All right, let’s line up…a new blog address!

Sheesh…how many times have I said that in my life, as a teacher???  For a while I played Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” then I got a little tired of that one…need to find a new “line-up” song.  Anyway, the point is, LINE-UP, EVERYBODY, and join me on my NEW BLOG ADDRESS at  I’m keeping this one up, as well, and there’s a link on the new page to this blog, but I liked all the fun stuff I could add that just seemed a little easier to me on Blogger.  Easy is good.  See you there!

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 9:19 am  Comments (1)  

“The Prettiest Face”

Emma:  “Hey Mom, you know what face I have when I sing Taylor Swift songs at school?”  And she models it for me–her lovely silken head cocked slightly to the side, held proudly, eyes opened wide with a sort of coy expression…I try so hard at times like this to not bust out laughing because I know that’s when the moments will end in embarrassment.  She explains further, “…’cuz that‘s the prettiest face,” and goes on singing along with Fearless.  She explained, “I sing on the playground.  I sing “Hey, Stephen” (our current fav off of the new TS album).  OK, now I would just LOVE to see this.  If  I get really lucky, she gets the little hips swinging, too.  My girl loves to sing…she’s been doing it since that first day in the Lakeview Hotel in Nanchang…we were getting ready for our first outing, and there she stood, steadying herself against a table at 14 months.  I was absentmindedly singing something, and she joined in with her precious baby sing-song…there was no doubt, it was singing.  She rocked back and forth and our eyes connected…we’ve shared this connection from the very beginning.  In fact, my great-aunt Alice tells me I used to rock back and forth to music in my playpen like this, one hand steadying me while holding my bottle in the other hand (I had my priorities in line early on!)  During the time we waited for Emma, I used to pray that someone would sing to her, make eye contact with her, cuddle her…make those connections that are so important that I couldn’t be there to make in those first 14 months we were apart.  I think they did.  The music is in her, that’s for sure.


Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

God, this had better not be an April Fool’s joke…

…I thought wryly, twelve years ago TODAY, as I held a beautiful two day-old baby girl in my arms, leaning up against Jeff, the two of us smiling down at her in disbelief, and Jeff vowing that she wouldn’t be allowed to date until she was 34.  From the looks of things, that’s going to be pretty much impossible, because she’s turning out to be drop-dead gorgeous, even if she’s still not all that interested in working through all the snarls in that mop of brown hair just yet.  She’s a voracious reader, a fact that doesn’t necessarily translate into a desire to do homework.  She can figure out things on the computer faster than I can read the prompts.  It’s hard to absorb her scorn at my ignorance sometimes (“Hey, I’m no dummy!” I swallow usually once a day).  She’s not what you would consider easy, but she’s wonderful…and we love her.  Thank heaven for April Fool’s Day, 1997.  God’s little joke I remember on this day every year.  He has a great sense of humor, doesn’t He?


Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm  Comments (1)  

Trubey, Party of FIVE!

emmafamdrawingYep, FIVE!  We have a SON!  All this time we thought we were waiting on another baby girl.  Then we opened our hearts to special needs adoption, and the realization that a boy was also a possibility if we went this route.  So we just left it wide open on our application, just like we would if our third child was coming to us through birth.  We reviewed two other files, and heart-wrenching as the process was, we knew they were not ours.  But when the call came on Saturday afternoon, February 28th, Jeff took down the information, called me and said we had 30 minutes to decide if we wanted to further review this shared referral from our agency…I flew home and he was looking at this beautiful face which I am not yet allowed to post online.  We said “yes” to review the file of this beautiful baby boy, and within the hour, Jeff was looking up flights.  He knew this was our son. We had 48 hours to contact doctors and have his file reviewed to be sure we wanted to move forward with this adoption, which we decided to do on March 2nd.   When we have official permission to post his picture, we will, but we can share what we know.  He just celebrated his first birthday last Friday, March 27th.  He was born with a second degree cleft lip/cleft palate.  The lip was repaired when he was 3.5 months old.  The palate will be repaired soon after we bring him home, which will be this summer, earlier than later, hopefully.  He is in an orphanage in Chenzhou, Hunan Province, China.  He was abandoned on March 31, 2008, just a few days old, and given the name “Chen Li Wen”.  We will call him Owen Li Trubey…the “Li” is after Jeff’s dad, whose middle name was also Lee.  He is described as “an obedient and dear baby”, and while the referral report is from around 6 months old, he was hitting all the developmental milestones he should at that age.  We cannot wait to have him in our arms.  Emma prayed the other night, “Dear Jesus, please give baby Owen a hug, because he’s probably all ‘wah wah wahhh!’ and there’s nobody to give him a hug.”  She drew the picture of our family of five.  I love how all of us are looking down and smiling at him.  Can’t wait to be with you, sweet boy!

