Wednesday, July 4, 2018

All the fingers: 10 years old!

Today, 10 years ago, you made me a momma. My first born, my boy. Everyone thought that you would be born on the 3rd, but you decided that celebrating on the 4th of July was a better idea.
It is so much more fun to celebrate a birthday with fireworks and celebrations!

You can now use all of your fingers to show how old you are.
Though, you probably will not.
That is embarrassing.

Your favorite thing is to be with friends, be social, be active.
You could be busy with friends from the morning that you wake up till the minute you go to bed, and it would not be enough.

You like to learn and read, but also play sports and be active.

This year, you are going to venture into the music world and learn an instrument.
I think that it will be a perfect fit for you.

 You have kept us laughing from day one, with your silliness and songs.

You have lots to say and love to share with anyone around you.

You are a fantastic big brother, with your younger siblings looking up to you and wanting to do everything that you do!

We love you so much, our dear first born.

You add wit and wisdom into our family.

You love those around you!

Our prayer for you, as you embark into the double digits of life, is that you will always remain kind.
Sincere with your words, and seek to lead those around you in kindness.

People look up to you, and we want you to be an ally to the hurting and befriend those who have none. To look for the vulnerable and lift them up.
Advocate for those others ignore, and stand up to those who mistreat.
Use those natural leadership skills for good, as we know you can!

Happiest 10th Birthday, Jack!

We are so excited to see where you will go, and what you will do.
But above all, know that you are deeply and truly LOVED.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Post Adoption: Month 9 & 10

The school year has ended and summer is upon us. Our sweet Maggie has been home with us for a full 10 months! We are starting to prepare our 1 year report and can not believe it! I remember last summer, being so close to bringing her home, but still so much to to do and so many miles between us. Now, we are home and ready for our first full summer as a family of 6!

Food and Growth:
Maggie is growing so much! We are down to 1 bottle in the morning now and she will drink from her cup without issues. She likes to use her fork, but still struggles with yogurt and a spoon! She loves fruit, cheese and more fruit. We are working on getting more varieties in her...but she is a very typical 2 yr old.
The doctors are pleased with her growth and that it continues to climb. She is still a bit small for her age, but has put on 5 full pounds in 10 months.

We are doing well on this area. Maggie knows we are her people and she will look for us while we are out in public. She gets very excited when she sees her brothers get off the bus and when she sees her dad at soccer practice. She is well loved by her siblings, each one trying to get the most hugs and kisses good night. Each of the kids have a special bond with Maggie and it makes me so proud to be their momma.

While Maggie is doing great, we will be doing a small eye procedure for her in July. Both of her tear ducts are blocked, so she will have out patient surgery to have those opened up. Because of her age, she will have to be put under, but it is a simple procedure with no post-op issues. I am nervous for the anesthesia, as I am not sure how she will react when she comes out, but I am thankful that in 10 months, we will only have had one small procedure.


After weeks of evaluations and meetings, we have finally started speech therapy for Maggie. She is slooooowly adding more words, but not at the speed she should be. So, we are hoping that this will help her communicate with us. Macy is anxiously awaiting the time that she will be able to have full conversations with her sister!

Maggie is so fun and is coming into her own. She still loves to snuggle with her mom and dad when she wakes up. She has a very strong opinion and is not afraid to let it be known. If she is tired, she will climb up in her chair and put herself to sleep (as pictures above) If she wants to be held, she will let you know. If you have food, she wants a bite. She wants to do whatever everyone else is doing and she refuses to be left out.

We can't believe that we have had this sassy fun thing for 10 whole months, but yet, it feels like she has always been with us. We are looking forward to summer with lots of sibling time, trying to get her to like the pool and seeing our China friends next month. So many things to look forward to! 

Happy Summer, friends!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Maggie is TWO!! {Post Adoption: Month 8)

Maggie is TWO today! Our sweet girl has been with us for 8 months and we are so excited to celebrate her birthday with her.

