Monday, November 30, 2009

JOY!

In our scripture study last night we read 2 Nephi 2:25. It reads, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have JOY”. Simply stated, we are here to experience JOY.

I have been wracking my poor little old brain for some brilliance for the last day of National Adoption Month. There are soooo many more subjects to discuss. But none felt right. So I thought that the simplicity of JOY would do. I hope you will agree.

When our Heavenly Father's plan was presented to us in the Pre Mortal Life, we knew many things. We knew that we would have the potential to be just like our Heavenly Father. We knew we would have a body. We knew we would be exposed to sin. We knew we would have a Savior. We knew we would be able to choose. We were taught many things. We knew we could return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

But I wonder if we knew the challenges we would each personally face in this life. Did I know beforehand that I would face the challenges I have faced in my life? Did I know I would develop Diabetes and how it would effect my whole life? Did I know I would lose my brother while he was so young? Did I know that it would be so painful to just get my family here? Did I know how my heart would hurt so much?

I don't know. I do know that I accepted His plan. Just as each of you did. I know that I was sufficiently prepared in the Pre Mortal Life and that I was given a firm foundation in my younger years. I know that as I go through the trials I face, I am strengthened and that the end goal of returning to my Heavenly Father is that much more important to me.

So where does JOY come into play? Adam fell. We all know the story. He fell so that men might be. We would not have been able to participate in the plan if Adam and Eve hadn't partaken of the fruit. They did. Boy am I grateful! Men are that they might have JOY. JOY! Do you feel the power behind that word? Not just to survive. Not just to get through this life. Not just to be happy, even. We are here to have JOY.

JOY is associated with Christmas time. JOY to the world. JOY in the season. I think we get what JOY means. It's an intense or elated happiness. A source of great pleasure. To rejoice. Look around you. What do you see? A messy house? A mountain of dirty clothes? Dirty dishes in the sink? A stack of papers you must get through today? A list of phone calls to make? Your warm home? Your full kitchen cabinents? Your scriptures? A picture of the temple? A picture of Christ? The beauty outside your window? Your spouse? Your children? Your JOY?

JOY. Despite the challenges and trials I have faced and will continue to face in this life, I know who I am. I know that I chose to be here. I know that I have to work to get the best things in this life. I know it is all worth the pain and sacrifice. I know in whom I trust. As we get ready for the celebration of our Savior's birth, it is my hope that we will each remember to have JOY! Afterall, that's why we're here!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Day In The Life.

Who's ready to go back to school?? Ruthie is. The boys...not so much. But we're doing it anyway! Yay! Here's our last week!

Monday...We were invited to get H1N1 flu shots for FHE. So we did. The kids got to make "turkeys" with toothpicks and gumdrops. The kids also got to play a new game (to them) on the Wii. There were quite a few families there for the event. We got to go get ice cream cones after we got our shots.
Tuesday...We love to just sit and play dominoes or Uno at any given time. Ruthie and I got into a rousing game of Mexican Train Dominoes minus the trains. We fudge the rules sometimes. This was also the last day of school for the kids this week!
Wednesday...Making rolls for Thanksgiving! Mmmm. The kids and I went to lunch at McDonalds and rented Up. Cute cute cute movie. I was not prepared for the emotional ride at the beginning and loved the message!
Thursday...Thanksgiving with my family. We also celebrated the November birthdays, which included my baby girl. It was a wonderful day!
Friday...Actually, this was Saturday, but I know if I just keep that to myself, no one will know the difference! Daniel got the hubongo sized butternut squash from our garden (which was currently residing in food storage) and cooked it up. It was like eating warm cantelope. Hmm.
I took Ruthie to the eye doctor where we learned she has an astigmatism. We are waiting for her glasses to come at the end of this week! Boy, will she be cute in her purple glasses!
Saturday...This is one of the papers from my kids. It's from today's sharing time. Ruthie wrote "Der (dear) mom. I love you. Thank you for all you do." You have to start at the bottom and move up.
Sunday...And this is Isaac's paper. "Dear mom, Thank you for me! You make me food you clean my clothes you teach me the gospel and you are the best mom ever. Love, Isaac" The best is "thank you for me!" I'm glad he's grateful. He was a lot of work!
Hope your week was wonderful!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Joy...

