Sunday, June 23, 2013

This Love...Two Years in the Making

Two years ago today, I hugged my oldest daughter goodbye as she prepared to board a flight to China, leaving to spend the next two months working in a special-needs orphanage. 

Two years ago, I reminded her yet again...

"Meredith. My quiver is full. I know you are going to fall in love with all these precious babies, but we are done. We are not adopting again."

And two years ago, somehow I knew that we may not really be done. 

That maybe, just maybe, another little one would become "stuck" in my heart.

You all know the story. 

My oldest and soon-to-be-youngest became inseparable friends- destined to be sisters. 

The pictures I saw two years ago of Mei and "her" Cai Wei planted seeds deeply in my heart. 

The stories and videos Mei shared of Brooke after returning home from China grew into a love for this little girl I had never even met. 

A love so deep that on that miraculous day, when Mei happened to see Brooke's adoption file on Rainbow Kids, and called us sobbing, begging to adopt this little one...

We knew she was ours. And we said yes. Absolutely yes.

And what a life-changing gift we have been given in our Brooke Cai Wei. 

Exactly two years ago, the moment my oldest held my youngest for the very first time, our lives were unknowingly turned upside-down and inside-out. 

And I am so thankful

Happy two years of "knowing you", sweet little B. 

It still amazes me how God brought you and Mei together...almost 7,000 miles away. 

Sometimes we still can't believe you are ours!

How your love has YOU are the one kissing Mei!

Wanting to be just like your big sisters...towel heads!

What other three year olds get to watch their big sister graduate from college? 

Linking up with Stefanie's Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brooke, or "Ariel", Our Rising Star!

If there's one thing you should know about the Toering's that Chick-fil-a is one of our all time favorite restaurants. Not just because the chicken nuggets, waffle fries, and lemonade just can't be beat, but because all summer long they hold fun, fabulous activities for the kiddos! 

This last week, they had a "Chick-fil-a Open Mic Night"! It was too cute! Brooke was immediately asking to she dutifully waited her turn, and then bravely stepped up to the mic for her chance to sing! Her song of choice? "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid. 

Now, anyone who knows Brooke knows that she lives and breathes Ariel. When she goes swimming, you better not slip up and call her "Brooke". She is ARIEL or "mermaid" under NO uncertain terms. Watching her sing her heart out as "Ariel" at the open mic night was just about too cute to stand. 

And yes, she received a HUGE round of applause at the end of her performance. I don't think her smile could have gotten any wider. :) 

Linking up with Stefanie's Sunday Snapshot!

Ni Hao Yall

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Whoop Um Gangnam Style!

So the "Gangnam Style" video that has been sweeping the nation and inspiring all sorts of ridiculous dance moves has made it to the elementary school generation. Erica came home from school singing it one day, and proceeded to teach Brooke the dance. 

What can ya do but join 'em? It's just too funny. :) 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

One Year Home

She's been here for one year.

It feels like she's been here forever...and yet it can't already have been a year. 

Isn't she stunning? 

She is sunny. 

She is sassy.

She keeps us constantly laughing.

She is a blessing beyond compare. 

Happy One Year Gotcha, Brooke Cai Wei.

We love you dearly. 

PS. We have sorely neglected this blog. Hopefully a life update will be coming soon :)

Linking up with Stefanie for her Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for HOPE!!!

This Thanksgiving...we are so very, very thankful for our precious Cai Wei and the MIRACLE of her life. We are thankful for her life-saving open heart surgery she had in July, and for how well she has recovered. We can't imagine life without her, and are thankful every single day that we took the leap of faith just a little over a year ago to bring home a sweet little heart baby called Cai Wei. She has changed  our lives, and blessed us immensely.

Happy Thanksgiving, baby girl. We are so glad to be spending it with YOU...home forever and so loved by your forever family!!! 

Love, Shyla for all!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

GREAT Joy- 6 Months with Brooke Cai Wei

6 months ago today, Cai Wei met her forever family for the very first time.

