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Welcome to my family blog. I have been married to Mike for over half of my life. I love my Savior, Jesus. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to six terrific, interesting children. My 3 oldest were born to me in my younger years, while my 3 youngest were given to me by God in my older years. I am very blessed. ~Cheri


Doctor Visits

Last week, Ivy had her first Cleft Clinic doctor appointments. She saw an ENT, a speech therapist, educational specialist, oral surgeon, dentist, and a plastic surgeon for her cleft. The speech and educational specialists could not do too much for us at this point. Ivy, of course, needs to go to the dentist to clean those teeth that have never seen a dentist before. The plastic surgeon shared with us all he would be doing to make Ivy's lip look much better. But, that will be when she is around 9 years old. The big thing was the oral surgeon. He is the one that will fix her gumline..the missing bone area in her mouth. Her palate is not affected, which I'm thankful for.

In about a year, Ivy will have surgery on her upper gum area. Dr. P. said he will take some bone from her hip and fill in where she is missing bone in her mouth. Today, Dr. P took that very crooked, loose front tooth out. It caused so much aggravation every time we brushed her teeth. The adult tooth is coming in, but twisted. Her bottom adult teeth are coming in behind her baby teeth. Her mouth is a mess, but it could be worse.

Picture taken with my phone.  Not too clear, but you can see the tears.

Ivy was not very happy about it all.  She seemed okay on the way to the doctor.  But, once in the chair, she started the silent crying.  We initially thought 2 teeth were being pulled, but it ended up being just the one.  She had some gas, and they numbed her gum with a gel, but nothing else.   The tooth was already loose, and Dr. P. quickly pulled it out.  Afterward, Ivy was extremely upset and crying a bit more loudly.  By the time we left, she was fine.  She has to get used to this.  She'll have more teeth removed down the road.  She'll even have to have a fake tooth put in at some point because she is missing one.  It seems like a lot, but it is all spread out over years.  The next step is to visit the ortho in May and see what she recommends.

This looks more line one of Millie's teeth!

The funny thing about it all...Ivy's Chinese medicals did not state that she had this issue.  We knew her lip was affected, but it never mentioned anything else.  So, I thought it was a very minor cleft.  I was wrong.  But, when I traveled to China, I knew that there was a good possibility that this was left out of her medicals.  I'm glad we are able to take care of her and give her the medical attention she needs.


We Need A Smaller House

You'd think with 8 people living in our simple, ranch house, that we'd need more room. Well, technically we do because we have very little closet space. But, there are days when my children gather in our tiny master bathroom. It is not meant for 5 people, but sometimes that is how many cram into that small space. Ivy, especially, loves to come in our bathroom and see what we're doing. I'll be drying my hair, Mike will be shaving, and in walks Ivy, looking at us and going through the drawers.

The other day, the girls managed to climb in our bed before their bedtime. It was a sweet picture. I love my family.



Remember this post?  Well, this family received their PA for Ivy's friend from the orphanage, and finally announced it to their families and on their blog.  I thought you'd might like to meet the family.  They also have a new cute picture of their new daughter, Nora.


Another Friend of Ivy's

I found out  today another little girl is up for adoption on the shared list from Ivy's orphanage. She's a cutie with cl/cp also. I asked Ivy about her today, and I found out Yang Ke is happy, she was not in Ivy's class, she just had a birthday this month, and she just turned 6 or 7.

She is the girl in the back row on the far left, missing a tooth.  I know from experience and from other parents that these children are well taken care of at this orphanage.  If you want to find out more information about Yang Ke, you can contact the agency we used (whom I most highly recommend...I had no issues with them at all), China Adoption With Love, Inc.  Their phone # is 617-731-0798.  You can visit their website to find out more about CAWLI.

The last time I advocated for one of these little girls, a family came forward to adopt her.  I pray for the same thing for this child.


Warm Days

We've had some great weather, and I have to admit that I've dressed my girls like it was summer, when it was still winter. Saturday, we were outside a bit at the tree swing. Ivy, Eva, and Joy really enjoy it. Ivy has come a long way with that swing. When she first got on it, she would not allow me let go of her. I had to walk alongside her. Now, she is letting me give her a big push, like I do with Eva and Joy.

Tomorrow is our first road trip. The girls and I are heading to mom's for a couple of days. I hope Ivy does not get car sick over the mountainous roads. It has been about 3 weeks since she was last sick. I pray her body has become accustomed to car travel. If not, it will not be good. I'll be packing plenty of plastic bags.



Last night, I made this scrumptious Chicken Marsala. I had not made it in a couple of years because the last time I made it, I did not put the tomatoes in it, and it did not turn out. Sometimes, not too often, I fix something that just looks healthy and seems too pretty to eat. Mike thought it looked that way. I won't tell you how much butter is in it.

