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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



On September 11, 2002, I listened  to the voices outside my window in a local park commemorating the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.  I lay inside, across the street, in a hospital bed, in labor waiting to deliver our twins.  I was only half way through my pregnancy when I woke up that morning with contractions.  As the day wore on, we prayed for a miracle, and waited.  I knew that as long as my babies were inside my womb, they were alive.  Once they were born, they would die.  When the time came for their birth, I halfheartedly did my part in delivering them.  Ben and Rachel were born minutes apart that evening of September 11, 2002.  They were perfect and beautiful in every sense of the word, just so tiny...too tiny.

Rachel's tiny hand print

Benjamin's footprint

One month later, the children and I traveled along with Mike on a trip to Rhode Island.   He had to work, so the children and I took advantage of the time and visited a state we had never been to before.  It was a difficult trip for me because I had anticipated Mike traveling while I was still pregnant.  I was anxious about being alone, knowing it was possible I could go into labor.  So, there I was, in Rhode Island, with my family, but without Ben and Rachel.  Little did I know that as we walked along the beautiful beach in Newport, Rhode Island, that a woman in China was giving birth to a tiny daughter.  Little did I know that as we toured the beautiful mansions along the rocky coastline that the same woman was having to make a decision.  And, little did I know that while I was grieving over Ben and Rachel, my daughter was found outside the gates of a home in a small town called Sanxiang, China.

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."—Isaiah 61:3


It's Baffling... quickly 20 years can go by.  Wasn't it just a year ago that I lay in bed at night, waiting to hear that little cry telling me it was time for a bottle?  I could not wait for Jordan to wake up just so I could see her, smell her, hold her.  I would sing hymns and Christmas songs to her because I did not know any lullabies as a first-time mother.

And wasn't it just 8 months ago that I bravely sent her off to that first day of school?  She had no problems, but my heart hated being without her all day long.

I believe it was just 6 months ago that I watched her slowly change into a young, awkward, lady.  I wiped her tears when a friend hurt her feelings and I tried my best to help her through many, many difficult times.  I did not always succeed, and I know I probably failed in many ways, but we worked through them together.

I know it was just a few months ago that Jordan got her first job, driver's license, and graduated from high school.  I remember how excited she was when she took that trip to China for two weeks to work with the orphans, traveling to the other side of the world all by herself.  I was so proud of her!
Graduation 2008


And today, my firstborn is 20 years old.  Happy Birthday, Sweet Jordan!  I have enjoyed every second of life with my daughter.  I loved watching her bake cupcakes with her sisters last night, and I loved the smile on her face this morning when she had ice cream and strawberry cupcakes for breakfast!

This is the necklace we bought her.  She spent 2 weeks in a rural village area of Nanchang in 2008 after her graduation.  I'm thinking of buying Ivy, Eva, and Joy each one for their 10th birthdays.  You can purchase them from here.


Ivy's Friend

Remember this post?  Well, I just feel very excited to share that she now has a family!  She will be only about 4.5 hours away from us.  How wonderful it will be if the girls are able to visit each other.

Thanks for all the prayers said for these children.


The Dreaded Chore

I've been putting this chore off for weeks, probably months. I dislike cleaning the windows, but mostly the window sills. Since we live in the "country", we have a variety of flying friends who are always wanting in our house at night when the lights are on. Besides the bedrooms and bath, we have no window coverings (only on 2 kitchen windows because of the setting sun). Those tiny bugs manage to squeeze through the screen and collect on the window bottoms. Through the winter it gets pretty nasty in there. When we moved into this house in 2001, it looked like the window sills were never cleaned. I had 1/2 inch of bugs to dig out. At least now it gets done in the spring and possibly the fall if I'm diligent. Now, I'm fortunate to have a son old enough, strong enough, big enough to do most of the dirty work. He takes the water hose and brush and scrubs the windows for me. But, I still have the inside task of all those windows to clean. But, I'm thankful to have a house with windows to clean.

 Every worker needs his helpers!

Our Girls

Tomorrow we are taking a short trip to Pennsylvania.  Jordan's friend, Abby, is graduating from Mount Zion School of Ministry and we get to attend.  Unfortunately, Jordan could not get off from work to make the trip. 
 Jordan and Abby, Christmas Time 2009, sneaking a box of Little Debbie's

This will be Ivy's first serious car trip other than the 2.5 hours to visit my mother.  I've been telling her how many hours we will be in the car, preparing her.  I know she is not looking forward to sitting for that long.  But, we all have to do it.  This will give me some insight into our trip next month, which is about a 13 hour drive.  Eva and Joy do great.  They've become quite used to our yearly travels.

Ivy pulled her first baby tooth.  Well, it was already loose, then her knee somehow hit her mouth, knocking that tooth a bit looser.  Jordan showed her how to take a tissue and pull it up and out.  With one try, it was out!  Then she just threw it in the trash.  She was quite excited.  She has one more loose tooth that will be coming out soon.  I cannot pull teeth.  I think I pulled Jordan's first tooth, but that was it.


Gathered 'Round the Table

It is not often that all of us meet for dinner. Jordan is usually the one missing because of night classes and/or work. But, last night she was home, and we dined on some yummy flounder. I LOVE having everyone home. As you can tell, there are not enough seats at the table for us all to fit. I usually end up standing since I help the girls out anyway. Joy needs to be out of the high chair, but where would I put her?

Excuse Jack's open mouth, giving you a view of his salad. Most people do not see this side of Jack. He's quite the character once you get to know him.


