Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Our First "Gotcha Day"

       As I sit and soak in the face of this sweet little Asian baby beside me, I can't help but get lost in the memories of the first day she became our child. It was one year ago today, to be exact, and I can remember it like it was just a few minutes ago. We left our hotel early that morning with our entire travel group. We were all anxiously anticipating the arrival of our little ones, as if we were all in labor and heading to the delivery room. You could practically reach out and touch the excitement in the air. We waited in a cold waiting room while several different babies were brought to their parents, one at a time. It seemed like an eternity waiting to see the face of our newest addition. Finally a black van pulled up and a cute little Asian lady climbed out with a piggy tailed little girl. I knew without a doubt this was our child. She looked very unsure of what was going on and of her surroundings. After all, she had been on a train for the past 12 hours and had been taken away from the only Mommy and Daddy she had ever known, her foster parents. As they walked up the steps, I felt as if I truly was giving birth, the absolute elation that comes over a mother when her baby is being born. It was so unreal and amazing all at the same time. She was a total little bundle of Chinese love in her 4 layers of pants and coats. 

        She was very reluctant to go to Kelly and me and was not a very happy camper. She took up with her sister, Annabeth, pretty quickly and didn't want anyone but her. That was fine with us, as long as she was happy and not crying, as many of the children were. 

All I could do was look in awe at this child God had blessed us with, as I did with our 4 children I had given birth to. I knew He had huge plans ahead for us. Good, bad or ugly, we were in this for the long haul. She was finally ours and no one else's. God had made her just to be our daughter.

 That day has faded now into a sweet memory and many adventures have happened over the past year. Our children seem to be the busiest ever and life seems to be passing in a blur. From the time we returned home, we were thrown into Annabeth's activities of her Senior year, the boys' sports, Ivy's cheerleading and Mary Alan being a typical toddler. We wouldn't want life any other way though. Through laundry over-taking us, toys creating our walkways, homework being our family time and ballgames being the highlight of our nights, life is so good. We seem to thrive in the chaos. The joy and laughter of a baby we have only known for 12 months has bonded us more as a family than we ever could have imagined.

       God has grown our faith so much through this whole process. We can look back and see His hand through ever step of our journey and we know that HE directed our path. We are so thankful we took this leap of faith and trusted Him. If only we could do that with everything in our lives. He knows what we need when we have no idea. He knows what the future holds. We Don't! He doesn't say it will be easy, but it will be a huge blessing to follow Him! We totally know that for sure! God has truly blessed us with a miracle! We have now GOTCHA Mary Alan and you'll always be our little girl!!

Love in Him,

Friday, February 10, 2012

We GOTCHA Mary Alan!!!!

One month ago, Mary Alan was placed in our arms to begin her life as a little Colbert. I am sure she had no idea what in the world she had gotten into. Bless her heart!!
 time changes things. Now she is starting to really enjoy her new life and she seems to love being a little Colbert. She is handling her new role just fine!! 

Her finest accomplishment so far is becoming a new member of the Houston Academy Varsity Cheerleaders. The best part is......
she didn't even have to try-out. 

I have described Mary Alan as a little light in our home and she seems to bring a certain brightness into the lives of everyone she comes in contact with. That is what we are called to be a light in a dark world. She already has it figured out.
  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14and15
Have a Great Day!!
Love in Him,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Home...Where We Belong

I can't believe how fast time is passing already. We have already been home for two weeks and it has been amazing to put it lightly. Our first week seems slightly dreamlike in that we were so unbelievably jet-lagged and also sick. I think our immune systems were on total overload and had a total "meltdown" after all we had put them through. Mary Alan adjusted very quickly and only had about 3 nights of waking up around 1am and then falling back asleep. She actually handled it a lot better than we did. Several people brought meals to us, which was a total God-send and we were able to mend pretty quickly. We have also had a lot of "Show-and-Tell" times for the kids at school and needless to say, they are all very excited about their new baby sister. She has been a real "hit" with all of their friends and is fitting right in. She will be a little teenager before we know it. She already has a cheerleading uniform to match her big sisters and Ivy has been working on her heel stretches. She is VERY flexible and we all can't wait to see if she ends up dancing, cheering or doing gymnastics. She may just do nothing and be fine with that. Who knows? She also loves the piano and the guitar and is very fascinated with all forms of music. Maybe she will be a pianist. I would love that. She also went to church for the very first time last Sunday. Everyone was so excited and welcoming as we walked in. I felt like I was finally home with my spiritual family and so happy to take her to a place she will call her "family of faith" for much of her life. 

We are all amazed how quickly she has adjusted to her American way of life and her new family. She has come to her new home with all 5 dogs and 5 cats and 2 brothers and 2 sisters and acted like she has always been here. She pretty much owns the place now and seems right in her element. All I can say is how wonderful I think her foster mother was and how well she must have prepared her. I am just blown away by the whole thing. Mary Alan is so funny and keeps us laughing all of the time. Her personality is just precious, especially when she is comfortable around people. She is very happy most of the time and is a joy to be around.

I was telling a friend the other day how I was so afraid before we left for China that I would not be able to do this. I am almost 41 years old and I have been very worried if I would have the energy to keep up with a toddler again. There have been so many times I questioned myself and what I was doing. I discussed it with Kelly a few times and told him my worries. He always reassured me that God had this. He wasn't going to call us to do this and leave us hanging. We would be fine. Well, I am here to tell you that I have never had more energy than this and God has equipped me for this. I am amazed myself. I dreaded the fact that I was going to have to get up earlier every morning and fix breakfast right away for a toddler....again after several years of sleeping a little later. I wake up now, excited to face the day and see what all it has in store. I chase after Mary Alan constantly and am still on major danger patrol. I am loving every minute of it. It has been so much fun. I truly can't wait for her to wake up from her naps so we can play some more. I know this may sound crazy to some, but I am having a ball. I also highly recommend having a baby when you have teenagers. It is ten times easier now than it was when I had 3 babies who were 3 years old and younger. I don't know how I did that. With MA, I pretty much play with her until the kids get home from school and then I don't see her for a while. They highjack her right when they come in and she is MIA. It is great. For any of you who think this may be something you have thought about, but you are just "too old". Please get rid of that thought. God will make a way where there seems to be no way. I truly am blown away by Him and His blessings and how amazing this experience keeps on being. It just keeps on and on and on amazing me. INCREDIBLE!! 

Today in church we sang a song called "Our God Is Greater" by Chris Tomlin. As many of you already know, I am an extremely outwardly emotional person and slightly sappy. As we sang this song, my heart just melted and of course...I sobbed as we sang:
"Our God is Greater, Our God is Stronger, God You are higher than any other, Our God is Healer, awesome and power, Our God, Our God.....And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us, And if our God is with us, then who could stand against?"

He truly is greater than any other and if HE is for us, then by golly, WHO can stop us? And if HE is with us, then WHO can go against us? Just amazing!! Dear GOD.....I am so in Awe of YOU!! 
Have a great day!! Love in Him,