Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Settled...into a fresh, new start!

The Beautiful Juniata River
"Getting settled" can mean so many things. Not only are we moving, but we're temporarily moving! Seriously? As if moving isn't hard enough? We're waiting for the sale of our house and waiting for our next home to be available...and not sure when everything will fall into place. Then of course all the adjustment moving to a new area, new job, new school and well, new everything.

Then on top of it we're moving from a 4 bedroom, 2 bath home to a 2 bedroom, 1 bath APARTMENT! Yes, we're insane. What American family chooses to downsize when the rest of the nation feels bigger is better? Looks like we do. Ya know what? It feels SO GOOD to downsize, to minimize, to simplify! I love it. I mean, apartment living really is not my thing. Yes, I'd rather have a house. A small house, but most definitely a house. But we have a great opportunity to save a few bucks (which we desperately need!) through my hubby's job, so we're making it work...for now.

The ever changing view from our temporary living. Amazing, right?

I'm choosing (well, attempting) not to think of all the hassle and headache that comes with moving twice. I'm choosing to be grateful. I'm feeling very fortunate that my parents are allowing us to stay with them. I'm thankful my children are able to spend this very special, very intimate time with my family. I'm grateful to spend quality time with my sweet, little sister whom my children adore. I'm very grateful for the wonderful and absolutely delicious food they provide for us. (Trying not to freak out about gaining weight! Yikes.) I'm grateful for the amazing view from every window in their home. I'm grateful for the help of family.

Morning bike ride with Aunt Ashley.
Sure moving is stressful. Even mentioning the word "MOVE" and it kinda makes ya flinch! But I'm giving it my very best effort to think of this as a turning point in my/our life. An exciting adventure. A fresh new start in thinking. I have to admit that being surrounded by nature is like much needed medicine for the mind and body. I didn't realize how city-living drained me. Basically it took the spring out of my step. Not that I don't love visiting the art galleries, dropping in for some coffee at our favorite Cafe, or grabbing goodies at city square farmers market. But nature does some serious healing to the soul and I got lots of catching up to do!

Finding new favorites! Like this awesome swing at an Airport themed playground!

Making exciting memories with Aunt Ashley and Grandpa giving them a good spin at another new playground.
 We made many sacrifices over the last years, and had more obstacles and hardship then most have in an entire lifetime. They say challenges build character? Oh, mercy. We must be filled with a whole lot of character! Being a one income family has not been easy in any shape or form. Money is very tight. Vacations are limited to camping trips. The kids don't have a playroom over flowing with toys. We have very old cars.  And now we're downsizing to an apartment.  There is something very important that I need to keep in mind. We did it for the kids, not for us.

We're able to supply our children with time for attention and all the love they can get! Adoptive kids are a lot like other kids, but they also have many other layers that other children do not have. Plain and simple. It makes no sense to hide it. I'm so grateful that I have the energy and time to help ease them into this new transition. Our children are amazing, creative, inspiring and loving-beings. I'm excited for them! I'm excited for us. I'm so grateful for each day with have together.

A bike ride break! A rare photo of the four of us. Love them!



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Prepping and Preparing and Good-Byes

Moving is never an easy transition for anyone. Moving for an adoptive child can bring up many, many emotions...any transition can. I've been bracing for this life changing event for some time now. Prepping and preparing the kids. Not to mention preparing the house to show. It's never been so clean!

It's not just moving from one house to the next. Oh, if it where only that easy! My dear hubby got a job 2 1/2 hours away in the town we wanted to move to. Terrific, right?! Yes, it is. BUT it will also be a huge adjustment not having Daddy around while I get our lives in order back here at the homestead preparing to move.

Us parents worry constantly about our children. How they will handle stress? Are they scared? Are they angry? Do they think we'll leave them behind? What are they thinking? We worry about them worrying! Then if we have time, we worry about the adult problems, like will our house sell? That's a big one. I think it's okay for the kids to see me stressed once and awhile. I don't want them to think I handle everything perfectly with grace. I wish I did. But I don't. I want them to feel free to talk, cry, vent and even scream once and a while. Things happen in life that will make us feel uncomfortable and out-of-control. All we can do is be there and work through it.

