{almost} anniversary

We are rapidly approaching our 2 year anniversary of meeting Mary Alice (how could time have flown by so fast?!) so we went to our college alma mater and grabbed a few photos of our girl to commemorate this fun, crazy, exciting stage of our girl’s life. 

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She is such a sweet spirit in our family and I could not imagine our family without her.

 

A few of Mary Alice’s favorite things after {almost} two years home: 

-the movie Tangled 

-being outside (especially barefoot and in nothing but her diaper) 

-teasing mommy into thinking she will potty train before she leaves for college

-m&m’s (which she discovered during previously mentioned potty training adventures)

-her daddy. period. she loves that man. 

-any furry, scaly, feathery or slimy creature. 

-pigtails

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So thankful to have been blessed with two wonderful years being mommy to my sweet girl. Excited to see her be a big sister to our Lucy girl. 

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We’re Adopting Again!

I know that most (if not all) of you follow us on Facebook so you already know but we are adopting again! Mary Alice is going to be a big sister! Image   We had been thinking about adopting again ever since we brought Mary Alice home in June of 2012 and had even pursued a couple of options but nothing ever came of it. Last summer we really started thinking about starting a second adoption in earnest. In August I saw a picture on a friend’s Facebook page of a little girl she was advocating for, as soon as I saw her I felt a thrill rush through me. She looked like my daughter!

As I read the information that was with the photo I realized this precious little girl had a lot of complicated medical needs. I called Matthew and told him about her and sent him her picture. She was listed by a couple of letters and a number, CY-3. He wasn’t quite as convinced as I was that she was our daughter but encouraged me to at least request more information. We got her medical information and realized her medical issues were quite severe. We prayed and talked and took some time but felt confident that regardless of her needs this was what the Lord was calling us to.

We weren’t home study ready or anything, we had just started seriously thinking about adopting again! We rushed to get our home study done and to apply with the agency that held her file. The orphanage in Taiwan also had a lot of questions for us about our ability to take care of such a special little girl.

Once we had gotten their approval to continue with our home study we finished it up in February and got our official referral in March!

We are going to name our newest little girl Lucy, and she is only 58 days younger than Mary Alice! They are pretty much the same size but a year or more apart developmentally because of her medical challenges. About her challenges, we know she has a genetic condition as well as being vision and hearing impaired. Apart from that and we really don’t know what her prognosis is or what impact glasses and hearing aids will have on her ability to see and hear.

Please be praying for us as we continue towards Lucy’s adoption. We just got her court documents and will be sending those back to Taiwan in the next week or so. If you would like to help us as we work to bring home our Lucy girl you can pray for:

-a speedy process

-continued health for our sweet girl

-the Lord to provide the funds we need to finish paying the adoption fees as well as the airfare to get to Taiwan

If you are interested in donating towards those fees or the airfare costs we are partnering with AdoptTogether to raise funds. You can donate at www.adopttogether.org/thefrasers. All donations are tax deductible and any amount is a blessing. We will also be doing other fundraisers in the weeks to come so please stay tuned. You can follow our adoption journey here and on Facebook at our Loving Lucy Home Facebook page.

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a girl and her puppy

Nora and MA 3

This is our sweet Nora girl. She has made her appearance a few times on the blog but not since becoming my daughter’s best friend.

They adore each other. On Nora’s side it might be because Mary Alice sees it as her personal job to make sure Nora gets plenty of food from her high chair.

Nora and MA 5

Nora is the first thing Mary Alice asks about most mornings. Choruses of “puh-pee” resound throughout the day.

Nora and MA 2

Nora and MA 1

There is nothing sweeter than a girl and her puppy.

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Memorial Day Weekend

We celebrated Memorial Day in Houston, Texas this year seeing one of my dearest friends tie the knot! It was our first time in Houston, my first time in Texas and we had a blast.

Texas Sky

It was a beautiful weekend and the wedding was perfect. It was great to catch up with a few people from college and to see the bride (and meet the groom!)

The Reception Hall

The Reception Hall
Bride and Groom 2

The First Dance

Baby Playing at Wedding

Somehow I didn’t get any photos of her from the front but I thought this was cute. She was playing peek-a-boo with one of the guests.

Daddy and Daughter

Hanging out with Daddy

Me and the Bride

The BEAUTIFUL Bride and I.

Our Family

Family picture…unfortunately MA was getting pretty tired at this point. She also got a wardrobe change. That poofy dress didn’t fit well in the carseat so we changed her right before we headed home.

Daddy Daughter 2

Kissing Daddy

While we were in Houston we stayed with one of Matthew’s cousins and I was able to meet her husband and daughter. She and her son came to our wedding (almost) five years ago so I was able to meet them then. Her daughter is about 8 months older than Mary Alice and her son is almost 7. They had a lot of fun having a baby to play with. They also had a pool so Mary Alice was able to swim for the first time. She was able to get in the pool a little last year but was only 6 months old. It took her a little while to warm up to the pool but once she did, she had fun.

