Monday, September 26, 2011

Back to Work

Brent started back to work today.

As we expected, Alyssia was very sad. He openly said "good-bye" because we didn't want it to seem like he just disappeared.

She cried for a while, then calmed down to just a whimper and a "baba" every now and then.

For whatever reason, in her little mind, I am the "bad" guy. :) She still wants NOTHING to do with me.

I have always loved children and taught or babysat children since I was very young. I'm good with little ones, and I've had alot of practice with them. I've truly never had a child dislike me this much!

If she's playing and happy and I walk into the room, she starts crying. ANYONE is better than Mama right now---of course, Baba is best, but if he's not available, she'll cry for JieJie (big sister) or GeGe (big brother).

But Mama?

No way.

Alyssia did let me take care of all of her needs today and even held my hand a few times without falling apart.

I snuggled her at nap time, and while she fought me, and clearly didn't like it, she did fall asleep and took a good nap.

And OH, how happy she was when Baba came home! I made sure I was the one to take her to him, trying to reassure her that I'm not trying to take her from him.....

For the record, this is exactly how she treated Brent for the first week, so I'm pretty hopeful she'll grow to like me eventually.

At least, I'm trying to convince myself that she will...... :)

I do know that this is completely normal, and I did expect it to be this way. But it does hurt a little, mostly because I love her so completely---she's my DAUGHTER now!----and I'm just dying to shower her with that love.

I'll keep you updated as the week unfolds.....

Alyssia's 2nd Birthday, in her own Words

"I may be the birthday girl, but I'm not going to be happy about it!" ;)

"No, I don't want to sit in my highchair! I told you, I'm not happy about being the birthday girl...."

"Why are all of these strange people singing a funny song? And what do they want me to do with this bright, fire thing?"

"Hmmm, this is pretty tasty. (But I'm STILL not happy that I'm the birthday girl!)"

"Cake? I know what to do with cake!"

"Hasn't this woman taken enough pictures of me yet? It's just cake, silly!"

"You want me to eat YOUR cake, too?? Okay, sure! But I'm NOT happy about it!" :)

"Goodness, being the birthday girl is exhausting. And I'm not one bit happy about it, either."

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Brent and Alyssia Xiao Bao are home at last.

They landed in Richmond last night at 9 pm. The four oldest children and I met them at the airport, while my dad graciously agreed to babysit the little ones so they could go to bed.

She's chubby, soft and sweet. Spent the night in restless sleep, snuggled up as close as possible to her "baba" (Chinese for Daddy).

This morning, she's enjoyed playing with the other children, even giving a few hugs and smiles.

But she wants NOTHING to do with me. :)

I'm pretty sure she thinks this is the next "hand-off".....a repeat, if you will, of two weeks ago, when she was told "Here is your new baba---he loves you!" and then they were gone forever.

Now, here is the "new baba" saying---"Here is your new mama---she loves you!"


I'm taking it in stride, knowing it won't last forever.

But OH, how I'm longing to snuggle her little self. I have taken the liberty of kissing her cheek and she's just as kissable as I had hoped!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bergey Bunch Updates

It's 9 pm and the only noise I hear is the sound of the dryer running. I love the chaos and noise my children bring, but I also love the quiet of these later hours when they are all in bed. :) I take a deep breath and enjoy the brief period of silence.

Lately, with two back-to-back adoptions, most of our posts have been about Johanna or Alyssia. These girls have affected our entire family in so many ways, so tonight I want to update on each one of our precious children. (I'll warn you, it's a long post, with no pictures, and it doesn't "flow" the way I might like, but I just wrote what came to mind when I thought of each child!)

JOHANNA, 14--Fourteen in birth years, but a toddler in emotional years, she's growing right into her own place in our family. We've experienced some harder days, where she would "fight" obedience, especially in family relations.

For example, when  you hurt someone (either physically hurt them, or hurt their feelings), you make it right by apologizing. Or, if Mommy asks you to do something, you do it with a pleasant attitude. These kind of situations were often met with quiet, pouting resistance by Johanna. She would stick her tongue out at the offended party instead of apologizing, or whisper "yes, ma'am" instead of answering in a normal voice.

Not "major" issues, sure, but they could easily make our daily life a battle, especially since there are so many little ones watching Johanna and waiting to see if she will obey. It is essential that the older children are good examples to the younger children in our home. The key for us, though, is not just obtaining "outward obedience" but rather reaching her heart and having her WANT to please us.

