Monday, November 16, 2009

Bringing in the new

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are {in fact} unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.  1 Corinthians 5:7

As you have heard me say many times, Jade constantly amazes me.  I know normally developing children learn things quickly.  When you have taught developmentally delayed children for more than 20 years, you forget how quickly normal children learn things.

Unfortunately, while she learns English, I hear less and less Chinese at the level she was at in China coming out of her.  She spoke in full sentences, even with me, while we were in China.  Some of her thoughts were very complex and truly showed her level of intelligence.  Even when I had her recently speak with a Chinese friend of mine, she didn't use it with her either.

What is sad for me is seeing her losing a part of who she is.  Yes, by bringing her home she became an American.  Yes, she will speak English as an American.  I know that when you are learning something new, some of the old things slide back.  It is just hard to watch a part of who she has been for the past three years leaving her.  She is still Chinese and always will be.  I don't want her to forget that. 

She was born to a woman in China.  She has a biological father who is Chinese as well.  I watch all the wonderful things she is doing and think about a family that doesn't get to see this wonderful part of her.  When we celebrated her birthday a few weeks ago, did they think about their child they felt had to give up?  She was abandoned on November 1.  Did they remember that day as well and wonder what has happened to her?  Chances are they will never know that she was adopted nor that she now lives in the United States.    They will also never know what a sweet, loving, bright child she is.  All they knew was she was an albino and that she was different.  I don't know what went through their heads or whether or not they think of her today.  I just don't want her to forget who she is and where she came from.  God allowed her to be born in China, spend almost 3 years in an orphanage and a foster home before He joined us together as a family.  Being Chinese is a part of her heritage and I don't want her to ever forget that.  

As the old leaves her and the new is coming in, may I never forget to share with her all the wonderful things I know about China with her.  May I never forget to share with her His unconditional love and teach her about His ways.  May He continue to watch over both of us and help us to know what she needs to keep and what she needs to let go.  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blessings of the week

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ           Philippians 3:8

Though I am looking to be more content in life, nothing has brought me more joy than being a mother.  Though I have many days that I struggle with putting the things of life in their proper order, there are two things that will always be at the top of my list:  my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my daughter.  That is how it should be.  He comes first.  As He comes first, He gives me the ability to be the best that I can be for her.  Without Him, nothing else matters.  Without Him, it is all a loss.  I can't imagine being a mom without Him first in my life. 

This week, Jade and I had a wonderful blessing.  With it being Veteran's Day on Wednesday, we got an extra day to spend together.  We took full advantage of it.  Late in the afternoon, we headed over to the playground across the street from our home.  She loves it.  My mom watches her two days a week and they go there alot.  Jade is getting more confident as she tries more things.  With her vision challenges, she sometimes seems unsure and wants me to hold her hand to get through things.  It doesn't take her long until she wants to be independent. 

She is starting to take more risks indoors and out.  Climbing on things, bouncing on things, jumping on things, just physically exploring her world more and more.  With that is coming more falls and more bumps.  She is very much like many other children who come out of an orphanage setting.  They get hurt but many don't cry.  Their experience may be that no one will come or comfort me when I cry so why bother.  This isn't due to the children being unloved.  Many times this is due to the ratio of staff to children is extremely high.  Due to this, many children that needed to be picked up and held couldn't be because there was not enough people available to do this.  I also know that many of the ayis (nannies) often haven't finished middle school and definitely did not receive training to work with children as they do here in the states.  I'm sure in time Jade will watch other children and come to realize she can milk her "bonk-a-boos" with a few tears.

My baobei (my precious treasure)

At the playground across the street from our home

My precious baby girl

Not only were we blessed with an extra day to spend together, we were blessed with a family from church coming by today to play with Jade while I tackled more boxes that need to be unpacked.  Since I only had 3 weeks to get repairs done and move back into my home before I went to get her, only the major necessities of life were unpacked.  Even though we have been home almost 2 months, I still had some stuff that I brought home from my year in China that needed to be put away.  While they played with Jade, I was able to get alot accomplished in a very short time today.  Nothing can be more overwhelming to me than to constantly see the things I still need to do glaring at me every day.  I now can say one more room is done!  Lord, you are so good!  Thank you for the blessings you give.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Content? Not yet but getting there

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:11

I'm going to start this one out by stating that I AM NOT COMPLAINING about my life. Not in any way, shape or form! Right now, I am just sharing my thoughts about where I am in my life.

Now that I have said that, hmmm...content. I have recently found myself praying for this again. I found myself two years ago praying for this and I was amazed when I finally looked back at my life and found that I was content. I stopped longing for things that were not mine to have. I love how He hears our hearts desires and gives them to us when they are in line with His will for our lives.

I want to be back in that state of mind. I have been blessed so abundantly with the gift of my daughter. Please don't take this as me saying I want more. I'm not deserving of what He has already given me. How could I even think to want more blessings?

Sometimes my head is a scary place to be. I don't let things go very easily. I over think things. I try to figure things out in my head. I try to interpret meanings behind things that maybe aren't meant for me to understand or to know just yet. This is what I want to stop. I want to take each of these thoughts captive and give them over to God. I want to be comfortable waiting for Him to fulfill the promises He has given me instead of me saying "Is this it Lord?" or "What does this mean when ... happened?".

