The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


"In a situation like this, there are two things we can do.  Either we can look at the enormity of the need and the problem and say, 'oh!  It's not possible for me, it's too much for me,  it is too overwhelming."  and we can back off or we can take a step of faith and go forward and say,  'yes Lord use me I want to make a difference in the lives of these children.'"      

"God kind of spoke to me and said, "Are you still waiting for the call?  When you see a need, just meet it."                                                                                                                Biju Thampy

Vision Rescue Founder       

photo courtesy

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one."
Mother Teresa

Friday, April 12, 2013

WHAT do we do??!! HOW can we help??!! WHY must this be?!!

Proverbs 24:12
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Photo of enslaved child courtesy of
Look at the fear in that face.  Look into those eyes.  Now, in your mind, dare to replace that face with your own precious child's face.  Imagine the unbelievable fear when taken into terrible mistreatment.  Okay, I probably lost some of my readers already. That's okay.  I will still speak. 

Once we have seen, once we know, do we have a right to look the other way?   Can we just go back to our protected, sometimes self-indulgent lives?

We sometimes hear, "Please just don't even tell me about it!  I can't even think about that!"

I really do understand.  It is horrible to imagine. To let that sink into our hearts. Starvation.  Abuse.  Child Abandonment. Child Neglect. Horrible Mistreatment of Special Needs Children.  Human Trafficking.  Child Prostitution.  

Yet, we MUST be aware.  We MUST act.

If we cannot go and help, If we cannot take someone in, then we must at the very least use our VOICE!   The more voices, the more ears that hear and cannot ignore.

Here is a glimpse into crime against humanity.  Child slavery.  "Not Today" is out in local theaters now.

PLEASE take just a moment to watch this movie trailer!   If this glimpse doesn't shake you, you are not truly alive.  

Let's discuss.  Share your comments or ideas of what we can do to help children who are suffering.
 Let's get together and and talk about how to begin to make a change. 

Friday, February 8, 2013


Our little sweet pea turned 5 yesterday!!  Time is flying by, I can't believe it!   She has been home with us now for 17 months.  We can't imagine the time without her!

Let's talk about how this amazing girl has progressed.  

LANGUAGE:  She is speaking English completely.  Even though she speaks in sentences and has no problem expressing her needs, it still often is like baby talk.  Perhaps how a 3 year old American toddler communicates.  Continues to improve all the time though. Retaining Chinese language has not been easy.  She plays Chinese learning games on the computer and also watches some of her favorite Chinese cartoons, but she is losing it fast.  I wish there was a Chinese school nearby.

SCHOOL:  Hua Hua is in Pre-k.   She is learning and loves school.  She can write her name and knows the days of the week, months of the year, can say her ABCs and more.  However, I would say she is behind the other kids.  She can only recognize about 4 letters of the alphabet still.  She knows most of her colors, but still struggles with several.  She can recognize about 5 numbers as well.  At this point in Pre-K, the kids should recognize all letters of the alphabet and be able to write them.  They should understand basic math using pictures.  I would say she is more like a 3 year old with 4 and 5 year olds in PreK class.  I am not worried about her learning ability.  She is not delayed, she is just not mature like a 5 year old yet.  Still catching up on her life.  

BEHAVIOR:  Hua Hua is a wonderful child!  She is bright and attentive.  She is very loving and affectionate.  Full of kisses, hugs, kind words and love.  She is also thoughtful, doing things for others to make them happy.  I like to call her a sassafras because she is feisty.  She wants her way and she will keep trying to get it or hold her own in a competition with her siblings for something she wants.  I have to tell her several times to stop doing something she should not be doing.  She will look at me and keep doing it!  She will pout and stomp her foot if I stop her plans.  She hardly ever has tantrums anymore.  Once in a blue moon will she have a melt down.  One of her old fashioned tantrum meltdowns.  Some people will say, that is normal for any child her age.  Meltdowns are normal.  But there is something desperate and methodical about her meltdowns when they happen.  She gets into a loop that she can't get out of and won't (can't) give it up. I have 4 children and I am 1 of 7 kids, and these meltdowns are different.  Often times, only another adoptive parent will understand how their child's anxieties are different from an average child.  

