Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fun Times in December, 2014!

We are so blessed for all of the people who have loved on, accepted, and given in many ways to Lena and Will over these past seven months.  All during Christmas, I was made even more aware of this through parties at school, knowledge gained from their Sunday School teachers about the Christmas story, and neighbors and friends who had fun events planned for them.  It was fun listening to Hope tell Will and Lena all about Santa Clause and Will ask her a 100 questions!  Sharing our family traditions with them reminded me how blessed we are as a family.  Will's face when the Living Christmas Tree at church lit up was priceless.  Lena loved wearing her special Christmas outfits.  We had about six countdown to Christmas items going on like Advent calendars, putting pieces of nativity together, etc.  Will kept asking when was the snow coming - I kept saying it wasn't but he still kept asking!  In fact on Christmas Eve day, he said I can't wait until tomorrow.  Out of curiosity I asked him what was going to happen and he said, "It is going to snow!"

December 1st of last year, Andy made a trip to Moldova and first met Will and Lena.  The Ministry of Social Protection in Moldova would not release paperwork on Lena.  This trip was vital in getting the paperwork.  For those of you who walked the adoption journey with us, you know it was very challenging.  In fact, our agency who was able to complete adoptions for three families during this window of Moldova reopening adoptions announced recently they were closing their program with Moldova.  As far as I know, they are the only agency in the US or any other country who was able to complete any adoptions during this time.  I can only guess that our agency made this decision due to the difficulty that they encountered in working with the Moldovan govt.  Dossiers were returned to families  in the program leaving them with hard decisions to make.  Given this, I am even more amazed at how God orchestrated the adoption of Will and Lena and the perseverance of Andy to see it happen!  This month more than ever, I think about where they were last year and what their future would have been like without God's intervention.  And I am humbled to be a part of His work.  This is not to say that the journey is easy; my nerves get frayed, I lose patience, and I constantly fail to surrender but God uses ordinary people with weaknesses and faults.  For this, I am grateful!  Praise the Lord for His mercies!

Will's class at Wesley Gardens singing carols.  Will's music teacher in Moldova had an accordion that was duct taped together.
Our neighbor, Hope Mardre helped the kids make wooden tree ornaments and gingerbread houses!
Our friends, the Rowells, invited the kids over to make cookies.  This is Katherine and Lena!
The kids giving Santa ornaments that they made - Lena's idea!
Kids with Santa.  We had to hurry Will along because of all of the questions he was asking Santa!
Making cookies at our house
Having our traditional Christmas Eve Day brunch at Cracker Barrel
Hope is pumped about meeting the camel at the live nativity scene.
Will working diligently at the Rowell's house on his cookies.
Will giving his card to a resident at Wesley Gardens
Christmas party at Looney's
Hope's 1st grade party at Eastwood

Hope's class playing a fun Christmas game!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Little Piggy Opera 2014!

Every year, the kindergarten classes at Eastwood School puts on the cutest play called The Little Piggy Opera.  It ties in Colossians 3:23 which says "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men."  This year, we had the privilege of watching Will make his acting debut as the little pig who built his house out of sticks.  What a thrill to watch him and think about God's grace that brought him from where he was last Christmas to where he is this year.  Thanks to everyone who continues to love Will!

Waiting patiently for his part

Finally, it is his turn!

Will and first little pig meeting the big bad wolf

Telling big bad wolf "NO WAY"

Beth and Will

Even Mrs. Dora got to come!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything!

First of all, I want to update everyone on Will's ear situation.  We went back to the ENT at Children's on Tuesday, and the fluid behind his surgery ear was gone so his eustachian tubes are working!  Also, the non surgery ear was not infected (I think this may be the first time since he has been home!).  Soooo, we have the tympanoplasty scheduled on his second ear Dec. 18th.  We are so grateful for this and are praying that this surgery is successful.  This ear basically has no ear drum do to the hole being so big and will be more detailed than the other.  Prayers appreciated.  His hearing in the surgery ear was in the normal range with some room for improvement.

Will and Lena are experiencing so many new things - it is fun to watch.  Of course, Will has to know every single detail about everything!  I am sure this will serve him well at some point!!!  But there is a lot of explaining going on constantly at our home.  While his English is phenomenal for 7 mos in the US, it is still challenging to explain to him things he has no idea about.  Lena, on the other hand, just goes with the flow mostly.  I have to give a pat on the back to Hope.  She has done so well adjusting to siblings for which we are so thankful.

Will is doing so well in school and so is Hope!  Lena is doing well at home in learning letters, numbers, counting, colors, shapes.  We are working on writing letters and the sound they make.

Thanks to all of you who continue to keep us in your prayers.  Everyday, I benefit from your intercession, because adoption is so much more than just expanding your family.  It is about relationships, adjustments, likes and dislikes, losses and gains, fears, personalities, new traditions, and lots and lots of medical appts!  It is also about seeing your children experience so many things for the first time and watching them become part of a family and society!  Praising God for my adoption and the promise of eternal security as we pray for all of our children to become part of God's family.

