abby: Baba a good boy!!!

And she bounded off to her next adventure! I guess she just wanted to be sure we were all on our best behavior!

Once again, a post with no pics....just shoot me! (Tony has a good picture to post on his next entry!)