*A quick note – for those of you who subscribe to our blog I apologize for the post that was mistakenly sent earlier this evening. I had a few people asking me to make an easy-access tab or page for giving, but WordPress decided to publish it as a post instead of a page. It’s fixed now and I will not be bombarding your inbox anymore tonight!
A family/adoption update:
Since the beginning of Summer break I’ve had about six different blog posts that I have wanted to sit and send out, but the Summer picked up speed and now we are already quickly approaching August! So I decided to do a Summer post and catch you up on all that’s been happening around here!
There has been so much going and a great amount of excitement building for what lies ahead.
Our Summer began as most of yours. Wet.
Elyana loved the big mud puddles. She is a big fan of Peppa the Pig, and finally had the chance to jump in “muddy puddles” of her own! Amazing how happy these things make her.
Just as I told her to pose for a picture with me….she decided to fling more mud on me. This wasn’t staged…and you can tell by her face. She thought it was absolutely hilarious. We laughed so hard together.
Although June was a tad dreary we were able to clean and get ready for our home appraisal, that was needed before we could continue the paperwork to add onto our home. And the celebration of birthdays and Fathers Day broke up some of the ho-hum (boring as my children informed me) beginning of Summer.
Cousins are always one of the most fun parts of Summer…
A Happy Fathers Day…
On June 26th we traveled with the kids to downtown Columbus to get our USCIS fingerprinting done, so that we could get our official approval that we are able to bring both boys into the U.S.! I love that this time we made the adoption paperwork a family affair. I hope one day Wesley and Hudson enjoy looking at the photos that led to them!
We stood in this hallway (above) just a few years ago as we did the same fingerprinting for Elyana’s adoption. So, it seemed a photo worthy moment.
Our fingerprinting appointment and her physical therapy evaluation were the same weekend, so we coupled them together with a few nights of camping so that we wouldn’t be driving as far both days. Her PT eval went very well and the physical therapist was able to do allot more tests because Elyana was so great at following directions. This evaluation was primarily to obtain a base-line of her muscle function/tone, so that if she ever has a decrease in mobility as she grows (due to her spinal cord being tethered).
Her PT at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital did an amazing job and made the appointment seem like a play date for Elyana! We were once again impressed with the care given there….and back on the road after about a 2 hr stop.
Since Jenna gets carsick on curvy roads, I rode in the back with these two crazy kids….I’m so thankful for the laughter our kids bring!! It truly is medicine for the soul.
Elyana had just told me about a week before our trip “It’s Summer, we have to go to the beach and build a sandcastle!”
I’m always amazed at all the little things she just wants so badly to experience! It’s so wonderful to see the joy she’s filled with when I hand her, her first sand-castle bucket. She jumps up and down and dances. God uses her love for living and thankful heart to remind me of how I should see life and live it out!!!
This was also her first campfire. Last Summer she was too little to stay up, and keeping her on a tight schedule was a must to avoid melt downs. But this night I got her out of bed and decided she needed to experience yet another 1st. I’m not sure you can see her smile in the picture, but she felt so big staying up and sitting with her “whole family!” as she often proclaims.
It was an enjoyable and memorable quick trip to Indian lake and Columbus. We got alot accomplished in little time, but had to leave early when a big storm approached. We made it home just ahead of the storm.
More rain arrived.
So when life gives you rain, play in “muddy puddles!”
Elyana had just picked out her first pair of galoshes (that I excitedly was able to fit over her braces) and her very first umbrella. This was the perfect drizzly day to try them out!
June also brought a wonderful opportunity for our family to finally meet a very precious girl named Aja. She had met Elyana in China on a mission trip to her orphanage when we were waiting for her. (I will post more about this wonderful visit later)
When Elyana figured out later that Aja was also adopted, I saw a part of her heart touched and her eyes light up in amazement, in a way I’d never seen before. Here (below) Elyana is admiring Aja’s China-love necklace. A few weeks after our visit Elyana was mailed a necklace of her own.
Thank you Aja…for all the love you and your family have shown to us and especially to Elyana when she was waiting in China for her family!
The entire Mills family was so hospitable and Aja took this great photo of us. (we are missing one of her brothers in the photo.) Aja is a talented photographer and artist. And yes that is Elyana on Jenna’s lap. She had been stung by a big bumblebee on her eyelid the day before we left!! She swelled up and could barely see, but thankfully had no other complications!