Ivy had 2 helpings, Mike had 2+ helpings and leftovers tonight.  Seth liked it, but was stuffed with something he had eaten earlier, and the girls ate it.  I can never comment on Jack.  He does not like much of what I fix him.  He'll learn.


How Does This Happen?

This was Jack's cup of coffee this morning. You should see the stains on his shirts, the spots under his dinner chair, and the tablecloth at the dinner table. This is an everyday occurrence for My Sweet Jack. Life would be boring without him.


Home One Month

I was thinking about the morning we arrived home from China, 4 weeks ago yesterday. How long ago that now seems. Our lives are starting to become the "new normal". You would not think that one child can make such an impact on a family of 7, but Ivy does, in a good way.

Ivy continues to learn English and is always putting new sentences together. Last week, as I was putting her to bed, she told me, "I love you, too". It was so sweet, and she tells me that every single night. She has trouble saying Seth. I'm not sure if it is because of her cleft and teeth, or if it is just because she is Chinese. We'll figure that one out once we see the cleft clinic.

Spring is just around the corner, and we've been enjoying the warmer days. We've gone on a couple of hikes/walks. Jack enjoys being in the woods, although he is still afraid of bears after seeing one on a hike in June. Seth is slowly getting into the soccer mood. His season starts next month. Jordan has been on spring break this week, but has had a terrible cold, one which Mike caught, and Eva and I are catching. I don't get sick all winter. It seems I always catch those spring/summer colds.

During a hike.

My handsome Jack.

This is what happens when an almost-4-year old tries to quit taking naps.

Mike doing Jumping Jacks with the girls. They love it.

Father and daughter, dancing.


Is It Spring?

Saturday was a beautiful day...a day to do a bit of cleaning up outside. So, I sent the children outdoors to do what I did not get done in the fall. They cut back all the dead leaves from my flowers. And what was underneath? Yes, lovely flowers peaking out of the ground! They are always such a lovely sight. Especially, after the long, cold, snowy winter we have had here in Virginia.

Afterward, we packed a lunch and headed to the playground. Seth and Jack played at the soccer fields, while the girls headed to the playground equipment. You should have seen Ivy's eyes light up at the sight of the fun stuff. She quickly climbed the biggest slide there and flew down it. It was fun to see all their smiling faces, having a good time.

Ivy would yell "I love you, Eva. I love you, Joy!"

Today, Sunday, was even warmer in the 60's. Mike bought Jack, Eva, and Ivy new bikes, and they've been a lot of fun. Eva zips around the garage and patio on her big bike with training wheels. Ivy, I believe, is very weak. She slowly makes the trek around the back of the house. I don't think she has a lot of muscles in her back, abdomen, or legs to get her bike moving along too quickly. I know that will take some time. Joy is enjoying her hand-me-down tricycle. She can finally reach the pedals this year.

While we've all enjoyed the outdoors, Jordan has been cooped up inside with a terrible cold. It is "the worst cold I've had in years", she says. Poor thing. She's glad she is on spring break this week.


One Month Later

From this on February 1... this last week. I'm so thankful to the Lord for Ivy's wonderful transition. It has all been a wonderful experience, adopting older. It seems it was something God had slowly worked in our hearts.

When we started the adoption process back in 2005, our intentions were to adopt a healthy baby. Never, ever, never did we want an older child (too many unknowns), or a special needs child (way too many unknowns). Little did we know that we had so much maturing to do! While waiting for our referral of Eva, I started wondering what was "Special Needs" , and why was everyone excited when our agency got a new list? So, I started investigating and checking out other blogs of families who had adopted special needs. Yes, there were definitely many unknowns and some heart-breaking outcomes and stories, but I felt this was something we could do! Once we returned home with Eva, I started some more research of special needs. We found Joy on an agency specific list. She had a birth defected hand. Is that really a special need? Then, our journey to Maggie in 2009 was one of those heart-wrenching stories I've read about. It was not at all what we expected or planned. In His mercy, somehow God decided, despite our grief, uncertainty, and failures, to bless us with Ivy. She's been a wonderful "Unexpected" adoption.

Here's a few random pictures.

Ivy and I at the doctor's office.

The girls' room seems to always be a mess lately.

Seth and the girls...always the fun big brother.

Jack and Jordan

Seth's monstrous cheese-stuffed burger. It was messy.

Ivy's play-dough wontons. She's quite creative!


Ma Pei

Since I'm still getting emails about Ivy's friend, Ma Pei, I thought I'd post to let ya'll know that Ma Pei does have a family!  Her family contacted me last week.  Once they receive their Pre-Approval from China, and I receive permission, I will be happy to share their blog with you.  Ma Pei will soon have many sibling and a mother and father to give her bunches of lovins.  I'm so excited for her and her family, but know the wait is long and torturous.  I pray things are quite speedy for the family.

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