Finally some pictures...more to come :)

This was the longest hardest trip of my life! It was hard, on me and my family. But I can even imagine the how difficult this has been for Arielle.
Once Evan caught sight of us, he ran up the ramp to mommy and sister Arielle. He even threw off his backpack halfway to run faster!

We were so tired but we went out to eat anyway...we were starving! You can see in Arielle's face just how exhausted she was!

The next day Grandmom and PopPop came over for our first visit

Brothers Evan, Bradley, and Asher, and sister-to-be Melissa :) 

I have to laugh at this picture because I look out of my mind with that hair do going on! I was out of my mind!

Playing in the yard together

Beautiful day for the park

It was really fun watching her find and throw stones in the water. I know that she is older but I get the feeling whenever we do ANYTHING that she's never done it before. At least that's how she portrays life...through the eyes of a child!

Loook Daddee!

So Sweet!

There is such an innocence about her. Sometimes she looks so distant and you can see a weight of pain and insecurity. But when you call her name her whole face lights up. I try to make it a point of everyday to wrap my arms around her and tell her how beautiful and smart she is. She is...

She asked MAA to find her a family. I often wondered if she really wanted one or if she understood what having a family is all about.  She lived a long time with embarrasment. Never really expeienced being a kid...with other kids. Was probably segrated in some way.  You know how kids can be... I have many photos of her with other kids that reflect this. She always a step or two away from the chummy group. Always.

She learned to ride a two wheeler today. I looked out my window to find Daddy running along side this big baby girl...and I teared up thinking she almost missed this. What else did she miss out on? Right now she's playing Legos with my 4 year old, perfectly content.

I'm having a hard time figuring this girl out. She was pretty rough when we met. But really she's a kitten. A LOUD kitten.

Lord, give us wisdom in teaching her. Give to us patience, grace, and mercy. And most of all I pray your Love will overflow into Arielles heart, to give her back what was stolen. To give her new life!

I'm still here!

I have oodles of photos but they are on my camera still. next post...and family photos all together! I can't wait to share that!

Re-entry has been rough! at least for this Mama! Arielle continues to grow and flower. Her bravery is amazing. We haven't been without struggle though...more on that in a minute.

My body is not adjusting back to this side of the world very well. In China, I lapsed in taking my thyroid medication. I didn't neglect it on purpose, I usually take it in the morning, which became nights in China...and I got confused and forgot it many days. So now I'm suffering with fatigue, aches, pains, and just a rotten head cold. But enough about me :)

EMOTIONAL HEALTH/adjustments- I had been concerned about Arielle and her emotional health. I saw very little grieving. And almost seemed like she was in a "fantasy land" throughout our time in China-and even first at home. Not the response I wanted to see. I am no expert, but I think I know enough about adopting older children to see signs of oncoming "future issues". Grieving is a part of life and very necessary. She's lost everything. Even if it was horrible, there still needs to be some form of grieving. But, the dam broke loose last night...and I realized just how brave this girl really is.

One of our dogs chewed up one of her gifts from a beloved teacher...this is one of two teachers I saw tearing up as Arielle was leaving the orphanage. Arielle cried for almost 2 hours...obviously crying over more than a chewed gift. We held her, sat with her and prayed for her, while she sobbed and listened to the same Chinese pop song over and over again. She stay in her room for the rest of the evening and was sleeping by 8:30pm. This morning when she woke up, she told me through her translator..."lets let bygones be bygones"...I laughed because she was forgiving the stupid dog! Not sure I would have so easily! But I really think she needed that cry.

EDUCATION/ENGLISH -I decided to enrolled her in school for the rest of the school year. We are all very excited about this. I was told that our school system has the best ESL program in south Jersey...so we will see what they can do. And I have to say I really like the staff so far. She may begin school on Monday.

I still may home school her...I'm waiting to see what the school system can offer her.

I also hired someone for the next month (or more) to give her English lessons. She is an older Christian woman from Taiwan-perfect! I also bought Rosetta Stone for English as well, so between the two I think we are on the right track. We haven't installed it yet as the computer is being repaired...maybe in a couple days. I'm hoping it can help her with her education throughout the summer.

MEDICAL - Tomorrow we have an appointment with the adoption clinic. I'm so anxious to get her there. There are so many questions about her health that I need answered. Her medical needs are more than we were told, but she is very responsible for her own health. I think she may have been born with spina-bifida.

FOOD - We are having some food issues...this kid was told she can't eat or drink anything cold...ever. And she abides by the doctors orders! Now I've heard about the hot/warm water in Asian culture. But food? Really? Has anyone else heard of this? And she is convinced she will become ill if she does. I noticed she does have digestive issues (but she's just been through one of the biggest events of her life! I have digestive issues too!) But nothing crazy. I can't convince her it's ok to eat a piece of fruit. "NO COLD". No juice, not even room temperature water. I did discover she will drink heated Almond milk which made me happy :) I can do that! But she boils water and drinks it steaming hot out of a glass. HOT! She also drinks a lot of hot tea. I need to make sure she is drinking the decaf! I was wondering if anyone else has ever had this problem?

FAMILY - The boys are great for her, and her for the boys. I have to say this is going great! The age difference is good for this family. I think if she had been closer in age that we would have had more "issues"...but so far so good. Arielle has a very compassionate heart. The whole family is supposed to get together all at once this Sunday! I can't wait to get some photos!

Daddy and Arielle hit it off right from the start. Especially when he played basketball with her! too funny! This girl has needed a daddy for a very long time.

CHURCH - She seemed a little overwhelmed at church. I'm sure the lack of language was frustrating for her. And our church is anything but quiet. She liked the band but it was more like a show for her. I've noticed that in social situations, she is often inappropriately loud. Church was no exception. I think this is just lack of experience and immaturity. She's really a good girl, just likes to be the center of attention :)

All and all, it's going great. We are getting to know each other and developing relationships already. She's clingy and whiny like a toddler at times...she's never really had a chance to be a toddler...loved and nurtured. I'm sure she was rejected on many levels. Giving her grace and mercy and allowing her to be a little girl at times may look/feel weird to some, but I know if she's ever to become the woman God created her to be, she needs to experience this. I tell her everyday how smart and beautiful she is...one day she's going to believe it!