Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . . 6 months later

Today is the day! I can't believe it has been 6 months since our sweet Eva Hangting joined our family! What a difference 6 months makes!

Day 1


Her language acquisition is astounding, and even though she is still grieving her foster family, the love she has for us grows every day as our love for her. She is a silly, sweet, fun-loving bundle of joy!

What should we do in honor of her sixth month anniversary with us? Decorate for Christmas, of course.

This will be Eva's first Christmas and I couldn't be more excited. I can't wait to share all the joys of Christmas with her but I also want her to understand that Christmas is not about presents and decorations. It is about the birth of our Savior who loves her more than she can fathom and died to save her. I know she won't necessarily understand all this yet with her limited English, but God's word will not return void.

As we decorated the tree and put out decorations, she was enthralled. It is a memory I will always cherish.  

Blessings this Holiday Season,

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Precious Moments Devotional Bible Giveaway!

Looking for an extra Christmas gift? Sign up to win this sweet devotional Bible that is perfect for bedtime. Grace loves it!! She begs me to read it every night! 

Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury
*ages 3-7

*Delightful art from the timeless and beloved Precious Moments brand

*5-minute format is perfect for parents looking for simple and concise content

*Short story format makes a perfect bedtime routine

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Adoption Truths: Grief


We will all experience it at some point in our lives. It is the part of our experience here on earth, but seeing one so small experience grief breaks my heart.

It has been a while since I have shared about our journey with Eva. Tomorrow marks her five month anniversary as a part of our family (see my gotcha day blog post {{{HERE}}}). Over the last few months there has been transition, pain, joy and the mere busyness of life. From homeschooling to Pilates to bonding with Eva, I will be honest and say the last couple of month have been exhausting and overwhelming at times. But each day is better than the last with Eva.

So now I want to share with you what it has been like to walk with my sweet girl on this journey of grief in hope of providing encouragement where it is needed and hope to those about to walk a similar journey. 

Many days are a roller coaster of emotion for Eva as she traverses the stages of grief as well learning how to be a part of our family. She gets frustrated when we don't understand her and angry when we discipline her. There are days when she is happy all day and days when she is sad and angry, asking when she will see her China family. I have had to explain numerous times that we are her forever family, but that is hard for her to understand. And of course, a nap can work wonders on the difficult days. ;)

There are so many things for her to learn and and comprehend at the young age of four: 
  • what does obedience look like in our family 
  • how to fit in and play with her new siblings 
  • the realization that she is not going back to her foster family in China 
  • the fact that we love her and that she will never be taken away from us 
  • meeting new people all the time 
  • who are all these people interested in her
  • English 
This list could go on and on. 

Stop for a moment and think about what is would feel like to experience all this and then think about what it would feel like to one so young. How would you react in the same situation? 

But interspersed throughout her pain, sadness and sometimes defiance is joy. Those are the moments where we see the real Eva letting go and letting love in. And it is in those moments that I can hear God whisper to me, "patience, my child. I am ever patience with you, be patient with her, hold her, comfort her, discipline her and above all LOVE HER!"

"But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, 
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." 

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. 
Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, 
but everyone to come to repentance.” 

As Eva's grasp of the English language grows, so does my ability to ease her fears and answer her questions. It is a beautiful thing to watch her open up her heart a little more each day to us. She wants to be a part of our family and has so much love to give but it is hard for her little heart to let go of the family that loved and cared for her for the first 4 years of her life. Please pray for her little heart and for patience for us. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

August Giveaway . . . Better Late than Never

So, I just discovered I never posted this! Whoops! Story of my life!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sweet, respectful, loving, happy and cheerful boy, Anthony! He turns 11 today!! I can't believe just two and half years ago he entered our lives. What a blessing he has been in our lives. I keep telling him to stop growing and sadly refuses. We love you, precious boy. 


This month I have this sweet book to giveaway! It is perfect for Eva as we work on her language acquisition and for counting and learning about God!

