28 March, 2014

Mae Day!

Today we celebrated Mae's adoption day! It was three years ago today that we met our beautiful girl and became a family. She has grown so much since that bitty girl we first held in our arms in Zhengzhou China, but she is the same trusting child that radaites with joy. We celebrated this day, our famiversary by letting Mae pick what she wanted the family to do... And she said she wanted to "go out to eat pizza". 
This is the first time the Lekbergs have gone out to eat since we we've been back from China; I guess pizza is a good place to start! 
It was a fun time and the babies even enjoyed a slice. 

Lately, I have thought a lot about the importance of making family traditions.  It's like everything that was fun before is now multiplied. I can't wait for Christmas Day and Easter egg hunts, family camping trips, movie nights and sharing root beer floats (when the kids get a little older). 

So for this day, I wanted something that we could continue every year and be memorable when they get older. We decided lighting a Chinese lantern was a perfect way to celebrate! 

Our lantern was ready, we let it go, and watched it float away. 
There's something about watching the lantern leave, it went up so far it looked like a star in the sky and then disappeared— we were actually awe-struck. 
We didn't prepare Mae very well, because she wanted the lantern back. We had to tell her it was gone and she was a little disappointed. I think she thought of it like a kite. 

The other tradition we plan to do every year on their adoption day is: we want to give the children 10 words describing them and how they enrich our family. It will be a special way to celebrate them. Don't you think it will be interesting to see what words will stay the same over the years and what new ones will be added as they grow and change?

It is our desire to celebrate our children  and the beauty of their story, because of who they are, not just because of their adoption, as momentous as it was. We never want our children to see themselves firstly as adopted.

While adoption is beautiful beyond words, and being an orphan who was adopted is a powerful part of their testimony of God's love, that's not what defines them. When our children think of who they are, we want them to see themselves as sons and daughters who were uniquely created and radically loved by their Heavenly Father and belong to this family. 

25 March, 2014

My witness

Strangers come up to me everytime that I'm out with the kids and ask about them being adopted... I'm actually stunned by how many questions we get and how bold people are. I read a lot of adoption blogs and have seen so many people be hypersensitive about getting asked the question "are they adopted?" It doesn't both me to answer anyone, that "yes they are" because these children know they are adopted and I never want them to sense from me that there would be anything wrong with that. I believe that your kids pick up on the responses of their parents and I'm nothing but proud of the way God placed our kids with us. In fact, I welcome it because their story has become my witness. No other time in my life have I had perfect strangers approach me and give me the open door to say the name of Jesus to them. I would never be so bold... But now it has become so easy. I've witnessed what God has done and it is hard not to tell everyone! Thanks to these beautiful Chinese children we get approached continually... And get to share with perfect strangers the work of God in our lives. 

Unfortunately, every so often we get someone that says things that bring out the momma bear. 

On Monday we had Jovie's cardiology consult before her big surgery. I rode up in the elevator with one of those people. She started by asking if they were adopted and then told me she had a daughter from China that they adopted "with a handicap" she said this so loudly and so many times all I could think of was her daughter and her self worth. This was the only descriptor she gave of her child. Made my heart break. Again, our children are picking up on their parents responses and her mother was not speaking with admiration. She continues to tell me more than once  "she was abandoned at birth by her parents because of her handicap" I wish you could hear her say it, I have 2 year olds that are learning the English languange and I wanted to cover their ears. The manner in which she said it was nails scratching down a chalkboard. It made me cringe. And then she said "is anything wrong with them?" pointing to my precious children. 
Do I punch her in the face? No, but I have thought of this woman and her  daughter very much over the past 2 days. I was nice enough to her and she never realized how very offensive she was to me.  When the elevator doors opened I wheeled my precious babies away as fast as I could. 

