Friday, September 30, 2011

Referral Announcement: 1 Year Later

Last night, David, Eva Monet, and I went out to celebrate.

Thursday, September 29th marked our 1 year anniversary since receiving a phone call that we had been matched with a little girl from Jiangxi Province, China.  Her name?  Bo, Jiawan.   She was 9 1/2  months old.

How surreal it felt to finally hear her name, to learn a few basic facts, and to know that after so many years of waiting, we were finally at this moment!

Love pooled in my heart as if to signal that it was finally safe to swim here.  So many years of wading in the 'shallow end', waiting with great hope that 'Our Time' was coming...

A year ago, we had no idea just how much love would flood our hearts and home.  Who knew all that we would experience since the first time we saw those deep brown eyes and jet black hair. Talk about life changing!  What an amazing year!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Reunion: Atlanta Style

A few weeks ago, David, Eva Monet and I had the opportunity to reconnect with several families who also adopted children from China.  Our daughters began their lives at the same Institute and share a special connection.   It was truly amazing to see how the girls had grown and developed since our Thanksgiving Trip together just last year.  There was no question that the families had all formed strong attachments to one another and the girls were blossoming.  What a joy to see!

Enjoy a few photos from our time in Atlanta.  These first few were taken just outside of the Atlanta Aquarium.   It was our first time visiting and Eva Monet had great fun discovering the many creatures that live in and around the water.   Experiencing life through the eyes of your child is the best!  

Okay...  On three!  One...  Two...
Three!   Say Cheese!

Our Sweetie Pies.

Fun to be together again!


Big Sisters.  Beauty from the inside out.

Fellow Mama's! 

Beluga Whales:  Here they come!   Here they come!

Look, Eva, it's a shark!

 So close, Daddy...   I can almost touch them!

Play time at the Westin.  :)

Look what Daddy built! 
I'll trade you a green for an orange...


Did you see those Beluga Whales, Sophie?  They were thiiiiiiissss BIG!!

Great memories!  We are already making plans for our next get together.  FUN!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

20 months and counting...

So... It's been a few months since I've put up a post.  3 months to be exact.  In the world of bloggers, I am a novice at best.  I mean you do have to actually blog to be called a blogger, right?  Well, I've had some emails/calls asking for an update on family and life with Eva Monet.  So with the press of a button and a few clicks of the mouse, I'm finally ready to go.

Here's a little taste of life these past few months:

This past Friday, August 12th, marked 20 months of age for our little Miss E.   We celebrated with some dancing in Eva's very first TuTu,  thanks to our very dear friends, 'Auntie' Susan, and daughters, Leah and Hannah.  Also joining in the fun was Baby Jiawan, another special gift from the Near Family.  It was very sweet.  Like many children, Eva loves music.  It's a joy to dance with her and experience the laughter and giggles.  I enjoy watching how she responds to the music.  

Take a listen to our favorite song of the day called 'I Belong' and view it through the lens of another dancer:  So inspiring.  The song is beautifully written by Kathryn Scott.   The core of the message is a good reminder to all of us that nothing can separate us from Christ's Great Love.  Something that I pray over Eva regularly.  That she will grow into and gain a clear understanding of what it means to experience a personal relationship with her Creator.


In June & July we had some very special friends or family come for a visit almost every weekend.     A lot of laugher and fun and great conversation.  
It was a huge highlight of our summer. 

Sharing between friends.

Eva's been working on her walking or her Linebacker pose.  We're not quite sure which...  But we're proud of her just the same.

We've been so encouraged by her development.  In eight months we've seen her sit up on her own, crawl, walk, laugh, show us where her eyes, nose, mouth, ears, foot, hands, fingers and toes are.  We've enjoyed hearing her sweet little voice begin using words and to express Mama, Babba, Baby, Ball and a wide range of animal noises.   

One of the most tender moments in the last few days is when I was holding her at bedtime.  I begin giving her kisses and she started to giggle.   So I kept giving her kisses.  When I finally stopped she continued to laugh and signed the word 'MORE'.  So I gave her more kisses.  Every time I would stop, she would sign 'MORE'.  When I left the room that night I can tell you that my daughter gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.  Without question, Eva Monet is the most wonderful blessing David and I have ever received.  We give God all thanks and honor for joining us together.   There are really no words to describe the depth of our love or gratefulness in our hearts.  

