The newest Marshall! We will use the name Zoe here on the blog.

She was born April 28, 2010 and is currently living Xinyu, Jiangxi Province. Isn't she adorable!

The first pictures were taken in December, this next one was taken in May.

Her report says: Zoe was born with a deformity of her right foot and leg. She laughs aloud when being teased. Her nannies are working with her on standing and walking. She babbles and imitates sounds. When she sees a caregiver or familiar person, she will stretch out her hands to ask to be cuddled.

We should be traveling sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas of this year.

Rejoice with us! God is indeed good!

You can make a difference (and maybe win an iPad!)

My friend Adeye is an amazing woman; a mother and an advocate for children, especially those with special needs. It has been an honor to get to know her through her blog.

She has become aware of a little girl who desperately needs a home. Liliana (not her real name) is 11 years old. She has downs syndrome and weighs as much as a new baby due to a lifetime of neglect.

You may be thinking - sure, but what can I do about it? I'm not called to adopt Liliana. Well, there is something you can do about it!

Adeye has put together the most amazing raffle I have ever seen - 2 iPads, $500 gift certificates, and all sorts of other great swag. All the donations from this will go to assist in Liliana's adoption. What an amazingly easy way to do something good for a little one!

Check out Adeye's blog here. Please consider donating. And let me know if you win something - I'd love to have some of the winners come through my blog!


Renaissance Faire

No. 1 Son's 13th birthday is coming up, and more than anything he loves to go to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. So Sunday we grabbed three friends and his brothers and spent the day there.

They love to bungee bounce on a trampoline. The Artist can do multiple flips in mid-air - it's pretty amazing to watch.

This picture shows Z-Man and No. 1 Son both bouncing at the same time.

Z-Man likes to go high, but doesn't try flipping yet.

No. 1 Son has been saving for months and months to buy something awesome at the Faire this year. He chose Bear Claw gauntlets, which I must say are quite intimidating. He seems pleased.

One of the favorite parts of the Faire is when the regular commoners take on the "Barbarians" and try to capture their sacred helmet. You can see No. 1 Son right in the front middle with a brown cape on, ready to attack.

He also loves the sparring ring.

The Artist got some pretty awesome fire face paint done.

Z-Man's biggest score was a working miniature catapult that shoots marshmallows. We now have miniature marshmallows all over the house.

The snow cone was a nice break.

No. 1 Son makes a sandwich out of any meal. We took the friends and brothers out to Golden Corral - a perfect place for teenage boys. He made a sandwich with his steak and mashed potatoes on their yummy yeast rolls.

All in all it was a very appropriate 13th birthday celebration.


I miss her

Yesterday at church I was sitting in the back, as I often do. It is open back there, and moms of crawlers and toddlers often sit there and to give their kids some space. And I realized that I would probably be sitting there all the time once our little one is home, at least for a few months until I am ready to let her go into the nursery.

I miss her. It feels the same as when my older kids are away at camp. Like a part of me is somewhere else. She needs to come home. Now. But of course the masters of the papers will keep that from happening for at least 2 or 3 more months, maybe more.

And so I think of her as she learns to walk. As she sits in the little cart/high chairs the kids spend a lot of time in. As she sleeps while we are awake and plays while we sleep. As she lives in an institution instead of a family, even though she is already a beloved daughter. And I miss her.


Much better

We finished the last bits of the painting today. I love the colors - so much better than beige!

Z did a great job with our little alcove.

We still have some cleaning up to do and some pictures to hang, but here's a taste of what it will look like:

My three goofballs have such a hard time all smiling together, so I thought I'd just give you all our attempts and let you enjoy the silliness.


Paint Redo

After waking up in the middle of the night and still hating the beige, I offered my remaining two gallons to a friend and The Artist and I made a trip to Home Depot for new paint. He really has an eye for color! We settled on an olive for the dining room, a rust for the living room and a color I can't describe for the entry room. The company calls it Cork, but that just doesn't do it for me.

So much better!!!!

Gracie isn't sure what to think of all the upheaval.

The painting is going really fast, mostly because Drama Queen really wants money for the Renaissance Faire this weekend. She's working hard!



