Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Annual Bilby Christmas Letter

We can't decide - we're either very GREEN, or very CHEAP, or very LATE - or maybe all of the above!!! Either way - with a mom that's been house-bound for weeks - this is our way of sending Christmas Greetings this year. We do wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS! We are grateful for another year with family and friends!
2009 Christmas Letter

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Movie Night

Movie night now has a whole new meaning. We used to be able to watch quietly and follow storylines with ease, now we have Jada! She does not, never has, enjoyed TV so when we sit down to watch a movie - thus begins Jada's playground. We are all fair game, yes, she even plopped in my lap MANY times, it was just harder to capture when it was my lap! So she hops from couch to couch, brings out many interesting toys, plays the piano, walks around singing, and even stands in front of the television - all Jada antics that keep the rest of us saying, "Is it bedtime yet?"
Meanwhile, the rest of us TRY to keep watching - she did start out by Chloe, but then Chloe missed out on any more "Jada visits"!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Program

I hadn't had a great night OR day - so I was thinking I probably wouldn't try to go to the program when Chloe comes up to me - with all the seriousness of a 5 year old drama queen and says, "Mom, you really aren't thinking of missing the Christmas Program, are you!?!?" To which I replied, "Umm, No - definitely not!" So I put some make up on, put a smile on my face, and gingerly went to the program. It was SO good - I am glad I didn't miss it. Let me show you some highlights....Jada clapped after every song - she was the only kid clapping, but she was just TOO proud!!

Jada reclined on Chloe - but hey, what's a sister for!?!?

Sometimes Jada just felt like sitting - hey, who can blame her - 45 min. is a LONG TIME at 3 years old!!

And sometimes it was just a good opportunity to practice tying our shoes - make the most of every moment!!

And now I'm off to head to bed - that took all the gumption right out of me!

Friday, December 04, 2009

What We're SO THANKFUL for this Year!

Last year at this time - this song made us cry - ok, this year it still does! But for MANY different reasons. Praying for those that are STILL waiting - there is nothing easy about that wait - but yes, the end is SO rewarding. Praising God for His Gifts of adoption!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

New Site!!

It is the reality - you adopt - you spend your life scouring for things to help you be the best parent you can!!! And that includes buying books and other items about the country where your child/children were born - anything that will help them with identity later on! SO when this new site - AJ Panda - contacted me about their new site - I was excited to go check it out. It really is GOOD. What I liked most were not just the items you can purchase, but all of the extra info about Chinese history and culture - it is a treasure-trove of information! And just in time for Christmas - there are some fun toys, dolls, jewelry, and Christmas ornaments you can purchase as well! See for yourself - I highly recommend it and wanted to get the word out!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tonight's Feat

Dessert seemed in order - so Pioneer Woman - here we come!
We made her yummy apple dumplings!!
Before they went into the oven:
The Proud Helper!!
Coming out of the oven:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jada's First Thanksgiving

Had to get a little video of Jada's First Thanksgiving. We are having a quiet day with our family and enjoying that! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us to all of you! (Yes, the family wasn't excited about the video, but hey, it's different than your usual greeting, don't you think!?!?)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


In case you tried to call, we were gone tonight - we had to run downtown to watch the new Christmas lights turn on! Yep - Mom drug everyone out - in the 30 degree wind - to sip cider, eat cookies, and shiver as we waited for the unveiling of the new downtown Christmas lights! AND IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Practice for the Christmas Program

We just LOVE this - could watch it all day!!! The girls are practicing for our church Christmas program! I know you have MUCH better things to do - but it is so fun to watch Jada "get it"!! IF you hang in there to the end - you will hear her little "yeah"!!!

