My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

just for kicks...

I thought I would measure Lucas...
He came to us 3 months ago
Age 7 years and 2 months
 40" tall and 40lbs. (extremely tiny for a 7 y.o.)

Age 7 years and 5 months
He is 42" and 42.2 lbs.

at this rate it is easy to keep track of his size since his inches in height seem to match his weight in lbs.

so in 3 months he has gained 2" and 2 lbs.  Someone said "I think he looks bigger" and she saw him just 2 weeks ago.  That is why I thought I'd measure him again.

Now we all have to realize that he has one leg that is almost 2" shorter than the other.  So to be fair, I will continue to measure the longer leg---Seems only fair to give him the benefit of the doubt...=)

Monday, June 27, 2011

the calm before the "storm" (but a "good" storm)

Tomorrow, Peter and Isaac leave for Cornerstone Festival in Illinois for several days.  Lucas and I will be home alone and plan to make the best of it.  Lucas is sad that Aunt Linda had to leave today.  He is also sad that daddy and Isaac will be gone, but I think it is a good little "break" for all of us before the craziness sets in full swing starting this Friday.  13 people will be sleeping here ( a youth group stopping in for an overnight stay and dinner), then the next day some of our sweet friends from Wisconsin come for 4 nights (the Foleys), Peter and Isaac come home while they are here, and then the next day after Foley's leave, Oma and Opa and Tante Lilli (Peter's parents and sister) come for 2 weeks and while they are here Peter's nephew and his wife and 2 kids come for a week (we will have 11 people in our house for that week).  I am so looking forward to all the visitors.  People think I am crazy, but I really do like it.  I love all the people that are coming.  I love that they are taking time out of their lives and coming to visit us.  I love "playing" with them and eating food around our table together and telling stories and laughing together.  I love going on adventures together or just sitting by the pool.  It's all so good.

But, for the next 4 days, it will be just Lucas and mommy.  There is something tender in that too.  hmmmmm what kind of mischief can we get into together????  How can I enhance "bonding" and "attachment" while spoiling my boy with attention??? hmmmm I'm thinking some serious sugar may be involved at some point.  I see a good excuse to work on my tan at the pool with my boy in tow.  I see some serious cuddling action goin' on.  Looking forward to enjoying some time with the little man.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary to my honey...

Can't let this day end without saying
Happy Anniversary
to my husband

I love you dear
thank you for all you do for "us" and our family.

23 years and counting....

(sort of sounds like the Duggars....19, 20, 25 kids and counting...or whatever they have on their show now)

Recalling the day we were married and how much fun it was to tie the knot with you.  What a Blast that day was!!!  Let's do a big party like that again sometime, cuz that was really fun!!!!

Love you dear.

"Welcome To America Lucas"

Lucas has had a lot of activity in his life in the past several days, from birthday parties to visitors, to beaches and swimming pools.  Sometimes it is hard to explain what is happening and what the relationships are from one event to another.  So we try not to give him too many things to ponder too far in advance.  I have to say he has been handling all of it very well.

Yesterday, we had a birthday party for our little friend Abby.  It was full of fun.  We got to have the experience of going to the store, choosing a gift for someone else, wrapping the gift, going to the party, eating food, and shovelling in the cake, and then running through some fountains.  All great stuff!  Lucas ate 2 pieces of cake....I think he really did quite well with the whole thing.

Then, today we told him there was another party, this time for him, but it really was a sort of "shower" and celebration of Lucas being in our family.  I was told people would bring gifts, we'd eat food, play together, etc.
But, how do we explain to Lucas the difference between this and a birthday party?  To him it sort of looks the same...people giving all sorts of attention and gifts to him, food, fun, fellowship, etc.  Yet, we didn't want him to think his birthday is in June or that he gets multiple birthdays every year.  His birthday is in January so I keep telling him that.  Today he repeated it back to me--so that's good.