This has been a daily process, but I have been seeing some wonderful improvement and we are so proud of our Johanna. She is like a mirror image of me some days, as she copies and mimics not only my words, but my actions as well. Where once she was harsh with Gabbey and Ethan, now you will hear her say, "Gabbey, what's wrong? Do you need a drink? Okay, stop crying. Say 'please'. Good girl! Here's your drink. Say 'thank you, Johanna'. Good girl!" :) I feel like there's a parrot in the house, lol.

 Although she's 14 and hasn't been exposed to the daily life of a loving family before, Johanna has grown to really enjoy our affectionate household. I often have to carry her to bed and give her 10 kisses. She likes for me to dress her sometimes, and hold her on my lap. Just tonight, an interesting thing happened. She laid down on my lap and told me she was a "baby" and needed to "eat". Cuddled in a nursing position, she "pretended" to make sucking noises. (Keep in mind, she had clearly NEVER seen a nursing mother before being here in America. We've had several discussions about how I fed my biological babies and she's been very curious and has pretended to nurse her dolls.) Anyway, for a second, I thought about telling her to get up as it must have looked ridiculous :), but Ellie was the only one in the room anyway.

The more I thought about it, the more it so clearly made sense. You see, Johanna is old enough to KNOW she missed out on having a "normal" childhood. She sees me parent the babies and knows she missed that time with her own mother. She has looked with longing at my pregnancy pictures and cried when I've told her that I will always wish I could have adopted her as a baby. Adopted children often "relive" the emotional stages of childhood that they were deprived of as babies/young children, and it has been AMAZING to so clearly see Johanna craving the "baby" affection of a mother/child relationship. So, while it did indeed feel a bit ridiculous, tonight I let my 14 year old teenage-yet-still-a-baby-in-so-many-ways oldest girl pretend to nurse.

I thought, yet again...........why? Why did she have to wait until she was FOURTEEN to experience the unconditional love of a Daddy and Mommy?

(Goodness, I'm only done with one child. At this rate, I'll be up all night! :) )

ELIANA, 9--My oldest by birth, and the child who so willingly gave up forever the title of OLDEST when Johanna joined our family, I am SO proud of this girl. She has shared every last single thing she owns with Johanna---her room, clothes (they wear the same size!), bed, toys, family. Ellie has also experienced the emotions of having a sometimes-moody sister, one who likes you one minute, then doesn't want anything to do with you the next.

We've had some excellent communication and teaching moments through this time. I LOVE what adoption allows us to teach our children about unconditional love. You see, it's EASY and completely natural to love a baby who joins your family. It's NOT so easy to love a teenager at times. Ellie and I have talked about how love is a choice, a daily decision we make, whether we feel like it or not, and whether the other person reciprocates those feelings or not. Love is ACTION, it's sacrifice, and sometimes it's hard work. We've cried and prayed together on the hard days, and I appreciate how the Lord is working in Ellie's heart through this time.

Ellie has a natural gift for music and is loving violin lessons. Next week she will start the Suzuki Book 2 and that has her very excited! We all love hearing her play, and the younger children (and even Johanna) cannot WAIT until it's "their" turn to take violin lessons.

Johanna and Eliana love to "organize" together, and have taken everything out of their dresser THREE times this week, just so they can fold it, put it all away, and, in their words, "organize" it. They ask me, "Mommy, is there anything else I can organize?" Um, sure girls! :) So, the baby toys, baby girl clothes, shoes, you name it, Johanna and Ellie have it all "organized".

NATHANIEL, 6-- By far the busiest of our children, Nathaniel also has the hardest time when someone "leaves". This is his third time in 9 months experiencing a China trip by being left behind, and, in his words, "I just CANNOT take another adoption!" (which translates to mean that he doesn't want Mommy or Daddy to leave again).

 I've given him all the "man" responsibilites while Daddy is gone, and he takes them VERY seriously. He checks to make sure the doors are locked, takes out the trash, and carries heavy items for me. :)

Sweet, out-going, too-quick-for-his-own-good Nathaniel has been acting out some since Brent's been gone, in part because there's been so many changes in his little world lately. We put an twin air mattress on the floor in our room when he was sick so he could sleep close to us, and he's pretty much been in our room ever since. :)  Brent and I don't mind (obviously it's not forever!) and both know it seems Nathaniel really needs the closeness and security right now.

Each child needs reassurance that Daddy and Mommy still love THEM just as much as we always have, even as other children are joining our family. The actual "acting out" of that reassurance is manifested in a different way with each child. For Nathaniel, he craves closeness at bedtime, and right now, we're okay with that. :)

NOAH, 4--Half toddler, half "big boy", Noah is, by very nature, a TRUE middle child. He's been super easy-going and obedient since he was just a small baby, a go-with-the-flow, "okay, Mommy" kind of boy.

