This year brought another big change to our lives. In March, we were again blessed to travel to China to bring home a beautiful 12-month old baby girl who we named Tamlyn. Tamlyn, whose Chinese name is Wen Hui, was born somewhere near the city Changsha in the Hunan province. She spent the first 12 months of her life sharing a crib in the Changsha Social Welfare Institute -- a home for orphans, the disabled, and the elderly.
The people of Hunan are known for their spicy food and for their spicy girls. Tamlyn is proof of that as she has the energy and resolve of a Mac truck, but also the gentleness of a baby. Stephanie is happy to finally have a little sister to boss around and to wrestle with and we feel that our family is now complete -- unless God deems otherwise.
Stephanie is growing up. She is now five years old, in kindergarten, and is really enjoying it -- except for the homework of course. Mom and Dad are already dreaming of a full scholarship to Harvard or M.I.T.
Stephanie is also doing all the things that kids do nowadays; gymnastics, swimming, dancing, skating, talking back... etc. She enjoys all of it and never seems to tire.
Because we took off a month to travel to China, we didn't really have much opportunity to take other vacations. However, we were able to travel to Baltimore for a few days to attend a reunion of Stephanie's Chinese sisters (the girls that were adopted at the same time Stephanie was). It was so good to see the girls and their families once again. The girls didn't even skip a beat. Immediately after seeing each other, they proceeded to wreak havoc in the hotel hallways and on the beds in our various rooms. We are all hoping that they remain friends for life because they share such a rich history with each other.
Mark and Grace are doing well although a bit weary from chasing two kids around the house (I'm sure many of you can relate). Grace cut down her work hours immensely in order to give more attention to our girls and Mark is still working full time (much to his dismay) to pay for everything.
Joshua is doing as well as can be expected for a teenage cat (he's 17 years old). He currently suffers from a hyper-thyroid and has to take pills every day to control it. It's funny to watch him drink the glass of water with his pill.
Overall, we are relatively healthy and feel we have been blessed. We look forward to the new year and the surprises that are in store for us. We are also surrounded by wonderful friends and family and are extremely thankful for that.
We pray that your new year will be filled with blessings and pleasant surprises too!
Mark, Grace, Stephanie, Tamlyn, & Joshua