For the last 5 years we have been blessed to have a beautiful faux-finish paint on the walls of the three big joined rooms on our main floor. It looked like parchment, and we all loved it. But I found out the hard way that you can't patch faux-finish and have it look decent, and after five years there was some serious patching needed.

So we have taken on the project of repainting three large rooms with many odd angles and surfaces.

Drama Queen has decided that this is her project, and spent hours today painting and sanding the spackle that I put on.

Z-Man very much wants to help, so we let him handle the paint brush for a while.

Painting sure takes over the whole house. It's a mess getting everything away from the walls. And I'm afraid that I'm going to hate the biegeness of the rooms, but I'm afraid of making the house dark if I put up the colors I would really like.

I told Drama Queen we can always go back and add color after the beige is done. Maybe just putting the paintings back on the walls will help?


Back from Camp

Today I picked up my two youngest boys from Camp Timber-lee in Wisconsin. Our family has been going to this camp for 7 years now, so we know it well. They both had a great time. This was Z-Man's first camp experience, and he's ready to go back for more next summer. I think he would go for a whole week if they would let him, but he will still have to do their starter-camp for two nights until he's in 4th grade.

Here are some pictures of the boys at the nature center at the camp. They LOVED the snakes. Z is convinced he would be willing to feed the snakes if only I would allow one at home, but I know better. And then who would get stuck feeding the snakes their mice? Not gonna happen.

The Artist and his friend attended horse camp, so of course we had to go check in with the horses before we left. He sure does love animals!


Are we causing Child Trafficking?

One of the blogs I follow took on a really tough subject today. Lori Printy is an adoptive mom of 6 kids, 3 of whom are adopted internationally. In her blog here she asks the hard question: What role do international adoptive parents play in child trafficking?

This is such an hard, awkward, uncomfortable subject. I appreciate that she is taking it head on, and that she forced me to examine and articulate my answer. The following is what I wrote:

What a good question, Lori. It's one most people, including me, are afraid to look at too closely.

I am an adoptive parent waiting on the last couple of months of paperwork for a special needs adoption from China. As much as I know my motives, and those of the vast majority of adoptive parents, are good, loving, moral ones, I know that the money I am "donating" in China is a powerful incentive for child trafficking. I also know that every child deserves a family, not an institution, to grow up in.

In my case, my daughter was probably abandoned because of her birth defect. This gives me some comfort because I can be fairly certain she wasn't stolen. But the whole system that makes a mother abandon her child for the sake of medical care is most certainly very broken. Now that she has been abandoned, the choices for her no longer include her birth family, at least until she is older and we can seek to find them.

I sit uneasily with the fact that someone's tragedy will become my blessing. Only huge changes in government would fix the problem that made my daughter available to me. But generally I would love to see the profit margin removed from the adoption equation. That would remove the incentive for the trafficking of children.

Lori, I saw that you are going to the Empty Stroller March. My husband and I will be there - I hope to meet you.

Hopefully many more people will comment, and this will spark a good discussion on a very hard subject. Check out her blog and see what people are saying.


Block Party, Adler and Piggies

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. We've been going about our business, waiting for our LSC paperwork (42 days and counting) and enjoying the summer. Shopping for a little girl has been great fun. I have discovered some great little girl clothes at garage sales, and Drama Queen and I were sad to see that IKEA no longer sells cribs.

Our block does a great party every year, and this year we were actually in town to enjoy it. The local fire department came out and soaked the kids, and let my little one crawl around in the fire truck and ask questions to his heart's content. We had friends over, and even Drama Queen got into the spirit and painted some faces.

The neighbors put up a sheet and showed Despicable Me, complete with lemonade and popcorn. Even Gracie enjoyed it.

Yesterday I took advantage of the slow days with The Artist away at camp and took Z-Man to his much-loved Planetarium for some one-on-one time. He sure loves space!

And finally, I want to introduce our newest family members! Meet Luca and Lisa, our guinea pigs:

One thing I didn't realize when I committed to taking these pigs is how big a cage they would need. But they are sweethearts, and we've found a good place to put it.

And that's what's going on here. Life is always an adventure...