This is what I mean by wanting to be content. I want to be able to walk through my day CONTENT to be doing what He has me doing, going where He wants me to be and totally focused on the most important job He has ever given me...being a mom. All the rest of life is very distracting at times. I forgot about some of that while I was in China. I want my focus back. While I was in China, I never forgot any of the promises He had given me. I just wasn't busy trying to interpret all the little things and how they played into my desires. I was content...content in waiting on Him and His perfect timing for anything and everything in my life. I long for that again. My daughter deserves that from me.

Please pray that I am able to find this. I have started to find some of it as I have pulled myself back from some things that I have let my head get all wrapped up in. Pray I am able to hear His still, small voice so I know where He wants me to step, when He wants me to step and to wait contently for His plans to unfold instead of me unfolding my plans. Thank you Lord that you love me enough to continue to mold me into being the best mother and woman I can be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

2 months

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

On Saturday, November 2, I celebrated the fact that Jade and I have been a family for 2 months. I want you to know that it feels like she has been with me so much longer than just a mere 60 days. She continues to be such an angel. My mom keeps telling me how lucky I am. I know this is not luck but a blessing from my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This gift is so perfect that it could only come from Him.

Let's make them all talk at the same time!

Everyday she is trying new things. I can watch her for hours trying to figure out what she is going to think of next. The other day she decided that she was going to activate all the LeapFrog things on the refrigerator at the same time. She then stood back and chuckled at herself. She just cracks me up sometimes...ok...most of the time.

Dancing in the kitchen

She loves music. She loves dancing. She has figured out that if she stands infront of the dishwasher she can see her reflection in it while she dances. She received one of those cards that has music in it for her birthday. She likes when I sing to it and we added some "moves" to go with it. She will imitate anything I do! NOT ALWAYS a good thing but it definitely helps to keep me aware of all the things I shouldn't be doing. I think some dance classes may be in her future.

Dancing to her Fridge DJ

Every morning we have our little rituals. The first thing when she wakes up, she asks me "How are you?". The next question I get as we go downstairs is "Cheerios?". I make my coffee while she sits next to the fridge with her Cheerios and her drink (aka "shui" pronounced "shway"). I always bring down her blanket because we take it to daycare. This week, she decided that she wanted it over her lap while she sat there with her Cheerios and shui.

Her newest thing

Also this week, Little, our cat, decided that he really likes Jade's bag. I was filling it with all the things she needed one morning. Little decided she needed to take him with her too.

Little wants to go to daycare too

For any of you that have been into Jade's playroom, you will see that I have lots of books! I love to read and I love to read to her even more. Her favorite book of the week is The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. She sat there the other night with it in her lap while I was cooking dinner. The ladybug was picking fights with bigger and bigger animals. I tell the story in English but add some size words in Chinese. As she was "reading" the book, she would flip to each page and find the ladybug, call it "xiao de" (little one) and then the other animal and call it "da de" (big one). As the animals would get bigger, she was imitating what I had done with my voice. This was truly fun to listen to and watch!

Checking out her favorite book of the week

She has started to wear bows in her hair. It is growing very quickly. If you check out the pictures of her buzz cut in June, it is wonderful to see how much it has grown. They don't stay in long as they seem to slide out easily but the other morning she got up and wanted them in. That morning, she also decided that her bucket could hold more than her stuff from the refrigerator.

Her latest bucket trick

The other night, I had to go out to the kitchen to get something. When I came back in, I found this.

Little trying to convince Jade to share her dinner

My mom had bought a cradle this summer at a garage sale. My nephew had to complete a project for school by helping someone do something. He chose to help my dad sand and paint the cradle for Jade. It is adorable!

Her cradle my nephew, Hunter, painted for her

We had about 40 family members over to our home yesterday to celebrate her becoming a part of her family. As Hunter gave her his gift, he brought in one of her dolls to put in it. Jade wanted to take it out though and climb in herself. :) The sweetest thing was later on when she was given another baby doll as a gift, it too was put in the cradle. Jade then started praying with the baby as I do when I put her to bed. I so love her!

My new hat?

My daughter is quite a natural when it comes to performing for an audience. Her mama is the same way...unfortunately.

Her new cart

Jade loves to push things around the house, including the 6" tall carriage for my mini Boyd's Bear. She started pushing the cart around and realized that it had a seat in the front, just like in the stores. Hmmmmm! Yes, as most children would, she tried to climb in this too! She was satisfied (for that day) when we showed her that her dolls or stuffed animals could ride instead.

As I told you earlier, she loves having an audience and is always ready to perform. Since I have worked in an elementary school for 16 years and performed as a clown, I have a few cute little tricks to show her. One was my favorite...a round of applause, a seal of approval and a little Hip! Hip! Hooray!. She performed Hip! Hip! Hooray! for the large crowd yesterday several times. I believe my mom may have even gotten it on tape.

Hip! Hip! Hooray!

She also took this moment of having a large audience to try out a new trick, climbing on the coffee table!

Her newest trick

Each day with her is truly a gift. If nothing else good comes into my life, I will be ok because she is a good and perfect gift everyday. Even on days that are challenging, I love her more and more. I look forward to what will come with her. Thank you Lord Jesus for this gift.