Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I haven't written a blog post in forever, but our friend, Medray deserves a post.

10 Mommies and Daddies waiting....  We all were in different stages of marriage and family, but had a common bond.  We were about to meet our daughters.  I cannot begin to describe the excitement in the room as our Chinese guide, Evelyn, reviewed in our "What To Do With Your Chinese Baby" (paraphrase :)) session immediately prior to our unions as families.   The conference room was simple and we were downright giddy to come to the best part.  "This is a comfort phrase you can use".  "Don't be surprised if your baby only bonds with one of you".  Words came fast and were hard to process as we strove to still our pounding hearts; distracted by that moment in just a few minutes when those babies' faces would appear in this room.  The "delivery room".  Just as those moments of childbirth are somewhat blurred later due to competition of various emotions, the whirlwind of images swirl in my brain.  Faces stand out.  Sacred moments when parents fixed their eyes on their daughters for the first time.  We videoed each others' moments.  Tears and smiles mixed as we congratulated each other and commented on their uniqueness, just as parents tend to do in delivery rooms when they note hair amount or color and count perfect fingers and toes.   That is our bond.  We witnessed the sacred, vulnerable moments in each other's lives.

In the days following, we struggled together.  Struggles were different for each family, but lack of sleep, fear of baths, fear of elevators, fear of diaper changes (since they had never worn them!), finding things they like to eat, etc dominated our discussions.  Advice, kind words, encouragement were readily exchanged.  We were in the trenches together and we were all elated to be there!  Matt and I marveled at God's goodness and how He placed each child in THE family so perfectly designed for her.

One of those God ordained unions was the Carpenter family from Colorado - the Carpenter Three as they named themselves.  Marin was selected by God to have Medray and Susan as Daddy and Mommy.   If anyone has ever met Medray, you come away thinking subconsciously or saying aloud, "What a cool guy!"  Medray was confident, stalwart, quiet, and consistent.   Susan is a wordsmith.  She literally chooses the most appropriate, diplomatic, encouraging words to say at the exact time you need them.  The Bible verse that has always pops in my head when Susan is around is:  "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Prov 25:11).  Very few people have this gift.

And now is the time I wish I had Susan's gift.  Susan and Marin lost their beloved Medray on Sunday night.  He lost his valiant fight with an aggressive cancer that took him relatively quickly after his diagnosis.  Marin had three precious years with her Daddy and he was a fantastic one!!  We had the privilege of spending time with most of the families in San Antonino last year for a reunion.  Marin and Medray had a special Daddy and daughter bond.  Mutual adoration was overwhelmingly apparent.  He poured an incredible quantity of love into Marin while he parented her.

So, we are mourning deeply the loss of Medray.    Jesus wept at the loss of his friend, and we weep with Susan and Marin.  Matt and I had a chance to talk one on one with Susan and Medray one night in San Antonio and we learned of their deep faith in Christ.  So, we hold another special bond with him.  He is our brother in Christ and we have confidence that we will see him again one day - wholly renewed, healed, and perfect.  Susan wrote a quick note to us a few weeks ago and her words to describe him during this time were: brave, courageous, faith-filled, loving, at peace, and a fighter.  I am not surprised one bit!   We don't understand the ways of God, but we know God will be taking care of Susan and Marin.   As for us, we pray we will get to reunite with Marin and Susan every other year or so as we have planned, Lord willing, and we can't wait to tell her about our impressions of Medray.  We'll talk about his love for her and how very special her Daddy was.

The group at our meeting immediately prior to meeting our babies!  We were taking notes and trying to listen to Evelyn.  Medray and Susan are the couple closest to me in the center left side of the table.

 Marin had a hard time in China, so Susan and Marin had some quiet time in the hotel room when we visited around Nanchang.  Medray is in the center right beside Matt.  

Medray and the O'Briens at the health clinic where we had to get exams for the babies.

Medray and Susan

Medray -  Pearl River Cruise

 Two beauties - Susan and Marin!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

To an Unknown Woman in China

Thank you!  I wish I knew who you were on this Mother's Day.  I wish I could say "thank you", which would be so very insufficient.

