Monday, November 30, 2009

These are some Thanksgiving pictures!!
My kids with their Aunt Deb

Aunt Deb Sierra Aunt Beth

Dancing fun!
Cousins decorating cookies

Scott and his brother Steve making potatoes at the firehouse for the Community Thanksgiving dinner!

Just a cutie!!

Nothing like family at Thanksgiving
Sierra and PopPop

PopPop and the grandkids

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank you all!

Thank you all so much for your kind words and prayers over the last week. It has been a difficult time but I felt the love and support from those who emailed me and left comments on the blog. Grace's family is an inspiration to all who have seen them this last week. Their hearts are broken but they are comforted knowing that Grace is with Jesus. They are going ahead with the adoption that they started last spring. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this tough time. We are blessed to know them and call them friends. I am having a hard time coming to terms with it all but my family and friends are helping with that also.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! We are so incredibly blessed this year. We have jobs ( and I am able to take a leave!!), we have our health, my older children are all nearby and we have our precious Sierra home with us where she belongs!!! The other day she watched an airplane fly over head and she said "Daddy, Daddy, there is another little girl coming home!!!" ( No lie, its really what she said! ) We are only hoping it was true!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Celebration of Grace!!!

Today we celebrated Grace's life!! In a small country church in our tiny, rural community we remembered the little girl who had touched so many of our lives in such a short amount of time. We listened as her family shared with us the profound love they had for their daughter. And we listened as they spoke of God's grace and the love they have for Him. We all witnessed the the unshakable faith of this family who has suffered a loss so horrific we can not really imagine it. But with God's grace and the knowledge that their sweet Grace is in the loving arms of Jesus, they will get through tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that until they once again are all together.
For me it was an affirmation of a faith that is fairly new to me. But I am grateful for the love that was prevalent in that small white church. The slide show of her life with her Mom, Dad and brother and sister, the stories that people shared, and the words of her grandfathers and father, helped to start the healing process.And when it was over we all sung...what else...Amazing Grace!!
Our family will never forget Grace. We only have to look at our Sierra and we will remember. If it were not for Grace, Sierra would not be a part of our family. Thank you sweet Grace, your spirit and grace live on!!

Grace and Sierra on October 23, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Very Difficult Day!

This has been one of the most difficult days I have ever faced. Our friends lost their dear little girl Grace due to bacterial menengitis. She was 5. She was sick for only 3 days. Grace was adopted from China and was the main reason we made the final decision to start our adoption journey.. I had kept a photo of Grace on our refrigerator during the entire process. She was our inspiration. After January the photo was replaced with one of Sierra and Grace. Just a few weeks ago we attended a Harvest Moon Celebration Dinner with Grace and her family. They are devastated!!Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. They are a family of great faith and I know they will somehow get through this if only for the sake of their other 2 children. Our hearts are broken into tiny little pieces and are struggling with how to best help our friends. I know I can count on you all to pray for them. Thank you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Surgery a sussess!!!

Thumbs up and her thumb is perfectly straight!!!

Thursday we went to the Dr's. to have Sierra's cast off. It wasn't a hard cast so no sawing had to be done. Sierra was still a little nervous and hid her arm and would not let the Dr. look at it. So he sat down in a chair and waited until she was ready. He really was amazing with her and this procedure has been such a positive experience. He cut it with scissors and let her peel away all the gauze. Scott and I were both a little shocked when we saw the incision. It went almost all the way around the base of the thumb. Sierra tells everyone she got a new thumb and that IS what it looks like! Any way as you can see she can do thumbs up now and its nice and straight!! So she is done, no therapy needed. He said kids just automatically start using it again and she has!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

10 months and National Adoption Month

10 months ago today in the arms of her big brother!
Today, happy, well fed and sporting her cast for surgery that would not have happened in China !

I have been thinking for awhile as to when I should do my Adoption Month post. Since today is the 10 month Anniversary of meeting Sierra I knew it was the perfect time.

The past 10 months have been an amazing journey!! We have witnessed the blossoming of a scared, solemn little girl into a happy, confident, smiling daughter!! And as much as her life has changed, my life has undergone a metamorphosis as well. I am not the same person I was before this adoption. For us the adoption journey started as a way to add a child to our family. I desperately wanted to share parenthood with Scott but was frankly, too old to get pregnant ( I did try, but my heart wasn't in it.) I had always thought about adopting and when I brought the idea up to Scott he was open to it too. So we did some research and felt that China was the best place to start. Not being educated enough we started in the non- special needs line but soon realized that God did not intend for us to be there. Every time I looked at a waiting child list their stories pulled at my heart. I approached Scott about making the switch and again he was on board. Six weeks later we got the phone call I will never forget. "We have a daughter for you" The next 8 months were spent in eager if not sometimes frustrating, anticipation. On January 8th we boarded a plane and on January 12th Sierra Christine Weixi joined our family forever!!!

