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Showing posts from 2012

An Advent Quiet day reflection

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(from last January)


It is December 21 and one year ago on the 29th, we boarded the first of four planes that would take us to this sweet and fiesty little girl!  I absolutely can.not.believe it's been nearly a year.  We will celebrate our family day on December 31...that's the day she was placed in our arms and we became forever a family.  We are super excited to celebrate Christmas this year, well, I almost wasn't...let me tell you about it.

Remembering is a strange thing.  I've been pretty emotional this Christmas season so far, just thinking a lot about where we were this time last year and how sad we were that we would not have our girl home for Christmas.  It was all I could think about.  Literally.  I had even concocted a plan that I would fly to Taiwan and stay there until all the court stuff was worked out so I could be with her. I just could not wait to get my hands on her.  We had known about Amber Joy and seen photos and even videos of her for eight months, …

If Only.

I have talked before about how I feel somewhat ill-prepared to be a mom.  I suppose all of us do.  Or maybe we feel ill-prepared for whatever comes our way in this life.  It would actually be easy for me to accuse someone else for not preparing me for what I need to know: my parents, pastors, teachers, etc.  But the truth is, that is going down a road that is dangerous (the blame game).  And as much as I feel I don't know, there are so many things that I DID learn while I was growing up. 

This week, Justin and I have had some interesting discussions about what it is that keeps us from doing what we feel we need to do, when we need to do it.  We have talked a lot about how we trade one "if only" for another...what do I mean?  For me, it's been a range from "if only I were thinner" or "if only I had a Master's Degree" and "if only I had more money."  I may achieve one thing I wanted for myself, only to find I've traded that 'i…
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A new season.

It's autumn again, my favorite season of the year.  And it's funny...you know how you time your life in terms of 'before college' and 'after college' or 'before we were married' and 'after we were married.'  Now, ours is 'before Taiwan' and 'since we've been home from Taiwan.'  I am constantly blown away at how much Amber Joy is changing and growing.  Right now, as I type, she's in her purple Tinkerbell pj's walking around, hiding a block in the entertainment center, looking at me and raising her hands as if to say 'where did it go?' and then finding it over and over again.  That's crazy to me...she's WALKING, she's PLAYING, she's SMILING and LAUGHING and she's learning new things every.single.day.

On Labor Day weekend, we moved from Goodlettsville, and the first house that Justin and I bought as a couple, to my parents' home in Murfreesboro.  The decision was mainly based…

The scriptures floating in my head

This blog is becoming like a 'I have to write it down now or I will explode' journal for me.  Today, I attended day #1 of my third straight year of the "Empowered to Connect" conference on adoption and foster care.  My brain hurts.  My eyes are tired and I'm sitting here on the bed thinking of the millions of other things I could/should be doing while no one is in the house but me, and I put the list in the floor and pulled out the computer.  Ever have those days where if you don't write down all the thoughts in your head, you're convinced they will all come spewing out of your ears?

I'm not typically a scripture-quoter.  Quite frankly, people who go around quoting scripture all the time tend to annoy me.  But today, I've had tons of them floating around in my head.  Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Lately, I just feel like I haven't been very connected.  Know what I mean?  My relationship with …
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Post-adoption

It's a funny thing, really.  How we compare ourselves to other people.  I have challenged myself to become a little more "real" in my blog-writing, but the funny part is that I've been reading others' blogs and have decided I need to be more like them (thinking they are more real than me).  Weird, huh?  Today, I just felt like telling the truth about me and this whole "wife and mom" mentality.  The truth is, I am not a cook.  I don't enjoy it.  I don't iron my husbands shirts for work.  He does it himself.  I don't know how to sew.  Not even a button on a shirt or stitch up a hole.  Never learned.  But these days, I'm struggling with guilt because these are things that a wife and mother should do or at least know how to do, right?  I read other blogs of 'super moms' and see that they make all the decorations for their twelve adopted kids' birthday parties and they always meal plan and have something yummy in the…
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July 23. 

Amber Joy is asleep and for a few days now, I've felt the need to blog.  I just don't have the time to write like I used to (or I don't take the time).  I love to write once I get started, but it's that pesky 'getting started' that seems to allude me.  Hmmm, let's see what's been going on...a few weeks ago, we went to the beach with my parents and my good friend Lori to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  While we were there, we marked six months being home with Amber Joy.  SIX MONTHS HOME.  I truly cannot believe it.  In some ways, it has flown by, but in others, it has been the slowest six months ever.  Adjustment has taken its toll, but I really feel like we're over a major mountain.  Amber Joy is doing so, so well now, it's hard to remember those first tough early days.  But I do remember.  At the beach, I did something daring for me...I went parasailing.  It.was.amazing.