While Maggie's story is her own, and we will let her share the details herself, we are very lucky to know that April 26th is her actual birthday. This is not common in international adoptions and we are so glad that we get to celebrate her on the exact day, and not estimated.

While we will celebrate together as a family, a day filled with presents, balloons, cake and decorations, it is a day that will hold much more than that for me. It is my prayer that her birth family knows that she is loved, that they know that she is safe and healthy.  I think about her momma so much. I think about her birth family and if they have some of her traits, some of her sass and humor.  I do not know if we will ever meet here on earth, but I am so thankful for them. I know that they made the hardest decision in the world for their child and that they did it out of love. Maggie will always know that her birth family loved her so much that they made the hardest decision. So, today, on the day of my girl's birth, I pray for her momma, her momma heart and I pray that the Lord will whisper words of peace and love to her, that she may know her girl is loved and happy and healthy.

We keep making great progress with attachment and I feel confident that Maggie knows we are her family and she is our daughter. She will let people hold her, but definitely prefers her family. If we are in her sight and we tell her it is ok, she will let people hold her and play with her. So, we are pleased with her sense of security with us. She has even chosen me over Ryan a few times, which had not happened since we have been home. Ryan was not such a fan of that, but this momma sure was!

Food and Growth:
We have her 2 year wellness appointment coming up next week, so it will be interesting to see how she has grown. We are going to look into her eyes, teeth and hopefully no blood work! 
Food and using utensils is still a slow upwards battle and something we will probably work on for some time.

Physical development:
She is moving around well and tries to run. Wobbly toddler runs are just the best. She has started to climb up on some furniture, another development milestone. She has also taken some tumbles with this new found freedom, but nothing to dramatic. It hasn't seemed to stop her at all.

She is doing well with her fine motor skills when it comes to writing and drawing. We have found quite a few places where she has "practiced" on our pens and markers are more carefully monitored these days! She has also gotten a hold of the boys' homework a few times and they quickly learned to keep things out of her reach.

Verbal Development:
Maggie has added a few more words, but is still very far behind for her age. She is using around 5-10 words and she should be at 50. Her receptive language (understanding English) is amazing. She understands everything we say, will get things that we ask and will obey simple commands. It is amazing to think that she has only heard English for 8 months and she comprehends all of it. Her speech will come, but we are applying to start speech therapy so that we can help give her extra tools for her to use to communicate with us. Her latest word is "Guys!" which she will yell to groups of kids to get their attention...whether they are waiting for the bus or in the middle of a soccer practice.

We are starting to wean her off her bottle. It was used more for fluid intake than calories and nutrients, so we are hoping to start using cups more for her fluids and hopefully have her eat more solid foods.

Now that it is finally starting to warm up here, we are trying to get Maggie outside more and help build more of her muscle tone. While she is walking well, she still seems weaker than she should be and the uneven outdoor grounds will help build up that muscle tone that she is lacking in.

Words! Lots more words! We are hoping to add more vocabulary to her arsenal in the coming months.

Happiest Birthday, dear daughter. We are so happy that you are ours and that we get to celebrate you every day for the rest of your life. We pray that you know that you are deeply loved and we can not wait to watch you grow. You will do great things, my dear. Great and mighty things.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Margaret Li Ya!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Post Adoption: Month 6 & 7

On February 7th we hit the half year mark of meeting our Maggie. And that six month mark slipped into 7 months and here we are today. Over half way through our first year with our girl.

Month 6 was a busy one for her and for us! Maggie started walking! She decided to show off at our 6 month post-placement home visit (that went very well) and start walking around like no big deal.
Since that day, she has slowly added more and more steps and now she walks 100% of time and is getting very quick! So quick, that we now have to watch her at basketball and soccer games so that she does not  dart onto the playing field!

Our sweet girls in their qipoa, traditional Chinese silks, for Chinese New Year.