One interesting thing kept coming up over the past 2 days though.  Lucas kept needing reassurance that he was not going back to Mongolia.  "No Mongolia" "Welcome to America, Lucas" he must have said 30 times in the past 2 days.  We kept telling him he is part of our family now.  He does not have to go back.  He is ours forever.  He will live here forever (unless he wants to go back of course, but that is a fine line and hard to explain right now).   The funny part about all of this has been an apparent turn in his attitude as well.  I have had very few negative interactions with him over the past several days.  He has been very obedient, and happy.  Not sure if/how the 2 are related...could it be that obvious?  That he is feeling a sense of relief and attachment because we are celebrating his NEW life?  Perhaps.  It just keeps boggling my mind how well he is doing.

We have tried to be very clear the past few days to make sure he knows this is NOT his birthday, instead it was "Welcome To America, Lucas" day.  Our wonderful friends the Fedeles hosted this party and had everything in red, white and blue. It was a traditional "cookout" with all the fixin's.  It was so festive and fun.  Mr. Fedele, even painted a baseball diamond on his backyard and they played with a batting T and enjoyed some good ole' American Baseball!   Lucas was in his glory!!!!  And he handled the whole thing famously well.  He was gracious to everyone with the gifts.  He showed genuine excitement at the gifts recieved and sincere gratitude for the people there.  We were very proud of him.

He continues to just blossom...

Here are some of the highlights:

Lucas's OWN toolbox and tools....Now daddy and mommy can get their tools back out of "hock" where they have been held hostage by Lucas for the past several weeks.
(notice...Sir Lucas is wearing Daddy's reading glasses "again")

thank you to the Sanders for this wonderful blessing.
one happy boy...

LEGOS!!!  Thank you to the Wreyfords

some yummy food!!!

Ms. Katherine and my sista'

thanks Mr. A. for all the yummy grilling you did.

the other two men in my life...

Ms. Melissa gave Lucas some specialty candies...His eyeballs just about popped out of his head and he said "Oh my Goodness"!!!  the inflection was priceless.

 Hamburgers and ketchup, baked beans and Watermelon, etc. etc.  An all American Cookout!

and then there was BASEBALL!!

Welcome To America Lucas

Friday, June 24, 2011

"I'm Chinese"

So, Aunt Linda is here and the craziness is in full swing....

She adds a spunk and "life" to our home when she comes anyway.  And with Sir Lucas in the house, the craziness comes at yet another level.  We LOVE Aunt Linda's energy and spontanaiety.

So, yesterday we were sitting at the dinner table and I served fried rice which we do often now.  Linda was in conversation at the table and noticed Lucas shoveling the rice into his face--haven't quite gotten to the manners of that one yet.  She said "you really like rice, huh?"  Peter was across the table and said something about Lucas being chinese.  And Lucas responded to Linda "I'm Chinese" "what do you expect?"  Don't know how to put the inflections in a blog post, but it was VERY funny!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Beach time and an Unexpected Encounter

Yesterday we spent six hours at the much fun.  I think Lucas has adjusted to the "taste" of the ocean.  He had a blast!

The waves still were not the best for surfing, but I think Isaac and Jack still had a fun time playing in the ocean.  The crystal clear water was just amazing.  And Isaac and Jack and Annabelle saw a Manatee swim by.  That was cool!

Lucas sat for the longest time just playing in the sand yesterday by himself, creating things and digging in the sand.  At one point he looked at me and pointed to a boy, apx. 10 yrs old, running across the sand that was missing a foot.  The boy flew by so fast that I never would have noticed, but with Lucas sitting in the sand and the boy running right past him, he noticed.

Then we looked around the beach and found where he was "parked" with his family.  My sweet friend Sharon "encouraged" me to go talk to the mom.  We wanted to make sure not to go over there while the boy was not there, just in case it would have made him uncomfortable.  It took me a little while to get up the guts for some reason, but we finally went over to her.  We found out the boy had the exact same "issue" Lucas does, except just on one leg.  He was born without a fibula in that leg, and before he could even walk, he had his first surgery to remove his foot, and was given a prosthetic.  He had everything done at Shriners Hopsital.  We saw his prosthetic leg/foot standing there on his beach towel and had a nice conversation with the mom.

Lucas was hesitant to come over to us while we were talking to her.  And we asked the mom if the boy would come chat with us if he felt comfortable, but they were heading out, and either didn't have the time, or he was not comfortable, so we didn't actually talk to him.

