One year later…

Over the holiday season, time and time again I caught myself stopping to reflect on how far our daughters have come in the past year.  We are far from perfect and each one of us has things that we work on daily, but the amount of growth that our family has made in the past year is nothing short of amazing.  God truly is wonderful!

Allie went from a girl who was our only child and was probably well aware that our lives revolved around her to a not so little girl (she’s 4 ft 1 in tall) who is very loving, adores her little sister and who wants nothing more than to make people smile.  Allie has become such a caring little girl and she’s always commenting on how much she loves her little sister.  Last night as we were praying before bed, she went into this long prayer thanking God for giving her a little sister and then continued on to pray that all of the other orphans in the world get home safely to their families.  I just love her heart!!!  This morning she was doing art projects (her all time favorite past time) and cut out a heart and wrote ‘i love u’ on the back.  Shortly after finishing it, she came over and gave it to me.  She went on to tell me that this heart was for me and that I could look at it when she was at school and it would remind me of how much she loves me.  Melt.My.Heart!!!!

When we arrived home from India with Charu, she was a very scared little girl.  She was the most relaxed and herself when we were together as a family at home, however when someone else would come into our home she would cling to be like a scared kitten and do the saddest little cry/whine and sometimes she’d even dig her fingernails into me.  I remember going to the post office after we had been home a few weeks during nap so that I could mail a couple of packages.  The girls were napping and I told Cory I wouldn’t be gone long.  When I arrived back home, Charu was screaming at the top of her lungs in the corner of the living room and wouldn’t let Cory come within five feet of her.  She ran into my arms and I could literally feel how tense she was.

Today, Charu puts her boots on and is literally thrilled when she hears that we are going shopping, to church, or to grandma and grandpas.  She loves going places and loves when people come over.  She’s becoming quite the people person (although she still is VERY apprehensive around men).  She LOVES books, art projects, the iPad, and doing anything with music!  Charu is seriously amazing when it comes to retelling a story through a picture book.  If she’s heard the story even once she can sit and retell the story as she pages through the book…SO fun for her mommy to watch!

Upon our arrival home, Charu’s sleep patterns were less than stellar.  At first, she’d wake up and you could tell that she thought she was in the orphanage.  Once she realized where she was, the grieving started all over again.  She’d be up wanting to play for hours.  We’d keep the house as dark and quiet as possible, but I wanted to be with her because I wanted her to know that’s what a mom does.  To me, it was as if she was a newborn and that’s what I would have done with her as a newborn.  We walked, I sang to her (poor girl), and I rocked her.  It was a very special time, but it wore on me over time.

Today Charu sleeps through the night in her own bed…although she moves SO much that this tiny little peanut sleeps in our guest bedroom because it has a queen sized bed instead of her little twin sized bed!  When we move, the girls will be sharing a room so they are both going to have to get used to twin sized beds…that might be interesting when it comes to Charu!  🙂

There has been so much growth in our family since we arrived home a year ago from India and we are very thankful for that.  I remember reading someone say that at three months home, you start to think things are really turning around and you’re getting in the groove.  At six months home, things feel comfortable and at one year home everything feels normal.  SO true for us!  It’s been a journey and it’s truly one that I wouldn’t change for the world.  It really is wonderful to watch these two little girls grow and change over the past year and it makes me wonder what this next year is going to bring!!

From our house to yours….Merry Christmas!

christmas6

christmas2It was close to impossible to get a picture of the girls together this year at either of the grandparents’ houses.  So, we’ll just go with it this year and post a picture of each of them taken at a different time.  Oh well, both of the girls enjoyed Christmas to the fullest extent!  Our celebrations were filled with family, fun, good food, gingerbread houses and making lots of wonderful memories!  Not a day goes by, holiday season or not, that we don’t thank God for our two little blessings.  It really is amazing seeing the holidays through your children’s eyes!

May each and every one of you have a blessed holiday season and the very happiest of new years ahead!!!

Another Pinterest Project

IMG_2280More cabinet door projects in the works!  This one is going to be for my in-laws as well with our nieces and nephew’s picture on the left instead of the girls.  The pictures are hanging on mini clothes pins so that they can be changed easily!  (These pictures were again taken with my iPhone.)