Practice for Christmas Program from Becky Bilby on Vimeo.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Reality

Parenting is NOT easy - it is full of curve balls and question marks. But where I feel I struggle more is parenting adopted children. I question myself constantly. Why does she cry so long when I leave? Is she afraid I won't come back? How long should we let her sleep in our room on the mattress? How can I show her that we won't leave her? How can I best show her that her past is part of who she is? What are encouraging things I can say to her to represent her birth mom? Why does she wake up so often with night terrors? What were her living conditions like - and how does that play into our life now? I could go on and on. It is just different to me - I second guess so many things that I may or may not do for our boys and not give a second thought. I hope, with time, that some of that will go away - but we've had Chloe over 4 years and I still find myself there often.

So I feel SO blessed by a book I was sent this week - 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed by Sherrie Eldridge. I have read other books by Eldridge that have opened my eyes to things, but this one is SO right where I am! She has given me the freedom to say, "Parenting adopted children IS different - and it's ok to ask question and voice your fears and frustrations." As an adopted child herself, Eldridge is full of wisdom in how to care for our little ones - what their backgrounds may have been, and some feelings they may experience.

Here is one of my favorite "Ah-hahs":
  • Parenting Success, Adoption-Style
  • To work through my personal issues thoroughly, in order to hear the heart needs of my child.
  • To identify with my child on his/her emotional level and to mirror acceptance.
  • To accept and nurture the nature created within my child's first home, the birth mother's womb.
  • To learn and accept the complex realities of adoption as our unique life challenge - not trying to change the challenges into what the nonadoptive world expects.
  • To base love and acceptance of my child on his personhood, not his performance.
Maybe it's just me (although I doubt it) but I needed the freedom to read these things. I needed to see what success may look like - I have so many fears of my inadequacies (I'll admit it - even more after bringing Jada home - CAN I be for her what she needs??). So this book is just really meeting me where I am. I am learning TONS. I am finding that in each chapter I am having to hold back from highlighting the entire chapter!

She ends each chapter by giving you a time to "Listen to your child's heart" - she gives thoughts on how adoptive children may look at situation. Here is one I can relate to having both of the girls in mind....
"When you hold me for the first time as a baby, if I arch my back and won't let you cuddle close to me, I'm not rejecting you. I'm hurting. I miss my first home - my birth mother's womb. Don't let the cycle of rejection begin. If you interpret my actions as rejection, then I'll sense that and I'll feel rejected. Hold me closely until I mold my body to you, even if I cry. This is what I need."
I guess that's why I want to share this book - it is a gift this week - exactly what I needed as I'm questioning what I KNOW God has called me to. It's a big task - but I am thrilled at the growing He must have for me!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bilby Recap

Chloe comes to me this morning and says, "Mom, I sure hope today is better than yesterday." I ask her why she said that and she said, "Because yesterday was VERY bad. I spilled all of Micah's BB's (airsoft BB's) and then I had to run upstairs and cry." I was left to ponder that one - so did that make Micah's day bad or Chloe's???

Chloe on Tuesday night at the band concert, "Mom, it is SWELTERING in here." (Yes, Chloe I firmly agreed - but thank you WORD GIRL for the big word!!!)

We took Jada in to the dentist this week - she sat like a champ - even had x-rays!! The girl is just not phased by doctors - she is quite compliant for them! (Maybe I should get a white coat!) However, at the end of the appt. we got the GREAT news - out of her little 20 teeth - 19 need work - that girl's mouth is just FULL of cavities. So my one glimmer of a smile came that it WASN'T MY FAULT this time!!! (I always feel guilty when my kids get cavities!) The bad news - she will be into the dentist EVERY Wednesday in January for an hour and a half at a time. Poor girl - if she liked the dentist now - she may not then!

In case you missed it - we had a bit of drama over the H1N1 vaccines this week too. We decided to get them for the kids and we were driving to the clinic. The boys were discussing the horrors of shots (thanks a lot guys) and Chloe pipes up, "Mom, how come you aren't scared?" I proceeded to TRY to explain that shots weren't THAT bad and that I was too old - they wouldn't let me get the shot yet. She sat quietly for a bit - biting her fingernails - and then said, "Mom, can you just tell them I'm 500?!!" The boys got a kick out of that!! But all ended well - they were all eligible for the nasal mist - life is good!