Even though there is so many uncertainties involved we gave it our best attempt to make it fun and exciting...an adventure! We did tons of playdates (playdates are this mom's therapy!), ice cream shops, favorite parks and anything to keep them in a positive frame of mind. We got books about moving at the library. We even found a book about the town we're moving to! That was perfect! The good-byes are always tough, so I choose not to think of them as good-byes. I reminded our kiddos that we're always close enough for visits! It's still difficult though. We're leaving lots of room for adjustment!

Saved this for our last stop. They thought they were dreaming...all kinds of candy everywhere!




Friday, June 27, 2014

Past, Present & Now

Life always seems a bit calmer on a walk. Melts my heart to see them holding hands.

Wow. Thankful for so much in our lives! It's been a very difficult, very rough year, but in so many ways it has been the most rewarding. I want to have a separate post to talk about the challenges and struggles to finally be adoptive parents. It is no easy task to say the least. Right now this is only about our two wonderful kiddos. I'm SO thankful they have such a tight brother/sister bond. Dare I say it was almost immediate? She seemed so comfortable with him the very first time they met in the hot and stuffy China Courthouse. Then in the hotel he was able to get her to smile, no wait, LAUGH for the very first time! I'll never forget it. It was our first time seeing those beautiful dimples of hers!

Daddy is showing them a sand flea. Riley was very hesitant. I love how she has one hand on Nick's head and hand for protection!


Of course they argue and fight just like any siblings, but they get along entirely better then I ever could imagined. My two beauties are exceptionally imaginative, sensitive, creative, active and sometimes a bit melancholy, especially Nicholas. Maybe they formed such a close bond because they share the same broken heart that all adoptive children share? I know for sure it's partly because they both have an extremely silly sense of humor! Thank goodness for laughter. It heals so many things in us all.


An unexpected Car Show visit! It was a tiny car show, but the kids loved it! 


I was an only child up until I was 13 years old. I remember longing for a sibling and many of my daydreams included me finding a long lost brother or sister. Finally, at the age of 13 my mom had a baby girl! A surprise to us all! My world as an only child finally changed!



Precious moments! 


We've had a wide arrange of obstacles this year. Some of the stuff we couldn't have dreamed up! I often hesitated telling anyone about our challenges because I feared they wouldn't believe me. Or worse, they would be believe me and they'd pity us. So I often kept my mouth shut. Unfortunately, most folks do not like to listen to those with a long list of troubles. Truthfully, does it really matter if anyone knows? Not really.

And ALWAYS silly!






LIFE CAN CHANGE IN AN INSTANT.


Recently one of Nick's school mates was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The mother happened to be our classroom mentor and she was absolutely fabulous! One of those people who you immediately like and feel at ease with. Her daughter, Olivia, is full of spunk and personality and has beautiful twinkling eyes. It was devastating news for all.

I'd have to say it changed me as a mom hearing this news. I always attempted to take things slow and to treasure those special moments like any mom. But something was different. It brought back those feelings of fear when my hubby was ill and how I felt when I was ill. The emotions I experienced then were some that brought me to my knees! I also remembered the moments of complete contentment and peace I had from living in the present. I had to live in the moment or else I'd fall apart thinking about the "what ifs." Those moments of present-ness were bliss.

Life can grab you and carry you away with its business and constant chatter! Before you know it that wonderful ability of keeping focus, that living in the moment you once cherished, is gone out the window. You're caught up in life...until one day you're brought to a screeching halt by life changing, devastating news. No one wants to be that person. I know, because it happened to me.

Thinking in the present is hard work, especially in the world that we live in. It is a constant struggle and takes practice. The rewards of this simple (but oh, so difficult!) practice is endless. It not only helps your mental and physical well-being, it helps everyone that you interact with! I can already see the difference in my children as they experience my full attention. I really, really deeply appreciate and swallow up those little smiles, giggles and excitement that comes from young children on a level that I didn't before. This isn't just for me and my children. It's also for Olivia and her mother. It's a human-beings worst fear to have a child so sick. No one knows what each days holds for us. I'm not wasting it with worry any longer. It's my duty to treasure these special moments in life. It's my job as a mom.


Olivia's Journey
Olivia's mom generously shares a journal of their journey. Please read about this amazing and brave child and her beautiful family!
Please visit at  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/olivialynch





My little gems!



