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!


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

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.


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.

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!!!

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 matter what crisis or celebration, we are forever grateful to find our forever family! It was so worth the wait.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sibling love!

How are the new siblings getting along? Pretty good I'd say...most days. One afternoon I took Nick out for a Mommy & Son outing for about two hours, while Riley stayed home with Daddy. We were greeted by Riley as she ran to the door yelling, "Ick, Ick!!" ("Nick, Nick"). She jumped into Nick's arms and tightly wrapped her legs around him! Nick, our very strong little boy, spun her around in a circle as they yelled each other's names! Talk about SWEET! Melt. My. Heart.

Now, this is not how it is at all times. Nick feels that he needs to guide his sister and "parent" her when he think he should. We often remind him this is NOT his job. It's ours. Then of course there is the regular good-ole'-fashion-toy-fight. "I was playing with it first!" Those kinds of normal arguing.

But yesterday was exactly the words that every mom wants to hear, which often come while driving in the car. This is why driving without turning the radio on (at times!) can be music to my ears. We were driving Nick to preschool when he said, "Mom, I'm really glad I have Riley as my sister. I was really lonely without her." Melt. My. Heart.

This is one of my favorite photos of the two of them! Nick is holding onto his sister as the look over the  edge to see the ducks swimming by. 

Couch camping. One of their favorite pass times!

Nick trying to do anything to make his sister laugh! It always seems to work.

First time sledding together.

Early morning silliness!
Nick and Riley waiting at Hershey Medical Center before her surgery.

Good times at the Plum Street Cafe!

Good ole' fashion wagon pulling.

Almost an entire night!

Welp, we were close! Almost another full night. I tried to lay her down for her nap near the same time as yesterday, and Riley slept until about 5:00 am. She slept with us and fell right back to sleep! AND she had a dry diaper that morning! Amazing. Did she go in the potty? Nope. But hey, it's a start!

Parenting is ever changing, and no two children are ever alike. Gosh, I love my family.... AND, oh, how I love my sleep!