This blog covers our wait, travel, and adjustment to our 4 year old adopted Chinese daughter Sarah Shui Qing from Nanjing. There are over 1000 posts. I have moved my blog to Catching Butterflies 2. I hope you will enjoy reading this blog. It has alot of information on Special needs adoption. Follow us to our new address Catching Butterflies 2! Thank you for reading!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Both kids are loving it here. Sarah loves the fuzzy cover grandma has on her toilet seat. She loves chips and salsa. She has taken well to her grandpa. She absolutely loves her aunt Dianna. She loves looking at pictures with grandma. She loves chasing the cat. It"s very good to be home!
We had a good sleep. We went to bed at 6pm and slept until 1am. Then we went back to bed and slept until 5:30am. I went shopping with my sister Dianna this morning. I reached into the car to help Sarah out and I pulled a muscle in my back. I am in allot of pain. There are a number of conspiracy theories in the USA. My dad says I hurt my back just so I don't have to go to the basement to get his clean laundry(he is just kidding). It is kid of sad, my back is in pain, my sister also has a sore back and my mom has a bad knee. I hope my back gets better fast. I just am so tired and my muscles are cold and over tight.
My mom who has hurt her knee and my sister Diana were at the airport to pick us up. Sarah ran to her grandma and gave her a very big kiss. We were hungry so we stopped at Denny's on the way home. I wanted pancakes. I always seem to miss the pancakes with maple syrup more then anything. Strange what a person misses about home. After the lunch I wanted to give my new credit card a try to see if it work in the USA. I've never used it before. There was an older man sitting alone at the counter ordering his lunch. He looked pretty scratched up and a bit dirty like a homeless man. I though he was coming in from the rain that had begun to fall in buckets. I felt like God told me to pay for this man's lunch. I did not question it. I just did it. When the cashier gave me my total I immediately told him to add this man's lunch to my bill. The man looked at me in a surprised way and asked why. I said I just came home and I am feeling very happy. I just want to do this. He said that he saw 2 hungry people just yesterday and he gave them $20. I then said that the good thing he just did was coming back at him. He said "God bless you". His eyes were very intense. I think I was looking into the eyes of an angel. I would not be surprised if he really was an angel!
When we arrived in Portland, Sarah became an American. She already has German citizenship. We got pulled aside to go to the secondary screening room with all the Arab men under the age of 40. Poor men...but I can understand the need to double check these poor guys. Sarah now has an American citizen visa stamped into her Chinese passport. I will return with her to Germany using her German passport. It was a very exciting moment to me when Sarah became a citizen, but the security officers didn't even say congratulations. I guess that was sort of a let down.
Hi, We made it to Oregon and Sarah is doing great!!! She cried for about 20 minutes at the security gate...I was little worried. She snapped out of it and got excited about her trip. Philip and Sarah were just wonderful on the flight. It was long and boring, but I had a big bag of surprises I just kept pulling out. We had a small gift of Lego, a set of paper dolls, fun new Tiger candy etc. There was a pretty cranky old women sitting directly in front of Philip. She yelled at poor Philip once on the fight because he bumped her seat when he was digging into his back pack. I guess no kid would be good enough for this women. Every time I took the kids to the toilet one or two of the other passengers would complement the kids on their good behavior. You all know I was worried...I'm so glad Sarah did super great! Thank you very much for your prayers!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
My oldest autistic daughter Jessica got me up at 5am. I couldn't get back to sleep. This morning I started to vomit. I guess the head cold has decided to become a flu. Great! I had some stupid last minute shopping to get done. I was standing at the check out counter and the cashier asked me if I was OK. I felt very hot, and almost like I would pass out. I managed to pick Sarah and Philip up from Kindergarten and school. I wanted to just sleep this afternoon. Sarah is sleeping. Philip is very anxious about the trip and keeps getting into trouble. I keep hearing "Mom"!!! "Mom"!!! I finally gave up on the nap. I've got to drive Thomas to his drumming lesson anyway. When Sarah was very tired before this nap, she stood at the front door with her back pack crying for the airplane to come. I guess that's a good sign. Please be praying for our health, and our flight. Thank you!!!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
A friend of mine sent me the information about this beautiful boy waiting for a family. he needs his family fast because his file is about to be returned to China. There is a large grant available for his adoption. He has burn scars on his body, this is his special need. It seems he is very sociable. They say he can make friends with anyone in 30 minutes. If you are considering adoption, maybe this is your son? If not, please really pray for his family to find this special boy! Thankyou. You can read more about him Here and also Here.
