Monday, August 16, 2010

Moving Gracie's Updates to Family Blog

The time has come to move Gracie's updates to our family blog. I haven't been all that great at keeping this one updated. Life with two has slightly rocked my world this last year, especially in combination with our third adoption journey long underway. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. Gracie is the sweetest, most lovable baby on earth. I adore her.

Gracie is currently 18 months and the newest post on our family blog gives a detailed update on her new achievements and adventures. Click on over to: http://www.thispoeticpresent.blogspot.com and become a follower as we share our family adventures and our newest adoption journey to bring Keemberlie (age 6) home from Haiti.

Thank you for all the support during our Ethiopian adoption and first year at home!

Blessings,
Cindy

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gracie at 15 and 16 Months

Gracie, where does the time go? Forgive me for not being as diligent with your blog as I was with Libby's. Life has changed much since the days of having just one baby. You keep me busy all by yourself, but add your 4 year old sister and the adoption of your 6 year old sister and you can understand why I am not so on top of things this go round. But, my love is not measured by the number of blog posts so know that mommy loves you so very much. Every ounce of you is precious to me. I love the way you express yourself with your eyes and eyebrows. I love how you pout with your bottom lip and sad eyes when you want to get your way. I love how you flirt with everyone you meet. I love how you grin like a zebra, rolling your top lip back so everyone can see your one and only top tooth and 2 bottom teeth.

While you have been walking for nearly 2 months, you are a clumsy little thing. You tumble and fall constantly, but seem to love it. You have the chubbiest little legs and feet - which make you all the more kissable and huggable. Your hair is growing very fast. Every curl is delighted in each morning as I work your Kinky Curly through every strand.

You still love to dance. You roll your shoulders and hips like no baby I've ever seen before. You've got groove! When you hear the beat, your body moves before your mind even realizes it.

You don't sit still for a second (which is partly why I have only a few good pictures of you from the last 2 months). You LOVE the water. We've been to the pool a few times this season and you are a little dare devil. You stick your entire face in, blowing bubbles. I drop you in and quickly bring you back up and you love it. If you're not being splashed, you are completely bored.

You love to kiss your sister and sit in her lap. But if she has a toy you want, you pull her hair - hard! (see last photo). You are into everything she is holding and the two of you can really get on each other's nerves. But most of the time, you play very well together and love on each other. When the two of you make each other laugh it is the highlight of my day.

The day before you turned 15 months, I fed you your last bottle (see first 2 pictures). I was so sad to end that sweet routine, but it was time. I realized that night that you are probably my last baby and so I had to take pictures of your last bottle to remember how precious that time with you was. 

The day before Easter, you started walking. You've not stopped since. In April we traveled to 3 events and took a week long trip to Charleston, SC. During that time I was also juggling the majority of Keemberlie's adoption paperwork. April was a challenging month. Then, in May I took a trip with your sister, Libby, to visit Keemberlie and you had an entire week with your daddy and Grammy Foote. You received more attention in those 5 days than is even imaginable! You were spoiled rotten in the best of ways! But I missed you soooooooooo much!

Can't believe you're 16 months already. By this time last year we had already passed court, claiming you completely as our own and we were prepared to travel in just a few days to receive you in our arms. You were finally starting to put on weight and look healthy, but we found out you had chicken pox. Today, your skin is still healing from that horrible case of chicken pox. But it looks sooooooo much better now than it did the day we held you for the first time. So very happy you are with us, baby girl. My world would not be half has full of joy without you in it!

Here are some pictures of you over the last 2 months:

your last bottle.... i cried.













Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy 14 Months!




I just realized that I have not posted anything about Gracie since her 11 month mark. How in the world!!! Gracie, baby, I am soooooo sorry! Mommy has been very busy, apparently! I have been posting some updates on our old family blog. So, if you missed her first birthday and the last 2 months of pictures you can click here: http://followthefeet.blogspot.com/2010/02/gracie-turns-one-and-grammy-papa-boots.html and catch up!

