Monday, February 28, 2011

Suhn's Adoption Trip - part 1

I'm a little frustrated right now.

I've been working on putting our video and photos from China into "movie" form and have been having a little bit of trouble. I use Windows Moviemaker. It is free and easy to use. It's not flashy, but it does what I need it to do.

For some reason, our videos from China do not like this program. I edit them and they show up on the screen unedited. Or the words do not match up with the picture.

When I play the video back in Moviemaker there are no problems. It is just the way I want it.

BUT, when I save and upload my movie to You Tube (which takes an inordinately long time) it plays back wrong, or in the case of the video below after 10,000 tries almost right and just a little wrong.

Yes, I settled.

It's going to be good enough.

I hope you like it. It's a little long and a little shaky, but it's done. Even though it is not perfect, I like it. It brings back good memories and reminds me of good friends, which is the whole point of a home movie in the first place.

Mission Accomplished.


Friday, February 25, 2011


Monday night was a treat.

My mom took Mya and I to visit my Grandma. She is moving soon, downsizing to a smaller house closer to us. She has been cleaning out her closets and drawers getting ready for her move. We went to help. Actually we went to take. She told us what she didn't want and we took it (don't worry Jami and Leslie we left some for you).

It was so much fun. We ate dinner together. Mya asked Grandma about her life when she was little. And then we went room by room through Grandma's house and I was given the gift of remembering the countless hours I spent there as a little girl. The rooms, the smells. Its the only house I've ever known her in.

We looked at puzzles I remember doing. We went through the cedar chest full of dress-up clothes. We looked at books and Archie comics that I read on summer overnights before falling asleep. Books that my mom read when she was little and that Mya will be reading soon. We looked at wedding gifts, given over 60 years ago to celebrate a marriage that would last a lifetime.

Some of what we looked at will be moving into our house. A quilt made by my great-grandma given to my grandparents as a wedding gift. Puzzles. Books. Antique blue vases. The cedar chest (with dress-up clothes still inside).

I'm excited about these gifts and the memories they bring back, but I adore what they stand for even more. A Godly life-long marriage. God-honoring lives. Grandparents who love me and continue to invest in my life and the lives of my children.

The legacy my Grandma passes on to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren is a priceless treasure, one that will influence generations for years and years to come.

When you are blessed by a good thing that has been around for as long as you can remember, it is easy to discount its influence, to forget. Even a priceless treasure.

That is why Monday night was a treat.

It was a chance to remember.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Screendoor on a Submarine

"It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine," Rich Mullins once sang. He was talking about faith without works, but the same could be said of arguing with a three year old.

Believe me, I know. I have LOTS of experience.

Three year olds arguing with each other is even more pointless. I have been witness to many conversations between mine, especially in the car, such as...

Suhn: My name is Suhn.
Sean: No, my name is Sean!
Suhn: NO, my name is SUHN!!


Sean: We are going to turn on my side.
Suhn: No, we are going to turn on my side!
Sean: NO, we are going to turn on MY SIDE!!

Some times I join in: Be Quiet you two, I'm driving, I'll decide where we turn.

Many times that's the point where they decide to join forces and tell me I'm wrong.

And then a little tune pops into my head and I remember how pointless it is to argue with three year olds. You think I'd learn.

Actually you think they'd learn. How many reminders, consequences, etc. do they need to remember who the boss is? (eh-hem, that is ME just in case you had any doubt)

Someday (soon? please, please, please) they may actually figure out how pointless it is to argue with mom. Until then, I will bravely carry on, enduring the long, arduous, screen-door-on-a-submarine, I-am-right-because-I'm-three type of episodes/tantrums that come with three year olds...

...or I will keel over from the brain exhaustion that comes from listening to one too many pointless arguments.

At this point in time, I'd say its a toss-up.

Starting from Scratch

Starting from scratch. That is kind of what it feels like when you adopt. Like throwing out everything you thought you knew about parenting and starting over. Not quite, but kind of.

