Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lillys Adoption video

Lillys adoption video is finally complete! Please watch it!

Lilly's Adoption Story from Jim Reece on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A single step

I have a bracelet. It speaks to my heart. Its not valuable really, to anyone but me. My Mom bought it for me during the wait for Lilly. Inscribed on the bracelet it says: The journey to a thousand miles begins with a single step. I have worn it over the years and clung to the words written on it.

A. Single. Step.

One single step. Where would I have been if I had not taken that one single step. What if I listened to the naysayers. What if I had never pursued adoption? What if I would have given up on Lilly's adoption because of the wait. What if I had never trusted God?

Look what I would have missed!

And this.....

Let go. Walk in faith. Take the first step. You don't have to see the whole picture before stepping out. You only have to trust that it is there.

They called us crazy. They still do. Heck, sometimes I think we are too. It doesn't matter what they say. In the end, it all works out to be beautiful.

Merry Christmas to all my cyber friends! I pray that this next year you take a single step in a journey to find your happiness.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I interrupt my terrible blogging skills for this very important announcement:

We have recieved Pre approval to adopt Lilly a little brother. Get the full story at:

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A new normal...

As you all know Lilly had her lip and nose revision last week. Of course we loved her face. The one that I studied every detail of since December of 2008. The face that was full of expression. I loved her crooked nose. I. Loved. That. Face.

Our cleft doctor is one of the best on the East coast. Let me say that first. He has a HUGE heart for these cleft kids, and made a commitment to me early on that he would do everything in his power to have her look as "normal" as possible. Which I appreciate....I really do.


I can't get used to it.  I feel as if I am mourning the loss of my beautiful child's face.  I wonder if I did the right thing.  Of course, I knew the world wouldn't see the beauty that I did in Lilly's crooked smile. I miss it.  Its a new normal, I suppose.  Maybe with time I will appreciate it.

That is the way it is with Mom's.  We just love our kids, crooked nose and all, and we never want to change their appearance, even if we could. I looked at crooked, and saw perfection.

And I miss it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prayers please

I pray that all of my blogger friends will say a prayer for us today. Lilly is having her lip and nose revision, and possible bone graft. Its hard on a Momma heart for her baby to go through so much.Please pray for her doctors, nurses and all the other people who are trying to make things better for her. Pray for her parents too!

Also please pray for my grandmother. She fell last Friday and is bleeding on her brain. She is not responsive.

Two MAJOR things going on this week, so we can really use the prayers.

Updates coming soon! Thank you all!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So I started thinking.....

Today Lilly and I had quite the excursion! We were so tired of hanging around the house for the last few days, so we decide to go explore and see what we could find to get into. First we went to the butterfly museum. Lilly had so much fun looking at the animals and insects...well except the snakes, we were both a bit freaked out by those. Then we had lunch and decided to stop by a thrift store. Lilly is desperately looking for a Powerpuff Girl movie, which we have yet to find. Anyway, at the store there was a shelf of junkie toys that Lilly just HAD to check out. We were standing there, and I was as close to her as I could possibly be, doing NOTHING wrong, when a store employee came up to Lilly and said, in a mean way, " Where is your Mommy, you can not be here alone." Of course as soon as she said it Lilly looked up at me with the What did I do wrong look. Of course I told her I AM her Mommy, in my Momma bear voice. To which she said, " Oh well you don't look like her." I was so shocked, that I did not even have a come back (which if you know me, really IS a shock).

Which got me thinking....

I suppose everyone who looks at us together immediately thinks about our differences, and makes an assumption. I guess I was so shocked because I don't think about it. I look into my daughters face and see nothing more or less but my daughter. Thats all. The face of my child. I don't see Asian. I don't see adoption. I don't see different.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. The employee did not think for a second that she was my daughter! Next time we go back, I WILL be wearing this shirt:

And Lilly will be sporting this one:

After that drama, we went to play at Fiesta Plaza, which was super fun! Then we had ice cream! While at Fiesta Plaza I was talking to this grandmother who had brought her grandchildren to play. She was nice enough, but then she asked "the question". You know the one, Why China? Why not adopt American kids. At this point I was beginning to feel like a carnival freak show. So I said, "well we just thank God that he pointed us to the child that we were meant to have and it has been absolutely perfect. We are so lucky to have her." Thankfully that shut her up. So the next time we go to Fiesta Plaza, I will be wearing a shirt that says this:And Lilly's will say this:

All in all we had a fabulous day, and I refuse to let anyone's ignorance get to me. Although had I had my shirt on and Lilly had her shirt on, and those people had this shirt on, a lot could have been avoided.
Ahhh! I think we will just enjoy a quiet day at home tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A year of emotions

Finding words to sufficiently sum up the past year of our lives is nearly impossible. There has been every emotion known to man displayed. There were so many things I did not know, or think about a year ago. My heart and mind have grown right along with Lilly.