But, Lucas and I had a conversation after they left.  I tried explaining to him the boy had the same issue as he does.  He pointed to his soda can and made the circle of the top of the soda can and noticed that was what the boy's leg looked like at the bottom.  Kind of round.  His prosthetic was about as long as his lower leg, with a foot/shoe attached at the bottom.  So even though he had the lower leg still attached the prosthetic was like a sleeve going over the lower leg.

My gut tells me that Lucas thought that if he had his legs/feet removed that they would just sew new ones back on?  Not quite sure on that one.  He did point to his ankle area and make the cutting motion and then say "ouch, ouch".  I said, yes it would hurt for a little while, but tried to get him to look at the boy and how he was running on the beach.   I'm not saying that would be easy for him, but that he would recover and get back to playing again.

The mom had high praises for Shriner's Hospital.  We've been meaning to get our application in to them and I think I'm going to work on that tomorrow.

So it was an unexpected moment at the beach.  I would have missed the whole thing if Lucas hadn't noticed it.  But, it was a good "little" moment to help us enter into some more conversation--little by little.  We had not really started talking about these details yet with him since our appointment with the doctor.  We wanted to wait until the summer was winding down and language development just tuned up a little more.  I want to explain to him how his little legs are made and show him more about what can be done, etc.  But, God just keeps dropping things like this in our laps that create natural discussion.  And I love that Lucas was the one that noticed it in the first place.  That was cool!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Day at the Beach....and Lucas drives a CAR?

We had a brief window of opportunity to come visit our sweet friends in Florida.  Annabelle(Isaac's girlfriend) came along with us to enjoy some fun time in the sun.  Yesterday, Isaac went surfing with Jack, Hannah and Annabelle entertained Lucas by building sand castles and hunting for seashells, and Sharon and I basked on the beach enjoying some sunshine.  Peter and John (the hardworking hubbies) had things to do but will join us tomorrow.  The water was crystal clear, the hot Florida sun kept us nice and warm and the water was a perfect temperature.  Waves were not the best for surfing, but the compromise on that is the waves were not too high for Lucas's first time in the ocean and at the beach.  He liked it but does not like the "taste" of the ocean--which unfortunately he got a few good gulps of at the beginning.  He says "ocean pu-wa shtinkay" which means "it stinks as in---I don't like the taste at all"  He prefers the taste of the swimming pool I guess--=)
But, he had a blast anyway as can be seen by the pics:

Annabelle, Lucas and Hannah 

Lucas thought it would be fun to sit in a previously dug hole, and try to bury himself in sand.

getting more and more brave, we jumped and frolicked in the waves

and then he got very comfortable doing it himself.

hunting for seashells...a necessity at the beach

Annabelle and Isaac

and then he discovered the boogie board....

Then Isaac began to teach his little brother all about surfing on the "big" board...such a good big brother:

oh and Lucas Drives A Car....
soooooo ever since Lucas has been with us he has been obsessed by our car.  He Loves to open the doors, close the doors, climb in the wrong door and crawl across the car to get to his seat.  He has loved to grab my keys more than once and push the buttons, etc etc.  SO.....tonight Isaac and Annabelle took Lucas to the pool in Cz's neighborhood.  Mr. John went to pick them up and let Lucas sit in the drivers seat of the car on his lap for the 2 block drive home.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!  Lucas was in his GLORY.....He thought it was the funnest thing EVER!  Needless to say, we now have to tell Lucas "only with Mr. John"....=)  But, it's like having "that" uncle or aunt that spoils the kid and then sends them home with the parents.  Great!  "thanks mr. john"

Lucas Gets a Tan
oh and one more cute thing from today.  Obviously, Lucas spends a lot of time in the sun.  Sooooo he is getting quite tan.  Today he was taking a shower.  I was on the outside watching.  He washed himself very well, washed his hair, etc.  Then, looked at his legs again and started washing them again and saying "stinky" and pointing to his legs.  I said "what's wrong with your leg?"  He kept scrubbing.  Until....I noticed that he thought his body was "dirty"-------when in reality it is his TAN that he was trying to scrub off.  How do you explain That?  So I showed him my tan and my white belly...He laughed!  I think he gets that it's not something to scrub off.  But, it must be new to him to see his skin turning so dark.  I put sunscreen on him, I really do.  (at least sometimes), but being out and about in the sun as much as we have been, I just cannot keep up.  He also does not seem to really burn.

