Family Picture

Family Picture

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Learning about Spiders

Our house is ready for Halloween in more ways than one.  It seems we have lots of spider webs around the outside of our windows and so we decided to learn more about them. We went out with flashlights one night to watch the spiders catching their dinner.  We learned about the main types of webs and learned about many different kinds of spiders.  We made our own webs by drawing the different types.  We made string art spider webs, construction paper cut out webs,  edible pretzel and melted chocolate webs, and glued white rice on paper in the shape of orb webs.  Didn't get pictures of all our activities but did get some. We also had a perfect orb web with a  beautiful orange and black spider in the center of it, right outside our school window.  Saw it early one morning as the sunshine hit the  dew just right so that it sparkled and showed every line and spoke of the web.  Something we will remember.  There is beauty in His creation all around us.

Six Months Home

We just had our adoption case worker out for our 6 month home study meeting.  For China, there is a one month home visit, 6 month, one year, two years, three years and then five years.  I think it is a good thing to follow up on these special children.  We love our case worker and enjoy our time with her. She  comes to our home and it feels like a comfortable visit as we answer questions and she gets updated information on Amy.  It is not stressful at all.  Amy talked her ear off and showed off her room and many treasures in her drawers and bins.  Told her how we had to lower her bead because she fell out of it one night.  Had our case worker laughing many times. Eventually sent the girls off to play wii fitness to wear them out,  and talked for several hours with our case worker.  She was amazed at Amy's English even though she sees this sort of adjustment often. The only negative was that Amy got worried when we were preparing for the meeting and questioned us with......."is she going to take me away"?  We reassured her that this is her forever home and no one would ever take her away.  We are her family.......always.  Reminds us of the deep security issues that Amy still has as she loves her new family and wants to stay. She very often says, "I lovva my bigga family!" "I never want to go back to China".  She does so want to believe that this is forever but it is going to take time for trust to grow into assurance. She confided in us that a man came to get her from her Nai Nai's (foster grandmother) house and took her back to the orphanage. What a difficult situation for a frightened little 6 year old girl, taken away from the only family she ever knew and then taken to an institution.  She said she cried and cried and that her nai nai said she could not take care of her anymore.  She told Amy that she was going to be taken off to a school  (orphanage) where her momma would one day come and get her. That her momma spoke english and it was better for NuiNui (Amy's chinese nickname) to have a mamma, babba, sister and brothers. Amy told us Nai Nai  showed her the picture album we sent her,  and went over who we all were. Amy said her Nai Nai told her this was better because she would have a momma forever. Amy has also told us her YeYe (foster grandfather) was not very all.  In fact, we are very disappointed in her care overall in her foster home......not surprised.....but disappointed.  Now that Amy can communicate very well, she is telling us details that confirm our suspicions from early on.  She was treated as "less than" in her foster family.  Evidently they kept a little boy as well. His name was BinBin, and it seems he was treated a bit better than Amy.  I'm thinking that is all I will say, as it is Amy's story to tell...not mine.  I will though, record some quotes from Amy herself.  I want to put them down so she will have them.

" Thank you, momma for being a nice momma.  You don't hit.  You be nice to Amy."

"You do not spill things on me like BinBin and YeYe.  I say to YeYe, Why you do that?!"

"Thank you momma for giving me food to eat and not making me to be hungry where my tummy hurts. You do not say, No food for Amy. No, you don't say that."

"Thank you momma for letting me get more clothes on if I want,  and not be cold.  I do not like to be cold, I was so cold in China."

" I stay here with you momma,  with my big family. Amy no go back to China."

"You hold me momma, and give me bandaids when I fall down.  You take good care of Amy."

"Daddy is a good daddy, a strong daddy, he keep Amy safe."

" Amy not happy in China, Amy happy now."

"Thank you, Momma because you are a soft momma, a good momma.  Amy so happy she has a momma forever."

Amy continues to adjust and settle in, making great progress.  It is such a wonderful thing to see the changes in her, what a difference the love of a true family can make.

Physical changes:  She has put on a couple of pounds.  Grown out of some clothes and shoes.  Her hair has gotten softer and shinier.  Her skin softer and clearer. Her eyes shine and do not look sad.

Emotionally:  She is happier.  She can use her words to tell us how she feels instead of lashing out. She is calming down, and not so charged up all the time. She will cry more easily which is a good thing.....was so hard for her to let her guard down before. She still fights it, tries to be brave and tough but will let it go when I encourage her. Her heart is turning so tender towards us all.  Love growing.  She thinks of us and wants good things for her family. She will tell whoever may be leaving, "Have a good day..... be happy safe!"
Her hugs are real as she just melts into my arms sometimes.  Before she could be rigid, as if she did not know how to hug.

Spiritually:  She is learning about Jesus.  She can tell you three Bible stories.  Jesus calming the storm, Poor Bartemaus whose eyes were sick, and Zacheus who climbed up a tree to see Jesus. We have prayed her through some sickness, fear, and adjustment issues.
 Now.......She prays.  And let me tell you, this girl can pray.  If you are hungry, don't ask Amy to pray before dinner!  One day I was having a terrible bout of contact dermatitis on my hands and feet.  They would burn and I would have to put ice on them.  Amy, seeing my distress asked me if she could pray for me. Pray she did and within a few minutes the itch/burning stopped. Oh how heaven must have paused to hear this little one pray with the faith that only comes from a little child.

She prays with a heart truly full of thanksgiving....for so many things we wouldn't think to mention.