Initially there were big problems. The kind that are more than a little overwhelming. Luckily our Social Worker had warned us about these things, and we were as prepared as you possibly could be. I had read the books, but experiencing it yourself is a bit different. Lilly did not trust all. She did not trust us to love her, feed her, cloth her, keep her safe, or any other thing that most 5 year old children take for granted. SO she controlled everything. She needed to be in control to keep herself safe, as she had done in China for 5 years of her life. No one really loved her there, so she made sure her needs were met herself. She had huge tantrums, not just kiddie tantrums, big ones, where she tried to hurt us and herself. Can you imagine being so scared at 5 years old that you feel you have to "fight" for yourself? I am sure in those moments if you would have asked her if she wanted to go back to China she may have very well said YES! How do you explain to this child that we love her more than anything and we WILL take care of her? You don't. Love is an action....we had to prove it. And slowly over time, she began to trust, and let her control go, and we saw a sweet beautiful daughter emerge from this frighted, terrified girl....and she started blooming, right before our eyes.

THAT is a beautiful thing.

As Lilly bloomed, and we came to understand more about her, attachment and bonding, things got much easier. Everyday she made progress. Everyday things became easier, everyday we worked hard and succeed. Little bitty baby steps. Was it hard? YES! Was it worth it? A million times YES! Would I do it again? In a second!

Our social worker did warn us about the risks, and the troubles we may have. BUT, there are many things our social worker did not tell us about. She did not tell us how every morning we would be so excited just to see her face, and know she is ours. She did not tell us that there will be days of abundant joy that make up for the bad days ten fold. She did not tell us that we would be on our knees thanking God for picking us to be her parents. She did not tell us that we would be the lucky ones.

I am glad she didn't because I would have never believed her.

The moment I laid eyes on Lilly I knew I could not love her anymore had she come to be mine through any different avenue. She was mine, just as my other two were. I love her no less or no more, and never will. She filled a hole in my heart, that I never really knew I had, and I think we filled one in her heart too. I know we were meant to be together, and that just about sums it up.

Forever Family.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

365 days

May 11th, 2009, 8,000 miles away from home, 3:00 am, I toss and turn. Today is the day. We are told to be ready to go at 9:30 am, but at 4, I give into my restlessness and arise. So many emotions swirl that I could not possibly sleep. The day we have waited for over 3 years is finally here, who could sleep? I am sure I paced the floor so many times before we left that I must have worn the carpet. I changed my clothes 3 times.

The ride to the Civil Affairs office was long. I stared out the window watching more people than you could ever imagine on a street in America, go about their daily business. I remember it like yesterday. I have NEVER been more nervous in my life, scared to death of a 5 year old girl. Will she like us? Will she cry? Will she try to run away? Will she recognize us? Every scenario good and bad I played out in my head a 100 times that day.

When we finally made it to the office, it was very hot and small. There were some babies already there, with caregivers, some sleeping some crying, all unrealizing their lives were about to change. There were some parents there too, most of them were Spanish speaking. One by one the babies started being ushered in and handed out, but our Lilly was no where to be seen.

I paced and paced and finally her orphanage director called and said they were running late. I tried to relax and focus on the new families being formed and the beautiful little children. It was a madhouse though, hardly what I had imagined it to be. Surreal.

When I least expected it, she walked in. Expressionless, she looked at us, and studied our features as we did hers. You could tell she was scared, but she did not cry. We were allowed to ask the director some questions about her. She told me that Lilly had thrown up on the way to the office that morning. Ah, she was just as scared as me. She told me how smart Lilly was and how she made her bed nicely everyday. Besides that she had little to say, and did not tell me anything too personal about my child. I can't help but think she did not know about her. in no time we were done. I wish I had some fairy tell story but I do not. That quickly in that loud chaotic room were handed our child. Strangers were now a family.