More fun in the Sun on Monday...stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

things people say...

A friend asked me the other day if there are things people say that bother me regarding our adoption.  I suppose people have said some things that I kind of wonder about.  But for the most part over time and the experiences we have had, I've tried to learn that sometimes people just really don't know what the appropriate things so say or ask are, so I just try to have conversation with them.  I'd rather have people directly ASK me something than stare at us or wonder.  Enter into conversation please.  So if you are reading this and you have questions....just ask me.  I'm open to answering.  But, please be sensitive to Lucas if he is standing next to me.  He is understanding more and more now.  And could you please train your children to not stare at his little feet? or point and then say "why do you only have 2 toes?"---He is really very comfortable in his own skin, and seems to let it roll off his back.  And I know they are kids, but just give them a little guidance in this area---cuz it won't be long and we'll be showing up at the pool next year with peg legs and new feet.  hmmm that will be a conversation starter.

So, a few days ago an aquaintance was hearing me talk about Lucas and said an innocent comment--but this is probably one that sticks out to me as "really"?
She said "He calls you sweet".
Um yes he does.
Um yes I AM his momma.
It was innocent enough.  But, the underlying thought implies I'm not.  I try not to read too much into these things but that one just stuck out to me.  I feel like I am 100% his momma. What should he call me?
We don't quite have the language mastered yet to explain all of what has gone on to Lucas and he doesn't have the ability to ask this level of questioning yet.  But we will answer whatever comes up about his past to the best of our abilities.  And we will willing tell him WE are his momma and daddy now and forever.  Ocassionally he will try to call me "Heidi"---I do not let him do that.

The other question that comes up in almost EVERY conversation....
What about school?  Where will he go to school?  What grade will he be in?  How are you going to handle his education?  It's sort of funny. It's like--we won't educate him or we haven't thought about it.  This must be a very prominent topic on people's minds when they see us at the pool, etc.  I answer it politely, but it's just a funny thing to me for some reason.  I don't go up to other people at the pool and say "how do you educate your child?" or "do you plan to send him to school next year?"  If you have asked that question it's really ok.  I will keep answering it even if you look at me crosseyed when I say I will probably homeschool him....But, it just seems funny to me.

I've heard some great things about our elementary school.  And it IS very diverse and there are a lot of Asian people in this area so I'm sure he would do great culturally.  But, I homeschooled Isaac until High School, why would I not do the same for Lucas?

ok just had to post that little tid bit.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"daddy I'm talking"...and Isaac Gets a Job!

a busy day yields a tired boy.
Woke up this morning and took a risk at sending him to VBS (vacation Bible School) at a local church.  If anyone knows or has taught or volunteered at such an event you know this is chaotic wonderful craziness.  But, imagine if you don't completely understand all that is going on...but LOVE the activites, the people, the music, etc. etc.  It must have been a tiring morning.

So after that, we had to take Isaac to an interview at Pac Sun -- a clothing retailer.  He thinks he got the job by the way---so proud of my Big Boy!!!
Lucas and I walked around the Mall for an hour while GeGe had his interview.  That alone was "fun".

Then to top it off I thought "hey let's try to go swimming"....ummmm probably not my best parenting moment.  But, he was excited to go.  However, as soon as we got there, Lucas proceeded to look for his goggles (ok they are really MY goggles) but could not find them.  He was determined they were in the car, and before I could grab him he grabbed my keys and headed out the gate of the swimming pool with my car keys heading to the car barefoot walking through a parking lot.  He was determined!  I told him if he did not stop we would not swim.  He kept right on truckin' so we had to pack it up before we even hit the pool.
And then....the meltdown.  I won't go into all the gory details--suppose I should protect his privacy a bit.  But, it were not perty if you know what I mean.  However, we had an interesting "twist" to it this time.  Daddy came home toward the end of the 45 minute meltdown.  And Lucas began to "talk" to us.  It was amazing actually.  Peter was talking, then Lucas, then Peter did sort of interrupt him.  And Lucas said "Daddy, I'm talking" was true.  He had some more to say about the whole thing and daddy interrupted him.  But, the cool ending to this situation was we could actually communicate to him what parts of the experience were appropriate.  What parts were not.  How he could do it differently next time.  How he can "use his words", etc.  It was very cool!
I also had to apologize for throwing something away that he had cut out of a Target Ad the other day.  That just topped off the evening.  But his solution to that was quite cute.  We have some bamboo hats from Thailand hanging in our dining room.  He decided that he and I should put on those hats and he would tell me all about the situation while we had our own private conference.  Problem was, he wanted me to sit in a child's size wooden rocking chair for this "conference" and my butt didn't fit.  He thought that was pretty funny!