First of all, none of this would even be possible without my Daniel. Without him, I wouldn't be who I am or have what I have!
I love you!
I love Isaac's smile. He has become more independant lately and I am really trying to be happy about it! He also has been doing more "stuff" to help his brother and sister.
Monday night we went to a neighbor's house for H1N1 flu shots for FHE. I know, a shot in the arm is no FHE activity! So Tuesday right before dinner, Sam asked if we could please have FHE tonight! He had a lesson and activity for us. How could I say no to that?
The other day I started whistling a Primary song and Ruthie started to sing it. I tried filming her without her knowing it, but all you could hear was the whistling. So I had her just sing it.
video
The original words where she seems to slow down are "to live and learn here in families" She says "to live and learn and remember" I think I like her version better.
God gave us families...Loving spouse, independant, helpful, wanting to have Family Home Evening, spontaneous singing families!
I am so grateful for my family and the power that will bind us together for eternity!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Red Thread.

Warning: Long!

A year after Ruthie's adoption, I got a phone call from a ward in a nearby town asking if Daniel and I would come and speak in their ward. At first I was a little weirded out. He didn't know us. He said that a woman in his ward told him that he had to get us to come and speak about our miracles and something about a spool of thread. It took me a minute. But then I realized what he was referring to. And after we spoke in his ward, we found out that this woman was a friend of a couple in our ward who told her about when we spoke about the Red Thread Connection and the miracles we had experienced. Seeing it's National Adoption Month, I thought I'd share that talk with you. My original talk will be just normal red type. And any thoughts I'd like to add will be in () with black type.

We are here to talk about something very important to us. Adoption. And more specifically, International Adoption. Our boys are ours through the miracle of biology and our daughter is ours through the miracle of adoption.

There is an ancient Chinese belief that says...”An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” It's really more than just a nice saying. In our experience it is very apparent that there is a RED THREAD connection. It is explained with more familiarity in Doctrine & Covenants 132:46 “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens...” The RED THREAD connection is an ETERNAL CONNECTION.

Our Eternal Connection didn't just start when we got married in the temple or decided to adopt. It's Eternal, it has no beginning and no end.

When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I learned very quickly that my chances of having a large family biologically were slim. I knew I would need to be fine with a much smaller family when that time came.

When I was 18, I was living and working in Southern California. One night I was watching a late night news program about Romanian orphanages. It showed the conditions of the orphanages and talked about the reasons the children had been abandoned. They followed a few American couples who were going over to adopt. As I watched that program, I felt the tug of the Red Thread. I knew that one day I wanted to adopt internationally.

10 years later the Red Thread connection brought Daniel and me together. (finally!) The night we got engaged, we talked about a future family. I mentioned to Daniel that I wanted to adopt. He said let's do it. So we got married. We knew that biological children and adopted children were part of our Red Thread and we were ready to do both to get our family here.

After we got married, I was given medical clearance to have a baby, and within a couple of months I was expecting Isaac. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing! But it just didn't get along with me. Both of my pregnancies, 2 years apart, were very much the same. I had hyperemisis and bed rest. This was due in part to my Diabetes. (But not all of it was the Diabetes. My body just does not like being pregnant) Both pregnancies threatened my life and the threat was greater the second time. The Red Thread connection brought us our 2 healthy boys and we knew that the biological thread was complete.

A few months after Sam's first birthday, the Red Thread started tugging at our hearts and we knew it was time to start getting ready for adoption. Now, every time we talked to people about adoption, the same country would come up. We had already started leaning toward that country, but the way that it came up from other people when we talked about adoption was uncanny. With research, prayer, fasting and temple visits, we knew that this country was where we would get the rest of our family.

We soon found an agency and in July of 2003 we began what is called in the adoption world, “The Paper Chase”. There is literally a mountain of paperwork involved in adoption.

By Fall of 2003 we were paper ready for the INS. To adopt a child internationally, you need INS approval to bring the child into the US. There are a lot of legalities to conform to with international adoption. We knew we had a long wait ahead of us for the approval.

While we were waiting, we were informed by our agency that the country we were going to was looking at closing most, if not all, of it's adoption programs. They were hoping to be able to keep at least a few agencies licensed who had a good adoption record. (Our agency was one that had a perfect track record in that country and we were pretty sure that we would still be able to have our adoption facilitated by our agency) Many agencies and individuals had been going about adoption by illegal means. By the end of December 2003, the country had completely shut down ALL adoption programs. We were at a dead end.

We saw 3 options at that point:
1.Leave our agency and find someone who would get our baby from that country illegally. Not an option for us. (the man who spoke after us that day in our own ward said that he learned something new everyday, including finding out that a very nice person will seriously think about breaking the law)
2.This is Heavenly Father's way of telling us that our earthly family was complete. Well, we still felt the Red Thread tugging at our hearts.
3.Find another country. Our second country choice had just had a revolt within it's borders and the government had collapsed. Sooo.....
The Red Thread was continuing to tug at us. But we were at a dead end. We didn't know where to go or what to do.

