Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our day in court (again)

Daddy and Xavier walking to the courthouse

Celebration dinner with our new "official" Texan
Yesterday we had Xavier's adoption refinalized.  It was a big contrast to the sober and nervous day that was our Russian court hearing.  Well, for starters, everyone spoke English. =)  We had a good attorney and she had taken care of all the legal requirements.  We just showed up, stated our situation, and the judge granted our petition to accept the Russian court's decision.  J.J. did give a brief testimony.  The judge also asked some informal questions because he was curious about the process.  Xavier did really well, but he wasn't thrilled about sitting still.  Just as the judge finished asking if we had any communication problems when we first arrived home Xavier starts yelling, "I need go potty!" as loud as he can.  And not just once.  Oh no, he yelled it over and over.  What can you do?  I just started laughing.  I knew it was a clever ploy to get down and walk, but his timing was impeccable.  He is obviously a very effective communicator!  We had a celebration lunch with my parents and our friend Andy.  It was a nice day and a big relief to check one more thing off the post-adoption to-do list.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gotcha Day Adventure Year 1

Thursday marks one year since they placed our son in our arms and we became a family.  We decided to celebrate each year by doing a family activity together.  This year we went to the zoo.  Yes, we went a few days early.  Camps start next week and even with school being out for the summer the level of activity at our house is pretty high.  Getting ready to move, getting ready for camp, summer athletic workouts, etc.  We already needed to visit a bigger town to get concession supplies, so we just made the zoo part of the excursion.  The camera battery died about a third of the way through the zoo, but at least you get some pictures.  We also took video, but that seems to take forever to upload on my tired laptop.  So, here a few pictures of our first annual Gotcha Day Adventure

Standing beside my favorite zoo animals, pink flamingos

Xavier climbing like a monkey in the children's area

A pygmy hippo yawning

Xavier with the "pretend" lions.  We didn't see the real lions.

Up close and personal with a tiger

Xavier and Daddy playing in the bamboo
We actually went to the zoo together in Moscow almost a year ago and I would love to post some comparison photos, but I guess they are all saved on J.J.'s computer.  Maybe another day.  We had a great time at the zoo!  Thank you Lord for a full year with our wonderful Xavier Aleksey Manning!!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Xavier has decided the word no is a good thing to say in all occasions and to every person.  I was sort of waiting for this stage to hit (please let it be a stage) because every small child seems to learn and enjoy the power of the word no, but I secretly hoped we could just skip it.  Oh well!  I think about how Xavier interacted with us and with other people when we brought him home almost a year ago.  He would go to anyone.  He showed very few preferences or dislikes.  It took something major to make him cry.  Now he is full of opinions and ideas.  He knows exactly what he wants and he has discovered how to express it.  I am so thankful he is comfortable enough in his new world that he doesn't fear rejection for disagreeing with us.  Don't get me wrong.  When I ask him to say "Hello" to a friend at the grocery store and he screams "No!" while turning his head and growling I don't have any warm fuzzy feelings.  Or when we ask him to eat more bites at supper and he say "No!" while banging his fork on the table I don't gush with love and tenderness.  I just have to remind myself in quiet moments like now that this is normal and so much better than the silent, emotionless, little boy we first met.  But it is just a stage, right?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Big Changes

So after a long time of praying, and thinking, and discussing, and praying some more J.J. and I have made some big decisions.  We believe God has a different direction for our lives and our ministry.  J.J. will no longer be pastoring the Follett Chapel.  We made the announcement to the church Sunday night.  I was so nervous.  When we moved here 5 years ago and J.J. started filling in at the church we didn't imagine we would become the pastor, but we fell in love with the people and the community.  We couldn't see anyone else serving in that position so we agreed together to take on this new role.  J.J. had never been a pastor, although he is ordained, and everything was new for us.  The church has stood by and supported us through all the growing and changing and we hope we can give back some as the church transitions to new leadership.  We don't know what God has planned for the Chapel, but you can't make decisions, or not make decisions, out of fear.  We believe that if God has moved on our hearts to make this change that He will bring the right person to fill the role of pastor.  The interesting thing is that we are not leaving Follett.  God has not changed our heart for this place or these people.  We plan to stay here and see what new things He has planned.  J.J. will keep teaching and coaching at the school.  I'm going to continue staying home full time with Xavier.  We are looking to purchase a house in town.  I wish I could have talked about this for all the months that we have struggled over this decision.  It might have helped to write things down, but it just isn't one of those things you share until it's over.  We really don't know what the next few months will look like, but we just want to keep trusting the One who is never surprised because He already knows how things will turn out.