Count My Blessings 1-2-3, a fit-together shapes book

*ages 0-4
*Unique fit-together format features bold, colorful cut-outs that will engage small children
*A wonderful introduction to numbers for little ones
*Combines counting with a faith element, making a perfect gift for baby showers, birthdays, or anytime


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Billy Graham's God's Good News Bible Storybook Giveaway!!!

“Christianity is Good News. . . . When we open up the Bible it is Good News from cover to cover. It’s the Good News that God loves us.” —Billy Graham

Public Domain per Library of Congress

I would venture a guess that many of us who grew up in church have some memory associated with Billy Graham. His continued dedication to the work of the Lord and spreading the gospel has always been inspirational to me. I personally know several people including my husband who put their faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ at Billy Graham crusade. 

Billy Graham is now 96 years old. As time marches on, men of faith like Billy must not be forgotten. This book I am giving away on my blog this week provides parents the opportunity to share the his legacy with their children and future generations. It gives us the opportunity to point them to a man who sought to bring glory to God and not to himself, a lesson we all could learn. A man of faith who wasn't afraid to share the good news to all. 

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)

God's Good News Bible Storybook by Billy Graham

*ages 4-11

*First Bible storybook from beloved pastor and teacher Billy Graham

*Each story includes actual NKJV Bible text alongside devotional thoughts from Rev. Graham

*Helps children understand that the Bible is God's Good News for everyone

God’s Good News Bible Storybook is a collection of over 60 favorite Bible stories—including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples—and each is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham.The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the Good News from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham.
Trim Size: 8.5 x 9.75
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Caring for those who care for the orphans . . . Ayi For a Day

I work with the Sparrow Fund on the leadership team of their blog, We Are Grafted In.  It is a privilege to work with amazing organization who works to encourage and support families on their adoption journey. Additionally, they now take yearly trips to China to work in orphanages, caring for the precious children waiting for their forever families and helping provide support the nannies or Ayis who care for these.

In the adoption community, we have experienced a connection with those who cared for our children prior to their joining their forever families. My children had foster parents and Ayi's who cared for them, preparing their hearts for us. On our trip in May to pick up our newest daughter, Eva, we had the unique experience of spending time with precious people who loved on our little girl until her appointed time to join us, her forever family. My gratitude to these sweet people can be fully expressed in words. I think these pictures depict the love Eva received and we felt when we visited. I will be forever grateful for them.

One of Eva's Ayi's

Two more of Eva's caregivers

Eva's Foster Father

Eva's Foster Mother

Please check out this opportunity to join with the Sparrow Fund as they seek to care for those who care for children on a daily basis. Below is a post I am sharing from the Sparrow Blog detailing this opportunity. 


They are oft overlooked much like the children they care for. They live in a place where what you do and how much you make is everything which means they have very little. Watching over and meeting the needs of children with no known roots is hardly considered a career; it’s a job. Some of the ayis do their best to do that job well despite the meager pay they’re given. They braid little girls’ hair, make funny faces to make babies giggle, pursue the child who looks different. Others simply do their duty. All of them are in the hard and obviously broken corners of our world, and they cannot help but be impacted by it. They go by the name Ayi or, in some places, are all called Mama in painful irony of the purpose of what they do. Their purpose is to ready children for new mamas, to care for children well enough so that they can leave to be cared for by another, living in a seemingly endless cycle of nurture and departure. Surely, most ayis are glad to see a child leave as it means he has a future and will become something he could never become where he is now. We’ve seen ayis clap their hands and laugh aloud at the news that one of their children has a family coming for her. But, we can only imagine that their hearts bear scars as well from all the goodbyes. Those scars run deeper still for those who were once little girls there themselves but never got to say goodbye. We intercede for vulnerable children, but we often overlook these vulnerable women. His hearts breaks for them as well, as should ours. It is impossible for us to truly know what their days are like, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to enter in. This effort launched today is to move us towards that and give us an opportunity to crack that door open and enter into the experience of a woman whose heart is not unlike our own.

Ayi For a Day.