A couple of things ran through my mind in all of this today.
1.  Sometimes life just gets unbearable and a person just needs to cry and scream to work it all out. And afterward it is like someone pushed the "relief" button--and happy boy returns at full throttle!
2.  Sometimes the "topic" of the day really is Not the Topic of the fit.
3.  Who knows how much unknown garbage lies under the surface of our sweet boy's heart?  only God!
4.  Verbal communication is changing rapidly and is such a sweet relief.
5.  I love this boy and will always love him even if he gets angry.  And he will know this.  I will keep telling him this till the day I die!  Even in the midst of a fit---even if he does plug his ears....just sayin'
6.  I'm not afraid of this---I'm in for the long haul

and finally
Number 7.....I AM SO PROUD OF ISAAC for getting this new Job!  He is such a sweet treasure to me and has been an amazing trouper through all of our craziness.  I trust him, I love him, I am so Proud to be his Momma---He is an amazing teenager.  I cannot imagine doing this if I also had to worry about all kinds of teen issues with him.  I LOVE HIM!!!!---got that Isaac---I LOVE YOU so much.  Thank you for all you do to make this family what it is.   (and don't forget my popcorn when you come home from the movie with your girlfriend)  Congratulations on your 1 and 1/2 year anniversary with Annabelle too. =)

Building Blocks and Swimming Pools

Lucas has been seeming more and more at ease.  We have fewer and fewer "issues" of meltdowns, etc. (not that we had a ton anyway).  Yesterday we had one, but it really was realated to a lack of food in the morning.  That is HUGE for this boy.  If he doesn't eat well, he becomes a puddle of ornriness and melts down into throwing things, crying, etc.  We just need to make sure his tummy is full to avoid this stuff for the most part.  And realize he is just a kid sometimes too--- a kid that still needs to learn he cannot have "everything" he wants all the time.  Hmmmmmm

But, we have had some great days.  About a week ago, he and I sat in his room with wooden blocks (thank you to Randy and Barb for giving these to Isaac when he was Five years old--yes I still have them).   Why post this??? I mean kids play with big deal right?  Well, this IS a big deal.  He did not feel the need to sort and organize them and then put them back into the box without playing with them.  This happened on June 5.  That is how long it took---almost 2 months before he would just sit---and "play".  But, if you take a look at the creation closely you will see he is very symetrical in his design.    Maybe he will be an engineer... or architect some day.  He definitely has "systems" that he likes to work within.

The other significant part of this, was he let all of this sit in his room for a few days without picking it up.  Some parents would say "Wait a minute"!!!!! But I let it happen because I want him to relax about that a little bit.  He is still expected to clean up after himself, but sometimes a little mess is ok for a little while with this little man.

And here is the result:

a whole pile of creativity about to become something new

a sweet hand delicately balancing a piece of art

hard work takes concentration

a few finishing touches....

ta da....I used every block in the box!!!

and then there is the ever swimming "Fish"
We are going to the pool almost everyday! 
(for say....2+ hours a day- I believe in full emersion training...)
and Lucas wanted a set of snorkeling gear, so of course momma caved in....

he loves the "concept" but really cannot quite get it all figured out quite yet.  He is preparing for our trip to Florida next weekend and swimming in the ocean.

he prefers to be "under" the water than above it.  And LOVES diving for things at the bottom of the pool.  But, the funny part about that is his little bottom just pops up like a bobber, so he cannot get down to the bottom without really working at it. 

and then there is the "jumping" into the pool.  I'm going to count that many jumps he can make in a 2 hour session at the pool.  He LOVES to jump off the side of the pool or be tossed by mom or dad from one person to the other.

