Sunday, February 24, 2013

When can I meet Joelle?

I honestly can't tell you how many times that we have gotten this question :)  I wanted to take a few minutes to explain a little bit why we are taking things slowly when introducing people to Joelle.  I can honestly say that Jared and I read several adoption books, did online trainings, and met with our case workers about this issue.  While we are informed, this post is probably not research-based, but parent-instinct based.  

*We may have been looking at Joelle's pictures and videos for almost a year now, but Joelle has only known us as Mama and Papa for a little over 2 weeks.  I know it's hard to believe because she's doing so well... really she is.  She is very happy and loves to love on us.  But, really we were strangers to her up until like 18 days ago.  So, we are really working on who Mama and Papa are right now.  If she meets too many people, things get confusing real fast!

*She has to know that we are her caregivers.  She has probably had upwards of 30 caregivers in her lifetime... ones that went in and out often.  This is one of the reasons that when you see us in crowds, you will see us holding her closely.  Joelle needs to know that Mama and Papa aren't going anywhere right now.  It will probably be months before we just let her stay with other people (other than when she attends school at the end of March).  It will also be a while before we just let people go off with her at church, parties, family get-togethers and such.  Right now, we want to be in her sight as much as possible.

*Did you know that many families do what is called "cocooning" their adopted child?  When a mother gives birth to a child, she has had *hopefully* 9 months to bond with her child.  And, the bonding comes very naturally also.  We are having to make up for over 3 years that we were without our daughter.  We are trying to go from strangers to family.  For Jared and me, this has been really easy because we have prayed, cried, loved for Joelle since May of 2012.  Back to cocooning, some people do this for an entire year.  Here's cocooning in a nutshell:
-Stay home as much as possible with your child
-Keep things simple
-Wiping your calendar clean so that you aren't running errands, going out, etc
-Limiting the number of visitors
and more.

Jared and I are kind of "on the go" type of people, especially since he is a student pastor.  And, we have really enjoyed showing Joelle new things as you have seen in the past few blogs.  Although we haven't stayed in our "cave" at home, we are being VERY careful about a few things
-We are the only ones to feed, bathe, and change Joelle
-Joelle will only be put to bed by us
-Right now, we want to be the ones holding, hugging, kissing on Joelle.  Besides us she really doesn't "know" anyone.  So, it kind of makes sense that she doesn't just go around loving on everyone.  We want her to "love" on the right people but that will take time for her to understand!

There is so much more I could write in this blog post to explain/try to get anyone to understand about why we are sheltering Joelle right now, but I don't want to go on and on :)  I just want you to know that we truly aren't trying to "shun" anyone from Joelle, and it's not that we don't love you.  We REALLY REALLY do!  We are so thankful for the love, support, and prayers we have gotten in our adoption process.  Please just be patient with us.  I promise that if we do things right these first few months then it will go a long way for Joelle's future!  And, before you know it... Mama and Papa will be a bore compared to everyone else waiting to spoil her rotten!  

I'll leave you with a few pictures of Joelle from last night!



 She pretty much danced the entire night... LOVE that she just doesn't care!!


Friday, February 22, 2013

It was a ZOO kind of day!

We went to the zoo on this chilly Friday afternoon... it was actually perfect because it wasn't crowded at all!  Anyways, before we get to the pictures Jared and I want to tell you that our sweet Joelle's bloodwork/tests came back and she is a HEALTHY girl!  We are so thankful for your prayers and so relieved that nothing showed up on her tests!  The Lord has blessed us in so many ways!

Now onto the pictures...







 These birds were definitely our favorite part!  


 This face... OH MY!
 Beautiful even with a bird on her shoulder!



 They both forced me to get in a picture with the birds...






Overall, we had such a fun day!  Still loving all these "firsts" with our baby!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bubbles!

Oh my goodness, y'all... this girl LOVES her some bubbles.  When we saw her playing with them in videos we got from her time at the orphanage, we knew she HAD to have bubble fun at home!  Our sweet friends, Kent and Sarah (or in Joelle's words... Kenta and Sawah) got her this fun bubble machine.  After nap we broke this bad boy out and entertained ourselves for a good 40 minutes :)

 You gotta pose for Mom while blowing bubbles :)
And, of course you have to stop for a snack because blowing bubbles is exhausting.  This is how she eats... bow falls down and hand on the forehead!
The banana and goldfish did the trick, so it was time to play some more!

 Look at those skills!
 It's kind of amazing how something so simple can be so fun... who knew?!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Happy Happy!

