Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Birthday/Happy Thanksgiving

First I would like to say Happy Birthday to Dad (my father-in-law).  I won't share exactly how old he is, but I will share that he is wonderful.  He has been an amazing husband, dad, and granddad.  As a matter of fact I believe David is a huge fan of his (David really likes to play with him) and I know Sam adores him.  

Tack Pappa att du är så tålig och underbart.  Vi är jätte tacksam för dig och allt som du gör för oss.  Våra liv är mycket bättre med dig nära.  Grattis på din födelsedag.  Vi älskar dig.  

David had only been home a week when this pic was taken.
Secondly, I would like to say Happy Thanksgiving.  Even though it is not celebrated in Sweden, I will be having an international dinner tomorrow night with several family and friends from around the globe.  The countries that will be represented will be...the USA (that's me), Nepal (Sam), China (David), Sweden (unfortunately not Andreas, he is in Riga, Latvia this weekend), India, Malaysia, Australia, Ireland, and Iraq.  I don't know if I missed anyone, but I hope not.  This years dinner is not nearly as big as the one two years ago when we had 16 countries represented, but it was not possible this year to pull off a big church bash, so it is a little more intimate this year.

I am very thankful to be celebrating at all and really miss my family in the States at this time.  I am thankful for so much.  This year has seen the end of our 3 1/2 year wait and David came to our family in May. God showed himself in so many ways through our journey and has been a comfort, a trusted friend and a sovereign God through it all.  I am always thankful for my family (immediate and extended).  My husband is a solid rock that continues to show me the way to Christ and loves me even when I feel truly unlovable.  My children (who can drive me up a wall at times) are the most wonderful boys that I can imagine.  I am continually in awe that I have been given the privilege to be their mommy.  I continue to be thankful for my Bible study group and how they challenge me and keep me accountable.  I am thankful for new and old friends and the blessings that they are even when they are an ocean(s) away or sitting in my living room drinking tea with me.  I am thankful to have seen a very faithful God answer so many prayers, heal so many people, place so many orphans in families and redeem so many lost.  This year has not always been easy, but the difficulty has also taught me to be thankful and look beyond myself.

I pray that today you all have a chance to stop, reflect, know God, and be thankful too.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Six months and going.....

In six months we have gone from this...

To this...

I just love that I caught this on film!
David has bloomed and will continue I am sure.  He is a happy child, normally calm (but tends to whine because he cannot talk so well).  He has reached a new level of comfort with me.  I know this because he is pushing, and pushing, and pushing the boundaries.  Yes, this wonderful child is learning that with parents..not only does he receive love and laughs and security, but discipline.

He understands both English and Swedish while still understanding Mandarin (when my friend is around to speak it to him).  He will mainly answer in English (not surprising because I am with him the most).  He does have a vocabulary, but not one that anyone outside the family really understands.  I just laugh when people look at me and gasp because I know what he is saying.  The funny thing is it is mainly melody.  David has a great sense of melody and can repeat any melody that he hears.  So with the words I listen to his melody and am able to figure out what he wants (hopefully speech therapy will start soon).

He knows and seems proud of his name.  When we talk about him with doctors or the social worker he understands the difference between his Ch*nese name and his new name.  He will say no to his old name and yes to his new name.

David is curious, helpful, loving, playful, friendly (except to Sam, well sometimes), and quick to pick up on things.  He has great fine motor skills, but is still a bit clumsy with runny or walking.  He didn't have much muscle tone 6 months ago, so now I think he is doing great.  He has learned to run (without falling), ride a tricycle and a scooter, build with duplo and little legos (much to Sam's chagrin) and climb on most anything...he is a boy after all. 

He will still eat anything you put in front of him and continue until he is stopped.  But that is slowly disappearing.  He is sleeping in his own bed, feels comfortable enough to come get me if he needs me, or wander around the house before any of us are up (normally I hear him pretty quickly).  He loves books, cars, and anything that Sam says he is not allowed to play with.

David is recognizing friends, and remembers names quite easily.  He still very much loves Farmor and Farfar (especially Farfar).  I am still his number one pick, but Daddy has gone from number 79 to number 2!  He is learning to fully enjoy a Pappa who is loving, but will wrestle and kid around with him. David really does like Sam.  He will follow him and do everything Sam does, which of course annoys his older brother.  They are both still quite jealous of one on one time for the other, but we are working that out (David truly believes I am his and not anyone else's. He will even try to get in between Andreas and I.)

So far I think he is doing really great.  I love to see him pray and start mimicking the stories we tell from the Bible.  He perks up when I read a story about King David.  He is truly making his home with us, for which I am thankful.  Of course things are always perfect (did you read the he is pushing the boundaries earlier?), but are things ever perfect or normal?  Naaaaaaaa, that wouldn't be fun, at least now we are kept on our toes.

So please keep praying for us.  Six months is still a very short time in the scheme of things.

We can never express how happy and thankful we are that you are a part of our family. I love to see you shine!  You are a beloved son, brother, grandson and cousin.  You are not accidentally put here, but with purpose and love, from mommy and daddy's adopted Father.  As we always say, ''Home is where the family is'', and you are home!

mommy or maeee (as David says)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Old Sorrow, New Grieving

Today is the year anniversary of my grandfather's death.  My grandfather (Po Po as we called him) was an amazing man.  He would never have thought it or boasted about it, but he has touch thousands, if not millions with his teaching on inductive Bible study.  Robert A. Traina, Po Po, was loved by many, admired by many, and was the most humble, kind, patient, and loving person that I have ever known.

