My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Breakthroughs and a Free Kiss

Ok, we are seeing a pattern here...and the truth be told we think part of the "problem" is Mr. Lucas is just not a morning person....his struggles start rather subtly as he is waking up and getting out of bed in the morning.  We had an hour or two of ugliness, but then the clouds cleared.  He also doesn't like to eat much in the morning so far and we think it's related to that, because as soon as he eats "something" he is much better.  So we need to figure out that piece yet.

Let me get the mushy stuff out of the way.  Both Peter and I had sweet moments today.  Mine came as a surprise first kiss.  We were walking in the hallway of the hotel and as he is want to do, he asked me to pick him up and carry him.  As I did, he planted a sweet kiss on my cheek...awww....Totally caught me off guard.  We have not approached "kisses" at all yet, just because we felt that is something we should wait a little while on.  But this was a sweet mommy moment.  Then Peter had one as well.  I happened to catch this one on camera as it unfolded.  While Peter was holding him, he just laid his head on his shoulder (he has a big chuck of candy in his mouth if you wonder why his cheek is so big).  And then they began to say some words back and forth in English.  Can't recall what they all were, but it was a tender moment:

Today was Mongol Shopping Day!  I bet you didn't know that...well at least it was Mongol Shopping day for US....We went to a type of mall where we saw and bought Mongolian things for Lucas for each year on his birthday.  Spent a little too much money, but they are sentimental treasures.
One thing we bought was a little Mongolian outfit for him.  He instantly said "I look like a Mongolian" (in chinese) and smiled while posing for another mommy picture:

We bought things like a stuffed camel, a pewter vase with camels on it, a carved bone horse with gems from this region, a small knife (for when he's older), bone chopsticks, and some other things too.

After this shopping trip, Lucas and I went out walking around the streets around our hotel and Peter and Isaac went out together for a little down time together.  Can I just say, taking him into a store with food is quite entertaining????

ok, I just had to take a picture of these packaged "goodies".  We did NOT buy any of these, but ewww

There has been a man in the lobby of our hotel all week that has totally intrigued me.  He makes tea from this area and has such an amazing "look" about him I just had to share this photo.  He's doing something with the drying of this tea in this heated kettle thing.  This is EXPENSIVE tea.  a 1or 2 kilo block was over $400!

Today we "caught" Lucas in the bathroom......grooming....mirror, comb, water to wet the comb, blow dryer, etc.  He was probably in there 1/2 hour

And then there was dinner.  We went to a local restaurant and ordered food, but we haven't had much luck with the Boy eating much.  But, tonight.....let's just say "Pig Out".  He ate EIGHT of these vegetable and egg/garlicy stuffed fried dough thingy's :  EIGHT....Isaac and I each at 2....he ate EIGHT!

And the night was topped off with a Skype call to Grandma.... Grandma doesn't have a computer to do any blogging so we thought it would be special for her to hear from him.  And he gave her quite the show.  We gave him a few English words to say but he just started rambling in Chinese.  She was exstatic to say the least...He grabbed Peter's sunglasses while he was on the Skype headset talking to here:  

Strides forward today included:
We really started using his name "Lucas" today more frequently instead of SunWan.
He was repeating more words for us than any other day and seemed to enjoy learning it.
Only about 1-2 hours of major sadness and the rest of the day was good.
Beginning to test more boundaries with bedtime, etc.  Which shows he wants to find where they are and trusts us to give them to him.
He ATE a ton of food!
Very chatty and social.

