Thursday, August 28, 2008

Addie being Hanna Montana

several current photos

L to R:
Addie in her new Chinese dress, Vicky and Kate on the "new ride" at our house, Addie has officially lost her two front teeth!

Week of 8-25-08

OK so some days I may not get a post up on this blog so will try for a weekly post...Last Sunday I attempted photos of the girls. We have a wedding to attend and I asked the girls about getting new dress's and they all said they wanted to wear their new Chinese clothes I had brought home...So they were trying them on so what better time for some photos...occasionally though there was a lot of messing around going on as you can see by this photo.
We are at the end of the first full week of school and all seems to be going well except all the girls are very tired at the end of the day. And why do they get up so early? They get on the bus at 7:05 and yet are waking up at 5:30...we have a rule that you cannot get in our bed unless you have a fever or the sun is up at 5:30 when my alarm went off I could hear talking...three of the girls were outside our bedroom door, sitting on the floor visiting...waiting for the sun to come up :) what a way to wake up. Penny is really opening up and we are seeing her personality more, plus we are seeing she has a quick grasp of English, Vicky is thrilled to be the only girl able to drive the new mini bike that suddenly appeared at our house and she can also give the little girls rides as their legs are to short to drive it themselves..I would like to ask for prayers for safety of our son Kris and his family during the storm approaching the southern states. Cathy and the girls are packed to leave if evacuated and Kris will stay behind with his troops...but will be sent to Texas I guess if the Air force evacuates the base too...please include all the people involved down there! I have more pictures to post...R

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Aug 22, 2008

This morning while I was waiting outside with the girls for the bus to come we were talking…Vicky asked me if I was going to be late for work…I said no, I don’t have to be to work until 8 o’clock…she said you going to be late? And I said no, and if I were it is ok as I am the “boss”. Wow the look that was on the girls faces! Impressed! So that started Vicky asking her usual 9,000 questions…you own the company…yes I and LaLette…oh…you Teresa’s boss?...yes…you Tina’s boss?...yes…you nice to them (I lied) I said yes…then she slapped me down when she said you own the work because you and LaLette old? Thank God it is Friday?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First day of school-2008

Today all the girls went to school. Kate is in kindergarten...just does not seem real! Penny and Vicky are both in fourth grade this year. Vicky was so successful last year that we jumped her to 4th from 2nd. We had put her in 2nd for the added help of the English language etc...she did so well she won her class spelling bee...Penny will get all the help she needs and have Vicky in the same room as her to help with language if needed...Addie went on her way to 1st this year. I am praying she remembers to put the Mrs. in front of the teachers name this year. Last year she called her teacher Paxson all Mrs. to it.

So now every morning I have about 45 minutes to myself..although here I was thinking a chapter of my book would be read, maybe do a better job curling my hair...a longer shower...what did I do? I checked all the rooms, threw in a load of laundry and headed into the office! Go figure....

Today we celebrate Claude's 50th birthday. The school all sang happy birthday to him and the staff all brought in brownies, cupcakes and rice crispy treats. It is fun to be celebrated this way.

We are still saying thank you's and prayers for Penny's adjustment. She is doing so well! She asked if she could call China today after her first day of school and I told her yes. I hope that goes well like the last calls have. Please say a prayer for Vicky's continued adjustment of a family...she is doing so well after the last couple weeks...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mine tastes like dirt too!

