30 July, 2013

Love at First Sight

 I took these pictures of Mae last year and I love seeing how she's grown!

Today marks the day that we first got a glimpse of Mae.  It was 3 years ago today that we very excitedly called our agency about a little girl that had captured our hearts and first got to lay eyes on the one that we now call ours forever.

The night before this day I remember very well. We had been looking at the CCAI waiting children that they would post on their website...  They normally had around 20 children posted and would add new ones every week or so.  When I looked at the website July 29, 2010, they had put up a few new children and Mae was one of them.  Almost always they would have pictures and a few paragraphs about each child describing their special need. With Mae's they did not add any pictures... They said her special need was epilepsy and anemia and just a few details about her personality and beginnings.

I remember being at our print shop and reading her profile to Cody. (We used to print late at night after work.) That night I remember calling my mom and my sister around 11pm (waking them up) wanting to read to them about this precious little girl. I know her epilepsy scared us a little bit but I also know I did not get any sleep that night. The next morning I started refreshing the CCAI website every few minutes, hoping that they would add her pictures.  I might be a little crazy, but I know I refreshed their page on my phone a thousand times... and every time I talked to Cody he would ask if they had any pictures of her yet.

Finally, late in the afternoon they added her picture and I have never experienced love at first sight because I truly believe I loved her even before this.  I texted Cody immediately with her pictures and we both knew she was meant for us. We called our agency and requested her full file.  (They send you the children's full file with more medical details so that you can meet with your doctor or specialist to make sure you are comfortable with the child's special need.)

So, for those of you that didn't know, our Mae had many, many seizures in China. She got very sick and would get very high fevers... but her seizures were not epilepsy.  When we got home from China she was completely cleared with a perfect bill of health. And today she is the healthiest kid we know. Thank you, Jesus!

29 July, 2013

Monday Funday :: Paper Mache Tea Cups

We used:
  • Elmer's glue
  • paint brushes
  • scissors
  • toilet paper rolls
  • scraps of paper
What you do:
  • Mix together 1/2 elmers glue and 1/2 water make your paste. 
  • Paint your paste onto the cardboard or dip your strips of paper into the paste. Mae does not like getting her hands messy, so we painted ours...but part of the fun could be getting messy.
  • Continue to cover the cardboard, layering your strips until the whole thing is covered.
  • Cut around the edges and let it dry 2-3 hours.

To make the tea cups:
  • Cut a small part of it off, to make the handle. I cut it and doubled it where it is glued to the mug, creasing it to make a "D".
  • Then make 4 slits to fold inward and glue them with a glue gun—this will make the bottom.
To make the tea pot:
  • I placed a plastic bag over a glass, that was the size I wanted for the tea pot.
  • I began to layer the paper mache over the glass, using at least 3 layers. 
  • The handle is from a part of a tiolet paper roll, the same way as the cups. 
  • The spout was made by just rolling up the paper after it was dipped it in the paste. 
  • I glued everything, once it was dry.


With the Raffle ending Thursday {for the coolest little bike ever} I had planned to blog today reminding everyone. What I did not expect was an email from Paypal letting us know they had a problem... we are in violation because they do not allow raffles.

Sooooo, we are rule breakers...but that's not going to stop us from trying our hardest to raise money and honor the incredibly generous company, Durable Toys, that has donated us this tricycle. We really would love to raise the rest of the money for Ian and Jovie with this last fundraiser. We are so close, y'all!!!

First, let me tell you why this is the coolest little bike ever... Kids go bananas for them because it has massive air tires that give the rider that BIG-truck feeling.  They are made in the USA and built to last.  One of the things people love about these trikes is that the seat adjusts up and down the whole length of the bar.  And these trikes meet a wide range of needs.  They've had calls about these from moms of children with special needs, such as missing limbs, autism, and Downs Syndrome.  Some say that the shape of the straight Valley Road and Speedway Express handlebars has helped their children ride.

A Valley Road Amish Tricycle

Others say that the hefty, weighted feel of a chunky, heavy-duty trike works just right for their kids.  Whatever the reason, they are thrilled that the trikes work well for many of these kids.  As the company founder said, "Everybody needs some wheels!"
Comes in color of your choice: 

  1. Red 
  2. Blue
  3. Green
  4. Pink 

So if you are interested in being a part of our fundraiser, and would like to purchase tickets we are making this as easy as we know how! 