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm  Comments (1)  

Four Years Ago Today…


…this absolutely terrified 14 month-old baby girl was placed into our arms– and hearts– forever.  We have never been the same.  She looked different from the referral pictures we’d memorized pixel by pixel for the previous 2 months…bigger, more hair, and somehow so…distraught and disoriented.  But as my eyes drifted to the little tag full of Chinese characters and I saw the clueless little photo I’d come to recognize on all the official documentation from China, especially the all-important Travel Approval (TA) letter, I felt tears of joy well up…this was our Emma.  We soon learned her last bottle had been four hours earlier before leaving her foster family for a 4-hour road trip from the city of her birth, Jingdezhen (the porcelain capital of the world) to Nanchang, the provincial capital of Jiangxi.  She was tired, hungry, and her little head kept turning left and right, scanning the room for her foster mother, “Nai-nai”.  She so desperately wanted to find something, someone familiar!  The kind man who held her and must have kept her in the van on the way to Nanchang kept pointing to me and saying, “Mama!” but Emma would not be comforted.  Sophie slid the little toy ladybug across the table to her. She was unimpressed.  And so our journey together began, four years ago today.  We cannot imagine our lives without this child.  We could not have dreamed up a more delightful child, or a more perfect fit for our family.  I feel so incredibly blessed today.  Blessed.  Happy Gotcha Day, Ems.


Published in: on March 28, 2009 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sophie’s Wit

dsc03048Jeff and I have always gotten a kick out of Sophie’s running commentary on life, from the moment she started stringing words together.  As she’s about to turn 12 this month, she continues to keep us smiling, shaking our heads, and just marveling at this amazing daughter God has given us.  In our last year driving to school together, we had some rough mornings.  Sometimes the only thing that would save us was talk radio.  Thank heaven for Ralph Bristol and the Nashville morning news.  And sometimes we would catch Paul Harvey on the way to piano lessons.  When I told her Monday that he had passed away, she was wistful for a moment…then she commented, “I guess that’s the rest of the story.”  This is life with our girl…always something to make us smile, stop and think, crack up, or make us go, hmmm.  Love you, Sophie.  Always.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 7:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Not for the weak of stomach…but pretty funny.

Shadow’s pretty much out of the mysterious pooping stage because he’s stopped eating…textiles–at least, WHOLE textiles.  But something’s down there right now,  as evidenced by the recent rounds of strange gastric distress.  He’s had a couple of strange accidents, gas that would take out a city block, etc.  So Emma comes in last night and says, “Shadow pooped again.”  Me, wearily:  “Where?”  Her:  “In the dentist room.”  (Still says this sometimes for “bonus room”.)  Details forthcoming:  “Yes, it’s not all together.  It’s an ibuprofen poop.”  I think a minute before I realize the other long word she MEANT to use.  I’ll spare you.  HEE HEE!

"This is better than Pepto Bismol!"

"This is better than Pepto Bismol!"

Published in: on February 28, 2009 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Why special needs?

