Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jumpsuit Ella

Not long after returning to the states, we had the Halloween 2010 costume set in stone. Her hair was screamed an Elvis slick back.

It goes without saying - she will spend massive amounts of energy as a tween and teen telling us how wrong we were to dress her like a boy for her first ever Halloween. But this isn't just any boy, folks. And next year at this time, she'll no doubt be flitting around in some fairy/princess/frill of a costume.

Yesterday, Ella went to her very first Halloween party here in the neighborhood. It was complete chaos (no less than 30 kids and their parents) and completely fabulous. Ella likes a party and she is so very good at hanging out, taking it all in.

Happy Halloween! Look for a costume change for tonight's festivities. (Temps are going to require something a bit warmer...)

H, L & Elvis

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday in the neighborhood

The trees in our neighborhood are a glow! What a fantastic day to be out and about.

Get out and enjoy before October is a memory! H, L & E

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Red Thread? It's Teflon.

I don't know that I can fully do this story justice. Well, I know I can't. I'm just going to say that right now. And if this feels like deja vu at some point? It is. (You will recall a similar story here)

Over the weekend, E~ contacted me by email. She found me through this blog. She is in process of adopting a 3 year old boy from Ella's orphanage in Kunming. He was living there when we made the emotional visit back in February. Do we remember meeting him, she asked? She sent me updated photographs. We've scanned his face but no, he doesn't look familiar. We wish he did. That day is a blur. We wish we could have given her that morsel that we received from our chance encounter.

As our emails continued, E~ sent me links to two blogs containing photos of a Homeland Tour from August 2009. These families (more importantly, China adoptees) visited their orphanage. Ella's orphanage. I'm overwhelmed at the photographs they were able to take. I clicked on every single one of them. Did I think I'd see Ella? Not really. She would have been just over three months old. What are the chances? And then...

...I gasped. That mouth. That lower lip. Her dark eyebrows. Good heavens, that lower lip!! Look at her all wrapped up in a rosebud blanket already sporting that haircut. I know it is Ella Man Li. You do too.

Gifts abound. Not once but twice we've been given a rare glimpse into her life as a tiny infant. This time, we actually have a photo. The red thread that binds us to China, to Ella and to all the other families who have adopted from China only seems to get stronger and stronger. What a pretty fantastic feeling.

H, L & E

Friday, October 8, 2010


Here in Ella-land, we're really glad it's Friday. We spent the late afternoon playing out in the yard and listening to music. Best part? October 8 and still warm enough to have dinner on the patio.

Have a great weekend! H, L & E

Monday, October 4, 2010

When love takes you home and says you belong here*

There she is propped up with hotel pillows under her to keep her from falling over. I'm drying my hair at record speed with a hairdryer that smells like it might be on its last leg. Her eyes are wide and beautiful, but she's relaxed. She's content that I haven't left and I'm pretty certain she's impressed at my ability to multi-task all the while fussing over her in a language that sounds anything but familiar...

This scene has been replaying in my mind. I have no idea why now and why this particular snippet from our travels to adopt Ella. (I mean, why NOT the diaper-changing scene in the alley??!)

I see her growing leaps and bounds each day. Maybe this is my melancholy reflection on how far she has come, how little she was when we first met? Maybe it has to do with the fact that Larry and I have been thinking a lot of her birthmother, her foster family and her caregivers at the orphanage. We wish they could see her now. We really, really do.

So, I'll leave you with one better, perhaps? Today marks the seven month milestone of when love took us home. As our little friend Lana said last week, "It has only been seven months? It feels like soooooooooooo much longer than that!" We agree, smart girl (who makes an appearance in the video below, by the way).

Welcome Home Ella Man Li on PhotoPeach

* When Love Takes You In, Steven Curtis Chapman