This Summer we also began hippotherapy with Elyana. Her orthopedics Dr. reccomended it for her and she loves it so far. Both girls share a love of horses and riding.
Elyana quickly made some new friends…one of which we found out was adopted from China. And it just so happened that her Dad heads up the Findlay AWAA (our adoption agency) office!! We had talked over the phone years ago, but we had never met him, and didn’t know he had a daughter from China. We call that divine connections.
Next came the 4th of July. Elyana stayed up way past her bedtime, clapping after every firework, and woke up the next morning asking for more.
After the 4th we prepared for a visit from my Aunt, while excitedly receiving our USCIS approval in the mail (Homeland Security says we can bring our 2 boys back from China!) This was the last piece of paperwork needed to complete our dossier, so now we could get them all state certified. The kids and I traveled to downtown Columbus (again) only this time to accomplish this last exciting step before our documents were mailed to New York…(and hopefully to China this week! Yeah!!)
Here we are at the Secretary of State where all our documents would get an official State Certified Stamp.
Since we had driven all that way…and the Ohio Statehouse was within walking distance, we decided to take a quick tour of it. It was so neat! Did you know Abraham Lincoln found out he was elected president here, and later his body was brought into the statehouse for citizens to pay their respect on the way to his resting place. We learned so much!!
Standing (above) on Hancock County!
After excitedly mailing off our state certified documents, we welcomed my Aunt Chris from FL for her annual visit. And yes…I think you brought the sunshine with you!
My Mom- in-law (Mom or Roxanne)…took us on a tour of the Amish while my Aunt was here. Our Uncle Mitchell, who was like a Dad to my sisters and I, had always wanted to see the Amish. So we did this in his honor and all had a great day!!
Me, my niece Hailey, Deborah, Jenna, Aunt Chris, Ryan, Isaac, Elyana, Makenna & Connor. I love these kids. (We are missing my nephew Lucas though!)
With our tour guide. Roxanne and her Aunt Marlene (not pictured-but who lives in Amish country) took us through some beautiful Amish country.
We even had 2 little Amish boys take us on a tour of their home and farm where they raise deer. Mom (Roxanne) knows the family, and it was such a neat opportunity to talk to them.
Elyana thought the Amish (or farmers as she sometimes calls them) were very neat. She wears her little hat and tells me she is an Amish girl.
July also brought our 15th wedding anniversary. We were blessed by my Aunt Chris with a lunch date out! I thank God so often He has changed us in so many ways, and continues to patiently teach us to be more like Him.
He has truly woven our hearts together with His love and throughout our entire marriage has reminded me that “His love NEVER fails”
We finished our Aunt Chris’ visit with our traditional Summer trip to KY. It was a quick but very memorable trip. This area of KY we visit is where Johns Dads family came from & not far from where my Uncle Mitchell grew up.
We said goodbye to my Aunt today (tears) as she heads back to FL and then to majority of Summer that is now behind us. But….we are welcoming a new season ahead of us.
There are LOTS of changes awaiting us all…..for each individually and for our home both physically and spiritually. So we thank you for praying us through. We know “the prayers of the righteous are powerful & effective!”
My Aunt tells me she feels such a welled up excitement for us, and I can also sense it. It feels as if a dam has been holding back all this water and is about to burst (in a good way). We’ve been waiting, hoping, trusting….and it seems God is saying, “Yes, I will honor those prayers and tears you’ve cried. And yes, I saw those moments of quiet trust and those battles with Fear you won with My strength.”
It’s been in Him, and through Him.
Today we felt a trickle begin to flow out of that dam as we saw the physcial start of our new home addition begin. It’s hard to explain the many emotions tied to this project. It’s really not about any physical walls that will be going up….though we certainly will welcome the ample space. But it’s witnessing something coming to pass that has been placed so deep in us all. It’s watching the physical evidence come to pass of a faith we continue to rest in. A trust that our Father is truly “faithful to complete the work He has begun” in ways beyond what we would’ve ever imagined.
Elyana is very proudly showing off our temporary electric pole that will be used during construction.
They plan to begin digging the basement for the addition next week.
We want to thank all of you for loving, supporting and for sharing this great joy we are feeling inside. Our boys are only months away from being home and we are trusting God that our hearts and home will be fully prepared to welcome them in. We hope you have a great finish to the Summer and a wonderful beginning to whatever new seasons lie ahead for you!
Num-6-24″>”The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:24-26