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 time.  She was not really a fan, but didn't seem to hate it either.  She enjoyed being in the water and slept (very soundly) in a pack n play in a dark walk-in closet all week.  It was the perfect place. 

Justin and I had lots of time at the beach to talk and reflect on our connection (or lack thereof) in the past few months and try to find ways we can stay in touch with each other while giving Amber Joy the attention she needs.  Since we are new parents, we have struggled with finding a balance with her independent play, but relying on us for her needs.  This past Sunday, she was very social with the other folks in our Sunday School class and I began to feel jealous for her attention.  I want her to want mommy and daddy, but then when she is clingy to us, I just want a break.  Even Justin has said, "how can I love someone so much and be jealous of them at the same time?"  There are so many ironies in parenting.  We are learning lots about how God loves us: first and foremost, God wanted a relationship with us...fellowship and love.  Our reason for wanting to be parents was similar--we just wanted a child to love.  Now that we have her, we love her completely, and sometimes wonder what we are supposed to do with her now!?

I've been thinking a lot about the book of Ecclesiastes lately, and applying it to being a mom.  "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under Heaven...A time to be born and a time to die...A time to dance and a time to mourn...A time to build up and a time to tear down...A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing."  Isn't that how it is with our kids?  We have to wear so many hats with them...mentor, disciplinarian, friend, teacher, encourager, bearer of brutal honesty...so many hats. 

This past Friday, Amber Joy finally had her hearing test.  It's been nearly 7 months of going back and forth from doctor to audiologist and back again and now we KNOW that she has mild hearing loss in both ears.  It is unbelievable to us that a year ago, we were still wondering what degree of hearing loss she would have and even dared to think the worst, that she may never hear at all.  Now, we have answers and she will be fitted for hearing aides on August 6.  She will be able to hear the sounds that she's missing now and the audiologist and doctor believe that her speech will develop normally with the hearing aides.  We are thankful.

Last, but not least, we are moving to Murfreesboro, TN.  We are planning to live with my parents for a few months and pay off some debts.  We want to rent out our house and are very thankful that my parents have the space and the willingness to let us stay with them.  I am having a hard time thinking of moving away from the support system of friends I've built over the past five years.  But God is good, and we know that he has our best in mind. 

I can't let this blog post end without mentioning the dear, dear friends who have become family to us.  David and Sherra Williams, who adopted their son Jack Everett from the same place in Taiwan where Amber Joy was, are about to adopt again from Taiwan.  This time, they are going for their precious identical twin boys, Sam and Eli.  We are thrilled to be Aunt Steph and Uncle Justin to these boys and can't wait until they get to go and bring them home.  My friendship with Sherra has been such an unexpected gift.  We share new mommy stories and frustrations and all the joys and tears that go along with this new journey.  We are so happy about their new blessings :)



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