Family Picture

Family Picture

Friday, January 31, 2014

We Got What We Had Been Hoping For.....Snow....Surprised At How Much and How Fast!

As we made the national news with our city coming to a standstill, we felt just a little guilty for hoping/praying for a good snow!  Scott and Will were here working from home.  Scott went early to pick Amy up as the snow started coming down faster and sooner than expected.  I went to get Anna from her science class and it took us over an hour to get home as the streets were freezing over so quickly. Because the streets were warm, the snow would melt then freeze over as the temperature dropped. We had to drive very slowly and my tires would spin out on several of the winding streets and many of the hills.
Wesley had his own adventure as it took him 8 hours ( normally a 45 minute drive) to get to a friend's house. He could not make it all the way home from KSU as several of the exit ramps were closed due to stranded cars and heavy ice. He had several adventures of helping other people along the way.
Living in North Ga is beautiful but during icy weather, the hills around here are the first to cause driving troubles.  Wesley did make it home later the next evening.  Once we knew everyone in our family was safe, we enjoyed the beauty of the snow.  Sorry to know so many people, including school children, were stranded.....until the next day!  Amy and Anna had so much fun playing and sledding, we couldn't help ourselves but to enjoy our family time together.
For Amy, she did not look favorably upon snow when she was in China. She will tell you, "No, Amy no like snow!" The snow is no fun when you can not get warm.  She has told us that in China she was so cold on some days in the winter, she thought she was "blah" (her word for dead).  She said she would "come back to life" (warm up some) later in the day when the sun would come out strong.
From what she has told us, it sounds as though her foster home was very small, and lacked all modern conveniences.  Our guide while in China confirmed this as he was aware of the poor conditions.
We were in Northern China to get Amy the first of April and it was cold.....we had to wear our coats in our five star hotel.  I bet the winters were very difficult in the rural areas; they do not have central heat like we do.
If you ask Amy today?  Well, she will tell you that now, she loves snow!  She bundled up, played and sledded, drank hot chocolate, and most importantly........didn't have to go to school for several days!

Measuring inches that first afternoon, then snow continued until evening

Anna in my pants and Amy in Will's....we don't have much snow gear!

Getting the Layers On

Amy loving her first sledding experience

They went outside twice on day 2 as sledding was just right

Anna went first to show Amy how to do it

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunday Morning Home Church

We have attempted to make it to church, but honestly it just isn't working well to take Amy. It is hard for her to sit still and be quiet.  Being left at Sunday school is not good for her at this point.  We are having church at home most Sunday mornings, the girls still in their pajamas.  If we can keep Amy's hands busy, she is much more likely to be quiet for a little length of time.  Rainbow looms are making it to where we can listen to our favorite pastor Louie Giglio from Passion City Church in Atlanta. We download his sermons to our TV.   We have hoped that the girls are listening and getting what they can from the message,  but not knowing for sure if they are even paying attention. We adults need the spiritual encouragement so we roll with this plan for now.  At one part of Louie's message yesterday, the congregation would answer to his reading of scripture.... "God's love endures forever." Scott and I participated and Amy listened with interest. This verse was repeated quite a few times then Amy came to me, held my face in her hands  and wanted me to get in her face to teach her the phrase so she too, could join in.  She watched me intently as I taught her each word.  She repeated carefully until she had it down pat.  Thank you Lord as you continue to show your love and mercy to each of us, 
filling us with hope and reminding us
 through this little girl who once was lost
....... but who is now beginning to learn all about you,
 "Your love endures forever." 

Rainbow looms and lots of rubber bands

Church in our family room

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What To Do While It's So Cold Outside

We are not used to this frigid winter (for GA standards) and just can not bring ourselves to play outside very much.  So what have we been doing with ourselves?  Homeschooling for Anna in the mornings and working with Amy on school stuff in the afternoons, reading lots of books and  exercising to a  video Anna got for Christmas.  I usually like winter myself but so far the temps in the 20's and below are not my favorite....unless we have snow.....which we haven't.  After Christmas we always put up the Christmas dishes and take out the snowman ones.....hoping for one good snow.  This week we will be getting the Chinese New Year decorations out as we celebrate this Friday, Jan 31st.
 A day in the 50's and no wind would be most welcome around here!  We would like to get outside for some fresh air exercise soon!
Our snowman/winter crafts

Hoping for one good snowy day!

