Hannah Claire Shi Lin

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Need Your Prayers

It's been over a year since I last posted to this blog, and this may be my last post on it.  A year ago things were so wonderful, at least in my mind they were.  My husband, Chip, and I celebrated our 14th anniversary, I was looking forward to reconstruction on Hannah's ear, my children and I loved our neighborhood, and in general, life just seemed good.  But this past April, Chip came to me with the shocking news that he wanted a divorce.  I'm just not the kind of person he wanted to marry, he told me, along with other reasons that weren't really reasons at all, but excuses for him to leave me and our children.  He wanted a career woman, and I'm a devoted mother and housewife, which is not what he wanted.  I was completely blind-sided and devastated, to say the least.

The good news is, Hannah did have her reconstruction surgeries and is now well on her way to being healed.  Her new ear is beautiful!  We now have an appointment to go to talk to another surgeon who can tell us about options for restoring her hearing in her left ear.

Needless to say, I'm very sad to be part of a broken family, especially against my will.  I would have never left my husband.  Marriage is sacred to me, and worth all the work that it requires to make it successful.  Unfortunately, Chip doesn't share the same beliefs about marriage. While I'm over the shock of him leaving and realize that I really don't need to be married to someone who doesn't love me unconditionally, I still struggle with the pain of abandonment, among other issues.  But it's for my children that I experience the most pain.  I wanted nothing but for them to have a happy, stable family life, and I feel like that was ripped out from under them.  It is beyond me why someone would go through the trouble of going to China to adopt a little girl, to give her a family, only to abandon that family. But all is not lost.  I know God is able to restore to us what we have lost, and in fact, to make it better than it was.  We will have a happy family life without Chip, and when God sees fit, he will provide a good father for my children.

I ask for your prayers for me for tomorrow.  I will be in court for a hearing to decide temporary custody orders.  I'm very nervous about this, but am praying that God will guide the judge in making the best decisions for my children.  Thank you so much for your support.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Hackers

They've done it again!  If you've noticed some strange posts lately on my blog, they weren't from me.  I was just as surprised as you to discover posts about repairing credit, etc. this morning, when someone commented on one of the posts.  This is not the first time this has happened to me, and I immediately changed my login info.
Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.  It's been so long since I've posted, I've needed to do an update! So here goes...
Things are still going great!  We're homeschooling again, using the Charlotte Mason method, which I LOVE!  Hannah is at times speaking full sentences, and we're working on learning the alphabet and numbers. 
I started working from home again, this time as a representative with Miche, and am LOVING that as well, although it is a challenge to homeschool and work from home.  But I'm learning to balance it.
We saw a specialist about reconstructing Hannah's left ear a few months back, and have another appointment next month to discuss it further.  We're planning on scheduling her first surgery for January.  We were told it will be about an 8-month process, which is WAY shorter than what we had expected!  Once the reconstruction surgeries are over and Hannah's healed from them, then they can do the surgery/ies to open up her ear canal to hopefully restore normal hearing.  I can't express how much what these surgeries mean to me for my daughter.  Don't get me wrong, she lives a very normal life right now, with normal hearng in her right ear, but it's the little things that will change.  Her speech is being affected by her hearing, so that should improve when it is restored.  And things like being able to wear a pair of Disney Princess sunglasses is hard for Hannah, because her left ear is so little, it can barely hold them up. 

She's mostly not self-conscious about the appearance of her ear, but children do ask her about it, and try to touch the skin tag on her jaw, which is related to the microtia, and she gets upset when they do. And I've already thought about the day when she wants her ears pierced.  It would be difficult to pierce her left ear, and wearing earrings on it would only draw more attention to the fact that it’s different. 
Hannah is absolutely beautiful the way she is right now, but I know she would eventually deal with confidence issues related to her ear.  I hope I don’t sound like I have superficial and vanity concerns; I just want my daughter to live as normal a life as possible, and have the confidence it took me so long to find.  I believe this surgery will be such a blessing for Hannah.  I ask for your prayers in advance for her safety during the surgeries, and for the success of the surgeries, and for quick healing afterward.
That’s all for now!  Here’s to praying that no one else hacks into my blog!  It’s hard for me to believe people actually do things like that, but those unsolicited posts on my blog are proof.  God Bless those of you who faithfully follow this blog.  Until next time!

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's Been a Year!