And I conclude with this tender moment today....overlooking the smog and pollution laden city below, with the artistic renderings of Isaac and Lucas on our 17th floor window on our last day in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia and the capital of his home province:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Older Child Adoption

I felt like I've wanted to share the advantages I've seen in Older Child Adoption.  I know it seems like a huge undertaking and scary proposition for some and to be honest I had my anxious moments heading into all of this.  Since I have not adopted a younger child and every child is different I'm definitely not an expert after 3 days into this.  But, here is what we've experienced:

He is very independent.
He is very orderly
He takes off his own clothes and puts on new ones
He uses the bathroom without assistance (no diapers)
He brushes his own teeth and does a pretty good job
He feeds himself
He can tell us what he wants/doesn't want and what he's feeling--even though many times we don't understand we can try to find ways to interpret
We can tell him what is happening next to prepare him and he understands(with the assistance of electronic devices or interpreter)
He "can" walk if need be...although the extra carrying has been more bonding time (albeit a younger child would be easier to carry)

There are ups and downs, positive and negatives about both types of adoption  (infant and older child) but for us, this has been a perfect match.  And he's a tad bit of a stinker too, which fits just perfectly with us.  God designs families in the most amazing ways.  That boggles my mind---I'm not quite sure how to comprehend His plans and His ways.

Psalm 68:4-6 

 4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
   extol him who rides on the clouds[a];
   rejoice before him—his name is the LORD.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
   is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,[b]
   he leads out the prisoners with singing;
   but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

To God alone be the Glory for his mysterious ways and plans.  Sing Praise to His name He is above all names!!!

A day in Hohhot and some "culture"

So, today our boy was pretty sad from the start of the day until about noon.  Lot's of tears, not much food, sadness, wanting to be carried, etc.

Our guide picked us up at 10 and took us to a museum.  We started with dinosaurs and some war exhibit which is where she pointed us to.  He did NOT like that and I think it scared him.  So, Peter and Isaac finished the museum and said it was great.  Some of the highlights.  They saw the history of the mongolian people from prehistoric times to Ginghis Kahn and through to the communist revolution.  Some very interesting artifacts.  Mongols were primarily nomadic, a lot of herding, etc.  There also was an amazing art exhibit as well.

Boopski and I went outside and had our own "adventure" -- most of the 2 hours was spent crying or whining or wanting to be held but walking around, etc.  (I'm getting a strong back and arm muscles).  At one point there was a group of school children that he was fascinated by and we just sat on the ground and watched them.  I had one lady come up to me and ask to have her picture taken with me...just cuz  I am white.  Very funny.

Our guide did us a favor today without being asked.  She told us that she told him that the director and nanny went back to the orphanage and they arrived there today.  (ie. they are not coming back)  I know that's harsh and sad, but I'm so glad she did that.  It makes it more real and final for him.  Ever since then, he has been great today.  Not sayin' it will last forever, but baby steps.

At lunch he began to perk up again....good ole coca cola.....and he totally pigged out on cherry tomatoes, ate a few noodles, one small piece of chicken.  Peter and Isaac ate some spicey squid thing. But, ordering was quite entertaining.  EVERYONE in the restaurant stared at us and not ONE person spoke English.  We just looked at pics and read what we thought was the English translation.  (I'm not so sure anymore)
I did order what I thought was chicken cuz that is what the menu said in english.  But, I've never experienced chicken with that texture before or in that shape.  It was sort of like small chunks of the white nuckle part of something covered in chicken skin.  But they were really small-maybe 1/2" across or so......just could not eat that "meat"... if it was chicken...what part would it be?  I'm serious.  Bizarre!

After lunch we ventured around the town by ourselves.  We get quite the looks.   People just stop and stare for the longest time.  They are not even shy about it if you catch their eye.  Their mouths gape open and they just look at you, head's turn.  Very funny.  

And lest we forget that our boy was raised in this culture.....I was carrying him, and suddenly he said something and grabbed at his pants.  I set him down and he ran to a bush, dropped trau and peeed!  Yes PEEEEEED!!! right there on the sidewalk!  

We ended up in a town square (and one more peeing episode) ....there were kites everywhere.  The boy started looking at them and it was all over from there.  We ended up buying 3 kites, a bubble blower and he somehow ended up on some electric cars for children that cost us money to drive around the square.....gotta love that Chinese Capitalism.  Just sayin'

It was a wonderful afternoon, and when we got back he and Isaac have been doing some male bonding---eatting cheese nips, drinking tea, eating m n m's, and hanging out together.  Overall a good day with more breakthroughs today than yesterday.

