Saturday, April 20, 2013

More about our journey to "Renee", Part 1

I often think,when the seasons change (or should change-it snowed here yesterday), about the previous year. What were we doing?  What was life like then? 

Last year started out with a lot of soul-searching and a lot of questions. January and early February was dark and bleak in climate but also in doubt and confusion about what God was calling us to do.  We had already opened our hearts to  "Renee" and it had almost been a year since we had first asked our agency for her file.  Living in a world where instant gratification is the norm, I will admit we were growing weary that the orphanage hadn't released her file yet.  

Just trying to hear God's voice in this noisy and busy world was draining. Wondering if we should keep waiting for a file that we might never see.  How long would we wait?  I remember how I tried to take "control" of the situation anywhere I thought I could. 

There are Yahoo groups where people advocate for many children who are waiting for a family  in China and I reached out to them to see if they knew if New Day had any connections with specific agencies.  I (God led me) "found" a couple of families who had been matched with children from New Day and I contacted them to find out what the "secret" was to "getting" a child's file.  I can tell you that at the time, I didn't like their response. They told me that it had been all God and His doing. That meant that I had to "let go and let God".  I did not like that thought since I feared that we would never see her file.  I was falling in love with her more and more with each passing day and each new picture that I saw--something my dearest hubby often warned me against.  But, as the thought sunk in that it would take a miracle from God to receive her file, it was more and more freeing.   I felt a peacefulness in letting go of trying to control and remembering that God is always at the helm. 

Now, that didn't mean that we stopped our begging, pleading and praying.  Our kids enlisted their classes at school and we bravely told our friends and family (knowing some would think we were completely crazy)and asked for their prayers.  We fasted as a family and prayed novenas for her to come to our family. I don't ever remember praying so long and so faithfully for anything or anyone ever before.  I feel like I prayed for her all day long most days of the 1 1/2 years we waited.  I even uttered perhaps the hardest tag-a-long prayers for her.........."or whatever family would be best for her".  

I know God doesn't always answer prayers the way we want or the way we can understand. 

There was a short time where it looked like we would not be the family that God had chosen for her........more on that in Part 2 of our journey......

 I thank Him constantly for hearing and answering our prayers and choosing us to be Annie's family.   We are so blessed by her and can't imagine our life without her!  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter Break

How wonderful it was to finally take Annie "home" to meet everyone!  
Since we were in China over Christmas, we didn't get to go home so we did our normal Christmas route for Easter Vacation to see all of our parents and family and to introduce Annie to her new family, too.
Warning:  This post is super heavy on pictures!

The trip started out really well until about 5 hours in when
Annie decided she was ready to go home.  For the next 3 1/2 hours she let 
us all know pretty regularly.  

Nan and Pops' house was our first stop.   

It was a rough first night but the morning eased her mind once she discovered the love that was waiting there to meet her.  

Everyone was so welcoming and 
wonderful to her everywhere we went........not a surprise-we have an amazing family.    

On our first stop, she got to meet her Pops and Nan, Uncles and Aunts, 
and most of her cousins (miss you HB).  By the afternoon, she was actually enjoying herself.

Riding Pops' new "toy"

A little duck, duck, goose

 She sure enjoyed her Pops

Mei LOVES her cousins

An afternoon swing with her bro....

Enjoying some sunshine before hunting for eggs.

After confirming many times that we were ALL staying there, she really relaxed

 Enjoying some bubbles with her Nan

What?!! There's candy in these eggs???!!!

These 2 are really going to miss each other.....

There's always time for a little smooch!

Hard to believe how fast they are growing up!!

Easter!!!  He is Risen-Alleluia!!    We I made a little error on Church time.....we got there 45 min. before Mass began-oops!  It was great that we weren't late but a little tough for the little girls to sit still for 2 hours!!  I felt bad for the people who sat behind us but it was a wonderful celebration!  We are so thankful for our Lord and all that He sacrificed for us............

Baba and Annie

 The men played did a little work

Jeff loves working with his dad

Next stop, Grandma and Papaw's......2 hours away.  Annie did well and slept most of the way. 
After Easter egg hunts, staying up late, and playing with cousins, I think she realized this trip was pretty fun because she was not apprehensive about Grandma and Papaw at all.

We lost our beautiful, mild temperatures, but enjoyed the sunshine and being outside anyway.  

The boys always love adventures with Papaw.....

Our 3rd visit was with Papa and Noney! Again, Annie surprised us and was so comfortable with them!

We got to visit with them and have dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.  I think it's always funny that our American kids like Chinese food more than their Chinese sisters!!

The whole crew......

Didn't take long to figure out that PaPa has extra coins for those game machines!

Not sure if you can see the blue jelly bean in that smile...

I got to see one of my favorite people, my Granny Smith.

The little girls picked her some flowers

 I love how blessed the girls are by so many people who love them.

I loved seeing all of our kids with their Great Granny Smith.

And Annie was so comfortable that when we told her it was time to go, she stretched out her arms and gave her Great Grandma a big hug!  We were shocked!  It takes a lot to earn her love and trust!

My big girls with their Great Grandma.

 Grandma and the little girls bonded over their freshly painted nails!


Annie just loved everyone!

Look at those smiles!

"I love my big sis!!" 

 Saw the church where I was baptized as a little girl......

Last hugs for Grandma, time to go home....

One last bird sighting with Papaw

What a great trip!!! It was so wonderful to visit with everyone.  Counting the days until we can see everyone again!!

Press On!