sometimes he takes a break and plays with pool toys:

refueling with cheese balls is of course a necessity...

 and when mom brings the camera to the pool eventually you have to say "that's enough"....Stop Taking Pictures of Me!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

More conscious decisions by Lucas

I had Lucas at the mall 2 days ago.  We stopped by a Chinese fast food place to get a drink (and somehow ended up with a plate full of food--thanks to Lucas saying "uh huh" a few too many times to the chinese ladies).   I thought it would be fun for him to speak to the ladies behind the counter who were obviously Chinese.  I told them he was adopted and from China and they should speak to him.  He did not say a word.  He would not even say "Ni Hao" (Hello) to them in Chinese.  He refused to speak it.  I was stunned.   He understood them well enough to order all that food when they asked him in Chinese.  But, he didn't want anything to do with speaking it to them.  He made a concsious decision to Not speak it.  

One thing is for sure--he is a determined little man.  He is trying to speak English all day long.  It's pretty basic stuff.  And some of it our family gets and I'm sure outsiders don't understand--sort of like living with a toddler learning the language in that respect.  You know how the mom "gets" what the kid is saying but nobody else does???  But, overall I think most people could understand him. We just need to fill in a few details.

For example he will say "get jammies on" when he means "Isaac it's time for you to get dressed"  He thinks everytime we get dressed we are "getting jammies on".  =)  isn't that cute?

Just now he said "Mom, Buddy go outside"  when he meant "Mom, I'm going to bring Buddy in from outside".

He is trying so hard and I'm blown away at the speed that he is picking this all up.  And even in the trying he doesn't seem frustrated most of the time.  

Once in a while I will still get a "story" in Chinese.  But, it's not like it was at the beginning.  Most of our communication is clearly done with English intent.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Weeping Camel-leaving the past behind (a post by Peter)

A fascinating thing happened yesterday.  Heidi was working so it was just us boys at home.  Lucas asked to watch a movie called "The Story of the Weeping Camel".  It's a movie about a family of nomadic camel herders from, of all places, Mongolia.  We've had it for a number of years, long before we had any inkling that we would someday travel near to that distant land to adopt a son.  It is a beautiful movie filmed in Mongolia and all of the dialog is in Mongolian.  (Lucas is from Inner Mongolia, which is part of China-a separate region from Mongolia which is it's own country.  But, much of the culture is the same)

I had hoped that Lucas would like this film.  I thought that he might find comfort in familiar scenery and images of Mongolian people.  We started watching it the other day and he seemed to really enjoy it.  He recognized it for Mongolia and seemed captivated by it.

So when he asked to watch it again, I was more than happy to accommodate.  He seemed to really be getting into it one again.  He again made comments about it being Mongolian; and shortly after the movie began he went up to his room to retrieve a couple of books that he was given by the director of his orphanage to help him remember where he came from.  They are essentially the Chinese version of  National Geographic books with wonderful photos of Mongolia and the people.  He was very excited to find some pictures of camels and show them to Isaac and me.  He was clearly making the connection that this is where he comes from and he seemed to want to share that with Isaac and me.

I thought that he might understand what the people in the movie were saying, but I wasn't sure.  I wasn't able to ask him the first time that we watched the movie, but after he showed us his picture books I asked him.

His response took Isaac and me by surprise.  He told us that he didn't understand the language and then he seemed to make a turn.  He told me that he did not want to go back there.  He said that he would cry.  Both of us quickly assured him that he was not going anywhere.  He was part of our family forever and we would cry too if we were to be parted.  He accepted that, but he made it clear that he was done with Mongolia.  He kept repeating things like "Lucas, no Mongol" and "Mongol pwaaa" (that's a word he uses to refer to things with a bad smell).  After that he didn't want to watch the movie anymore.  He made it clear that he wanted nothing more to do with it.

I think this night was a real turning point for him.  He turned his back on his past and was determined to look only to the future.  Sun Wan the Mongol was no more.  Lucas Jundt the American had replaced him.

