Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Duck on the Fence

Florida Flamingos - aren't these so COOL?!?!

Ferry over to Fisher Island

Daddy and Sophie

Lindsay and Livie

Lunchtime...chowing down!

Princess Livie...notice the Opium Pipe collection behind her on the wall?!?! The people we were spending the day with are huge collectors of Asian antiques and other items. This is a collection I would have never thought of, though!

Livie & Sophie with their new *date*!

Livie & Sophie pool-side!

Livie & Daddy!

Olivia (aka Livie!)

Livie & Sophie

Lindsay, Livie, Chris, Sophie (she is the poor soul in the floatie!) & Neil.

Chris & Sophie

Our weekend was wonderful! Filled with remembering all of those who have given their lives in service to this country. This would include my father, Colonel G.E. Lindgren, USMC Retired. Granted, my father did not perish in the Vietnam War, but regardless, he selflessly fought for our Country. He served 30+ years as in the USMC. I spent my life growing up on Military bases. He left to serve in Vietanam when my mother was just a few months pregnant with my older brother, and returned home from Vietnam when he was almost a year old. Thank you, Daddy, for the sacrifices that you AND my mom have made!
We spent the day at our friend's house on Fisher Island. Since we live 'out west' (the 'burbs) it was wonderful to be beach-side and near all of the gorgeous action such as cruise ships heading out to sea! Sorry there are no picutures of me, but alas, I was the one behind the camera snapping away!
I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Hope's Song - In China Blog

This is a blog written by a woman who is actually in China and giving first-hand accounts of the earthquake, particularly in relationship to its impact on orphans. Some of the pictures are quite sobering, so just be aware of this before you hop on over there. It might be a good idea not to let your little ones "see what mommy is looking at," since it is too much for little eyes to comprehend.

I promise my next entry will only be filled with happy thoughts and photos!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Goodbye Maria

Today was the funeral for Maria. I can not even fathom having to say goodbye to one of my children. I remember when my uncle died how my Grandmother (who at that point had lost two children to cancer...but both were adults at the time of their deaths) said, "No parent should ever have to bury their child."
How does one say goodbye to their 5 year old child? I just don't have any answers for this one. Neil said they will be able to do this because of their great faith in the Lord. I feel as though I have tremendous faith in God, and yet I find myself at a loss...full of the loss the Chapman family is experiencing at this moment. I think of Maria. Abandoned as an infant. Diagnosed with a heart condition, and yet ultimately adopted by the Chapman family. She has known the love of her family for about 4 years, and then due to a complete and total freak accident this 5 year old's life is gone.
And then there is her brother. Oh my goodness. What anguish this young man must be experiencing.
And I can't help myself but to ask, WHY?
A family who has done so much for adoption...China Adoption now going through complete and utter turmoil. It just all seems so terribly cruel.
OK. So I don't profess to have any answers to this as I continue to wrestle with this whole thing myself. BUT...I can give you the blog site set up to leave encouraging messages for the Chapman family! If you are so inclined, please leave them a positive message via this link. I am sure that they will treasure and be drawing upon these messages in the coming months.
Neil and I are continuing to lift up the Chapman's in prayer. May the Lord give you tremendous comfort and peace during this incredibly difficult time.

Thursday, May 22, 2008



These are 'funny faces' from Livie and Sophie today while at breakfast at IHOP. Have I mentioned just how blessed I feel to be their mom?!?!


Too Much for Livie

A big *party* proves way too much for our Princess. Too many people. Too busy. And WAY TOO LOUD. Too much *chaos*. Poor Livie has a meltdown. Shame on me. I did not fully prepare Livie for the day's events as I should have. I KNOW Livie. I KNOW how she will react. I plead insanity/4 kids on this one. I will say (bragging here, I know...just trying to dig myself out of the ditch I put myself in!) that once we left and headed for IHOP she was feeling/doing MUCH better! :-)


Chris' Awards

Chris and Ms. Barber

Mr. Smartie-pant's Awards

Today was Chris' awards celebration at school. Shocker among shockers, our son won the title of 'Most Athletic'. Now, I do not know that he is the most athletic kid in his class, but he certainly is oozing of testosterone (judging by the enormous amounts of dirty clothing spread out upon the floor of his room and his LOVE for all things football and ESPN!).

Livie did not do well with this activity. To my shame I will tell you that I had not adequately prepared her for the 'party' atmosphere which would be taking place in Chris' classroom. Thus, immediately upon my opening the door to Chris' classroom poor little Livie began to shake and tremor. Tears quickly followed...and within about 30 seconds flat I had a 4 1/2 year old who had attached herself to my leg with what I swear was Super Glue! We ended up having to leave fairly quickly.

Note to self: remember to explain the day's activities to Livie in detail. If you don't, you will pay the consequences. Sigh...and you will feel terrible when your kiddo is in tears and begging to go home.


