Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sweet Cali

Life takes such convoluted paths. When I think of some of the challenges our adopted children have faced, I sometimes weep. Five of the seven were abandoned at birth. Graci was abandoned at age 5. Cali's biological father passed away in a mining accident and she was abandoned by her biological mother, but she was still able to live for a time with her paternal grandmother. Due to the rural, inaccessible area where her grandma lived, once Cali was in a wheelchair, it was no longer feasible for her to live there. At this point, she moved to an orphanage that was about a 2-hour drive away. She continued to have some contact with her grandma and her aunt. We met both of these wonderful women when we went to adopt Cali and also when we went back to adopt Conner. Cali had the chance to travel again to China on her own last summer and see them again. It is such a blessing to live in a time of free and instant communication. She still loves her family in China and keeps in touch with them. A few days ago I came across these pictures that were given to us when we first adopted Cali. So precious!!! We love you Cali:)


Cali with her grandma.

Cali with her biological parents.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Road Trip

Sophi is the world's best traveler. No matter what the scenery looks like, she loves it! We recently had a daddy date road trip to Cedar City, about 3 hours south. We had so much fun talking, taking turns choosing songs to listen to, and observing our surroundings. We had dinner, watched Spies in Disguise at the theater and swam in the hotel pool. We saw 3 hawks on the way down. We thought we saw a fourth sitting on a fencepost right by the highway, but as we got closer we could see it was actually a golden eagle. So cool! On the way back, we stopped to visit Grandma Larsen in Richfield. We also saw the largest herd of deer I've ever seen. They were grazing near the freeway. We pulled over to have a better look and I counted at least 112. Such a fun trip with a fun kid and with lots of great wildlife. Love you Soph!!!


Loving the ride! (At least for awhile;)

We stopped to view some pioneer era charcoal pits. They stacked wood in here wall to wall and  burned it  until it turned into charcoal.
Sound asleep!

Our golden eagle. First on the post, then flying away!
Tuckered out after a long day! Cutest sleep position ever:)
Nutella waffles are just to good to eat with only one fork!!!

Monday, February 10, 2020

No Quarantine Necessary!

Sophi went to school last week and a boy in her 5th grade class asked: "Are you Chinese?"

Sophi: "Yes."

The boy, after taking a step backwards: "Do you have that virus???"


One super-cute, virus-free, Chinese angel!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Hearts of the Children

Dear Joseph or Victoria or Claire or Braxton or Xander, Jr., (I'm sure there will be quite a few of you!):

This is your grandpa! I had a really beautiful epiphany this morning and I want to share it with you. It started last night. I took several of your parents (Sophi, Lexi, Calais, Graci and Conner) to a Chinese New Year dinner. It is a wonderful tradition that began last year. A non-profit called the Utah Chinese Civic Center wanted to provide a venue for local children who had been adopted from China to connect with their culture. They had heard specifically about our family and called your grandma to ask if we would be interested in coming to a Chinese New Year feast and if we knew other families who would also be interested. Grandma Christi reached out to several friends directly and also posted on Facebook and the inaugural dinner had 13 families attend. This year, that number increased to 21 families who, like ours, have been blessed to bring wonderful children from China into their homes. After the dinner last night, there were several moms that came up to me and commented on how much our family meant to them. They had seen us in Find Me, or had read our blog, or had just noticed something that one or more of their children had in common with ours. One particular mom mentioned how much her girls love reading about our kids on the blog. As has happened on previous occasions, I felt a bit guilty for not posting more regularly. Grandma Christi and I have seen so many people blessed by observing our kids (your parents!). In fact, one of the great unforeseen blessings that adoption has brought to me is this: our kids bless other peoples' lives pretty much every time they go anywhere. It is a wonderful thing to observe and be a part of.

So last night I determined to write more frequently on our blog. I wanted to share our amazing kids with anyone who might benefit from reading about them. This morning I woke up way too early for a Saturday. (The older you become, the harder it is to get good sleep-enjoy it while you're young!!!) The good part about getting up early is that you have the house to yourself for awhile. I wandered into the living room and opened the shades. I enjoyed the sunrise over the beautiful mountains to the east. Then I took some time to pray and read the scriptures. As I was pondering, I was hit with the most beautiful thought: YOU are my most important readers! And I don't even know you yet!!! The thought filled my heart with joy. A few years ago, Parker and I were working on his genealogy merit badge. The 1940 census information had recently been made public and we found the page with information about my maternal grandparents, Roy and Elita Lind. I was amazed at the emotions that filled my heart as I found the line for Grandpa Lind. Living at 4335 NE 68th in Portland, OR, they owned their $1,700 home. He worked full-time as a local truck driver making less than $1.00/hour. In 1940 they had two children: Joyce, my aunt who passed away when she was 16, and Stephen, my uncle who I have had many fun interactions with. Tears filled my eyes as I thought of my Grandpa as a 25-year-old trying to make ends meet for his growing family.

And so, sweet grandchildren (and children and great-grandchildren), I am thinking of you this morning. I am looking forward to meeting all of you someday. Hopefully in this life, but meeting in the next life will also be amazing! I hope that as you read this blog you will find wonderful glimpses into your parents' lives. Funny stories. Inspirational moments. A greater understanding of some of the difficult trials they went through. And hopefully, your understanding of your grandpa's life when he was 35 and 45 and 55 will be more expansive than a few lines on a census.  I love you all!

Grandpa Jeremy

What I love about this picture is how perfectly it captures my favorite side of Graci: her ability to fill everyone around her with exuberant joy!
Lots of wonderful friends at this event!

Conard and Ilah Green family begin on line 70. 7118 SE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR

Roy and Elita Lind family begin on line 28. 4335 NE 68th, Portland, OR