He's been going back and forth between our rooms and when he enters he says "hallo" and when he gives me something I'll say "thank you" and he repeats it in english.  He's also said "good bye" , "m n m", "I love you", "brother".  He's trying to speak the language in small ways.  This is good.

A fascination with the guy and his tools at the museum

the "chicken" dish, check out those little chicken nugget looking things.  It's like a knuckle covered in chicken skin.

some spicy squid thing

brothers's what it looks like--he's gonna kill me for taking this someday, but hey, I don't have baby pics to blackmale him with.

an "old" pro at kite flying.

kite number 2 (don't have pic of #1)

and then kite #3 bec. kite #2's string broke and it took a journey down a busy China city street--where Peter ran about 1/2 mile to find it, but to no avail.  By the time he returned the Boy had picked out another kite and was flying it (cha ching$$$)

a car ride

another car ride more $$---but a day well spent of happiness.

and finally male bonding-
tea, crackers, m n m's some of Isaac's ipod music playin', the Boy taking pictures...again


Translation…"Big Brother"

Isaac is the best GeGe (sounds like gu gu-short u sound) in all of China:
He sits silently with him by the window just to be there for him.
He’s always got his eye out for his little brother and feels his grief when he’s sad.
He can make Lucas laugh and smile like nobody else can. 
He carries all 40+ lbs of him on the streets of Hohhot even when he’s visibly tired.
Today they flew kites together in the town square. 
He is getting him to eat---I’ll-be-it—peanut mnm’s, but hey.. 
They drink Coca Cola together -such a sacrifice for a Pepsi lover.
Even though he likes sleeping alone in the other room, Lucas dragged all his stuff over there last night and the two of them had some male bonding.
He asks about his well being constantly with a compassionate heart.
He comes when Lucas calls “gege” for the 15th time......again.

We are blessed to be the parents of such an amazing wonderful teenager.  Seriously, this could be so miserable if he was a self-centered person that cared only about his own well-being.  But, he is not and we are thankful to God for this young man in our lives.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Have a Coke and a Smile"......

Dinner tonight in the hotel was another breakthrough.  A very kind waitress and restaurant manager helped us to find some food for the boy.  First she asked if  he would like a Coke...and a smile creeped across his face.  Then she started his meal with CHOCOLATE Cake and then she took him up to the buffet and he picked out food.  He practically licked a bowl of ketchup clean along with 2 little pieces of sausage, some chips a slice of pizza and topped it all off with ice cream.  Not very asian....just sayin'

We got back to our room after 7 and he was goofy.  He had teased the waitress, played with his food, got some laughs from all of us, and began to smile and chatter with her at dinner.  As we left he turned around and had to find her again to say good bye 3 times.  When we got back to the room, he and Isaac played and got all silly with a beach ball.  And the silliness pretty much has been going on for about and hour and a half.  I do not know if he will sleep tonight, but he is happy...2 glasses of coke will do that to a small 7 year old I guess.  Right now, I don't really care.  It has brought him around and our evening has been one laugh after another.  He's crazy!!!!

Of course I believe it is all of your prayers for our family and God's intervention in all of this that has caused such a rapid turn of events.

Right now he has taken all of his stuff and moved and set up camp in what was Isaac's room/get away...I think the brotherly connection has been made.  It took 4 trips back and forth between rooms for him to get it all over there, but it's all ready to go...=)  Everytime he comes back into our room from Isaac's room, he says "Hallow"...or "Hallo momma", etc.  It's just so stinkin' cute.  He's trying the language out on us.

We gave him a bath and actually changed his clothes today before dinner also.  He loved that.  He just laid on his back and floated.  He's very independent and completely washed his hair all by himself, asked for a comb and asked to have his hair blow dried.

I must also say, we noticed an added difference in his sweet little legs and feet.  He only has 2 toes on each foot.  His little feet look "wrong" since I'm not medically knowledgable, I have no idea if he's missing bones or what it is.  Although it doesn't seem to stop him much.  He jumped off a chair tonight.

Did I mention his obsession with our cameras?  That was also very entertaining this evening.  He made the 3 of us get together and he took pictures of us as he giggled and made roaring sounds.

