Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ella's Dedication

We had Ella dedicated on February 19!  What an absolute joy and privilege to publicly commit to raising our sweet daughter to know and love God. 
I think God stored up every ounce of his unconditional love for this little girl and poured it into my heart.  We can't wait to tell Ella her adoption story someday and how, through faith and prayer, God opened our hearts and lead us every step of the way to bringing her home.

 Last time we were on this stage, we were sharing our story on Orphan Sunday (days before we left for our first trip to Russia!)... now here we are on stage with Ella in our arms!!
 Our pastor giving Ella her first bible and saying a prayer for our family
  Love that my friend caught this picture of Jacob praying along with us!
 Back home for a dedication/homecoming/belated first birthday party!
 My mom took this picture... I love it.
 My friend made Ella a smash cake to celebrate.  :0)
   All three of our boys barely touched their cake on their first birthday and were done.
Ella totally embraced it though.

 She did pause along the way to share some with Daddy and her brothers ;)
 I love her cousin's reaction in the background!
 Ella's little ruffle cake was demolished in record time.
 Thank goodness there was a big one for the adults!!
 Maddie and Ella with their knitted hats
 What a great day with family celebrating our special girl!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Did I mention...

 ...that I have always always wanted to have a little girl so I could put her hair in piggy tails??
This was a momentous day for me.  ;)


Love is an amazing thing.
 Sometimes people wonder if it's possible to love an adopted child as much as a biological child.
 The answer is yes.  Absolutely, positively, wholeheartedly, yes.
 After all, love isn't purely a biological thing.  Think about how much you love your husband, good friends... (and think about how much God loves you! ;)
 Ephesians 1: 4-5 
How blessed is God!  And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.
 Gavin asked me one day, "Mommy, do you love Ella as much as you love us?"
 YES.  Yes, I do.
I fell in love with Ella as soon as I laid eyes on her first little referral picture.
  I knew she was the one God had handpicked especially for us.
 The love that filled my heart when I met her six months later was indescribable... my pounding heart, nervousness, and fears just faded away.  When I held her in my arms, emotion overcame me just as when I held our boys for the first time.  It felt like she had always been mine, and now she always will be.  To God be the glory.
 People always tell me how blessed Ella is.  But truly, WE are blessed.  We are blessed that God entrusted us to take care of this sweet little girl for the rest of our lives.  We are blessed every time she smiles, laughs, and blows us kisses.   
  There's nothing like the experience of adoption.
 It's challenging, emotional, and overwhelming at times... but it's such a beautiful thing.
 I found this poem that I love...  

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

Author Unknown

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A beautiful day

 Ella loves exploring and is just so so curious about everything!  It's so much fun to watch and experience nature alongside her!
 Wait.  This rock isn't what I thought it would be.

 I love that this is our view when we walk to the park!
 Kisses for Ella!

This weather makes me long for spring!

My BIG boy!!

Casey has been doing so many big boy things lately!  The timing was actually perfect.  Ella has naturally been getting a lot of attention since her homecoming, so we've been intentionally focusing on making Casey feel special.  I am relieved to see that instead of regressing (as so many do when a new sibling arrives), he is more excited than ever to prove that he is a big boy!

He learned how to ride a big boy bike.

 Since his brothers got a bunk bed, he inherited a big boy bed!  (Poor little guy was sleeping on a futon mattress up until now.  ;)

And best of all, he is going potty in his big boy potty chair.  I should re-iterate... he is peeing in his big boy potty chair.  The other one... *sigh* not so much. :0)

I also just signed Casey up for preschool today!  This is the first year (after four years of driving Jacob and Gavin to preschool) that we took a break.  Between traveling to Russia and staying home with Ella, it has been really nice not to have to worry about preschool.  I really miss it though and he is really ready!  Plus, his best little friend will be in his class!!