One day, not long after getting word, I was having a melt down. (Hey, that sounds familiar. My melt downs must be eternally connected to adoption) Daniel came and comforted me by saying, “Many times the Lord will lead us to a dead end to get us to something better. Maybe the baby wasn't here yet. Maybe we aren't ready yet. We have done all the right things to know what to do and where to go. The Lord will lead us to the right place. It's just not the right time.”

We knew we needed to keep going. Daniel called our agency and talked to the director about what our options were. I could only hear Daniel's end of the conversation. And I didn't like what I was hearing. China. You mean he wants us to get our baby from a communist country?! I was NOT happy. But, of course, we did the usual. We prayed, we fasted, we researched, we went to the temple. I wasn't feeling anything. Daniel kept asking me what I wanted to do. One night while getting ready for bed, I said, “Okay, let's do China. If it's another dead end, we'll deal with it.” Daniel said, “Finally!” (It took a long time for me to be comfortable with this decision. I think until after our paperwork went to China)

We called our agency and got the information on what paperwork we needed to do. We got our INS approval rather quickly, too! Our paperwork got to China in June 2004. At the time, the “wait” was 7 months. (If only....whimper) As we waited, the wait went down to 6 months.

But 5 ½ months later, (this was the shortest the wait for China ever got. After we got our referral, the wait started to lengthen...) December 2004, we received our referral. It had beautiful pictures, a sketchy medical report and an inaccurate developmental record. She was in foster care through her Social Welfare Institute in her province. She was born November 5, 2003 and was 13 months old. She was born the same time our original country's adoption programs were shutting down. (Obviously the Lord knew where she was and we were going to the wrong place initially) Her name was --Li Qiu. Her surname (which I won't put here, along with other identifying info) was for the SWI, her first and second name were translated to Autumn Thunderclap. We knew she was ours because we already had our Spring Thunderclaps! Next we are hoping for a Light Summer Breeze or at the most a Light Rain. (My mom enjoys telling me that nurture is everything and that I should never think I will have a Light Anything when it comes to a baby. Of course, she's being funny...) There was a paper on which they wanted us to check one of two boxes. We checked the ACCEPT box and sent that back to China so we could wait for our Travel Approval and Consulate appointment.

By the middle of February of 2005, we had our Travel Approval in hand and our boys safely at grandma and grandpa's house and we were on a plane headed for Beijing. We spent a quick day touring the important cultural sites of the land of our daughter's birth...the Great Wall, Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City.

The following day we flew to the capital of our daughter's province. We had to wait another day....blah! And then on February 16, 2005, we packed a diaper bag and boarded the bus with 7 other couples and went to the Civil Affairs office where we finally, one by one, had our babies brought into us.

They handed Ruthann LiQiu to me and we were both crying...me-due to sheer joy to finally have my daughter in my arms, and Ruthann-due to sheer terror going to someone who looked, smelled and sounded so different from anything she had ever heard or seen in her short 15 months of life. We finally had her in our arms. The Red Thread connected! She was legally ours that day.

5 days later we traveled to the Guangdong province to the city of Guangzhou, to await our appointment at the US Consulate and to receive her VISA.

We flew home just a couple of days later and Ruthann became a US citizen as soon as we touched down on US soil. We got our boys and were amazed at how the Red Thread had connected us to a perfect addition to our family from the other side of the world. All 3 kids took to each other and we were officially a family of 5.

Now all we needed was to get to the temple for the crowning event! On April 9, 2005, all 5 of us entered the temple to have Ruthann sealed to us. In the sealing room, with our boys sitting next to the altar, Daniel and I knelt across from each other once again and Ruthann was sealed to us “As If” she were born in the covenant. She was Eternally ours! And she had access to ALL the blessings our boys do. The Red Thread connection was finally complete. In the temple that day, with our 3 children, we felt a very real connection to Eternity and the Celestial Kingdom. And that's what this is all about. Being with those we love the most. For Eternity.

The Red Thread has started tugging at our hearts again and in January (2006) we began the paper chase for our little Sarajune. I know the Red Thread that connected us to Ruthann will again connect us to our next baby. Though the thread may stretch and tangle, just as it did in our journey to Ruthann, I know in the end we will be blessed with our OUR baby.