Gracie will be 14 months on the 22nd. of March. She is not walking yet...but oh so close. She is making all sorts of connections and beginning to communicate in her own way. I know when she wants to get in her walker or get out of her high chair. I know when she is full, when she wants more... She makes her own signs and noises. She can touch her nose, ears, eyes and diaper on command. She knows how to do fish sounds and she sticks her tongue out and moves it from side to side to make a snake face. 
She can climb the stairs, but we don't let her do that very often. She has favorite toys. She still sleeps with a paci and burp cloth (which is like her "lovey"). 
She kisses and loves on her dolls - wish you could see this for yourself. She loves on the doll and gives a hug with a little shoulder dance. Speaking of which - if music is on, Gracie is dancing - hip action, shoulder rocking, head bobbing. She is a dancer and she has rhythm and moves her white momma knows nothing about!
 She knows that pants go on legs and shirts on her arms/body, headbands on head and she'll try to put these things on where they belong. She likes to take things in and out of drawers, boxes. And she wants to take clothes off an on (that gets a little old after a while, but cute, nonetheless). She LOVES Libby and calls her "Buhbuh" She is a daddy's girl. We have a book with pictures for her to hold and play with. Every time she gets to her daddy's picture she kisses it - so sweet! 
She has a smile the size of the sun and she wants everyone to see it. Her eyes and smile are magical, drawing people in wherever we go. And she wants to be seen and heard. She gets upset if she doesn't get enough eye contact. She waves goodbye/hello to everyone in the stores. She still adores bath time and sticks her whole head in and blows bubbles in the water (crazy!). She wants to open every cabinet, eat every small thing she finds on the floor, and get into anything and everything that she shouldn't. She keeps me BUSY! 
Tonight is the first night I've put her to bed without a bottle. Then it hit me...last night's bottle was the last bottle I'll feed my baby - ever. Don't really plan on having another baby - so the bottle she sucked down last night was it... I don't like that very much. Makes me want to cry. I've decided I'm going to give her a bottle tomorrow night and savor that moment for what it is and also take a picture. It pains me to be done with that baby stage...ugh.
In the news (if you haven't heard already) Gracie is going to get another big sister soon. If you haven't visited our new blog that tells that story you can click here: www.thispoeticpresent.blogspot.com and find the post "Hip To Be Square, Not  - Part 1". That's where the story begins. But to catch you up to the present - we've been matched with a 6 year old girl in Haiti who was a proven orphan before the earthquake. If the Hope Act (H.R. 4603) passes here in the U.S., it will make way for orphans like this girl to come here and then be adoptable. So when the law passes, we are counting on her joining our family. She was featured in the San Antonio paper a couple of Sundays ago. I wasn't supposed to share her picture, but when the newspaper put it out there (great story you can also read about on the poeticpresent blog. ) I figured - why not! Here's our beauty in Haiti:
I never feel like I give Gracie enough of my time, but I'm not sure where to find the time I'd like to give her. Friends keep reminding me that she has Libby to help keep her occupied and Libby didn't have that as a baby - so its different for each child added. Probably true. But I just don't want to miss anything in this precious girl's life. She is incredibly sweet and lovable. Just absolutely precious. She is an easy baby as far as emotions go (though I know that could change). She only whines when she's hungry or tired or in need of some t.l.c. She is very sensitive. If I tell her "no" to something she gets the most pathetic little face and cry going... Good thing this isn't my first go round or I'd be totally sunk! It is nice, I have to say, to have a child that responds to discipline with such sensitivity. It was never (is never) quite that way with the Libster. 
Gracie sleeps well. She's starting to go to bed at 7:30 PM and she wakes up about 7 AM. She still takes 2 naps a day, but that is about to end, I fear. Loving those 2 nap times, but I can tell she doesn't always need both. sigh. 
Gracie only has her 2 bottom teeth. Its taking her upper teeth FOREVER to break through. But the girl eats solid foods like a champ - cut up fruit, meat, bread - you name it, the girl will eat it.
I think that sums it all up. She is a joy, delight and I just want to squeeze her and kiss on her all day long - seriously! LOVE MY GRACIE LU GIRL!!!!!!!!!! Every curl, every smile, every bat of her eyelashes, every raised eyebrow moment...love it all!!!!! 
Enjoy the photos taken over the last month!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Blog

I plan to continue this blog until Gracie has been home for one year. That's what I did for Libby's adoption website, so I want to go the distance with this one. I will have an update on Gracie in the next few days and continue to post monthly through June 2010.

However, I wanted to share with you the start of a new blog and a new story of adoption. We have been on quite a journey of faith since mid-January and its time to share the story and continue on to the other poetic moments motherhood and life.

So, come take a peak. Its more writing than picture. My goal is to write meaningfully the story of what God is doing in/with our lives. Grab a cup a joe and enjoy the story at:

www.thispoeticpresent.blogspot.com

I invite you to become a follower of the new blog. And when you visit it for the first time, make sure you scroll down to the first entry and start there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Help Haiti's Orphans - Here's How!!!

Friends,

I am behind... WAY behind on posting to this blog. I am going to update very soon, but for now I need to inform you of an opportunity to advocate and support the orphans of Haiti. This is an urgent matter for the lives of many orphans so please read on and then ACT, SHARE, and PRAY!

As many of you have seen on the news, the impact of the Haiti earthquake on orphans has been devastating. And now... there are more orphans in Haiti than ever. Immediately after the earthquake both the US and the Haitian governments were open to bringing orphans into the US via humanitarian parole. But then UNICEF stepped in. UNICEF has money which = power and apparently they also have an agenda that is 1. PRO-CHOICE and 2. AGAINST international adoption. Over and over again I have watched UNICEF representatives on CNN and other news state their view that children are best kept in their own culture and that though it seems like there are a lot of orphans, most of them will be absorbed back into their communities and orphanages. UNICEF's calm and seemingly intellectual approach is everything but. While they calmly state that adoption is not the answer, children lay behind them with barely any clothes, looking underfed as they swat away flies and cry. You tell me - if Haiti could not take care of the 380,000 orphans that were there BEFORE the earthquake, then how in the WORLD are they going to handle the thousands of orphans created by the earthquake. It's insanity... no CRUELTY... to not offer at least some of these orphans a hope and a future. They may not get to keep all their culture (though, as an adoptive parent of one child from China and another from Ethiopia and I attest to the fact that we encourage the learning and experience of those cultures in our daughter's lives) they may get to keep their LIVES!!!! If only we do something now before it is too late. Orphanages are now overcrowded with new orphans and the Child Welfare Act that states that children should not be adoptable for 2 years after a tragedy like this earthquake (in order to make sure families have time to step forward and reunite with their children) is holding hostage those orphans whose parents relinquished their rights before the earthquake. Just because they were not matched to a family before the earthquake they are being held back for 2 years from being adoptable under the Child Welfare Act and this simply is not logical.