We left and on the ride back to the hotel there had to be a million things Lilly was thinking. One single tear ran down her cheek as we left all she had ever known behind. That one tear symbolized so much. In that moment I questioned what we were doing to this sweet child and if it was right. That tear broke my heart. She was so brave, she was going through more than any 5 year old ever should have to.

Later that night, and for many months after she cried and grieved for all that was familiar. There is pain in adoption. For us that day was all we had dreamed of, but for our sweet girl, it was a living nightmare. I can not imagine. She has told us since then that she was "very, very scary Momma and Baba, in China, but now I love you."

We celebrate this day as a mark in time, 365 days since we united together, but I feel guilty about it in a way. It was such a traumatic time for her that I hate remembering the pain she felt.

Thank you God for the past 365 days of blessings you have bestowed on us.

For those who have been around for a year now, here is a before and after shot. We put the "China clothes" on (that she REFUSED to change in China) for old times sake. This time 365 days later she was mad that I made her put them on. Sorry I couldn't find an oreo. : )

I will be back soon with my reflections from this year.

Friday, May 7, 2010


I thought to mark the one year anniversary of the day we left for China, I would let you in on some insider, one-of -a -kind things about Lilly we have learned in the past year.

1) She loves music...all kinds really, especially Taylor Swift.

2) She loves art, all art, and will use anything as paper, including the wall.

3) Her nickname is 'Little Little", don't ask me why, I do not know, blame it on Baba.

4) She likes to play games, and loves to win. Warning she has been known to cheat.

5) She wants to let her hair grow to her ankles.

6) She would eat at McDonalds everyday, if I would let her.

7) Lilly is the perfect amount of part stubborn, part sweet, mixed with humor.

8) She desperately wants a sister her age, or so she thinks.

9) She has a magnetism that is undeniable.

10) She is as close to perfect as they come, or at least we think so.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baba's Shadow

About this time last year we were preparing to leave for China to get our sweet girl. So many questions lingered in my mind...there were no answers to find...just questions, on how everything would work out. Often I would talk out loud to my husband saying these things. You know how you will just ask a "what if" question, not really wanting an answer, just someone to ease your mind a bit and tell you all will be fine? One of those. I had said, "What if she doesn't like us?" and I remember Matthews answer, "I know she will like me." "What? How do you know?" " I just know." Hummm, I thought, we will see.

I be darned. He was right. I rarely admit it, but he was right. This child does not LIKE Baba, she LOVES Baba. I mean really, really loves him. I have never seen a kid this crazy about their Dad. It amazes me. She will do anything for Baba, but will fight Mama all day LONG! Its okay though. I am really glad that she loves him so much, and honestly it was instantly, from day one, just as he had predicted. Remember this picture I posted in China? See?

As I type Lilly is on the couch napping with him now. I beg, plead, and bribe her to take a nap. Does she? No. Baba says he feels like napping she curls up with him and sleeps like an angel. Its amazing, and equally baffling. I thought I would win her over eventually, and I have...a little.

If Baba says to do it, she does it. If Baba is doing something, she wants to help. The first words out of her mouth in the morning are, "where is Baba?" So I thought it was only fitting to dedicate a post to Daddy, who is Lilly's very favorite person.

I feel extremely blessed to be married to this wonderful Man. He has been a great provider, supporter, and friend. Wonderful father, and a faithful leader. And now he has a shadow. I think it is precious!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Lilly has been so excited that her birthday was coming that we have been counting down for months now! Today is finally the day! We actually had her a party on Sunday and she LOVED all of her gifts and was so happy that everyone came. Sunday night she told me " today was the bestest day ever Mommy, I am so happy that I had a party. It hard to believe at 6 years old this was the FIRST party she had ever had,and the FIRST birthday presents she had ever had. Needless to say we all made up for the lost time because this kid really racked up! She is already anticipating her next birthday....don't rush it Lilly....Mommy is not quite ready for you to grow up so fast! We got her a Barbie Jeep which she LOVES, and I keep thinking in 10 short years she can drive her own Jeep! I see that coming way too quickly!

Of course, I can't let this day go by with out thinking of "China Mommy". I wonder what she is thinking of today 8,000 miles away. Does she feel sadness? Oh I wish there was someway for me to tell her how happy her little girl is. How much love we have for her. How blessed we feel, and mostly how thankful we are that she chose life for her precious child, and how that decision has made all the difference for us.

Happy birthday sweet Lilly Yin, there are many, many more to come!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Deliquent Blogger = ME!