Daddy Daughter swimming

Not so sure about the water…

Swimming 5 Swimming 4 Swimming 3 Swimming 2 Swimming

The drive was about 8 and half hours each way and Mary Alice hates sitting in her carseat to even go across town. Needless to say the drive to Houston was pretty interesting. By the drive home though, she was so tired she basically just slept and watch Lady and the Tramp (3 times in a row)…

Sleeping Baby

That long of a drive with a screaming baby…you find small ways to entertain yourself…

Owl

Oh…I forgot to mention…guess who got to go to IKEA in Houston????? THIS GIRL!!!

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Momma Love

Being a mom has been a HUGE learning experience. Becoming a mom by way of adoption has been an even bigger learning experience.

I really felt like I loved Mary Alice before we ever met her. I did love her. Then I met her. Then I thought I loved her. 4 months passed, more love. Her one year birthday, even more love.

Now we are coming up on our one year anniversary of meeting Mary Alice and I feel like my world has been turned upside down. In the past few weeks I have a love for her that isn’t what I had when I first saw her face, met her, knew she loved me, or any experience previous to this.

It isn’t a fun love. It isn’t like falling in love. It isn’t like anything I have ever known. One year after meeting our daughter and I feel like I love her like a momma. I tried to explain it to Matthew yesterday and the only way I can describe it is that I love her so much it hurts. We watched a news story about a mom who saved her 2 children from a tornado by laying on them. During the time that she was laying on top of them her house was lifted off the foundation and part of the house fell on her legs. She had make a split second decision to let go of her kids and save her legs or hold onto her kids and lose her legs. She lost both of her legs.

As we were watching it I totally understood that kind of love. I would give anything for Mary Alice. My legs, my life, anything. I didn’t always feel that way. I didn’t feel that way until recently. I didn’t know this kind of love existed. In a head knowledge kind of way I knew that I would sacrifice anything for her well-being but I didn’t feel it deep in my soul. I do now.

I know that my love for her will just continue to grow and I am looking forward to it. I have learned that parenting is a relationship just like any other. I love Matthew differently and more deeply now than I did when we were first married even though I had never loved anyone more at that moment. I am looking forward to my love deepening for both my husband and my daughter. Watching my heart change and grow. Watching them change and grow.

The main reason I want to share these feelings is to encourage other mommas who feel like it is taking them longer than they expected to feel that momma love for their babies. I know that for a while after she came home I kept thinking, “is this what it feels like to be a mom?” It wasn’t a feeling much deeper than what I had felt for children I had taken care of before. I think as mothers and especially adoptive mothers we pressure ourselves to feel how we think we are supposed to feel about our children when that kind of love takes time.

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Itdoes not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (ESV) 

Mary Alice and Momma

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What I’m Reading Wednesday

I love blogs.

It is a problem. I find a blog I just love and read the archives until I feel like I am that person’s BFF. It ‘s a little embarrassing.

I have seen a few other blogs do a roundup of sorts where they link you up to things they are reading and I have always found some great stuff to read so here we go:

This was floating around a lot during Mother’s Day week and I linked it on Facebook but loved it so much I want to link it here too.  A letter to moms of adoptive children. 

An excellent (and hard) post about adoption ethics. This entire blog is moving and inspiring. I am reading through the archives right now…I am in June 2012…

A super sweet letter from a mother to her toddler daughter on Mother’s Day.

Some interesting thoughts on parenting in America.

This conversation between an adoptive momma and her son’s birth momma.

Another great adoption ethics post.

What blogs are you reading??

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Mother’s Day 2013

Mother Day 2013 14

To celebrate Mother’s Day, Matthew and Mary Alice took me to Fairhope Pier to get some good pictures of Mary Alice and I.

Mother's Day 2013 15

We needed a good picture to put in my new “mom” frame that I got from MA. I also got my first hummingbird feeder!

Here are some of our pictures we took for the frame:

Mother's Day 2013 5 Mother's Day 2013 4 Mother's Day 2013 3Mother's Day 2013 13 Mother's Day 2013 12

Mother's Day 2013 11

This was the winner!

We couldn’t leave Daddy out..

Mother's Day 2013 8 Mother's Day 2013 7 Mother's Day 2013 6

Mother's Day 2013 16

And since she was being generally adorable here are a couple of just MA

Mother's Day 2013 10 Mother's Day 2013 9

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Friday

Mary Alice Window 1

Sometimes all you need at the end of the weekMary Alice Window 2

is a picture of a cute kid

Mary Alice Window 3standing in front of a window

Mary Alice Window 4

smiling

Mary Alice Window 5

to help you remember

Mary Alice Window 6that every little thing

Mary Alice Window 7

that seems so hard and complex

MA Chair 1can just hold on for a couple days

MA Chair 2

while you relax

MA Chair 4

and realize that you life is full of blessings

MA Chair 6

I hope you have a great weekend. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Thoughts on Mother’s Day 2013

So this is my “first” Mother’s Day and I have to say I have some mixed feelings about that.

