Friday, January 30, 2009

bri's favorite face...

you'll find this face on bri whenever she encounters something new - a new toy, a new thought, or a strange sound...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All By Myself

The girls are trying hard to start getting dressed all by themselves.

Multi-tasking Girls

So the girls have discovered that they can sit in their baby strollers (a favorite Christmas gift from Aunt Jaira). They are now their favorite portable chairs. Here is a little video of them watching their favorite video. A children's music video of the song "Matilda the Gorilla".

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hadley - Our Little Angel

Here is a little video that captures Hadley's personality. She is just a delight. She is the happiest, easiest baby that I have ever seen. She is also very ticklish and loves to giggle. The other day Dan text messaged me that he didn't think she was human. We think she is our little Angel sent by God.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gotcha Day - Things I'll Never Forget (By Daddy)

Sweet Mia Pu,
You have no idea how nervous I was to meet you one year ago today. We flew in that morning from Beijing, rushed to the hotel, dropped our things in a pile, and scrambled onto the bus headed for the Adoption Center.

The bus ride could not have gone any slower. I grabbed a window seat and tried to take it all in. The rain falling, the Nanchung city streets, and that somewhere - perhaps just around the next corner - you would be in a room, waiting. That you, my daughter, were so close, so near...after all these years. It's hard to put into words, my sweet. I just knew that, in one blink of an eye, our lives would change forever. My life. Your mom's. Your sister's. You. Our worlds were about to collide into something beautiful.

Your Mom and I had so many dreams - what you would look like, how you might smile, and we imagined the light in your eyes. What would your voice sound like? What would your interests be? And there were so many fears - would you attach to me? Would you be healthy? Would you allow us to love you?

I just stared out the bus window with my ipod in my ears, playing "your song" over and over (Mat Kearney, "Breathe In, Breathe Out"). The tour guide was nervous for us, I think. She kept getting on the intercom and giving us unnecessary instructions. It was a bit irritating and I remember thinking, "Can I please just have a moment here?" All I wanted to do was listen, look out the window, and pray and pray and pray and pray.

The bus pulled over and we parked beneath a towering office building. You were up "there", Mia. Just a few floors up. Actually, at the time, we didn't know whether you would be there yet or not. My expectation was that we would have to sit in the "waiting room" and then the adoption officials would bring one baby out at a time. But that's not how it happened. Instead, we walked into the room and there, in the far right corner of the room, were a group of Chinese women holding the most beautiful Chinese babies. Crying babies.

Whispers began to sweep through our group. "Are those our babies?" and "I think that's our babies!" I turned to look. The first baby I saw was you. You were the only one not crying (or so I remember). Your eyes were soft, nearly calm. And, sweetie, I'll never forget my first thought. It was simply, "Please, Lord, oh please. Let HER be Mia!"

And you were. They called out, "Feng, Pu Han." It took me a split second to register...Feng, Pu Han....Feng, Pu - THAT'S MIA! I scurried around, trying to get my hands free, barking at your Butde (my Mom) to get the camcorder ready, and I dizzingly walked across the room towards you. I didn't know what to do. I had my papers...I had gifts for the Orphanage director...I had everything that was required of me to call you mine. But no one else quite knew what to do either. There was an awkward pause. I didn't know if I could pick you up and no one immediately gave you to me. In my head, I kept thinking, "Please give her to me!" Mia, I was so afraid that someone would say, "Oh wait, we made a mistake. She's not your daughter."

Because I wanted you. Only you.

Within seconds - but what seemed like forever - they checked my papers, matched it to your name tag, and they placed you into my arms. I held you for the first time. And, honey, about that...there are no words. How could I ever describe that feeling to you? To hold my daughter for the first time?

I loved seeing how much Miss Jen, your caregiver at the Orphanage, loved you. She said you were a sweet baby. She said you liked to watch TV. Hmmm. She had a hard time letting you go. Minus an ear infection, you were healthy, your skin so smooth. Your clothes were handcrafted and impeccably clean. You were fixated on your nametag, clutching like it was all you had left.

You also threw back your bottle in 2 minutes flat. They handed each of us bottles to feed you so I took you over to the opposite corner where we could be alone. You know, I always loved giving you the bottle, it was such a special time for you and me. Our first feeding together was no different. I did have to adjust, though, to your style. The Orphanage used formula with rice mixed in. Then they cut the nipple about a nickle-size in diameter. Then it was down the hatch. I was impressed and began to worry about your future sororiety days.

Finally, we left. I'll never forget getting back on the bus...but now with an 11-month old baby. You sat on my lap, facing my chest. Within seconds, you fell asleep. You made this little rocking motion, side to side, stuck your two fingers into your mouth (you know which two), and dove your head into me. That bus could not have driven slow enough.

We got to the hotel and I was in a panic. I didn't know where the diapers were, where your clothes "system" was not in place. It was quite stressful. We put you on a blanket on the floor and surrounded you with pillows. You played with what became your favorite colored cups. You were sitting up, of course. And you could crawl...but it took you a while to figure out that you could go for distance. You were good for about 5 feet but then you'd stop. Within a few days, that changed. You were pulling yourself up on nightstands and crawling around corners.

As soon as I got us situated, I called your Mom and choked out, "Honey, she's beautiful." We cried together.

I then tried to change your diaper and clothes. This I was unprepared for. Your sister Bri was only 6 months old at the time and, little did I know, a lot of things happen in 4 months. You squirmed and rolled and grabbed everything in sight. I needed 5 arms to do it.