Okay, I admit it! I have been terribly slack about posting. I really have been busy. I will add some thoughtful words later, but for now, just pictures, which is what you all REALLY want to see anyway, right? I mean who could resist seeing more pictures of this precious child?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two Mommies

I remember pretty much everything about being pregnant, and I feel very blessed to experience it twice. I remember the morning sickness, being tired, and the food cravings. I remember feeling tired, my back aching, and swelling feet, but what I remember the most was the hopes and dreams I had for my unborn child. I imagined what they would look like, what they would smell like, and even how they would sound. I wondered what they would be when they grew up, and dreamed of their future. I waited with anticipation to see the face that I had dreamed of seeing for 9 months. When they were born I sat for hours holding them and taking note of each of their physical features. I held their tiny hands and thought about their future. I prayed I would be the mother they needed me to be. I remember it all like yesterday.

As I recall all these things, I can't help but think about Lilly.

I did not know in a physical way what it was like to carry her inside my body. I did not get to survey her physical characteristic's upon birth. But across this great big Earth 8,000 miles away, there is a woman that does remember. I can only imagine she felt the same things when she was pregnant with Lilly as I felt with my two pregnancies. I am sure she rubbed her belly with anticipation to see the face of this child she was carrying. I am sure she wondered what she would look like, what she would smell like and how she would sound. I can't imagine how she felt the day she was born. Did she look at this daughter and realize that she had to make a choice? Did she search for another way? Did her heartbreak? I can't imagine it any other way. I am sure she studied her features and took note of each of them, knowing all too well that their time was limited. I can imagine that she held her tight to her chest, and tried to remember everything about her.

That is the heart of a mother.

I can't imagine how her heart must have broken when she realized that she was unable to keep this child that she loved. What was running through her mind on the day that she left her? She carefully wrote a note and tucked into this beautiful babies shirt, and waited for the perfect moment to walk away, leaving half of her heart behind, on a bench.... alone.

What does she feel now? I am sure she thinks about Lilly. I am sure she prays for her safety. I would think that thoughts swirl in her mind about what she looks like. Is she happy? Is she healthy? I wish there was someway to tell her those answers....but there is not. And Lilly as she gets older, will wonder those same things.

I know there is no way to know if this is exactly the way that Lilly's China Mommy felt that day. I can only imagine, based upon my own experience as a Mom. I pray for her daily. How can thank you be enough? I may not have had the experience of feeling her grow physically inside of me, but I have had the experience of having the thought of her grown in my heart. I waited for her. I longed to see her face. And now that she is here, I study her features for hours. Her toes, her nose, her ears. I look in her beautiful brown eyes. I hold her sweet little hand. I think and dream of her future. I pray that I will be the mother she needs me to be....just as I have done twice before her.

I hope one day I have the opportunity to thank this Mother for making a choice of hope for her daughter. Maybe if not in this life, I pray in Heaven. Most of all I thank God for giving me the opportunity to be a mother THREE times. Three times the blessing, three times the fun, and I thank God he choose me...out of all the Mommies, in all the world, he chose me. Thankfully.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you…” – Jeremiah 1:5

Two Mommies, one beautiful girl, and Gods plan for a precious child.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surgery Success!

We successfully survived the first of many surgeries that Lilly will have due to her cleft lip and palate. I was so nervous, but everything went as planned, and Lilly seems to be doing okay. It was quite traumatic at first, but quickly she is returning to her old self. I tell you if I had just had the same surgery I would not be happy at all....but she is, and actually went outside with Baba for awhile to enjoy the beautiful Carolina weather we are having today.

We feels so blessed that Lilly has an awesome craniofacial doctor in Charlotte! He is considered the "guru" of cleft kids, and is often called "the magician". Lilly also has the most AMAZING speech pathologist, named Susie, which Lilly adores! She also has a great craniofacial orthodontist that we will spend tons of time with for the next 15 years! All those people add up to a wonderful team of people dedicated to making life better for these cleft affected kids, adding to the many blessings that have been bestowed on us! This amazing team works tirelessly to make life easier for these kids. We were also treated like royalty by the fabulous workers at Levine's Children's Center. Who could ask for more?
I want to thank everyone who prayed for Lilly, us and the doctors. So many people stopped by to say hello, or called to see if we needed anything, offered food, brought Lilly gifts, emailed, and most of all prayed, and offered support of any kind. We have the best friends and family, and could not have made it through without all of you. Our extended adoption family via the Internet offered prayers from all around the world! That is a HUGE deal, and thank you seems so small compared to the gratitude in my heart, you will never know just how much you are appreciated!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adoption and God

I ran across this post on a fellow bloggers site. I hope the words touch you as strongly as they have me. She said beautifully everything that I feel in my heart.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

9 months home...Too good to be true.