  • Thank you for taking such good care of yourself during your pregnancy in 2012.
  • If you had a choice, thank you for choosing to give birth, instead of opting for an abortion.
  • Thank you for going through the pain of childbirth and the pain of separation.  
  • Thank you for giving your baby girl a chance.  If it wasn't you, you made sure someone delivered our girl to a safe spot where she would be found.
I would love to give you a hug.  I would love to show you pictures or videos of Ellie Kay's smile and giggles.  I would love to show you how she growls....  How she loves being chased.....  How she laughs so readily and how infectious it is..... How she tries hard to be big and tough because she has 3 big brothers....How she's unafraid, safe, loved....How she snuggles with her Daddy.....How she is such a vital part of our family that we cannot imagine doing without....How she is precocious and attempts things before she really should.

Today, I will honor you and pray for you.  I will pray that God can somehow give you a peace about her and somehow let you know how treasured she is.  My words about you to Ellie Kay will always be respectful and honoring.  I promise!

So thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I hope to meet you and tell you all of these things in heaven one day.  If you don't know the love of Christ, I pray for someone to be sent to tell you.  My desire is to be able to hug you in person in eternity.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Week at the Thompsons

Our Easter week started with Passover on Tuesday.   What a great way to show what Christ did for us!  Just as the Israelites were spared from the Angel of Death years ago by the blood of a lamb - WE are also spared from eternal death through Christ's blood! :)

 Ellie Kay sampled the matzo while hanging out with Jacob during his math work.

 Passover plate: roasted egg, haroset, lamb, fresh greens, bitter herb

Grape juice and lamb (We cheated and did lamb chops this time instead of a shank bone).  

This was our project for Wednesday.  Tru and I made a tomb scene (Thanks to my high school friend, Denise, for the great idea!)

The empty tomb!

 A cute little lion we found at McAlisters on Thursday.  We go there every Thursday night with our friends the Mundays for Kids Eat Free.  

Ellie Kay's last nighttime bottle was this past week.  Matt was a little sad it was her last - the end of an era.  Yes - she's a bit old for a nighttime bottle, but we only got 6 months of that cuddling/bonding bottle time and we took it and enjoyed it!

Day Before Easter

We went to "Resurrection Journey" at our church.  It was a great opportunity for little ones - especially Tru's age - to actually see things that we more abstract for him.  His favorite thing was to sit on a donkey.  :)


Here's a few pics of our failed attempts at getting all 4 children in a pic at the same time without us.  Didn't really work....

First try at pic of kids together.  This spot was too sunny, so everyone was squinting. 

 We moved to the grass and got a few of Ellie Kay by herself since she was happy and doesn't like being constrained and made to sit by a big brother - whichever one it may be.  It is SO fun having a little girl and having a dainty, sweet baby girl as part of our family!!

 Boys alone since EK didn't want to take part.  

 Let's try again with Ellie Kay - nope! ;)

 Tru is always a willing cute little subject.

 She finally decided she would sit by Tru for a bit.  She wasn't feeling bossed for this second and could maintain her independence.  :)

And she's usually perfectly fine if Daddy is holding her, so at least we did get a family photo. 

Later in the day, we did Resurrections eggs and an Easter egg hunt.  Tru had the most fun of all I think!

"I think I like the candy!"

The boys had more challenging finds in the treehouse.  

During our egg hunt, we found these growing wild in our woods behind our house.  Beautiful and perfect timing to put on our table for Easter dinner!

Overall, we had a great Easter and are so thankful for our risen Savior!  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We met Ellie Kay 6 months ago today.

Six months ago today we saw her little, sweet, precious face for the first time.  We got to hold her tiny little form and finally got to examine her hands and eyes and feet and mouth and toes over those first couple of days.  It's so hard to believe it's been that long because it's gone by so fast.  She has blossomed and grown in so many ways during this time she's been a Thompson.   Five families received their babies within minutes of each other in the same room.   She was the smallest and youngest of our group (made up of 5 girls), but what she lacked in size she made up for in feistiness.  She was the hardest to calm down at times - especially the first day when things were expected of her (like not to cry for her passport picture), but she wasn't comfortable with us yet.  Now that I know her and all of her expressions so well, it makes me sad to see her pictures of those first couple of days.  She was terrified of us and grieving so badly about her loss of everything she had ever known.