Dad's been gone again here - we are waiting for him to come home! We survive but it is always good to have him home again!

So there you have it - the exciting Bilby news in a nutshell. Stay tuned until next time.....

Friday, November 06, 2009

Don't Cry Over Spilled Ice Cream

Here is Jada's first attempt at an ice cream cone - I'm thinking she may never do it again after this!! Poor kid! Or maybe we just need MORE practice!

Just Love Coffee

We were approached, before we ever finished Jada's adoption, about joining a fundraiser for adoption - and being it involved COFFEE - I was thrilled to sign up!! Well, it has just taken off now and we were able to set up a store front - even though our adoption is finished. SO, for the next 6 months or so - we are able to make a portion of the sales off of any coffee ordered from this site to help with past expenses from Jada's adoption AND the rest of the money goes to help other adoptive families as well. What's not to love about that?!?! How about some more details?? You can order a one-time order or schedule out your orders AND it's fair trade coffee - I like that too - helping other countries as we help adoptive families. SO, if you enjoy coffee like I do - check it out - I have heard it is WONDERFUL coffee!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

National Adoption Month

I am always looking for good ways to celebrate National Adoption Month and this was SO good. I copied the PDF from Adoptive Families Online.
2009 National Adoption Month Calendar

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick Or Treaters

Whew - Mom and Dad are tired - and the girls wanted more! Chloe, of course, said, "I waited for this ALL day!!" She LOVES dress up and candy - so this day HAS to be good! I give you "The Snow Princesses" (And no, I didn't force them to wear these!! They chose them!)See them in action!!

I think Jada ran the whole night to keep up with Chloe and there was NO holding her hand - she had to do it just like big sis!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our Little Spy

In Sunday School, the kids pretended they were spies searching out the new land for Joshua and Caleb. The spy eye masks were very fun - Jada thought so too - she WOULD NOT take those crazy things off. Apparently she thought they were MUCH better than her glasses!As you can see, the spy mask is STILL in this picture too - when I tried to get it away to get a "real" picture - well, we won't even go there! Mean mom!
Just wanted to capture those matching dresses - I am thoroughly enjoying this since Chloe asks ALWAYS to match with Jada. I know it won't last long.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Night Fun

What do the Bilby's do on a Saturday night???
Well - play games, of course!
Oh yes, AND act just a little bit silly!
(We are battling BIG colds over here - gotta excuse the red nose!!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Specs

Yep, she's pretty proud of her new specs!!She pointed to them all day and smiled. We hope they are helping her see better - it is hard to tell so far, but I do think she is noticing things that she's never seen before! At least she is keeping them on - that's half the battle with a 3 year old!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Van Gogh and Picasso

The artists were at it today:
This is Chloe's work of art - guess who these three ravishing girls are - ALL with glasses!!! (No comments on the other body parts - Chloe claims they are puffy sleeves!!!)

Jada's work of art - and since she doesn't talk - your guess is as good as mine. :) Guess she doesn't know the sign for this one!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everyday a New Day

We are adjusting - life will become a "new" normal - as someone shared with me. So that is what we are working toward - our "new" normal!Dress up at it's best - Chloe is teaching Jada ALL the tricks!

I have no clue what was happening here but it made me laugh! Monkey see, Monkey do!

Jada does not watch tv hardly AT ALL, but when Chloe does - Jada often joins her and sits and watches Chloe. I bet that's entertaining in and of itself!! (Notice Jada's beads?? She has come to think those are just part of getting dressed - they are on each morning!)

This is Jada's latest and greatest - she goes in (all of her own accord) to wake up Micah. She turns on his light (which, according to Micah, paralyzes him!!) and then crawls up in his bed, lies down, and pulls the covers up to her neck and lays beside him. I caught part of it this morning.