I can feel it.  That same excitement I had back in ’04-’05 when we felt like it wouldn’t be too terribly long, and we would see Emma’s sweet face.  This time, after waiting 2 1/2 years and being so consumed with LIFE that it was easy to forget that we even had a dossier logged in, waiting in line in China for little Trubey #3, it finally feels like just maybe, things could be picking up some momentum.  Healthy infant adoptions haven’t stopped, but they have slowed dramatically since we brought home sweet Emma girl.   The process was swift and predictable, and when we got home we waited the requisite year before beginning the great paperchase again.  Life was busy but I forged ahead with my box-checking mania, tracking each document on the tracking sheet through all the authentications needed but not in a rush, per se.  Our dossier was officially logged into the system in October of 2006.  Unfortunately by then,  the China adoption community had begun to hear the screech of brakes on all fronts as the whole process had all but ground to a halt, and the process that took 6 months with Emma is now looking like it could take until 2012 for us.  Keep in mind, we’ve already waited 2 1/2 years.  Did I mention that already???

SO, we started looking at the special needs program.  It was a little scary to us…what would we be dealing with?  Could we handle it?  Every time I dipped my toe in the water, it felt uncomfortable for the longest time.  Honestly, I was afraid.  Of unknowns, of knowns I couldn’t accept…I had my pat answers…we have enough special needs and challenges to deal with on the home front.  Yet, as time went on, I kept feeling the draw to investigate the program through our agency more and more.  We wouldn’t lose our “place in line”, just open our options (our hearts?) to the possibilities of a much speedier referral, and all because we were willing to consider a child with possibly a need that WAS something we could “handle”, whatever that meant.  The pull became stronger and stronger that this was something we needed to pursue.  I spent hours online reading stories, becoming informed, and the pictures…oh, the pictures.  But I think the moment I remember God just telling me, “Ann, go for it,” was this year on Martin Luther King Day–January 19th, of all places, in my rather messy closet.  I’d been mulling this over in my mind pretty much constantly for weeks, when I felt him impressing upon me, “Ann, YOU were special needs.” I couldn’t believe it.  How simple.  My illustrious kindergarten career was interrupted midyear by a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease.  Cancer.  A 50/50 chance of survival back around 1970.  And yet here I am, blessed enough to be happily married 20 years,  considering adopting our third child, I’ve earned a Master’s degree, 22 years of teaching under my belt, friends and family and hobbies…I’m leading a full life, I’d say.  God has been good to me, despite my close brush with death, despite the hours I spent looking up at my mother’s worried face as she tried to smile and tell me everything was OK.  The same face, waving to me through the tiny window as I had those daily radiation treatments that probably saved my life but also took away my ability to have children.  Yes, I’m special needs.  And I guess Jeff would be too.  His parents spent many terrifying hours watching him struggle just to breathe as he suffered severe childhood asthma.  They were missionaries in a foreign country, trying medications that gave him horrible nightmares and hallucinations–they would sit him up on the kitchen counter  and try to wake him out of his night terrors brought on by these medications…yes, he was special needs, too.  So on January 20, 2009, we sent in our application to the special needs program at America World.

The truth is, that despite the fact that most of us escape the delivery room without the label “special needs” being placed upon us because we ace the 10 fingers/10 toes test beautifully, and we may even earn a perfect APGAR score, we are all special needs in the eyes of our Maker.  We have gaping holes in our hearts that would stump the most gifted cardiologist.  Holes that won’t let us accept less than perfection…in others, and often times in ourselves.  I’ve struggled with this all my life, my greatest victim being myself.  So, I’m working on this.  And I’m not so worried anymore about what we can or can’t “handle”, because God knows, HE can handle it, and that’s all I need to know. We can’t wait to meet you, our sweet little one.  We love you already.  Your not-so-perfect mommy and daddy.