Please just leave us a comment here, or on Facebook, or email me: kristenlekberg@gmail.com. 

Leave the amount of tickets you want to purchase, with your email address:

  • 1 ticket for $5

  • 3 tickets for $10

  • 10 tickets for $25

    We will contact you with digital tickets, showing you which raffle numbers you have, and we will provide our address so you can mail us your check. 

23 July, 2013

Kissing Cheeks!

I feel like adoption is just a wild roller coaster of emotions.  And, ever since we received the update on Friday I have been unable to shake the knot in my stomach, frog in my throat, and have constantly been on the verge of tears.  This is so tough. I want so badly to know about our children and receive these updates, but it really messes me up.

So all that to say, last night I was trying to research the foster home that we were told Ian is in.  I kept googling and never did find much on Angel's Home.  I did however find a thread on a forum of someone saying that their son started in Pingdingshan CWI and went to Angel's home and that there was a website. So, I emailed the person that wrote this, hoping I could reach her.  My hope was to maybe see some pictures of the facility (like we found on Jovie's foster home's site.)

This morning the woman that I contacted wrote back and what we have found is so unbelievably more than pictures of the facility... it was a page dedicated to our boy, with pictures.

The above pictures were posted in December, and they said that he started walking without assistance, he rarely gets sick, and that he's clingy and likes to be held. 
These were taken right after he turned one years old. I am going to go nuts looking at the bottom right photo here. I can not stand how cute he is!!

And these were baby pictures when he first got to Angel's home. He weighed only 7lbs. 4oz when he arrived at 2 months old. We know he spent the first 80 days in the hospital... so he went straight here and has been here the whole time.  This is so great to put the pieces together!

Also, this foster home seems WONDERFUL (just like Jovie's) and if we were to choose the places our children would be, these foster homes are pretty much the best.

So, we know a little more about our son and these pictures have actually helped me today.  They are pictures of him in his environment, doing things, and that just says so much. Like how tiny he looks standing next that bicycle, and my gracious, those lips! (:

22 July, 2013

Monday Funday:: Felt Cupcakes + Icecream

 I cut out all these little felt cupcake pieces for Mae on Wednesday night, before we drove to the beach on Thursday.  I thought it would be a fun car activity... turns out it wasn't great for the cramped space.  Mae wanted to take everything out and see it all before she chose her flavor or topping. It was, however, quite fun to lay it all out today and let her create away.
Mae made everyone in our family their own dessert. I quite like that she is so thoughtful to include Ian and Jovie (: 


So if you think you'd like to make your own, I have included my cutting template. You can download the 
{The yellow circle came from the craft section at Walmart. It is very stiff and makes a perfect "plate" for our yummy creations.}

19 July, 2013

Ian update!!

Our agency requested an update for both Ian and Jovie, and today Ian's orphanage sent them a reply with an update and this picture of our handsome boy.

He sounds like he's doing very well and has sure grown up. He is 2 years and 2 months now. I have not taken my eyes off this picture all day.

They said his personality is bright and lively. He can walk very steadily without falling, and goes up and down stairs everyday. (My favorite is they said, "when he walks, both of his arms will sway.")

His language ability is good and he understands everything the nannies tell him. He can communicate pretty well by speaking and pointing. He knows the names of his nannies and of the other children.

He can eat food and drink on his own. He cooperates and helps put on his clothes and can take off his clothes, shoes and socks. He knows how to zip up zippers that are on the front of his body.

He really likes to draw with crayons, "sometimes he draws outside of the lines."

He is 24 lbs and 31 inches tall.

He loves to play with other children and "when he sees them doing an activity, he will become very interested and immediately get involved with what they're doing and imitate their actions. He explores the environment around him and every now and then will go to the nannies' sides."

He is "doing great in every aspect."

So as you could guess, I feel very emotional tonight. I might even eat a carton of ice cream, if I had one to eat. I love getting this update and hearing he is doing well and is healthy. It is a relief! But you just don't even know the mixture of emotions in an adoptive mommy's heart. I love him so much but I hardly know him. I look at this picture and he is my child, but he is unfamiliar to me. I have memorized the other pictures, but this one is new. I study it trying to draw out anything that I can to get to know my son. I know it won't be long before I know every freckle, but tonight I am soaking in a few paragraphs and staring at these dark beautiful eyes and big kissable lips. He's a mystery... He's MY son.