WOW! Nine months home. Where has the time gone? Its funny because in one way it seems that Lilly has been here forever, and in another way it seems like just yesterday we were preparing to leave for China. Nine. Short. Months. Everything has changed for this little girl, for the best, but still EVERYTHING has changed. As a preschool teacher for many years, I would notice children who started to show signs that something was different at home. Relatives in town? Mom and Dad fighting? A different schedule? All of these little things can send a child all out of whack. Yet with Lilly it is not one of these small things that have changed for her, its everything, there is not one part of her life that is the same as it was nine months ago. I remember this time last year questioning how all of these changes would work out for her. Was I doing the right thing? In the end, I knew I was, this girl deserved a family to love her forever. Although change hurts, sometimes we have to experience it to move on to better things. My daughter amazes me! Who has that sort of resilience? My girl does.

I can honestly say that I feel we have come full circle in nine months. Attachment and bonding are great. No sensory problems. Behavior is wonderful 99.9% of the time. She is excelling in preschool. She is genuinely happy, mostly all the time. That is the one thing that people keep telling me....she is so happy! Actually I keep reading more and more books to see if I can find something I am missing. It really can not be this good, this fast? But it is, and of course we have all worked hard to get to the point we are at now, although it has not really seemed like work, just more like being open to meeting Lilly where she was emotionally, and taking baby steps together.

If you are reading my blog as a first timer, I will gladly help any way I can if you are considering adopting an older child, or adopting in general. You can contact me through the CONTACT US button on the side of the blog. I really can not put in to words what a blessing this adoption has been for our family, such a wonderful blessing that I want everyone to experience what we have experienced. I didn't have it all figured out before adopting Lilly, I walked in faith, and kept walking. It has been a beautiful journey, to a beautiful little girl!

Happy Nine Months home Lilly Yin, and forever to go!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snow day!!!

Lilly was sure excited to wake up and see all the snow on the ground! She was even more excited when we bundled up and went out for some sledding. She says she has never played in the snow before. I explained to her on snow days, we play in the snow, and stay around in warm pajamas all day by the fireplace. She liked that....and now she wants everyday to be a snow day! It is not often that we get snow around here, so I doubt we will get anymore. It was fun while it lasted!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Long time coming...

Sorry guys...I know it has been awhile. So much has been going on, and nothing at the same time. Lilly is doing sooo well.

God is so good! Life is so good! Just a couple of years ago I was so depressed and down, wondering how all of these dreams to adopt would play out. I knew God was in it, and I knew my daughter was in China, but I also knew referrals were moving at a snails pace. I was in a valley, and I did not see the way out, and there were mountains surrounding me. My job was horrible, Matthew was working ALL the time, two jobs, the house was a mess, we had no money and I felt my life was chaos. I look back at that dark time in my life today, and reflect. God is so wonderful and always on time. Today as I write, my husband only works one job which allows him more time with us. Lilly is here and doing well. I have been able to stay home with her, and spend more time with my other two, I am genuinely happy. The house is still a mess...but most of that mess is caused my one of the greatest blessing I have ever received. Money is still tight, but we are keeping our head above water. I am completely humbled by these miracles. Our life is not perfect, we have challenges, but I feel as if I am on top of the mountain looking out at all the wonderful possibilities that await for each of us. I say all that for this reason. If you are in the valley in your life...keep praying, keep pressing on, never lose hope, and never doubt that God is right there with you. He is always on time. Even when we do not realize it. The path is not always easy, the road is not always straight...but press on. If I would not have I would have missed the opportunity to be a Mommy to this precious girl. I cherish everyday with her, because I know I could have easily missed it. We could have given up our adoption dream, we could have said No. We could have missed her hugs, laughter, joy,and sense of humor. Thank God we didn't. This is a verse that helped me many times when I was waiting, and my life was not at all where I wanted it to be.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I clung to this verse during that time. I knew God had a plan, but it was hard to trust him completely. But now I see I HAD to wait...I had to wait to get her..not just any her, my her, my daughter. When I look into those beautiful brown eyes, I know we could have missed it all.