When you look closely at our family you will see a trans racial family. That's okay, because we are. But if you look even closer, you will see that we are a HAPPY family. We are a happy family because we are an ETERNAL FAMILY with access to ALL that our Heavenly Father has.

I am forever in debt to the woman who gave my daughter life and placed her in a public place early the next morning to be found, and 15 months later to be placed in my arms. I look forward to the eternities when I can meet her, put my arms around her and thank her for her sacrifice.


Whew! As I read through this yesterday, I was again reminded of the power of the priesthood and the sealing power that connects us as eternal families. That Red Thread has been twisting and turning and going in directions we never dreamed of. But it is taking us in the right direction. Our family will be complete here on earth and for eternity. We just have to wait for the Red Thread, or the Eternal Connection, to join us together! Finally!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Make A Meal.

Did somebody say Cookies? No? Well, now that somebody did, let's talk cookies. My cookies.
Mmmm...
Jennie's Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies
In a mixing bowl put 1 cup shortening, 1/2 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar.
Beat until light and fluffy.
Mix together 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 tsp HOT water, pour it in the mixing bowl.
Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda and 2 1/4 cups of flour.
And since 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips leaves 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips to die a lonely death, put the whole bag of chips in!!
You won't be disappointed.
Put spoon sized scoops on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 9-10 minutes.
And you thought there was something extra special that went in!
I personally think it's the 1/2 tsp of hot tap water that makes them great.
Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Day In The Life.

Monday...I hurt my neck. I spent the day with a heating pad and ibuprofin. Actually I spent most of the week like that. Luckily my kids could be my eyes when I had to drive.
Did that scare you? I could turn my head enough to drive. Don't worry.
Tuesday...Ruthie loves chicken noodle soup. I am guessing that's why I have this picture in my camera. I also went to lunch with Holly and had more therapy.
Wednesday...Ruthie was eating more cns when she said, "Look mom, my spoon is sad."
Thursday...We had pack meeting at the fire station. So cool! As we were finishing, the bell rang and they had to leave in the paramedic truck to help someone who needed CPR. Daniel also went to help friends with their computer and came home with 3 dozen fresh from the chickens eggs. Yumm. As you can see, we had to start testing the freshness immediatly. Thanks Amie and Jeff.
Friday...Daniel and I went to dinner and the temple for our date night and the kids got a special treat. They got to go to Sam's friend's house for the evening. His parents were nice enough to want all 3 kids and even offered to do it again.
Saturday...I was dejunking the laundry room and found my sewing machine under some junk. I figured this would be a good time to sew. A blanket for Ruthie, 3 pairs of pants hemmed for me, Daniel's temple pants hemmed and a button finally sewn onto Ruthie's skirt. Yes, you should be impressed!
Sunday...Snow day. All of a sudden it's snowing. And it's even whiter out now. I need to make dinner now so I can go to Priesthood Preview. Man, these kids grow up fast!
Have a wonderful week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yabba Dabba Doo.

What do you learn while watching cartoons on Boomerang?

Knowledge.

Yes.

Knowledge.

And understanding.

A broader view of humankind and our need for a family.

By adoption.

As our children watched an episode of The Flinstones, Daniel and I were strengthened in our purpose to adopt.

Why?

Well, because Barney and Betty adopted Bamm-Bamm, of course.

He was left on their door step in a basket. They adopted him. They loved him. They raised him and he grew to be an upstanding member of fictional bedrock society.

Adoption has been around for ages.

It just makes me proud to be a part of the adoptive family set.

Did you know that even though Bamm-Bamm was named because of his strength and ability to bam a club, he grew to be a passive adult who wanted to be a screen writer?

He married the girl next door. Pebbles. Together they had twins, Roxy and Chip.

They were a happy family.

Have a yabba dabba doo time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cute Quips.

Every prayer we say, we pray that our baby will come soon and that our birthmom will find us. With that in mind, we left for school this morning. Sam was asking about when each of us was born. Ruthie was born in the Autumn, Isaac and Sam were born in the Spring, Mom was born in the Winter and dad was born in the Summer. Ruthie's Chinese name is Autumn Thunderclap. Isaac and Sam then became our Spring Thunderclaps.

Sam says, "So if our baby is born on my birthday, he will be a Spring Pig, right?"

I say, "A Spring Pig?"

Everyone hoots and Sam says, "No. Not a Spring Pig! A Spring Thunderclap."

Ruthie says, "I think it will be an Autumn Thunderclap."

A Spring Pig. A Spring Thunderclap. An Autumn Thunderclap. We just can't wait to find out!

Let's Go CoCoNuts!

