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.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Energetic Eight!!

This sweet boy is 8 years old today!
You came into the world and immediately stole our hearts.
You were sweet and determined.

You were born in the early hours of the morning, coming at your own time, your own way.
You were either happy or mad, laughing or crying.
You were that way from the very beginning!

You were my most active baby. You were crawling up slides at 8 months, walking at 9 months and full on running at 10 months!
Life was never, ever boring with you!

Your smile can light up a room and you pay attention to those around you. You are fiercely loyal to your family and once you have made a friend, you are fiercely loyal to them as well.

You like to make us laugh, to be silly with your big brother and to have your little sisters giggling all day.

You have a mischievous streak in you, that usually involves something to do with food, especially sweets! I've cleaned more Nutella off of you than I care to admit. The picture below was not the first or the last time you snuck into the Nutella jar.
(While you no longer get it on your face, I am pretty sure this still happens!)

You love to be active and fell in love with soccer at a young age. I kept expecting you to grow bored with it, and to move onto another sport, but the opposite has taken place.

You are passionate and driven and you give 100% when you play soccer. That drive and ambition continues in everything that you do, whether it is school or tackling a new challenge.
I am proud of your dedication and teamwork. You insisted on attending games that you had to sit out due to your eye injury, because you are still on the team and you wanted to support your teammates.
Your dedication is inspiring.

You are always the first one to greet me in the morning and always make sure to say goodnight.
You give the best hugs.

We love you, Colin, with your sweet soul and fierce loyalty.
We like to call you our bulldog. You defend the weak and seek justice in everything.
We pray that your defense of the weak and doing what is right will carry on throughout your entire life.
Seek justice. Defend the hurting. Lift up the brokenhearted.

 Your love for your siblings is the best. Jack is your best friend and your friendship is something to value. You love your sisters,  helping and caring for them both. You are especially caring with Maggie, helping her around the house. Macy may never leave you alone, but that is because she loves you so!

 Happiest Birthday, my Colin. I look forward to watching you learn and grow this year, tackling new challenges and growing into the amazing young man you are becoming. We are proud of you and we love you so!