It took me totally by surprise.  Monday was 10 weeks from when we first met Lucas.  It seems like such a short time, and yet I don't think that any of us can imagine life without him anymore.  He has been integrating into our family at an amazing pace.  Every day he seems to be more settled than the last.  He adores Isaac and mimic's me all the time.  He likes to "liberate" my tools and collect them in a little shoe box.  He even absconded with a pair of my reading glasses, which he loves to wear low on his nose; just like I do.  He clearly loves his Ma Ma; and spends most of his day with her.  He loves to help.  When he sees a need, he just does what he can to meet it.

Even with all of that, the turning of his back on Mongolia came as a surprise.  It wasn't just an assimilation into our family and culture.  This was a deliberate act.  A decision to make a break and look in a new direction.

That this would happen when it did was in itself interesting.  The previous day at Passion City, Pastor Louie's sermon was about this very thing; turning our backs on our past and looking toward our future.  His focus was on Colossians 3 where we are reminded that we have been raised with Christ and encouraged to put our minds on things above.  Lucas wasn't turning his back on sin, after all where we come from is not a sin; but he was turning his heart to a new life.

As Christians, we have been adopted into a new family.  We are encouraged to leave our past behind us; to allow our future to pull us forward rather than letting our past pull is backward.  The Holy Spirit does His work in our lives and we are allowed to begin again.  Lucas is living that out in front of us.  The Spirit is working in his heart too.  10 weeks ago, he had never heard the name of Jesus.  Now he won't stop singing worship songs; at the top of his lungs.  In many ways it is like watching a sermon every day.

A new life indeed...

by: Peter

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

putting the past behind and pulling forward into the future

On Sunday, Pastor Louie gave an impactful sermon.  I have to share it, because it relates to a post that Peter is going to share separately.  However, it requires this backround:

Why do we look to our past to define us?  All of us have "stuff".  And the only life we have lived is in our past.  So it cannot help but be a part of who we are.  There is no denying that.  However, sometimes we cling to the past and let the past define who we are today to the extent that it strips us of our joy or stops us from moving forward and looking at the Future Christ offers to us.

Many "believers" struggle with this.   It is a message for all of us.
 But, as Louie said on Sunday,
"Whatever is in your past does not have dictatorial power over your future"
"the past is strong", "we don't hear truth"
"Jesus is more powerful than your past"
He called on us to "set our minds and hearts on things above"
sometimes consequences of our past remind us of our mistakes so it is hard to let go of the past.

He challenged us to not cling to the past and let it dictate our future, but instead to be "pulled into the future"--pulling us forward.

He also challenged us to change our "diet" and "excercise" program of our faith if we really want the change.

"Old paths don't lead to new outcomes.   Some may need a funeral for things in the past."

All of this was based on these verses in Colossians.  It was just so impactful to me on so many levels.

 He spoke about Colossians 3:1-15
(I know this is long, but it is so rich--I have to share it)
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I don't think I'm capable of interpreting scripture.  But, I do hear "hope" in these verses.  I also hear a challenge---I need to "put to death" things that make me focus on "earthly" things and set my heart and mind on "things above".  This is such a humbling challenge.  When "earthly" things are sitting right before my eyes and the "things above" are hard to see, I struggle.  

This train of thought will be continued with something Peter wants to share that happened last night while I was gone to work (6/6)....stay tuned...

As a side note, this Sunday was the first Sunday of our kids program at the church building we moved into.  A friend of Isaac's was taking pics of the kids and took this pic of Lucas ..

I thought it was cute

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Inner Mongolia--Our son's Province experiencing unrest. Please pray.

We met Lucas in Hohhot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia in March.  There are protests going on there and unrest.  The city he came from is ChiFeng which is about 10 hours east of that area and there is also unrest there as well.  It seems pretty widespread.  All internet access has been disabled.  Please pray for his "people".  We do not know how extensive this unrest is or will become.  But, we love the people of his orphanage who cared for him so well.  We pray for quick resolution to these issues and safety for all.

Friday, June 3, 2011


this is sort of a funny thing to notice and I'm not sure if it would fall into the realm of "normal" or not.

But, I just noticed this today in looking at some pictures.
this is a self portrait the Lucas took around March 28th just after we got him in China

This picture was taken May 31.

Look at Lucas's teeth.  Do "big kid teeth" really fill in that fast?  in 2 months?  How could he already be changing that rapidly?  I've watched kids grow before but these changes seem fast to me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Mom, What are ya doin'?"