Is all rosy?? Nope, Jada and Chloe still fight OFTEN, there is a lot MORE crying in this house - from BOTH girls that are trying to make a somewhat difficult adjustment. I can't even get a shower some mornings until MUCH later than normal. Even school is not back to full strength. But would we trade it - Nope, not MOST days!!! Everyday gets a little better. Jada responds when we say "No" now - and usually stops what she is doing. She doesn't cry every time she is told "no". Hey, those are all big to us and we are grateful for them!!

Jada got fitted for glasses today - next week should be the BIG week. And tomorrow AEA 4 comes to help me with some ideas for what to do with Jada since she isn't speaking much. I know it is soon in our process, but I am feeling like I just need to know the best way to work with her - maybe they'll have some tricks up their sleeves! We are grateful for every little baby step we are making.

Monday, October 12, 2009

First Time to See the Snow

So I'm not really the bad mom that lets her children go out and play in the snow - 30 degree temps - with no hats or mittens! We were on our way to Kindermusik but I couldn't pass up this quick look at Jada's first snow (or so I think anyway). Yes, we were late for Kindermusik, but oh well, some Kodak moments you just can't let pass!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ballerinas in Training....

What I love about this the most is that I didn't make any of it happen!! Chloe took Jada into her room (and Jada followed willingly - big cheer here!!) and Chloe dressed her all up and out they came to show me. I couldn't resist a photo op so I asked them to go back in their room and the dancing started! I just had to sit back and smile - I love to see them play more and more together. Chloe is teaching Jada so many things and Jada is showing Chloe the joy of simple things!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Eyes - How We See the World

When you are told that your daughter may not be able to see - that is a scary feeling. I know I dedicated an entire post just to that reality - and how we felt God leading us to accept her referral anyway. SO today was absolutely a God-moment for us - A moment where we saw God smiling on Jada. (Let me put a disclaimer in here - even in the midst of very disappointing news - God would still be blessing us - but today was just a brief glimpse of a positive in a long string of asking God what He would have us do.)

We took Jada for her eye appointment today in Sioux Falls - a pediatric opthalmologist. He was fabulous - and, I must say, so was Jada. She sat on my lap and let him shine his light all over in her eyes, and then he said, "She is sitting so well, let's try this bigger machine." She plopped her little chin and hands up on the chin bar and sat like a trooper - never even budging. So our doctor said, "WOW - she is doing better than most adults - I am going to do the drops, numb her eyes, and do the glaucoma check." He did just that and Jada just sat again. She let him look, prod, and do all he needed to do and just sat and took it all in. I was just so impressed with her. But what was even more impressive was what he told us:
*She does have some iris on both eyes - that is VERY positive.
*That means she does not have complete Aniridia.
*She has both lenses. (our family doctor thought she may not - although he was not sure)
*Her retinas look GREAT.
*There is no scarring in her eyes - they are clear and look wonderful!
*She has not dealt with glaucoma to this point - that he can tell - that is positive.
He wrote us up a prescription and we will take it to get her new glasses. Of course, with a little one, it is hard to tell what her vision actually is, but what we can tell is that she can see - maybe not GREAT, but she has some vision - that is good. (We knew this as well - but we didn't know how amazing it would be that she may be helped by glasses!) We were told that with Aniridia, she would probably not be able to be helped by glasses - so we were blown away. Yep, her little glasses may be Coke-bottle thick, but I am thrilled for her - thrilled that something may change the way she sees.

He also said that even her demeanor about life is positive. Many children with visual impairments cower, are afraid, and just plain would rather stay secluded. NOT JADA - this girl LOVES life and wants to experience it all - and usually ON HER OWN! (That is not ALWAYS good, however, when she WON'T hold my hand in the store!!!) He said she has learned how to function in spite of her eyes and that is key. His last words were - take her home and just LOVE on her.