The team at The Sparrow Fund has thoughtfully and carefully assembled 50 kits, each one slightly different in shades and tastes, to engage and unite 50 women in interceding for the ayis in China The Sparrow Fund serves at an orphanage in Shaanxi as well the innumerable ayis all over China. The kits include various items to use over the course of one dedicated day—shoe covers, sleeve covers, tea, chopsticks, Chinese snacks, Chinese money, and more—with specific prayer prompts to lead you in prayer as you do. But, the experience isn't over at the end of one day. Enclosed in each kit will be a postage-paid envelope you will use to return the sleeve covers to The Sparrow Fund in time to be hand carried to China on October 7th. The sleeve covers you will wear and pray over on your Ayi Day will become an ayi gift and placed on the hands of an another woman on the other side of the globe. The Sparrow Fund needs 50 women who desire to join their hearts and prayers for the sake of 50 other women in China.

50 kits for 50 women for a donation of $50 in 5 weeks. That's the goal. The money raised will be put into The Sparrow Fund's orphan care and ayi care fund. And, the prayers raised will change the world.

Click on the "Donate" button below to become one of the 50. It’s linked up to The Sparrow Fund’s PayPal account and will go directly to them. Please note #ayiday or "Ayi For A Day" in the notes field when you donate. Your kit will be sent to you next week with clear instructions on how to use it to engage your family and your own heart.

Only 50 kits are available, so don't wait to join. And, just to encourage you a little more, the first 10 women who join the effort will find a little extra gift in their kit.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Marvel of Language Acquisition and Adoption Realities

"I need to go potty." said a precious little voice said near me. 

"What?!" I replied, with more excitement than the normal for a jaunt to the potty while out and about. 

My Sweet Silly Girl Rocking Her New Bangs!

Yes, dear readers, this was Eva's first grammatically correct complete sentence, made on July 30, 2015. 

I apologize for the delay in relaying an update. We have been running from doctor's visit to work events to play time with friends before school starts again. I'm sure you all understand. ;) Having three active kids in middle of summer is quite the busy but fun time. 

Eva has been saying lots of things in English as we have reached the 3 month mark. She puts two or three words together as well as some whole complete sentences, out of the blue, without a question asked of her. I'm so proud of her work at learning and understanding the English language!

Our journey through language acquisition has been unique to each child. Grace was only 18 months when we adopted her so she never even learned Mandarin. She simply learned English 

Anthony was 8 when we brought him home so he was reading, writing and speaking fluently in Mandarin. It was much harder for him to grasp the structure of our sentences and to remember vocabulary. But, when you speak to him now, you would never know! He has done an amazing job of learning English and we have crossed a threshold with his Chinese as well. He can now think independently in one and switch over the other language with having to translate in his head like he was before. I'm so proud of him. 

Eva amazes me. Her ability to remember English vocabulary astounds me. I will tell her something and she repeats it a few times, with great pronunciation I might add, and remembers it! Oh to have the mind of a young child!

One of my favorite things she says quite frequently is "Nope!" Not "no", NOPE!! 

While the English language acquisition is going well, there are, of course, still struggles with discipline. This is the most difficult part of the transition this time around. Imagine being four years old, ripped from a safe and loving environment and then not only being asked to adjust and live with people who speak a different language but to also behave. I think we can all agree it would be hard. She gets frustrated daily which is completely understandable. She also is at the age where she sees things as black and white and needs clear direction but there is that tricky language barrier. We also definitely do things different from what she experienced in the foster home at the orphanage and require a certain level of respect that she is not used to as yet. She has a such a sweet spirit but is also constantly testing us (as toddlers do). "This is my toy, why should I share? I've never had my own toy, I don't want to share. I want things on my own terms." 

We would appreciate prayers for the continuing transition!

As summer has come to an end and our homeschooling has begun as well as the Pilates Instructor training that I lead, life is busy, but we will persevere through knowing when we we are weak (all the time!), He is strong!

Last Friday of Summer!!

First Day of Our Homeschool Coop!

After Coop! LOL



Surpassing Greatness | Template By Rockaboo Designs | 2012