First of all, there is the elated feeling that is primarily coursing through me. I am mother. Hear me roar. Not only do I have a daughter, I am rejoicing in the bond that we are creating and relieved that I can celebrate our first Mother’s Day together as mother and daughter. It was a hard and long fight home but we made it!

I am also a little perturbed.

I feel like I have been a mom for years now. Remember our story?

Mother’s Day 2010, Matthew gave me a journal to write letters to Annie, a baby we had never met and didn’t even exist yet. We were in the process of doing our preliminary work to adopt from Taiwan thinking we would be parents before the year was out. I skipped Mother’s Day that year. I stayed home and slept.

March of 2011 we had our first miscarriage. I became a mom. I didn’t have my baby for very long and I didn’t ever get to celebrate our little one’s life but I became a mom to a little baby I won’t meet on this side of eternity. Did that mean that in church that Mother’s Day I stood up to receive my flower for being a mom? No. It didn’t. No one would have understood. No one knew we had lost that precious little life.

We were also in the process of trying to adopt a little boy domestically that Mother’s Day. We were living with his extended family and taking care of him full time. I had two reasons to stand up Mother’s Day 2011 but I didn’t.

Mother’s Day 2012..during 2011 we had two Taiwanese adoptions fail and were right at the end of completing Mary Alice’s adoption, we were exhausted! We had just made travel plans to go to Taiwan to pick up our girl. My husband was the pastor at a small church and they did the same mother’s recognition. I wasn’t sure what to do so I stayed seated even though I was a mother in my heart and weeks away from being a mother on paper. So sweetly an older lady caught my attention and motioned for me to stand. I received flowers that year for being the newest mother. As kind and sweet as it was I felt like a fake. I wasn’t mothering. The baby I was claiming to be the mother to didn’t even know I existed.

What about Mother’s Day 2013? My husband is now the youth pastor at another church. I am sure they will somehow celebrate and recognize the mothers in the congregation. You know what’s funny? I probably won’t even be in there. I think I am working in the nursery this Mother’s Day. You know what else? It doesn’t bother me. I don’t need to stand up in church to feel like a mother. I am a mother.

Also, to look around the room at all the women seated, for whatever reason, might just break my heart to pieces. I don’t even know if I could stand this Mother’s Day. I would want to sit in solidarity with all the women who can’t stand but so desperately want to.

If you are that woman, if you are the woman I have been every year before this one, I mourn with you. As I hold my daughter close this Sunday, I will mourn for the woman I have been and the woman that you currently are. I will also celebrate the blessing of my daughter, the precious little one who made me a momma. It will be a bittersweet day me.

I don’t know that the pain of infertility, the pain of yearning to be a mother, will ever leave me regardless of the number of children calling me Momma. I think that a part of my heart will feel a twinge of pain every Mother’s Day. I think part of me will wish that nobody was asked to stand on Mother’s Day.

 
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MA 15 Months Old

Even though I missed updating months 11-14, I figure I will pick back up with 15 months.

MA 15 Months

MA had her 15 month check up a recently and weighs 17 pounds 12 ounces and is 28″ long.  That puts her off the chart for both height and weight. She is just a tiny thing! She is wearing 6-9 month clothes, size 3 diapers and size 2 shoes. She has two bottom teeth and I don’t think there are anymore getting ready to break through right now.

She is walking! She took her first serious steps (26 in a row to be exact) on May 2nd and is now walking about 40% of the time. Mostly just a few steps at a time and still pretty cautious but oh so cute.

She is starting to become more verbal but mostly the words she says are just getting clearer. She says regularly; daddy, mama, puppy, touch, stop, no no, eye, mo’ (more) and uh-0h. She can point to her eye, nose, rub her belly, wipe her mouth, sign more and all done.

She is drinking whole milk in the morning and at night and water during the day. She is eating well (almost as much as we are!) and even had her first cookie this week. Needless to say, she was a fan! :) Her favorite foods are blueberries, green peas, blueberry bread, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and eggs.

Her personality is really starting to blossom. She is becoming really silly and starting to do things to make us laugh on purpose. She will crawl around in circles really fast and then lay down flat and freeze for a few seconds and then roll around. It is so adorable. She shares well right now (I’m sure that will change soon).

My favorite thing that she has started doing is that she is becoming snuggly. She has not been really snuggly as long as we have known her. She will now lay down with me on the couch or on the bed and just play with me and snuggle. She has even gone to sleep with me a few times which has NEVER happened. I love it.

It feels like her and I have come to a place almost one year after I first met her that we have really bonded and she really trusts me. I know it sounds crazy but I really think we may have just turned a corner in our bonding and attachment journey. I’m not sure how much of it is purely developmental and how much is actually from a building attachment. The way she relaxes against me when she is tired and comes to me as soon as she feels scared or gets hurt instead of just sitting and crying until someone comes to her. It is something I can’t quite put my finger on but I know it is  there.

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