Amber Joy played in the sand for the first…
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Update

We have a wonderful pediatrician who is pleased with Amber Joy's progress. In the time she's been home, we have switched from formula in bottles to cow's milk in sippy cups. We transitioned from bottles fairly easily and the nighttime bottle that had me worried, was really no problem. She is sleeping through the night most nights, she puts herself to sleep in her crib, and she's transitioned to one nap instead of two. She is communicating by mimicking sounds (uh-oh, dog sounds, smacking her lips when I say, "are you ready to eat?"), and does have three signs: please, all done, and more. She loves bath time and all kinds of foods: avacado, pasta, peas and carrots, and grilled cheese sandwiches are among her favorites. She did have two positive tuberculosis skin tests because she had the vaccine in Taiwan, so we are on the medication to prevent TB for a total of nine months. It's a daily pill that we crush and put in applesauce. She's tole…
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AMAZED!

There is no other word to describe the past few months of our lives.  Tonight, as I write, I am watching my daughter crawl around the floor on her hands and knees, shake her head "no" when she doesn't want milk, sign for "more" when she doesn't want me to stop reading, and laugh when she lets out a little gas.  Four months ago when we met her, she couldn't even sit up on the hotel room bed without support.  Now, she's almost ready to walk.  She's eating table food (except for puree prunes, which I still feed her occasionally), clapping when she hears "patty cake" or "If you're happy and you know it...," waving bye-bye when daddy leaves for work, and getting the shapes into the shape sorter, at times, independently.  She's smiling more, opening up to others, and we've been able to leave her in the church nursery several times with no problems. 

If someone had told me how hard this transition was going to b…

Taiwan (Part Five)

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There are several families who have just received first decrees from Taiwan and will soon be traveling to get their sweet babies.  It has made me reflect more and more about our trip, what we would change, and how much we miss Taiwan and want to go back.  We have already discussed taking Amber Joy back, maybe around age 10 or 12, when she can appreciate it for what it is.  If we could do it over again, we would have taken an extra day before meeting Amber Joy, even though it would have been torture to be in the same country and not have her in our arms.  We would have been more rested and more able to take on the challenges of the next few days.  We would have done more sightseeing, instead of staying in and worrying about keeping her pacified.  We would realize that this is the trip of a lifetime and try to see as much and do as much as possible, in spite of the rainy weather. 

But the trip was amazing.  It was completely indescribable...the sights, the sounds, the smells...all diff…

Taiwan (Part Four)

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This is just getting sad...we've been home for over three months and I'm still trying to finish this story!  In the words of Willie Wonka, "On we go..."

Amber Joy and sleep are not the best of friends.  Funny, because neither is sleep and her mommy.  The first night, she slept some, was awake some, then slept some again.  When she woke up at about 6:30 am, we fed her, then she went back to sleep next to Justin on the bed.  It was precious.

The next day, New Year's Day, was a Sunday.  I went down to check out the free breakfast that came with the hotel.  Let's just say that our Taipei breakfast was much more recognizable to us, so I came back to the room with a few pieces of bread and what I believed to be jelly of some sort.  We got ready for church, Justin and I having to switch baby duty while the other was in the shower.  We learned very quickly that trying to get ourselves ready was one thing: trying to get an 11-month-old with a mind of her own ready is …

Taiwan (Part Three)

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Ok, so it was a long trip!  Honestly, it felt longer than it really was.  Justin and I have talked a lot about the fact that we wish we could go back to Taiwan without the anxiety around picking up our baby, not knowing anything about international travel, and determination to sight-see, no matter the weather.  Hindsight is always 20/20, huh? 

When we arrived at the church, we went upstairs to the small room where it seems all of the major events take place--couseling of birthmoms, handing over of babies to their families, and so many tears.  We were running on steam, adrenaline, and pure excitement.  I don't even remember the walk up the steps...I didn't know if Amber Joy would be there at the top, already in the room waiting for us or how this would all happen.  It's crazy that eight months (really two years of our entire adoption journey) was about to culminate in a tiny little church in Taiwan on New Year's Eve.  We waited in the room for what seemed like forever,…

Taiwan (Part Two)

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Ok, I plead the fact that I am a new mom for not blogging about the rest of our trip until now!  If I don't do it now, I will begin to forget the details and I don't want to do that!  As I write today, Amber Joy is napping in her crib.  Yes, in her crib.  When we got home, she was napping great...2 or more hours, but after a few weeks, she started sleeping 20 minutes and waking up crying.  I read the sleep books, but they don't really address adoption attachment issues (you really shouldn't let an adopted baby 'cry it out'), so I began rocking her to sleep then lying down with her in my bed.  That worked for about 2 weeks.  Then, another adoptive mom whose son dealt with the same sleep issues began coaching me!  Seriously!  It was a play-by-play over text when we started trying her method.  I put Amber Joy in the crib at naptime and let her cry it out.  The difference: I stay in the room where she can see me.  She learns to self-soothe and as a result, sleeps l…