Published in: on February 22, 2009 at 6:48 pm  Comments (4)  

All of life can relate to American Idol somehow…

Maybe that’s why I like it.  Hopes, dreams, successes, failures, the ludicrous and ridiculous, some painfully obvious that they don’t have a chance, and yet against all odds it is all played out on the stage for all to see.  One of the things in the auditions that resonated with me this season was a 28-year old African-American man, a dad and a high school band director (I’m partial to him already…band directors made a huge impact on me growing up).  He does a decent job on a Michael Jackson Thriller number.  Simon and his posse are all duly impressed, and Simon says something to the effect that people usually fail miserably when doing MJ songs, but he did quite well–still, he’s wondering why the guy chose to do the song.  The guy answers unapologetically, “I like it.”  That’s it.  Take that, Simon.

And so here I am, and while I don’t really mind my students knowing how old I am (because at least they might trust that I know something if they think I have done this job a while, and am even older than most of their parents) I’m not going to hand them my age on a silver platter.  I may say, if they are so bold as to ask, “I’m as old as the St. Louis Arch and the Civil Rights Act.  I was not yet born when Kennedy was in office.”  They’re going to have to do some math and research to find out my age.  And yet, at this not so young age,  we’re going to adopt again.  WHY?  WHY?  Because, like the guy on American Idol, “We want to.” Because being around children is the most wonderful thing in the world.  Yes, it’s also the most exhausting, but is there anything worth doing that isn’t at some point exhausting?  How many adults reading this have someone you work with look at you and randomly say, “(Insert your name here), I love you.”  I have that at least once a week by the same child in my classroom, just out of the blue, for no reason.  Just because.  And the most wonderful moments of my life have been those I have experienced as a parent.  Being a mom.  Indescribable.  I love how Melany says it in Gone With the Wind, when she shares her news that she’s expecting, and Rhett Butler says it’s too dangerous:  “Captain Butler, children are life renewing itself.  And when life does that, danger seems very far away.”  (All right, I know she dies in the end because of this but THAT’S NOT THE POINT!  She said it so eloquently!)  Anyway, I’m very excited to have just sent in our special needs application which should speed things along after we’ve been waiting 2 1/2 years already on our little one from China.  Can’t wait to see where God leads us.  AHHHHH!!!!

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 9:01 pm  Comments (2)  

Let the GAMES begin!


I just can’t get over this. We got THIS GameBoy to take TO CHINA to bring home this baby girl…not that long ago, it seems. I can still see the gorgeous, smiling Chinese flight attendant smiling at our worried faces and holding out the case to us as we hurried back to the empty plane on one of the 9 flights we took on that trip when Sophie’d left that blue carrying case with the GameBoy and all the games on the plane. So after Christmas when we took back an unneeded extra microphone for the new American Idol Wii game (now THAT’S my kind of game) we saw these used games, and Emma spotted “Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses” in the display case at Game Stop. Now HOW did she know that’s what it was? The child is smart, but she’s not reading yet. There’s some serious marketing going on out there on these DVD’s, folks. And Sophie’s long since graduated from her GameBoy to the Nintendo DS and even that has been neglected quite a bit lately. So I thought we’d give this a try, and here she is, really playing it for the first time. She’s got left and right down and understands the coordination with her hands and what happens onscreen thanks to the mouse/computer, so this was natural for her. Press A to jump, and Barbie’s all over that screen. “That’s called a ‘platform game’, Mom,” Sophie informs me. She also tells Emma, “You’re lucky, Emma. You have me to help you. All I had was MOMMY.” Gee, thanks, kid. And so I hear these comments from Emma as she plays:

“Oh man, I fell down again!”

“I made it through the forest! Now look what I becomed! My dress is green now!”

“I found some of my sisters–yes!”

“Mom, how do I get out of this place?”

My answer??? “Go ask Sophie.”

Published in: on December 31, 2008 at 8:46 am  Comments (1)