Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Language frustrations....

I don't know which is worse--coming to us with no English or coming to us with some and not wanting to speak any Chinese.  I know it's my mindset and expectations, but it still leads to MAJOR frustrations.  

Eliana wants NOTHING to do with Chinese and I think she has lost most of it already.  I also don't think she's progressed much in her English since coming to us so we seem to be at an impasse most days.  She has officially been home 3 months and I honestly don't feel that she understands us any more than day 1 home.  She gets the basic 2-3 year old stuff--eat, bathe, time to go bye-bye; but if we try to explain things to her, like why she was moved out of the girls room for waking them up and that she'll get to move back in when she shows us she's not going to keep waking them up, we get the blank stare or resaying what she thinks she heard which is totally wrong!  A funny one, I told her that one when she could prove to me that she wouldn't wake them up, she said "in one day I'll go back." NO!  We did NOT just move your whole bed for one day.  Or she'll say ok like she understands us but when asked to execute whatever she was told--nothing.  She has refused to listen to someone speak Chinese to her.  I was counting on that as a life line to communicate with her....that I could have someone explain the deeper things to her in her language.  

Today I read aloud 2 kid books for history.  When I finished she asked me, "mama, now do school?"  Huh?  I've been reading for 45 minutes!  That was school.  We do things like picture study (following Charlotte Mason).  It consists of the kids looking at a piece of artwork and telling me what they see.  She just stares.  She can't seem to tell me anything that's in the picture--and I'd take just about anything.  Tell me there's a girl, tell me a tree, just give me some indication you have looked at the picture!  All the others go first and then her, so she's heard 4 other students give their narration.  Nothing.  

I'm not sure how to proceed.  We're a verbal family--with 7 of us there's always talking.  She's surrounded by talking, playing, music, TONS of read aloud--I read aloud about 2 hours a day and baba reads books before bed.  Interesting...she will only listen to the book she picks out, she wanders off when Troy reads a book that Shaoey or Grace chose...hmmm.  When should I be concerned?  When should I consider taking her for an eval?  We're all frustrated.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas fundraiser

Need a Christmas gift?  How about one that helps others?  

All proceeds from this Christmas fundraiser go to:


Both organizations care for special needs orphans in China.   We have been to both homes and met the wonderful, precious children there and the amazing families that have given their lives to care for these children.   By Christmas shopping here, you will be helping children on the other side of the world.


Mirrors $15

Bookmarks $10

Chinese Scripture $15

Chinese Scripture $15
Chinese Scripture $15

Chopsticks $10

Small trinket box $5

Wood carving $10

Wood carving $10

Woven purses $10

Wallets $10

Wallets $10

purses $10

Journal $15

Inside journal

Coin purse $5

Bracelets picture 1
$10 each

Bracelet photo 2
$10 each

Bracelet photo 3
$10 each

Bracelet photo 4
$10 each

Small jewelry boxes $15

Cell/ipod purse $10

Chess set $20

Pashmina scarves $20/each

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A life lesson...

If Your Brother Sins Against You

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.  Matthew 18:15-17

Today's WWIII gave me a tangible way to show the children how the church is like a family and our family is like a church.  

As I talked to Shaoey and Grace about how we don't want this separation to be permanent, how we wanted it to bring about a change in Eliana, I found myself thinking of church discipline and family.  I had an aha moment of the similarities between church and family. 

Eliana sinned against the girls by continuing to wake them and bother them during sleep time and against us by disobeyed Troy and I.  The girls immediately would tell her to stop, that they didn't like being woken up by her. Shaoey and Grace came to us and we talked to her about it.  When she refused to listen (and change behavior), we had no choice but to remove her from the fellowship of the girls bedroom into a temporary bedroom.  

 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

I was able to talk to all the kids about how we handle conflict, how we strive for repentance and reconciliation.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Praise God for allowing His word to come to mind to use this ugly, uncomfortable situation this morning to teach our children and me a valuable lesson in what discipline looks like at home and at church.  

And a wonderful word of wisdom from a FB friend:

Sometimes being a good mother means feeling in the moment like worst mother in the world.

I know I needed to hear that this morning, maybe someone else probably does too.

God bless!

...For he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

Oh how I HATE to do this & it's not permanent, but Shaoey & Grace are SO tired of being woken up.  

It's time for Eliana to move to a separate bedroom.    

We have told her, fussed her, discussed it with her, but she just keeps waking them up.  She gives us the usual "I'm sorry" which we don't put much stock in.  This has gone on since coming home, actually even in China she was doing this.   

Poking Shaoey to ask her what time it is.  (She has a watch and there's a clock in their bedroom, AND she knows how to tell time.)
Waking Shaoey up to ask where Grace is. (Like she'd know...she was ASLEEP!!)
Waking Shaoey by announcing that Grace is not in the room.  (Like she cared, she was ASLEEP!)
Going up to Grace's bed and lifting her blanket off her to see if she's in bed.

I GET the common thread, she wants to know sisters are in the room with her.  I KNOW she was kind of like little mama in her room at SFCV.  We have talked with her time and again that she does not have to have that role in our home, I am the mama.  It is not her place to keep tabs on the girls.  She has been warned that if it continues, she will be moved to another room for a while.  