Things that make Joelle HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

Seriously, I couldn't resist.  We are HUGE Duck Dynasty fans :)  And this girl can rock some yellow!
What she's eating...
Besides pretty much EVERYTHING (she can also put down some food!), here are some of the foods we have tried:

-Breakfast:  oatmeal, bananas, yogurt, sausage biscuits, blueberry muffins, pancakes, eggs, milk
-Meals:  veggie soup, chili,  chicken and rice, spaghetti, BBQ, fajitas, pizza, bread, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries
-Snacks:  applesauce, cheese, crackers, fruit snacks, popsicles, cheese/peanut butter crackers, chips

Things she does NOT like to eat:
chocolate... sadsville for mommy!
green beans
corn
pickles
hot sauce
chocolate chip cookies


Other LIKES:
tickling
playing "Where's Joelle?!"
repeating everything we say/do
singing
baby dolls
cartwheels
front rolls
taking pictures
looking at pictures/videos of herself
scratching Daddy's feet
getting her back scratched
being thrown up in the air
riding her tricycles
coloring (and she stays in the lines!!)
MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH!
waking up
cuddling

As I'm making this list, I am realizing that she pretty much likes to do anything.  She is very easy to please and entertain!  She's not a big fan of TV, but she will watch short videos on the computer.  We are A-Okay with that because we don't want to consume her time with the TV right now.  

We are trying to help her understand that we will be swimming soon... here she is standing in our empty/unfinished pool!  
She is pretty much HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY all the time!  Once again, we are in love with our sweet baby!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Returning to the Altar

I don't have a lot today....we've really been enjoying our time with Joelle at home.  I can't tell you how that smile and ridiculous laugh lights up the room so quickly!  Hopefully many of you will see it for yourself soon.  Every smile, laugh, and song are a reminder to us of God's goodness....which is why I wanted to drop in for a quick moment today.

2 weeks ago to the day, a group of women from our church grabbed us up during prayer time at church and asked if they could pray over us as we were waiting for news about Joelle's visa.  It was a sweet moment for us.  We have a group of 3 small groups at our church that grew out of the one we are a part of and these ladies were all from this group.  Just a side note...if you're not involved in some kind of discipleship group, you're missing out more than you know!

Anyways, as I was driving to church this morning it hit me.  God had done exactly what we've asked Him to do for a year.  Sunday after Sunday we prayed the same prayer in the same altar for the same baby girl.  So this morning, I had the chance to return to that same altar.  The same place we begged for God to place us with a child He saw fit for us to raise....the same place we begged God to speed up, work on our behalf, and do things His way.....I had the chance to return to that place today to just remind God of how impressed I am with Him...how grateful I am for His timing....and how thankful I am that He is faithful.

Sometimes we pour our heart out to Him so much, that when He moves, we just go on with life as if He owed us.  I pray that God will give me faithfulness like His in this life.  My prayer is that I'll be as faithful to thank Him as I was to ask Him for this blessing.

Just a thought for the day that came during one of our services this morning.  He's been faithful and good...and He deserves to be told so!  So if you're one of the thousands who has prayed for us to be united with our daughter, would you do me one more favor?  Remind God of how good He is today for working all things together for His good.  And in your life, I promise you'll be blessed if you live by the same principal....thank Him like you begged Him!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Lazy Saturday

Can you believe that today was the FIRST day that we didn't have to go to some kind of doctor for Joelle?  Here's a little rundown of our week:

Tuesday- went to our 1st doctor's appointment... has a little cold, got a chest xray
Wednesday- went to dentist for Mommy, peeked into Joelle's mouth
Thursday- went to get blood-work, but the Doc wanted us to go somewhere different... then went back to the doctor to review chest xray and check on her cold
Friday- started the day with blood-work at Children's Hospital

Saturday= a LAZY day at home!  So far, Joelle has been completely satisfied just playing with mommy and daddy.  She likes to play hide-and-go-seek, tickling, wrestling, etc.  She doesn't really play with her toys unless you prompt her to.  So, we took this morning as an opportunity to introduce her to some things in her room.

We played doctor...
 And practiced on her babies (hoping this helps her next doctor's appointment go well!)
 Meet Dr. Joelle!
 And we also loved on the puppies...

 Every few minutes you will hear Joelle saying, "Where's Bailey, where's Marley?!"  She was scared of them for all of 5 seconds when she walked into our house on that first night, but ever since then she is ALL about her dogs!  They may act like they aren't fond of her, but they follow her around and sleep with her during nap/bed time!  


We finished the night with a little shopping and hot dogs!  I'll be back soon to tell you some of the things she's been saying and eating since we've been home! 

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Aquarium

First thing this morning we had to head to Children's Hospital for blood-work {and to turn in those oh so lovely stool samples :)} which meant that the little one could not have breakfast.  No breakfast=one unhappy little girl.  She was all frowns and tears until we left the hospital and went to breakfast.  We decided that since she's had a week full of doctor's visits we would take her to the Dallas World Aquarium.  She LOVED it and was naming all of the animals by the end of it!  Here's our day in pictures...


















You can see that by the end of our visit she had completely forgotten that her day started off with no food and blood-work!  Success!