The fun phrase of the day...
"Mom, what a' you do-een?"

I was teasing Mr. Lucas as we were driving and turning around and poking at him and saying "I Love YOU"..."I LOVE you"...emphasizing, "I" or "Love" or "you" and just being silly.  He said to me,
"Mom, what a' you dooo eeen?"...not sure if this is translating well, but it was very funny in person.

 More like, "Mom, have you lost your mind?"  "I'm sittin' here in the carseat being a good kid, and all you can do is poke at me and tell me you love me?" "you look like a fool"..."What are you doing?"

He also likes to handle situations by telling all of us "It's ok" "don't worry about it, I've got it handled...I CAN have as much ice cream as I want in my bowl..."It's ok"....he says it like this..."eets oh kay"...we generally say...ummmm no....eeets Not ok...we get to determine some of these little matters.  But, in reality he uses these phrases in some very sweet and funny moments, totally in context.  Cracks us up!

Today's events?
three and a half hours in 2 different swimming pools.

umm I'm to get this ice cream in this boy so we can all go to bed!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Orthopedic apt. today

Well, we finally had our orthopedic appointment today.  I debate on putting too much info in a public blog only because this is really Lucas's life and story.  But, I really think he would be ok with it.  If at some point he is not, I will remove it.

Overall, the news is what I would consider "better" than to be expected.  We went into this whole thing with a sketchy outline of what may happen with our boy.  We were told that the most common course of treatment for his leg condition was amputation from the knee down.  That is what we have been prepared to hear.  Maybe "prepared" is not a good word,  you really cannot fully be "prepared" I don't think.  It is all sort of surreal no matter how much you "think" you are ready.

Today we found out the following:
1.  Yes amputation will likely happen, but at the ankle area--actually they will keep a part of the ankle and heel area and remove the foot, etc.  I think I'm gonna need a diagram...
 (even though I knew his little feet probably would not walk him through makes me a bit sad, because I kiss his sweet little "baby" feet every night---they are about 4" long or so--I have a sweet affection for those 2 little toes on each foot)

2.  The leg that has the bent tibia is about 2" shorter than the other one.  This one will need some reconstruction--likely breaking and resetting, etc.  Not 100% clear if that all happens in the same procedure.

3.  His prosthetics will likely go up his leg to almost the knee area, even though the ampuation will be at the ankle.  I believe this is for added support and strength in the leg.

4. After the amputation there is a 2-3 month healing time for reduction of swelling, etc.  Then another 2-3 months of adjustment/fitting of the prosthetics.

These bits of information are "good" because as the doctor said to us, the more we can "keep" the better.  As we "creep up" the leg for further amputation, we lose more and more abilities for our boy.  At the level they are talking about he will still be able to run, play sports, swim, etc. He will have his desired FIVE toes on his new little feet, which is a dream of his.  He will also likely be taller because the prosthetics can be made to proportion.  I am guessing he will always be a tad on the shorter side of life, just because of his basic build, but short is works in our family.  =)

None of this is "now" kind of surgery.  Nothing is urgent.  So we will be going to visit a physical therapist in the up and coming weeks who works with kids with prosthetics so that Lucas can see it in real life and see how well these kids do.  We will let him have time to adjust to the idea.  Our timing is looking like Fall.  We still have time to help him adjust to "life" and language and all the other fun stuff.  We want him to swim his little heart out this summer and have a complete and total blast.

We are also considering going to visit Shriner's Hospital which is only about 2 hours from us.  They are said to have some awesome facilities as well for children.  The distance is a bit of a bummer, but the hospital is touted as being quite good.  Not that this surgeon/hospital isn't, but just another opinion and option for us.

In the meantime we have a lot of visitors coming this summer, swimming to do, learining to do, etc etc.

Slip n Slide

Well, one advantage to having hilly property, is the ever popular Slip n Slide...
Thanks to a coworker who gave it to Lucas as a gift, we had a blast the past few days.  Nothing like beating the 95 degree temps this week with a hose, a slipery piece of plastic, and some soap....oops was I not suppose to add soap???...on a hill???


add a few friends to the mix and we have an even happier boy!!

this is what summer was meant to be....