So we are into the second week of settling in. We made the decision to put Penny, at least to start, into 4th grade. This would allow for extra help for an additional year before hitting Jr. high. The new piano was delivered last night and Penny has been giving each girl her own lesson....Penny is so delighted over this posses ion as are the other girls!
A look into the last few weeks happenings at our house-...the other night i asked all girls what do you want to eat? Addie wanted chicken with ranch-strawberry shake-Kate said double hamburger-no bun and a sprite-Vicky said a hamburger with everything and fries and a coke...Penny said chicken! All of a sudden all the three who had previously placed their orders said they wanted the same as Penny...I just wrote 4 next to Penny's order. So as we were driving down the road I asked Addie is your chicken good? YES! Kate is your chicken good? YES! Vicky is your chicken good? YES! so then to test the follow the Penny rule that has been happening I said Penny does your chicken taste like dirt? (sorry, I did take advantage of no understanding of what i said) and the three others all chimed in saying their chicken tasted like dirt too. Who won on this one?
We do have to make times that Vicky and Penny are not together, or are at least including the other two little ones....the girls all need to know each other as sisters.
Penny is opening up more and a tiny bit less shy around Claude and I.
So at the end of our first two weeks I have to say I feel we are doing OK! Thank you for the prayers.

Friday, August 8, 2008

THE piano

After playing all the pianos at one store and saying NO to them...then going to the next store and playing all the piano's (thank goodness she did not like the $25,000 baby grand!) she sat and played this piano, at the end of the song Claude said she hit one of the keys with a ping stood up and said YES. The piano gets delivered Tuesday....She told me she wants to teach her little sisters to play piano....Claude is so sensitive to these girls..yesterday when they were in town he stopped at the store to let Penny "visit" her piano...she sat and played several songs he said...

God putting words to my feelings...

(this note was prompted by our evening last night when I asked Penny if she understood what adoption meant. I was, as was Claude, very concerned that she was not understanding as she was suddenly very sad…after we ate supper we called our dear friend Eliana who speaks Chinese and was adopted 4 years ago…she translated all of this for us to Penny and Penny was weeping on the phone…the below note explains why)

Eliana has been a wonderfully perfect help to us and specifically to Penny last night! They spent a lot of time talking, I could hear them upstairs last night. It was a very late night...anyway she just called me to tell me what some of the conversation was about. She said that Penny told her she was crying as she was missing home, but mainly she was crying to have found out that we are her forever family, not foster parents etc..that we will always love her and care for her...and she was so happy she was crying. I still believe that God guides these adoptions and also that He puts words in my mouth at the appropriate times….why did I suddenly ask her last night if she understood what adoption meant? It could have only been that the moment was finally here that she needed the knowledge and reassurance that she was Home!

Happy Birthday Vicky

Today is Vicky's 10th birthday! The girls are going to have a party that Gretchen has planned with games, sponge water fights, nail painting etc..then since we ha such a late night last night all will be taking a nap today as we are going out for Chinese food and birthday cake to further celebrate.
This will be Vicky's second birthday celebrated in her life. No parties or presents had ever been had before this. I asked Penny last night if she had ever had a birthday party in China and the answer was no. She seemed very thrilled about future birthdays! Today she will see an example.

One week home!

