Friday, May 30, 2008

Conversation w/Shelby

I always enjoy her posts about conversations with her little one, so I thought I would post one. Here are the details of me putting Shelby to bed tonight:

Me: Night night Shelby see you tomorrow
S: Night night Moma
S: Moma work tomorrow?
Me: No, Moma doesn't have to go to work tomorrow
S: Why?
Me: Moma gets to stay home with you tomorrow. We are going to go swimming.
S: Caleb?
Me: Yes, Caleb is going to go swimming with us too.
S: Why?
Me: Because we are going to Sheila's tomorrow to go swimming
S: Travis?
Me: Yes, Travis is going too.
S: Why?
S: Daddy?
Me: No, Daddy is going to work tomorrow
S: Why?
Me: To make money for us
S: Why?
S: Austin?
Me: Yes, Austin will be there tomorrow
S: Scott
Me: Yes, Scott will be there too
S: Sheila
Me: No, Sheila has to go to work
S: Why?
S: Moma what's that (I have a weird red spot under my eye all of a sudden)
Me: I have a boo boo
S: Why?
Me: I don't know. Will you kiss it for me?
S: No Moma
Me: Why?
S: Moma get Bandaid
Me: Ok, Moma will get a bandaid tomorrow.
S: WHY?

Got to love this little one and her prolonging actual sleep. Oh how I love every minute with her (well Ok not EVERY minute-but ya know)!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inside China Blog

Here is a blog that is written from inside China where a volunteer is there helping victims and orphanages from the devastating impact of the earthquakes there. If you have a moment, take the time to read it and look at some of the pictures on her blog. Click here for her blog. If you think you are having a bad day, just read this and know how lucky we really are!

I am taking tomorrow off to spend a fun "summer" day with the kids. Thanks to my sister, we will have a nice day at her pool having fun. Here are some pics from the week that proves we are loving the weather and enjoying our summer. This was Shelby's first "big" pool experience and she did great. She had no interest in really swimming yet, so I just let her stay on the steps and she played in the water. Maybe tomorrow I will be brave enough to actually get in the pool with her to take her swimming- we'll see.

Looking forward to seeing all of my adoption friends on Saturday. Can't wait for the big celebration for little Meron! She has officially been announced to the blogging world for all to see her beautiful face :)
Oh and for those of you who wonder...God really still does answer prayer! We have had some heavy decisions this week and we are happy to say that our Father does still answer prayer. It may not always be what we want to hear, but he does answer!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Thank a soldier and his family


"Do not mourn that such men died, but thank God that such men lived."
~General George S. Patton~

Friday, May 23, 2008

Finally Friday

Well it has been a busy week for all of us. Travis finished up his big baseball season with a long double header on Saturday. Caleb managed to sprain his ankle on the trampoline on Sunday, so he has been limping along all week. Shelby had her last day of school on Wednesday and a fun water day party. Travis attended his official PreK Graduation on Wednesday where he sang a few songs and then we all enjoyed some desserts. I took some pictures of Travis and his little best friend. I also snapped a picture of Travis and his favorite "big" friend, Mrs. Carol.

And of course that brings us to today-The LAST day of school for the boys. They were very excited this morning going to school. It is also Travis' last day at Mrs. Carol's house. Carol has been a great baby sitter to my boys for the past 7 years. I know she is really going to miss Travis and we are going to miss her. I am thankful to Carol for helping me over the years raise up 2 great boys!

More big news from the week is that Tymm and Laura are officially granted permission to bring Meron home! This is a sweet couple that I met over a year ago at First Friday. I can't wait to see them holding their new baby girl next month!
And little Sheridan turned a big THREE years old this week. He also had a successful surgery on his wrist this week as well. Crazy to watch these little ones grow up so fast.

Oh and we are selling our 1993 Jeep Wrangler if you know anyone who is interested. We are asking $7000 for it. Leave me a comment if you want me to email you more info about it.

Have a great long weekend. We are actually staying home this weekend, but I am sure we will have plenty of fun things going on. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tribute to Teachers

With the last day of school approaching, be sure you tell your teachers how much they mean to you. Teachers can make or break a child's school year. I am so happy that my kids' have all been blessed this year with great educators. A good teacher certainly doesn't do their job for the money-they do it for the love of teaching. So be sure to thank them for a job well done-if they deserve it!

Here is my heartfelt letter to Shelby's first teacher. She has truly been a blessing in our lives.

Dear Mrs. Vicki,
I apologize for the impersonal nature of a typed letter, but this is how I write the easiest. (Also, it was the only way to keep the tears from falling on the paper.) I just wanted to send you a note of how much you have meant to me (and Shelby) this year.

