I started this particular blog when we decided to pursue Ivy's adoption. This post explains how we got there, but without the details. I thought I might share some of those details with you.
When we returned home from China without Maggie, our hearts were so broken. While in China, we both said, "Never again will we adopt." The pain was so fresh and raw. After about a month, when I could see more clearly, I began to wonder if that was such a rash decision, never adopting again. Maybe there was a child for us. I spoke with our great agency director, Lillian. Our dossier was still in China, waiting. Lillian recommended that we write CC double A a letter explaining what occurred and either requesting a new referral, or releasing our file. I told Mike, "We either write a letter explaining our situation and be done, or we write a letter explaining what happened and humbly request another referral." Mike's reply was, "Go ahead and write the letter." So, how many moms out there would assume that it meant "write a letter and request a new referral"? That is what I thought. I was excited, yet fearful. I wrote the letter the next day and went to Mike asking for him to read it and sign it. Mike said, "I trust you", and signed the letter, never knowing that I requested another referral.
About a month past and we had not heard from CC double A. Mike and I were talking about it all, and he said to me, "I don't even know if I want to adopt again." What?! I just sent a letter to China asking for another referral! Mike said, "I didn't say that I wanted another referral." Well, that is exactly the way I took it! What do we do now? I don't want my agency to be in hot water over asking for a referral, then declining a referral. After many tears and discussion Mike said, "Let's just wait and see what happens."
You see, I'd never, ever do something without Mike's knowledge or approval. I truly believed that he meant to ask for another referral. I had no idea he was still undecided. After all, it had been a couple of months since returning home without Maggie. After that, I really started praying hard for God's direction. I was confused about it all and wondered why Mike did not feel anything one way or another. So, I asked God to show me many things. For example, "Does God speak to the wife and not the husband ever?" After asking that question, I came to the scriptures about Hannah and Samuel. After Samuel's birth, Hannah's husband was making his trip with his family for the yearly sacrifice to the temple. Hannah said that she'd not return with Samuel until after he was weaned. Her husband replied that that was between Hannah and the Lord. So, God did not speak to Hannah's husband about that, but to Hannah directly. It was also brought to my mind about Mary, how the angel came to Mary and told her about the birth of her son, Jesus. Then I came across this post from another blogger who loves the Lord. I just sobbed when I read it. She posted it the day after I asked the Lord to show me something. I was so grateful and thankful that yes, God does speak to the wife.
After I shared it all with Mike, crying, his sweet reply was, "It sounds like God is talking to you. Maybe I'm being scared and selfish about adopting again, and God is trying to get that out of me." I, too, was scared and selfish, but ready for God to show us the way. So, technically, it was by "accident" that we came to adopt Ivy. But, I know that there are no mistakes. There is a reason and purpose for everything. We may not see it right away, but I know to trust our God.
Just a few weeks later, I opened my email and saw this sweet face looking back at me.
And here is a recent photo of the gang minus Jordan, who could not make the trip when we visited my mom last week.
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
Some of you may remember Joy's red fetish. She loved everything with red. Her favorite store was Target, she only played with red toys, she only wanted to wear red clothes or hairbows, color with red crayons, her face turned red when she was angry. She'd save all her red candies or fruit loops for last to enjoy. I think it all started in China with red clothes and toys.
Notice the red cup she carried around for 5 hours that first day.
Red dress with red cup
She picked the red kayak to sit in.
This is what I found after emptying Joy's pockets one day.
I'm happy to say that Joy is over her fetish. She actually gave me all of her red M&M's the other day and declined anything red, saying "I don't like red anymore." Oh, well, she's on the path to normalcy, but she has a long way to go!
...of Joy from Seth as the United States soccer team advances in the World Cup during stoppage time today! Yes, he's a soccer fan, can you tell? He's on the phone with his friend, Brett, discussing their Victory! And, yes, he really did cry.
...would rather sit with me inside the house and dust the furniture, clean the windows, or any type of housework than go outside and play. She actually looked for dirt/dust around the house today (and found quite a bit, sad to say). I'm baffled by it. Is this an orphanage mentality thing going on? I know that she did have chores to do when she lived in China. I wonder if she just wants to be near me? But, that doesn't seem to be the case because if it is something she really wants to do, she'll leave me to do it.
I did take the girls to the park today, but after a short bit in the almost 90 degree heat, they just started walking aimlessly around. So, we packed up and headed home.
Yea, I knew that title would get your attention. So, I have a story to tell you.
One cold January morning, just a few months ago, I felt funny. All you moms who have been pregnant know what I'm talking about. I was sore in places that I've never been sore before UNLESS I was pregnant. But, I knew I couldn't be. Scarring has left me unable to get that way. Or rather only a .001% chance of ever getting that way. So, since the girls and I were heading to Wally World, I thought I'd stop by THAT section that all infertile women avoid. The one that makes you want to grab up 25 tests "just in case". There was one single test on sale for $3, the same brand I used not too long ago, which came up positive very early on in my pregnancy. Yep, 3 simple dollars. So, I grabbed it, along with my other items, swooped Eva and Joy up and headed for the check out. After that, we headed straight to the little girls room. I did my test right there. While I waited my 3 minutes, I took care of Eva and Joy's needs. I looked at the test. Behold, there were 2 lines!