We were thrilled beyond words - it was far more than we thought possible. God amazes us! And let us just tell you what else is happening this week in Jada's World! (It's like Elmo's world because her favorite word is "tickle, tickle"!!)
*She said "Jada" and "up"
*She signs A LOT - "please", "more", "thank you" - she uses her signing often!
*She can point to her eyes, nose, and mouth when we ask her
*She learned how to use her legs to pedal her trike
*She is running with much more agility
*She is "taking to Chloe" - praise the LORD!! She is finding more and more she likes about her sister and for that we are grateful!
*She falls asleep with less than 5 minutes' crying! (This coming down from almost an hour at the start!)
*She now shows us what we call the "chicken dance" when she has to go #2 - sorry if that's too much information - but any parent knows what a nightmare that is when you can't figure out WHEN they need to go!!!
*She hugs - she squeezes - our girl is learning how to hang on tight! :)
*She kisses on the cheek - thank you Chloe for teaching her that one!
*She is touching the dog now instead of screaming when she comes near. Jada doesn't LOVE her, but she will tolerate!
And my favorite: She hears the phone ring and calls "MAMA"!!! (Atta girl - you know who talks on that phone!!) Ok - she points to my laptop and calls "MAMA" too - sad, but true!

Do we have other questions about her development?? Yes! As an educator myself, some things about how far she is behind where a 3 year old should be - can be scary, but I just feel like with a lot of attention and love she will learn - We are making progress - each day shows us that! I remember how fast Chloe progressed and I pray the same for Jada. In the meantime, we will just LOVE on her - ALL of us!!

We pray that these glasses will make a huge difference for her vision - but I was thinking today too - even if they don't - maybe they won't change a thing - maybe her vision will deteriorate - maybe she will be blind someday. It doesn't change a thing for us - we went in knowing all those possibilities - we expected them, to be honest - but that doesn't make me want to be her "Mama" any less. Each of my children are a special blessing and Jada is NO exception - God shows me that everyday. I mean, really, wouldn't everyone love to wake up each morning and be greeted by "Woo-Woo!!" (Our travelmates will know EXACTLY what I am saying - it was, and continues to be, Jada's favorite term - it holds a special spot in my heart!)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Update from the Bilby's

Joe tells me tonight, "Umm, it's been awhile since you've updated your blog." He is right - but WOW - where does one find the time?!?!? I have a little cling-on right now that makes even laundry a challenge! I know that will end soon, but when little one clings so does bigger one - so this mom just tries to get those two to play together! I am sure you all are smiling, and most days I can too, but whew, that is my full-time job right now!

This is how we found Jada the other night when we went to bed - yes, she's still sleeping on her mattress on our floor - bedtime is NOT pretty here yet! But she is SO active during her sleep - look where we found her! That girl can move in her sleep!Saturday we spent the day in Sioux Falls for a band competition. Caleb was SO excited - his first marching experience in 7th/8th Grade band.
(Caleb is the tiny guy there in the middle - He plays the Tenor Sax.)
Was it cold?? Oh my word - and rainy - we joked that Jada wondered what FREEZING TUNDRA she had moved to!! We had her bundled up - don't worry Chinese Grandmas!!!

We made it to church today - Jada did well - played with crayons almost the whole sermon UNTIL the very end when she started dumping the crayons and Mom decided to take the baggie away. Thus ensued a small altercation - but we got it all cleared up before Sunday School and she did well there too. I sit back in amazement when I think that just a few short weeks ago - this little one was in China and had no idea her whole world was about to change. We take it day-by-day and take each small step as a big one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What you Might have Seen at our House Today....

We got a surprise box in the mail so we HAD to open it!! We have no idea who it is from - but the girls are THRILLED with their new buddies!!! :)
This box is ALMOST as good as what's inside!! Jada pushed it all over - not sure she knew she was supposed to OPEN it!!

We took advantage of this fall weather and played outside a bit!
Biker Babes!!

We played with Dad's hair - of course BOTH had to be on the lap - this is ALL TOO common at our house right now. Guess we ought to feel loved!
When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don't go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
~Deuteronomy 24:19

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