Monday, September 19, 2011

I feel like everytime I sit down to blog, I start with "things are going well around here". Hmm, how about things are splendid? Baby finally has an appointment with an orthopeadic surgeon. I hope we can get moving along with her repairs. She continues to pick up more words, and even did a two word sentence this week. The big kids are learning to be older siblings, which is not always a fun thing for older siblings.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Sans Pictures

It's hard to believe we've been home a month. My old laptop finally died. Unfortunately, all the photos are on it, so until the data is retrieved or I take new ones, we are posting photoless. Things are going well with the new baby. She is settling in, the big kids are adjusting to having a new one at home and we are starting our new routines. We are still trying to get set up at the limb difference clinic to start her surgeries. Hopefully soon. She wants to walk all the time, but still needs to hold someone's fingers. I hope her strong motivation to walk carries over when she gets her prosthetics.

The big two have started school. Both are doing well, but neither wanted summer vacation to end.

Hopefully, I will be a better poster and will get some photos taken!

Friday, July 29, 2011


We've made it to LA, as in Los Angeles, not lower Alabama. I have the following observations:

1. We're not the freakiest thing here.

2. No one stares at us.

3. The papparazi photograph stars, not tourists. I'm not quite hip enough to recognize the girl, but the crowd of photographers did.

4. There are no baby changing stations in the restrooms. Seriously, who would have thought any public place in America didn't have them.

Waiting for the red-eye to the real LA...

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chen Family Temple, Goodbye China and Some Answers

We went to the Chen Family Temple today. It is now a museum chronicling art forms of the Guangzhou region--jade carving, ivory carving, embroidery and so forth. It is really very nice. The last time we were in China, they were doing repairs to the facade. It is now all freshly painted and lovely. It's hard to pick photos, since this is our third visit to the temple. Hard to remember what we've posted before.

Today is our last day in China. We leave about 9 pm tonight, which is roughly 8 am central time. We have about 25 hours of travel time and will be in Mobile at 9:05 am, Saturday, assuming all the flights go smoothly and the tropical storms turn south. Hope to see y'all at the airport!!

As this part of our adoption journey comes to a close, I thought I would answer some unasked questions, in case anyone wanted to know.

Why adopt? We need kids. An empty house would be lonely.

Why China? China is a very straightforward process for international adoption. They have been stable for many years, without major shutdowns. It is a one trip country, with roughly two weeks in country. It is also a somewhat guaranteed place (at least right now). If you do the paperwork and get in line, you will eventually get a child. 

Why Special Needs and Why this Child? This is a much harder question. Not because the answers are complicated, but because it is easy to get on my special needs soapbox and it is also easy to come across as self righteous or overly obnoxious. When we started our first adoption process almost 5.5 years ago, the wait time for China was around 8-9 months, meaning, once your paperwork went to China, you would get a referral and travel in less than a year. In the 11 months it took us to complete our dossier, the wait went to about 18 months. It has only gotten slower and the most recent families receiving regular program children waited 5 years. It is estimated that if we had stayed in that program, we would receive a referral in 2 more years, so 7 years from log in and almost 8 years from starting, for our first child. This led us to look at the special needs program way back when we adopted J.

Special needs adoption from China is a broad category. There are children with very minor needs, like birth marks or minor heart murmurs that are on the list. Things that make them less than 'perfect', but at the same time, things that will resolve spontaneously or with minor surgery. There are also children with more profound needs that can be life-threatening and life-altering. And everything in between. J, whom we adopted in 2007, is what is considered minor correctable. She had one surgery in China and has had absolutely no additional follow-up, testing, anything related to her surgery. And never will. K is considered a moderate need. He will have lifelong issues related to it, but will grow up to function normally in society and, for the most part, people are unaware of the severity of his sight issues. We personally look at E's needs as moderate, although some would consider her severe. She will require surgery and prosthetics, but will still have a normal life. For both K and E, the medical and supportive care they need is simply not available in China.

So, why this child? The last two adoptions for us have been intentionally waiting child. Part of that process is filling out a checklist of needs you are willing to accept. The placing agency uses this to find the best match for your family. It is extensive. As we were going through the process this time, praying, thinking, looking at files, it occurred to me that every need listed on the checklist was not a medical condition, but a child, made in the image of God, by God (Ps 139:13-15, Gen 1:27). Two other things profoundly affected me as we worked our way through the process. One was the passage in Acts where Peter is dreaming about the unclean foods and God tells him "don't call what I have cleaned unholy" (Acts 10: 9-16). I began to feel like I was passing judgement on what God had created, deciding what was good and what was not, forgetting the Maker, who saw them all as good. The other thing was Isaiah 61:1-3 "beauty for ashes". I look at E and I see beauty, while others look at her and see ashes. There is no mourning for her, only a bright future and hope.

So, yes, E has profound leg deformities. But please don't look at her with pity. There are two thousand waiting children in china who need pity, but E has hope.

Five Goats Garden

Daddy bottle bonding time

You just think I'm wearing clothes today
We went to the five goats garden again today, but this time we took a camera. There is actually a lot of stuff there besides the five goats statue. There is a Korean style garden, a swimming pool, a small lake, and a museum. We got a stroller this week. Not the best for bonding, but it's hot here and it's really hot to walk around with a baby on you. She thinks it's some form of torture. We've slowly worked her up to the not screaming her head off stage, but she does not feel the stroller love.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yuntai Garden

Today we went to Yuntai Garden, which is my favorite place in China. It's beautiful, peaceful, uncrowded, tranquil. Someday I want to go really early in the morning, without a newly adopted baby, and photograph for hours.  Here is a brief selection of photos, bad lighting and all.

Baby overall continues to do quite well. She is happy most of the time. She is having some night terrors, which are just miserable. Miserable for us, that is. She still has a mommy preference, but will let daddy play with her a little more. Still not able to hold her, but he can at least entertain her for brief periods while mommy is busy. She is eating better. She eats a lot of fried rice and watermelon. And french fries. She is trying to self feed with a fork and spoon. Messy. And since she refuses to sit in a high chair, it's a little messy for mommy, too. It's really been a good trip, but I'm ready to come home.