Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Catching up...Christmas Memories


First Thanksgiving- one week post-op from surgery #2
It has been two months since my last post!  We don't have any major news to share, but want to record some special memories and milestones made with our Little Lady.
Anna Faith had a wonderful first Christmas.  She was mesmerized by the lights and sparkle of decorations, and would delicately touch ornaments on the tree like they were each little treasures.  She helped us decorate and her favorite phrase while we were doing it was "Oooo, that pretty!"
We made so many special memories at Christmas time.  Here are a few of the highlights:
First Christmas program at church!
Their first night in matching Christmas pj's, but Anna Faith wanted to go to bed!

Much better photo on Christmas morning- man, were they excited!

Loving her presents, and the chocolate from her stocking was yummy!

Happy with her very own carry on bag
Our little eskimo :-)

First time in the snow, in Michigan

She loves going downhill on sleds and throwing snow!

Making Christmas cookies with friends at our house
Sharing in our church about what Christmas means to our family.  Such a special memory!

Ready for Basketball season, making Daddy proud
Christmas with family...Grandpa VanKampen was happy to get his hands on her again!

Sitting with her Great Grandma Breuker in Holland, Michigan

At the Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg on the way to South Carolina- she loved the fish!

"I on a TRAIN!"...incline railroad to Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN

At Ruby Falls- very amazing what God has made!

On top of Lookout Mountain- it was COLD!
With the VanKampens
Finally meeting Aunt Cathy!
With her new baby stroller from Grandma and Grandpa
In her Chinese Dress at the tree before it came down.
Anna Faith travelled like a pro.  After spending Christmas Day at home and with Kris' family, we drove about 35 hours in the car over a 9 day period, going north and then far south.  She talked to relatives she never met and played with lots of her second cousins in Michigan, and in South Carolina enjoyed the company of her Grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins.  She was showered with lots of new girly toys, clothes, and accessories!

This Friday we have our 1 year post-adoptive social worker visit.  It is a month until we are at the one year gotcha anniversary, but this leaves our social worker a month to write up the report to send to China.  We are still about 7 weeks away from surgery #3.  I can't wait to be able to run a comb through her hair easily and give her pig tails!  The only way to fix her hair now is to put a stick-strait-up clump of hair with a bow on top of her hair, covering the remaining nevus.

Little Lady is talking much more clearly these last two months than before.  The jabber she used to use is finally making sense!  She uses short sentences to talk to us and can make her requests clearer than before.  The terrific two's are well underway as well: she is exercising her opinion quite often, and yells "no!" frequently.  When we gently scold her about her attitude, she cries huge tears as if we broke her heart.  Temper tantrums aren't an issue....at least not yet!  She quickly gets over her fits, which is a nice relief after raising her next older brother who had a very hard time with tantrums at two years old (can we say one hour of screaming?!).  

An update on her tummy troubles is that it is slowly resolving itself!  We are giving her probiotic yogurt every day and have increased her rice intake.  Her loose stools are getting more and more normal every month.  We even cancelled her follow up GI appointment to repeat tests, because we didn't see the point in it.  We are so glad she doesn't seem to have a bowel disease or allergy problem. Thanks so much for the prayers on her behalf.  It is great not having to change her clothes (and sometimes ours!) several days a week when she would have an explosive diaper.

She is in a big girl bed now, but still stays in bed until someone comes in her room to turn on the light.  Then she happily climbs out with a big smile.  She is still into drawing, wearing jewelry, getting her nails painted, playing with dolls, and dancing and singing to music.  She can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in its entirety and Jesus Loves Me fairly well too.  It is so fun listening to her express herself in a very girly way and love life.

It is hard to believe she has been an official part of our family for 11 months now!  We are looking forward to celebrating Chinese New Year with her and other adoptive families soon, and having a special one year Gotcha celebration next month!

When I hear tragic stories about Russia (last year), then the Congo and now Ethiopia starting to close their doors to adoption, leaving many waiting families wondering what the outcome will be, I can't help but feel more blessed that our process to adopt Anna Faith was almost completely predictable and smooth.  My heart goes out to those families that spent Christmas without their children who still wait in orphanages around the world.  Orphans around the world need our help and support now more than ever in this corrupt and sin-saturated world.  Please find every opportunity to pray for, give to, and go to them to show them love that they rarely see in the four walls they are confined to.  And even better, if God is whispering to your heart to adopt, don't fear the unknown, but follow His leading.  You will never regret it!


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