(this is from the LWB newsletter about this little boy)
"we were going to do a heart surgery for one little girl in this orphanage, and so I asked for a photo of her so that we could raise funds. This orphanage didn't have a lot of nice clothing, so for this special photograph they wanted the little girl to look nice. Another little girl in the orphanage, named Yan, who was just three years old, had been given a beautiful red coat by a volunteer, and she loved that red coat and wore it all the time. The aunties went and took off her red coat to put on the child with heart disease for her photo, and Yan burst into tears crying. The aunties scolded her and said, "Yan, you must share your red coat...don't be selfish", but Yan kept crying and crying and kept trying to climb over the gate to get out in the hallway where the photo was being taken. Finally one aunty had heard enough, and so she walked over to Yan to take her back into the room. As she got closer, she realized that Yan was NOT crying because the other little girl was wearing her coat. No, not at all. Yan was crying while saying over and over, "take MY picture...please take MY picture. I want a family....take my picture so I can have a family, too. "
You see, at the ripe old age of three, Yan had already learned that the only way a baby got a family was by having her picture taken first. And she wanted a family of her own so badly, that she was crying to her aunties to please take her photo, too.
I wanted to share this story because the reason I am so sad that Joey hasn't found a home yet doesn't have anything to do with the fact that we told his orphanage a family would be found, or that we told provincial that certainly there was a family for him. I am sad thinking about Joey because I know exactly what happened when they prepared his adoption file earlier this year. I have been in orphanages when they do the files, and each and every time the aunties try to make the kids look at cute as possible. They say things like, 'smile pretty so a family will pick you." I am sad when I think about Joey's file, because I know he had probably gotten used to the idea that there would not be a family coming for him because of his burns....and then we went and placed hope back into his heart. I am sure he knew exactly why the orphanage was taking his photos that day, and I am sure the staff told him to look as handsome and clever as possible so that a family would choose him. Tonight I am thinking about this handsome little boy who is probably wondering each day now if his photo was good enough for a family to choose him."
We adopted our son Thomas when he was 7 years old. There were only a handful of "older" kids still waiting in the orphanage when we picked Thomas up. You could see the pain in their eyes. They were happy for Thomas, but they could not hide the hopelessness they felt. It is easier to adopt a younger child...but every child needs a family. No child should have to grow up unwanted and unloved!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I was tagged by Cannon fish bowl to answer what I slept with as a child, and the strangest food I eat. I had a very big stuffed bear named Smokey. He got very loved by me! My Mom through him away with out my knowing it. That made me very sad. I always ask my kids if I can get rid of stuff. I use to love Underwood deviled ham on crackers (when I was a kid). Once a friend of mine and I decided after church to buy Underwood ham and crackers for lunch. We were both in our late 20's. It was not what I remembered! It tasted like dog food on crackers!!! I actually love all kinds of food some people would think strange. I feed my kids sushi, squid, curry, .... They all have pretty sophisticated taste. I finally got Philip hooked on salad, now we are working on Thomas. To the boys, vegetables are strange food! Sarah loves French cream cheese with herbs, and also fine chocolate.
My brother in law tagged me to answer a two thing questionnaire. That was two weeks ago. I was too busy to get 2 it! So Paul here are my 2 thing answers...
Two Names You go by
Amy and Amelia
Two of Your Favorite Things to do
Sleep and drink coffee in bed
Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment
to get Fridays flight behind me, and to eat Mexican food in Oregon
Two pets you had/have
Mickey our dog, Tom the cat(he ran away 4 months ago but I saw him yesterday)
Two things you did last night
I read with my boys and I went to bed early because I'm sick
Two things you ate yesterday
I eat chicken for lunch and German bread for dinner
Two people you last talked To
I talked to Juergen on the phone and Philip here at home
Two Things You're doing tomorrow
I hope to get my hair cut and we may have a good friend from Israel over to eat dinner
Two longest car rides
Oregon to Arizona(24 hours)
Germany to the South coast of France(only 16 hours but with kids)
Two Favorite Holidays
Christmas and My birthday!
Two favorite beverages
Coffee with milk and black tea
A few people asked to see pages of Sarah’s book. It is simple, but 23 pages long so I do not want to scan the whole book. Here are a few pages from the book. Someone also said I should raise money by making special books for other kids. Personalized books. I will have to give this some thought. Nicole and I want to go to Mexico next summer to build a house for a poor family. We need to raise money for the trip, but we also want to sponsor the building martial for a house ($5000). Maybe making personal books for traveling families might be a way to raise part of the building martial money. I'm trying to teach Nicole to give to the poor and go help the poor. She is 14 years old. She has a compassionate heart.