We have now been home one full week. Jet lag is going away as expected although Penny is doing much better than I who still gets up at 4 am or so....our household has changed some...I am going to have to figure out where the new piano goes, and how many times we will be driving to piano lesson. We live out in the country quite aways from a larger town where things are more available. For us to get Penny to piano lessons will be a 35 minute lessons the same...but hopefully several of the girls will be interested and all the class's would be about the same times...
The two little girls have reconnected, becoming best buddies again...Vicky has really struggled with a lot of things, she has had to work very hard the last few days figuring out that Penny has not come to our family to be only HER sister. Vicky had taken total control of Penny, sitting next to her in a fashion that made it impossible for anyone else to sit next to her, holding Penny's hand when walking, putting in only Chinese language movies so the two little ones would not want to share watching, on and on....we patiently explained that Penny and the other girls have to learn to know each other too. Last night Addie and Kate met me at the door and took me downstairs to talk. It was pitiful seeing their little faces with such great worry and disappointment on them saying "Vicky does not even love us anymore" they did not direct this to Penny not loving them it was to Vicky...Addie said "I told her hi and she would not even talk to me" and Kate jumping in saying Vicky won't play with us anymore or do anything with us and she won't let Penny play with us either" and Addie saying "yeah!"
So we went upstairs and all pleaded their case...and I said that the TV got shut off and time would be spent as four, not two. at least for the time i fixed supper. I know i cannot force relationships or play, but if times are guided then at least there is an aid.
The last few days it has been on my mind "when is this girl going to cry?" When we received her she was very much nervous, but no tears...they were there, but not flowing. Her behavior has been what I always hope for at say 2-3 months down the road...Very bashful, not used to hugs, not wanting to speak as unsure of the language, etc. No crying, no sad...but last night i typed on the translator, do you know what adoption means? and i am not sure how the translator spewed out the words, so we stumbled around for a long time...i was telling her it means she is for ever our daughter....we would always love her, care for her..on and on...well she appeared to become sad. Maybe some of the look was worried..but sad was finally there! We stopped and sat and ate, she picked at her food as she had all then our saving Grace, Eliana was called on the phone and I explained to her what had been going on with our conversation earlier and so Elaina talked at great length to her....Yes she understood adoption yes she understood we love her and she will love us, and then she told Eliana she was missing her people and house in China. She about this time did have tears streaming down her face. It ended up that at 8:45 pm Claude and four little girls piled in the van and drove and hour and 20 minutes south to pick up Eliana for the weekend. Yeah! She is going to be able to give Penny some conversation and also help get out some questions and answers to help Penny a bit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Good bye tickles

On Wed evening Sharla and I spent a few hours in our room with the girls playing. Ended up they laid together at this point and were doing some great tickles. Penny asked me with later, after the last good bye was said how far Hong/Abby would live from us and would she see her again. Our daughter Vicky has a friend in VA, and now we have another East Coast connection of Abby in NC and then another foster sister in NJ of Abby and Penny' I bet we do get to the East Coast a few times in the nea future!

Eric and the Fat lady

I asked Eric if he wanted to give the statue a "kiss" so i could take his picture and the next thing I knew he had vaulted up on top of her shoulders! The statues all around China are just beautiful! This lovely lady is in front of Lucy's restaurant in GZ where we ate several time! They serve great french fries! I have to tell you though, Eric was very lucky in his jump and not burning the back of his legs, these statues were very very hot from the sun shining on them!

Addie's View

This was the view Addie would have had out of her orphange.

Wedding photos-China

In China the future bride and grooms go to companies to have their photos taken in western wedding attire, traditional Chinese wedding attire, and casual attire. Bev is standing in front of one of the large companies in Chongqing that does this and this is one of the dress's you could choose from.