What will happen when my kids are older and we are asked questions like this? The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

Despite the bad encounters, I am daily amazed that God is using our children's stories to point to Him. I am honored to tell people these children are adopted. And in retort to the woman who so casually stated a word I will do my best to shield from my children's ears, abandonment, I hope that we can be a light. Because we see how God has planned the way. We do not believe any part of their story was an accident - we believe that Mae, Ian and Jovie were loved enough by their birth parents for  them to turn them over to people that would be able to provide them with medical help that they were not able to give them. We do not know very much of their beginnings and despite the circumstances or reason we will never know. We do know that their mighty Father was there with them from the very moment they took their first breath; their days are already written. 

As followers of Christ, we are called to be witnesses of what Jesus has done in us and for us. A little less than five years ago I never wanted to have children. I was happy with the life I shared with Cody. Over the last five years I have listened to God and seen time, after time where following Him has given me more rewards than I could ever imagine. Rewards not only in the beauty of raising three amazing children but also because I have seen God work in a mighty way in my life. He is unchangeable, full of power, our maker, our savior, our redeemer, our healer, our deliverer, our strength, and worthy of praise. 

Our testimony is the witness of what God has done for us. 

What God is doing in our lives is not something I can keep quiet about. So stranger in the grocery store, get ready! (;

18 March, 2014

Love is

This week we were driving down the road and a song came on the radio that I like, so I started singing loudly. Not a second later I hear all three of my children chiming in as loudly as they could but making up all the words as they sang. It may sound strange but this thought entered my head as I looked in my rear view mirror, "I get to KEEP them." It's crazy how much I love these three; it's seriously unreal to me everyday that they are ours forever. It's also strange to be getting routine but still experiencing firsts. I am starting to know Jovie and Ian's little quirky things that only a momma or daddy would know, but there are still so many things I can't predict about them. They are ours, but there is still so much to learn.

Except for a few rare surprises, I know this little girl to a T. (: 
This morning Ian didn't quite understand what Mae had him dressed up as or why she was so excited about it. 

Mae tried very hard to interest Jovie in a princess dress but little Tiger baby was only interested in taking the pirate costume. So what does that say? I think Jovie Ming is not so much a girly girl like her sister. She also refuses bows of any kind in her hair... Where Mae insisted at her age that she had a bow in every day. 

Here's a few other pictures : 
This is my favorite picture if all three. 

St. Patricks day cutie pie!

And finally another favorite picture of all my loves in the tent on Saturday. Every one loves when daddy is home; all is right with the world when he is. I don't think there could be a better father on the planet and they all know it. 

13 March, 2014

50 days with Ian & Jovie

Well, I started writing this post at 50 days ... Now it's been 52. Ha! That pretty much sums it up! The moments to think are rare and at the end of the day it's just hard to stay awake. A shower and makeup are a luxury I never thought I'd go without, but as we figure this out, life is getting more balanced! My family has needed me to be fully present. This season I've needed to be unplugged from the world outside our little home, in order to create a cosy world where our children can find safety. There are so many times it's felt lonely but I think all new moms have felt that way. Am i right? I know this is a season, and I wouldn't trade it for anything! There was a time when my priorities (me) got in the way of the greatest joy I've ever known, putting my wants and needs aside for some one else.  I can't tell you how many times Cody and I have looked at each other and said "can you believe we have three kids!?" Still unreal.

Not very long at all ago I was waiting to know our children... And here they are in the flesh! I wish everyone could see the transformation that happens here daily. We have had a million tiny wins... And it's simply amazing to get to witness.

I've been watching relationships form between these three... as they've learned to love each other. Mae had such a hard time with these two very needy toddlers coming in and taking away her perfect peaceful world as she knew it. When we got home it was hugely difficult for her, but you should see how sweetly she plays with them now. It makes me the happiest momma on the planet to see all three of my loves playing together. Other mommas you know exactly what I mean! Bliss.

Ian is completely good with me now. And let me tell you, he is one sweet boy. One of his favorite words is, "snuggle" and at bed time he loves when it's just us. Last night I was holding him and singing and after I was done he sang to me in Chinese. We were cheek to cheek and he was sweetly singing to me. He loves me. He has really changed from doing everything himself, to asking for my help. He is learning he can trust us and it's amazing to see him let his walls down.