I just bought a DVD teaching series called Fit(Frauen in training). There are DVD teachings by 15 very dynamic women of God on different subjects to help strengthen spiritual life. It happens to be in English and German. I may just go through it with some local friends. Any way, I was listening to Pat Harrison teach on the Holy Spirit. She talked about meditating on the Bible. The Holy Spirit would help remind us of the words of God later when we need it. Then she explained that most of us know how to worry. Worry is to think about a problem, or fear over and over again. Meditation is just the opposite. It is to think on the word of God over and over again. I know I have been worrying allot about this up coming trip with Sarah. I am trying now to meditate on Gods goodness, his help and his grace. Sarah wanted to bring her traveling to Grandma and Grandpas house book with her to kindergarten today. She wants everyone she knows to read it to her. Her attitude is so good. The book was not my idea. I prayed, and I felt like God gave me this idea.
Monday, September 24, 2007
When I picked Sarah up from kindergarten an over whelmed and probably still sick Sarah collapsed into my arms and began to cry. Her teacher said there was a very big party to celebrate all the September birthdays. There are 6 groups of kids (about 120+ kids) that came together. It was loud and Sarah probably was overwhelmed. She is also still sick. She fell asleep on Philip's bed before lunch. She doesn't have a fever (praise God) but she has slept for 3 hours so far. I think sleep is the best thing for her little body. I guess that's just one more pre trip prayer request. Please pray for our health. I also feel pretty run down...but that could just be a lack of sleep and stress. Going home to visit my family shouldn't be such a big stress....it's just taking my Sarah away from her very loved Papa.
Sarah got sick in the night. She had a high fever. I gave her some medicine and prayed for her. She slept one hour, then screamed for Juergen. I admit I got very upset that Papa was taking care of her. I should not get so upset, but it's my anxiety about our trip to America that is driving me. It was such a trauma for me to take Sarah away from her Papa when we went from Shanghai to Guangzhou last April. I hope Sarah has totally forgotten that experience. I unfortunately have not forgotten it. I must travel to the USA on Friday without Juergen. I am so afraid of how Sarah will react. She will probably be just fine. I've done every thing I can to prepare her. She felt just fine this morning. She is in school today. I'm such a wreak...I need prayer.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I put Sarah to bed tonight. She even asked for me instead of Papa. She has been with us for 6 months now. So much has changed...so many good changes have taken place! I do not want to over look the miracle that has taken place. What a sweet child sleeps peacefully in her bed. She has forgotten the fear of the past. Every day we see a greater and deeper sense of security forming in her. I'm so grateful to God for helping us walk down this difficult road to get to this wonderful place called home!
Juergen was away all weekend visiting his wonderful mom who is very sick. I was worried about how Sarah would handle things, but she was really fine with Juergen gone. We had out of town guests, and she was too busy to get sad. She also seems to be trusting me more and more. I'm so grateful for this because we travel (God willing) on Friday to America. Sarah has had everyone she sees read her traveling to Grandma & Grandpa book. She even wanted to take it to church with her this morning. In Sunday school she did good. She stayed alone, but the teacher felt it was a little over whelming for her. Next time I will stay with her.
Yesterday we went to the Heidelberg zoo. The battery on my camera went dead before I could take allot of pictures. It's a small zoo, but Sarah loved it!
Friday, September 21, 2007
It's been a full week. I hardly picked up my camera, and I forgot to give it to my kids. Sorry! Next week I'll post Fridays 5 fotos from my kids again! The book I made for Sarah has turned out to be a great hit! I've read it to her 6 times, and Juergen has also read it about 6 times. Nicole did a good job illustrating the whole book. I scan pages tomorrow so you can see some of it. We have guests again this weekend. That's good because Juergen will be gone. Sarah will be too busy playing (I hope) to be sad.
It's just after midnight here in Germany. I'm sitting at my desk eating Ben and Jerry's Super Fudge Chunk ice cream and writing a story book for Sarah. The book is 24 pages long. It is all about Princess Sarah going on an airplane to America to see Grandma and Grandpa. In the book she says goodbye to Papa, Jessica, Nicole and Thomas. She gets to eat cookies and watch movies on the airplane. At Grandma and Grandpas house she plays in the garden and eats apples. After 9 days she comes home. Papa, and Jessica, Nicole, and Thomas are waiting for her. She gets to take Mickey for a walk when they get home. I just printed the book out. I'm going to have Nicole draw some pictures for me on the pages. I hope to read Sarah this book over and over until we go to America so she really knows what to expect. I hope it helps!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I told Sarah again this morning that I would be the one picking her up from school. I also said Papa would be at work, and I would have cookies and a drink waiting for her in the car. We would go pick Philip up after school. When I picked her up, she looked sad like she would begin to cry! Then you could see her playing our dialogue over like a tape player in her brain. She asked if I brought the cookies. I said yes, and she waved goodbye to everyone. It was cute! The car window was opened. She shouted to all the people on the street, "Goodbye, see you tomorrow"! She looked like a princess waving to people in a parade! Thank God for progress. Now I need to train her to gracefully say goodbye to her Papa at the airport! Goodbye Papa...see you next week! There will be cookies waiting on the airplane and apple pie at Grandmas house. You can count on it!