Several weeks ago I had some of my kids with me while grocery shopping. Usually when that happens, we come home with a box of Twinkies or something. It's all about bribery. But this trip we came home with something different. A coconut.

You see, I watch Survivor and they are always eating and drinking these things. My kids saw something about coconuts sometime and wanted to know more. Usually when coconut is needed I buy it in a bag. Shredded. Sweetened. Yum.

So we bought a coconut.

Daniel cracked it open.
We drained the milk. No one wanted to drink it. It smelled like sun tan lotion.
Daniel pried it open. Isn't it lovely?
Then he set it down and we had to work out the meat.
Look at it! Isn't it beautiful? We got the hard shell off the outside of it. We also rinsed the stuff off.
This little one was willing. The other little ones were not willing. She liked it. So did mom and dad. Although I'll take a bag of shredded sweetened stuff any day!
So our little coconut experiment was fun. It was an great experience for us all to see what's inside the ugly hairy coconut shell.
Coconuts are so funny looking!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make A Meal.

Pasta Milano
Mmmmmm...
12 oz cooked bowtie pasta
1 Tblsp butter
1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cup half and half
1 packet Knorr Garlice and Herb sauce mix
2 cups grilled chicken, cut into strips
1/3 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts
1 Tblsp parmesan cheese
2 Tblsp chopped parsley
While pasta is boiling and chicken is grilling, melt 1 tsp butter in a large skillet.
Add mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes or until tender. Then remove them to a bowl.
Add half and half and sauce mix to skillet and stir to blend. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often.
Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
Stir remaining 2 tsp butter, mushrooms, chicken, tomatoes or hearts and cheese into the sauce. Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Stir it while cooking!
Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
Return pasta to pot, add sauce mix and water.
Stir to mix well. Top with extra cheese and parsley.
This is by far my most favorite pasta recipe. If I don't have tomatoes or artichoke hearts I just don't add any.
One caution...Do Not pour the 1/4 cup of boiling water on your hand as you pour it into the mix.
It hurts!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

That's Really Messed Up.

You've heard it before. Maybe even from someone unexpected. You say, "We're going to adopt." And someone says, "Hey! I know someone who was adopted. Man, was he really messed up. Did drugs, hit his mom..." You stand there. Baffled. Excuse me??

I have personally known many who were raised by biological parents who's choices would curl your toe nails.

Here is a list. It's a list of people who have amazing things in common.

Willie Nelson
Nancy Reagan
Sara McLachlan
Jamie Foxx
Eleanor Roosevelt
The "Babe"
Faith Hill
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bill Clinton
Steve Jobs
Jesse Jackson
Newt Gingrich
Dave Thomas
Nelson Mandela
John Lennon
Tim McGraw

And the list could go on.

What do they have in common?

Great things.

Amazing triumphs.

Incredible ideas.

Oh. And they were all adopted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Day In The Life.

Did someone say I needed to post pictures every week? No? Oh, that was me. Well, I obviously didn't do it last week. I feel so out of my loop. But I claim Primary Program Itis. It's serious! But I'm recovered. So here are some shots of the last two weeks. In no particular order. And no days attached...

Isaac built a ship out of blocks. It's a war ship. What is it about boys and fighting??
A beautiful shot of the moon through our trees. I had lunch with my friend Holly who provided me with much needed therapy!
Daniel went to Orlando. I don't do much cooking when he's gone. My kids just aren't that impressed with my cooking. So this is the dish display over a day's time. I love paper plates.
Ruthie turned 6! Because of the aforementioned PPItis, I bought a cake. Sacrilege! I promise to do better next year.
Ruthie got a new bike! Look at that smile!
Dad brought Tshirts back for the kids. Sharks and Crocodiles.
I made a chocolate sheet cake. Mmmm. That was the taste from the corner to make sure no one would die!
And of course I needed to check more of the cake. I did visiting teaching and Parent Teacher Conferences. My kids are awesome at school.
Isaac got a boomerang and the boys had fun throwing it around. I got to visit my friend Kim who just had a beautiful baby girl placed with them a few weeks ago!
And Saturday was full of baptisms and snow and silliness and new snow boots!
Now let's see if I can get back on a daily picture taking thingy!
Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Heritage

This is a very important post to me. It takes on inheritance, lineage, heritage. Many may not agree with me. In fact I don't agree with many on this issue. I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings as they pertain to me, my family and my posterity. If you disagree, please do so respectfully. I am aware of differences in opinion.

