Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gaoyou Girls 5th Birthday Celebration

Ellena, Lara, Lian, Isabella, and Sarah. To see these girls now, four years after their adoption, is to grasp a vision of hope, courage and love. It is sometimes difficult for me to balance just wanting to be a mother to my daughters, and not think of them as orphans, with the realization that the orphan crisis is only growing and that my two daughters are two of the 143 million orphans in the world. Each orphan has a name. Each orphan has beauty inside that these girls capture. Each orphan deserves to be loved and not forgotten.

The members of our adoptive group gather each year to celebrate our girls birthdays. We do not gather to focus on what would have happened. Instead we gather to focus on what is and what will be because these girls are our precious children. But I know that I can work on a professional and personal level to make sure that more children receive the blessing of family. Adoption represents less than a tenth of a percent of orphan care. While I wish everyone could experience the miracle of adoption, I also know that reality says we can't wait for that to happen. We have to ensure that the children who are without families receive its blessing in other ways. That's why I am on the board of Children's Hope Chest ( Our friend, Tom Davis, who is its President also writes a blog on these issues -

We celebrate these beautiful little girls and the young women they are becoming. And we pray and act for the ones who are left alone.
Anna loves for us to sing, especially Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. She pats her head whenever she wants to sing it. This was the first time she did it and I just had to capture it on video. Now she requests this song at least every few minutes throughout the day.

Anna grows more active with each day. She loves to climb things. Today she stacked up some pudding boxes from the closet just so she could reach a higher shelf. She soon learned that pudding boxes don't work very well :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Big Week - Lian turned five and Anna walked!

Lian turned five on Thursday. We celebrated with a "Building Bash" birthday party. We had twenty children over and divided them into different work teams where they rotated around their job sites building Marshmallow Towers, a Friendship Wall, a Cranium Fort, and digging in the dirt with dumptrucks and demolishing towers that they built. It was a blast and Lian was so happy all day.

Dano and I both noted how much Lian has grown and matured over this year. She is turning into such a beautiful little girl. Last year it would have been very difficult for her to handle this kind of a party. The anniversary of her adoption last year was very difficult and with all that we've worked through and with much prayer this week, we saw such a growth in her own spirit. She had such joy yesterday and just loved being with all of her friends.

In true "Jennifer" fashion, Lian asked over breakfast what ideas I had for her sixth birthday party. "Lian," I told her, "We haven't even had your fifth birthday party, yet. Can we just enjoy this one first?" She seemed okay with that, until this morning when she told me that she would plan Anna's fifth birthday party for her. Always thinking ahead :)

It was also a big week for Anna. Last Thursday, in the midst of our Chinese luncheon for our home school, Anna took her first steps. If I can ever get my video to upload to You Tube, I will post the video of her first steps. Of course, now that Anna knows she can take a few steps by herself, she wants to be everywhere we don't seem to want her to be. The toilet has become her new favorite place and for some reason she is often found fishing in the toilet. I think we're going to have to get a lock for the toilet. And then she just gives you that sweet little smile that seems to say, "How can you be mad at a face like this?"

It has also been such a joy to see the love developing between these two little girls. Lian loves to teach her sister things and Anna is often found mimicing Lian. This was the first week that Anna said "I love you" to Lian and you should have seen the smile on Lian's face. We continue to pray that they would grow in love and friendship with each other.
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