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Archive for the Category "Adoption update"

Beach Day for One Year Anniversary of Gotcha Day! Oct 29

 China girl Maria1 China girl Rebecca

China girl Maria Maria

China sisters Chinese girls

Mama and Maria Rebecca and Mama

Brothers Maria2

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Rebecca Rebecca1

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One Year Anniversary of Gotcha Day! Oct 26


If you can’t see it on You Tube use this other version to see it.

Wenn Ihr es nicht sehen koennt dann guckt es auf diesem Video an.

ChangDe Sisters – Myrtle Beach 2010 Jul 17

We took a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to see some of Maria’s foster sisters Addi and Mia. I wasn’t sure if she would recognize them. Then she got out of the car and you saw the most amazing look in her eyes. I can not describe how she looked at Addi, it was a look full of love and awe. Finally, she met her sister she grew up with. Dreams do come true! Some of the younger children she has met, she could not remember very well, they were all too young. I guess that is good they were still young.

Addi took the role of the big sister right away. It was very interesting to watch. She made Maria smile as you can see on the picture when she is pinching her cheeks. She also made sure her bikini did not show too much. Rebecca felt a little left out at the beginning, but that changed once we got into the pool and they all forgot where they were from. They were all kids just wanting to have some fun.

Addi told us a story that Maria and her grew up together with foster grand-parents. This was all new to me. We were told different stories numerous times. So it was very enlightening to get so many details of how Maria grew up. Her sweet foster grand-pa saw Addi and Maria pick some peaches and he told them they weren’t ripe and showed them which ones to pick. They had a wonderful garden and most of all, they had love. Maria told me that she always slept in their bed and even had her own pillow and blanket. I am so very blessed to have gotten so much information and that Maria was so loved and cared for.


ChangDe Girls Girls

ChangDe Girls and Rebecca

Maria, Addi, Mia, and Rebecca

ChangDe Kids1 Maria counting

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Koonce Maria

Rebecca Maria swimming

Maria met her ChangDe sister again May 09

On our drive back home from Florida, Maria had a chance to see her foster sister Lillie. We travelled with Lillie’s parents the entire time when we were in China. Maria and Lillie grew up together at SWI in ChangDe, China. Both were very happy girls to see each other.

Auf unserer Rueckreise von Florida, Maria hatte die Chance ihre Weisen-Schwester zu sehen. Wir sind mit den neuen Eltern von Lillie zusammen durch China gereist. Maria und Lillie wurden beide zur selben Zeit adoptiert und sind zusammen aufgewachsen in ChangDe, China. Beide Maedchen waren sehr gluecklich sich wieder zu sehen.


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Post-Adoption Photo Apr 17

It’s been six month now since we got Maria Xiao Tian. Today is our post-adoption interview with our social worker. Here is our photo for China.

Post-Adoption PhotoNun sind es schon 6 Monate her das wir Maria Xiao Tian bekamen. Heute ist unser Post-Adoption Gespraech mit unserer Socialarbeiterin. Hier ist das Photo das nach China geschickt wird.

Gotcha Day Video Dec 25

Maria Xiao Tian Gotcha Day.

Star News Article about our Adoption Journey Dec 12

image                                                                                                      Staff Photo by PAUL STEPHEN

                                                                                                      Star News


Maria McDoniel and her adoptive mother, Heike McDoniel, play with a new toy as she celebrates her first American-style birthday at the family’s Hampstead home Monday Dec. 7, 2009.

Please click on this link below to read this beautiful article written by Shannan Bowen with Star News.

To read this article in German, click below.


Hier is ein ganz toller Artikel von Shannan Bowen mit Star News unsere lokale Zeitung.

Maria’s First Birthday Dec 07

Today we celebrated Maria’s first birthday in her Forever Family. It’s funny how life is always different then how you played it in your mind. Rebecca packed the presents in the Dora gift-wrapping paper and Patrick helped me set the table. It looked all perfect. We woke up Maria and got her quickly dressed. We stood around the table and sang to her “Happy Birthday”, she just broke down in tears and ran into her room. She was so overwhelmed. I was not sure what went on in her mind, but I am sure it was so humbling for her. I can not even imagine, not having a family, no Mama, or Daddy, no presents, no hope. Perhaps if you don’t know better you don’t miss it, but I believe we are designed to love and to have those feelings of belonging to someone. We quickly told Maria to open her presents and all was fine again. Rebecca is such a helpful sister, showing her how to open the gifts and she showed Maria great excitement. We are so blessed with friends that stopped by to bring us cookies and gifts. Thank you! At night we ordered “Take Out’” Chinese Food, our favorite little restaurant called “Panda”. Later that evening we had “The Star News” come out and join us to take some photos for a nice Adoption Story for this Christmas season.  We appreciate all of you, what a blessing you all are for us!

