Friday, July 18, 2014

7 months

Just over 2 years ago, I was sitting in my empty quiet house. My girls were at school, and I was daydreaming about when my twins would be home and I would no longer have quiet afternoons, but instead be chasing babies. I knew I had two kids, we were planning 100% on getting two kids. I was sitting on the floor at the end of the hallway and in my minds eye, I saw 2 black haired kids running down the hallway towards me holding hands and laughing so hard. It was so real, it only solidified in my mind the fact that we would get biological twins.

About a month after that, my agency called and told me that China had changed some things around, and unless we were open to a lot more significant special needs, we only qualified for 1 child. I was devastated. I cried my eyes out. The ONLY way I would get two kids at that point was biological twins, so I carried on with that in my heart.

When I prayed about it, I knew I had two kids, so if twins was the only way, twins it was.

The rest is history, but the miracle of my virtual twins is not lost on me.

This summer has been full of water, water and more water. Water is the best. 

We spent a week at a lake house with cousins and grandparents. It was heaven. Tate had a love hate relationship with the boat. It both terrified and fascinated him. He never wanted to be left behind but he was freaked out to be on it at the same time.

Em didn't care about the boat. She got really really proficient at saying "Outside" and "again" on that trip. Her verbal communication is booming. It's so cool. She is in a massive progression right now and we could not be more thrilled.

These two. They needed each other so much. What a blessing that they found each other. They are truly kindred. 

So are these two. Gary and Emily are inseparable the second Gary comes in from work. It's adorable. She absolutely adores her dada. The happy dance when he pulls up could bring me to tears. Every little girl needs a dad, and so many will never know that joy.

We got fancy for the fourth. I love being together!

The carnival came to town. Emily wanted off the second she got on and would have nothing to do with any rides after her first little train. Tate wanted to ride everything and let them know just how loudly he could scream when he was too tiny.

Tate is doing so amazing in so many areas, however, for whatever reason, sleep is going all the way backwards. He is back to his first days home. He sleeps on the couch with all of the lights on and me in sight. I don't know why. He is so so afraid! He forces himself to stay awake, and by 1 am he can no longer handle it and we hold hands the rest of the night. It's rough. He doesn't nap any more, out of fear I think. He's exhausted for sure. Nothing at all changed in our routine, he just went backwards. Poor guy. We just continue to love and support and try new things and do our best to help him along. I am still thankful above all that he will sleep if I'm right there so at least I get to sleep too. I know I obsess about sleep but it's my thing. I really really need sleep. Sleep is the only issue we have dealt with with Tate. He has just fit right in so completely with our family, we hardly remember when he wasn't here. We love these kids so very much.

Emily is moving forward so quickly. Every aspect of her development is progressing just beautifully. She is clicking in all areas. She loves that she can talk so she's quit signing! I don't always understand what she is saying though and she gets frustrated if she has to sign in too. When we understand what she is asking for and she receives it, we get the all out awesome bum wiggle dance. She gets so proud of herself she just can't help it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Congratulations CCAI on placing 11,000 Chinese Children with their forever families!

Here's to many many many more families and many fewer orphans in the world.

 4 of my favorite CCAI placed kids. We are so blessed to be connected with this family that we love and so many others across the country. Travel groups 2044 and 1911.  

Check out CCAI's website, recently voted by the Chinese government as the best adoption agency in the world.

6 months

Summer has come. It is the best over here. It means every evening outside on toys, the slack line, and SPRINKLERS!  Tate can get into a swimming suit faster than you can get the sprinkler going. He only needs a vague inclination that you intend to turn on a sprinkler and BAM he's all over that.

 The splash pad is the best thing to wear out the babies and get them ready for naps. Tate was nervous about the splash pad, but figured it out in a second and loved it so much.

Tate and Emily are getting along better all the time. He makes her laugh so hard and she is very easy going about all of his antics and his alpha personality. Make no mistake, he is the big brother. He takes great care of her and keeps her in line whether she likes or needs it or not.

 Outside is always best. If they get out the front door, this is my view 10 seconds later. Run run run!
 Tate loved decorating graves on memorial. He loves to help. If he's not given a specific task he will look around, figure out what is going on, and put himself to work. He's very good at it too. He is wicked smart. And a little OCD.
 Since Finding Nemo is the movie du jour we took the kids to the aquarium. It was all we could do to keep Emily from diving into the petting pools. Oh she tried hard. Tate saw Nemo and Dory at every turn and was in heaven. He loved it all!

