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Showing posts from July, 2012

Pieces of Yarn

I usually have a rule to not post too often on my blog.  But each day right now seems like a 10 rolled into one and the hubby had to go to work and all four of my kids are asleep at 8pm.  Yes, that's right, all 4 are asleep at 8pm.  I think we are all feeling the effects are having our lives turned upside down.  And so after weeks of being disconnected to social media I am enjoying clicking around on the computer and thinking about all that today brought to our family.

We said good bye to my mom tonight, aka Nana, aka Mary Poppins.  My mom is a superstar, coming from a line of superstars.  My most wonderful childhood memories involve summers spent with my grandparents while my mom and dad moved to a new location and got our new lives set up.  I think my children will probably count this summer on the top of their favorites list also.  They had such a great time with their Nana while we were in China.  She stayed a few more days to help us get through our initial transition home.  …

How are you?

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Everyone wants to know how we are doing.  The answer is something like this:  happy, tired, frustrated, scared, confused - and maybe each one of us is one of those things all at the same time.  I cannot even begin to put into words how happy I was to land at Dulles.  Three weeks in China was hard.  I have more to say on that later, but we were more than ready to just be home.  God helped me to keep my emotions together while we were away. A huge answer to pray. But once we crossed through immigration the tears started to fall and then when I saw my other 3 kids the flood opened up.  I missed them so much!  Holding my babies again was the best feeling!  It was incredible to walk into the airport to a huge crowd of our cheering family.  We were the only ones from our agency traveling to China, so many of the days were very lonely.  It is just so great to be back with those who love us and have prayed us through this journey.

Eliana is really doing so well.  Sleeping times in China wer…

Almost Home

In order to be able to leave China and immigrate our daughter to the U.S., she first had to pass a medical exam, we had to take an oath and have an interview with the U.S. consulate, and then she must have a visa to the U.S.  The first part is complete, now we are just waiting for the visa to arrive...which should come in about 2 hours!!!

Before the medical examination we had to fill out more paperwork and talk through all of Eliana's medical issues with our guide, Molly.  Molly was shocked to learn our daughter's medical history.  She said she would have never guessed her diagnoses or imaged the images of her brain scan.  She thinks Eliana is very smart and the medical examiner agreed.  The medical evaluation came with this comment:  slight right sided weakness, above intelligence for her age, decreased vision on the right side, tall height, normal weight and head circumference.  Her actual head circumference is 12cm smaller than the last measurement we were given before comi…

Our Life with Eliana

Our first night together was a little rough.  When she first needed to go to the bathroom, she went into our bath area and started to pee on the floor.  We thought maybe it was because she was used to using a squatty potty, but have since learned that is not so.  She actually refuses to use the traditional Chinese squating toliets and will only use western style.  She knows how to go herself and stays dry throughout the night.  She is very meticulous and always flushes, washes her hands and makes sure the bathroom is tidy before leaving.  She also knows how to brush her teeth and to make the bed in the morning.  Wow!!  I am not sure what the peeing on the floor was about this first night except that everything was confusing and new.

We played for a while and she was so spun up, like a tornado spinning out of control into everything and hitting everyone.  Kevin went out to get us dinner and left Eliana and I in the room.  She totally freaked out after he left.  I finally got her to cal…

“Checking YES to Everything”: Adoption Stories With Sonya Judkins

by Shawn on July 20, 2012

Today’s compelling post was written by Sonya Judkins. We met Sonya and her husband Kevin while living in Virginia, and the heart they each have for the least of these is simply unbelievable. Please leave a comment if you can – Sonya and Kevin will enjoy reading them when they return from China with their second adopted child.
When Shawn asked me to write about a powerful moment in our experience with adoption, my mind immediately went to the fall of 2009. My husband, Kevin, and I had been waiting for a year for a referral from Ethiopia. Our home study was about to expire and so we had started the process of renewing all the mountains of paperwork.

There was one document that we were struggling to fill out: The Health Questionnaire. It is a document listing every medical issue imaginable.  Next to each condition are the words “yes”, “no” or “maybe.” Our answers were to help our adoption agency match us with a child.  The first time we filled out the paperwork we …

we have eliana!!!