Being a family has so many layers. 2 people meet. They fall in love. They get married. They have a baby. Grandmas and Grandpas come to see the baby. Aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and so many other relatives come to see. “Look, he has grandpa Joe's chin” “Hey, her eyes are the same color as aunt Mary's” “Boy, feel that grip, he'll be a wrestler like cousin Tim” “She has a beautiful voice, I'll bet she can sing like great grandma Lou” That baby has joined a great throng of heritage. Of inheritance. Of lineage. It's powerful stuff.

I remember looking at my boys' fingers when they were born. We could see that they had “inherited” their dad's rounded pinky. Isaac has freckles that he inherited from me. Sam has eyes like his dad's. The list could go on and on....

When a child is adopted, there could be a sense of loss when you look at physical attributes, inherited talents and abilities. And skin color may be so different, that there is no hiding the fact that your child didn't “inherit” it from you. But when you look at what adoption means, what it entails in detail, you can see how the physical things pale in comparison to so many other rich inheritances. Just because a child didn't come from your body, doesn't mean a whole lot in the eternal scheme of things.

When I married Daniel, I inherited a rich heritage. A line of great people who did great things. One of those things was just producing an incredible man for me to marry. Selfish, I know. And Daniel inherited a rich heritage when he married me. Including, of course, a wonderful woman for him to marry. Our lives intermingle. We share heritage, inheritance and we will create a posterity together. And we were never related by blood! Imagine that!

When we have kids, whether biologically or through adoption, we must look at them as individuals. Look at any family with biological children. Are they all created the exact same? Do they all have the same loves and interests as both parents? I would bet that there are sons who don't love baseball like dad does. I would bet that there are daughters who don't like sewing like mom does. In fact, I would bet that there are so many distinct personalities in each family, that if pressed, you would agree that DNA doesn't make a son or daughter. Each member of a family is a person. An individual. Unique.

When we adopted, we knew, we knew! (yes, I know I repeated myself) that she was an heir to all that we are together. Just like our biological kiddos. Our hair color could even match if I wanted to do that. But that isn't what makes her our daughter. It's a pure love. An eternal goal. A rich heritage. All that she has gained by joining our family. All that we have gained by her joining our family. I don't worry about when a pedigree chart is passed out at school or church. Ruthie knows who her grandparents are. She knows who her aunts, uncles, cousins, great great great great great not so great great great grandwhosies are. How? Because she is our daughter. My heritage became hers when she became my daughter. Hey, Isaac inherited my heritage when he became my son!

Pedigree charts and family trees combine when 2 people meet and join their lives together. Why should it be any different when a child joins that union? It shouldn't. We don't discount Ruthie's rich heritage as a Chinese born American. But that isn't all of who she is. She is Ruthann. And she is my daughter. And she, just like her brothers, has a rich heritage. A magnificent inheritace. An awesome lineage. And she is part of my posterity. She is my daughter.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday.

8th grade. Simpler times. Younger times. It was 1984. And I was in 8th grade. I loved my feathered hair. And my beads! Something happened the other day that reminded me of lunch in 8th grade. Daniel ate a dill pickle.
I hung out with Lisbeth at lunch. We sat on a tall wall and watched everyone eat. I had the same lunch every day. It was healthful. It was nutritious.
A large pickle and Peanut Butter cups.
The pickle was .25 and was huge. And really filling. The PB cups were, well, yummy. Lunch was always a cheap treat.
Today's lunch ladies would freak out!
I loved 8th grade lunch.
Today I have my friend's little lady.
She saw the pickles and asked if she could have one.
How could I refuse?
She had also had Cheetos. Oh yeah, we know how to snack!
So today, to relive 8th grade memories, I may have a dill pickle and a PB cup for lunch.
Wait.
Maybe I'll just let that remain a memory.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

DreamLand.

Do you ever have a dream and while you're dreaming it you think, "This is a really weird dream. It would make a really great blog post!"? I had that kind of dream last night....

Snore
Snore
Snore

I walk into a hospital and get to work...

Snore

I have cheese and no place to put my cheese. Cheese needs a cold place to rest I realize...

Snore

I need a place to put my cheese. So I head to the basement of the hospital. Someone had said there is a great place to put cheese in the basement...

Snore

I get to the basement and someone opens a door. It's cold in there. He says this is the best place to put cheese so it doesn't go bad. It's the Morgue!...

Snore

So we walk into the morgue, move a big thing holding a body and put my cheese on him...

Snore

Hey! I've also got chocolate. And chocolate also needs a cold place to rest.

Snore

So I put my chocolate with the dead guy and go back to work...