Life has been very full lately, with every night booked with an activity and every weekend filled with multiple games. Added on top of a school commitment, and one of the largest work projects that I have done in recent years, and you have a momma that is barely keeping her head above water.

BUT! The end is in site and an easier schedule is upon us. Maggie has just rolled with everything. She attends 75% of those practises and 100% of the games and she makes friends wherever she goes. We are so blessed that our soccer "family" loves her and everyone is willing to help out...even if that means chasing her down the sideline while Ryan and I were busy watching a corner kick at the other end of the field! Everyone likes to engage with Maggie, and we are so grateful for that.

Things seem to be going well. We definitely hit some regression sleep-wise. She wakes up crying some nights, which she has not done before. We can usually comfort her and put her back to sleep, but it is probably trauma related.
She is now going to nursery at church and doing well. She fusses briefly when I leave (which is good! It is good that she doesn't want me to leave) and she is happy when I come to get her. It helps us establish that even if we leave for a little while, we always come back.

Food and growth:
We are working on getting her to use utensils. She will sometime, but prefers her hands. I am trying to give her things that she HAS to use a spoon with, like yogurt or cereal, but it is messy, slow business! Cups or sippy cups are still hard. She CAN drink from them, she just refuses to.

Health: We've had a healthy two months with no doctor's appointments and no issues! In this cold and flu season, we are especially grateful for that!

Physical and verbal development:
She is walking! She is definitely on the move now and is trying to climb onto furniture, which is a next developmental stage. She is getting better with her gross and fine motor skills, but it is still something that we will work on for awhile.

Verbally, not much has changed. She is saying "See ya" when people leave and sometimes "bye". She spent most of the last two months working on physical skills, so we are hoping that her verbal will start to catch up.

 Goals: We are still wanting to hear more words. We will most likely sign her up for speech therapy around her 2nd birthday, just to help her along.
Eating more independently, as well as getting more fluids from a cup and not the bottle is next step.

She is definitely doing well and thriving here at home. She is very much a toddler and has a very strong will and opinion, so we are both learning how to handle this stage. She wants to do everything that she sees others doing. Are you eating? She must eat the exact same thing. Are you putting shoes on? She must put shoes on. Are you sitting? She must sit. Did you take your jacket off? Her jacket must come off.

While the behavior is usually cute and she is a little sponge that picks everything up, it is also trying at times. Not everyone wants to share bites of food every. single. time. So we are working on communicating needs and wants. Her siblings really do well with sharing with her...but her high pitched scream to get her way also motivates that sharing. So we are trying to find a balance, while also teaching her to how to communicate her desires in a way that does not include screaming. Wish us luck!

Maggie is lively and funny and silly and we can't wait to see the changes in the next few months and years, as we settle into becoming a family of 6.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Post Adoption: Month 5

We have been home 5 whole months with this sweet face. It seems like yesterday, and yet it seems like a million years ago.

It is hard to think of life without Maggie at this point. She just fits.
The comment was made at one of our family gatherings during the holidays about how much Maggie just fits right in.

A friend met Maggie for the first time after Christmas and commented on how much she was "totally a Fedell". I smiled as I watched her crawl all over the library floor, heading to the blocks with the other kids.
But then she went on to say that she was not surprised at all that Maggie just fit so well. We had prayed and prayed over her and our adoption and countless other people had as well.
It was not surprising at all.
It was just an answer to prayer.

And that is what she is. An answer to our prayers.

 This month we had the honor of dedicating Maggie to the Lord. We are so blessed to be chosen to be her parents.
We did the dedication at my sister's church so that our family could be apart of it. The sleeping baby to the left is my niece, Emma Jane, who was also dedicated that day.

 Living her best life at Target.

Attachment: This seems to be going well. She loves LOVES her daddy, but is also bonded to me. I tend to do the "hard" stuff with her like doctor appointments, cleaning her nose and giving medication. She did reach for me when the pediatrician was checking her and she started to cry. My pediatrician was SO excited and said that was exactly what she was looking for attachment wise. It is good that she is not comfortable with strangers and she wanted me. It was just one more baby step in the right direction.