God is SOOOO GOOD!  There just is no other explanation for this rapid change.


a rough start to the day

ah, but ge ge's (Isaacs) ipod...and some sweet jazz

drink enough coca cola, eat some food, and tada....

now THAT's determination

brother's playing (Isaac has been AWESOME!!!) but this is the first time Lucas has actually participated in play

the boy takes pictures of himself

and me

and dad and Isaac

It's Official

We met with the orphanage director, the official from China, our translator and a few others today to complete the paperwork from Inner Mongolia.  We were interviewed by the chinese official and signed a ton of chinese paperwork.  Fortunately our interpreter was there and she's been a part of many adoptions for many years, so we trust what we signed doesn't mean we just sold Isaac to the Chinese!  They did ask about him "Do you have any biological children, and what are their ages?"....just sayin'.

Our boy is slowly improving.  We took him outside for a couple of walks.  The first walk he took my hand and walked the whole way like that, never letting go.  I understand this word well "Ma Ma".  For the second walk he wanted me to carry him the entire time and pointed in the direction he wanted to go.  My back is gonna feel that tomorrow.  His paperwork says he is 40lbs.  I'm just sayin' he feels closer to 50 to me.  He's little, but very solid if that makes sense.  These small acts of his acceptance of us are huge.  Yesterday I could not touch him hardly at all.  Now he walks and holds my hand and holds tight when I carry him.  It is exactly 24 hours ago that we met him.  I'd say that's a huge stride.

Today he's done some grieving/crying, but it's lessening.  He did come to the meetings with us this morning and they had to interview him, and asked him if he wanted to go with us, he said "no" but they talked to him some more and he must have changed his mind cuz all the documents are done.  It was all being done in chinese which just bugs me because I feel like people are speaking about things that are so significant to us, but we only get clued into what they want to tell us.  It's just a tad strange.  What did I expect?  I's just weird.

One thing we have been slightly concerned about is his eating.  Everything I read about these kids was warning us to not let them eat too much because they will be so hungry they will eat everything in sight. Not so with this boy.  So far he has eaten 1 noodle, 2 packages of fruit snacks, 1 animal cracker, 3 pieces of candy and he finally drank some stuff today--a whole can of sprite, water, and some orange juice.  We figure as long as he drinks we are good to go for now.

He LOVES taking pictures with Peter's camera.  We have a little Cybershot point and shoot and he has taken over 100 pictures -- out the window, of fruit snacks, dirty kleenex and even of himself screaming and crying---he turns the camera to face himself and shoots pictures of himself in hysteria...I'll have to post some of those...
oh look at that, he just grabbed my Nikon D40...put the strap around his neck and is shooting like a maniac.....hmmm how many pictures fill an 8 gig card????
He's still not talking much in his quiet non screaming times.  And he won't say any english words at all.  Which is fine---I mean really it's been 24 hours.  (it just feels like he's been with us forever)

Pics to follow later today.

Love you all and thanks for all the supportive prayers and words of encouragement and song lyrics, etc etc to help us through.  You've all been a huge blessing.  We know some are reading and not posting comments, that is fine.  We know you are out there and are praying with us.  Love you all!!!

This is the head of the nannies--I know she loves him very much

Orphanage director--a tender man

Monday, March 28, 2011

We have our precious boy...

The good news is he was very attached to his nannies, teachers, and director of the orphanage.  The flip side....4 hours of none stop screaming until, at about 7:15 pm we put on a cd that we have of chinese phrases and told him "We are going to take good care of you" he then asked for a pillow, his blanket and he took off his coat and laid it on top of his pillow and basically passed out.