Snore

I get a break and head back down to the morgue for some cheese and chocolate and someone walks in and sees me with my chocolate and cheese all over the dead guy....

Alarm

And then I woke up.

And looking back on my dream, it seemed a pretty natural thing to put cheese and chocolate in the morgue on a dead guy.

Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day.

For those who serve our country today
Both on U.S. soil and overseas
For those who served in years gone by
And those whose lives were given in defense of freedom
Thank You

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cute Quips.

Ruthie and I were driving home after dropping our boys off at school.

She said, "So when I am in first grade....."

I said, "Then you would be at school right now, just like the boys."

She said, "Then you would be home all day by yourself."

I said, "Yep!"

She said, "Soooooooo, you could take a nap, then you wouldn't be so cranky!"

Hmmmm....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Miracles.

It's written on my sidebar and I say it all the time...Our boys are ours through the miracle of biology and our daughter is ours through the miracle of adoption. Since it's, you know, National Adoption Month, I thought I'd focus on the miracle of adoption today.

Although, I can't just go right into my daughter without first acknowledging my sons. Isaac and Samuel are some serious miracles. Serious. Miracles. My pregnancies were life threatening. Pregnancy and I don't mix well. At all. But look at my boys. Goodness gracious sakes alive! I did that! Those 2 people grew inside my body. They kicked me from the inside. I bet I have scars to prove it, too. The simple fact that a woman's body can thrive while a little human is growing and developing inside her, the fact that a woman can help to create such perfection, just boggles my mind. A human miracle. That's what my boys are. Miracles.

Ruthie is ours through a serious miracle, as well. We call it adoption. And that's what this is about. When a couple chooses adoption, they choose to place all their hopes and dreams of creating a family in someone else's hands. A social worker. A government worker. A birthmom. A judge. There are always other people involved in the creation of your family.

But look at my daughter. If you know her, if you know all of us, you know that she is ours. You know that I couldn't have made her more my daughter if I had made her myself. There is a miracle afoot. She was born on the other side of the world. There are details that I choose not to share here that would present nothing short of a string of miracles. When we saw her picture and heard the translation of her name, we knew. She was ours. Miracle.

Then comes the crowning blessing of having a child. The knowledge that your child is yours, not just legally, but eternally. We have a clear eternal perspective. I think eternal families are a miracle. And a blessing. Because Daniel and I chose to be sealed in the temple, our boys were born in the covenant. They were automatically bound to us eternally. With adoption, it's nothing short of a miracle to have your child sealed to you for eternity. When we got home from China, we couldn't wait to have her belong to us, not just legally, but eternally.

When we walked into the temple, my then 5 year old Isaac said, "Wow! It's beautiful!" Just you wait. When the kids were brought into the sealing room, while we were surrounded by our family, I could feel the impact of our little eternal family on me. Wow. This is just like I imagined the Celestial Kingdom to be. Only better. When Ruthie was sealed to us for time and all eternity, she inherited all the blessings my boys had. She, too, was eternally bound to us. Miracle.

Our Heavenly Father can take something painful, heartwrenching, life stopping, and create a miracle. A child. A family. Repentance. Forgiveness. Healing. Eternity. Miracles.

If you ever wonder if miracles still happen...look at a child. Whether through biology or adoption, you'll see a miracle.

And miracles never cease!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Little Break.

My couselors and I got the seating set up yesterday for our Primary Program tomorrow. Today when the kids came, I was quickly told that some didn't have a seat. Yes. I didn't put 4 of our every Sunday kids in a seat. Even though one has a twin and I got his twin. And even though they all have siblings who I seated. Sheesh!

The kids sounded so good today. I can't wait for the final product tomorrow. The practice is always just that...a practice. And sometimes can feel like it's all out of control. But the Program. I can't wait! Somehow, all the great singing sounds angelic. All the speaking parts are clear and the message is felt. All the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas will be so impressed. No, not because of the stress and sweat and tears that have gone into it. They will be so impressed by their little ones. By their sweet faces as they sing. By their words when they have a speaking part. By their little waves when they see their fan clubs sitting in the audience!

And on that note, I am taking a blogging break. But only until I recover fully. Which really shouldn't take long. But I may need to extend the break so I can clean my house. U-huh. It's messy. But I don't care.

Farewell. At least until Monday afternoon!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Birthday!!

My Baby Is 6 Today!
I can hardly believe it.
Where has the time gone?
Look at how beautiful she is!
She wanted Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch today.
For some reason that made her really happy!
I remember the first time I saw her sweet face.
This is the first picture I saw of my baby girl.
She is only 4 months old.
This is the next picture I saw of her.
She is 11 months old in this picture.
And today she is 6.
She is happy.
She is healthy.
She is my baby.
We love you, Ruthie, have a happy happy day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Struggles.