15 July, 2013

Monday Funday :: Shrinky Dinks

First I've got to say—this is just too cool and if you've never made your own shrinky dinks, START! (:  All you need is #6 plastic. So from now on,  before you toss them, start checking packages for this:

You will need:
  • #6 plastic
  • scissors and/or Xacto
  • permanent markers
  • tin foil
  • optional : hole punch
Color your plastic on one side with a permanent marker. Cut it out with scissors and punch your hole. Then cover your cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place your pretty plastic masterpiece work on it. Set your oven to 350 degrees and put them in for 2-3 minutes... keeping a close eye on them. They will curl up before the shrink. You will know they are done when they flatten back out.

Since the plastic is clear, you can easily trace anything...I used Mae's coloring book to trace her favorite character "Hoho." (Hoho is a monkey on Ni Hao Kai Lin - a Chinese cartoon.)  I knew Mae would have more fun coloring in everything, so I made her a bunch of characters and she colored them different colors.

I placed a quarter on the before and after pictures, so you can see the size difference of everything. I started small and we got teeny tiny results.  Some ended up a little too small...but most were just right. The colors intensify when they shrink too.

Also, we made a ring by taking it out of the oven right away, while it was still hot, and wrapping the plastic around a marker .

I wanted to make these into a charm bracelet for her so she could wear her artwork.  So before I baked it, I punched holes so I could insert jump rings.

If you know this little girl, you know she is ecstatic about our little project today. She's so fun—I love this sweet, spunky child so much!!

14 July, 2013

Adoption Funding

I remember very clearly the feeling of looking at our adoption budget and feeling like it was so unreachable and being sick with worry. This journey to Ian and Jovie has been all about the unknown, but we have been shown over and over that God is faithful.

At church, there isn't a Sunday that I don't cry during the music:  Break my heart for what breaks Yours has a whole new meaning when you are experiencing the magnitude of adopting the fatherless. So all this to say, no matter how tough this is, we are honored to have been given this calling.

Adoption is just one of those things for us that brings us face to face with our heavenly Father.  In our normal daily lives it feels like we are the ones in control, and my conversations to God happen much less frequently. But adoption is a very humbling process. Everything but filling out the paperwork and having our home clean and ready for the home study is out of our control.  

This is a beautiful thing. God is always at work in every area of our lives and in every part of the world, but we don't always take notice.

It's been so evident God has been at work—we have been witnessing God move over and over again and we're really only halfway there. He has already done so much and used our family and friends to bless us, not just financially, but also through loving support and prayer.  God has provided these funds to cover our adoption expenses. 

And this is only the beginning... the best is yet to come. 

At the top you will see we added a new page "Adoption Funding". We spent some time breaking down our adoption expenses, the fundraising, and donations received. Please take a moment to read it here.

12 July, 2013

Photo Friday — Jovie

I haven't shared this little treasure yet —this is a picture of Jovie in January.  I love seeing a tiny glimpse of how she's grown.  She has teeth and oh my, the kissing cheeks!! When we were told Jovie was in New Hope orphanage I googled and found that they have a website... and a newsletter.  In January Jovie was supposed to receive heart surgery and this picture was taken before she left.  The caption said "Ysabelle went for heart surgery in Hangzhou." (To protect the children's identities the orphanage has picked names for them "Ysabelle," instead of using their real Chinese names.) We know that Jovie did go to Hangzhou but they were not able to perform the surgery that she needs — Jovie is missing the valve that pumps blood from the heart to her lungs. She will need open heart surgery and mechanical valve put in her heart when she comes home.  She will need 2 more surgeries to replace the mechanical valve before her 16th birthday.

The New Hope orphanage, where our baby girl is, is very special: it is privately run and funded by Show Hope Charity here in the US. There are doctors and nurses on call every day and these children get individualized care, as there are only about 30 children there.

Another big blessing is that they have heat in their building. Most of China does not have heat or air conditioning... this is huge for a heart baby.  Jovie's body is already struggling to get her blood circulating and staying warm this past winter would have been difficult for her.

Here are pictures of the orphanage where Jovie is:

Jungle Book room

Jungle Book room

laundry room

Ayi's closet
Ayi's kitchen
Nemo room

Nemo room

Nemo room


Snow White room

Peter Pan room

Peter Pan room

Peter Pan room

Peter Pan room

staff kitchen

staff kitchen

storage room

treatment room

treatment room
treatment room

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