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted on here!  Things have been crazy for us since December, to say the least. We moved into a new house on January 15, then began remodeling our old house to rent it out.  Miles started a new school and Hannah continued in Mother’s Day Out, which she LOVED.  Chip was struggling with his job and desperately searched for months for a new one, which he did find, and will start in about a week and a half.  But before he found it, he was depressed and it affected all of us.  I also was still depressed, but miraculously came out of it, after about 10 months (thank you, God).  Yes, I am finally out of that dark time that began last year, and it is wonderful! My brother’s wife had their baby last Thursday, and are temporarily staying with us. They’re going to rent our old house from us after we’re done working on it.  So anyway, we have been busy, busy, busy!
We celebrated the one year anniversary of Gotcha Day in May.  It’s so hard to believe it’s been
a year already!  I was looking back the other day at some pictures of Hannah from last year, and she seemed so much smaller.  Her language is improving, but she’s going to need some speech therapy. We went to see a specialist for her microtia a few months ago, and will be going back in about 3 more months to get things started for her reconstruction surgery. 
Things are so much easier with Hannah after a year.  She is still very energetic and loud, but she’s
not quite as destructive, and she’s learning to be polite and respectful.  She loves Miles so much, and looks up to him.  She wants to do everything he does, and gets excited about things because he is. Right now, Miles is into Bey Blades, so I had to get Hannah one too.  They are getting along so well.
Hannah loves having my brother’s baby staying with us.  She asks to see her a lot, and to hold her.  She’s just fascinated by her.  Having that baby around has been bittersweet for me.  It brings feelings and thoughts to me that surround the fact that I didn’t get to have Hannah with me as a newborn, and that makes me sad.  I wonder what things were like for her when she was so little like my niece, realizing there probably wasn’t anyone to hold her and talk sweetly to her all day, and no one to take their time with her while she slowly drank a bottle while going in and out of sleep.  But it has also been good for me, almost like therapy.  I kept the baby with me for two nights to give my brother and his wife a break, and I ended up LOVING it!  It’s almost as if since I missed out on caring for Hannah as a newborn, I now have a chance to experience just a little bit of what it might have been like.  Sometimes when I was holding her, I imagined what Hannah would have looked like at that age. I know she was just as precious and sweet.  And I do take a little comfort in knowing that even if there was no one there to do all those things a mother does for her baby, God was there with my little girl, comforting and protecting her.  He had to have been there, because Hannah is so well-adjusted and loving and happy, in spite of her past.  I’m so thankful for that.
It has been a truly amazing year—full of sadness and despair, but also joy and thanksgiving, and life-changing in the best of ways.  I am so thankful God chose me for this adoption journey.  I look at Hannah every day and think what a miracle it is that I, of all people, went all the way to China to bring back a little girl to be my daughter.  I never would have done it on my own, but did it because God told me to do it.  He really does know best.  I look forward to
all the future blessings he has in store for us with our daughter.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Now You're Home

It's hard to believe that this time last year we were wishing our little girl could be with us.  It was our last Christmas with just one child, and I looked forward to a time when Miles would have a sibling to share all the excitement with, as only children can share with each other.  Now that is a reality, and I am so thankful.  It touches my heart to watch as Hannah discovers this holiday, from picking out and decorating our tree, to hearing Miles sing in his school Christmas program, to sitting on Santa's lap.  Of course, she has no idea she'll be waking up in three days to find our Christmas tree surrounded by presents for her to open.  I can't wait for that morning! 

I've had so much fun Christmas shopping this year!  I mean, I've bought presents for my nieces before, but this is different.  This is for my own daughter, something that not too long ago I thought I would never have.  It was such a pleasure to pick out all the little girly things, things I know I would have loved myself as a little girl.  I can't wait to see the look on Hannah's face when she opens those presents!

I put together a slideshow to express how this past year has been for us, and how much it means to us to have our daughter with us for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy it, and I know many who read this can totally identify with our family.  Merry Christmas to all of you and, whether by birth or adoption, your precious children.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


As I am writing this, something is happening in our house that I've dreamed about for years.  And it's been going on for almost an hour straight.  My two children are happily playing together!  This is a real breakthrough for them.  I mean, they've played together before, of course, but this time they've got a little storyline going, and they seem to understand each other pretty well.  This is so welcome after three and a half months of a lot of fighting, and when they weren't  fighting, Hannah was my shadow, which has been hard on me.  Miles also was using what little Mandarin he knows to communicate with Hannah, in spite of my efforts to encourage him to speak English to her so she'd learn it quicker.  He would also sort of just make up his own language sometimes, that sounded like Mandarin, but was really just jibberish.  But the past week I've noticed he's started speaking to her in English, and as a result, she seems to be using more English herself.

Like I said, I've dreamed for years of having two children, and hearing the sounds of them happily playing.  God has made that dream come true today.  I know there will still be all the normal fighting, but I think today there has been a breakthrough, and it will only get better!

Here they are playing.  They did completely mess up my bed, but it is so worth it for the harmony between the two of them!

Just look at them.  I am the most blessed of mothers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Our Laid Back Summer

Today Hannah saw two of her water bottles on the counter and said, "Mommy!  One, two!"  I was so proud, and ran to her and gave her a big kiss.  Later, I knocked my shin on the edge of the open dishwasher and cried out in pain.  I asked her to kiss my bo-bo, which she did.  I went back to the dishes, and Hannah ran to the bathroom and brought me back a band-aid.  She is such a caring, sensitive person. And so precious.