I forgot to post about a waiting child. This weeks child can be found here. She is only one and a half years old. Her special need is Hepatitis B . When you are born with Hepatitis B , your body does not generally recognize the virus. It doesn't generally make them sick at all. You as a care taker can get a vaccination against the virus, so it would not effect you either. I'm not saying it's a non issue...but it isn't such a big deal either! Maybe one in 5 people in China are Hepatitis B +. This is a very easy to manage SN. Isn't she just beautiful!!! Sorry, but only married US citizens can apply to adopt this special needs child.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sarah cried again when I picked her up from the kindergarten. At least she stayed in her car seat. I brought cookies and yogurt drink. She would not stop crying until after we got Philip (my poor nerves)! I offered Philip the cookies and drink first. Then I asked Sarah if she wanted some too. She said yes, and I said OK...just stop crying!
We made this calendar together this afternoon. It's sort of like an advent calendar. I taped small pieces of candy for each day leading up to the day we travel to Grandma & Grandpas house (9 days). Then we made another calendar to take with us. With this calendar we will mark the days until we return home. Sarah has no concept of time. I'm hoping this calendar will help her grasp the time we go...and the time we will return! I think the daily kindergarten is also helping. She is disappointed to go, but she will come back just like I said.
I'm thinking about my own relationship with God. The longer I know him, the more I see him act faithfully. The longer I know him to be faithful, the deeper my trust. I'm praying about this trip. I can not trust in the character or behavior of Sarah. I hope she will learn to trust me. I do believe that good or bad, God will give me the help I need to get through it! I trust him!
It's 8:30 in the morning and everyone is gone. I was almost late getting Jessica on the school bus because I was dressing Sarah for kindergarten. We are going to work on the timing of things in the AM. I have a very long list of stuff to do now that I've got the time. Before I begin I'm going to make myself a fresh cup of coffee and have a long talk with God. It feels good to be alone for once. Have a good day!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sarah had her first day of kindergarten today. She was very excited. Juergen and I both brought her to school. She was not afraid. She kissed us both goodbye with out a problem. The problem began when I picked her up. I had to pick her up at 11:45 because I pick Philip up at noon. She was sad to go. She was also very sad her Papa wasn't there to pick her up. I told her Papa was working, but that wasn't good enough. She screamed bloody murder in the car. She took her seat belt off, and even started to hit Jessica who doesn't have school on Tuesdays. I almost didn't get to Philips school in time to pick him up. She refused to get back into her car seat for 10 minutes after we got Philip. I demanded she apologise to me and to Jessica, or I would not take her to school again! She calmed down and said sorry...both to me and to Jess. Change is so hard for Sarah. With every change, she wants her Papa, her anchor. I understand it, but I just can not give her Papa every time she wants him. We make the big trip to the USA in only 10 days. I am terrified she is going to start her uncontrollable temper tantrums in the middle of our 12 hour flight. There is nothing I can do to make it better. Please pray for me. Some how Sarah has to understand what is about to happen. She just gets so afraid of losing her Papa. She has got to really trust me!
Monday, September 17, 2007
My big girl starts kindergarten in the morning. We took our last "Mickey" walk, and went shopped together. Tomorrow she will go to school. On the one hand I'm glad. I will have some quite moments, and the time and space to clean and organize my house. On the other hand I'm sad...I will miss this precious time I've had with my baby girl. Tomorrow she starts to grow up. There will be no turning back. All my kids will be in school. Mickey and I are on our own!
Friday, September 14, 2007
It's Friday and time again to high lite the photos of my kids. Sarah took these while we were waiting in the car for her brothers. The camera has a calming affect on Sarah. She took pictures of "us", herself, her shoes, and Jessica. If you want to link your child's photos to our page, then sign my Mr. Linky. See the world from your child's eyes...
Thursday, September 13, 2007
It's set...Sarah starts kindergarten on Tuesday. She is going to be in the star group! I'm not really sure who is going to be happier, her or me? I love Sarah, but I am going to love having some time to myself. I will be very happy if she is happy in her group. Her teacher is very nice. I already met her. The kids were very welcoming. I think Sarah is going to love it (at least I hope so). I'm a much better Mom when I have a few hours a day to call my own! This is such an amazing and unplanned blessing!
