Posting at SHINE

After almost 3 years of posting to this blog I've decided I am going to simplify my life and put all posts (for all my children!) on my "photography blog": SHINE!
I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The dentist.

Tia was at the dentist with Isabella & Elijah yesterday and I mentioned to the dentist that my friends daughters adopted recently has teeth that were rotting out of her mouth (she's 3.5) and she has to go under general anesthesia to have major work done. It will cost $6,000.00 (ouch!). I asked about Tia's so he said he would just quickly check her teeth - he said they look fine, WHEW! I was just wondering if I needed to worry! The dentist asked Tia "do you want to sit on my lap?" and she said "NO!" Good girl, Matt was happy :) she wanted to sit in the chair and she was so good for him and let him look in her mouth. Afterwards he asked her to let her mommy brush her teeth (she hates to) and she said hhmmmmmmmmm - and then shook her head "yes" so funny!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Playing with iphoto

I got a Mac computer and the photo system is great. They have a lot of edit functions that are super easy to play with for a computer illiterate mom like me. The top photo I played with . . . and the bottom is the original so you can see what it was like before. In the original Tia had white scrunchies in her hair that I edited out - I have yet to figure out the feature that copies a photo before you edit it, or how to restore something you've edited. :(

Monday, May 26, 2008


Can you see how mopey Tia's eyes are? She is so sick! She has a cold and a fever and is soooo crabby. She wants to be held every waking moment. Even sick she is still adorable :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Maria Chapman 2003 -2008

Steven Curtis Chapman, the amazing singer/songwriter ("Cinderella" is his newest song . . . ) and adoption advocate lost his 5 year old daughter Maria last week in a tragic accident. Please be praying for this family. If you would like to visit their blog I'm posting it here. My heart aches for this special family who have inspired so many people in the adoption world - they have been in my thoughts and prayers over the past days.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Xixi & Kaiya

Two of my friends are in China getting their girls. Do you remember Tia's little YiWu sisters Xixi & Kaiya? Please be praying for them as they meet their families on Monday. Here are their journals if you want to follow along:

My heart is there too!


I love the way Tia sucks her thumb and a bit of her sleeve to pacify herself at bedtime :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Earthquake Update

I am posting a letter I received yesterday from a wonderful organization called Half the Sky, concerning the current situation in China. If anyone has wondered how you can help there are a few links at the bottom of the post. My heart is breaking for the victims, Please Please pray for God to bring HOPE to these people whose lives have been devastated.

Dear Friends,

As I delay writing this report a bit longer each day, I realize that, like
so many, I find it harder and harder to read or write those grim
statistics or tell the sad stories. We wish we could be done with this
death and disaster and start to move on. But still the numbers come.

There are 34,073 people confirmed dead, 245,108 injured, still more than
35,000 still missing.

Yesterday, after those three silent minutes in Sichuan, people began to
call out, “Rebuild! Rebuild!” Today, when I was feeling I couldn’t open
another casualty report, I read instead a report about new babies born
during and right after the quake. They have names like ‘Li Zhen’
(Earthquake) and ‘Born in a Tent’ and ‘Long March.’ They, like all the
survivors, will carry these terrible days with them always. But their
lives are just beginning. For them and for all of the children who
survived, Sichuan will begin to rebuild.

As hope of finding more survivors fades, we find hope in each bit of good
news –

During the past week we managed to reach every single orphanage in the
hardest-hit areas but one - Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
Today we finally made contact. They said, “The institution buildings are
no longer safe to live in. All the children live in tents. The government
provides us with enough food and water and daily necessities. Now we only
worry how and when we can possibly rebuild.”

Of the 24 children (all of whom were from hard-hit Anxian County) who we
reported were brought to Mianyang Zitong SWI because they were newly
orphaned, I am very happy to tell you that 13 of them were reunited with

The children of Suining SWI have now been able to move back into their
orphanage building.

More displaced children are arriving daily at shelters in Chengdu, but no
one is giving up on finding living relatives yet. Yesterday, 70 children
were brought to a large hospital in Chengdu for urgent treatment. Some of
them had joyful reunions with family, but of course, not all. One very
young girl signed her own consent form to have surgery on her broken arm.
Ma Lang wrote, “She was a sweet and tough girl, and the doctors, nurses,
and volunteers loved her very much.”

Ma Lang and two other HTS staff are now in Mianyang and we expect more
news from them soon. Meanwhile, our relief operation is going into full
swing, with tents, tarps, medicines, beds, blankets, rice, diapers, food,
clothing and baby formula moving in and out of the Chengdu CWI for
immediate delivery to distressed areas.