It was a very rough 4 hours and I anticipate more tomorrow, but eventually, it will get better.   Our room has a HUGE window that goes all the way to the floor.  We are on the 17th floor overlooking the parking lot and street in front of the hotel.  He's been sitting by that window most of the afternoon and evening, staring out of it as he "plays" (or screams).   He's preciously trying to communicate with us, and we are just not getting it.  We can say a few phrases, but we can't understand what HE is saying to US. Fortunately we have the English teacher who kindly listened to him 2 times in phone conversations and tried to explain his new life to him.  In one of the conversations, he told her that the nanny told him she would bring the children in the orphanage to America to visit him.  UGH!!!! THAT does not help us!! She was a precious woman when we met her today, but I was afraid of letting her talk to him alone too much because I have heard of things like this in the past.  He wants the kids to come here NOW.  So frustrating.  Also, the director of the orphanage thought it would be a good idea to give his phone number to him and tell him he could call at anytime.  I tried 3 times and nobody answered.  argh!

He just woke up...that was a short nap about 15 minutes---but he's totally quiet.  It looks like he's packing everything in sight and is planning a trip.
He's definitely a man of order.   And he wants things to be put away.  If we give him something, he puts it in his backpack and doesn't eat it, or play with it.

The language barrier is tough.  I knew it would be the hardest part.  But, didn't anticipate the screaming crying and trying to tell us things and how hard that would be.  We do know several phrases were being repeated, namely something about his caretakers.  It will come.  It will come.

here are the "good" things.  He's totally adorable.  And we know he was attached to those who cared for him, which actually is a very good sign.  That means he likely will be able to attach to us--- eventually.    He is a man of order.  He looks me straight in the eye when he wants to talk to me---this is amazing for a kid who's lived in an orphanage.  Normally eye contact is a huge issue.  Along with the screaming and apparent stubborness and pounding of his fists this afternoon---we know he has a fighting spirit, which is good for all he may have to face in the coming months with surgeries, etc.  We are experienced with stubborn kids, so God has prepared us to deal with that streak.  (although today we really didn't do much about it, because today it was more about grief, fear, anxiety, etc.--)

Some sweet blessings that he came with:
1.  a copy of his finding ad--this is part of the process when kids are brought to the orphanage.  An ad is put in the local paper to see if anyone will claim this child--(typically nobody claims them)  This is a part of his history, so we wanted it and not everyone gets it.
2.  The teacher bought him 2 big books of the city where he comes from.  He LOVES these books and immediately showed them to us.
3.  The orphanage director sent him along with a beautiful jade dragon which is symbolic of his city as well.  It is the first jade dragon (i need to learn more about this piece)  It's a momento for him to keep for his entire life.  So precious that the director would care so much.  Symbol
4.  They gave us the blanket he was found in as an infant.  It's a simple pink quilted baby blanket.  A very sweet, tender, amazing part of his history as well.  He seems to recognize it, so I wonder if he's had it all his life.
5.  Joni- the teacher sent along 4 necklaces from his province--one for each of us. (right now he has claimed them as his own, so we'll see if any of the rest of us get to wear them..=)  this would make us a Chifeng family....

He is still quiet as a mouse as I'm writing this.  It's like a switch just turned him off at 7:30 and he's been silently taking things out of his backpacks, etc. folding things, putting them away, looking at them.  I'm ok with this...I was worried for the people in rooms next to us tonight, but right now he's good.  God is good...we prayed over him and Peter sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "I love you Lord" to him.  God has given him a sweet peace right now.  And his pleasure seems to be had with organizing everything.

Please keep his tender broken heart in all of your prayers.  The communication will be our biggest challenge for now.  He will see the nanny and director again tomorrow briefly.  Pray that we don't start all over again.

Oh, you probably want to know about his little legs...Well, they ARE little, but we have not seen them bare yet to see what condition.  We are not attempting any of that tonight.  He's walking, but I'm not exactly sure how.  One is very bent at about the knee level, and the other just very short (for those that don't know, his paperwork says he is missing the fibula in both of his legs--this may require amputation from the knee down and prosthetics--we need to see U.S. physicians to decide what our next steps will be with that.)

So there you go.
Our first update with him as part of our family.

This is the nanny he loves so much.  She loves him too.

Peter, Heidi, Lucas, Isaac, Director, CCAA officer, Nanny

A hard day for a sweet boy

not much I could do to console his broken heart but wipe a thousand boogers and tears

and then .... there was silence

and then there was "organizing" and silence....