Psalm 92:1-2
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.
Amy happy in robe Anna outgrew and gave to her.  We are making sure Amy stays warm with new slippers that match.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

All About Apples

After we went to the apple orchard, we had a Friday fun day that was all about apples.  We made crock pot applesauce with our fresh picked apples and the girls helped keep it stirred all morning. We picked out some seeds from the apple cores and the girls planted them in the back yard in hopes of our own apple trees.
We read several library books about apples and sketched our favorite apple from our stash.
We had a great time doing all sorts of "apple" crafts out on the porch as it was such a nice day.
By the end of the day Amy could tell us all the parts of the apple: skin, flesh, core, seeds, stem and leaves.  
Both girls say these kinds of days are their favorite.  Ask Amy on any given day, what she would like to do and she will answer......"crafts".  The next day we made apple pancakes with some of our leftover applesauce.  They were delicious. When Amy likes something she says,this is so delicy momma! Thank you!
We continue to craft and learn and eat! 

Our freshly made crock pot applesauce

Coffe filter apples: spray with water after coloring with red, green and yellow markers

Choosing their favorites for construction paper apple frames

Paper towel roll apple prints

Fingerprint apple trees

Mixing all the colors and rolling our tree trunk
Our finished projects

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apple Picking

A few weeks ago we went apple picking.  The girls picked carefully, making sure they got the prettiest apples.  When our two bags were full we went down to the orchard store for some added treats.
Amy and Anna enjoyed the day as we continue to share in new experiences with Amy.  They were in awe of the many rows of beautiful apple trees.

Drinking fresh apple cider

Fresh fried apple pies

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Like a Princess

Amy is learning all about princesses from Anna, and of course television and Disney. 
 Right now, Amy's  most favorite is  Cinderella......or to hear her say the name..."Cinsabrella".
I always help Amy brush her teeth at night. In the mornings, I just ask her to show me her teeth after she has brushed. Accountability. As in the routine we started back in China, I look at her teeth and tell her they are clean and "sparkling". Then I tell her she is beautiful. After this routine the other day, she ran out of the bathroom after I told her she was beautiful, then she came running back and she asked,  "Like a PRINCESS?"  
"Yes, my Amy Joy Chun......just like a princess."
There is something so very special about two precious little girls from a far away able to dream of becoming princesses.  It humbles me and reminds me of the great gift we have been given.
The gift of being parents to princesses. We love them so.  We pray they follow the true King and princesses they will truly be.   It is our great honor to help show them the way. 

To all who did accept him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God.  
John 1:12

We know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love.
1 John 4:16

Amy shining in her enormous clip on ear rings Nannie gave her.  She wanted to wear to school but I said the car today and  then when we go somewhere other than school.  She wore them out to lunch and had to show them to several innocent bystanders.

 One more mommy. She wanted to make sure I got a good picture of her earrings!
They Sparkle!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Busy Little Squirrel

Amy is learning so much.  So many things we take for granted, simple things, are all new to her.  She loves the trees and tells me she did not have trees in her China, nor pumpkins.  We are learning all about the season of autumn.  She loved this little book from the library and so she and Anna gathered some things like the busy squirrel did.....then made some pictures of all our finds.  Amy reminds me so much of a busy little squirrel. She scurries and scampers, gathers and stores, fidgets all the time and fiddles with anything that is in reach.  She has a bin under her bed, a bin in her cubby when you first walk in our house, and two drawers where she puts things she wants to keep........which is pretty much EVERYTHING.  Her bins and drawers hold a very odd assortment of things, but they are hers....she likes them and can keep them if she wants. She will often say, "can I havva this?" It may be an empty toothpaste box,rubber band, or junk mail.  Sometimes I convince her to fiddle with it , keep it for awhile and then throw it away.... if it is what most would consider......trash. 
 She is still in the business of rummaging through drawers  and cabinets.  For the most part she will "look at it, and then put it back"  as I have trained her to do.  Sometimes though, things still end up in strange places.  I am a person who thinks everything has a place and should be...... put back in that place.  Amy is teaching me that you can put anything wherever you decide to sit it down.....or better yet, put it away in some other drawer.  Sometimes it makes me feel crazy.  I know I put something in one place and then I can not find it.  Recently I was in the middle of making a new recipe and my recipe disappeared.  I looked everywhere and could not figure out what I could have done with it.  I had to go look it up again on the computer and I was not sure which site I had printed it from.  Massive hot flash at this point.  Finally found recipe on line...... reprinted....tried to rush to finish dinner and get it in the oven...... all the while feeling like a crazy person,  "what in the world did I do with it" kept going in my head in between continuing the search. Truth be told, I have done some scatter brained things as we try to adjust to  being a family of 6.
Found original recipe weeks later under a magnet on the side of the fridge where Amy put it with her picture, so she said.....and she does love to put things on the fridge with magnets.  Ok.  At least I am not as crazy as I thought.  Hugged that rascally little squirrel of mine and felt a wave of relief.  Similar situations happen several times a week. Maybe I'm losing my mind, ok,... whew maybe not.  I can't always assume it is Amy as I have some guys around here that don't always put things back where they belong either. So I search, I pick up, put back......spend too much time searching, picking up, and putting back. This is  really testing my "everything has a place" philosophy.  
Actually, I am feeling like a busy little squirrel.......MYSELF!

Amy likes to dig out the "light up" gadget they put in dollar store toys....she just wants to know where the blinky light is coming from! Note it still works in these pictures.

Nannie had a clear bag.  Amy asked for it.  Nannie gave.  Within minutes, Amy filled it up with "stuff" from her bins. She likes being able to "see" everything in her bag.  Hauled it around all day.