I'm learning you do parent an adopted child different. It makes sense when you think about it. You pretty much have to parent every child you have, homegrown or adopted, differently to some extent.

But an adopted child, is a child born to you out of loss. And loss is hard and leaves a mark. If you ignore that mark and try to pretend it is not there more damage can be done.

I've been feeling insecure in my parenting of Suhn. Does she react that way because she is three years old or because of her great loss? Is she acting out of 3 year old selfishness or out of fear and insecurity based in her past? Am I too hard on her, or am I not firm enough?

I find myself wanting to react based on the fact that she is three years old and ignore the loss, but I am learning to stop myself and pray for wisdom to better understand her. And then parent from that new perspective.

It's not easy. I've made mistakes. But I'm learning.

I've been reading through a book called The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Sunshine. It is a great resource for adoptive parents, filled with strategies and reminders to parent your child with their past in mind in order to heal their wounds and give them a successful future.

If you are an adoptive parent I would love to hear your perspective on this or any resources you have come across in your journey. Please share in the comments!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lesson in Love

Through the ups and downs of everyday life over the last few months, I have been convicted, nudged, and taught about love. I've been learning that love is so much more than an emotion. It is so much deeper than a feeling. Love is a choice.

Sometimes the emotions burn along with the choice to love, but not always.

Loving is so much harder when the emotions aren't there to back it up. But I think when we love anyway, it becomes much more real, or mature, and many times the feelings follow the action.

In a recent Hearts-to-Go enewsletter (to get this free resource delivered to your e-box once a month go here and submit your e-mail address!), Jill Savage talked about this concept. It reflected a lot of what I've been learning, so I asked if I could share it with you.

Jill writes:

Immature love is a noun. A thing we long for. A feeling. An expectation of what someone will do for us.

Mature love is a verb. An action we take. A decision. A choice to do something for someone else.

Unfortunately too many of us have yet to mature in our love, and our relationships bear the scars of that fact. But it's never too late to grow up. If we want our love to last a lifetime, we can't afford to keep believing that love is a noun. The feeling of love is short-lived. We have to transition to understanding that long-lasting love is really a verb.

But what does this English lesson of nouns and verbs have to do with real relationships? How do we take this concept and apply it to real life? Maybe these scenarios can help paint the picture.

Love as a noun spent all last week wondering what your spouse was going to do for you for Valentine's Day. Love as a verb spent all last week preparing your expression of love for your spouse.

Love as a noun feels despair when you no longer feel "in love" with the person you are married to. Love as a verb understands the ebb and flow of feelings. It focuses more on expressing love than feeling love.

Love as a noun demands its own way. Love as a verb works to understand differences and is open to new ways of doing things.

Love as a noun finds faults in others. Love as a verb gives grace and forgiveness.

Love as a noun expects others to serve them. Love as a verb serves freely.

Love as a noun expects to always feel warm and fuzzy and "in love." Love as a verb realizes that often we have to choose to love even when we don't feel like it.

Over the last few months I have been realizing that I am lousy at love. I've chosen to focus on love as a noun with my husband and kids more times than I'd care to recount by reacting to them with immaturity and selfishness instead of acting out love as a verb.

I am a work in progress.

I'm so thankful for my Savior who patiently teaches me these lessons. He shows me how to love through his example and encourages that I can love better because He first loved me.

May your Valentine's Day be filled with that kind of love today!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Friday, February 11, 2011

Not that I would get bent out of shape over something like yeast...

It's a small thing. a very, very, small, small thing.

My bread, that I put in the oven to rise, will most likely not be rising.

I am pretty darn sure I left out the yeast. The first batch had yeast, but the bread machine decided not to work. The second batch, the bread machine kicked in, but in my haste to refill the machine... no yeast.


