Like it or not, more answers to your questions 🙂
How did your blog get so popular??? Do you just have a huge family/church family/ whatever? My goodness, I don’t think three people read my blog! 🙂 (But, mine’s not as pretty!)
* My first thought is, “Really? Is our blog popular?” COOL! I laughed when I read this question, because I think my mom is the only one in our family who reads it regularly and I don’t think anyone from our church reads it. What I hope to do through our story and our blog, is to help people see what absolute TREASURES these special needs kids are!! We are so stinkin’ blessed, I just love the stuffins out of these babies! I hope our experiences help others consider the SN program and encourage those already in the process that of all the paperwork, the agonizing, and the wait… it’s all SO worth it!
Is customizing a blog like this expensive? I love it!
*Perfect question! You just need to enter our little giveaway to win a brand new blog design from Rebecca, my wonderful friend and incredibly talented blog designer! Thanks to Chelley, one lucky winner will win a whole new look for their blog!
The question I have had for a long time is: you mentioned somewhere that when getting ready for one of the adoptions you gave Lifeline a “heads-up” call. How does SN adoption work at Lifeline? Surely, you must be a unique case, but can anyone apply to Lifeline for a SN adoption, state the needs we feel equipped to handle, and wait for a match from their lists? How long is the wait usually? We can’t do that because we’ll be DTC here soon (and I don’t think concurrent adoptions from China are allowed), but I was curious about the process. We’d love to adopt a waiting child in the future, and maybe the way Lifeline does things is a good plan for us.
*When we decided we were ready to start the process again, I emailed Karla at Lifeline to tell her our exciting news! We used Lifeline to bring Sophie home in 2006 and we loved our experience with Lifeline from start to finish. They’re wonderful! So we contacted Karla, completed a SN checklist and emailed it back to Karla. They had recently received a new list of SN kiddos and although they did have a list of families waiting for a referral, no one was waiting for a BOY! We were matched as Lifeline does with all their kiddos: they take families in order that they receive their checklist and ‘match’ them according to the files they receive and the needs/age/gender that the family is open to. And while I consider Karla to be a dear friend, I also know that they take their job of creating families very seriously and prayerfully. There is no doubt in my mind that they maintain the utmost integrity in their matching process and that is why we felt so much like Shepherd was ‘meant for us’… God’s fingerprints were all over it!!
What was for dinner last night?? 🙂 (I’m really trying to ask how you make dinner for so many kids with so many kids running around.) I liked the grocery bill question too.
*Last night was leftover night 🙂 But the night before was stuffed shells (stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella and Italian sausage), French bread and a salad.. it was good! Cooking for many is really easy, we’ve recently had to start doubling recipes because there were never any leftovers! So now that I’ve acclimated to that, it’s not really a big deal. The kids are usually a bit wild that time of day and when Chris isn’t home, it pretty stressful! But when we do sit down at the table, talk about our day and invariably end up laughing about something, it’s all worth it 😉
My husband wants to know what your husband does for a living….men, all they want to know about anything is the bottom line…how DO they afford that? I told him the Lord provides when you respond to his calling, but he wants more details…. 🙂
*Chris is active duty military and works long hours many days with most weekends off. The military pays well, but not ridiculously so. We do stay on a budget, adopting 4 times in 3 years will deplete the ol’ savings pretty quickly! But we really try to have a more long term vision for the things that are important. When we’re old, we won’t ever have to *wish* we’d made different decisions… when you say, “YES!” to God, you never have anything to regret 🙂
…how many WPM can you type and where do you find the time to keep the blog so creatively updated?
*Geesh, I have no idea how fast I type. I can probably type pretty fast, but I make a ridiculous amount of mistakes! And I detest incorrect spelling, so I always have to make sure it’s correct 😉 I guess I consider the blog a sort of ‘online’ baby book for my kids and if I think of it that way, it’s pretty darned important! I also hope to encourage others who are going through or considering the adoption process, and that’s a big motivator for me too 🙂
what would YOU say are the best things to do when you first meet your child. I do worry a little about her being two, so I’d love to hear of some personal experiences!