As we get closer to realizing our small part of meeting the basic
challenges of shelter and emergency supplies, it is time to embark on the
most critical project for the long term – helping the children heal and go
on with life. This is, of course, why Half the Sky exists and how our
organization can best help Sichuan’s children rebuild. Now we will begin
the process of training caregivers, foster parents, shelter workers and
volunteers of all backgrounds to work with newly orphaned and displaced

We believe our long experience working with children orphaned by AIDS and
other children who were not infants when they lost their parents has given
us a solid foundation for this work. But this week we are recruiting a
team of pediatric psychologists, trauma specialsts and social workers to
help us adjust our training methods to this special circumstance. (If you
are, or know of, a Mandarin-speaking professional working in this field
who would like to volunteer for this project, please let me know!)

Within two weeks, Half the Sky’s entire staff of field supervisors will be
working with caregivers and new foster parents all around Sichuan. Our
work is just beginning. Thank you so much for making it possible!

More news soon....

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund
you can do so through Global Giving:

Or directly to Half the Sky. You can donate by calling Half the Sky
(+1-510-525-3377) or on our website:'s+Earthquake+Fund

Many companies have announced they will match employee gifts for
earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your

Thank you again. It’s truly an honor to be a part of this.

with love,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


We took Tia to the Dr. Monday and she got a few immunizations. I told the Dr. again that she seems to be coughing all the time. He listened to her lungs and ordered an x-ray, to check for Tuberculosis. hmmmmm that thought had never entered my mind. If you could please join us in prayer that Tia's x-ray will reveal that she does not have TB we would appreciate that - and also that we could figure out why she is coughing all the time.

Tia is 22 months and weighs 9.5 kilos, which put her on the charts! (3% or something) - she was not on the chart for her height, but she wasn't standing all the way against the wall or I think she would have been. These are the Australian charts which seem pretty tall compared to the American or especially the Asian. Tia weighed about 17.5 pounds the day we got her and now weighs about 21.5 pounds. She is still little but she is also chubby so we are patting ourselves on the back. Now if we could just get her to sleep better at night :(

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 months ago today . . . .

We arrived home in Sydney Australia as a family of 6. It has been a wonderful 2 months. We feel complete, we feel totally blessed by God, we spend our days smiling at our new little wonder. Our hearts race when Tia toddles around in her pink footy pajamas and we can hardly breathe because we think we may burst when she giggles out loud as we sit down next to her crib to stay there until she is asleep.

Kristiana Hope means "Anointed Hope". She has definitely been that to us. Tia means Princess in Greek - this little girl has been named correctly!

We are so in love with our little Princess, she has brought so much hope into our lives :) (and joy and laughter and sleepless nights and aching backs :) we love you our little T T!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The wonder of Autumn!

It is Autumn in Australia and a tree near our driveway is dropping beautiful yellow leaves. Everyday as I drive in it begs me to take photos :) Yesterday we were playing in the front garden so I grabbed the camera, popped Tia next to the tree and watched her experience touching the bark of the tree and exploring the leaves for the first time in her life. It is so sweet to watch as she experiences these little wonders. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

swinging . . .

Tia loves the swing! We have this swing attached to a Jacaranda tree in our backyard. Tia is really strong and can hold on by herself. She just loves to be pushed in a big circle or even spun around (very slowly, don't worry Ashlyn!) These photos a little blurry . . . . do I just need to be a little steadier or do I need a stabilizer lens? hmmmm great idea for our anniversary!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

& she walks :)

Tia took a few steps more than a month ago but she still crawled until Thursday - now she walks a lot of the time - she is soooooooo cute :)  and my back is so thankful!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

she talks :)

Tia is such a little talker, she came to us saying "mama" and within a day or so she began adding to her list of words.  Here are some of the things she says:

mil (milk)
yogo (yogurt)
bye bye
up pa (up, trying to accent the "p")
hotttt (emphasize the t!)
unh uh (no no) while shaking her head no.
uh oh, (when she drops something)
mmmmm  (when eating something she likes :)
cracka (crackers)
i uh oo (I love you) 

Yesterday Elijah asked her if she wanted an apple and she said "apo"!  which had us all giggling at her and today we were coming back from taking the kids to school and I could hear her in her carseat saying "more cracka, more cracka"  I guess she was hungry!

We feel very blessed that language is so easy for Tia,  and it is really fun to have another little chatterbox in the family :)

what I have been reading . . ..

I found this blog last night and have been consumed with reading it every chance I get (which hasn't actually been very much :)

Please go and read the story of Audrey Caroline.  Audrey was born just weeks ago and passed away 2.5 hours after birth.  This is her story.

Big hugs to all my friends who are experiencing loss, past or present - God is there to hold you in the palm of his hand.  I know.  


Thursday, May 1, 2008

a trip to the beach.

We had a really fun day at the beach last week.  Tia loved walking in the water but did not like walking on the sand . . . . she very tentatively touched it with her feet and eventually got a little used to it.  She seems so afraid of things at first but slowly warms up to almost any experience and then she loves it.  I think eventually she may even walk on the grass . . . . !
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11