I was in total shock! Ten years of trying to conceive on my own and it happens right before I get on a plane to China to adopt child #6! How can I do this? Mike will have to travel. I'll be on bed rest for the last half of my pregnancy (preterm labor issues). How will I school all of the children? How can I bond with Ivy while lying on my back all day and night? What if I have to be in the hospital for months? I need to call my doctor! Let me look at those directions again! So, I grabbed the box and re-read the results. First window meant I did the test correctly. Second window meant negative. Third window... Third window? When did they add a third window? There was not a third window the last time I did a pregnancy test. Two lines always meant positive! Third window with a line meant positive. There was no line in that third window. So, I chucked that $3 pregnancy test in the trash and headed home with my sweet girls to my sweet family and waited on TA for my sweet Ivy.
Four months ago this morning, Ivy and I landed at the local airport, exhausted, excited, and nervous. So much has happened...so much good stuff. She's bonded so well to all of us. She is comfortable with our touch and hugs and kisses. She gets annoyed with her sisters. She eats so much food, but hasn't gained any weight. She's finally making it up the hill on her bicycle. She's not afraid of the dog. She's lost 3 teeth (one from the doctor). I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Ivy has been sharing a lot of stories from her other "home". Some of the stories are silly ones about her friends and people she will never see again. I know she misses them. She had cell phone numbers of many of the people and the orphanage. One day she lost those numbers and was very distraught. I was able to track down the orphanage phone number, which made her feel much better. Ivy has also shared some sad stories about her life in China. I used to feel badly for taking Ivy from all that she loved. She seemed to be a very happy girl while in China. After hearing stories from other adoptive families, I thought I'd ask Ivy some questions about some "mean people" at the orphanage. When I started asking her about the "woman", she knew exactly who I was talking about. Her eyes started darting back and forth with a very nervous look, and her eyes filled up with tears. I asked Ivy why the "woman" did this to her and she replied with innocence and fear, "I don't know." After lots of hugs and reassurance that I'd never do anything to hurt her, she was her happy self. It makes me wonder what other stories she has hidden behind those big, brown eyes. Maybe in time she will share, maybe she will forget.
Last week I sent an email to the orphanage with pictures telling them how well Ivy was doing. I got a response with some wonderful pictures of Ivy when she was very little.
She looks so sad and beautiful. I looked at these pictures, stared at these pictures of my daughter. I did not know her. I missed that part of her life, the beauty of babyhood, the activeness of toddler-hood, never to be found again. But, I have her now. There is so much to look forward to.
This is my favorite picture of Ivy. She still gives me this look almost everyday when she is confused or does not understand what I am saying to her. I love that brow!
We went to the cleft clinic this past week. The doctors decided that Ivy needs to have her gum line repaired this fall. I'm hoping it will happen in November. One day after cleaning out her cleft area, I told her what the doctors were going to do to her mouth. I showed her how my teeth went straight across. She then went on to tell me that the reason for her crooked mouth was because she fell down as a baby. So, I guess that was the story around the orphanage. All the children there with clefts (and there were quite a few) had fallen and messed up their mouths, lips, and noses.
I found this photo online that was in the local newspaper. Ivy looks so small.
I love the sneaky look in the passport photo.
Home 4 months.
Jack's hair seems to grow faster than weeds in summertime. He does not look good with longer hair. Here is the proof:
So, I got the clippers, held him down for a haircut. Just kidding, but there are days I'd like to do that to him.
He looks so much better! Seth also got a haircut, but he did not look quite as bad as Jack did. I have no pictures to prove it, though.
Did any of you ever play this game as a child? I have the fondest memories of playing this game with my good friends, Deedee and Debbie, when I was a child. Someone would place an object hidden, but visible from somewhere in the room. When you found the object, you'd call out, "Hucklebucklebeanstalk!" and you would be the winner to hide the object next time. The other night I decided to teach this to Ivy, Eva, and Joy. They loved it. The first few times, Joy would point at it, saying she found it. When Eva would hide the blue ball, she'd tell people it was "not next to the fireplace". Ivy would look at at the blue ball, so you could always tell where she hid it. It was so much fun to hide things in plain sight!
Where is it, Mom?
Hidden on the pictures!
Last weekend, we went to visit my uncle and aunt, whose son was returning home from spending 4+ years stationed in the military in Japan. It was so good to see everyone. I used to spend my summer months at their house and loved every minute of it. My Aunt Penney taught me to peel potatoes and enjoy eating a pot roast. I have such fun, sweet memories of being with them. I would play outside til the sun went down on my dirty feet.
My uncle and aunt
My cousin and his family
My mom with her "friend" (and that is all I have to say about that)
Notice that my kids hang out with the food?
An all-natural Slip 'N Slide! What else? It had actually rained quite a bit first. Then Jack and Seth went outside. Ivy came in and asked if she could "slide on the grass". I was not sure what she meant, but quickly found out that it meant this:
Once the boys splattered Ivy with the cold, wet mud, she decided she did not want to "slide on the grass". But, the boys had a lot of fun, even though they messed up the yard (it will grow back). They were quite muddy when they were finished. So, they stripped down to their skivvies and hosed themselves off (I'm thankful for my 3 private acres of land).