*When I met Sophie she was 27 months. She was very wary of strangers and she knew something was going on when she walked into the room at Civil Affairs. It was just I who traveled for her, which was an advantage in that she was not overwhelmed with people trying to touch her and see her all at once. I was armed with lollipops, a little stuffed Hello Kitty and bubbles. She held onto the HK and the lollipop and bawled her head off for 1 1/2 hours. It was tough. We walked and walked. Finally she quieted down after a quick bath and some bubbles. The light-up ball was a hit, too. She loved the stacking cups (what kid doesn’t?) and the Cheerios. My advice is to just take it easy. You’ve got the rest of your life to get to know the child. Give her time to grieve and just be there for her. If she rejects you, don’t take it personally. She doesn’t know you well enough to make a judgment about you, she’s grieving the loss of all she’s ever known. Remind yourself that you’ve been waiting, dreaming about this day for months. She’s had no time to anticipate and process all the changes… she’s the one who’s losing a life: not a great life, but the only life she’s ever known. I think it’s easy to think you’re going to get over there and be calm and relaxed no matter what, but it’s much harder when you’re in the middle of the Civil Affairs office in China!
My question is do you have any suggestions on products/gadgets that you could not live without?
*Uhhh, my Dustbuster!? That’s the first one that comes to mind 😉 Really, we just have basic stuff, nothing fantastic. I wish there was a gadget that would change diapers/put away laundry/wash refried beans off the dishes/get stuff out of the freezer (my biggest aversion). Those are a few of my least favorite ‘duties’ 😉
Also, I am excited to pieces some days to become a first (only) time mom. Other days I am terrified. Scared of silly things like ‘what if she doesn’t like me’, ‘what if I don’t know what to do with her’?
*These are natural worries, ones we all struggle with some time or another! But you can’t try to climb a mountain in one jump, you take it one step at a time 🙂 With your new daughter, just take it one day at a time, and if necessary, if she’s really grieving, take it one hour at a time! I have gotten through many stressful, difficult times by just tackling it a bit at a time. Most of the things we worry about never come to pass! You might even find yourself on the other side of ‘gotcha day’ realizing that you worried unnecessarily because everything came so naturally. I’ve heard it said, “Worry is a wasted emotion” and I totally agree. Not that I don’t worry, ‘cuz I do, but I try not to 😉 I love this verse, it’s a great encouragement to me:
Phillipians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”
Do you have any pets??!! Being one that believes every home needs a dog, I just have to ask!:)
*YES! I love dogs. LOVE ’em! Right now we have one Jack Russell. Naughty, naughty dogs. It’s taken our girl 10 years to calm down. She’s so worth it though. She sleeps with me every night 🙂 The most I’ve ever had was 6 when we were on the farm. 2 found us. One of them had mange so and I had to take all 6 to the vet at the same time to be dipped… yeah, good times 😉
Boxers are my favorite. My bestest dog ever was Ziggy. A big ol’ brindle boxer, close to 100 pounds. Got him when I was 19 and he died when I was 31. I still tear up when I think about him too long.
What kind of car do you drive?
*We still drive a Honda Odyssey. Seats 8. We’re not trading it in until we absolutely have to. I love it 🙂
Did I read that you are a military family? I am curious as we are a retired military family. (21 years Navy)If so, how many times have you had to move?
*Yes, hubby is active duty military. I don’t dig the deployments, but the military has been really good to us. Chris and I met in 1997, married in 1998 and this will be our 5th move. He should be able to retire in 2011 with 20 years.
– i know you have mentioned getting up early (and before the kids) for Bible study, but do you have any tips for keeping that focus throughout the day? in all of the commotion and busyness of a big family i imagine it could be extra difficult to keep in conversation with God.
*Ahh, Tish. You ask the toughies don’t you? The answer is that I’m still working on that! I do write out index cards for myself and put them out around the house. Right now I have one written out that says, ‘Am I looking for hidden blessings in mundane tasks? 1 John 1:16 “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.”‘ I have several I got from Lysa TerKeurst’s “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith“. I find that when I spend my quiet time in the AM appropriately, God gives me something to sort of chew on for the rest of the day. I try to use quiet opportunities during the day to dwell on these things (shower, driving, etc) and do better some days than others. I am definitely a work in progress 😉 You probably have some great ideas for me! Care to share, girl?
In what ways are you building into your children now in order to prepare them for pain in their adolescence? (Pain associated with abandonment, their family looking “different” and the rest.)
*You know, that is one thing I try not to dwell on too much, it’s overwhelming to consider all the possible manifestaions. BUT we do try to do our best to instill in our children a positive self image, based on the fact that they are wonderfully created by the Master of the Universe. We talk openly about China, adoption and touch on things they did before they became part of our family. We talk about how they were born in China, mommy was born in Georgia, daddy in Texas… we want there to be a running dialog about their beginnings so that when the big questions come they will have an opening. We expect each of our kids to react differently to their personal ‘story’ at different times of their lives, so we try not to make any assumptions based upon other’s experiences. The bottom line is that we hope to instill in them a love of God, a realization that they were created for a purpose and that they are loved, cherished members of our family, but most of all God’s family.