As you know, I am a planner. I planned out how everything was going to work out once we finally got Shelby home. Shelby would, of course, go to my long time babysitter’s house full-time. The boys had been raised by her, so why not Shelby. Well needless to say Shelby was miserable there. I cried every morning I had to drop her off there. It wasn’t that there was anything “wrong” with the sitter, it was just Shelby was not happy at all. I knew that I had to do something different-but what? I prayed and prayed and asked God to please help my situation and my little girl.

Well it didn’t take long and He answered in a BIG way. An angel simply said to me one night how she would love to have my Shelby in her preschool class during the day. It was as if I had a direct line to God that first day I came to speak to Libby about Shelby attending the school. I know that sounds corny, but it is SO true. I knew it was the right place for my baby girl and a true answer to my prayers.

I can’t thank you all enough for working with my little girl. You have been so patient, kind, and caring with Shelby and all her “issues” she brings along. I know you have loved on her from the minute she walked into your classroom. She is very challenging and a determined little girl, so I know it has not been an easy task to take on. But you did it!! And we are so blessed that you did.

Shelby now loves to go to school and asks every morning if she gets to go to school. She is such a different child now that you have helped her become comfortable and feel safe in your classroom. She knows you love her, and that alone makes a huge impact on her life- and mine too :)

So, THANK YOU very much for being there for us when we really needed you. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. If you ever questioned why you do what you do and if you are doing what God called you to do, here is your answer loud and clear all the way from the other side of the world…

With Love,
Donna and Shelby Straight

Terrible Accident-So So Sad

Steven Curtis Chapman’s youngest child died Wednesday evening after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family’s Williamson County home.

Maria, one of the Christian singer’s six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver’s name.The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said.

He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.“It appears to be a terrible accident,’’ McPherson said. No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.Singer/songwriter Chapman, who recently was inducted into Music City Walk of Fame, is one of contemporary Christian music’s most recognizable and most awarded names. He and his wife Mary Beth have long been supporters of international adoption, having brought three girls from China into their family.

Maria was the youngest.The couple is so active in the cause that they formed an organization, Shaohannah’s Hope, to aid families wanting to adopt. With his latest music tour, which came through Nashville in November, Chapman started a campaign called “Change for Orphans”. He asked audience members at each stop to bring spare change to the concert, where it was counted and given to a local family to aid in their adoption process.

“I don’t know of anybody who loves his children more than he does and is so committed to the adoption concept, and to lose one, no matter what the circumstances, is heartbreaking beyond all comprehension,” said John Styll, president of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association.“He talks about his kids all the time. That’s his life. His kids are more important to him than music, that’s for sure.”The tragedy was announced during Wednesday-night services at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, which the family attends.

Maria had just graduated from the church preschool.And word spread throughout the tight-knit Christian music community on Wednesday evening.

Styll got the news not long after Maria’s death.“I’m confident I can speak for everyone in the community to say we will do everything we can to support this family, as we would do at any time, but especially at a time like this,” he said.

Most of the Chapman family was at Vanderbilt children’s hospital after the accident and could not be contacted. The long, gravel driveway leading to the home west of Franklin was blocked off by Williamson County sheriff’s deputies.


Here is a recent video of this daddy and his sweet little girl. I can't fathom how hard this must be for this family right now. Please pray for them today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn8ajucsXr8

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Modern Day Miracle!

Day of Palate Surgery:










2 weeks Post Op-developed hole:










6 weeks Post Op-NO HOLES!!






















The pictures above tell it all. I am so excited every time I look into her mouth these days! I can't tell you how many times I have prayed for a miracle for this child. We serve an Awesome God :)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. --1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Sunday, May 18, 2008

$8 Hotdog

This video is only 4.5 minutes long. Please take the time to watch it. It may change your life and the life of another.

I know there is a balance somewhere, I am personally struggling to find just where that balance is. I am sure some of you adoptive parents out there understand what I mean. Once you have been touched by adoption, you are never the same again. You can't go through this and come out the other side without it changing you forever.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Early Father's Day at our house

Shelby says...


"Hey Daddy, look what Mommy got you for being the best daddy in the world..."

Earthquake Still Impacting Lives

Here is a CNN story about the quakes in China. Click here to see the video about some of the devastation happening in China right now.



Here is a statement from a very active organization that assists the orphanages in China:

Update From: Jenny Bowen Executive Director Half the Sky Foundation http://www.halfthesky.org/

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.