A couple of weeks ago, while Daniel and I were talking, Daniel mentioned something I had said not too long before then. While struggling one day, and not understanding why we had to struggle so much, I said to him, "Haven't we struggled enough already?" To which he replied, "Not until we're dead." Brilliant.

I go to the pain associated with not being able to just have my family. You know, get pregnant when I want to. Have as many babies as I want to. Do it in my time. But that's not in my family plan. And it's painful. I have to depend on someone else's pain for my family to grow. This has been on my mind for a while. And since this is National Adoption Month, I wanted to do several posts regarding the aspects of adoption that many may not understand. That's why this particular post.

When we got Ruthie's referral, we only knew what the paperwork they sent to us said about her. When Ruthie joined our family, she was 15 months old. Her life was in play. There were decisions made for her life that we had no control over. But as Daniel and I have talked to her about those first 15 months of her life, we have had to fill in gaps. Large gaps, that we know nothing about. It's painful. It's heart wrenching. We know she is our daughter. But the circumstances that allowed her to be available to join our family are circumstances I really wish didn't exist. There are things in play in China that are deplorable and, yet, our family has been blessed because of those things.

Now we wait for our birthmom. We wait for something to happen in her life that will most likely be the most trying experience of her life. So that our family will grow. How can we be thrilled for that to happen? We aren't. We pray for her daily that she will have the Lord's hand guide her. We pray that the circumstances that will produce our baby will lead to a certain knowledge of God's love for her. Of our love for her. And that when that baby joins our family it will be because of a young birthmom's love for a little person who would forever influence her life. And her further decisions.

We all struggle in life. We will until we die. That's certain. It's what we make of those struggles, what we do because of those struggles, that will determine our happiness.

I am grateful for adoption. I am grateful for my daughter. I am grateful that we will have another join our family. And I will always be aware of the struggles that shape our family. And I will use that awareness to make sure we find joy in the creation of it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Go Do It.

Did You?
I know it's not a presidential election.
It may not seem like much.
Where you live, there may not be much to consider.
It may only be City Counsel members.
It may not seem like much is on the line.
But...
People fought so we could do it!
People died so we could do it!
So go do it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guess What Month It Is?

It's November, of course! Which means it's
NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH!
It's also Ruthie's birth month. Coincidence? Who knows. But it is a great reminder!
This is my necklace with a message. It has special significance for me.
Let me share with you...
The purple agate is a stone of Strength. It was used anciently in making breastplates of armor. It gives strength and makes the wearer victorious in battle.
The light green amozonite is a stone of Hope and Courage. It was named for Amazon women. Warrior women.
The silver Blessed tag represents what it says. It's a daily reminder of how Blessed I am. How can I look at my beautiful family and not see how truly Blessed I am? In realizing how much I am Blessed, I can move forward with Strength, Courage and Hope.
I am a Mommy Warrior, going to battle.
What is my battle cry?
This!...
I am building My Eternal Family!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Day In The Life.

Monday...City Pumpkin Walk. Ruthie is a "mom" and Sam is a zombie. Isaac decided to just "walk" with mom and dad. When we got there, Ike got into the spirit (or is it ghost) of it and grabbed a bag from the car to get candy.
Tuesday...The annual Mummy dogs. Sam's was a bloody mess!
Wednesday...Have you tried these from Costco??? Oh My!! So yummy! Ruthie and I tried a sample, because Costco has cool food samples, and we bought some! Wednesday was also our Ward Trunk or Treat. Lots of fun. And a hotbed of germs!
Thursday...This is Ruthie. She was writing her colors in her notebook while I read to the kids. She fell asleep like this. Sam had his Pumpkin Party at school and I had lunch with my friend Kim. Therapy, I tell ya!
Friday...Crazy Hair Day at school. Our district doesn't let the kids dress up so they get to have crazy hair day instead. Aren't they cute?!
Saturday...Halloween. This dress up had an alien, a witch and a zombie. Loads of candy and hair cuts for mom and Ruthie.
Sunday...All the odds and ends were taken care of at church for our Primay Program next Sunday. I can't wait till this time next Sunday. But I also can't wait for the program!! Our Primary kids are awesome! Daniel left town this afternoon. Dinner consisted of wheels and cheese in a box, capri suns and 3 candies each while we watched The Rocketeer!
Have a terrific week!