Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yes, it's been a while...

When I said we were going to sign off for a while and just go be a family, I had no idea it would be almost 10 months before I posted any updates.  WOW!  Time flies!  It has been a wild, wonderful and yes, sometimes hard road since coming home from our nearly month long stay in China.  But one word sums up the entire time...blessed.  More about that later... 
Christmas was a bit more special than past years as there is no longer an empty place at the table, or an empty stocking holder on the mantle (well, there almost was...Marcie came through in the final stretch), or an empty corner of the living room Christmas morning.  We were full in the house and especially in our hearts.  Overall, the children (and even the parents) were pretty spoiled, and Maggie was fairly overwhelmed with all the activity.  But she just cranked up the cuteness meter and the meanness :) meter and jumped right in.  It was fun to watch...especially when we consider what the last two Christmases must have been like for her.

As a quick update on the kids, Trevor is nine going on 30 and it is fair to say he loooves his little sister.  On occasion, he has to be reminded he is not her parent, but it's pretty cute to watch him dote on her nearly every waking moment.  Brandon is four going on 10 and searching for his role within the new dynamic of our family of five.  This has been the most notable difference since we came home as Trevor focuses on Maggie more and more and Maggie seeks to interrupt any attention Brandon receives.  And he is very confused about the somewhat different parenting style regarding Maggie as we seek to bolster bonding and attachment.  Don't get me wrong, the little trooper is a happy big brother and even happier baby boy, but just keeping it real...we have some work to do and changes to make in order to enrich his overall experience (and everyone's for that matter).  Maggie gets more and more comfortable with every passing day.  She has come a loooong way with regard to considering Marcie her primary "go to" and me an OK alternate, and we can tell she really likes us, but they were right about the takes a while and others don't/won't really get it.  But we are blessed with understanding family and friends, and quite honestly, it's going better than we thought it would.  This experience has changed has enriched us...and we have been blessed beyond comprehension by every step.
Smile Week March 2010 with Teresa,
4 middle school students, the school
director, 4 nannies, 3 friends and
our Maggie (2nd from left)
Maggie Jane 8 months

Speaking of blessings...if you recall, Marcie & I were fortunate to meet Maggie's part-time foster mother on Gotcha Day.  She just "happened" to be at the orphanage on "that" day (God is so good).  We have shared several emails since returning home, but today we awoke to an email that contained pictures of our sweet baby girl we had never seen before.  We even learned a little about Teresa's program and the way she funded Maggie's cleft lip repair.  A middle school class in the International School of Beijing raised the money to cover surgeries during Smile Week, Teresa's program's cleft lip repair celebration.  WOW (we say that a lot these days)!  How neat would it be to thank those kids in person?  The blessings continue to overflow and we are thankful God chose us to walk this journey during this season of life.  What an amazing time it has been.  That's it for now...we pray that you had a blessed Christmas and wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!  (Marcie just now announced our Christmas tree is staying up and being redecorated for Chinese New Year) :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Busy Season Is Upon Us...

Today (2/28) is a big day in the Peck household...lil', ahem, sorry...big ol' Brandon turns 4 today!  Happy Birthday big man!  On this day in 2007, your Mommy and Daddy learned how exponentially love can and will came into this world wrapped with a great big bow and we have never been the same.  So proud of the gentleman you are becoming and the way you are carrying the torch as both big and little brother…not an easy task and you bear it well.  Have a great day buddy!

And so, with the coming of February 28, the festivities begin.  Not just B’s birthday, though…in 11 days, Marcie and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary (except for all these kids seems like just yesterday)…the day after that, Marcie will celebrate her 33rd birthday…two days after that, T will celebrate his 9th birthday (and I’m not even going to begin discussing those emotions).  So the busiest two weeks in the Peck family’s lives have begun, and, as usual, we are all running in different directions and give quick hugs and kisses as we pass in the driveway.  Maggie just kind of stares at us with this little “why are you people so worked up” look and then retreats back into Mommy’s arms with her favorite “as long as you’re not taking me” glance out of the corner of her eye.  As for me, well, I decided to join the party and trump them all…utter nonsense that I should have to wait until August to celebrate “Kevin”…so I plan to have gall bladder surgery as soon as absolutely feasible (ugh!).

God did decide late last week and over this past weekend to allow the cold bug to waft freely through our home, thumping all five of us right in the nose (and chest) and slowing down the speed of real life for a few days.  It was a neat, but slimy opportunity to simply watch our new family of five be together…really together…like all in the same 15 square foot vicinity…ok, a little too together at times (ha).  But even with the piles of tissue and bottles of meds, this new little family had a chance to love on each other and continue to build a trust that only hugs, kisses, snuggles and time will allow.  While she is very content and happy most of the time, Maggie knows Marcie’s hip and shoulder well…and she now knows comfort and love and safety can always be found there.  Cries become whimpers there…whimpers become sniffles…and sniffles become sighs…finally.  And even though there is still a little bit of apprehension, a little bit of occasional inconsolability when it comes to the men of the house…she is learning slowly but surely that the boys and I are trustworthy too.  And I will argue with her ‘til the end of time to convince her that I love her unconditionally and that she can trust me absolutely. :)  Her brothers seem up to the task as well…and they’ve never exhibited the patience it takes to boil water (ha).  She’s a game changer, folks, in every sense of the phrase.  Shhhh...nobody tell her she already has me wrapped.

We feel good…this feels right.  She holds her own with her brothers.  The big brothers worry about and defend her.  Mommy and Daddy are parenting and loving all of them in a way that didn’t fully exist before we spent three weeks on the other side of the world.  We see it differently now.  We saw our very own burning bush.  Many would say we saved an orphan...and sure, we added to the “one less” column…but the truth is, she saved us.  She and her story were exactly what we needed and this season of life was exactly when we needed her…and God knew that all along.  Humbled…

Friday, February 25, 2011


Here is a quick rewind on the whirlwind that has been the past two and a half years:

June'ish, 2008:  Kevin hears the voice say "Don't miss another minute!"
July 16, 2008:  Conversation with local attorney/church friend/father of child born in China
August 8, 2008:  Preliminary Application approved by agency
August 14, 2008:  Formal Application approved by agency
October 24, 2008:  Home Study completed
March 6, 2009:  Dossier to China (DTC)
March 20, 2009:  Log-in-Date (LID)
Lots of prayer
Lots of prayer
April'ish 2010:  Switched to special needs after considering from the beginning
September 27, 2010:  Referral & Match (hi sweet Chen Xiaoli)!
October 18, 2010:  Letter of Acceptance (LOA)
November 16, 2010:  Provisional Approval (PA)
November 25, 2010:  NVC Notification
December 22, 2010:  A5 notification
January 3, 2011:  Travel Authorization (TA)
January 6, 2011:  Left Paducah
January 10, 2011:  Gotcha Day (hi sweet Maggie Jane Xiaoli Peck)!
January 29, 2011:  Family of Five together at last ! ! !  :)
February 25, 2011 (today):  whew...still remembering to breathe.

More to come later.  God Bless!