Pure love.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother's Day Reminder: Sing your Song

It's been a long time coming...

Beautiful flowers and sweet sentiments.  The calls, cards, & messages; I'm grateful for them all.   But it's the sight of David holding Eva and listening as they interact.  Father with daughter; talking - as only he does - while combing her hair.  They are in their own little world.  No pretense.  Unaware.  Just loving on one another.  And for that moment, on my very 1st Mother's Day Weekend, I am reminded, how very blessed I am.  To be a MOM --  Finally -- Oh Yes!  And to know that I am a wife, loved by my husband:  That's rich.  But deeper still is my understanding more and more that we are "Children of God", adopted into His great family.  From my perspective, there is nothing greater.

For those women who have waited and continue to wait for their 1st Mother's Day, please know that I have been praying for you.    My hope is that you would sense God's peace and grace in your life in a very personal way.  Don't give up.  Your day is coming.

May this video by Third Day be an encouragement to each and everyone of us:  "Children of God, sing your song and rejoice, for the love that He has given us all...Children of God."

And to you, my sweet, sweet Eva Monet.  Momma loves you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Love in a Different Dimension

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous.  It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."  ~Elizabeth Stone

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Those hands..

Snuggling on the couch, Eva in the middle, reaching out to lay her hand on top of ours as we watch Baby Einstein together,

Cozying up in our favorite chair, holding Lilly (the Lamb), while we read a favorite board book,

Picking up strawberries to feed that dimpled smile,
Learning to roll the ball,
Pointing with the hope of touching, 
Rubbing those sleepy brown eyes,
Reaching up to be held...

Cute little hands and sweet little fingers learning to explore.  

In the 4 months that we have been together, while Eva Monet discovers new and exciting things,  we have found the joy in sharing magical moments with this loving little girl.  Through her, God reminds us of the richness that the simple moments in life bring.  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 2010: 15 months old

Eva Monet turned 15 months today...  

We've shared almost 4 of those 15 months together as a family.  It's been so rewarding to simply be together, in addition to experiencing the development that Eva has had during these initial weeks at home.  She couldn't really sit up on her own when we first met in China.  Learning to clap, play peek-a-boo and understand the basic mechanics of using a spoon have been celebrated events in the Baltes' Home.  Within the past weeks she has finally mastered the FORWARD crawl in addition to her backward moves.  Eva hasn't stopped since.  Poor Max. 

The strongest development that has taken place is the attachment between the 3 of us.  We have been very intentional about focusing our time together as a family.  We want there to be no doubt in Eva's mind and spirit that we are the people that will be caring for her needs, she is safe with us, and has our unconditional love.   We think she's getting the picture.  Recently she has taken to copying us by picking up all her stuffed animals and giving them a kissing smooch (with a little "smack" sound with her lips) and then turning to look at us for our reaction and flashing us a big smile.  Funny, funny girl.  It's very, very sweet and a real encouragement to David and me that she is recognizing the joy in sharing connection and affection.

Eva Monet has also just pushed through 3 new teeth for a total of 7.  So, yes, we've had some sleepless nights and a few tearful days, but that's to be expected.  Even these times help produce even stronger bonds as  we work through tough times together.  Truly, neither David and I can imagine life without this precious little girl. 

On Thursday Evening, we were asked by our agency, America World Adoption Association, to share our story to some prospective adoptive parents.  It was a really good evening and allowed us to express our passion for this worthwhile cause.  It's interesting to meet people, hear their story, and where they're at on their life journey.  We understand some of the questions and recognize the unknowns that many are currently dealing with as they search to find out what is right for their family.  No matter what, I do believe, adoption - domestic or international - should be an option that is seriously considered.  I applaud those in attendance for doing their research and seeking to get the facts vs many of the myths that circulate out there.  I will be praying for these families and the children that wait with the hope of some day being joined with their 'Forever Families'.  It's life changing for everyone involved.