Food and growth: She is getting pickier with her food, but also is starting to chew and bite much better.  She is able to use her molars to grind some of her food, which she was not doing before. I think she is ready for more table food, then the softer baby food. We need to start working on using utensils now and are still not getting much fluid in her besides her formula bottles. She is over 21 pounds now, so still growing nicely.
She has popped out three more teeth, totaling 14. I think she is almost ready for some steak ;)

Health: Maggie had a rough month with getting her first real cold that turned into an ear infection. It has made sleeping really hard for her (and for us!) She also was able to get a blood draw at the U of M children's hospital. They got it on the first attempt, so we were thankful for that. It confirmed that she has Thalassemia Beta, a genetic blood disorder that is very common in China. It basically means that she makes defective hemoglobins. It will not really affect her at all, besides a mild type anemia and there is not a treatment for it. It is just something that we are aware of.

Physical and Verbal Development: She is still cruising all over the place and can now walk 15-20 steps between us. Will she walk on her own or without two people for her to go between? No. Can she walk if she wanted to? Yes. So the Early On lady recommended that we just make her walk everywhere instead of carrying her. After we change her diaper, we walk with her (she holds one hand and walks) down the hall way to the living room. We walk her into the dining room for dinner instead of carrying her.  So if you see me walking, very, very slowly, down the halls or around the soccer fields, that is why. Practice makes perfect, right? Or in our case, practice makes walkers!

Verbally she is babbling and "talking" more. Her brothers taught her a new word that she is so proud of: Dilly Dilly. As in, the Bud Light slogan "Dilly Dilly." Perfect. I am so proud my baby can say a beer catch phrase.

Maggie LOVED playing with Alaina, her second cousin, in this little desk nook. Despite her reaction, Alaina liked it too!

Goals: Walking! Talking! Stacking blocks! Using a spoon and fork! All these little things that we do daily and do without thinking, is what we need to work on with Maggie. She is doing great, we just need to work on her fine and gross motor skills.
 We have our six month post-adoption placement home visit coming up, so we will see what the social worker says.

Our winter is filled with soccer, basketball and dance practices, preschool pick ups and weekends on either a field or a court and Maggie just rolls with it. She is in and out of the car so much, spends hours waiting for a sibling in a confined place and she just smiles and hangs out. Don't get me wrong, she has some serious spice to her and will let her opinion known, but she is happy when we are all together, even if that means watching brother's practice. 

We've had Maggie for 1/4 of her life now. We can't wait to spend the rest of it with her.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017: A Year in Review


What a crazy year for our family. A new daughter, a trip around the world and many more moments filled those 365 days.

Here is a photo review.


Macy started preschool for the first time! She was very excited.

We took the kids to the Dog Expo. While it was not my favorite thing, the kids absolutely loved it. We did not come home with a puppy, so I will call it a win.

This handsome guy celebrated his birthday with a lunch date with his girls, eating his favorite, Thai.


With weekends filled with soccer turf and basketball courts, Macy played where every possible. Daddy even joined in on the fun.

My niece, Emma Jane, joined the world!

This guy and his sweet little team won the Winter 1 and 2 season. These boys were just so fun to watch.


A freak wind storm that took out our neighbor's tree, thus taking out our power line left us without power for FIVE days. In March. In Michigan.
Warm coffee and donuts were a must.

Just as we got our power back, a big snow storm stopped by.

We get dressed up fancy one time a year... for the New Morning School auction gala.


We spent our spring break in Kalamazoo, visiting family and museums.

Happy Easter from this crew!


We got the call that we were MATCHED with this sweet little face!!

I spent my Mother's Day cheering on this handsome dude at his first tournament playing in the big leagues! I wouldn't want it any other way!

Once all our paperwork was finalized in China, we told the kids that their new sibling was a GIRL!
Macy was beyond excited!!