Dear Friends,
As word comes of the hundreds, maybe thousands of children lost in the earthquake, I am finding these emails almost too painful to write. When I think of so many parents who have lost their only child - so many children newly orphaned - so many families destroyed - there are no words. Still, I will continue to write daily with any new information that has been given to us and confirmed. 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, Thursday afternoon in China, there are 14,866 people confirmed dead, 14,463 in Sichuan Province. There are 22,438 people reported missing - 21,020 of them in Deyang alone. There have been 3,300 aftershocks and they continue.

Here is the confirmed information we have regarding children in welfare institutions:


Chengdu: The city continues to experience aftershocks and the institution director is afraid the water supply will be cut off again, so has requested disposable diapers. They are having trouble finding sufficient supplies of milk and formula. All children in foster care have been located and are fine. The institution has structural cracks but was built to current earthquake standards and is fundamentally solid. All the children remain on the first floor of the children's building, mostly in the cafeteria, and, weather-permitting, outside while awake. We've posted a few photos on our website.

Chongqing and Yibin orphanages are fine - no building damage, no shortage of supplies.The orphanages below report problems. However, please note that not a single child has been injured; all are fine.

Zigong CWI needs bedding, powdered milk, crackers and disposable diapers-

Neijiang CWI has suffered some structural damage; one or two children's dormitories, office building and laundry room have cracked walls.-

Nanchong 2nd SWI has cracks in walls, substantial damage to the ceiling of a staff building, needs tents-

Mianyang Zitong CWI has severely damaged walls. Children have been moved to a military base. Urgent need for diapers, bedding, powdered milk and purified water

Hanzhong CWI (Shaanxi)- Quite a few water pipes burst, the water tower had cracks. Children have been evacuated and there is need for more tents,bedding and purified water. We've posted a few photos on our website.

Dujiangyan SWI has evacuated all children. They have no tap water or electricity in their temporary shelter. They urgently need food, purified water, diapers and powdered milk.

We are still unable to reach these institutions: Deyang CWI (78 children),Abazhou CWI (52 children), Guangyuan SWI, Mianzhu SWI

One of our HTS Beijing staff, Ma Lang, is a native of Mianyang, Sichuan,close to the epicenter. HTS' Director of Child Development, Ma Lang is both a pediatrician and a child development specialist. She is on her way home right now to make use of her skills both medically and to help children traumatized by this disaster. We are so proud of Lang and wish her safe travels. She has promised to share her journey with all of us. So soon you'll be hearing from us both!

Usually just before June 1, China's Children's Day, Half the Sky announces a special appeal to help us fund new orphanage programs in the fall. While we are committed to starting those new programs and know we will need help to make it happen, we just don't feel we can ask for help improving lives while children in Sichuan are losing theirs. There must be a Children's Day Challenge this year but not at this time. Please do what you can to help children in trouble now, and remember to help the kids of HTS a little later this year.


Our hearts and prayers today are especially with the parents who have lost their children in the collapse of schools - Muyu, Xinjian, Juyuan, Liangping, and the rest. Please give what you can to help the children who survive go on with their lives.


If you would like to donate to Half the Sky's Children's Earthquake Fund, it would be great if you would do so at Global Giving: The Ford Motor Company announced today that they will match every gift! http://www.globalgiving.com/pr/2100/proj2086a.html We have been so moved by your support already.

Thank you!
with love,

Jenny

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Racism is still a FACT of life

Below, Nancy gererously shares her honest perspective of growing up as an Asian American. Questions were provided by Adoptive Families.

Q: In what way, if any, did your adoptive parents foster you culturally? Did they share any info with you, were you on your own, was your Asian culture even acknowledged? Do you feel that traveling back to an internationally adopted child's birth-country is valuable in helping develop his or her self-identity?

A: My parents did try to foster me culturally by sending me to Korean camp, but I hated it!

Truthfully, I wanted nothing to do with any person or child that looked like me or anything having to do with being different. My adoption and Korean heritage were acknowledged in a balanced way without over emphasizing that I was different. As an adult, I am grateful that my parents recognized and honored my Korean culture, but as a child, I was very aware I was different-even when I couldn't articulate it or my parents acknowledged itand I wanted desperately to fit in.

Trans-racial adoption is tricky and, for me, issues around racism and racial identity were as important as the issue of family formation. I am a person of color-my parents are not. They don't-and cannot be expected to knowwhat it is like to be a person of color in the United States . What my parents didand what you can do as you parent a child of a different race-is be aware that despite your longings for a world where your love will be enough to protect your child from racism and a trip to your child's birth country or your attempts to celebrate cultural holidays with them will NOT be enough to give your children the racial identity that they deserve and desperately need. In other words, my parents taught me about Korea , but they couldn't teach me how to be Korean.