Now those of you who know us know that I am speaking the truth... we were not wealthy or even upper middle class, we were not world travelers, and we certainly didn't have a lot of knowledge about orphans in the world.

And on this day, we are still not wealthy ( terms of money), we are still not world travelers ( although we made it to China and back!!) but oh we are so much more knowledgeable about the amount of children that need homes. Not just in China but around the world. Children who do not know the meaning of love. Children who do not have a Mommy or Daddy to tuck them in. Children , like Sierra, who have no idea about the world outside of the one room that they spend their days in. Children that are not getting enough food to eat. Children who are dying because they do not have access to the medical care that can save their lives!! With that knowledge comes a burden. Once you know, you have to act. One can not see what we've seen, and learned what we have learned and ever be the same again. So I ask of you my friends..what can you do? If you have ever considered adoption think about it some more!!! Ask questions, go online, look at their faces!!! And if adoption isn't the answer, there are many ways to help!! Just ask!!!

When you get a chance click on my followers, the people who follow my blog. They have stories too. And their blogs will hook you up to other blogs and so on and so forth. And believe me, the time will pass quickly as you engross yourselves in these amazing stories. And you too, will change and you too, will never be the same again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!!!

Sending a special thanks to all those who have served this great nation!!! And heartfelt hugs to those serving now. The sacrifice of being away from your family and communities has to be overwhelming at times. Please know that these men and women are appreciated at this house. To the families of those serving now, your sons and daughters are in our thoughts and prayers. We do not take what they are doing lightly!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Farewell to a dear friend!

In memory of Walter

Those of you that know me know that next to children I love animals next. So one of the things I loved about working at Kelder Farms was the fact that they had a petting zoo!! Now the star of the petting zoo was a donkey named Walter. Walter had been around since the opening of the farm and had been in the family long before that. No one really knows how old he was but he was certainly old! Everyone loved Walter. Many visitors to the farm had never seen a donkey and even more had not heard one bray. And if one didn't come quick enough with the petting zoo food Walter would let you know. And boy was he loud.. On the opening day each spring, children would get out of their cars and run to see Walter. And believe me, many adults did too! Walter became famous. He has his face on farm tshirts and on tattoos. And when the farm had a new sign made this year guess whose picture got top billing?!!

During the fall the farm has many school classes come for trips. Walter was the favorite and he seemed to love when the children came. It was his job to be friendly and gentle and he was.

The last few weeks Walter had not been feeling well. The vet had come out many times and antibiotics seemed to help for awhile. My last day of work was last Sat. Oct. 31st, the farm's last day of the regular season(although it is open to buy animal feed through out the winter) On Monday Nov. 1st the last school trip was scheduled. On Friday of this past week I stopped by to say hello and pick up my paycheck. When I got out of the car, I didn't see Walter ( I looked for him). I figured he must be grazing down the hill...... or at least that is what I hoped. After visiting for a few minutes I was told the sad news, Walter had died during the week. The vet had done some more tests and could not believe that he was still alive. But I know why he was. He had to finish out his job. He wasn't done. He made sure he was there for that last school class to arrive and only then did he know it was time to go. Of this I have no doubt. There are many that will miss Walter...the family that owned and loved him, the staff who worked with him, the adults who like me had a special soft spot for him and the children who came year after year and learned about friendship from an old, gentle, gray donkey. Goodbye Walter, you did your job well and you will be greatly missed!!!

I was sooo lucky to get this picture of Sierra and Walter shortly before he died!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Retirement!!!

As many of you know, before I took my leave of absence, I worked at an Elementary School. I was a Teaching Assistant and got to work with many wonderful people. But there is one person who holds a special place in my heart. I first met Lisa when she became my sister's softball coach way back in the late 70s ( sorry Lisa). The girls loved her and she did what she did very well as was shown by the championships they won. Fast forward a few years and Lisa and I were both pregnant with boys. Our sons are only a month apart and we got to know each other again. When my children started going to Elementary School Lisa was teaching Phys. Ed.( You like that Lisa, I didn't say "GYM") in the Middle School. We were excited to find out that the then current Elementary School Phys.Ed, teacher was retiring and Lisa would be taking his spot. Now she and I were working in the same building. It soon came clear that the children loved her!!! I can't describe the impact she had on these kids lives. She cared about all of them, their physical well being as well as any emotional stuff they were carrying around. She made class fun!!! Even the adults couldn't wait to participate. She started an after school circus arts program that taught kids to juggle, pogo stick, stilt walk,double dutch, baton twirl, Hip hop dance and ride a unicycle. You have not seen anything until you see over 50 kids riding unicycles in an obstacle course around the gym!! She taught kids how to cup stack and participated each year in the Guiness Book of World Records cup stacking Day. On Halloween she set up an amazing obstacle course that the kids couldn't wait to do! Every school year end she would have a field day full of exciting events!!!