He enjoys tackling with his brothers and Daddy and playing cars, and plays nicely with just about ANYONE. Hardly ever does anyone complain about Noah, because he's just SO sweet! Brent and I have to REMIND each other to pay attention to Noah, because most of the time, he just doesn't "demand" it.

He makes his own bed, gets dressed, and picks up his shoes EVERY single time he takes them off. (unlike some of his older siblings) :).....

He's been a little more emotional lately and after an usual "battle" at bedtime the other night---he never keeps getting out of bed!--I realized he was probably needing some extra Mommy-time. I picked him up, turned out the lights, and rocked him to sleep. We've continued this all week, and I must say that even Mommy is looking forward to our "rocking" time ;)....I love listening to the way he takes a deep sigh, snuggles into my neck, and is off to dream-land.

ETHAN, 2--Ethan, the cutest 2 year old boy EVER. :) Okay, so I'm biased. Seriously, though, with his big blue eyes, his white-blond hair, and his fat little cheeks----well, I can't get enough of our Ethan.

I could sit and listen to him talk ALL.DAY.LONG. because his little voice is simply adorable!

(To those offering sympathy to me because we're going to have 3 two-year-olds in our home, DON'T, because I LOVE 2 year olds!) :) LOL

Ethan's had two big accomplishments this week: He potty trained (well, with Mommy's help, of course) and graduated to a "big boy" bed! I wish I had pictures of Ethan in his little "train" underwear, but the camera is with Brent in China. So, you'll have to take my word for it, he's stinkin' cute! :)

I'm also one of those weird Mommy's who enjoys potty training. Okay, okay, I don't enjoy cleaning up poop that's running down a certain boy's legs.....but other than that, I love potty training! I normally train my children right around their second birthday, but it was such a busy summer, I didn't want to leave a newly-trained munchkin for Meme to take care of while I was in China, and I thought I'd do all three of the youngest at the same time.When I found out that  Lyssie is already potty trained,  I thought, why wait another day? Bye-bye diapers, hello to visiting every public restroom in town. :)

GABRIELLA, 2--Gabbey just had her 2nd birthday, and I still need to post her birthday pictures! She became a "big" sister to Alyssia, but will still be the smallest in the family. Gabbey was a preemie, only 2 lbs 12 oz at birth, and is still super tiny---18 lbs at 2 years!

Trust me when I say this----she doesn't THINK she's the baby anymore! If one of the other children gets something or does something, Gabbey thinks she's JUST as big and should get to experience it, too!

She's got amazing motor skills (I can brag since obviously she didn't get them from me! :)) and can buckle, zip, and put on her own shoes.

When Gabbey wants to be, she is feisty determined, but I just remind her that I'm bigger and I always will win :)

She's very attached to us, but not SECURELY attached as of yet. It's clear we are deeply bonded, and the feelings run deep, but Gabbey is still terrified we are going to leave her. Whenever she sees someone putting their shoes on, she finds me and starts fussing. She continues to fuss until she is buckled into her carseat and it is evident that she is NOT being left behind.

Gabbey is snuggly and giggly and she loves all the girly things already---hairbows, shoes, dolls, and kitchen toys.

Her language is finally starting to blossom and it's so fun hearing her start to communicate with words!

She tolerates Johanna now, but still shows a strong preference for "Sissy" (Ellie). Ellie will put Gabbey on her back and carry her when we go's precious watching a little girl carry an even smaller girl!

Gabbey has come SO far in the 9 months we've had her. Brent and I have fallen deeply in love with this tiny little person and we are so excited to see what the Lord has in store for her life.

-----Well, there's a tiny glimpse into what has been going on with our oldest six children lately. Life is never dull, that's for sure, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

And yes, I am counting down the days until Friday, when I can finally meet our youngest blessing of the bunch! :)

Just Some Pictures

I have alot to post about. Like about how I potty trained Ethan this week and how Johanna is doing, both the good and the bad..... About sweet, gorgeous Alyssia, and how we're all holding up without Daddy..... About the changes I've made around the house to get ready for Lyssie and the awesome deal I found at a yard sale on Saturday.....

But until I have a magical window of time to post (perhaps tonight?) I'd thought I'd show off my new baby girl instead:)

Brent bought Lyssie a pink blankie and she LOVES it! Snuggles it and rubs the corners to fall asleep.....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Small Glimpse Into Lyssie's World

Good afternoon from Guangzhou China. Lyssie and I settled in last night at around 8 p.m. into our hotel. Selina has stated correctly that it has been a very challenging week. This has been such an emotional trip for me and even more so for Lyssie. But as I have told Selina, just when I start to get frustrated by an event that is happening, my God is faithful to remind me that my steps are ordered by Him. He has been so faithful in this journey and has encouraged me through His word and through His leading me.

