The last time I had the opportunity to go into the Beijing suburbs to buy items you can't get in the village, I saw something that caught my eye that we hadn't had in a long, long time--years actually! I bought some and in the car on the way home, told the girls what I'd bought. At first they were convinced I was trying to pull their leg!! After telling them to look in the bag, they checked it out and quickly realized I was quite serious. "That is sick! Why would you want to eat such things" were some of their colorful responses! The Chinese aren't one to waste anything, so when you buy frog legs here for example, you don't just get the back legs like in the US, you get the front legs and whole body. The girls were pretty grossed out by it! The day I laid them out to eat for dinner (with them something alternative to eat), I saw them all standing around the bowl just staring at it and thinking we surely couldn't be serious about eating such a thing!! I just had to take a picture! Then they began to pose like they were eating them raw--NO WAY! Naturally, they didn't even want to try them. Elise finally decided to have a small taste but said although the flavor wasn't too bad, she just couldn't handle the texture. I think it was more the thought than anything. Hannah, though, was the exception. She rather enjoyed them! There was no convincing the rest of them with the fact that Hannah liked them, however, as she had been known to eat out of the trash when she first came, so what does she know?! Randy and I loved them and enjoyed them very much!
Recently, Shawna and Elise decided they'd like to learn to crochet. Although I tried to teach them a couple of years ago, they just weren't very interested thinking there were more exciting hobbies to learn. However, one of our newest foreign families here that have 5 children, all have learned how to crochet including the youngest 6 year old! I guess Shawna and Elise were impressed that if one so young could learn, they ought to be able to learn it too. We purchased some yarn in the village last Sunday and they have begun to crochet, although they're not spending too much time on it. Only time will tell if they have the patience to continue. I have no doubt they can do it, but we'll soon see just how interested in it they are or if it is a passing fad.
We all long for Saturday mornings when we can sleep in late! When Randy and I got up, we immediately noticed the yellow sky upon glancing out the window. Although it was not predicted in the weather, we were clearly having another dust storm. It's not too hard to figure out when the sky is yellow and everything has a good coat of dust all over it. The dust storm is one of several we get throughout the year coming from the Gobi Desert. Although the cart was standing when we got up, shortly thereafter the winds picked up and toppled it again as before. This is getting old with this being the second time in about 2 weeks or so! As each of the girls got up, they all asked the same question, "Why is it so yellow outside?!" Even little Hannah who has a bit of trouble expressing herself, but no trouble picking up on the obvious, pointed to the window and said "Shenme?! (What?)" We haven't been out to look at the cart yet to see if there's any damage, hopefully not. We decided to wait until the wind died down so as to not take a chance of it toppling again!
Every chance they get, these girls enjoy a little dress up time. Shawna and Elise often participate but enjoy dressing up Elizabeth and Hannah too. We told them that perhaps they need a job as fashion consultants! I think they'd like that job. They make beautiful little princesses don't they?! Then there's always the silly times they enjoy together. I'm so glad they all get along so well and the kids never fight. NOT!!
The other day the girls decided to do some face painting. One of the little ones received a gift of face paint from one of their sponsors, but I wasn't about to let them do it without supervision. Shawna and Elise decided to supervise and join in the fun! Can you guess who is who? They had a great time!
We are all in agreement! Mom and Dad both need bigger laps!! I couldn't resist taking a picture the other day when I saw both girls and the dog sitting on his lap, or should I say fighting over who would get to sit on his lap. Looks like all three won, but not too sure if the dog was very happy about it as he didn't end up with much room!! We are getting two new girls very soon, one April 1st and the other soon, but haven't gotten a date of arrival yet. That officially makes us full!! Now we just need to finalize that other bigger location!
On one of the days where we made a trip into the suburb of Beijing to doing some grocery shopping, the girls were all able to to pick out a new shirt. Although we do most all of our grocery shopping here in the village, there are some things that we just can't get here like butter, cheese , cereal (with only one choice of cereal even there--cornflakes!), mayonnaise, and peanut butter. About once a month, we make a trip in to the suburbs of Beijing to purchase these items and then store them in our freezer. The girls were delighted when there was a sale on some summer shirts and I told them to all pick out one! You see them all sporting their new shirts in the picture! No, the weather hasn't warmed up that much yet, but they are ready for warmer weather! In fact, it is quite the opposite!! We got snow again this weekend. With this past Monday, March 15th, being the day they officially cut the heat off all across China, I was concerned with it being so cold still. They have been "weaning" us for the past two weeks, cutting the heat down so we can get used to being cold when it actually goes off! There is about a month in the spring after the heat goes off and another month in the fall, November 15th, just before they turn it on that is pretty cold in the house. Sometimes it is miserable and I always dread it. We usually have to use extra electric heat during those times, but it is quite expensive to do that so we limit it. Anyway, this year the Beijing officials announced that due to the extra cold weather, they are extending our heat for a week!! Hooray! We are quite happy about that! Hopefully by this Monday though it will have warmed up more.
Although the days aren't all that warm yet, the girls have decided it is warm enough for bike riding again! With snow earlier in the week that hasn't yet completely melted off in places, it tells you just how "warm" it is right now. We are still waiting for 40's and 50's weather! We had that once already for a few days, only to go back to winter again. They are promising some warm days by the end of the week, and we are holding them to it!! We are tired of the cold and way ready for spring! Anyway, the girls have taken time out to begin to ride their bikes again. Elizabeth did not know how to ride a bike, but quickly learned in just a few minutes without training wheels. We were a bit surprised she learned so quickly! Hannah also thinks she needs her own bike but is definitely not ready for that yet! She has poor motor coordination and the thought of her riding a bike, even with training wheels, when she has trouble yet walking and running, is pretty scary and seems like an accident waiting to happen! She does like however, to ride on the back like many of the Chinese we see do so often. So for now, she is happy with that. Now they can hardly wait to get outside to ride their bikes!