The Great Wall

Can you spot Eric climbing the wall? Hint is a white hat!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I am sure that you will be able to tell this is Ruthi as you read grammar is not like Vickie and Nan's. First my thanks to God for these constant prayer this time was please grant us safe passage to and from, for Penny to do well and for me TO FEEL BETTER! All prayers were answered...and yes I did finally after the first full week start feeling better. Penny has been amazing, I can only say her foster mother prepared her so well. This is a match for our daughter in coming to our family, only for one thing and that is she needs three hands and three "sides" and be able to sit in a triangle at meal time so all three girls can sit by her.My thank yous to our son Eric for being the baggage handler, the tipper, the play mate to Penny, the photographer dad and Bev for accepting Penny into their list of grandchildren and for the treats they gave her and for not complaining about the heat that we all suffered thru. IT WAS SO HOT! And to Vickie and Nan for handling the blog since my laptop died the first time i turned it on in China....We went to the Great Wall and dad and Bev stayed at a certain level with the guide, Eric took off for the top and I decided I wanted to experience the Wall with my son so trailed behind him about 5 minutes. Well for the first time in China i was sure i had made a huge error. I got to the top of the first level and was so bad off that i sat down where Eric would have to trip over my body when he came down. I was sure i was going to pass out...from being sick and hot i was just in bad shape. I stayed out of the sun in my sure to be tripped over spot and finally felt well enough to go back down to where dad and Bev were...i did not get the long awaited for photo of Eric and i together at this huge landmark of the world... We will have to return someday. From there we left and flew to Chongqing.We received Penny about 10:30 am on Monday and it was amazing to say the least. She seemed very accepting, nervous, and was not crying until i suggested she help her little foster sister Hong, and then she had tears while rubbing her chin...So we waited a few minutes and then shuffled out leaving Hong with her family. They told me she stopped crying shortly ....In the van on the way to the hotel I thought once again to ask the guide to ask Penny if she had an English name only to have tears dripping when she said her name was Penny...I guess Bev and the guide were with tears too. God and that Red thread sure does tie our family together!After being at the hotel for awhile it was time to settle down a bit and Eric went out and i was on the phone for a short phone call to Claude when Penny handed me the Electronic translator and on it was the question "what do i do now?" i agreed, what do we do now? Adopting an older child versus adopting a toddler is hugely different! A toddler you have the options of balloons, baths, sleeping, bottles etc...lots of ways of connecting and yet here we are! So i said a shower and pajamas and so even though we were a bit "embarrassed" and bashful she asked for me to help her wash her hair and then a shower was next and she did indicate she would do that by i went out leaving her to privacy..thinking boy she had better savor those few moments for when we get home you won't have a minute of it!Penny was amazed at a blow dryer...and a curling iron, so she went to breakfast the next day with curls in her long hair....she is very venturesome in trying food, and not bashful about spitting out things she does not like. (although she does it very politely) she loved Eric's psp and digital camera...she was relieved to see Hong Hong the next day at the civil affairs office while we did paperwork and we also ate dinner with the family that night funny thing, on the first evening we ate dinner with the Millers they had Penny ask Hong if they were doing things ok for her. She said yes... (she is 6) and then they had Penny ask if if she needed anything different. she had Penny type the answer. the answer was "please stop feeding me instant noodles every day" that brought us to our knees laughing!and i thought oh my i wonder what Penny was going to thing at our house as that is what Vicky and Addie would live on if we let them???The swimming pool was a nervous success...she loves ice cream....she liked to sleep in a bit and one morning I had already went down to eat and called the room to say hey are you guys coming down to have Eric tell me "she won't get out of bed, she keeps saying just a minute" so i had him give her the phone and in a stern mama voice said get on your clothes time to eat...she tried to tell me too in a minute and i said now! she did say ok...and in 6 minutes there they came to breakfast. it was also funny to watch her take a drink out of a bottled drink, screw the lid on and hand it to Eric to hold for her. His face was so funny to watch! even funnier to see him accept holding the bottle....he did catch on quickly and would occasionally say no....All in all the trip to China was great. The several times we ran into old guides that we had had was great! But walking into the stores on Shaman Island and have the ladies say "ahhh we see you before! you here last year too?" was a bit daunting...and then one shop owner even said " you here more than one other time right? you a very good customer" she is the one i picked to barter with the hardest for another suitcase i had sworn to Claude i would not need....yes i had to buy another one!So we landed Thursday night almost at midnight in Peoria and Penny let Claude hug here...we had our usual fan club of Ed and Brenda and Elaina and Kaylee...we so appreciate them being there..and Aunt Carrie and Jodi...we also had a couple people come up and say thank you for caring for these girls....Penny arrived here at her new home in the dark. Claude had turned on all the outside lights but imagine driving 1.5 miles back a one lane road with corn 8 feet tall on each side of the the dark, with people sitting with you that you really don't know...I give such credit to these girls strength that they have as each girl has done the same ride with give us the trust they put them on an airplane that will have them cramped up sitting for 15 go thru the airports for flight haul the little bit they own and put in in a suitcase that they can no longer see when we check it. To having Claude shut off the van and it goes dark, to get out of the van to be greeted with our dogs black wet nose and us all saying its ok, its ok....penny walked into our house with two girls on each side and the other three of us walking in front and behind her...welcoming or guarding i am not sure. She was juggled back and forth with three excited little girls to rush up the stairs to see her new room...i saw a huge smile cross her face when they showed her...we snacked and we tucked all in bed. Addie and Kate on the floor by the other two big girls for one night...Vicky for the first time in one year, and 3 months exactly to the day has slept in her own herself and was okay with it. she has spent the past nine months promising that when Li comes that she would be able to sleep in her own bed. I pray that Li is Vicky's strength to conquer all of her fears of sleeping alone .....we are battling jet lag...i am anyway...Penny is doing well it seems and will catch on fast.tomorrow she meets several aunts uncles and cousins and friends thru the day but today was spent swimming, napping, checking out the chickens and the lama...Claude and i have been asked a dozen times if we are done, are we adopting again, are we are we are we....when this journey all started you have to know what happened. I was struggling with knowing God had me in his embrace....i actually was sitting in my chair and remember screaming out God i need a sign that this is right, that i am yours...and i felt Him. He was there! but after that moment i said a prayer, i say rambling prayers, ask anyone about Grace being said at our table...but every prayer after that moment ended in Please give the children that are hungry food, the children that are sick medicine and the children that are without parents please give them parents to hold them...hmmmm....who would have known that because i screamed at God that He was going to scream back at me and guide our paths in this fashion? Aruba I love...we have not been back since 2003, we had the Harley...Vicky asked Mama why I get a old baba with no motor cycle? Kate wants a sum it up girls we had those things all once but now we have you....will we adopt again? Ask the meantime til he answers we have to teach Penny English, convince Kate she won't be taking her blankie to kindergarten, Get Addie to remember to call her teacher Mrs instead of just their last name and we have to say thanks for Vicky being able to finally sleep in her bed!i hope to constantly post so check back...i tell people we are just moments away from being a reality tv show :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