Up Close

 

favorite pictures…

A few of my blogger friends do a post every Sunday of pictures that they took each week and the pictures usually have different themes to them.  Although I’d love to join them, that would require more planning than I’m up for right now.  I did realize, though, that there are some very special pictures that I took in while we were in India that I never shared on our blog.  All of these pictures were taken at Charu’s orphanage.

Before going to India, one of my friends who had adopted from Ethiopia gave me the idea of taking pictures of objects/textures that we saw in India.  I plan on blowing these pictures (or at least my favorite ones) up in our new house in a cool display.

Here they are…

When we were at SKB, there were many people working outside of the orphanage to get ready for an adoption celebration just two days after we left.  This celebration is where many, many families from all over India come back with their children they’ve adopted to celebrate family, adoption and the pure love that goes into every child.

Roof tiles

These tiles were sitting outside of the caretakers quarters and we thought were probably going to be roofing tiles.  Security at the orphanage

This is one of my all time favorite pictures.  This was the wall that surrounds the entire grounds and it was their “security system” so that the children were safe.  Gate to the orphanage

The gate between the owners’ house and the walkway to the orphanage. Coffee

Coffee…nummy! THE most delicious coffee either of us has ever had!!!Roof top

Roof tiles and dried banana leaves on top.Wall leading to the orphanage

The walkway wall leading to the orphanage. Baskets

Baskets…beautiful baskets…Tile outside of the orphanage

The groundskeepers were washing, cleaning and taking care of everything getting ready for the big celebration.  Just before entering the orphanage, this tile was still wet from a morning washing and it was simply beautiful.Coconut piles in the cooks cottage

Coconuts…we were told that there was coconut in almost every recipe.  Oh, the food at SKB was twelve kinds of amazing!!!Walkway into Elizabeths houseThe small deck on the front of Elizabeth’s house had this beautiful stonework that was simple, but so beautiful.

DSC_0098Everything was just so lush and green even though it was winter when we were there!

Looking at the pictures brings it all back!  India truly was an adventure in so many ways.  We truly can’t wait to go back again someday and to be able to take in more of India, Kerala, and of SKB!

We hope you enjoy our pictures!!!

First snowfall!

Both of the girls were over the moon excited to see that it snowed outside during nap time.  Once the boys left today, we went outside to play in the snow!  Allie was busy making snow angels and just having fun as Charu was eating all of the snow and exclaiming, “Mommy it’s nummy!  Mmmmmm!  Delicious!” It was already getting dark, so I didn’t get many pictures.  Hopefully we can get more tomorrow!  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!  : )

Allie GraceDSC_0041

Snow angel

Both girls

Oh yeah, here’s one more picture for you!  It’s the sign that’s now outside of our house.

For sale

Yep, that’s right…we’re moving!  We always said this was our forever home.  This was the house we were going to grow old in and our kids were going to come back from college and know that this was their home.  I guess God had other plans.  After I resigned from my teaching position, Cory’s “sidekick” at work left his location which in turn gave Cory more customers.  More customers is good, but when Cory’s commute is about 60 miles one way it made his day even longer.  I quickly became a single mom most days.  When you have a child who is trying to learn how to trust men (her dad in particular), this is not the best scenario.  As a result, we had many late night heart to hearts and decided that it would make more sense for me to start over teaching in the same town Cory works in.

We decided to just go and look at a couple of houses in Lakefield (the same town Cory works in) and we found one that was really “us”.  The house is a 1964 cape cod style home and is pretty small, but as soon as we walked in we knew it was a house meant for us.  I love the idea of having a quaint little house that is cozy and just enough space for our family and Allie is BEYOND thrilled that Charu and her will be sharing a room.

We put in an offer and it was accepted contingent on the sale of our home.  A few weeks later (with the help of an amazing friend) and we have an offer on our house that we accepted.  We are just praying that their financing goes through and there aren’t any hiccups along the way.

All in all, we are excited and scared at the same time.  It’s been 9 years since I have had to start over in a town knowing not one person.  However, we know that this is the right decision for our family and by downsizing we will be able to afford to begin our next adoption!  We are praying that we can move sometime late February and then begin adoption #3 in March of 2013.  We still have so much research to do about agencies and programs, but our hearts are pulling us to Africa again.  We are going to continue to pray and research and hope to have some sort of decision soon!