But maybe my favorite moment of all was when I put you down for the night. Mia, you were quite the sleeper. We're talking 13-14 hour spans. I suspect that this is how you grieved all the change and loss. You would often cry or whimper in your sleep. I stayed with you most of that time - rarely even stepping away into the other room. Sometimes I'd read, but mostly I'd blog and post pictures of you for your Mommy. She spent those two weeks halfway around the world, waiting up most nights, just to see one more picture of you.

Your crib was right in the middle of the two twin beds so I slept nearly right beside you. Sometimes, you woke up and started to whimper again. I would then place my hand on you through the slits in your crib. Instantly, you would calm down. If I removed my hand, you'd whimper again til it returned.

Sweetie, my greatest fear was that you wouldn't attach to me. That it wouldn't be until we got home to Mommy that you'd feel contented. So we prayed faithfully that you would feel safe with me and that a bond would form instantly between us. It seems this happened within you - naturally, effortlessly, and magically. BUT I KNOW it happened within me - a love that transcends continents. A Daddy's love for his first-born.

Breathe in, breathe out
Tell me all of your doubt
If everybody bleeds this way,
just the same
Breathe in, breathe out
Move on and break down
If everyone... goes away
I will stay

- Mat Kearney
For more of Mia's story:

Gotcha Day Anniversary - Mommy's Perspective

One year ago today I had one of the longest nights of my life, sleeping a little, praying a lot and waiting for the phone to ring. I was waiting for the call from Dan to tell me that he finally had our daughter Mia in his arms and that we would never again have to wonder what she looked like, if she was being well cared for and if there was a sparkle in her eyes.

Our adoption agency did a fabulous job preparing us for this day. During one of our parent education meetings the director of our agency had us do a little exercise. She asked each of us to take a piece of paper and to write down the 5 most important things in our lives. If I recall I had on my list, Dan, my family, my friends, my health and my dogs (yes the dogs were on the list). She then said, "Ok I want you to pick one of the things on your list and imagine what it would feel like to lose it and to never get it back". She then had us do it 4 more times until there was nothing left on the list. She said, "Now I want you to remember that the day you get your child, for you it is going to be one of the happiest days of your life but for your child it will be the day that everything on their list is wiped clean." On that day, everything that gave Mia a sense of security would be ripped from her.

So with that in mind my biggest prayer for Mia all night long was that she would not be afraid of Dan and that somehow she would draw comfort from his arms in the midst of everything. And my prayer for Dan was that he would fall in love with her instantly and that his love for her would be no different in depth than his love for Bri.

Finally the phone rang and I will never forget the tender tone of my husband's voice on the other end of the line as he called me. I could tell that he was exhausted and a little scared but totally and absolutely falling in love with our daughter. I remember him saying "Honey, she is absolutely beautiful" and with that I fell more in love with my husband and began falling in love with our daughter.

He told me that while all the other babies had cried a little here and there that Mia had not made a peep. She didn't act scared at all to go to him. God was so unbelievably good to us.

So many people have asked if it was hard for me to not go to China. And let me first say that the decision to not go was an agonizing one. I had dreamed for years of the day that I would get to go to China and be handed our daughter. Then God blessed us with Brianna. At first the plan was still that I would go, so we bought a little deep freezer expressly for the purpose of storing breast milk. But as the time got closer and closer I just could not get a peace in my spirit about leaving Bri. So we flipped back and forth between numerous plans.

Everyone told me Bri will be fine. But she had never been left more than a couple of hours without her mommy. I finally decided that Mia did not know me yet and therefore me not going could not emotionally hurt her. It would hurt me to miss out on seeing her for the first time like I had dreamed, seeing her country and having a special two week trip with just the three of us. But those would just be missed opportunities. Whereas leaving Brianna with virtual strangers to her for two weeks could confuse and possibly hurt her spirit.

Therefore we decided that what was in the best interest of both of our daughters was for Dan to go and for me to stay. God not only gave me a peace about that decision but turned it into a delight. Mia fell in love with her daddy in China and he fell in love with her and I wouldn't change that for the world. Watching them fall in love with each other from the other side of the world was magical.

So when Dan called and I could tell that he was in love my heart felt like it could just burst. If I recall we could only talk for a short time at first because Dan had to go sign a bunch of documents but he promised to post pictures and to call me when he did. I still remember how surreal it was to see this picture of her in Dan's arms. The only picture we had seen was of her at 6 months and the pictures just didn't seem real. But seeing her in Dan's arms made it real. She was so beautiful indeed. This was my daughter.

Today we celebrate you Mia Grace Deeble (also affectionately known as "Pu"). Oh how you have changed our lives for the better. Last year on this day you were scared, mourning, sleeping a ton, clutching your toy for dear life, and clinging to your newly found daddy. Today you were happy, occasionally naughty, giggling, kissing your sister, sleeping very little, "having tea", pretending to be a baby, wanting "up" and watching the 44th president being sworn in while sitting on your mommy's lap.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Chip Off the Old Block

Well, thankfully this nice little bump and cut only resulted in a new scar, mild concussion and trip to the pediatrician and not our vacation home away from home (Children's Mercy). Yep she did it again. Where you might ask? Oh the bathroom again. This time the downstairs bathroom shower door track.

So Brianna is a chip off the old block. Since Dan and I began dating and through our 5 years of marriage, he has had stitches in his head twice from playing basketball, broken his wrist one year and then his finger the next. This doesn't even count severe ankle sprains. I can't even keep up with those. I call him "accident prone" but he calls it "extreme."

Before Bri started walking, she constantly had a bruise or bump somewhere on her head. She clearly hasn't gotten much better. Well I guess she now decided that she wanted a scar on both sides of her forehead. She is into symmetry.

As always there is never a dull moment in our house.