As his book is so titled, Po Po was methodical.  He loved the Bible, studying and knowing it and God were a passion of his.  God also imparted to Po Po the love of teaching.  So he did not keep this passion to himself, but graciously gave it to many as a professor, dean and author.

On the more personal level he was a brother, husband, dad, grandfather, friend, pray-er, uplifter, listener, and laugher.  His laugh was deep and heartfelt...and he laughed often.  He loved us (his family) so deeply and lifted us to Jesus everyday of his life.  I am sure that the prayers that Grandma and him raised to heaven helped me come to my Savior and marry a man that was like Po Po in so many ways.

Not only in his life did he teach me about Christ, but in his death.  Last year I was able to make it back home a week before he died.  He spent that last week in my Aunt's home (his youngest daughter), with my mom (his oldest daughter) and my Aunt taking care of him.  Sam was with me and Po Po loved to see him and hold his hand (Po Po always had the warmest hands).  Sam drew many pictures for him (he was taking care of Po Po too).  When the rest of us would have to leave Po Po's room, Sam would go in and just hold his hand.  Memories I will always cherish.

We really didn't know he was going to die that last week until the final two days.  So we got to say good-byes and I love yous.  His dignity and calmness followed him into eternity.  He was ready to go home and we all knew it.  He did not need to fight it, or tie up loose ends, his life had been lived to be prepared for the moment he would go to Jesus.  And even though I have been taught about heaven so much in my life, it became all the more real to me as he entered it.  Not because I saw heaven for myself, but watching and being with this man all my life and then watching him die showed me the full circle of a life lived well for Jesus.  His words, his actions, his thoughts behind all of it, was for one purpose and he was ready when it came.  I am beyond sure that he heard, ''well done, my good and faithful servant'' as he passed from this world into Heaven.  

I know that I fail on so many levels to live up to what he has taught, but remembering makes me try harder.  Not because he said so, but because it is all REAL.  One day I will also step into eternity and I would like to be able to face it in the same calm manner because I am ready.  Because I have lived my life with this purpose in mind.  Which really means that I need to do that now, because eternity may not wait until I am 89 like Po Po.

So as Po Po would say, I have some ''wrong thinking'' that I need to deal with and simply go to my Bible.  It is all there, know what it says, know God who is seeping out of every word and page.  Live my life according to those words and love God wholeheartedly.

''In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has NOT overcome it.''  
John 1:1-5
Po Po and I, when I was about 3 years old.
Thank you Po Po, for not only loving me, praying for me, and being the most amazing grandfather that you could be, but for living your life for the God you so dearly loved.  You not only showed me the way, but thousands of others.  I will always be your ''kissy baby''. 

I miss you,
(please forgive the typos, it is hard to write through the tears)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I know that I have been silent for a while on how the boys are doing.  I just needed to get a little perspective.  We are coming up on the 6 month mark for David.  Wow, time flys and to be honest it has not always been fun, but we have had some great times.  

David is a wonderful boy.  He is much calmer than Sam, but they seem to enjoy each others humor, when they are not fighting.  He has a great smile and those dimples just make you fall in love.  However, it is the constant whine that dampens those dimples a bit.  I know, I know...he is learning the language.  But at this point it is actually more than that.  We were told that we would have to wait at least 5 more months before they would call us in for speech therapy.  Well, let me tell ya, that is not going to do.  David wants to speak, he understands AMAZINGLY well.  The problem here is that he cannot say the words.  I work with him the best I know how and he really tries, but we need a professional.  So we are pushing to try to bump up that 5 months.  My real fear here is that he is developing patterns of whining that will continue even when he can say words.  We do use a lot of sign language with him, but if we don't push him to use it, he will fall back to whining.  As much as a mom loves her children the constant whine really gets to a girl.  

David is also INCREDIBLY stubborn.  I know many of you other adoptive parents and some non-adoptive parents (my mom for example), are saying ''we understand'' (actually my mom is laughing at me right now, saying ''I told you that your stubbornness would come back to bite you!'')  The stubbornness served him well in Ch*na, but it is not serving him so well here.  I have been pretty good and kept my patience about me, but I have to admit that today I lost it a bit.  There was some yelling, followed by a time out (for both of us), and crying (on both our parts) and apologizing (on both our parts), then some hugs and cuddles.  When it was over, I cringed to think about how angry I allowed myself to get.  In my talk with God I am reminded that I too am stubborn beyond belief, and that I failed, but I still have more time and a God that is constantly patient with me.  So tomorrow I will try again, while trying not to be stubborn myself with my Heavenly Father.  

I am constantly reminded that my boys are an incredible blessing.  Sometimes that reminder comes in the form of other adoptive moms and dads out thank you.

So I would say that for now my perspective is still growing as we continue to grow as a family.  But when I do get a breather and I step back, I am incredibly grateful for the privilege of parenting these boys.  Awesome responsibility in the hands of Andreas and I.  Sometimes I question our abilities, but in the end I cannot question God, because He really does know EXACTLY what He is doing.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Part III

There is Arabic, there is Mandarin and off to the side (hard to see) there is even Russian.  Now that got confusing, especially since I can read or speak non of them! 

They have very intelligent grass at the Heavenly Lake outside of Ur*mqi!