We awoke the other morning to find that our cart had been toppled by the wind!! Although we often have strong winds here in the winter, which also makes the wind chill quite a bit colder, we never dreamed that they were strong enough to completely topple our cart! I guess the cover tends to catch a lot of wind which makes it possible. Other than minor scrapes, thankfully there was no real damage to the cart. After up-righting the cart, we headed to work and school as per normal. On our way, Randy suddenly yells from the driver's seat to us in the back, "Lean to the right when the wind blows!" Although we barely noticed the cart going this way--then that, we thought it was just the normal tossling/rocking from hitting a speed bump or hole in the road. Randy said he thought we were going over when a gust of wind hit the cart!! That'll get your adrenalin to pumping! He said he was doing his best to lean opposite the way it was trying to tip over and couldn't believe we didn't even notice! The girls often laugh and play to pass the time while we ride the 3 miles to school--we just didn't notice! We then opened the windows to hopefully let some of the air flow through instead of catching the wind. Not sure how much it helped, but I guess we didn't tip after that. You'd think with all that weight in the back with 5 people (of course 4 of them are kids), there'd be no way it could go over, but I guess we underestimated the strength of the wind and Randy said it unquestionably nearly toppled! We were glad the wind had died down when it was time to return home.
Randy and the teachers went on a weekend retreat at a nice hotel only a half hour away from the village. The girls and I got to tag along. It was great fun especially for the little girls. Hannah had a hard time containing her excitement! On Friday afternoon, we returned home from New Day to pack our bags. I packed Hannah's first and then proceeded to work on Elizabeth's and mine. From the moment her bag was packed, she literally sat near the front door, bag on her lap--ready to go!! Although I kept telling her we weren't leaving for awhile, she continued to sit and wait asking every few minutes when we would leave! After about an hour and lots of convincing from everyone else in the family, she left her bag and played for awhile. Every time I got up or walked by, she asked if it was time to go. As soon as it really was time to go, we headed for the door. Unable to contain her excitement any longer, she did a little dance and excitedly screamed!! It was too cute! We only stayed overnight and half the next day, but all the girls were looking forward to the activities they had at the hotel. There was swimming (oh--their absolute favorite!), bowling, shuffle board, and video games. Since dinner was so late (not finishing until 8pm) we decided to wait until the next morning to swim giving them several hours of swim and playing in the pool. Hannah and Elizabeth was already showing signs of needing to head to their regular bedtime at 9pm or so. Instead we went bowling and they had a lot of fun doing that--after the typical "negotiations" and everyone sitting around deciding if they really wanted to bowl since things weren't exactly as they originally told us (very typical here). Although we were told that all these activities were open until midnight, who knew that swimming wouldn't open until 2pm the next day?!! Boy, I had some really disappointed girls! All of them were really looking forward to it and we figured that Hannah had probably never swam before and was looking forward to seeing her enjoy (or maybe not) the swimming--at least find out her reaction to it! Instead, the girls all went "swimming" in the bathtub in the hotel rooms. After not having a bathtub for several years now, it was rather enjoyable to them to play around in the tub. The girls really miss having a tub to soak in and play in! Then they decided to play some cool video games only to find out several calls later by the person in charge, that they couldn't do that either because it took special coins to play the games and the person who had them was in a meeting. Wow, another disappointment! About the only thing left was some outdoor playground equipment we'd spotted on the way into the game building. They happily played on it for some time before getting too cold, but it was then time for dad to get out of his meeting anyway. We found out that Hannah absolutely loves the slide! All the girls enjoyed the rides as you can see! One of the reasons the school decided to go there was because it was off season and the rates were really cheap,it was a nice hotel, and they had several activities to enjoy. Although we were told that all these activities were available, obviously they were not!! Guess they will take that into consideration when planning their next trip there (if there is one). No, we haven't picked up a another new girl yet! The extra girl you see in the picture is the Chinese principal's daughter that I watched while they were in their meeting.
The other day, the girls all decided to dress up in their nice Chinese dresses. They got out their traditional fans and umbrellas too. For several years now we've had some dance videos that they used to love to dance to when they were younger. Although they wouldn't let me take their pictures while dancing, they did allow me to take their pictures in their dresses.
We are the Rippee family! We manage and are house parents in a home for older orphaned girls in China. It's called the Forever Home, and it is a project of New Day Foster Home. Like all foreign workers at NDFH, we receive no salary for our work, so if you would like to support our family's living expenses, please click the button below to donate through PayPal. Donations are tax-deductible. To learn more about the Forever Home and ways you can directly support this work, please visit New Day Foster Home's website.
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Elise was adopted at the age of 3 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elise is home- schooled and really loves music, cooking, arts and crafts, and enjoys being the big, older sister to the Forever Home girls.
Shawna was adopted at the age of 1 year old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Shawna is home-schooled and is good at piano, arts and crafts, and thoroughly enjoys playing with the Forever Home girls.
Elizabeth was adopted at the age of 10 years old as a special needs child by Randy and Rita Rippee, managers and house parents of this Forever Home. Elizabeth is home-schooled and loves the outdoors, computers, bike riding, and crafts.
THE FOREVER HOME GIRLS
Click on the pictures below to find out more about our Forever Home girls.
We provide this information to give our sponsors and supporters a general idea of the challenges our children face. For prospective adoptive parents, the information on the blog is not intended to be a substitute for a complete and up-to-date referral packet from your adoption agency. Please keep in mind that in our blog posts, we always try to focus on a child's strengths, accomplishments and positive developments, not in an attempt to gloss-over their often serious medical conditions, but in an effort to share a glimpse of their precious personalities.