The Orphanage

Now that Ivy's English is improving after being home two whole months, I thought I'd ask her a couple of questions about her life in China. What was it like? Who were your friends? Were you happy? Did anyone love you? Did you take baths or showers? Were you afraid? Ivy told me that she slept with Ma Pei. I'm not sure if that happened recently, since quite a few of the girls her age had been adopted, or if she always slept with Ma Pei. She also said that she showered, never took baths. Now I know why she always wants a bath. When I asked her if anyone loved Ivy, her replied was quite sad, "A little bit." Did Ivy love anyone? Again, "A little bit." Since she thoroughly enjoys ice cream cones, we asked her about having this treat. She just shook her head and said no as she licked her delicious vanilla cone after dinner.

Then I brought up adoption. Were you happy to be adopted? She had a very sour look on her face. She said she was afraid. I asked her about the package I had sent to her. She looked a bit confused on that one. I knew she had received it because she had the photo album. Then I showed her this picture:

"Did you get any of the gifts we sent you? The candy, card, necklace, doll, shirt, panda bear?" She shook her head no again, as she knit her brows together. I don't understand why the orphanage would only give her the pictures, not the other things in the package. Maybe her fear would not have been so strong if she had more from us than just a picture album. After a while, I asked her if she was glad I went to China to get her. She sweetly looked up at me, smiled and said, "Yes." She did not want to go back to China.


Birthday Boy

Today, my oldest son celebrated his 16th birthday.  We celebrated pretty early since Jordan had to leave for work before noon.  So, for breakfast, Seth had cake and ice cream.  I figured I'd allow it for today.  This is the first birthday celebration that Ivy has experienced at home.   She joined in the singing and as usual, Eva and Joy hovered around the big present with the white bow.   We have 2 more birthdays within the month.  I'm sure everyone will be sick of cake and ice cream soon enough.  We'll have a break until the next round of birthdays start at the end of summer through November.  Happy Birthday to Seth!

I'm bias. I think he is so handsome.

Delicious cake.

Seth's new soccer bag and ball. It will be put to use quickly.

Seth and Jack started their fun soccer season.  Jack scored one goal, but his team lost 2-1.  Seth scored 3 goals and his team won.  It was not a good first-time soccer game experience for Ivy.  It was terribly windy at the field and my ears hurt!  We had to break out our winter coats and fleece.  But, the weather is warming up...70 today.



I realize that most of my posts lately have been about Ivy.  It seems like there is so much progress to post about, so she is an easy subject.  But, now that she is in a good routine, it is back to normal.  Ivy's English has really picked up.  She is starting to speak more clearly with many more words, and she understands about 99% of what I say.  She loves to help me in the kitchen, whether it is cooking, emptying the dishwasher or washing the dishes.

I had some time just yesterday to look back through some pictures that another Zhongshan mom shared with me, and I grabbed some cute pictures of Ivy, some of when she was much smaller.  She went through them and seemed so happy to see herself, friends, and China.  She even told me about the pink flower she is holding in one of the pictures.

 Notice Ivy on the right, directly behind the boy in the red.  She looks so little!

Ivy is the cutie, 2nd from right, front row.

My daughter is in the center with the pencil to her mouth.  It looks like a fun classroom.

This is the picture Ivy was telling me about.  She is holding the pink flower...her favorite color.  Those look like her thumbs, and she definitely remembers participating in this project.

I'm glad I have these pictures for Ivy.  I don't want her to forget her life in China, but I can tell that she is moving on very happily.  I look forward to the day that she can tell me about her life in China and all that she felt.

There is a big accomplishment to report on, though.  Ivy would cry whenever I would leave to run an errand.  Not every time, but many times.  She would also not go anywhere without me.  Mike wanted to take the children to a park 2 miles away.  We told her she was going with Daddy, Eva, and Joy, and that Mommy was staying home to clean up the kitchen.  Well, she started crying those silent tears.  Then it was louder and she was saying, "no, no, no".  Finally, when they were in the garage getting their shoes on, she plopped herself down on the floor.  I saw manipulation all over her face.  I put her in the car, buckled her in, and off they went to the park.  Mike said she cried the whole way and stumbled all the way up the hill to the playground.  Once there, Mike started playing with the girls.  Ivy finally joined in, laughing at all of the fun they were having.  Last night, same thing.  But, this time, she did not cry at all.  She happily left with her Daddy, sisters, and brother.  She didn't even say good-bye to me!?  I've seen this behavior in Ivy since I met her.  She acts like this to try to get her way.  I can tell it is not out of fear.  She does not fear her daddy at all.  She easily jumps on his lap here at home and plays with him.  She may have had some uneasiness about leaving me, but she is finally understanding that a family is for keeps.



Before I traveled to China, we were very blessed with an adoption grant from a church in Pennsylvania.  It is amazing how, through circumstances with our trip to China for Maggie, God had people with similar circumstances reach out to us via blog.  This is how we "met" Jenny, another adoptive mom in PA.  After much prayer and sharing, Jenny let us know that we would be receiving a grant for our adoption from their church.  Over time, I've been so blessed to share and become friends with a lady who has a big heart for the orphans.

Earlier this week, we received a small package in the mail with a lap quilt inside.  The note from Jenny shared that prayers were said for Ivy with every knot tied on the quilt.  What a blessing and testimony for Ivy!  Once she understands about God, salvation, she will understand the significance of that small quilt and all those prayers.  I'm thankful for all the people involved, and for those who gave money for funding part of our adoption of Ivy.

Ivy was quite excited about the little quilt.  She has confiscated one of Joy's dolls to lay the quilt over every night on her bed.  (I'll have to ask Grandma to get Ivy a similar doll.).  Ivy even kept the note card from Jenny in her "special" drawer.

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