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Transition Nov 11

I have not posted in a while about the transition from China to home. In the last couple of days we have rested a lot and started to home school Maria as well. We are taking it easy, the boys are catching up on their reading and math. Rebecca is still suffering with jet lag and we are just concentrating on some reading and some fun science. She is helping me a lot with Maria, teaching her how to play games and color. Maria started a workbook with numbers and is coloring a lot. I have noticed that she is not finishing her coloring very well, so we are teaching her to color in each little spot. Yesterday we showed her how to do a puzzle. She was not sure what to do with a puzzle. We showed her the picture and what piece might be missing. Rebecca showed her how to play with baby dolls and how to take care of them. I think Maria new that one pretty good, I have watched her how she feeds them and puts them to bed. We had to be very quite because the babies were all sleeping. Maria loves house chores, she likes responsibility, so she is in charge of watering the plants in the garage. She has a hard time when somebody of us is leaving. If our son Patrick is going to his friend’s house, she is asking right away where her brother is and is worried. She cried when I took her to Rebecca’s Ballet class and the family was separated. She might be worried that one of us is not coming back, since so many of her friends did not come back because they were adopted. This is going to take a while, to make her feel secure and not to worry. Sugar does not work well with Maria. She gets an immediate sugar rush and her behavior will change. She does have a doctors appointment tomorrow and they will do several blood tests. Overall Maria is a very happy child. She smiles a lot and we can tell that she is very happy to have a family. I like that we have now the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. This is were we stay in more, snuggle up under blankets, fire place is going, we drink hot cocoa, watch lot’s of Christmas shows, and do tons of crafts. We decorate the house and make it feel warm and cozy. I truly believe that this is the best time to adopt, because it shows comfort and love to her. It shows Maria what family is all about and helps her to connect with us. Please keep us in your prayers, pray for strength and that Maria will start her relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.


Ich habe lange nicht mehr geschrieben ueber den Uebergang von China nach zuhause. In den letzten paar Tagen haben wir viel geschlafen und haben mit Schule angefangen. Wir machen nicht viel im Moment, die Jungs lesen viel und muessen Mathe ein wenig nachholen. Rebecca leidet immer noch mit dem Jet Lag und lesen halt viel mit ihr. Sie hilft mir viel mit Maria, spielt mit ihr viele Spiele und malt. Maria hat mit ihrem Schulbuch angefangen, sie schreibt im  Moment nur die Nummern und malt viel. Sie malt die Bilder nicht ganz aus und das muss sie noch lernen. Wir haben gestern mit ihr ein Puzzle gemacht und sie wusste gar nichts damit anzufangen. Rebecca hat mit ihr Puppen gespielt, aber das konnte Maria ganz gut spielen. Wir mussten alle leise sein, weil ihre Baby’s schliefen. Maria mag gerne Hausarbeiten, drum ist sie jetzt Verantwortlich die Blumen in der Garage zu giessen. Sie hat Schwierigkeiten wenn jemand von uns nicht da ist. Wenn Patrick zu seinem Freund faehrt bekommt sie angst das er nicht wieder kommt. Es wird wohl eine Zeit dauern bis sie sich darum keine Sorgen mehr machen wird. Zucker geht bei ihr gar nicht gut. Sie wird ganz wild nachdem sie Zucker isst. Morgen hat sie einen Kinderarzt Termin und es werden viele Bluttests gemacht, dann werden wir wohl mehr wissen. Am sonsten ist Maria ein sehr froehliches Kind. Sie laechelt viel und man kann sehen wie Gluecklich sie ist eine Familie zu haben. Ich mag es sehr das wir nun die Feiertage haben, Erntedankfest und Weihnachten. Das ist die Zeit wo wir mehr zuhause bleiben, haben den Kamin an, naschen viel, sitzen unter warmen decken, basteln viel, und gucken Weihnachtsfilme an. Wir dekorieren das Haus und machen es sehr festlich. Es ist einfach eine Zeit die viel Liebe und Waerme zeigt. Es zeigt Maria was Familie sein ist. Bitte haltet uns weiterhin in Euren Gebeten, fuer Kraft und das Maria eine Freundschaft mit unserem Herrn Jesus Christus anfangen kann.

Home Nov 08

We are finally at home with a huge jet lag. Woke up at 2 am. We got home at 1 am on Saturday, as we drove up towards the house, Maria’s first words were “Wow”, she could not believe that this is her new home. We took her into her room and she could not believe all the toys, clothes, and her own bed. She was up til 3 am and just in awe. On Saturday she met for the very first time her new brothers, she had a huge smile on her face and took them into her heart very quickly.

Unfortunately the homecoming was bitter sweet, we had to tell our son Christopher that his bird has passed during this travel. He is very heartbroken. Today we will have a burial for Pauli.

I also found out that my Dad was 14 days in Intensive care in Germany and has nearly lost his life. I am so glad God has spared his life again. I knew he was in the hospital but I was not told the intensity of his illness. Please keep us in your prayers as this is a lot on our plate right now.



Wir sind endlich zuhause und leiden am Jetlag. Bin um 2 Uhr morgens aufgestanden. Wir sind um 1 Uhr morgens am Samstag zuhause angekommen. Als wir am Haus vorbeifuhren hatte Maria nur “Wow” sagen koennen. Sie war von ihrem neuem zuhause ganz angetan. Wir haben Maria ihr Zimmer gezeit und sie konnte kaum glauben, so viele Spielsachen, Kleider, und ihr eigenes Bett. Sie war bis 3 Uhr morgens wach und war so begeistert. Am Samstag Nachmittag hat sie zum ersten Mal ihre Brueder kennengelernt. Sie hat sie gleich in ihr Herz geschlossen.

Leider war das Homecoming bitter suess, wir mussten unseren aeltesten Sohn erzaehlen das sein Vogel leider verstorben ist waehrend unserer Reise. Er ist im Moment Herzzerbrochen. Heute werden wir den Pauli beerdigen.

Ich habe auch herausgefunden das mein Vater waerend unserer Reise 14 Tage auf der Intensive Station lag und beinahe sein Leben verlor. Ich wusste das er im Krankenhaus war aber es war mir nicht bewusst das er so krank war. Ich habe es erst erfahren als ich wieder in USA war. Ich danke Gott das er sein Leben erhalten hat. Bitte betet weiterhin fuer uns, das war doch ein bisschen viel im Moment auf unserem Teller.