So here is the good news: Rep. Hoekstra recently introduced legislation H.R. 4603 (the HOPE Act) to Congress which addresses some of the Haitian orphans that were not previously covered by Humanitarian Parole Policy as of Jan. 18. Remember, that for the last few weeks the only orphans allowed to come to the US were those who were matched to families BEFORE the earthquake and all other children fell under the Child Welfare Act keeping them stuck in Haiti even if their parents legally relinquished their rights to the child/children before the earthquake. But The HOPE Act addresses those Haitian orphans that were not covered by the DHS policy exemption by: Having DHS create a ³third category² to expand their humanitarian parole policy on a case-by-case basis for Haitian children who were legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption prior to the earthquake on January 12, 2010. If a suitable family is not found to provide care for a Haitian orphan, under the HOPE Act they would be eligible for placement in the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program. This legislation is aimed at helping those Haitian orphans that are eligible for intercounty adoption but did not yet have a prospective family at the time of the earthquake.

Here is a link to where you can read about this Hope Act for yourself: : http://chrisitianallianceblog.org/?p=433?a1657b90

To help this Act pass through PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE look up (you can google it) your local Senators and Congressmen and email them (or call in) your approval of this H.R. 4603 Hope Act!!! Please take a little time to do this and then share this information with EVERYONE you know. And after that - pray! Pray for God to move mountains for these orphans that have no voice without ours. This is the time for the church to rise up and BE the change!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gracie's 11 Months and Her First Christmas!


I adore this picture of Gracie. It shows just how much she has grown and changed since her tiny 5.6 pound body in April. She is so beautiful and incredibly energetic and curious. This picture was taken on Dec. 17, just a few days before she turned 11 months. Can't believe we will be celebrating her 1st. birthday in a few weeks!

As for the rest of the pictures... they are all out of order. In fact, if you scroll to the bottom of this post and work up, the pictures will be more chronological. We spent several days in east TX with Billy's parents right before Christmas. I blogged in more detail about that trip on our family blog: www.followthefeet.blogspot.com. And then we came home and had Christmas as a family in San Antonio on Christmas morning. Christmas afternoon we welcomed a Burmese refugee family in our home that Billy has been working with for 2 years now. They have 4 beautiful children and we had a fabulous Christmas evening with them. That's where the pictures start - Christmas evening with Rolen and his family:


From left to right: Rolen Sah, Samoowah, Dahlaymoo, Shelly, Clay and Tyler

Tyler (such a cutie!) wanted his picture taken with Gracie. He and his brothers are AWESOME kids! So well behaved and polite. They even washed their own dishes after they ate dinner!

Christmas morning... Libby helped Gracie open all her presents.

Libby is such a great big sister. She took time to explain each gift to Gracie rather than opening and playing with her own presents.

Gracie - about to open her goodies!

As soon as the girls arrived in the living room (where all the presents are) Libby grabbed a few of Gracie's new toys that weren't wrapped and started showing Gracie how to play with them. Libby wasn't even thinking about herself and her own gifts. I was so impressed! Here Libby is showing Gracie the pretend lipstick in her new purse.

Every Christmas I like to take pictures of the girls before they see their presents. I like the excitement in their early morning eyes!


First thing Christmas morning! Good morning Gracie Lu!

Gracie's presents (the bows and the wrapped presents and the purse were new, but the rest were Libby's toys that were so brand new looking we just "re-gifted" to Gracie. I laugh about the Nutramigen on display, but truly that stuff is so expensive that it was part of her Christmas gifts!

Our Christmas morning set-up! Taken Christmas Eve while the girls were sleeping.

The Christmas tree with the gifts for the Burmese.

Gracie's new walker given to her by her sweet Puma and Larry!

Christmas Eve day. Love that smile!

Gracie's first trip to Longview. She enjoyed her Papa Boots very much. Here we were driving through Santa's Wonderland of Lights.

Gracie and Grammy enjoying a cuddle.

Libby, Gracie and Brooke in their Christmas red.

Grammy gave her granddaughters matching pjs. SO CUTE!

Gracie received plenty of attention and playtime.

Grammy and the girls.
Grammy, Papa Boots and Gracie (Libby was the photographer)

Aunt Wendy and Gracie. Gracie loves her Aunt Wendy!

Pictures of the girls in Christmas dresses a few days before our trip to Longview.

Gracie's first Christmas dress - it was Libby's first too!