Our appointment to meet Elie on the 16th was not until 2.30 pm.  What
an incredibly long morning that was.  We tried to sleep in, take a
long breakfast and take our time getting ready, still only 10 am.
Ugh!  What to do to make the hours pass.  We headed across the street
to a McDs for a coke and to review our Mandarin,  walked around a
supermarket and then wandered the city streets.  We found a park.
there are some walking paths and a playground.  I immediately started
to feel my anxiety lessn when we saw the trees, walking the paths
seemed to moake the stress fall away.  I am so excited to find a park.
 With a park, I feel more like myself.  We were scared, excited,
nervous, but ready to meet our daughter.

When we walked into the civil affairs office, Eliana was playing with
two women and another child with adoptive parents.  There were 4 other
children in the room besides Eliana.  She gave me a hug but did not
want to hug Kevin.  They pulled out the photo album we sent to her
with …

Goodbye Beijing, Hello Wuhan

For our last day in Beijing we were on our own to explore the city.
WE wanted to see the Temple of Heaven and decided to just walk there
so we could see more of the city.  We were also sore from our Great
Wall run and wanted to work out our muscles to loosen up.  It was a
very interesting hour walk through the city.  We arrived at the Temple
of Heaven with no problems.  The city is organized in a grid pattern
so it is easy to follow a map.

The temple is surrounded by a very large park.  Everyday people come
to spend time relaxing here but it was a special treat for us to be
there on a Saturday when so many were enjoying the park on their day
off.  Peter told us this would give us a feel for what local people do
on the weekend.  It was better than we could have imagined.
Throughout the park were groups of people enjoying dancing, badmitton,
ping pong, TaiJi, Karokee, patriotic singing, playing instruments and
exercise.  In the park there is a type of playground for adults.  We
have see…

Great Wall

Being a child of God is an amazing thing.  No matter where we go He is
always with us.  No matter what the circumstance we always have the
opportunity to praise Him even if just quietly in our soul.  His love
is so great do not hesitate to run to Him.  He desires above all
things to have a relationship with you.  All else may fail but He
alone will remain.

My heart is drawn close to God after spending a day on the Great Wall.
 You cannot be there and not experience His presence in His creation.
We headed to the Mutianyu section of the wall first thing in the
morning.  Our eyes fixed out the window for the entire hour and a half
drive.  After passing through miles and miles of highrise apartment
buildings, the landscape began to change to lush green farmland.  Many
farmers in this area grow fruit.  The town surrounding Mutianyu are a
popular destination for city dwellers weekend getaways.  You can visit
U-pick farms, camping parks, playgrounds, small ponds, and for the
very rich a golf…

sunny palace

Today we visited the Emperor's summer palace.  It is easy to see why
they would go here in the summer time.  Very beautiful, very peaceful.
 The beauty of the mountains and the lake, being surrounded by trees,
hearing the birds and bugs singing all add to the tranquil
environment.  And our experience was with thousands of people, the
calm would just be magnified if you were there all alone.  The Summer
Palace is made in the exact same way/style as the Forbidden City.  For
China has and is guided by rules that you do not change.

My favorite part of the day was watching seniors sing, dance and play
music together.  They can get into the park for free and so in the
mornings they park is filled with older people exercising, dancing,
singing and playing music.  We watch a group of women do Ball TaiJi.
This type of Tai Ji is where you have a ball on a racket and you must
keep it in balance as you  move.  It was very impressive to watch.  We
heard Chinese opera and listened to beautiful …

the little girl

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us;  we
are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." ~ C.S.Lewis

Yesterday evening we once again walked the streets, went to some
different shops and tried to take in where we are staying.  There are
so many people everywhere.  Beijing has 10 million people who live
right in the city, 20 million who work here, plus all the tourist, it
is a very busy place.

But for a moment all the activity came to a dead stop at the sound of
a precious little girl screaming.  "Mama".   She looked about 3 years
old.  Her face bright red from the heat and the panic.  Her black hair
matting together from the sweat.  Her voice loud and shrill overcoming
the city noise around her.  She was screaming with every ounce of
power she had in that little body.  All alone and fearful.  Many
gathered around to help her and Kevin and I said a prayer in our own
hearts that she would soon find her mother.