Hannah's seems to be learning more and more English words.  I believe now that in just a few months, she'll be speaking so much and so clearly, you won't be able to tell she wasn't here in the U.S. all her life.  She recently started to say "hurt" instead of the Chinese word for it, and she says "cow" every time we get in the car.  Speaking of cows, we went out this morning to the farm where we buy our organic eggs and raw milk, and she was making sure the whole way that we were indeed going to see the cows.  She kept saying, "Mommy, cow!"  And I kept reassuring her, "Yes, we are going to see the cows."  Going to the farm has really helped her feel more comfortable around animals, and to learn their names.  While she still doesn't want to pet any of them, she'll actually get down out of my arms and walk around sometimes, until one of the dogs or cats gets too close, and then she's climbing me.  I think a few more trips will take care of that fear.

Miles and Hannah are growing closer and getting along better.  Sometimes I'm so amazed at how quiet it is around here with two kids in the house.  It's not all the time, of course, but those times I find them playing quietly together, or even just side-by-side on their toy laptops is so heartwarming.  I love seeing my children connecting and growing in their sibling bond.

My sister and her family just recently met Hannah a couple of weeks ago.  My sister had her baby while we were flying back from China, and we wanted to play it safe around her and wait until Hannah's blood test results came back.  She has no illnesses, but she did have to get to immunizations, and is still being treated for giardia.  She couldn't keep the antibiotics for it down, so we switched to a natural herbal treatment.  We have two more weeks to go with that, then we'll do more stool samples to see if it did the trick.  Please keep her in your prayers.  As long as she has giardia, it will be hard for her to gain any weight.

We've been enjoying our laid-back summer.  While there's nothing wrong with having lots of activities over the summer, we're loving just mostly staying home, getting to know each other better, settling into a routine.  I'm feeling so much better lately, and am able to focus more on the things that are important, the little things.   Like wrapping up Hannah in a blanket and holding her like a baby and talking to baby talk to her, sometimes even feeding her a water bottle full of milk.  She asks me to do this every day now and LOVES it.  I'm looking at picture books more with her, pointing to pictures and telling her what the objects and animals are called.  And as I've said before, she loves to be in the kitchen with me, and I let her help as much as I can.  All these are little things I just wouldn't have time for if we were scheduled to do activities most days.  I feel so blessed to have this precious time with both of my children, and especially with Hannah, since she has missed out on so much already.

Brother and sister bonding.

At my sister's house with the new baby.
Miles and Hannah with their cousins.
Father's Day
The 4th of July at Mei-Feng Ayi's house.
Meeting one of her cousins.
Another one from the 4th.  Hannah has no shortage of Ayis!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

All My Heart

I can honestly say now that I love Hannah so dearly.  Of course, I loved her before, before I even met her.  But after we got her, I was under so much stress and anxiety, and was dealing with depression as well, that it was so hard to feel the love I had for her.  I'm so thankful to feel that love now.

Today was such a nice day.  We stayed home all day, just Hannah, Miles and me.  I got up in a good mood, and decided to make a conscious effort to concentrate on the kids and the house today.  Yes, even though I'm a "stay at home mom," I don't always focus on domestic things, and I don't always spend as much time as I think I should with my kids.  But today was different.  I enjoyed making them a breakfast of scrambled eggs and biscuits.  I did lots of laundry today, and Hannah helped me, which she loves to do.  Later Hannah and I sat on the couch and looked through a couple of her picture books, one about animals and one about the world in general.  It was nice to just take that time out with her and not feel like I needed to get up and go get something done around the house.  After the books, I laid down with Hannah until she fell asleep for her nap.  When she got up, we all three had cookies and milk for an afternoon snack.  Before supper, Hannah asked to clean off the table and chairs, so I handed her my bottle of vinegar and water and a washcloth, and she happily went about her task.  After that, she sat on the counter while I did dishes, then stood on a stool and stirred the food on the stove.

When Chip got home, we ate, then Chip took Miles to the store to spend some of his allowance on silly bands, so Hannah and I got some more one-on-one time together for about 45 minutes.  She was crying when her baba and gege left, but she cheered herself up by brushing her teeth with her new electric Hello Kitty toothbrush.  She probably used it ten times today, she loves that thing so much!

Hannah is learing so many new words lately.  She now says "ok," " I love you, too," and "hurt," in addition to a few others.  She understands so much, it's amazing!  It's fascinating to watch this little girl who had never heard English words before she was 4 years old, now learning this new language, slowly dropping the Chinese words for the new English ones.

Looking at Hannah's face today, I felt so strongly, so clearly that God meant this little girl for us.  To say she is special to me is such an understatement.  She came to me in such a special way, and she has touched me in ways that have no words to be expressed.  She is truly my daughter, and I love her with all my heart.