I hate it when little things go wrong. They sometimes remind me that the world does not revolve around me. That the stars do not always align for my pleasure. That disappointments, little and big are a frequent occurrence. That I'm way over-reacting getting bent out of shape over something like yeast...

Like I need that kind of reminder when I'm trying to make bread.

for friends no less.

Unfortunately my friends will have to deal with half the bread for dinner tonight. (The third batch, herbed dinner rolls, I did remember yeast and the machine is working.) But the sweet braids will be a no show. No dough, No show.

And no sweet braids for you my friends, no sweet braids for you!!

As for me, I must swallow the advice I dish out to my kids on an all-too-regular-occurrence:

It's not a big deal, shake it off, and move on.

This is me moving on.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hurry! One Day Left!!

If you haven't registered to attend Hearts at Home's National Conference (March 11 and 12), you have one day left to take advantage of early registration. After tomorrow, the price jumps up $20 and lunch is not included.
Trust me, you will be so glad you did!!
Go here for more information.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Happy New Year!

I recently had a conversation with a woman who had been adopted from Korea. She had a great relationship with her adoptive parents and was so thankful for their choice to adopt. She said they handled the special issues that come with adoption well, but she always wished they had made more of an effort to incorporate her Korean heritage into her life.

As an adult, she wishes she had more of a connection with that part of who she is.

When we started the adoption process, I thought I'd like to incorporate a little of China into our lives, but having that conversation confirmed it. So as the Chinese New Year approached, I figured it was as good a time as any to begin and build our own Chinese traditions (although let's be honest, probably more like Chinese-ish).

So we invited some friends and got ready to celebrate.

We decorated the house. Mya made paper lanterns to hang in the windows and helped set the table. Our centerpiece included fresh flowers and oranges; New Year traditions that bring good luck.

Even Thomas and friends joined in on the fun.

We prepared a feast, including homemade dumplings (another New Year Tradition that symbolizes wealth), a noodle dish (which symbolizes longevity), sesame chicken, and sweet and sour veggies. (A special thanks goes out to Michelle for sharing her recipes and book ideas and Kory's mom for helping with the preparation!)

And then we ate, and it was good!!

Suhn pounded the dumplings; I think she ate more than any one!

Another New Year tradition is red envelopes containing money for the kids. All the kids loved that one (the homegrowns weren't so crazy about the food; they'll learn!).

We had a wonderful night.

And I refused to cook anything for the rest of the weekend. :)

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago yesterday we saw our daughter's face for the first time.

On year ago today we officially accepted her referral.

What a year it's been!

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Chinese New Year (although officially today is the day), only we will be celebrating so much more than that.

Tomorrow we will celebrate the gift of our daughter Suhn. Handpicked for our family, or maybe we were handpicked for her. Either way God's fingerprints have been revealed over and over again throughout our journey and hers.

About a month ago, AH, the foster home where she lived in China, asked us to make a video of Suhn. They were celebrating an anniversary and wanted videos of the children who had passed through their doors. I thought I'd share it with you today as we celebrate Suhn Mikayla Rui.

Happy Chinese New Year!!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snowed In and Catching Up

It took a blizzard... here's a blog post. :)

And dare I say it,

I have LOVED being snowed in.

It is becoming a rare occurrence to have a complete day at home, and running around with five littles (or even 4 when Mya is at school) is exhausting.

So today I am giving thanks for snow days, a change of pace, a warm house, electricity, and a strong man who is willing to brave the elements to dig us out.

In other news, for friends and family who live afar, here is what we've been up to...
Suhn started preschool. She goes three mornings a week, gets OT and PT for part of the time and has loved the experience so far.
We celebrated Suhn's third birthday. Her first birthday with us. To see her surrounded by HER family, soaking in the love was awesome.

Ahh, vacation. Driving 19 hours straight through with 5 kids is not for the faint of heart...

But the destination was so worth it!

There you have it, a catch up blog post of sorts, with more to come...