I hope to be able to blog our life experiences more often! Not just about adoption, but everything. Learning, loving and living everyday.

Sincerely,
Michelle

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I'll love you for a 1,000 years...forever! A slide show dedicated to our children.


I've been wanting to do a video of my kiddos for a long time now, but didn't really have the time to figure out how to do it, so I choose a slide show. I cried so I guess it fulfilled my movie making itch for now! I wanted to express how monumental, how special, and how simply amazing it is to have built our family through adoption. It's an action packed adventure most days, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

When I first heard this song I could only think of the feelings I had when I thought of my children. The feelings I had before they came to be. I thought I'd never be a mother, and it all changed one day. It wasn't all about joy, but also loss. A loss from my children that will forever be a part of them. There are lots of layers of emotion to us all, but one thing I want them to always know, that I will love them forever....for a 1,000 years! They were a very special gift placed in our care, and we are forever grateful for them!

Check out our YOUTUBE Video!














Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our World is Made of Memories!


This is a beautiful picture of the Lititz Spring Park.

I was pretty tickled when I saw how nice this black and white photo turned out. I totally LOVE Instagram! I could tinker with all the different photo styles forever...but I try to keep my obsession down to a few minutes.

 I sat and looked over this photo a few times when I finally noticed the park bench to the right of the stream. It hit me like a ton of bricks! This is the bench that my dear husband and I sat shortly after we found out that I was pregnant for the first and only time way back in 2004. We sat there for hours holding hands and smiling. We were almost to the point of giddiness! We were so young and naive dreaming of how our new lives would be as parents with a new bundle of joy. We sat there day-dreaming and looking across the stream watching the children play at the quaint little park.

Many of you already know the outcome of my pregnancy. For those that do not, it was not easy. I ended up losing our baby due to a premature birth. Never wanted to try again. Our hearts were towards adoption and only adoption. Amazing the turns our lives take. Now I look at this bench and cannot believe how far we have come from our naive view of life. I cannot count the amount of tears that we lost, but I can tell you that we have healed our hearts with these two beautiful children of ours. I thank God for them every day!











Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Digital Version of Adoptive Families Magazine

I wished we could have shared our story with everyone and now we can! See the link below, which will take you to the digital version of our adoption story and many, many other amazing stories of building families through adoption.

http://www.adoptivefamilies-digital.com/adoptivefamilies/summer_2013?sub_id=lYi1e9sYeRqc#pg1

I remember reading every little morsel of information that I possibly could when we decided to start our adoption process. Ted and I loved to spend an evening here and there at Barnes-n-Nobles, and one of my first adoption reading purchases was the Adoptive Families magazine. We thought it appropriate to take their photo in front of the store. Plus, the kids love to come here! I thought you'd enjoy seeing their excitement of having their picture featured together. Gosh, I just love those smiles!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Our Adoption Story Published in Adoptive Families Magazine!!!

We're so excited, not to mention super surprised, that our adoption story made the cut for the May/June Special Issue of Adoptive Families Magazine!!!

http://www.adoptivefamilies.com

We've had a lot on our plate over the last several months. We've always had crazy-busy lives, and constant activity with any and every kind of meeting/appointments, but its been extra hectic since coming home from China. Then of course as an adoptive family we know how keeping a schedule and daily routine for the kiddos is at the top of our list of must-dos. Yikes. Life is busy!

Anyway, for some reason my writing always seems best at the 11th hour, which is what happened with our adoption story for the magazine. It was handed in one day before the deadline. I was surprised (and super excited!) when I received the email stating our story was selected to be published. Gosh, I can only imagine how difficult it was to choose from all those amazing and personal stories. We feel very grateful and privileged to have the opportunity to share our story with so many people.

Adoption really is an amazing journey. I still can remember countless times when I thought it would never happen for us, how unfair it was, and the million questions wondering why it wasn't happening sooner! But as hard as it was some days I always tried to redirect my thoughts to the parentless child, and how they must be feeling. That quickly put it into perspective for me.

All the other adoptive families before us said it will happen at the right time with the right child. It is true. We were somehow matched with the two most magnificent children we could have ever imagined. Ever. I still pinch myself some days. No matter what kind of crazy day is happening...and being an adoptive parent we can have many of those...no matter what crisis or celebration, we are forever grateful to find our forever family! It was so worth the wait.