Saturday, October 4, 2014

taking on the asian market- China mom style

So one of the MANY things that has been a bonus to me in adopting from an Asian country- my complete love and interest now in all Asian food. On our first trip to get our sweet boy I have to say we probably played it safe in the "eating out" while in country.  But by the second round to get our daughter, having visited the Asian market numerous times with our son, I was ready to take on a little bit more "china style food" 
Below are a few pics of our "eating experiences" while in China. 
Trying Traditional "Hot pot" in Chongqing on our trip to adopt Regis 

Noodle and Rice restaurant in China 

Crazy Homemade Ramen

Big D in Little China market 

My "gotcha day" breakfast for Regis, the noodle bowl, the steamed buns, the dragon fruit- yum! The chinese know how to make a breakfast  buffet! 

Grocery store in Chongqing 

This boy came to us using chopsticks and loving noodles like crazy 
This boy was sooo excited to get back to china and have some Hong Kong breakfast! 

some of stores in china have this crazy moving escalator hill for your buggy- love it 

My "gotcha day" breakfast on Brighton Mae's day. Wuhan Spicy noodle bowl 

trying out Korean style food in Wuhan Chin 

So excited he found his fav drink back in china 

noodle house in GZ, china. sooo good! 
Hungry YET? 

So you can see where my love for Asian food comes from.  I probably cook Chinese style food at least once a week around here and so far no one is complaining- they all love it and there are soooo many ways to cook and prepare Asian food. Now we live close to Atlanta which means we have a good bit of Asian markets to choose from. I found one I really like and go to it the most, have learned where a lot of the ingredients are and my goal has been to try something different each time we go. We have met a few of our china buddies there and that's always a blast and we can see what they have discovered there as well!

Now off to the Asian market!!!

 I have listed pictures below so that if your visiting your local market you could just show them the picture of what your looking for. Depending on your market- they may or may not speak English. Oh and it smells just like china in our market- love it.

starting you off easy- tiny baby bananas. My kids love these, perfect for little hands and they have a creamier texture than traditional ones. 

Oh the GREENS! love the greens! there are like 10 variety's of bok choy alone. I purchase the "baby bok choy." its tender and yummy and you can thow it in ramen, noodle bowls, saute' in a stir fry. the possibilities are endless.

just a pic of the crazy you can find in the Asian market, I have no idea what this is but had to throw it end cause its just how you would see food in a market in china 

oh the dreaded shrimp chip. These stinky chips are my kids fav. they taste and smell like you can imagine- fishy. and give your kid stinky shrimp breath. but we get them cause the china babies love them and well they are super cute china babies.

This is in the "spring roll" wrapper aisle of our market- yea pretty crazy. ALL kinds of wrappers. We just get a traditional one and call it a day. They do have some ones with sesame seeds in them I plan on trying next time. 
We just get a traditional ones. They do have some ones with sesame seeds in them. I plan on trying next time.

my girl on the Asian sauce aisle. oh how we love some Sauce at our house! 
don't let the sauce aisle overwhelm you. Step out and get more than soy sauce! 

description below from left to right 
Chili- for spring rolls and egg rolls. sweet and a little spice. so so good

Sunday, September 21, 2014

China I miss you

Sometimes I can still hear the honks and motorcycles buzzing in and out of  traffic, the mandarin chattering all around me packed in a subway  train, the overwhelming smells of so Asian spices amidst bowls of hot noodles cooking alongside busy uneven walkway of people rushing by. The sights and sounds of china are deeply seeped into my soul now.  I miss china, I miss the beautiful people and the culture that surrounds you the minute you step off the plane.

Of course I miss the beautiful country that two of my children came from. One would say I left my heart there.  This is not only where I left my heart but where my heart was wrecked.
I imagine and I honestly HOPE that it is always this "fresh" in my soul. That I will always long to go back, to give back to the place that gave me two of the biggest blessings ever!

This is not a post to advocate for the millions of orphans still left in china. but more of a plea, or a message to please don't forget that which the Lord has called you.

For many years I struggled with the thought of adopting a child. I knew the Lord was growing the desire in my heart long before he ever brought it to fruition.  Along with this longing came the longing for china. He began showing me time and time again that my love for china, my heart strings were constantly being pulled towards anything adoption ( books, blogs, other adoptive families ect, a particular person or new friendship made) where not for nothing. One day these two "callings" collided and sent our family on a path to bring home two children that were born to two different women an ocean away.