Sweet memories were made on Memorial Day, just a girl and her daddy.


We held a yard sale adoption fundraiser that was SO much work, but successful and we were thankful for everything that sold.

This guy (whose sticker says "We Need You") went above and beyond, donating his things and giving us all his money just  because he "wanted his sister home."

We celebrate the best daddy around on Father's Day.

We also squeezed in as many park dates as possible!


You can't celebrate Jack's birthday and the 4th of July without a stop at Tiny's for Blue Moon ice cream.

We said " See you later" to dear friends who moved back to England. We miss them already!

I upped my Mom status with the purchase of a mini van.

This cute dude turned 7 years old!

And we did LOTS of adoption paperwork as we prepared for our trip to China to get Maggie.


Hello from the Great Wall of China!

Gotcha Day where we met Maggie for the very first time. It was a beautiful, heart wrenching, intense, sad and happy day for us all.

Adoption Day!

Maggie's main mode of transportation in China.

Our "pack" that we travel with in China. We are so thankful to travel with two other families who became dear friends. It was such a blessing.

U.S Consulate day! Maggie was ours in China and now Internationally!


Maggie's first soccer game. (Sorry for all of sporting events you will be dragged to in your lifetime)

Sibling love. It makes me all mushy thinking about how sweet these siblings love is.


Colin's first tournament playing on his new A team.

Our first photo as a family of SIX!

Fourth, Second and Preschool, here they come!

One month home with this one and she was feeling good!

This sweet girl of mine turned 4 years old!


Apple picking in the rain with Macy's preschool.

Colin's team won the 2009 (one year up) Dearborn Jaguars Invitational. These boys are gems. Sweet, good boys, every one of them. We are so thankful for his teammates and coach.

Maggie gained 2 whole pounds...mostly in those cheeks!

The best part of my bi-annual work trips is seeing these girls! Friendships are so valuable.

Princess Anna, a mime, Gareth Bale and baby Elephant showed up on Halloween.


My baby ballerina, back in action.

Daylights Savings is hard.

November is World Adoption Month.

We are big fans of adoption in our home.

Happy Thanksgiving from my greatest blessings!


My sweet girls. I love that they have each other.

My Christmas Elf.

Sitting sideline with these handsome guys. Not a bad place to be!

Macy says that she wants to be a "baker girl" when she grows up.

I vividly remember this time last year. The empty stocking holder, holding the Chinese Flag, waiting for a name and a face to fill it's place. It was a bittersweet holiday season, for sure.

This year, Maggie is home for the holidays and this miracle is something that I do not take lightly. She is home. Forever.

Full mantle, full heart.

Christmas Eve. These kids are just the greatest joy of my life.

Christmas Eve in matching Christmas jammies. Jack and Colin know the drill, but Maggie did not know that she will forever be forced into matching Christmas jammies for the rest of her days.
Goal next year: Getting Dad into matching jammies.

Andrew side Christmas morning with the cousins...who also believe in matching Christmas jammies.

My beautiful Chinese princess in her traditional Chinese silks.

What is better than a giant box after Christmas? Nothing.

2017 was an intense year for us. I was challenged in every single area of life. I felt stretched and challenged at every corner. It was filled with high highs and low lows. After 18 months of praying and preparing for a new member of our family, we brought our daughter home from China.

So as we say goodbye to 2017, the year that made a family of 6, I look forward to 2018 as a year of growth.
Growing together as family. Growing in our relationships and our friendships. Growing with those around us.
 I pray that 2018 is a year of flourish and growth.
For Maggie to flourish in our family.
For Ryan to flourish in his business.
For Jack to flourish in school and friendships.
For Colin to flourish in his quiet leadership.
For Macy to flourish in school and with her friends.

And for those that are reading this, I pray that 2018 is the year that you grow into the person that you were created to be. Not the person that others expect, but the person the God created you for.

Let's make it a year of growth.