Ok, I’m back since you SAID we could return. I would second Tish’s question about how you focus on being a woman of God amidst chaos (I am ASSUMING that a lot of days are VERY busy) Do you struggle with inadequacy (as all us mamas do?)
*I think I struggle with inadequacy, but more so as a Christian and less as a mother. I don’t struggle a lot with it as far as parenting, I’m sorta easy on myself 😉 I know I always have my kids’ best interest at heart and although I make a lot (a LOT) of mistakes, kids are the most forgiving of all creatures, thank You, God!! Not sure how I came to be that way, I think I used to be a lot more high strung, but now I like to give myself a break when I mess up, and often do 😉 Maybe that helps me tolerate so much mothering? I’m not sure. I do know that if God had something to say about my mothering, I would certainly take it to heart. There have been times I’ve felt convicted over how I parent (inconsistency, raising my voice), and I strive to mother the way I would if Jesus were standing there next to me in the room. Doesn’t happen regularly, but I strive for that. That’s where the easy-going comes into play. I don’t like to push myself too much, I guess I’m lazy that way. My husband is hard driving, self deprecating. The self-discipline of Mother Theresa. When I used to diet (I say used to ‘cuz I gave it up for the New Year) HE was always the one who would stick to it! He’s STILL on the stinkin’ diet I started on 1 1/2 years ago and he looks great. He didn’t even need to lose weight then. I, on the other hand, gave it up after a chocolate chip cookie somehow jumped into my mouth.
I would also like to hear (maybe a whole ‘nother post) about comments that you receive in public – negative or positive & your responses. Also, you have (I think) inspired some of your close friends to adopt special needs children from China – I would love to hear more about that.
*When people come up to us I really try to be pleasant. I feel like we represent adoption to those who have questions and I would hate to leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth because I overreacted to an insensitive comment. I try to keep in mind that God might use us to plant a seed in someone else’s heart for adoption. Most people ask very benign questions, and I do my best to take the time to answer honestly. Some questions are not so easily responded to, though. When people say stuff like, “What’s her daddy?” (yes… someone DID say that to us) I reply, “My daughter is Chinese.” My girls are proud to be Chinese so when I reiterate that, they don’t really pay attention. Now, as they get older and can understand more of what people are saying and/or implying, I will probably not feel so obliged to answer any and every prying question. I will certainly protect the feelings of my children over that of a stranger. I guess we’ll see… I’m sure those mama bear claws will eventually have to come out 😉
Yes, two of my very closest girlfriends have adopted special needs children! How cool is that?! Lisa adopted Grace in July of 2006 and Chenoa adopted Zoe in October 2006. My sister Angie(who still does not have a blog) adopted her son Dane in August 2006 and they are in the process of bringing home another precious son!! More on that after they get PA 🙂
WHEW! I still have a few more questions to answer but I am too pooped and tired of being introspective to go on any longer 😉 I said I’d answer all the questions, and I will, like it or not… another day 🙂
Thanks, Stefanie!!!! You are so kind to answer all of our prying questions!
Yep – still think you are pretty interesting:) Thanks for letting God’s light illuminate the story of your life & for being a witness to the watching world. I will say it again, you have inspired us to adopt SN and I’ll bet that your family has inspired more! May God continue to bless you!
One more reason I just adore you…your love of boxers…I have an almost 10 year old brindle all 42 lbs of her…what an adorable pup. She is my first born!
Thanks for your answer. Your answer sounded like my thoughts and practice on the subject of prep for the future. Thank you for taking the time to answer as I was having a moment of doubt. Sometimes I wonder if I am thinking too little and not praying as much as I should. But then I remember (not that apathy is ever excusable) that God’s had our daughter who is from China (and our birth children as well) since the very beginning and He will keep her (them). He’s given her to us so that we may love her and give her a picture of Christ.
I love how you answered each and every question. You are a beautiful soul.
Well, I can say I’ve been following your blog since inception :O) and have loved it all along, and am thrilled that so many follow now, because you are filled with wisdom and love- 2 incredible gifts, and we’re just reaping the benefits.
Your answer about meeting Sophie really spoke to me, too. I worry about those initial days.
I’ve enjoyed learning more about you. Your love for Jesus shines so brightly! You are such a testament to walking in faith and living your life for God.
Thanks for answering so many of my questions!! Your blog has most definitely had an impact on us, and I continue to share it with anyone and everyone I know!! It’s amazing what an impact a family who is committed to obedience can have! It’s very inspiring!