"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." -Chinese proverb

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"She's my best friend!"

We were driving home from Ella's dance class the other day and it takes a while because she gets out right in time for 5:30 traffic so the kids get restless.  Liana was singing her version of the ABC's, which is adorable at times and super annoying at times because it goes something like this, "A, O, E, A, I, O, Aaaaa...." and just repeat it a million times.  Ella was exhausted from school and dance and says, "No, Liana!"  So Ethan pipes up from the other side of Liana, "Don't say no to Liana!  She's my best friend!"  Now, after about 3 more minutes of Liana's singing, Ethan was yelling at her to stop too but I loved his little moment of defending his little sister/best friend!

Little cheeseballs

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

One year ago...

One year ago today, on the first day of spring, we saw her face for the first time.  We received a call early that morning from Holt and then rushed home and sat in front of our computer, just waiting for the email with all of the information and pictures of our sweet daughter.  And then, there she was...our absolutely gorgeous little daughter, waiting for us in China.  Just two little pictures and we were in love, instant love.  Now, here we are a year later, and she's here with us.  I can't believe it has been a year since we saw this sweet face.  How much she has changed!  Sometimes it still strikes me what an amazing miracle that she's here with us!  I think we may need to celebrate with Chinese food!

She was 18 months old at the time of referral but only about 12 months old in these pics

Then and now

Sunday, March 17, 2013

6 months and family fun

It has been 6 months since Liana was placed in our arms for the first time!  She has been a daughter and a sister for 6 months and she has embraced those roles like she has always been in this family!  It's like she knew this is where she belongs and she has just taken to being in a family in such an amazing way! 

We just got back from a trip to visit our families last week.  It was amazing to have everyone meet Liana.  She handled everything like a little champ.  She had a blast with the grandparents and all of her aunts and uncles.  It was a pretty exhausting trip because we had to travel the entire length of the state since our families live on opposite ends.  All of our kids love to be around our extended family and Liana joined right in on the fun right away!  We just had a blast and our amazing little girl just loved everyone and fit in like she's always been here!

I have noticed that Liana follows her brother and sister's lead in so many things and it was very evident in this trip.  She saw that Ella and Ethan were comfortable with everyone so she was too.  After we came home, we had a last second play date with some friends that just happened to be in town.  I noticed that Liana was much more standoffish with them and I realized that it was because Ella and Ethan were too since they didn't know them before that play date.  I think it's amazing how she looks to them for a sense of security.  This is one of the reasons that we brought the kids with us to China.  We knew that Liana would instantly feel more comfortable with other kids than she would with us and we hoped that seeing Ella and Ethan with us would make her feel more comfortable with us.  I am convinced that it did because our China trip really went beautifully with her.  We have never regretted having all of our kids with us on that trip and it's amazing what a bond these siblings have!

Here are some pics from our trip to Oregon:
At the zoo

Cuddle time with Grandpa

Cuddles with Grandma

Shooting hoops with Daddy

Cooking with Grammy

Lawnmower rides with Papa

Pure joy!

Four generations!


Going home

And just for fun, the first time I ever held Liana and today

Monday, March 4, 2013

Baby dedication

Yesterday, on Liana's 2 1/2 birthday (hey, when you miss her first birthdays, you'll take the 1/2 birthdays!) we had her dedicated at church.  This is always very meaningful for us when we dedicate our children, as it is our public declaration that we will try to raise them as God wants us to and in His word.  Taking her to church is always such a wonderful feeling and I haven't gotten over the feeling of awe for how many prayers were said for her last year and tears were shed as we waited to go and get her.  And now she's here!  I love our church and it is so nice to have Liana there with us every Sunday, learning about Jesus and all of the things that Erik and I grew up learning about.  One thing that was kind of amazing was that each family had someone up there with them to hold the baby during one of the prayers and the woman who came up to be with us told us that her sister is waiting for a referral for a baby from China right now.  She told me that she has been waiting for 5 years so I know she must be doing non-special needs adoption and, if she continues in non-special needs, will probably be waiting at least a couple more years.  I told her that it was much, much faster for us and explained to her about special needs adoption and Liana's "special needs" or really lack thereof.  I told her that you can be matched with a child with very minor special needs and she got really excited to tell her sister about it.  I'm sure her sister already knows about special needs adoption.  If her agency hasn't told her about it, I would be shocked because people can make the switch to special needs and be matched and get to their child very quickly.  But, maybe after her sister meeting one of these beautiful, amazing "special needs" children and seeing what a non-issue it can be, maybe she will really consider it.  Who knows...maybe God put us together with this woman on this day for a reason.  I really hope so.  I wonder how many lives our beautiful girl will touch without us even knowing it. 

After the baby dedication, we celebrated with ice cream.  The only thing that could have made the day better was if all of the grandparents were there but we will be seeing them very, very soon! :-)

Liana with her first Bible

Our three sweeties

Family pic...can you believe we got one with all three kids smiling?!