Maybe the biggest change of all is seeing how Ian and Jovie have come so quickly to understanding English. Ian was a little slower to understanding what we were telling him, but now he is  saying so many things. He shocks me through out the day as I hear him saying little phrases; like today, Mae tripped and fell and Ian said, "you okay?". These kids are so smart. Their brains have had to process so much at once and it's simply amazing to watch how they've figured it all out. 

Understanding what I'm saying to them has been huge, as you can imagine. Just try to picture yourself in a world that nothing made sense and you didn't understand what was going on, what was happening next, what you were being told and what the rules were. It's exhausting! 

No more car sickness!! I've stopped putting the bibs on them in the car and finally Ian is relaxed and not stressed to ride. I think they are completely over it now! Thank The Lord!!

Where every area has gotten tremendously better, one thing has remained: Poor Ian is still terrified of so many things... the vacuum, the hair dryer, leaf blower, blender, airplane flying overhead, loud motorcycle, and space heaters, just to name a few. (And because he is so frightened of these things, Jovie looks at him and feels she should be scared too.) And instead of getting better, it's getting worse. I feel like Ian lives in fear that mom might plug something in or we might go somewhere new and he doesn't know what to expect. It's stressful for everyone and we started looking for answers for our little boy. It's just not how we want him to live! 
We called our agency and discussed his fears with a post adoption theripist and she recommended occupational therapy and a early childhood trauma specialist. We think that Ian's fears are because of the lack of explosure. As a friend who adopted put it, "it's like disneyworld everyday to them". 
We went this Wednesday to have Ian evaluated and it was so great to hear a professional explain what is going on in Ian's head. He has a sensory processing disorder and low frequency noises that we might tune out, overwhelm him. We will start going to therapy every week so they can help re-teach his brain that the sounds he hears aren't bad and teach him how to be relaxed and calm. 

So the coolest part of our OT was: as Ian was playing she was telling me what his body language was saying, and she said he finds comfort in having Jovie next to him. He was watching her be okay with things and so he was relaxing. I teared up right there because I remember back when Cody and I were in the parking lot, leaving our church and Cody looked at me and said, "I think God has called us to bring home two children". And at the time it seemed overwhelming but we see so clearly that God has had a great plan in place. Adopting two at a time has certainly been more challenging but I see how they have each other and how perfect it all is. God's always had a plan to make these children born of different parents to be life-long sisters and brother.  Jovie's spunk was designed by God.  (: God has written their stories and that's proof that God has all the rest worked out too. Why then is it so hard to put all of our faith in Him? God made Jovie's heart too... I need to trust Him. 

06 March, 2014

April 10

We got Jovie's heart surgery scheduled. When the person called me to set the date I could hardly speak for the knot in my throat.  April 9 we will go to the hospital for pre-op and the 10th will be the day of her surgery... A little over a month away. We talked over the details of her surgery and recovery briefly and for the rest of the day I just felt like crying. 

This is something we've known and been preparing for but it's all getting more and more real. Before I knew and held our bitty Jovie Ming it was easy to say we will bring her home and get her the surgery she needs. It is worthy of rejoicing that we are able to get her the surgery that she has been needing. Really knowing Jovie has changed my fearlessness; it means wanting so desparately to keep her from shedding a single tear. I can hardly even think of her undergoing open heart surgery, her pain and recovery. Ever since her catheter she has been scared and bawled every time I've changed her diaper because it hurt when I bent her legs up to wipe her... It doesn't hurt any longer but this girl still remembers and our tiger baby isn't all that tough when it comes to pain.  My heart is breaking to think of the tears that are to come but we will do this together... And I hope that makes any pain she feels a little easier for her. 

We are still very much praying for a miracle! I know the Creator of the Universe is more than capable to heal Jovie completely. I know Jovie is his before she was ever ours and his love for her is greater than we can fatham. I know he brought us here and can take us through. Savior, He can move the mountains
my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save
Forever, author of Salvation He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave..

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures, fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in, I surrender...I surrender...
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