Thursday, February 24, 2011

She gets 'it'!

The 'she' I am referring to is Avery's 4K teacher.

This is a teacher who goes above and beyond the call of duty.
She is caring and loving.
She is genuinely my kid!
She is creative and kind.
She shows compassion and forgiveness and always has a ready smile.

Avery LOVES her!

(I've been meaning to post about her for a while....
This is late.)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned  to Avery's teacher that Chinese New Year was approaching....
And before I could say another word, her teacher said Avery was more than welcomed to share about this holiday with her class.  She {just} knew this would give Avery an opportunity to be proud of her Chinese heritage while at the same time giving her classmates a little exposure and awareness of this celebration.

I wasn't planning on doing anything too impressive....heck, I am still learning how to celebrate Chinese New Year....

I told the teacher that Avery would wear her Chinese dress, bring in some Chinese cookies (made especially for little kids), pass out some 'fancy' Year of the Rabbit pencils, and have a story book that could be read to the class.

So, when February 3rd rolled around......Avery  was ready.
She seemed excited.
We decorated the house.
We read books.
We talked about some of the traditions surrounding CNY.
We talked food, clothing, and rituals.

She walked out of the house with a big smile on her face.
Dressed in a very pretty red dress.
Cookies, pencils, and book stowed in her backpack.

Her teacher excitedly greeted her that morning.
The little girls admired her dress.  (yay)
Avery gave her teacher the bag of goodies.
I kissed Avery good-bye.

The morning went well.

A few days later, Avery brought home a very festive dragon she made at school.
I was touched.
I thanked her teacher for doing this project.
I told her it meant a lot to me and Avery.

Then a few {more} days later, this showed up in my email:

Gung Hey Fat Choy!  Happy Chinese New Year from the 4K class.

Avery helped us get our Chinese New Year celebration off to a right start
with a book and snacks (2 of our favorite 4K activities!)

After hearing a story about a family who prepares for Chinese New Year, we
talked about how children celebrate in different ways all across the world.
We noticed how important family is to each one of the celebrations and
thanked God for our families and church.

We enjoyed receiving new red pencils and a fortune cookie.  We also looked
at some pictures of dragons in a parade and the special costumes used to
tell stories.  Chinese New Year is really a three week long celebration.
Watch for more learning opportunity projects coming home soon!

As I researched how to teach about China and the New Year celebration from a
Christian perspective, I was amazed at the perseverance of Lutheran
30 years ago, a Bible was forbidden in homes and practicing Christianity was
not allowed.

With the help of the LORD, LCMS World Mission has brought the word of God
into China.

And with amazing results.... LCMS World Mission has been integrally involved
in the founding and development of Concordia International School - Shanghai
(CISS), which provides quality education (preschool through high school) and
caring Christian service to Shanghai's rapidly increasing expatriate
population. With a current enrollment of more than 1,000 students, this
school has rapidly grown in 11 years into a world-class institution with a
distinct Christian atmosphere, providing wonderful opportunities for

So much to pray about for God's people living half-way around the world.
However, listening to Avery sing praises to the LORD and give joyful hugs to
her friends, half-way around the world seems like down the street and the
urgency to spread the gospel is even more apparent.

Will you join me in praying for the littlest ones in China, their caregivers
and their waiting families?

Half the Sky Foundation:  Nurturing Care for China's orphaned children:

An Orphan's Wish:  Roots to grow, Wings to Fly

LCMS work in China~


('4k Teacher')

Fortune Cookie Recipe:
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 to 2 Tbsp of water

Beat egg slightly.  Add sugar and beat until very thick and smooth.  Add oil
to mixture.  Add water and a little of the egg mixture to the cornstarch and
stir until smooth; beat into egg mixture.  Heat griddle to about 350*.  Drop
a heaping teaspoonful of batter into the griddle.  Then spread with a spoon
into a cookie about 3 inches in diameter an d about 1/8 inch thick.  Turn
over to brown underside.  Cook until cookies are light golden in color and
lifts easily from the pan.  Remove cookies one at a time from the griddle.
Place a fortune paper in the center of the cookie and fold the cookie in
half, pinching the edges together and folding down.

The paragraph in red (which I highlighted) brought tears to my eyes....
You see,
She GETS 'it'!
She understands.
Not only did she embrace Avery's birth country in class....
Not only did she create a teaching opportunity for her students...
Not only did she inform the parents....