 It's a day that is forever etched into my memory. 

 I walked into the playroom, and told my soon-to-be littlest sister that her mama and baba were here! They had come to meet her! She understood exactly what I was saying, and grabbed my hand and ran to the big window that looked out of the playroom. I lifted her up, and I'll never forget the way she pressed her nose and hands against the glass of that window...straining to catch her first glimpse of her Mama. 

I'll admit, I was a little worried with how Brooke would respond to meeting my her family  as she is very wary around strangers and was very attached to her nanny. I shouldn't have worried. Those first moments together, introducing Brooke to her forever mama and baba and her new sisters, could not have been more perfect or more special. 

I'll never forget the look of joy and the happy tears on my mom's face as she saw Brooke for the first time through the window of the playroom. I'll never forget the way that Erica literally could not get into the room fast enough to touch her little sister's foot and hand, and just repeat to herself over and over "I can't believe she is really here! I'm a big sister now! I'm your big sister, Cai Wei! I love you so much!" 

The beauty of that moment was so I introduced Brooke to her mama and sisters, telling them we all loved her so very much, my voice caught as I realized that this was real. Brooke was coming home and would be a part of our family, my little sister, forever. My mom held out her arms to Cai Wei, to hold her baby girl for the first time, and I held my breath...waiting to see how Brooke would respond. To both of our utter delights, Brooke leaned out of my arms and went to my mom, saying "Mama", and let my mom snuggle and kiss her to her heart's content. It was in that moment that everything shifted, and Cai Wei was no longer just "my" baby that I had fallen in love with the previous summer. She was now a daughter and a sister, held by tightly by her mama, a treasured member of a family forever

Baba then got a chance to hold his precious girl, and fell in love immediately as he heard her first giggles. She already had him wrapped around her little finger before he even met her, and seeing her there for the first time just confirmed it. She was a Daddy's girl, through and through. Erica and Allison were both so excited to be meeting Brooke in real life. It's amazing how you can fall so in love with a child through pictures and stories, and then meeting them in real life almost seems surreal. Erica was so gentle, so sweet. She reveled in every moment of her new-found "big sisterhood", holding Brooke's hand, feeding her snacks, etc. 

It was a moment of joy, one that I will always look back on in complete amazement. It was truly a "Meet-ya Day" experience like none other. We can't believe it's been 6 months...Brooke has come so far and is truly a hoot in every sense of the word. 

Some Brooke-isms: 

  • She STILL has her Baba (Daddy) completely wrapped around her finger. Completely. 
  • She loves visiting "Ca-yege" (college) to see Allison and I...she gets more attention than I think is possible. 
  • Brooke turned THREE! There's a post with pictures coming...but she was so excited to finally be three that she sang "Happy Birthday" to herself All day. She also called the day "My day...Cai Wei's Happy Birthday day". 
  • She is little miss bossy...making sure everyone stays in line and knows exactly what they are supposed to be doing. She will bust out in a 5 minute long monologue, of which we understand NOTHING...except the "Okay???" at the end. 
  • Her English is incredible. She is putting together full sentences and understands every single thing you say. My favorite is when she says "What is dat?" over and over again. 
  • She started gymnastics! She LOVES "nastics-days!" and is always very excited about the "bouncy-bounce" (trampoline)
  • She is obsessed with Panda Express, and if she sees the restaurant, she will yell PANDA...NOODLES at the top of her lungs. You can take the girl out of China, but you can't take the China out of the girl. 
  • She and Erica have truly become best friends. It is precious to see the two of them together, running around having the time of their lives. 
More updates and pictures coming...we have been terrible about keeping this updated. Thank you for your continued prayers for her heart and her overall adjustment to our family. She is doing incredibly God be the glory! 

Hugs from all the Toerings- Meredith

Picnics are the best :)

She LOVES the fish at Walmart!