Saturday, August 30, 2008

Anhui Angels

Adopting a child is an amazing experience. Adopting internationally only adds to the excitement. When you travel with a group of “strangers” to a foreign country and spend two weeks with them, it’s amazing how fast those strangers become your friends…and very often friends for life. Last weekend we traveled by plane to meet with our special friends to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our adoptions.

Doodlebug with LL and JK

All of these girls were adopted on the same day in the same province, but they are not necessarily from the same orphanage. Oh, how I wish I had “before and after” pictures of these sweeties. The change has been remarkable. They are all so healthy, so lively, so happy and SO loved! Sadly, this wasn't the case one year ago.
The family that hosted the reunion did an OUTSTANDING job. We met at their house Friday night for pizza and fun! LOTS OF FUN!!!
Saturday was filled with more food and fun at a children’s zoo and a beautiful park.

Here's DB hanging out at the zoo with her friends.
A group picture of the girls and their siblings-- unfortunately, CS, the youngest, isn’t in the picture.
LL, JK, Doodlebug and DD on the way to the swimming pool
After a picnic lunch and fun at the park, the girls enjoyed a swim in the neighborhood pool. Then, it was back to the hotel for a much needed nap.
Once the girls had rested, we went back to the host family’s house to enjoy a WONDERFUL cook-out.
Finally, a picture of all 5 girls and DD. Sorry that LL was looking the other way. Getting five 2 & 3 year olds to all look the same way and smile at the same time is no small feat! LOL
This is a picture of the cake that JK’s mother ordered for our little Anhui Angels.
I really think if this picture had been taken from any other angle, you could actually see their wings. lol

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Lot of "FIRSTS" for the Darling Girls

We returned late Sunday night from Doodlebug’s first travel group reunion and hit the ground running Monday morning with Desheng Darling’s first day of Kindergarten. She was so excited!
We tried to make her first day a BIG deal with a new dress, etc! She actually had cute knee socks and shoes, but they weren’t comfortable…so I had to give in to the sandals.
She seems to understand that Home School is really school. I heard her tell a lady at the airport this weekend that she was excited about starting kindergarten because it was “the law” that she start school and “she didn’t want to go to jail.” LOL (I wonder where she heard that.) The lady looked quite shocked! LOL

But Doodlebug wasn’t going to be out done…Oh no. .. She had to put on her school dress too, along with her make-up and a just a little spray of cologne. LOL
They really look confident and ready to learn…I sure wish I felt as confident. Not only was Monday DD’s first day in K, it was also my first day to TEACH Kindergarten! LOL I’ve got a lot of experience in the upper grades, but NONE in kindergarten!
To top it all off, Sister Darling started her teaching career Monday! She is teaching 7th grade science this year. What a way to start! LOL Unfortunately, she didn’t send me any pictures of her first day. I know she’ll do a great job. She’s just a natural when it comes to working with kids.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

So Glad We "Gotcha," Doodlebug

Doodlebug... August 20, 2007
Doodlebug... August 20, 2008
Today we celebrated the one-year anniversary of DB’s Gotcha Day. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we traveled to China for her. The years we spent waiting to travel sure didn’t go this fast.
When we first got DB, she wouldn’t let DD touch her. Now, they are practically inseparable. It’s difficult to take a picture of just one of them alone.
We spent most of the day at the Mall with friends where DB enjoyed spending time in the play area and riding the carousel.
After purchasing a special kitty from the Disney Store, we stopped by Dixie’s to buy a charm (also a kitty) for DB’s Gotcha Day bracelet.
We ended the day by making a special Gotcha Day treat…Cookies ‘n Crème Brownies…Yum! Yum!
Today is one of those times when “Thank you, Lord” just doesn’t seem adequate to express my gratefulness for the wonderful children God has blessed us with. I’m glad He knows my heart and understands the joy I feel.
Doodlebug, I'm so glad we “Gotcha!”

Monday, August 18, 2008

THSC State Conference

It was almost midnight when we arrived at our hotel. The girls were well rested after sleeping for almost 3 hours in the car. They were also hungry. Here they are eating a banana in the bed! I guess I was too tired to care.

DD was scheduled to attend a Children’s Camp while I attended sessions. Since DB was too young for camp, she got to spend the day with Daddy Darling in the hotel. She didn't have any trouble leaving me. By the time I saw them again for lunch, DB had eaten 3 Pop Tarts, a package of chips, and 2 cartons of apple juice! Hmmm…It’s no wonder that she loves to stay with Daddy D.
DD's morning wasn't quite as pleasant. She cried quite a few tears because she missed her mommy and daddy, so after a few more sessions she spent the rest of the conference with Daddy D too.
Just one more reason the girls enjoyed spending time with Daddy D.
He’s so much fun! The conference was really good and I’m glad I attended. I need to get off of this computer now and finish my lesson plans for next week so we can actually start school!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2024 Gold Medalist

Hmmmm….Wonder what the girls have been watching?
The girls were in bed when the Women’s Gymnastics competition came on last night; however, they weren’t asleep. All their giggling gave them away. LOL
I let them get up and watch the gymnastics competition. Neither of the girls has any formal training in gymnastics, so they haven’t a clue about it. DB was amazed! She tried to copy everything the women did from covering her hands with chalk to getting and giving hugs when her performance was over.She even walked around the room with her chin held high and perfect posture. It was SO funny. When she woke up this morning she put on one of DD’s old leotards and pretended that she was on the Olympic team, especially when she saw news reports of last night’s events.

It’s nice to know that she can rely on some of her other talents if she doesn’t make the 2024 Olympic team. LOL

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Will Lead Them to Christ?

I recently received my Prayer Bracelet for China. I ordered it from this web site:
The bracelet is to be worn during the Olympic Games as a reminder to pray for the persecuted Christians in China. For me, it has a special meaning because I know that the birth parents of both of my Chinese daughters are most likely still in China. The chance of our daughters ever meeting their birth parents is almost non-existent in this life, but I pray that someday they will be reunited in heaven. I have the opportunity to try to lead my daughters to Christ, but who will lead her birth parents? Without Christians in China sharing the gospel, this will be impossible. Each time I pray with my daughters, read the Bible to them, or take them to church I am reminded of our religious freedom in this country. Wearing this bracelet will serve as a reminder of the lack of religious freedom in their home country, so I may wear mine even after the Olympics have come and gone. The Lord is working through the missionaries in China everyday to bring more people to Christ, so I will continue to pray that our daughters’ birth parents will be among the ones who have the opportunity to hear the gospel and say “yes” to Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Swimming Anyone?

What a way to spend the day! DB and DD had a great time swimming with their play group friends this week. We missed you SB and Cheerleader.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Paper Trail Ends

Wow, it’s almost complete. Today we had our final visit from our social worker, Ms. Susan . She has been so good to us throughout this whole process. We first met her when we were preparing to adopt Desheng Darling in 2003. We were SO worried about her first visit to our home. I cleaned EVERYTHING…carpets, corners, window sills, under beds, clothes closets, linen closets, the oven, the pantry…EVERYTHING. I’m not sure why I was so concerned. After all, our two bio children had made it just fine in our care. LOL I guess I expected her to actually open every door in the house and inspect it. Thank goodness, she didn’t! Instead, she made herself at home and worked hard to help us make our dream of adoption come true. When we decided to do it all over again, Ms. Susan was there to start the long process again.
It feels good to know that our paperwork obligation is almost over, but at the same time, it’s a little sad to see this friendship become more distant. We’ll be sending in our 12-month post-adoption report in a few days, then… she’s ALL OURS! Thanks you Ms. Susan for all of your help!!!!!