So, here is the latest..... We will officially be home from China 1 month this Thursday. Time is flying as we press into Him and work at our "new normal" as a family of 8.
Google translate continues to provide ample comic relief and confusion! We learned this week that all this time Mercy thought we lived in ALASKA! She asked us when the snow was coming. We explained that we don't get a lot of snow here and it usually isn't until January or February. She had a confused look on her face and asked for confirmation regarding our location. "We live in Alaska, right?" What?? Somehow... somewhere in the communication.... Mercy thought we lived in Alaska. Ha?!?! She explained that she is not a big fan of cold. OK, well, welcome to Arkansas, sweet girl. Welcome to heat, humidity and just a little bit of cold!
She is getting a little bit more confident with her English. It is so much fun to see her interact with friends and the public. For example, she ventured to the store with Mama today. She often hears Jen call the kids, "baby" or "sissy". She told the clerk today, "thank you, baby!" and then told another clerk, "thank you, sissy!" We have to really control our laughter so as not to stifle her desire to try. She is learning very quickly and we are truly enjoying her. God is at work in her life. She is precious and so loved. We cannot imagine our lives without either of our two new daughters. What a joy and a privilege to love them with HIS heart. He is growing us in so many beautiful ways. We are learning so very much about HIS patience, kindness, tenderness and love for us personally! HE has put so much love in our hearts for these kiddos.
1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
We continue to work hard at playing, eating, laughing, loving and growing together. We are praying for attachment, trust, security and unity in our family. Here are some of our recent activities...
Playtime in the backyard is great fun for all! It doesn't matter what the temperature. Baba and Mama are pretty happy to see some fall temps this week!
Allie dusted off all of her boxed up doll stuff to play with Mercy. This is her favorite thing to do right now. As is true with many children from orphanages, they miss typical periods of a "normal" childhood. Mercy probably hasn't had a lot of simple toys and playtimes like this. It is a true joy to watch her enjoy this doll playtime and give her a small piece of childhood.
Play-doh is another big hit these days.
This is Mercy working on Rosetta Stone- English and Allie working on Rosetta Stone- Mandarin. Both have personal tutors! Incredible!
We are also working really hard to make sure each kiddo has had some one-on-one time this week. Whew- it is hard to accomplish but so very important. We are finding that it is a great help with keeping tabs on everyone! Baba and Zach did a 10 mile bike ride.
The kids would say this was the highlight of the week for them. We found a park nearby where you can "sled" down the hills on boxes. We surprised the crew and spent some time sledding (Alaska has nothing on us)!
Aren't these cute little PJ snuggle bugs?
We are continuing our weekly meeting with our dear friends. We are so grateful for their help with translation. They are an incredible answer to prayer for our family.
Just the girlies!
We sure tried to get sister pictures of Zoey and Bethany Joy. We could not get our BJ to cooperate. Zoey was so sweet and really wanted to help. We tried and tried. In the end, we got some beautiful shots of Zoey. We will keep trying for our BJ- hopefully before she outgrows her pretty dress!
We are filled with praise for God. He is meeting us in our needs. We feel a little like a duck family right now. Baba and Mama are pressing forward and watching out for 6 ducklings following behind. We are mindful of each child and their individual needs. We are aware that we are not able to do all of this in our own power. We feel messy, awkward, chaotic and totally desperate for God. We are reaching out to Him and asking Him to help us find our way in all of this.
We have had folks drop groceries. We have had meals delivered by precious friends on just the right days. We have experienced kindness, love and prayers from people we barely know. Dear friends here offered to come to our house and watch the kids this week so we could go on a date. We did it (huge step for us). Everyone did well. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of other dear friends offering to host a welcome home party for our girls.
It is humbling to receive help. We are grateful for all the ways God has ministered hope and encouragement to us through the body of Christ.
Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for our family. We have some critical doctor appointments for Jacob and Bethany Joy this week.
Praising Him and trusting Him with all of our hearts,
Art & Jen