Sunday, November 18, 2018

Post Adoption:15 months- The Half

We have been home with Maggie 15 months now.

I've thought about this number, and about this time, even before we boarded a plane for China.

While there is a buffer in place to give some privacy to Maggie's story and to account for my terrible math skills, we have reached the point of having Maggie in her forever home that same amount of time that she was in an orphanage. Half of her life.

We've had her for half of her life.

What a beautiful gift we have been given.

Maggie has known a family for half of her life and we have known her joyful laugh and spunky spirit.

15 month update:

Maggie has been doing well!

Food and Growth:
No real issues here anymore. She is eating well and will drink from cups now. She likes to snack a lot and likes to eat whatever anyone else is eating. She is just barely getting into 2T clothing, so she is still pretty tiny, but she is growing and that is most important.

She likes her family and she likes people. At home, she always wants to be held, on a lap or involved in everything.

In public she is very outgoing and likes to say Hi and Bye to everyone. She thinks that everyone needs to acknowledge her. She likes to give fist bumps and high fives, or tease you and not give you anything. You never quite know what you will get!


Speech is our biggest obstacle right now. She has really started to add more voluntary words in the last few weeks, but it has been S L O W. She will repeat words (when she feels like it) but she does not add them to her vocabulary as often as we would like. She is in speech therapy every week and we are working on it, but the process has been much slower than I had expected.

Her fine and gross motor skills are almost up to par. She is still not proficient at stairs and doesn't want to even try them. In her defense, we have zero stairs in our house, so the only chance we have to practice is when we visit someone who does have stairs. All of the houses we will visit this holiday season have we will get to have LOTS of practice, whether she likes it or not!

Speech and communication is our number one goal
right now. She has been adding more 2 and sometimes 3 word phrases, but they are not really clear or as often as we would like. 
So, having Maggie be able to clearly communicate to us is most important.

While we know that Maggie was loved and adored in her orphanage home for those 15 months, she still was without a mother and a father, brothers and sister. She was without a family. I am still completely humbled that we were chosen to be her family. We get to experience all of  the joys and laughter and stubbornness that is wrapped up into Maggie Li Ya. We are so very blessed.

November is National Adoption Awareness month. If adoption or the plight of the orphan lays heavy on your heart, I encourage you to take that first step. Maybe it is diving into our Foster Care system, maybe it is domestic and working with birth moms. Maybe it is in family preservation. Maybe it is international adoption, where children still live in mass orphanages. Whatever pulls at your heart, whatever you can't seem to get out of our head,  I encourage you to make that first move. Take that first step. Make that call.

Adoption is like a giant funnel. It is wide and open with thousands of options, but I promise you, once you start the process it will narrow, every question and phone call will bring the next step and you will be closer to the end result.

It is worth it, friends.  Kids need families.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

12 years later...

12 years ago, I walked down the aisle to meet this guy waiting for me at the end. We were both so young, so in love and so excited about what was in store for us. I loved him then, but I love him more now.

12 years have brought us changes upon changes, some valleys and definitely some mountains tops. We've made major moves and had multiple job changes, all while raising 4 amazing kids.

This year we start out on a brand new foot. Ryan is now self-employed, running not one but two of his own companies. It has been a long time coming for us. Ryan's masters is in Global Entrepreneurship and running and owning his own company has been a life time goal.

We are now walking into that new role and it is both terrifying and exhilarating. I am excited to see what is in store for him professionally and for us, as a family.

This 12th year is going to be a good one, love. It is going to be a good one!

Below is a brief look at Ryan's company, Project Bold Co. We created this for a contest (we didn't win) but it gives a great look at one of his businesses. There is a lot going on behind the scenes for this company and I am so proud of the direction this business is going. Important people are catching this important vision and I am so excited to see what happens next!
The other is his own consulting company, East Park Consulting that consults and implements for salesforce integrations. (

Monday, September 17, 2018

Magnificent Macy

I sat in a little chair, crouched next to tiny tables. I was at Macy's preschool open house and I was asked to describe my child in one word. One word to describe her infinite qualities and characteristics. How could I narrow it down to just one word?

So, I thought and contemplated, while listening to other parents use large adjectives to explain their child and I kept coming back to a few simple words. Simple words with deep meaning that I could use to describe my daughter.

Kind. Loving. Helper. Friend.

Because while she is gregarious and sassy and a firecracker at times, she is mostly kind. She is a helper, to me, to her little sister, to her teacher. She is a friend, building relationships wherever she goes.  She is loving and sweet.

Today, my sweet girl turns 5. One full hand of five precious fingers.