She started a before and after school program to help kids start the day with physical activity knowing that getting the brain "running" is a necessity for learning. I had the pleasure of starting my day at 7:15 every school day morning with my friend Lisa and 35 raring to go kids!!!! I could go on and on and I am leaving much out.

And then there is the friend Lisa. The person that would do anything for anyone in need. A few years back she had a friend who was literally dying of liver disease. So Lisa did the unimaginable. She told her friend that she would give her part of her liver so that she could live. And that is exactly what she did. What an example she set for us all. And what an example for the kids who love her so much!!

And the mother Lisa. Words can not explain how important her 2 children are to her. She has supported them in what ever they do. And she is soo proud of them!!
This past summer Lisa had to have a knee replacement. Unfortunately there have been many complications. She returned to school in September in much pain. It didn't take long to realize that she couldn't teach the way she wants to teach. To do any less is simply not OK. So Lisa is retiring....... and Marbletown Elementrary School is a VERY sad place!!
Thank you my friend for the years that you gave so much of yourself to these kids!! Thank you for caring about them so deeply. Thank you for teaching me more about how important it is to have fun and how much the kids need it in their day. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of friendship and setting an example I can only hope to follow. I am looking forward to spending time with you now that we are both home and I dread going back to work now that you are not there!! I wish you a busy well deserved retirement with many trips to the lake house.Thank you for the impact that you have had on my own children! I am sad that Sierra won't be able to experience you as her Phys. Ed teacher but she knows you and will continue to. I know already how much the kids are missing you. And I know you will find a way to touch their lives again. And they will be the better because of it!!
Oh and Lisa, I have over 4000 pictures on my computer. Do you know how hard it was to find one of you?!!! And I laughed because I made you sit down for this picture and you NEVER sit down!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Surgery Day!!

So here are some pictures of the day!
This one we took last night of her thumb that was being operated on. In about 10 days I'll be able to show the new straightened version. I have to say though, we loved her crooked little thumb and will miss it!

She thought it was cool to drive to the hospital in her jammies!!!
Still happy and laying under her blankie.
Her special gown.

Right before going into surgery. I was able to go down with her and stay there until she was asleep!!

Mother and daughter matching bracelets!

Home and all comfy on the couch!!!

We are home and all is well!!

Just a quick update. Sierra is home and all went well. She was a real trooper right up to the point where she held the mask on her own face to fall asleep. I was in the OR with her until she did that!! Was not a happy camper when she woke up. Screamed and only wanted Daddy. Boy was she ever mad at me!!! Some how I am sure she thinks this was all my fault. She wouldn't stop screaming until we got her dressed to come home. Now she is her sunshiney self!!! Will post some pictures later!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween and a special request!!!

Boy, Sierra's first Halloween was a delight. We had so much fun t rick or treating. She really got the hang of it and would not let us walk with her up to the doors. ( Of course we only went to people we knew. Then afterwards we went to Paul's girlfriend's parents house. Her Dad loves Halloween and does a Halloween extravaganza at his house. It is complete with music, 2 bouncy houses, special light effects and a real "crashed airplane in his front yard. Oh yeah and cotton candy, candied apples, popcorn etc. It was a blast!! Here are some pictures.
Of course I had the camera on the wrong setting but this was her first official "trick or treat" knowck at Aunt Carol's and Uncle Steve's!!
Aunt Carol giving her treats!!!

A group shot with cousins Jake( the Headless Horseman), Ben and friend Andrew!

Don't get nervous!! Our friends Cathy and George live down a long driveway. So after stopping at the neighbors at the top, Scott let Sierra help him drive down the rest of the driveway!

Cathy and George weren't home but Colin was there to give out the candy!!!

No words necessary!!

I have a special request. I had mentioned a while back that Sierra was to have surgery this fall to correct a deformity in her right thumb. Well the time has come and tomorrow we are off to the hospital. We arrive at 6:30 am and we hopefully are one of the first surgeries. It is a minor repair, but any time a child has to go under anaesthesia, it is not minor. So please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We should be home by early afternoon, complete with a cast that goes above her elbow.