All the kids are in school and Sarah wants to go to school too. I went to the large kindergarten in our area just to see if they have a place for Sarah. They must have a new director because the whole atmosphere of the place has changed. It is much nicer then I remember it. Philip went there for a short time 4 years ago. Back then we didn't like the place. Any way, I will talk with the director in one hour. It looks like Sarah could get in! She was so happy when I showed her around. She misses playing with other children. I really think it's time for her to go to kindergarten. I will also really love having my mornings back. My whole house is a mess! I need the time to clean, and get back to my garden, go to a women's Bible study, and basically find myself again! I hope it works out! I will let you know!
up date: She got the place! They didn't want her to begin until October. Sarah was playing really well and did not want to leave. The director then said she could begin on Monday. Sarah cried when we left, but calmed down when she finally understood she will get to come back soon. Now she looks so proud she could bust her buttons! She is all hugs and kisses! She is really ready to go play with other kids. I'm so glad it looks like it's going to work out.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I just found this beautiful 4 year old Chinese girl on a waiting list. She has a large scare on her elbow, this is her only special need. She is healthy, smart and normal. I would take her in a secound if Juergen would say yes, but he is happy with our 5 kids and has no energy for one more (I can not fault him for that). You can find more information about this waiting child here. Maybe she is your daughter?
The school supply thing is just an annual complaint. I personally think school teachers should give us the lists early, and write the list out in a clearer manner (5 of this kind of note book, 2 of that kind of pen). They write it like for this class you need this...and then for that class you need that. Everything is very specific, and you "must " get the details correct! It takes me hours to go through the list(s). It takes hours to label every pen and pencil. One year I ran to the store 4 different times for the "correct paper" for Nicole. They use different lined paper for every grade....crazy! It's just part of the job! The only real problem I have is teachers act like everyone only has one child (and most Germany's really do only have one child). When you have 5 kids, and they expect you to make it to every parent night, school party and festival, sports festival etc...it gets hard. We say no allot. With all the school stuff, we also have music classes, sports stuff, and church stuff. We aren't being bad parents, we just can not let every ones plans run our life. I figured out along time ago they can have their festivals with out me...I choose my activities, I must choose! I think my marriage and family would fall apart from the stress of keeping up with every ones "special" activities. I'm not the kind of person that likes my calendar full every day of the week. Maybe that's just my age. I'm going to be 46 years old next month. My poor kids really should have chosen younger parents. We just don't have the energy anymore to "do it all"! Know one should feel sorry for my kids. They still get to travel the whole world. They manage to fit a few "special" activities in now and then.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sarah actually took a nap in my arms this afternoon. It was sweet. She is handling the kids going back to school, and Juergen's return to work pretty good. I on the other hand am super stressed. Anyone who ever had to buy school supplies in Germany would understand why. There must be over 50 separate ideas on each of my kids lists (4 lists). We get the list on the first day of school. Everyone and their mother is in the store at the same time. Stores run out of stuff. I had to go to 3 different stores. The ridiculous details can begin to give you an idea of German bureaucracy! Tonight we have visitors from out of town but I need to label every one of Thomas' pens ,and pencils, glue, paint...etc... I hate this time of year!!!
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
We got home last night after a long drive home from Texel. Sarah was very good in the car. The boys on the other hand made the trip stressful for everyone else. They just have too much energy to sit still in a car for 10 hours. There was a lot of traffic so the trip home was extra long! We have a very large list of things to do this weekend. School begins on Monday. Sarah is clinging to Juergen. She will not let him out of her sight. I guess he is just her anchor, and she needs him every time there is a change. I wish this were not so. I wish she would trust me more, but it's this way now. I hope she feels safe enough to let her papa go to work on Monday. The kids will also be going. That is a lot of change for her to deal with in one day. Philip was so "go with the flow" when he came home. Thomas gets sort of mean and demanding when he deals with change. Sarah is the worst by far. Is it any wonder? She hardly ever played outside in the SWI garden. She never went anywhere in her first 4 years. She was never in a store, the zoo, or anywhere! I take her to America in 3 weeks. I'm trying not to panic! She knows we plan to take her to see grandma. Right now she cries and says she does not want to go. I guess it's just going to take time (years) until she really believes that this wonderful thing called family isn't going to go away. I'm glad to be home. I'm not going to get caught in a trap of fear. Today is the day God has made. Today is Jessica's birthday, and I love and praise God for my beautiful daughter Jessica!