Will's first school program
Hope's first grade Pilgrim Feast
Will and Lena's first wedding (my niece Kayla)
Lena and Will's first Thanksgiving - with all the Birchfield cousins
Searching for just the right tree and yes, they are in their PJs and Crocs!
Couldn't resist a pic with the blow up Santa

Lena loves Sunday School, especially snack time!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Updates!

It has been awhile since I have blogged but not because there hasn't been anything to blog about.  On the contrary, the days are full of both wonderful accomplishments and first time events to many challenges.  Speaking of challenges, we think Lena is going through the TERRIBLE TWOS where you cry over everything and can change your entire personality in a nano second.  She is (hopefully) learning to obey and how to interact with others (especially her younger brother and sister).  She came home from Eastwood's K4 program due to just not being ready and needing some "mommy" time at home.  She and I are working through her K4 workbooks so she will be ready next year.  She has learned her colors, shapes, identifies letters and numbers and is working on writing her name.  Her vocabulary is increasing but she can still be quite hard to understand at times.  She loves all things girlie which is a first for me since Beth and Hope have been just the opposite.

Will continues to amaze us in school and how quickly he learns and how eager he is.  He will do worksheet after worksheet and is learning sight words and beginning to read in K.  I can't imagine all that he has had to adjust to but he has taken it all in stride.  He drives me crazy at times with constant questions and sees things so black and white and it is hard to explain some "gray" things to him since we still are dealing with the language barrier to some extent.  However, for the most part, he is fluent in English (in less than six mos.!).  He continues to take guitar and while it is going slowly, he is picking it up.  He has thoroughly enjoyed all things Halloween and fall.  However, when we started talking about getting pumpkins, he would get very worried and say he didn't like them.  Then we figured out that they were fed pumpkins in Moldova and he did not like them.  When we explained that we would decorate them rather than eat them, he was all in.

In regards to his ears, we continue to face battles.  His non-surgery ear stays infected regardless of antibiotics.  The pediatric ENT recently cultured it and hopefully, we will get the results soon and will know how to treat it.  As for his surgery ear, he has fluid built up behind the eardrum and his eustachian tubes are not draining the fluid internally.  The patch over the eardrum is holding but we need the eustachian tubes to work.  Otherwise, we may have to put a tube in the patched eardrum which we want to avoid.  PLEASE pray that his eustachian tubes start to work!!!!

Hope is doing great.  She is reading a lot in and out of school and math is a major subject in first grade. We had her taking a private gymnastics lesson a week since she didn't want to compete but have taken her out completely.  She has no interest at all despite her talent!  This was hard for me, because I see her talent and know she could excel but I had to give it up!  She continues to love animals and nature and just thrives on those subjects.  She recently went to the Planetarium for the first time on a first grade field trip.  She likes telling Lena and Will all about what happens in fall, Halloween, etc.  She keeps losing teeth - I think she is up to six now!

Dow continues to love Auburn and plans to participate in his first half ironman in the spring.  He is studying hard and enjoying as much of nature and being outdoors during these beautiful days as possible.  We said goodbye to Beth on Oct. 31.  We were sad but she was very happy, because she will be in Haiti for the month of November.  She is homeschooling this year which gives her the flexibility to do this.

I am including some pictures from October - hard to choose from so many!!!

Will all dressed up for Rodeo Day at Kindergarten!
Our beautiful Beth!
Getting all the gooey out!
What will it be?
Will approaches everything as a fun adventure!
Lena was excited to have flower stickers
Maybe a Cheetah?!?!  Not bad for his first time at painting a pumpkin!
Wow, she is an old pro!
Our Spiderman, Fairy and Leopard
Sweet moment, rare but sweet!
Spiderman, Max and Hope
Hope at First Baptist , Montgomery Fall Festival
Oh the joys of bubble wrap - kept them busy forever!
Lena's first professional haircut
Hope with Hannah (left) and Mallory (right) at the Planetarium
Halloween night. 
Little spiderman, Big spiderman (Sam Rowell)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

First Birthday Party!

Will, Lena and Hope were all invited to a birthday party for sisters, Hannah and Lucy Winklepleck.  Hannah will be 7 and Lucy will turn 4 on September 28th (yes, they share the exact same birthday)!
Instead of having their guests bring gifts, they asked for donations to Children's Hope like diapers, formula, toothbrushes and toothpaste.  What a blessing for CH!

While Lena and Will had small family birthday parties this was their first REAL birthday party to attend!  They loved it!  It took Lena a little longer to get the hang of the ginormous jumping house with slide but Will took right to it.  Of course, Hope was an old pro!  Lena and Will also had their first experience with a piñata .  I explained to them that when it came to their turn, to hit it as hard as they could - Will took me very seriously but Lena was hesitant.  However, when the candy came out, she seemed to know just what to do!

They had a great time and the weather was perfect.  Our thanks to this family for giving Will and Lena just a great experience and for the donations to CH.

Hannah and Lucy
Hannah and Hope

Hope coming down the slide
Will made several good swipes at the piñata!
Lena was just not sure about this tradition!
Lena finally decided the slide was fun!
Hannah and Hope