And HE took us to a land we would have never seen had it been for the two children he so loudly called us to adopt.  Falling in love with China was easy for me. Because it was familiar, my heart recognized and felt so connected by the time we landed on china soil our first trip that I felt as if I just about almost been there before......

I feel like it was just yesterday I was walking the streets of china with my new daughters hand in mine. But instead of walking to get rice and dumplings we are walking into another doctors office. The smells and sounds of a hustling china have been replaced with doctors appointments, medical test, carpool, school engagements, and juggling every day life.
We now have a "new normal"  that we are ALL still getting use to. Its been almost 4 months since we brought our Brighton Mae home.  4 months since the Lord wrecked my heart all over again for the Fatherless.  But most days these thoughts fall to the wayside due to the daily demands of raising a family. It's been a bit of  a juggling act parenting 4 kids in 4 completely different places in life. I think that's been one of the hardest parts of our "re-entry" here once we stepped of that plane just a few months ago. The fact all 4 kids have completely different places in their sweet lives we are helping them navigate right now.

You know, I don't know if I am doing it all right, don't know if I am picking the right doctors, or school or therapies for our new daughter. I constantly trying to figure out a better way of juggling our calender. What doctor visits can we wait on? what appointments and engagements are a must right now for our family?  and then I remember that just  a few months ago our sweet Momo had NOT one doctor, not one specialist to go to, not one therapy to help her regain some of the strength lost in her entire right side of her body. She didn't have a MRI for those around her to refer to and see why she does the things she does. SHE did not have a momma and a baba to fight like they have never had to before for one child.  For almost 8 years my daughter went without, and she now is in school learning to draw and color. She is learning the Love of a family, she is soaking her new country in.  I remember these first months with Regis last year where so precious to me. Watching him experience all the new first threw his eyes was the best gift! and now we are getting to do it all over again with our new daughter.

 But my heart still aches for the ones left behind. The ones that still wait to come home to their families and have a first day of school, a first birthday party, a first appointment with a specialist who knows how to help them. They are waiting on a sibling to come play with them, a momma to rock them at night.  If you follow my blog this is not a new message for you. I have always tried to raise awareness of the fact there are millions of orphans around the world who need families. But i wonder if someone reading this knows they could possibly be missing watching a child learn to skip, eat ice cream for the fist time, go to the beach, go to school, hug their siblings.  I often think back on my the days we had before our Regis and Brighton joined our family. Particular days like holidays. What were they doing while I was opening presents on Christmas?
What were they doing while I was eating dinner around a table with family?
That wrecks me. Because they weren't with US, they were separated from us. Much like our Heavenly fathers heart aches when we are separated from him I would think his heart is pretty wrecked his children are separate from the families that are suppose to come for them. He protects them yes, much like he did with our two china blessings. He held them in his hands till we were able to come and get them. Especially our Brighton who is a walking Miracle. He could have taken her home to live with him years ago in a hospital following a heart surgery and stroke, But he choose to keep her here on earth. And if you have met our sweet girl you know why- she brings joy to ALL who meet her.

What if we had missed that JOY?

what if she was still waiting on us to get our act together, take a leap, a step of faith... I shutter to think what our lives would be like without the joy she has brought us.

Who needs to walk the streets of  a place like china and take in the sights and sounds all the while taking in a child who needs the love of a family?  Who needs to come alongside an adopting family and support them financially, knowing that you may not be called your self to adopt but we are all called to help orphans in one way or another. Who reading this need to visit their local Foster care office in their town and sign up to foster one of the millions of kids here that need the love of a family. Who knows of a situation where you could bring in a precious child who has been looked over time and time again and has waited entirely too long for a family.....

Who wants to experience a little bit of heaven in the form of redeeming the life of a child? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Life with 4. This is not a drill.......

I have been thinking a lot lately about siblings. Maybe because since adding our fourth child it has changed the "sibling" dynamic in our family. It's been funny, sweet, and overwhelming to watch. I say overwhelming only because when we load up the car, go to a restaurant or just to a target run I am a bit taken back how many of us there actually are.  I am constantly "game planning" in my head how we are all going to exit the vehicle ( this is when  D is not with me, oh how it is so much easier when he is with us. hehe)  If I have my teenager he is in charge of Regis- good match. He is strong and can unbuckle our tiny man and hold him. I wanted to cry happy tears last week when Regis had to pee in the drive thru of Wendy's and Clayton was with me and was able to walk him in and take him to the restroom! I wanted to do a dance around the parking lot! Moms of many- you feel me right?