BONDING AND ISSUES:  At 17 months home, Hua Hua has developed healthy and bonded relationships with the family.  There is still a bit of progress to be made in some areas, but she is amazing.  It took her awhile to bond with daddy completely, but now she expresses her love for him, desire to see him and loves for him to play with her!   She still clings to mom considerably.  She has anxiety about separation and abandonment still to this day.  She rarely wakes up feeling secure and content even still.  She will wake up panicked and angry, certain I (mom) has left.  Then she is fine when she sees all is well.  She still asks me not to leave her in the car, at the store, wherever we are.  Even though I constantly tell her that I will never never ever leave her anywhere, she still asks me not to leave her, daily.  She still has some food issues.  She eats more than any of my other children and is constantly asking for food, sneaking food, thinking about food.  For awhile I would just let her eat as much as she wanted because she was SO tiny at adoption.  (3 1/2 years old and only 20 lbs at adoption).  I realized now that I need to tell her when she is full.  I need to say, "okay, that's enough for now.  You can eat more later." 

HEALTH:  Hua Hua's last Cardiologist appointment was a great success!  They said her heart looked as though she never had surgery and her lungs are nearly normal.  This is amazing considering the close call it was in timing to get the surgery she desperately needed, and the highly concerning state of her Pulmonary Hypertension.  She doesn't have to go back to the Dr for a year!  She has also grown considerably this past year.  She is still a little munchkin compared to her friends at school, but her growth, weight and appetite are strong.  

FAMILY AND ACTIVITIES:  We adore Hua Hua!  She is entertaining and a joy!  She is SO cute!  The siblings love her and she and Joshua (7) and best buddies.  They play together everyday.  She takes dance class once every week.  She loves to dance!  She goes to Sunday School and always looks forward to it!  

Birthday Girl yesterday with her Birthday button on!  "I'm 5 now!!", she yelled and giggled at everyone we saw!

Loves photo booth on the computer! 

Mom and Hua having fun with photo booth!

Lots of hugs and loves from this baby

Fun faces are a must

Hua Hua in her dance class on Costume Try On Day.  This is the 4 - 5 yr old ballet/Tap combo class.  This is the Tap Costume.  She is so cute and happy about that costume!

What could be better than dress up??  She loves this costume!

Began posing....

Seriously don't know where she got this pose from, but it made me laugh!  

Back in her regular class dance wear

Sweet and happy face!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DECEMBER AND JANUARY - I'm still determined to get back!

In my last post, I had to do some catch up after being gone from blogging for a few months, promising to get back on track! I am, behind again, by a couple of months!   :-(  

Nevertheless, blogging, and following my friends blogs has always been such a joy to me, and I am DETERMINED to get back into the swing of things!  

Life is busy with 4 kids.  

I KNOW, that just made about half of my blogging buddies LAUGH OUT LOUD because you have considerably MORE than 4 kids in your families!  Some of you even run an orphanage in addition to your own kids, and still find time to blog, so I know my excuse is lamo, lol!  But, I just never seem to have any free time lately.   With work  (I know some of you do too!),  and I have several cases in my volunteer work as a GAL (I know some of you all have volunteer work too!), and I am a part of ministry at church (I know some of you do too!), I am stretched thin.  I feel like I am on the go from the time I wake to the time I go to sleep.  

But I found I really want to carve out a little time for my blogging, because it is me-time that is really enjoyable and therapeutic.  I don't have to everyday, but I've decided to take at least a morning every week to jump into blogland, if I can.  Because I LIKE IT!  And I LOVE my blog friends I have made. 

So, here is a catch-up of December - so our Christmas fun of course,  and also January!


Here are the kids at "ICE" at Gaylord Palms Resort.  This "show" happens to be inspired from a city in China called Harbin where every year amazing ice sculptures are designed and displayed.   It was s beautiful and fun, and COLD and they had fun sliding down the slides. Joshua was really excited about getting a photo with some characters from the movie Madagascar!  

Some of the Ice Sculptures from Ice Merry Madagascar - photo courtesy

Christina (17), Matthew (13), Katie Grace Hua Hua (4), Joshua (7)
SO excited Christmas is near!!  

Under the Tree, our sweeties 

Jacob (sweet husband always giving me kisses!) and I at our favorite Christmas party our friend Tony throws every year, "The 12 Desserts of Christmas!"  Yum!

Christina and her boyfriend, Paul, at the Christmas party with us.  Seniors this year!  

One of many Christmas Card poses.  Kids just wanted to keep on doing silly ones!  

That's more like it!  Merry Christmas!

