Lately, Jia and Jacen have become 'buddies'. He has totally taken over the big brother role and spoils her, plays with her, defends her... Jia and I picked Jacen up from school yesterday and got milkshakes... Guess who ended up having Jacen's? I thought we would share ours with Jia, but Lil' Miss felt she needed one all to herself. And Jacen obliged! Well last night, Jacen, Jia and I had been to visit my Aunt and Cousin at my Mom N Dad's. Jia was a total ham all evening. She was being so adorable! On the way home in the van she was saying "Mom! See!" at everything and we were trying to get her to say "Jacen! See!". I said to Jacen.... "I don't know what we ever did to deserve her." And he replied... in all of his 12 year old wisdom... "Nothing."
Wow. He left me speechless. He's right. Absolutely right. We could never do enough to deserve her. But, God.... with His amazing mercy and lovingkindness, saw fit to entrust her in our care. Not because we deserved it, but because He loves us. And because He loves Jia and because He sets the lonely in families!
Adoption is such a mirror of the Gospel. We also don't deserve forgiveness of our sins. We could never do enough to deserve what Jesus did for us. In fact, daily... I am undeserving of that Gift. But! God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He didn't just tell us and expect us to believe it... He showed us how much He loves us!
He shows us every minute, with every breath if we would just listen to Him. I'm so thankful for that amazing conversation with my 12 year old! Although, like most 12 year olds, his end of the conversation was only one word, it was powerful! And yes, we went on to discuss the very things I just shared with you on our drive home!
Here's Jory sharing his precious toothless grin with us! He's lost 8 teeth so far!!!
Jory Brien Stotts! He began 1st grade this year! Jacen was mortified by what he chose to wear... but Hey! It's Jory's first day, he can wear what he wants! And Jacen is in another school, so his friends will never even see Jory! You go Jory!
Jacen Robert Stotts on his first day of 7th Grade!
He's trying to portray the rough and tough skater dude look without cracking a smile! Pretty darn hard to do!
Jacen, Jory and Jia! Just missing Jadeth who was not about to get out of bed yet! He doesn't start college until next week, so he can still sleep in!
I must warn you before you proceed!!!
Scroll down at your own risk!!!!
Don't say you weren't warned!!!
It's NOT pretty!!!
Ei! Yi! Yi! This is what happens to sweet little girls when they've been around big brothers for 8 weeks! Can you believe it????
It's amazing what a difference 8 weeks can make! The first time Jia wore her Navy traditional Chinese dress was for the Red Couch Photo with our travel group. She cried the entire time! Now she's a total ham!
We had her picture taken at Look at Me Pics here in town. Renea does a fabulous job and she participates in Celebrate Adoption where they'll take the first pictures of your adopted child for free! I can't wait to see the rest, but these teasers were wonderful!
Eight Weeks ago today... at about this time of day, I reached out and took my daughter in my arms for the first time. It's been an amazing eight weeks. Sometimes it feels like she's been with us forever, the trip and the waiting forgotten. Other times, I can't believe it's been 8 weeks, it seems like yesterday. I'm trying hard not to forget details of our time in China. Living it was very different... we were just surviving. Now I'm trying to look back at it with all the wonder and excitement we felt but were too displaced to enjoy. Don't take that the wrong way. We enjoyed our time in China tremendously. It just didn't seem real somehow, still doesn't. I think a lot of it was 3 years waiting diminished some of the thrill. It was like we had so long to get used to the idea of going to China, it was really not a big deal to us at all. We just did it!
People are so 'wowed' by 0ur trip and our story and I am just trying to relive it as well! It IS exciting! We waited, prayed, believed and trusted God for along time and He proved faithful, as always! In His time! This is just a lot of blabbering... huh?!
Here's the first time I held Jia in my arms! Once we got beyond those first tears, she has done amazingly well. Just yesterday Jack and I were completely in awe of her and asking each other what we did to deserve her. God has blessed us beyond measure and I hope to soon be able to express that to others in our area and hopefully plant seeds of adoption in their hearts as well!
7 weeks ago today... we had traveled 1/2 way across the world, chasing a dream that God planted in our hearts. 7 weeks ago today... that dream come true. 7 weeks ago today... this is the first glance we had of that dream. We sat in the corner of a large room with at least 15 other families, realizing their dreams at the same time! Gang Qiu Wen was late... our guide just kept saying, " Qiu Wen coming" "Qiu Wen late" "Qiu Wen on the way". We watched as most other families were already calming their babies... and waited. When we walked in, I chose a seat in the corner because I thought it would be more private, but we couldn't see the elevator. All of a sudden, our guide started saying "Qiu Wen! Qiu Wen!!!" I just turned the video on on my camera, and this is our first glance of 'Qiu Wen'!
This is 'Qiu Wen' AKA... Jia, today... totally making herself at home! She loves to sprawl out on the counter top on the opposite side of where I'm cooking and get into things!
7 weeks ago today, Jia clung to her nanny for dear life. I don't know if she really knew this lady, but this lady and the orphanage director loaded Jia up and drove her 4 hours that morning to met her family.
She had no idea her world was about to be turned upside down. In all honesty, I really began to doubt what we were doing was best for her.
Another still taken from our Forever Family Day video.
My first time reaching out and touching the daughter that had touched my heart so many months before...
And here's Miss Jia today with her big brother Jory! Jory was actually more persistant about praying for Jia than any of the rest of us. He never blessed a meal that he didn't ask God to take care of Jia... for 3 years!
It paid off! She's loved him from the moment we stepped off the plane! What a good big brother he is!
What a dramatic change in just 7 short weeks!
She LOVES to dress up and wear hair bows! Thank You God for that answered prayer! When she dresses up for church, she always looks in the mirror and just giggles and smiles!
She loves to admire herself!
Here's Jia enjoying a popsicle on our front porch.
Jia put her head band on all by herself! She was so proud of herself that she didn't even mind the hair sticking up all over!
Our small town recently held their annual fair and it always kicks off with a parade. It didn't take Jia long to figure out she got candy when she waved!
She totally had fun and didn't resemble that shy, scared little girl we met in China at all!
Here she is showing off her candy and beads! She still wears the beads even now... all of them... all at once!
Last week we took Jia, Jacen and Jory to the Harrison County Lake. We met Grandma and Grandpa there.
After a quick ride in Grandpa's fishing boat... which she loved and she looked absolutely adorable in her Dora life vest... Jia, Grandma and I hit the beach while the boys went fishing!
Jia totally loves the water! She loves taking a bath, she loves to go to the swimming pool, she loved the lake and she loves to play in my water bucket on the front porch.
I keep them full to water my hanging baskets and she will play in them for over an hour! It's glorious because that's about the only time I can read a book! I'm really enjoying that porch swing!
Speaking of water....
yesterday we went to Grandma's and played on the slip n slide! Guess what....???? She loved it!
She also loved taking control of the water hose and spraying all of us!
Here she is sharing her fudge pop with Jory!
They are sooooo entirely sweet together, usually! Jia is definately feeling comfortable at home and has no problem telling Jory "No" and "STOP it!" In fact, I hear that a lot lately!
My boys are never content with things the way they are... they always have to be rigged up. Hence the ramp Jory made in the middle of the slip n slide.
Here's another of Jia and Jory at the top of the slide at the park.
She is just a completely different girl and only wish I could be as brave and courageous and she had been!
We love you Jia!
I have many more still's I took from our FFD video... so I'll be adding some more... including the first time we held her! Check back!