This morning we went to the doctors office to get Lyssie checked out. They were very impressed by her health and demeanor. What they couldn't find wrong was a broken heart. There is no magic potion or medicine that will heal this. Love and time are the only remedy for this wound.

After visiting the doctor I told my guide Helen (who is super) to go spend time with her family today. I really wanted and want to have some time alone with Lyssie. It is really the first day I have had alone with her. We walked the streets of the island that I am staying on and held hands and walked into the shops. She was very happy with a sucker in one hand and holding daddy's hand with the other. Although, I am sure the sucker hand brought her more joy. :)

After we walked around for awhile we went to lunch at the all famous Lucy's. Lyssie has been her "normal" post adoption self, very quiet and reserved. The White Swan Hotel closed yesterday for the next year so then can renovate it. It is definitely noticeable. It is much quieter. I met some very nice people and they all asked about my story and I asked about theirs as well. It is very unusual for a daddy to come by himself. Then all of a sudden, something happened during lunch. For the first time since I have had Lyssie she smiled and laughed at me.(and no, I didn't have food stuck to my face) I saw, for the first time since the second Gotchya day...cough cough... her real personality. WOW!!! She giggled and played and ate. She gave me a big hug and a kiss. It was a LIGHT BULB moment. Praise the Lord for His goodness. He encourages us at  just the time we need it.

We walked half way back to the room and stopped. She was getting tired and wanted me to carry her. I put her on my shoulders for the rest of the way to the hotel.

Now she is in bed sleeping her little heart away. I am so thankful that she let me see a glimpse into her heart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Family Picture

Well, this picture is outdated before I even got around to posting it. :)

In my defense, we only had SIX children for a few weeks before adding the SEVENTH, lol.....

I did want to document with one family picture before we added Alyssia, so here it is!


My apologies for the delay in getting an update posted. For some reason :), I'm quite exhausted by the time I get all the children to bed, straighten up, work on laundry, and Skype with Brent.

Alyssia is doing okay. Having her be so attached to the foster parents has its good and bad points---the good being that she should bond easier to us, the bad being she's grieving for them. HARD.

Gotcha Day was Tuesday, and a bit of a letdown. The foster parents rode TO Gotcha Day with Brent and Anna, and drove back to the hotel with them. Nothing really changed from Monday. They all ate lunch together, then Alyssia napped in their room. Dinner was together again, then she slept in their room again. So Brent wasn't feeling much like the Daddy yet, although he greatly encouraged the foster parents to spend the time with Lyssie.....

At lunch on Tuesday, Brent asked the foster parents when they were planning on leaving. They responded that they weren't sure. Brent's concern was that if they waited until Friday, he would be attempting to FLY to Guangzhou with a very-heavily-grieving-angry-toddler. They said they would leave Wednesday morning, and make the transition of Alyssia's care to Brent at that point.

Tuesday night, the foster parents were going to let Alyssia fall asleep in their room, then carry her to Brent's room and put her to bed there. I quickly saw the MAJOR problems with that idea. First, she was bound to wake up terrified and begin screaming, at which point the foster parents would have come and "rescued" her from the "bad" man who's bed she was just in. NOT the way to build trust in my opinion, especially since they were still "in the picture". Brent told them to just let her sleep with them one last time.

So, Wednesday was more like "Gotcha Day", because Brent actually "got" Alyssia. The foster parents brought her to him in the morning and said a very teary good-bye.

Instead of being a happy adoptive parent, Brent has felt like he's "kidnapping" THEIR child.

Well, they didn't leave Wednesday morning like they promised they would. They texted and called Anna ALL day to ask about her (this was while she was with Brent!) So, when poor little Alyssia was grieving pretty heavily in Brent's room around 7 pm, he received a phone call from Anna. The foster parents had heard her crying and "suggested" Brent take her out of the room.

Brent very firmly said No, he was NOT taking her out, that they'd been out all day and she was exhausted and ready for bed, and to please not call again.

Sweet little Alyssia didn't eat or drink ANYTHING on Wednesday, but woke up Thursday ready to eat breakfast. She is grieving, and her little face looks SO sad right now. She screamed or cried a good bit of Wednesday, but Thursday was mostly just acting depressed. She is allowing Brent to comfort her and offer her love and affection....and she is sleeping much of the time, a grieving/shutdown mechanism, I'm sure.