Playing in a Tent

Years ago our son, Chris, received a neat American-Indian-style tent from my mom. He loved it and clocked many hours of imaginary play in that thing. For the past several years this tent has sat unused in our garage. Livie asked to 'build a tent' to play in, which is code for, "Mom, Sophie and I want to drag out all of our blankets and the kitchen chairs and take said blankets and cover tables, etc. with them and then play 'tent'. We will tire of this game in less than 15 minutes leaving the kitchen, family room, playroom a total disaster with only a few moments to spare until Dad comes home." But, alas...I am now ON TO YOU SLY LITTLE PEOPLE AND I KNOW THE GAMES YOU ARE PLAYING! Ahhhh-haaaa! Viola....introducing "The Tent!"

I popped that baby up in mere minutes and was instantly declared a wonder mom by those under 4 feet tall. Pour some Cheez-Itz in a bowl and I am ready for Sainthood. These two kids played for hours...and I mean their new tent! Calgon, take me away!
At any rate, the girls had a BLAST, and I do not believe I will ever tire of watching them playing together. Before returning to China to adopt Sophie, my hope and prayer was that Livie and Sophie would be more than sisters...that they would become dear friends. I am so happy to say that my prayers have been answered as these two are thick-as-thieves and the very best of friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chapman Blogs

I thought I would post the link to the various Chapman family blogs.
Please pray for this family in earnest, and remember to kiss your children every single day.



I was planning on posting some photos of our 'little girls', but something awful has happened.

In early 2004 Neil bought a Stephen Curtis Chapman Live DVD. He loved it. He watched it many times. One day he asked me to watch this one particular part of the DVD. It was SCC's performance of 'When Love Takes You In'. SCC spoke about the amazing impact that adoption had had on their family's life. Neil was clearly moved, and in such a way I had not seen before.

Over the next few weeks Neil brought up this DVD and China adoption. I said, "Yes, Neil, you are right...that SCC is such a great guy! Good for them!" You see, Neil and I were DONE having children, and we had taken permanent measures to assure us of this! Finally, Neil told me what was on his heart, and simply asked that I pray about it. He said that if God didn't make adoption a desire of my heart, then he would never bring it up again. Well, it is a long story (aren't they all?!), but suffice as to say that adopting from China DID become a desire of my heart, and in April of 2004 we began our Paperchase for Livie. In fact, if we hadn't followed the example of Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth Chapman, we wouldn't have two of the most precious little girls asleep in their our our LIVES. Because of their example our family has grown from two little blessings to four little blessings. Though we have never met, I thank them for helping us to see what we were missing in our lives, and for helping us to find our two precious little girls in China.

Tonight due to a horrible freak accident the Chapman family lost their youngest daughter, Maria. She was only 5 years old...perhaps just a few months older than our Livie.
Tonight our thoughts and prayers are with the Chapman family. May God bring you comfort in your time of grief and sadness.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Oh-So Gorgeous Blinged Blog!

Danielle, at Blogs by Danielle, has redesigned...or as I like to put it...blinged my blog! The result is far more gorgeous than I had even imagined! She is truly talented and I stand in awe. So, if you are considering updating your own blog, I HIGHLY recommend Danielle.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Map Of Orphanages Affected By The Earthquake

To see a better view (larger version) of this map which details the many SWI's/CWI's in China which were affected by the recent earthquake click here.
Livie's SWI (Fuling SWI, Chongqing) is somewhat SouthEast from the quake's epicenter. What I know now is that seemingly Livie's SWI did not sustain damage, but the new SWI which is currently being built (and is near completion) did in fact sustain some structural damage. The good news is that apparently no one at either the current SWI or the one under construction were injured.
Sophie is from the Xiaonan SWI in Xiaogan, Hubei (SouthEast of Fuling), and I do not believe they suffered any damage whatsoever. Praise God!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

CCC/CCAI Earthquake Relief Fund

From CCAI:
The Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province has resulted in the tragic death of at least 20,000 people and the collapse and damage of more than 4.5 million buildings and houses. In response, Chinese Children Charities/CCAI has established the Earthquake Relief Fund (ERF) to help orphanages purchase tents, food, diapers, medicine, clothes, and post-quake building repairs and construction.

Chinese Children Charities is a 501©3charitable organization. One hundred percent of your tax deductible contribution will go to help the orphans in China. Please go to to make an on-line contribution, or mail your donation check to Chinese Children Charities, earmarked “ERF”.

Thanks for your support!
Josh and Lily

Why Pearle Vision Has My Business

Click on the link below to see why Pearle Vision will now have my family's business. :-)


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Name is Mom

You Know You're An Adoptive Parent When . . .

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has made you lose sleep.

2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.

3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.

4. The fact that, if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child there would be no orphans in the world, is convicting to you.

5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.

6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about adopted child's "real" parents.

7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longer than it takes an elephant to give birth.(2 years!).

8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped out in faith anyway, knowing where God calls you He will provide.

9. You have ever taken an airplane ride half-way around the world with a child you just met.

10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.

11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacies you could ever leave on this earth.

12. You know what the word "Dossier" means, and you can actually pronounce it!

13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.

14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have him or her in your life.

-Author unknown

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tragedy in China

As many already know, a devastating 7.8 earthquake shook China's Sichuan Province today. The reports of damage, injuries and deaths continues to rise every minute.