HOME AT LAST! 8/1/08

Hi, it's still Nan blogging. I'm sure Ruthi will be rested up soon and will take over the blog again. I'm happy to say that everyone arrived home in Illinois safe and sound! I talked to Claude this morning and he said everyone got home and was tucked in by 2:00 a.m. (flight got in very late Thursday night). The girls were all up by 8:00 a.m. the next morning (Friday)! Claude said that Kate, Vicky and Addie were so excited to finally have Li home that he felt he had to get Li some air - and so went shopping for a bike and a few things she needed at Walmart this afternoon. Ah, not even in America 24 hours and already being exposed to Walmart. :) Not only did Claude want to take her to the toy and bike aisle, but he wanted to take her through the groceries and see if there was anything that she would choose to eat. Imagine moving to another country and not even having any comfort foods available!! I know all the girls still eat noodles 24/7 - they even like them with eggs for breakfast.

So I was lucky enough to meet Li today. She is just beautiful. Ruthi describes her as being very lady-like and poised. I can see that immediately. Li knows very little English, but Vicky is her walking translator, as she was old enough when she was adopted to have a very well developed Chinese vocabulary. The world will be their oyster - I can see them in 15 years traveling the world --their valuable bilingual skills will open so many doors to them. Right now Li is using an electronic translator to help communicate with everyone who DOESN'T speak Chinese.

Can you just see Vicky and Li when they get a few years older chatting away in Chinese which their parents can't understand! Things could get very interesting at the Coats household!

Ruthi said she also realized today was the last day to sign up for school -so this morning was a rushed trip to school to sign up all the girls. Kate will be starting kindergarten, and Vicky and Li will both be in the 4th grade together. Addie will be in 1st. :) Ruthi and Claude say that Li has an amazing artistic talent - Claude said her drawings look like something that should be hanging in an art gallery. I can't wait to see! Li also plays the piano very well according to Ruthi, who was able to hear her play in a bookstore in China.