 Emily is still getting weekly speech and OT. She is doing so well. She has in the last month began speaking! Actual words! It is just thrilling! She uses several words and is like a parrot lately repeating everything we say. Sometimes with her, it is a little bit of a challenge. We obviously have no history on her what-so-ever. We have one medical exam from when she was in China and is said she was talking and crawling, so obviously massively incorrect. She will make amazing great strides, then hang out there for a while. I sometimes wonder if that's as far as she's going to get and then she'll jump in again and start this fantastic progression again. Sometimes you can tell her to say all of her stuff or tell her to get her shoes or give you a kiss and she will respond beautifully and immediately. Other times she will ignore you 150% or just stare blankly at you. I have to admit, I wondered if she would ever walk, then she took off running. I wondered if she would ever speak and now she is saying many new words each week and using them correctly. We truly cannot get enough of her. She is everyone's favorite thing. Her achievements are so happy for us all.
 We went on a little mountain hike yesterday. Tate and Emily both intentionally dove in the water and got soaked just as fast as they could. Tate was again very nervous about the terrain, but had a great time. Emily is a tireless and great little hiker.
 If Tate has Lily he is at peace with the world. Maybe he would have bonded with anyone, but those two have something so special. They needed each other very much. They need each other daily. They look for each other constantly. It is a testament to see them together that they were meant to be siblings.

Adoption has been such a miraculous blessing for our family. Sometimes I still can't believe that they are home. Sometimes I think back to that heartfelt prayer where I received the distinct answer that I had two more babies when I was in the most bitter desperate moments of infertility. I think back to the moment when I knew with all of my heart that my babies were in China. I think back to the awful phone call from my agency that we were only getting one baby and not two. I remember the exact moment when I realized that my last baby was a boy, not a girl. I remember the peace and calm that surrounded Gary and I as I asked if we could go back to China one more time and he told me I was crazy but supported me 110%! Now that my babies are all home, we are all together, we are finished growing our family, it feels just right. Adoption brought to me the most perfect peace that there is.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

5 months

I missed 4 months. There is very little time. I can't believe it's only been 5 months. It seems like always. I can't remember when we didn't have a little boy. Obviously I can, but it seems like we have had him always! He has been very easy to transition into our family. There hasn't been too much adjustment past the first couple of weeks home. He's wicked smart and picks up on everything and doesn't forget it, so that has made it easier I think.
We took a spring break trip to southern Utah, my favorite little bit of earth for some hiking and play time. It was so funny, Tate was terrified to walk on the red rock and sand. It took me back to China when he wouldn't walk on grass. I forget how little experience he has. The first day he was so afraid, the second only a little and by the third he was DONE with the pack and he let the entire state park know it.
 Emily loved everything. She is so easy and so easy going and just enjoys herself immensely.
 The more sand the better. She loved it all.

 My 5. There is no greater peace in my life than to know that my kids are all home. It was a very long and very hard fight. There was and is sacrifice all around but there is not a greater blessing.
 Warm spring days have taken us out of doors and these two are in heaven. Emily can run a mile.  Really. Her legs are tiny, but she starts running and she does not stop. I follow along, and she will run all the way around the block, a rather large block, and still not want to stop when we come in. Out side is the best place to be. I guess if I got tackled this frequently, I'd run long and fast too.
 I fancy myself a hair-cutter even though I completely stink at it. I cut Tate's hair, and it went poorly to say the least. He ended up with a buzz cut and I LOVE it so much! He looks big, and less shabby.
 Tate discovered candy over spring break. For no real reason except I don't keep it around, he's never really had candy. Well turns out, he quite likes it! An easter egg hunt with candy abounding all over the place was just his speed.

 Emily could have cared less for the candy. She just wanted to run. Tate wanted ALL of the candy!

 Easter Sunday at home was nice. I somehow missed Chloe in my photos. It was a nice day. Lots of candy!
 Cute Em fell asleep waiting for lunch
Sleep is my biggest hardest thing. Emily is finally a really good sleeper. She wakes up too early, but usually goes back to sleep on her own. Tate will now put himself to sleep and sleep most of the night.  I have woken up in my own bed for the first times since being home from China, several days a week. His sleep transition has been a beautiful thing compared with Emily's. So thankful for sleep!

 Emily has big things happening with her, she is FINALLY starting to speak! Not too often and not consistently with all of her words. She mostly signs still, but she has grasped the idea of spoken language. She is progressing brilliantly! She will say a new word or two every day, and use her new words along with signs often. It has been such an honor to be her mother and watch her work so hard and organize this world in her little head and really come alive in it. We are thrilled.
Tate today for the first time referred to himself as Tate instead of his Chinese name. It was cute but it made me sad. China is so INCREDIBLE! It's sad to me that he will forget everything he knew. Emily never knew anything, so I haven't gone through this with her. Tate still says some things in Chinese and he adds tones to the English words that he says. He totally speaks with a Chinese accent. He is an American now. It's perfect, and how it was meant to be, but he did lose an amazing heritage, and it's hard. No matter how many holidays and festivals we attempt to celebrate, and no matter how much China we try to keep in our family, we're American. It is so much more than I thought it would be. 

See you at 6 months.