She is such a normal part of our family that it's hard to imagine her not here.  She just loves us, our patterns, routines, etc.   When everyone is seated at meal time, she holds out her little hands on either side, because we hold hands to pray as a family before meals and she knows someone on either side of her will hold her hands.  It's the most precious thing!

To update you, I'll tell you what we've learned about her:

  • She warms up a little slowly to people.  (For example, she has never allowed anyone in church nursery to ever give her a bottle and still won't really let them hold her).  However, once she decides she accepts you, she loves you with abandon - a pure, loyal, beautiful love. 
  • She LOVES to play and be silly.  The first time she ever stopped crying was to stop and laugh at Matt who made a silly face at her.  Since then, that's the way to comfort her is to do something silly.  It is fortunate for her that she has 3 silly big brothers who love to make her laugh.
  • She likes Smarties (a rare treat for her, but a favorite).
  • She is an expert at finding pencils and pens, which she's not allowed to have (so she won't poke out her eye).  Somehow though, she has a talent of finding them in hidden places and is not at all willing to give them up without force.  I spend a good portion of my day wrestling her for them.  
  • She's attached to "Little Blankie" and needs it to sleep.
  • She's an outdoorsy girl and will bring me her coat and shoes as hints that she wants to go outside.  If it was up to her, she'd spend all of her time outdoors.  
  • She enjoys a great game of chase and tries to ask without being able to use words for her Daddy or brothers to chase her by looking at them, laughing, and then taking off as fast as her little legs will carry her.  It is super adorable!
  • She is a daredevil!  The faster, higher, more crazy the better!  She is so much braver than little Tru physically.  I think I'll have to work hard to raise a little lady with her nature and 3 big brothers.  We'll of course foster her talents and bents - the way God made her, but I'm thinking we're setting her up to be a tomboy with all of her present company.  :)  She tries hard to rip bows out of her hair as well, but I guess that's pretty normal for that age.  If any girl Moms can give me tips on keeping them out, I'll take them.  
  • Quite opposite of that though, she does look pretty proud when she puts on a cute dress.  She sways side to side and seems to especially light up if Matt gushes about how pretty she is.  It starts very early I guess with daughters wanting Daddy to think they're pretty.  
  • She can make Matt almost give her anything when she walks up to him with her sweet eyes and does the sign language for "please".   She's wrapping him quite effectively.....
  • She gives big slobbery kisses to us and her brothers very freely and upon her own volition.
  • I mentioned her love of her brothers, but she really loves Tru!  They share a room, and the first thing she wants to do in the mornings is to be placed in his bed, so that she can kiss him, lay on him,  and drool on him.  Tru is already a neat freak and is completely grossed out by her slobbery kisses and drool, but does enjoy her snuggles.
  • She is a Jiangxi province "spicy girl" and has a higher tolerance for spicy foods than Tru does.  
  • Her favorite foods are rice and noodles and she came to us an expert noodle sucker.
  • She loves baths and to be without clothes in general.
  • She likes to dance to music and will dance if even with no music if you ask her to.
  • She drools like crazy and usually won't keep a bib on, so her shirt has to be changed at least twice a day. 
  • She loves swords, guns, and cars (All 16 month old girls do, right?!)

Now for some pics!

Snow day #1
 Snow Day #2

 Outside time with brothers

 She loves swords and guns!  She plays more with her brothers things that her dolls so far.  :)

 Jacob and EK on Jacob's #12 Bday.

Had to post this one, because notice she has a pencil in her hand.  Plus, it's a great picture of her and my Dad.  

 She tries to be so big and keep up with Tru.  I caught her moving the step stool over to stand on it so she could be up at the counter too. 

 Aidan sweetly showing her her referral picture.  She laughed and smiled when she saw it.  

 This one cracks us up.  She's wearing her "bull dog" expression as Matt calls it.

 Ellie Kay playing chase with her brothers.  All 4 were wearing capes.  (Hers was her blanket).

Petting new baby chicks

 Her hair is finally long enough for pig tails!

 Anytime you ask here where anything is she points to her nose first!

Loves bath time (and she's not bruised on her shoulders).  Those are her Mongolian spots, before someone reports us to social services! :)

 After bath time with Daddy