She came into our world in a flurry, surprising us all with her quick appearance. She has filled our world with bows and bags, dresses and dolls. She can wrestle with the best of them, but her most favorite thing to do is sing and dance to The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

She is just the best big sister, helping Maggie, even is she didn't ask. Maggie will go to her big sister when a loud noise scares her, holding on tight to Macy. She has grown into her big sister role with patience and grace. We are so proud of her.

Macy Elizabeth, you light up our world with your smile and laugh. We are so proud of the kind friend you are becoming and look forward to watching you grow in confidence in the coming years.

We love you, sweet girl. Happy 5th Birthday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Gotcha Day! 1 Year Anniversary

One year ago today, I walked into a back room of a nondescript government building. The air was warm and sticky. There were sounds of Mandarin words swirling around me, but all I heard was,

 "There she is. This is Li Ya. Li Ya."

And there you were, sitting on your nanny's lap, a discarded bottle beside you and a look of bewilderment on your face.

I leaned down to you and said," Hi." as your nanny stood and let me take you into my arms. I tried to remain calm, as I didn't want to startle you or concern you. But the minute I saw you, tears started to stream down my face.

You let me hold you and didn't cry. You were curious, stoic and aloof. We could hold you, but your hands were held back, a non-verbal "Don't touch. Don't come near".

Ever so slowly, those little hands came down. The trust began to be built.

We moved forward, we came home, we started a new routine, in a new country with a new language, shared with new siblings.

You had no idea what was happening on that day, one year ago.

But today, you know that you are loved. That you are a daughter and a sister. You are a niece and a granddaughter.

You are a Fedell.

You've changed so much in the last year.

You went from barely sitting to crawling, walking, running and now you even dance!

You heard English for the first time one year ago and now your receptive understanding of English is flawless. You surprise us every single day with what you understand and what you know.

You are working hard in speech and have increased your words from 0 to around 35!

You went from never having solids, only a bottle, to now you can use a spoon and a fork without much help.

You were under 18 pounds when we got you and now you put on a solid 7 pounds, growing strong and healthy.

You are stronger than you appear, with a grit and determination that will serve you well in life.

We are SO proud that we were chosen to be your parents.

God has blessed us.

Happy Gotcha Day, Margaret Li Ya.

We can't imagine life without you.

You are LOVED.

 September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The China Pack: Reunited

August 13, 2017

How to make lifelong friends:

Travel across the world together.
 Go through life-altering family changes together. 
Realize that you have never seen them NOT sweaty, and visa versa.
Travel in a "pack". 
Order group dinners via Google Translate. 
Share Miralax amongst yourselves. 
Sweat a lot. 
Take pictures with strangers.
 Sweat some more.
Get together almost a year later and realize that it seems like yesterday...and that everyone is NOT sweating.

July 22, 2018

Plan to get together again next year. Sweating optional.

10 days ago, we traveled to Dayton, Ohio to get together with the families we traveled with in China. One came from Kentucky, the other from North Carolina. 

We stayed at a regular hotel and spent hours and hours at parks, watching our kids play and catching up on the previous year, the year home from China.

Lucy* and Maggie meeting for the first time since we left them at the Detroit airport on August 17th, 2017. We asked them to hug...but Lucy's brother Jack got it instead!
Did the girls remember each other?
Probably not. 
They were very excited and very comfortable with each other right away. So, maybe they sensed something.
Either way, they were just the cutest together!

The girls taking a break from the ice cold pool.

Jack G. and Colin got to sit on the Birthday saddle since they were both July birthdays.
(Jack F. declined that honor)

Playing with toys while the big kids and dads played some football in the rain.

We hung out in the hotel that evening and Jessica made s'mores!

The bigs played some Uno!

Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel and the Gilsdorf's met up with us! Alexis joined in on the fun.

Who knew a luggage cart could be so fun?!?

Alexis graciously shared her sidewalk chalk with the girls.

 Colin was the best little helper with all the kids. He helped the girls move around the playgrounds and made sure no one ran off!

Macy and Jack G. were the cutest little friends. Here they are playing in a little "old fashioned" house together.

Two girls, from Beiliu, China, adopted on the same day, playing in a park in Dayton, Oh. It blows my mind.

We all spent most of the day just watching the girls interact.

It was just the best day.

These sweet girls, one year ago, did not have a family.  But, oh, what a difference a year makes!

Now all three of these lovely ladies are dearly loved daughters. Forever in a family.

And now we are a great big adopted family.

And I can not wait to see everyone again.

* If you want to follow along with Jessica and her family, you can find her site here.