Joshua played the role of "Stable Boy" who asks the people, "Do you know who Jesus is?" in our Christmas Play at Church on Christmas Eve.   Look at that cute little rascally face!

Christina made "Polar Express Hot Cocoa".  Now you might be thinking,  "Can hot cocoa taste any better than it already does??"  YES IT CAN.  This was chocolatey heaven!

Add some whipped cream and we've got at real treat!

Christina also made giant s'mores cookies!!  

Now you can see how giant and yummy that cookie is from the side, cut into fourths.    

After snacks and ready for bed because Santa Clause is coming!!  

Tucked in for Christmas Eve!  Visions of sugarplums danced in their heads....    By the way, Joshua and Hua Hua slept with those Santa hats on for several weeks before Christmas, lol!

Christmas morning and there are gifts to open!

One of Hua Hua's favorites!

Joshua loves Legos!  He put this together that morning!  Lego T-Rex!

Matthew (14) and Tyler (17), who is like another son and came to spend Christmas with us,  played some new video games.  "Madden 13" was this game, I believe.  ;-)

Paul came over to spend part of Christmas Day with Christina and our family.  :)

So I let my kids have a big responsibility.  Christina (17)  drove with Matthew (13)  down to Sanibel Island (almost 4  hour drive), all by themselves, to meet up and stay with my sister and family who flew in from Colorado for New Years.  In the past,  Jacob and I always take the kids for a couple nights, but I could not get off work this time.  My kids did not want to miss out on cousin time, since they only get to see them a short amount of time each year.  So, I let them take this journey driving down the coast.  We planned it out carefully and Christina did a great job driving it!  I figured Christina will be going off to college in 6 months, so I might as well start giving her opportunities to stretch herself.  They had so much fun with their cousins!

Matthew (13),  Christina (17),  Cousin Alyssa (17),  Cousin Alyssa's Boyfriend Michael (17), Cousin Tyler (22)

Cousins Forever.  Alyssa Visiting from Colorado and Christina (Senior Year)


Matthew turned 14 on January 6th!  January 6th also happens to be "Three Kings Day" or  "Dia De Los Reyes"  celebrated in many Latino cultures.  A day to celebrate the 3 Kings bringing gifts to our Savior who was born!   Gifts are given on this day in those cultures.  Since my two older kids (Christina and Matthew) are of Puerto Rican heritage, it is fun to remember and El Dia De Los Reyes!  Happy Birthday Manuel Matthew!   You were a gift brought to me on that day when you were born.  Your names also fit the day and season and who you are.  Manuel is derived from Emanuel or "God with us" and Matthew means "Gift from God".  He is a gentle natured, helpful, giving, sports-loving boy!  Couldn't ask for a better teen!!

Dad taking Katie Grace Hua Hua's "Dance Class" in the living room.  

Princess Dance

Weeeeeeeeeee!!!!  The tiara stays on!  

Dad helping Joshua make his Pinewood Derby car for Cub Scouts!! 

Looks like dad is doing most of the work here, haha!  

Joshua's Pinewood Derby Car is Ready!   Named "The Silver Streak"

Boys and Leaders ready to race their cars!   Dad took him to the Derby while I was at Basketball with Matt, but they said it was a great day!!  

Matthew, far right, with his basketball team.  "Team Jordan" of the "Four Corners Bucs"  We have a new beautiful recreational park right up the road with sporting fields,  walking path,  and an awesome playground, yay!  This is SO great for a lot of the young kids and teens in our area.  We are not exactly a high income area, so this new park is so wonderful for families.  

Matthew in the game!

Tyler, who has been spending weekends with us, was on the sidelines playing with Katie Grace Hua Hua.  She thinks he is the deal! 

Back at the house, you'd think they would have had enough basketball, but nope, they keep playing on Saturdays!  

And Matthew with more basketball... (in style of course!)

Tyler dunks it at the highest setting!  

Christina, Matthew, Tyler 

Katie Grace Hua Hua (4), getting SO grubby!  What a cutie she is!

Aha!  A mud bath!  

Space Night at School!  Joshua making a stomp rocket while Hua Hua helps.

Time to watch those rockets fly!!

Joshua eating the marshmallows instead of building with them in the aircraft workshop.  ;-) 

Okay, so that is it!  I caught up on the past couple months and this post took some time!  I will have to be more diligent now so that I can keep up, one event at a time!  Can't wait to get to all of your blogs and see what's going on!!

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo