Joel and I have sensed a calling to international adoption for many years. In May, 2009 God made it abundantly clear that it was time. After much prayer, research and wise counsel we began the process to adopt a daughter from China. God directed us to an incredible agency that was founded by a family with an amazing testimony. This blog is a chronicle of our journey, to inform our friends and family and as a record of events for our daughter to read one day. Join us in the journey... it is sure to be an adventure!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Celebration With A Purpose

We had another party last night for Grace's Birthday.

We invited local friends and family to join us in a celebration of Chinese culture and to collect blankets for Pingliang Social Welfare Institute, which is where Gracie spend the first 17 months of her life. The precious ladies at Pingliang gave her the best care that they possibly could have. Pingliang is home to around 125 special kids, many of them who have cleft lip and palate just like our sweetie.

We asked friends to bring a new blanket in lieu of a gift. Over the next few months, we will ship several small packages to the orphanage. (Small packages=No duty fees.)

Besides collecting blankets, we also shared in some Chinese cusine.

Our menu included:

Cashew Chicken


Chicken Congee

Lanzhou Beef Lamian

Congee is a staple in China. Many people, across all economic and social levels, have congee at least once per day. Lamian is a unique beef dish that is prepared with an unusual variety of spices. It is found only in Gansu province, where Grace was born.

Of course, we had cake and ice cream as well. I finally get a chance to produce pretty cakes...instead of just Bakugan and dinosaurs :) I love making cakes for all my kids, but I have to admit that butterflies and ladybugs are fun!

The children received a goody bag with some Chinese toys and kiddie chopsticks. And, we played a epic game of Chinese jumprope at the end. Unfortunately my camera was not nearby when this started, so I hope I can get a few pics from friends. Let me just say that I had no idea how high some friends of ours can jump!

It was a lovely evening, shared with dear friends and family.

And some pretty scary people who walked in off of the street :)

Over 30 people came together to help us celebrate our little girl and her cultural heritage. Blankets are still coming in, but right now we have over 20. I will post another photo after we've gotten them all!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gracie Mei!

Our sweet little Gracie turned 2! It was so exciting to celebrate with her this year. It is hard to imagine that last year we had just seen her sweet face for the first time. She is so much a part of us now, that we can't imagine life without her here. Last year, we celebrated with only her photo...

And now...here she is! She's such a big girl and we had so much fun celebrating as a family. I had intended to let her mess in her cake, the way we did with the boys on their first birthdays. But, she's not a fan of messy hands, so we let that tradition slide. :)

One tradition that she had no problem jumping into...presents! Isn't it amazing how kids just know how to open them? And, how they know that there must be something fun inside?

Grace got a toy birthday cake that she can "blow" out the candles on (a great thing to learn for speech therapy). And, she also got a Little People Carnival set. She just loves playing with them.

And, her brothers do too!

Happy Birthday precious girl!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter Fun

Wow, it has been way too long since I have updated! So much has happened in the 6 months since we met our baby girl. Most recently, we celebrated Easter for the first time together. How much fun we've had, introducing her to a holiday that holds such special and joyful meaning because of Jesus' precious gift to us. We also, finally, got a decent family photo!

Of course, we enjoyed playing the traditional games of Easter as well. Gracie loved hunting eggs, she seemed to know just what to do.