Livie's orphanage, Fuling SWI, is located in Fuling, Chongqing. Although it is now a Municipality (like Beijing), Chongqing had previously been a part of Sichuan Province, so this gives you an idea of just how close to Chendu, Sichuan, Fuling SWI really is. Fuling is a small mountainous city. The SWI there is home to hundreds of children, with over a hundred additional children in Foster Care with local families. Currently I do not know what the status is regarding the Fuling SWI, and I am very, very fearful. I hope that our agency, CCAI, is able to find out information regarding the SWI and will be able to keep CCAI families updated. Now, of course I know that the main objective of all adoption agencies is to assess their adoptive families who are currently in China traveling, and to find out information regarding the many children who have been referred and who's parents are waiting to travel. One thing in particular that sticks out in my mind is that typically many Gotcha Days take place on Mondays, meaning that there is a great possibility that many families were actually in the midst of being united with their children for the first time when the quake shook. I can not even begin to imagine...

My prayers today and over the coming days are with China and our adoptive families around the world.

UPDATE: I have learned from our agency that they were able to contact our guide, Marie, in Chongqing. Apparently everything is OK in Chongqing. Nonetheless, I am certainly anxious to hear more specific news regarding the Fuling SWI. I will update as information warrants.


A New Phone & A Great Movie

Ah...breakfast as a very nice! Cards for lovely! A new LG Voyager cell phone...WHOOOHOOO!

Here is my new little baby in the perfect shade of go-with-everything-I-wear black:

As planned, Neil took Lindsay and Livie to Church, while I stayed at home with sick little Sophie. Chris didn't want me to be 'left behind by myself' so he stayed home with Sophie and I and was a great helper. He is the sweetest kid! After Church Neil came home and I took off for a few hours of shopping sans children. I was able to get quite a few things done, and had a great time, not buying ONE thing for my kids!

After returning home we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner prepared by Neil, who is in fact an excellent cook. Clean up the dishes, bathtime, bedtime for the kids and Neil and I settled in to watch a movie which he had rented. Neil had rented a dramedy called Dan In Real Life, which I had not heard of, but Neil promised me I would enjoy. Well, boy, was he RIGHT! It was sweet, charming and very funny...I definitely recommend it. As a side note, Steve Carell's character's sister in the movie is an adoptive mom to a little Asian girl. Of course, I spotted this right away! As I watched the movie I was impressed with the fact that NOTHING regarding this child's biology or adoption was even slightly hinted at in the movie. The little girl (who's name I believe was Bella) is just one of the many children in this extended family. They are a family like so very many others. They are a family like mine!

So, that was my Mother's Day! I hope all of you other Moms out there had a wonderful day as well!


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Happy Mother's Day to all moms! Whether you are a Biological Mom, an Adoptive Mom, an Expectant Mom, a Waiting Mom or a Foster Mom, we all know that it only takes three, sweet little letters to identify us: MOM!

I am the mom to four wonderful kids. I am lucky beyond belief, and blessed by God for the privilege of raising these four precious souls. Of course, being a mom has also heightened my sense of humor!

Our plan for the day was to all enjoy breakfast, go to Church, and then Neil would take the children to see a movie while I enjoyed a day at the Mall. Well, you know what happens when you make plans! Sophie began getting sick on Wednesday, and is now very sick with a cold complete with a wicked bark/cough. Thus, the plan is that since Sophie is SUCH a mommy's girl I will stay home her and Neil will go to Church with the other kiddos. They will come home after Church and spend a quiet day at home while I will take off for a few hours of shopping that will NOT include Gymboree, The Children's Place, The Disney Store, or any Children's Department in any store! After my fully adult shopping time at the Mall, I will return home to enjoy a wonderful dinner prepared by my loving husband and children (hope they keep Little Miss Sicky away from the kitchen!).

Now we will see how these new 'plans' play out! Have a wonderful day, Moms!


Thursday, May 8, 2008


I received my first "comment," which turns out to be a bizarre *person* who is attempting to infect Bloggers' computers with a virus. Luckily I had set my blog to be moderated (more due to the fact that I am a blogging rookie!), so I was able to Google this *person's* name and find out what this was all about. I then promptly rejected their "comment."

Soooo...for all of you out there in blogging land, steer clear of opening any comments from Gardagami.

Gee, what a fun way to get started on my blogging adventure. I think I now know why I was so hesitant to do so for so very long...


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Our Family


Neil ~ Husband of almost 17 years.
Mary ~ Wife, mom to 4 and author of this blog.
Lindsay ~ Our lovely homegrown daughter; 14 years old.
Chris ~ Our fabulous homegrown son; 10 years old.
Olivia (aka Livie) ~ Our precious sunshine adopted in 2005 from Fuling SWI, Chongqing, China.
Sophie ~ Our sweet little peanut adopted in 2007 from Xiaonan SWI, Xiaogan, China.

Furry Family Members:
Georgia ~ Doggie matriarch; 5 pound Yorkie.
Ozzie ~ Hmmm...sold to us as a 'Maltese', but clearly isn't! Perhaps a mix a Bishon and some wild animal?! Sweet, loving and our son Chris' dog.
Vic ~ German Shepard with a big bark and a soft heart! Defender of the home. ;-)