You will see her grasping her little red shoes, her clothes she came with, and her water bottle in many pictures. These are definitely her "security" items, and she carries them everywhere and won't sleep without them.

My heart is breaking for her....she's old enough to know something's "wrong" but too young to understand what's really happening.

Wednesday evening the foster parents called Anna and wanted her to come down to their room. They wanted to see if Alyssia was eating and drinking. I COMPLETELY understand that they are also grieving. However, it doesn't seem to be helping anyone for them to continue to stay 5 rooms down from Brent and keep contacting sure makes him nervous to leave the room, for fear he's going to run into them and Alyssia will see them.

SO, they promised they were leaving Thursday morning.

I think you know that didn't happen. Brent looked outside his door (through the peephole) at 8 am and the foster mom was standing there, listening at the door....

Brent toured a museum, then had fun with Alyssia in the room. She REALLY likes the bathtub, and played in there for over an hour. Brent even fed her dinner in the tub, since she was so happy.:)

Foster parents said they were leaving Friday morning.

Brent was at breakfast with Alyssia and looked up to see the foster mom standing behind a glass window, just staring at him and the baby. Then the foster dad walked by and Alyssia almost saw him.

Brent immediately headed for his room and called Anna.

She reassured him (and me!) that they are NOT going to take the baby back, they just wanted to see her.

We have such mixed emotions about all of this.

This couple obviously loves our Alyssia. Very much. They've taken EXCELLENT care of her, and we will be forever grateful. We know this is painful for them and we sympathize with that pain. For whatever reason, they were not allowed to adopt her and decided to find her a good home instead.

We chose to honor their connection with her by including their nickname for her as her middle name. Her official name is now Alyssia Xiao Bao Bergey. Xiao Bao (pronounced See-ow Bow, as in bow down, not tie a bow) means "little treasured child" and we felt it was truly fitting.

But if Alyssia saw them now, even for a minute, Brent would be back to square one as far as bonding/grieving goes....actually, probably WORSE than it was in the beginning. It would NOT be in the best interest of the CHILD and that is what this is all about.

Needless to say, Brent and I will both breathe a sigh of relief when he and Alyssia arrive in Guangzhou later today (Friday afternoon China time).  :)

Here's a few more pictures from Thursday.....the last picture was taken in July when another family traveled for their child.....The Director and his wife brought Lyssie along and the adoptive mother graciously sent me pictures from that day!

God is good, and has orchestrated the events of this week and our adoption of our beautiful new daughter. We are trusting Him to give us the wisdom we need to assist her during this adjustment time.

And I will continue to count down the days until she's in my arms! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I'm thousands of miles away.

But I'm hopelessly in love with this little face ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011


The Director and his wife arrived at the Dolton hotel around 1 pm on Monday. Brent got to meet them all, then they went out for a nice lunch. Alyssia was getting tired at this point, so they all went back to the hotel for a nap, then headed to Walmart and dinner together.

When they finished with dinner, they all joined Brent in his room and Skyped with me! I was able to meet the lovely people who have raised our daughter since she was only 5 days old. They clearly love her and are very proud of her. Brent was able to ask many questions and get to know Alyssia a little bit under a stress-free environment for her. SO much easier and better for her than just being handed to him on Gotcha Day!

The Director mentioned that they might stay the rest of the week at the Dolton with Brent. At first, I didn't think that was a good idea. (and it still might not be, in many ways) If Alyssia is able to go "back" to them, she may reject Brent altogether....But, the more I thought about it, if I was giving my sweet little Ethan up for adoption, I would surely want to hold on to him and stay close to him until the very last second that I was able to.  So, while it may be harder for Brent and Alyssia, for the sake of this loving couple who have invested so much time into our daughter, it's okay if they want to "stick around" for a few days.

Their hotel room is just down the hall from Brent's room, so hopefully they aren't able to hear her if/when she cries. Ideally, she will see that her "Dad and Mom" want her to love her "American Daddy" and it will help in her transition.

Please pray for wisdom for Brent. Today (Tuesday) is officially Gotcha Day, AND they're finalizing the adoption today as well.

On a less serious note-----isn't she just the sweetest little thing? She blew Mommy some kisses on Skype and I so wished I could have reached through the screen and touched her for a moment. 
Meeting Daddy and Annie (the guide) in the lobby of the hotel.

A trip to Walmart. She especially loved the toy section :)

Her "American Daddy" bought her a toy...
Holding onto Daddy's finger!

 Ready to buy her toy!

Foster Dad and Mom. Forever Daddy.

First Skype call with Mommy!!!