Friday, March 29, 2013

First Birthday in America!

Maida had lots of fun last Saturday! She got all dressed up and her nails painted, and then she headed to the park before dinner with our older sister Dominique so that the rest of us could get the house all decorated for her as a surprise.

I couldn't pick which photo's to choose from so I just posted all the ones I like instead of piking a few (sorry!). If your not in the mood for a plethora of photo's, I would stop here.

She picked a blue polish with gold flowers for me to paint her nails with. Pretty good tastes for a three year old if you ask me.


Some of us girls made a sign for her.
Getting everything all set up.
My mom, step dad, and three of my sisters (my brother and other sister couldn't make it) is what made up our small party. Just immediate family for this birthday, but next birthday, now that's a different story.... :)


Cake eating time! Because we actually have so many birthdays in February and March all of us at this point were pretty tired of cake (eating it, making it, eating more...etc) so we did something a little different and actually bought an ice cream cake. 

Our cutie about to open her first present.

She loves these pajama's (especially cuz they are a matching set with Bella's)

She loved her princess hat and fairy wings.

Sorry for the dark pictures, our dining room has terrible lighting.
Her very first swimsuit!
She also LOVES her new Lalaloopsy dress :)
 They are trying to figure out how to get Maida's balloon from the ceiling back into her hand :)She had a ball playing with the balloons with Bella.

Mama helping her put her new shoes on. This girl is crazy about flip flops!

Her birthday present from Yaya Tia

You see the card that's kinda in the picture in front of Maida? Well, despite all the clothes and new toys and cake, this was her favorite thing of the night!
Frogs are one of the only animals that Maida remembers right now on a daily basis in English. She likes frogs quite a bit, although she has never been in close proximity to one.

So...We got her a frog card that sings happy birthday while croaking .... none of us knew what her first reaction to it would be..... this is what we got :)

I don't know if you can see her face but she was both startled and speechless. She could not figure out what in the world it was. After about five second though, her facial features changed to this:

:) She now opens her "frog book" all day long.
It was a good day and one I am glad the Lord blessed us with in being able to share such precious moments with this cutie girl.
Until next time,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Someone's Birthday Around Here!

Yes, that's right. It's Maida's first birthday in America! She turns three today! This will be the first time anyone has ever recognized the day of her birth. All this hullabaloo is pretty foreign and strange for her but she is digging the attention regardless! Would you all join me and wish this cutie sister of mine a happy birthday?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Photo Update

I don't have much to say today. There is nothing particularly special going on, nothing really noteworthy, but I do have a lot of photos that have been filling up my phone that need to be shared :)
Warning! Some ridiculously cute pictures are to follow, proceed at your own discretion ;)

 Tia helping Maida put on her shoes and getting all ready for church. 

One of Maida's favorite pastimes (along with my six year old sister, Bella) is to try everything that belongs to our mom on.
Silly girl :)
She also likes to imitate all her older sisters in playing instruments :) Her favorite ones to play are the violin and harmonica.
I think we have a bit of a fashionista on our hands!
Last Saturday we helped a friend with their adoption yard sale to help bring home their little girl (She is from the same orphanage Maida came from and is a very close friend of Sevi's!).
A couple days ago my mom the three younger girls and I went out to get some things for our garden.

And this is what happens when the little sister is tired of Yaya (big sister) Gabby taking pictures and Yaya Bella nagging at her to stand still and smile.
It's neat to see this two grow closer as sisters, they are not always the best to each other (just being honest) but each day improvements are being made and they are growing closer and closer together.
Sevi, your family is waiting for you and can't wait to take pictures with you and to watch you learn and grow with us as a family.
We are coming to get you as fast as we can.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hair Time

  Maida's hair is finally long enough to actually do!


She has not had her hair done since quite sometime ago while she was still in Congo because they shaved her head (with a straight edge!) more often then not.


       My mom was ready for a new do :)

                                                        The finished product! 


Friday, March 1, 2013

All About Sevi

I promised a while back that I would get a post up telling you all the story of how we began the journey of bringing Sevi into our family and a post you shall have!

It all started about six months ago, we were in the middle of the process of bringing little Maida home. We anticipated every update, every photo, and every video of her. With those pictures and videos of Maida though came photos of the other kids in her orphanage.

We saw kids get matched with families and go home with their families. As they left we would see new faces of children in our photos. But one girl specifically stood out to us.

She was always there, even as other kids came and went. She was always in videos watching kids get things from their families, we never saw anything for her. She would stand on the sidelines and smile, genuinely happy for all the other kids.