I tease Clayton this is "The Duggar way" ( the Duggars have 18 kids, and a tv show we watch in awe that they can get so much done, thats a post for another day) 
So "The Duggar way " is every child is matched with a "buddy" they have to help, usually a "big" and a "little" He has jokingly called us "the duggars" now because we had to up size our family vehicle and well cause even though there are 4 kids, sometimes it sounds like there are 10! ( no lying,  momo be loud ya'll) 
Anyway- so just simple task like getting out the car can take a while. 

The strategy for when I DON'T have my teenager? 
I pray for a opening next the cart return, 
Hop out and grab a buggy
Get Regis out and put him in buggy
Go over to MOMO's side, crawl to the back and unbuckle her and pray regis doesn't roll away
she literally does a "trust fall" out of the car, you better catch her!

Yes Nicole helps but Momo is much too heavy for her. 
Momo walks along side the buggy and HAS to hold on or she may just take out a huge display of 
cell phone cases up in the Target.  (We Learned that the hard way) 

This is ONE example of how things have changed since adding a 4th. 
I could go on and on how things take longer, are a bit ( ok a lot) crazier since we became a family of 6. 

Last week after the ridiculous "someone stole my purse I am calling the police incident of 2014"
( yes this happened and my teenager found my purse in the kitchen where it had been all along, after I called the police in a crazy mom panic )

I met up with my fellow china adoptive moms ( who all have 4 kids ) 
 my 5 moms of 4, one mom of 3, crazy is what we live
 I took my opportunity to tell them "NONE of them had told me before hand I would loose my mind with having 4 kids" Everyone of them giggled and said yes- there is something about adding the 4th that simply makes you loose even more of your mind then you did with the addition of the other children.   Add on the addition of having a fourth with "needs" and I can best be described as "HOT MESS" most days.  
 Now moms of 5 and over please don't roll your eyes! I think we all have our "HARD" whether it be with 2, 3, 10, or 12 kids.  I am aware I still have it easier than some moms of many out there. But lets band together and agree even ONE child can be hard, just depends on how God has chosen to grow our family and I am very well aware these days he has a HUGE sense of humor and has had a lot of laughs at my expense lately. 
this wasn't even ALL the children between us  5 moms of 4 and one mom of 3, on our day of fun in Chatt. talk about crazy fun!
As I navigate this new world of 4 kids I am still learning how to juggle I am wondering how military moms make it, how mommas of several "special needs" children do it. How moms of 12 do it! Ya'll are my heroes! 
David and I now "game plan" everything we do. EVEN THEN we mess up, forget what the other one said and have to go over the plans of the day more than once.  The two older two have been renamed "the bigs" and our two youngest we call "the littles" this helps because I am now constantly getting EVERYONES NAME MIXED UP, good gravy there are only 4, you would think I could get it right.  ( I remember my mom doing this with just my sis and I and we eventually just became "KLEM" a combo of kim and Kelley, hehe)

David and I may have recently agreed to meet for dinner ( with only 3 kids mind you) after Momo's Physical and Occupational Therapy session only to drive to TWO different Long horns across town from each other. Both of us expecting the other to be there. Fun times- sometimes all you can do is laugh and move on.
That's become the theme around here.
"Laughter" has taken over the house and its kinda wonderful.
Among all the Crazy we are experiencing- 
the doctors visits, the unanswered questions, the sleep deprivation, the two football practices a day,  the ridiculous amount of laundry that one must have to step over in our house,  the adjustment to our "new normal" the overwhelming road ahead-

there is laughter.

Its the Laughter of 4 siblings, placed together by our heavenly father who's plans are BIGGER than I could have ever imagined.
One thing I have realized- I CAN do more than I ever thought, maybe it takes longer these days, maybe I do it now with no make up on ( this is huge) 
but the kids all have clothes on, hopefully shoes too.  
I know it is not thru any strength of my own but thru the Grace and strength HE gives me on a daily basis.  
So give us grace, when we drive up, a little late, in our "new to us" big ol LOUD "school bus like" family vehicle.....
Kids are inside who are all adjusting to our new family dynamic, and we have likely been at home laughing...