It was a very distu…

they arrived!

update this morning from sonya:
{i don't think they can see comments...but i can try to copy and email them to her. or you can email them to me and i can forward them on: courtneycassada@gmail.com}

Our hotel has an amazing international breakfast included with our
room.  And you who know us, know that Kevin and I love food.  Today I
enjoyed a delicious breakfast of fish, soup and dumplings and of
course, tea.  The emotions continue to be high.  At breakfast I just
became overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry.  No clear reason in
my mind of why except it is just a lot to process all at once and the
joy of finally being here is like a flood welling up in my soul.

We walked to Forbidden Ciyt this morning with our guide, Peter.  Who
by the way is just fabulous!  We began in Tian'anmen Square.  It is so
incredible to stand in a place that I have seen so many times in books
and television.  Our guide has a much different view on what happened
there in 1989, but he also wonders a…

Prayers and Pictures

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In 12 hours Kevin and I will board a plane to China.  China.  I am going to China tomorrow.  I don't know if I will really even believe it when I am actually there.  On July 21st, 2011, a little girl appeared on our agency's waiting child list and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the photograph.  We asked if she was available to pursue adopting.  The answer was yes.  Mountains and mountains of paperwork and a rollercoaster year of emotions later we are traveling to China to bring the person behind that photograph home.

Home.  It is such a great word.  Family.  Even better.  Forever Home with Family.  The best.

We are going in eyes wide open.  We know that this may be the start of the hardest thing we have ever done.  Our daughter may not like us. She may be scared and go silent. She may be angry and scream and cry. She may grieve a life she has always known now gone and be unsure of these new people who she cannot understand.  Her health may be much worse than we could …

Friends who are family and family who are friends

Remember when we were little and at the end of an episode of Sesame Street they would say, "This show was brought to you by the letter.... and the number..."?

When we adopted Faith there was a huge outpouring of donations and love for our family.  But the support we have received this time around makes the last time just pale in comparison.  We have shared our hearts and our passion and what adoption means to us and you have in returned joined in standing with us.  One large family committed to giving one orphan a forever home.

Things are crazy and there is little time to just sit and think at the moment, but I am looking forward to pondering all of this on the plane ride to China.  I remember a few years ago reading about a town that was committed to adoption.  It was not that just many families where adopting children that hit me, it was the families who participated by babysitting, making food, and using their talents and skills to help doing things like building bunk b…

Lemonade Stand for China

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Last week we booked our tickets for China.  Then I asked my kids to tell me what were the top things we just had to do before Daddy and I left the country.  First thing that came out of their mouths: "Lemonade Stand".  They wanted to raise money to give away.  I asked them who they wanted to give the money to.  Their answer, "Kids in China".  My kids are not perfect.  They argue with each other, they argue with me, they can be impatient and rude and struggle, like all of us, to show love to each other.  But one thing they are is generous.

We are busy. Mind-boggling busy.  Life is swirling.  So many details to get in line before leaving.  But this was one thing that I was determined to make happen.  We picked to have the sale on the 4th of July because Daddy and the rest of the neighborhood would be home.  We spent the morning baking together, mixing lemonade, and making signs.  I was there for support but I wanted this to be theirs.  They came up with what to bak…

Happy Birthday Tyler!!!

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Yes another birthday post.  This is birthday season at our house.  And at the end of a long run of birthdays is the day we celebrate T.  In the midst of all the chaos of getting ready for China, we are pausing to celebrate a very special little boy.  A little boy who has waited the past 2 months as all his other siblings were celebrated.  Six years ago God blessed our family with a great big surprise.  The doctors again had told us no way with some drugs to help, but God once again decided to prove them wrong and T started growing inside my belly.  I knew from day 1 that he was going to be a boy.  My heart was so full of joy with the knowledge that I was going to be a mama to two and my stomach was at constant war with me once again.  Kevin did not have a license and I was unable to drive anywhere after 4pm without barfing all over the car - so we spent a lot of time at home during those months.  And just like all moms, when I look at T, hands down I would do it all over again in a s…