Pretty soon our conversations about Maida coming home became Maida coming home and what should our family do about this other girl, then: Maida coming home and wanting to do something for this little girl as well, and finally to: we have to find out about this girl and bring them both home! So we called our agency and inquired about her. She was not matched with a family and they had little hope that she would find one because of her age. Well we wanted her! But we found out that due to rules we would have to be home with Maida for several months before we would be approved to adopt again. This was hard for all of us. Was God closing the door for our family and this little girl? We didn't know what to do. We prayed together and just waited. We didn't want her to have to be there for another month let alone six months or a year. We decided that we would advocate for her, sponsor her in going to school, and help anyway we could and leave the rest to God.

Finally the end of October was approaching, it was time to go get Maida. As my mom and I prepared for the trip we knew it would be hard, very hard, to meet this precious girl we now know as Sevi and have to leave her behind. We wanted to make the most of it for her though, so we bought her some things and planned to spend time with her specifically in our two weeks in country.  

The first day we went to the orphanage (like I said before) all the kids were inside taking naps. We made our way through the rooms looking for Maida. When we came to the girls' room the nannies had already started waking the kids up. The first girl we were greeted by was none other than our Sevi :)
We knew when we first laid eyes on her that she was just as sweet as she appeared in her photos.

This was us with her the first time we met her

We loved her instantly, and that made it all the harder... Days passed. My mom spent most of her days at the hotel bonding and getting to know Maida. When I wasn't with my mom I was with our in country coordinator visiting orphanages, our most frequent stop was Sevi's orphanage. While I was with her she taught me words in Lingala and different games, we laughed and played, held babies together, and started forming a bond of our own. We were always together, she was never far from my side and always had her hand slipped through mine.

 When my mom came with me she would take pictures and video of Sevi, letting her play with our camera, hugging her and wanting her to know that someone loved her.

 My mom and I would occasionally look all knowingly at one another. What were we to do? What was God wanting from us? We wanted this little girl so bad and we would be devastated when we left her. 

My mom had brought up Sevi to our in country coordinator when we first got there and told her that if no one adopted her before our six months home with Maida, we would still take her. Well, one night Maida was asleep and my mom and I were up talking, about to go to bed. We heard a soft knocking on our door. When we opened it we were greeted by our in country coordinator (she was staying in the room just across from us ^^). She came in and sat on our bed and looked at both of us, grinning from ear to ear. She then proceeded to tell us that she just got off the phone with our agency. She told our agency about all the time we spent with Sevi, how we interacted with her, the bonds that had already formed between us, and that she couldn't imagine a better family for her! We just about burst through the roof we were so excited! Was this really happening? Were we really able to bring Sevi home? We would still have to leave her, but with the knowledge that we would be back. We contacted the family at home and told them, we were all stoked! I don't think any of us slept that night :) 

The next day we were supposed to go see Sevi and get the privilege of telling her she had a family if she wanted one (we wanted to make sure it was what she wanted to do) but that morning Maida contracted malaria, we knew we wouldn't make it that day. After we found a pharmacy with the right medicine (it took us quite awhile to find it!) and got it into Maida's system she was doing much better. So the next morning we headed out to go see Sevi. My mom and I were practically jumping up and down we were so happy, and nervous. We knew it wouldn't be an easy thing for Sevi to leave the only place and things she has known all of her life (no matter the circumstances kids always feel safer and miss the familiar). We grabbed Papa J (remember our translator/guild/friend?) and asked him to translate what we were saying to Sevi. She listened intently to Papa J as he told her and explained to her for us. Without hesitation she said yes!

We were so thrilled. We holed up in a room away from the other kids for a while and showed Sevi pictures of her new family. I'm not sure if it really set in for her until she saw the pictures of her new home and family. After she saw that she just lit up and took us around the orphanage telling the other kids that she too has a family, a mama, papa, big sisters and brother!

We left and told her we would see her again the following day before we had to leave for home. Well, the next morning we had a LOT of complications with our luggage and how it was getting to the airport and ...etc we could not leave the hotel until that was figured out. So Our coordinator and Papa J decided they would bring Sevi to us! We were so happy to be able to spend our last few hours in Congo with Sevi! It was not what we had imagined as we were busily running around, but it was a sweet time. Sevi said goodbye to us on the steps of St. Annes (our hotel) she had mist in her ours and it broke our hearts, but we kissed her, hugged, and told her we would be back SOON! 

We are busy right now filling out paper work and raising funds to get her hopefully by June. 

We are asking 150 businesses, churches, and organizations right now to buy a box of Helen Grace candy bars. If you know anyone who owns a business, shepherds a church, or is involved in an organization please share this with them. If we do this we will have finished raising our remaining funds and will be able to go get our Sevi.
Each box is $100.
To purchase a box you can order by mail, directly through my blog, through our agency, or through Sevi's Facebook page.

You can also contact me at: (951)515-4205