She prayed.
She invited all of us to pray for God's people half way around the world...

God's people! 
Half way around the world!

The children half way around the world.
The care-givers half way around the world.

She exposed the need...
The need for prayers!

Will you join me and her?
Let's continually pray for the people of China.
The children.
The care-givers.
The foster parents.
The first parents.
The waiting parents.

Many thanks to Avery's amazing 4K teacher!
She gets 'It'!
And for that, I am forever grateful!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We have one more year.....

.....until some major surgical work occurs for Shea.

Whew!  That is good news! Sort of.....

Earlier this week we went for our annual Cleft Palate appointment.

We were there pretty much all day.....which is normal when meeting with several doctors and therapists.

We met first with the speech pathologist.  She was very impressed with Shea's progress.  Shea is doing so well with her speech that this is going to be her last year of therapy until after her next round of surgeries. Like usual, Shea was very serious when being evaluated by the speech pathologist.  She was concentrating so hard...making sure she was pronouncing words correctly, making sure she was articulating well, making sure her tongue placement was precise.  She was working so hard.  I was so proud of her.  Apparently so was her doctor!

Then she had her hearing tested.  Everything was a-okay.

We then proceeded to visit with {our} favorite doctor.....the ENT guy.  He is wonderful, gentle, kind, & patient!  He seemed to be a tad bit concern about obstructed airflow due to the p-flap surgery she had about a year and a half ago......which then made me concerned.....(of course).....
He wanted to make sure she was sleeping through the night....not gasping for air......hmmmm......suggested doing a sleep study.
He wanted to know if she wakes frequently.......hmmmmm.....
Well, Shea usually wakes up several times each night.  But not because she is 'gasping for air'.  She wakes to check on me.  She wants to make sure that 'I am okay'.  We are still working through some attachment/trust is complicated.....but, I think she is making sure I am still 'here' and will be 'here' when she wakes up in the morning.  sigh!
I explained this all to the doctor.....he was so thoughtful......He decided that we should put the sleep study on hold.  Thank God!

Next up.....the big dog......the plastic surgeon!
I love this guy!  He travels to third world countries and works on cleft affected kiddos....I think it is so cool that he does this!  He really gets how cleft affected kids feel.....what they need....why they need surgery....when they need surgery.  He, too, is very compassionate and kind!

He said that Shea will have another year of surgeries.... until her bottom four incisors fall out. Yay!
She has lost one, another is VERY loose....and the two on either side are starting to get a little wiggly.

This is what we can expect next year:
Bone graft surgery to repair her gum line.
Wait for three months.
Then the procedure to bring her upper jaw forward begins......this will require my husband and I to 'turn a crank' to move her jaw forward.....yikes!  Overall this is a better option that a surgery.
Wait three months.
Then begin the first round of braces. (She will have at least three different sets.)


This was all confirmed by the pediatric orthodontist, who was our last stop for the day!  Who we {also} love.  This woman rocks!  She is so knowledgeable and encouraging.  Plus she always tell Shea that she is beautiful!  :)

Shea is a trooper.  She took all this information in.  She is processing.  I am now waiting for the questions to come.

She heard that there will be some dramatic changes to her face.
She heard that she will look like she is suppose to if she wasn't born was a cleft palate. (This is a hard statement to hear.....I am still processing it.)
She heard that this is only one phase of the many surgeries to come.

She is so brave!

I am very grateful to this team of doctors.
I know they care about my daughter.
I know they have her best interest at heart.
I know they care about her physical, emotion, and psychological well being.
I know.

It's just hard to know that this is all coming down the road.....

She wants to know why she was born with a cleft palate and lip.
I tell her I don't know.
But, I do tell her that God has equipped her to be strong enough to get through all of the surgeries and recuperation.
I tell her that God has a purpose for her and His glory will be demonstrated through her.
I tell her how much I love her and how incredibly proud I am to be her mother.

I thank God for her daily....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Cantonese ~ Congratulations and wishing you prosperity.

Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Mandarin ~ Happy New Year!

(What a 'spicy' little pose.....from a 'spicy' little girl!)

It's the year of the Rabbit.......

Shea & Avery like this year....why?

"Because it's so cute!"

Go figure! ;)