Friday, July 31, 2009

One year for Penny

Penny has not concentrated at all on her one year date of adoption, rather she has chosen her one year date of landing in America to celebrate. This is fine, an older child gets to create memories where with a younger child you create them and then the child will take over as they grow up and be involved. So to recap our year with Penny---
-We adopted Penny last year and while waiting for her we discussed names and one day Claude said we need to use Penny. I was like hmm, we can add it to the list...then every night for weeks he would have the girls sit at the table before dinner and go "we want Penny, we want Penny" and even though we asked two times before we traveled if Li Juan had a English name and were told no. The day that I received Penny in China and we were in the van to go back to the hotel the guide asked Li Juan if she had an English name already and she said yes, Penny. Not a dry eye in the van, and there is that China Red Thread.
--when we were in the hotel room, just the first few hours of Penny being with me she handed me the Electronic translator and it said "what do I do now?"
--Penny loved a very nice looking pair of sandals in China and I bought them for her, yet trying to get her to buy a pair of comfortable looking shoes. I bought a box of band-aids next.
--we knew Penny had had piano lessons. She played the piano for me in a store and I just had tears. When we got home Claude took her piano shopping and she takes lessons yet every week.
--to watch a child say good bye first to her foster sister, who was adopted at the same moment as we adopted Penny, and then to leave her country of birth with only a few items in a couple back packs is hard. You don't question "is this the right thing" but you question how can an 11 year old child be so brave and to trust you with not only their few possessions but with themselves? That China Red Thread is a very strong thread that also includes trust in it.
--When we got to our house Penny was excited to be drug thru the house by her new three sisters and her mama and baba to show her where she was going to forever live. She saw everything I bet in less than 10 minutes and went to sleep pretty quick that night surrounded by her three new sisters sleeping on the floor by her bed. To go from a city of 30 million people to living down a 1 1/2 mile lane where the closes neighbor is 2 miles away and a house that is huge had to be a experience that most of us cannot comprehend.
--the next few months were spent adjusting to a whole new way of life, language, foods, clothes and the way of our family. Claude and I feel that Penny blended in and joined our family as though she had always been with us! She still at one year seems the same.
--Penny asked us one Sunday if she could stay in her pajamas and in bed all day. Sure as long as every thing is done that needs to be done...the idea that she could stay in her pajamas ALL DAY amazed her and also started a tradition of getting the pajama's on as soon as she can during the day or evening.
--Penny's favorite things to do are shopping, playing the piano, art, wearing pajama's, watching movies....
--we asked her if this first year has been good, medium or bad and she raised her hand in the air and said great!
To adopt an older child you count so much on their beginning to have been good. We say thank you to Penny's first years being so guided and one of those people was Mama G (as we call her) who was Penny's foster mother in China. Thank you Mama G for loving this child and all of the other children you loved.
Penny's first year here has included learning how to ride a bike, riding a school bus, a 24 hour a day warm home, snacks (we are a big snack family) teaching us how to cook a few Chinese dish's, adjusting to hugs (not happening to much yet) , spending time with family, riding a four wheeler, getting up close to chickens, cows, a llama, bunnies and a dog....soft towels, smell good soaps, surprising us that she prayed in China, snow, Christmas presents and a big birthday party. Fireworks for Chinese New Year (thank you Claude for setting these off out in the bitter cold and snow while we all watched from inside)
Penny has also shared a lot of things with us, her forever family. Some we share with all, others I have asked her to write down so she has these memories for all of her life. Penny is a beautiful daughter to Claude and I and a wonderful sister to the girls. Thank you Penny for accepting us, trusting us and even though you haven't said it more than twice, for also loving us. Happy first year!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More photos....

Shortly after the photo on the left Bob gave Addie a kiss and she wiped it off going yuuuck! All the while the camera was rolling for the documentary that we could be part of that will be shown in Australia. The 10 minute show is to be about Microtia and also about using prosthetics instead of surgery. The next photo is of Addie wearing sunglasses for the first time that are staying up on her face! I felt that these two photos were confirmation of a success for Addie!

Our time in Washington D.C.friends, sightseeing and ears

Our trip to Washington D.C. was expressly to get prosthetic ears for three of our daughters who have Microtia...and then around those appointments Vicky would get to see her friend TZ who she lived with at the orphanage in China, we would meet up with John and Andrea and their daughters (their oldest daughter is from Hanzhong where Kate is from), we would visit with TZ folks, tour some of the Capitol and hopefully have a sane trip/time.
To comment on our daughters behavior while we were traveling and they were locked tight in seat belts for the 1900 miles that we put on the van would be to simply say PERFECT. Kate had two separate melt downs but otherwise her humor was "how many more hours mommy?" and I would say 4-she would say with a song "well that's better than 6!" Addie was forever smiling and great...Vicky played her Nintendo or did homework, Penny listened to her music and sang (I guess we all listened to her music huh?) and she also would do homework....they sincerely were great travelers!
I will post some pictures here of the girls with Bob Barron, Custom Prosthetics, (Vicky said no photos, she is still adjusting) and of our time in D.C. Top right photo is Bob tinting Addie's ears to match her skin and then the next one is her profile now when using the prosthetics. Bottom left is Vicky and TZ, then bottom right is the usual squat we still see our girls doing. Please remember Kate was 22 months when we adopted her and yest she will still assume this stance when waiting, etc. Amazing! And to have looked and seen three of the girls all doing it without prompting etc was even more amazing!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Bucket List includes...

A lot of you may disagree about my own observation of myself but here goes...I see myself as an extremely simple person. I do not really have hobbies, my daughters can sway some of my opinions and you will see me now wearing make up more, dress's, jewelry, etc..but before the girls it was 100% t-shirts and jeans...and I work a lot..not just work as in at thee office but here at home too...4 daughters and a huge house, family, etc and you can imagine that there is always something to do....but I have a passion that has came from early childhood and that is tractor pulls. I just die over the NOISE and the TREMORS and THE WHINE OF THE ENGINES and the BLACK EXHAUST THAT COMES AT THE STARTING LINE...I like the modified tractors the best...anything with 3 jet turbine engines on it that takes off at the start line and goes as smooth as these guys do down the track....well I am really getting into this so I had better get to my evening...last night I met my dad and Bev at the tractor pulls in Henry, IL and sat til almost midnight watching these truck and tractor was great! On a side note though I am sure part of my interest has came from when growing up my dad and uncle were one of the first tractor pulling teams to have a "hot rod" and we went to tractor pulls in the summers...there were no trailers to put the tractors on to haul them home and I can remember following dad home, mom driving behind him in the car. My mom actually drove in the women class when she was about 7 months pregnant with my brother! So in my bucket list I have two notes....1) to be the person at the start line holding the red and green flag giving the driver the ok to take off and 2) to drive a modified hot rod ....the pictures tell it all except for the NOISE, THE TREMORS AND THE EXHAUST.....