We made snowman snow globe crafts

Scott, Wesley and Will got me a cookie cake for my birthday

 Dozen Roses too!

Our handmade pocketbooks

The girls and I made winter sugar cookies

Monday, January 6, 2014

Amy's Domestication/ Re-adoption Court Validation today

This is the process families undergo to have their county and state recognize the foreign adoption of their child even though the adoption was final in China.  This is a big deal for Amy. We have told her this meeting with the judge..... makes things absolutely, positively..... official. Amy needs this reassurance.  She continues to tell us she never wants to go back to China and she wants to stay with us forever and ever.  Sometimes the fear creeps in that this good thing, her family......may not be forever. It is almost like she is waiting for "the other shoe to drop".  Can all this good in her life be true?  Will this last?   There is still healing to take place, as a child that gets adopted at 6 years old, has been without a family for quite some time. She has been without a lot of things we take for granted and now she has every good thing. She wants to believe this is it for her...... her heart is open and she has made great progress....... it just takes time for trust and belief to take hold....... for roots to grow deep.
Amy will tell you that  "the judge signed the papers and they put a gold seal on it because the papers are very important.  The papers say that Amy stays here with us.....forever.  No more China."
She also knows that we as her parents raised our right hands and promised to take very good care of her.  Special girl.... special day.  She must have asked 15 different people if they were "the judge" as we waited for court processes to begin.  Everyone we passed, every security guard, every lady that looked important and every man in a suit! "Hey... are you the judge?  Is he the judge?  Is she the judge?"   Our attorney told her the judge would be in a black robe like one of the portraits we saw displayed in the foyer outside the courtroom.  Amy had to check out our judges' robe when we first went into his chambers. He acknowledged that it looked like a black dress.  That qualified him as "the judge" her eyes! "Nice," she said.  She told him her name and that he had a nice desk, as she checked out his name plate and then immediately asked him straight forwardly, "Are you going to sign my papers and put a stamp on it?!!!!!" We went through the formalities and yes,  he signed the document as Amy and the rest of us looked on.  He told her the lady downstairs in the office would put the stamp on it. Pretty quick process then we took a few pictures.  We think it was great for Anna to witness this whole process as she was too young to understand or remember her court date. It seemed to be a meaningful day for her as well.  So glad this all went through today as we had ice and record freezing temperatures that caused many counties/courts to be shut down or delayed. We were delayed by over an hour. All schools were also cancelled today.  

The Judge signed.  We are official. 

Our attorney.  She is such a neat lady. She made things easy for us and charged us nothing.  God Bless Her! In lieu of paying her... she suggests  donating to help other children and families. She drove all the way up from south of the city.

She is proud of her important papers. State of GA adoption certificate with gold seal.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Years Eve Scavenger Hunt

We spent the last night of 2013 hanging out at home, safe and warm.  We had gone out for a nice lunch as we like to do the opposite of what the crowds tend to do.  We went for a nice, long afternoon walk and had dinner at home,  then made some oatmeal raisin cookies.  Thinking they are at least a little better for us than all the Christmas sweets we have been making and eating.  Wesley gave me a Cuisinart ice cream maker for Christmas so we have been making our fair share of ice cream also. It has been fun trying out different recipes.  
The highlight for the girls was getting to stay up till about 9:30 and having a scavenger hunt.  They were good at figuring out the 12 different clues and after running all over the house searching, they found their prizes.
Happy 2014!

Anna did the reading

She was a good big sister, letting Amy find the next clues

They went so fast all my pics are blurry! Had to delete many of them.   

Amy wants her bed low to the ground, we had to take the box spring away.  She's afraid she might fall out of her bed when it is high............. She fell out one time and that is all it took!

Found under their pillows. Barbie activity pack. They had asked for these for Christmas.

Amy wanted the Dora one when we were at the store.  I surprised them both!  These had books to read, and sticker activity sheets.