So, go ahead visit China or Korea or Guatemala with your child. It is a great way for both of you to experience and honor your child's culture. But understand that this, alone, does not give your child the racial identity that she will desperately need as she matures.

As I grew up, my experiences and conclusions were surprisingly different than my parents, not just because I was adopted, but because of my perspective-as a Korean-American adopted woman. Sometimes, it is hard for us to bridge the gaps, after all we, grew up speaking the same language, eating the same food and listening to the same music. But my parents simply are not people of color and sometimes forget that when you are a person of color everything is about race.

So as parents grapple with adoption and culture issues, I would implore you not to ignore another key question. How am I going to help my child develop a healthy sense of racial identity? Culture camps, trips to birth countries, support groups are all a great first step, but they are easy first steps. Helping a child of a different race develop a healthy sense of her racial step is a lot more complicated and deserves much more thought and attention.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Camping Pics


Here are some shots from the weekend at the lake. It was another great weekend that was filled with alot of "firsts" for Shelby.

1st Campfire
1st Marshmallow Roast
1st Dip in the Lake
1st Ride on the Boat
1st Night in the Camper
1st of MANY Family Camping Trips!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good Commercial

Watch the commercial here and tell Pearle Vision “thank you”. What a great Mother's Day commercial!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Girls!


Happy Monday

Found what was missing in our camping trip last year!




This was my amazing view all weekend :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Best MOM ever

Happy Mother's Day to my favorite mom in the world...MY MOM! Thanks Mom for always being there for me and for making me who I am today. I am a better mom because of you :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Blogging Reduction

Well now seems as good as time as any to start reducing the amount of posts I do here on the blog. We have been home for 6 months now and we are finally getting to a sense of "normalcy" around the house. So needless to say unless you want to hear about our trips to the grocery store and W@lgreens, then I am running out of things to blog about. So no I am not stopping blogging all together, just I won't be blogging everyday :)

Here are some pics from the week. Shelby made her debut at our family reunion on Sunday and was able to climb a BIG tree for the first time thanks to Uncle Scott. Travis had his first ride on the motorcycle all by himself- yes I said Travis my 5 year old! He did great and now he will be fighting his brother for the 2 wheeler instead of the 4 wheeler. Shelby still hasn't had her first 4 wheeling trip yet, but I am sure we will schedule one soon. Shelby is about to get her first camping trip under her belt though. We will be at the lake camping this weekend for Mother's Day-yeah! Let' s hope she adjusts well to sleeping in the camper- crossing our fingers and toes since we know how much Shelby appreciates change ;)

Well the only other thing that happened this week is that I am going to be going back to work 5 days a week again and losing my day off. The good part about this is of course the money. Frankly the more money I make, the more money I have to give. Shelby will be spending her Thursdays now with her second favorite person, her Nanwaa, so I am sure she will be fine. The boys only have a couple more weeks of school, then they will get to spend everyday with their sister as well. Shelby of course will love that- the boys maybe not so much ;)
Hope everyone has a terrific Mother's Day. I know I will enjoy every minute of it enjoying the best kids in the world. I am so lucky to have such precious people call me MOM. I just don't know how life can get any better than this- I am such a blessed woman :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

6 Month Gotcha Anniversary

Can you believe it...6 months ago to the day we received one of the greatest gifts in the world-our Shelby Baby!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Your Giggle for the weekend!

video

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

Cutest ever little bikini...


As you can see from the pics we are really enjoying this nice weather. My little girl is finally feeling better and I am so happy to have "her back". She is silly and giggly again. And the best thing is that she has her numb numb numbing back! Yes, she started back her little sucking motion with her mouth that she (and I) have been missing terribly. This was her self soothing technique and I thought she would just lose the habit since her mouth changed and was in pain. Well, I was wrong and I am proud to say that I was wrong on this one. Since she has this back, she has been sleeping through the night (well almost) all week long-YEAH!

So we are making some great improvements and her mouth seems to be getting better and better. The holes in her palate aren't as big as they originally were so hopefully they won't get any bigger. The smaller the holes, the easier the next repair will be. Not sure when we will do the next surgery to fix the holes, but I am not in a big hurry. Maybe around Thanksgiving or Christmas time. Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at First Friday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exactly one year ago today

I opened up a Waiting Child List to view the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen. She stole my heart that very day! It is a day I will never forget :)












"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11