Moms of many, moms of 1, or moms of 17! I get ya, lets all agree motherhood is HARD however it comes. 
That mom of one may have a new baby who has never slept a night through in 6 months. Or maybe that new mom just adopted her first child and the child is having severe issues attaching or has many "needs" that are overwhelming. Maybe that momma of 2 has a daddy out on deployment and has been a "single mom the past year" maybe the mom you see with 3 has just learned her husband has lost her job and is drowning in sorrow. 
 Maybe these moms you see at the grocery store needs to hear " your doing great momma! keep up the good work" instead of you have your hands full and "are they all yours?"

When Someone tells me
"my hands are full"
I just reply
  "you should see my heart"

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Update on Brighton Mae (aka MOMO)

So yes, I stopped blogging in china, like on day 2. hahahaha oh well- many reasons, Internet was slow, the app I was using to blog was slow and we were pretty much exhausted by the end of each day which didn't leave much time to blog. Once gotcha day happened- my emotions were all over the place and I just didn't have the words to put together. I prayed and just didn't feel lead to write. I hope to go back and update here on each day spent in china but for now I wanted to just update everyone on our Momo. (This is the nick name they called her at the orphanage and it is just what we have been calling her because this is what she likes, and refers to herself as Momo. We also just think its the cutest nick name ever- so Momo it is for now!)

 Adjusting to a life with 4 kids is and has been hilarious to me in many ways. I THINK we are getting the hang of it- who knows, I constantly am forgetting stuff and doing crazy things, but life is good and we just laugh and move on.

MOMO is doing fantastic! Yes- she is older and comes with some very typical orphanage behaviors that will take a while to overcome. Yes she has medical needs and disabilities, both physical and mental ( and yes we knew all this when we said yes to her, just to clear up questions i know many have- no hard feelings, I know people wonder, I would too!) Our weeks right now are filled with lots of family time, and doctors and specialist visits. By keeping it just US right now, we are showing our Momo what a family looks like. Yes we go out and do things- and we are spending time with people who we have asked to not "engage" our girl,  but mostly we try to keep it just us right now. We have noticed that when we bring someone into our home and around our sweet girl we see some regression, and some acting out. So if you see us out- say HI and please limit interaction with our girl, I know it sounds crazy- But she feeds on attention right now- this is very typical behavior from a child who spent 7 years in a orphanage. The ones who seeks attention ( by any means) from the nannies and caregivers often gets the most and food, love ect.  Just to give you an explanation. :) We are not asking you to ignore our child just for no reason! ha! We are just trying to teach her she doesn't have to "do" anything to receive love, food ect from us.

 Despite ALL of this she is JOY! despite all she may not be able to do, there is so much she CAN DO! 

  anyone who has met her will agree with us! pure JOY!

and that is how she came into our arms on "gotcha day" with Joy! 
gotcha day 
just a few hours after we got our sweet girl 

I have to be honest and confess that the fist week with her was hard, and I STILL have extremely hard moments and days, but a very wise friend told me something the first few days after we got our sweet girl- she said "yes she will change these behaviors, she will come far, but YOU will change too" 

and gosh was she right!

I was the one that needed changing..... and I hope the changing never ends.

I am so thankful for the prayers, the friends and family that have rallied around us and showered us with love. From a weary adoptive momma- we need that right now, I am learning to accept help when its offered, one thing I haven't always been good at.  ( I like control- who doesn't?) We are so thankful for every message, every encouraging word, every meal, and gift, every prayer spoken on our behalf. I pray God blessed you in a big way for the Love you have shown us and continue to show us during this transition time for our family. 

I won't get into the "Hard" of it because you know what- there is just too much good and joy we have experienced that out shines the "hard."  Gosh- everyone has some sort of "HARD" in their lives.  Either thru a difficult child, a difficult marriage, work issues, family issues, ect. We all have "Hard"." I Hope thru any hardships we may have, we come out of it different and molded into the believers our heavenly father desires us to be. So we work thru the hard, and we give it to him (  I am not good at this!) we take one day at a time.  We are learning how to be the parents God needs us to be for this sweet gift. We are counting it ALL joy the gifts of all 4 of our children are, and the story God choose to write into our lives. I am thankful for God's grace he extends to us every day.

So thankful for our 4th child, she is a delight and every present light in our lives.

I took these pics of Brighton today because I wanted to capture the "light" in her. Many of you know that in her file from china they wrote that they gave her the particular name YI FUMENG- in hopes she would have a BRIGHT FUTURE.   Her neurologist even commented on it recently when reviewing her file.

Well I think she has that Bright! wouldn't you say?

also- No more covering up that scar anymore. Gotta teach my girl to embrace her scars and past-

SHINE on OUR Bright star!!