Well, that time has come and it's not a time I relish.  I WANT them in the same room.  I think siblings sharing a room is a great bonding thing, a slumber party every night; they're the ones you whisper secrets to, share giggles with, fight with--ok, not the last one, but figuring out the ins and outs of living with someone is part of it.  Maybe that's why I feel like a failure on this one, but it's taking it's toll on their becoming sisters and friends.  Shaoey and Grace are frustrated at her from the moment they get up, because she woke them.  I need to break that cycle.  

Pray with me that this can be a short time of separation that will lead to a closer sister relationship.  

I'm also open to ideas....

Sunday, December 9, 2012


While we were in Texas for Thanksgiving our amazing house/pet sitters texted me.  They woke to find (what we thought were) all the chickens dead.  Somehow three managed to escape and came home to roost in the following days.  We came home and fixed the fence.  On Monday, I purchased 6 more chickens from a local farm.  On Wednesday, I got a phone call from our neighbor across the street asking if our chickens were ok.  Hmmm, warning bells went off.  I hadn't been out yet, so I didn't know...  I walked out to find all but 2 dead and those 2 were suffering with huge gashes and broken legs.  My precious Jacob learned a huge lesson is being a man and an animal owner.  He had to make the decision (with my help) to put down the last 2 chickens.  I am proud of him, I know it was hard, but he manned up and did the hard thing.  I know his heart breaks.  

We know it's the german shepherds across the street.  No pics or anything, but the fur on the shredded fence, the pile of chicken feathers in front of their house, the fact that she called me because she knew her dogs had gotten out.  This isn't the first time. They killed our first batch of chicks.  We think they killed a couple others and we KNOW they killed Feather Legs (our partridge cochin).  We now suspect they may have killed the chickens over Thanksgiving.  Sigh....

Now we're left trying to decide what to do.  We really enjoy raising chickens. We love the eggs, love having a place to throw our food scraps instead of the garbage, and it's kind of relaxing having them in the yard.  Jacob and I would love to add a cow and a donkey.  The girls would love to add a horse.  Jacob and Grace and I are just worn down from having our hearts broken and I'm not sure how much more we can handle.  This (loss after loss) can't be the norm...can it?  At some point you wonder if God's trying to tell you something or prepare you for something or teach you something.  But what?  How can raising chickens and animals not be right?  Just trying to work out my thoughts....

Update--Troy spoke with our neighbor today and, with much angst, he told Troy that they had the dog put down.  While I am glad to tell my children that the dog won't bother any future chickens, it makes me sad for them.  We are impressed with their integrity and compassion.   Please pray for them to have peace in their decision, I know how difficult it must have been.  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Adoption training

Are you looking for a great resource to help you understand your new child?  Need Hague hours for your homestudy?  This is the best one that we have gone through:  Because They Waited.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  I love how they empower you as the parent to know what's best for your child.  They help you to meet your child where they are and work with them to heal.   

Visit with the Bakers

I posted our Thanksgiving post without putting in our photos from our visit with the Tim and Pam!  That was the reason we spent the night in San Antonio.  We met up with them at the Starbucks (while our tire was being fixed...) and got to spend time visiting and catching up.  I don't have a picture of the boys at the other end of the table, but I love how they just pick back up and can hang out together.

We also invited another friend to meet up with us as she knew both Grace and Eliana at SFCV.

 She's the woman in the photo with 2 of my girls!  Hi, Pamela!

Thanksgiving 2012

Whew, am I glad to be home!

We left last Tuesday evening and it started with a bang, literally.  We weren't an hour out of town when, flying along in the left lane and pulling a flatbed trailer, we had a tire blow.  Troy did a great job of getting us off the road.  After trying to change it on the side of interstate, Troy made the executive decision to ride the rim to the next exit.  An hour and a half later, we were on our way.   He drove all the way to San Antonio, we pulled in at 3 am.  

After a few hours sleep, we reloaded the van and headed to a local Starbucks to meet up with the Bakers.  We had a little exchange to make--a piece of their luggage that we brought back from China for some precious items, including this photo, that were with TingTing when she was found many years ago.

Thankfully there was a Firestone shop about half a mile from the coffee shop, so we had our tire replaced while we visited.  After our visit, we made the last 3 hours of our trip pretty uneventfully.  Over the next couple days, all the kids and baba went hunting while I held down the fort and cooked.  

For Thanksgiving, I fixed our first fresh turkey (from Gotreaux Family Farms).  I brined it using  this recipe from Pioneer Woman and it was AWESOME.  We also had mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans with onions, and dinner rolls.  Oh yeah, and pecan pie for dessert.  

 Connor and Jacob both killed bucks.  Troy took Eliana and Grace in the stand together because they aren't as serious about it as Shaoey...  Shaoey means business when she's in the stand.  She'll sit still and quiet for 3+ hours, never fussing or making noise.

These 2 are so funny!  This is how they were watching tv.  Doesn't Shaoey look like Elastigirl from The Incredibles?

A small portion of the ranch house we stay at every Thanksgiving

Eliana, Baba, & Grace

Shaoey and Baba
This girl is one serious hunter!



We got to watch them bring the sheep into the paddock.

This little one just kept watching us.  So sweet!

It's so dry there wasn't even much of this pest this year.

This was WAY off in the pasture.  Mama was bringing the baby in but stopped when she saw us.  After I snapped this picture, she hid it from us with her body.  

We stayed until Sunday morning.  We were very thankful for an uneventful drive home.  Oh, I forgot, on the way home Troy stopped to tank up at a Buckee's--that was a first for us.  I had no idea what a big thing they were.  LOL  On hopping place...