Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our 3rd Forever Family Day Anniversary

We met friends from TX in Seattle that were in China adopting their daughter at the same time as us. They just happened to be taking a weekend business trip to Seattle and got in our 3rd anniversary so we aptly went to Chinatown for dinner. Sadly, they were without their daughters, but we had fun showing them the city!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Happy One Month Anniversary, Jia!

It's hard to believe that it's been one month that you came into our lives and changed us forever--for the better. In some ways we feel like we've known you your whole life, and in others we learn new things about you each and every day. Your smile has melted out hearts since the day we first layed eyes on you (March 5, 2007). Because you were so scared when we first became a family, we weren't sure how long it would be before we got to see your little eyes disappear behind that big beautiful smile. Now, however, you smile readily (except when Mommy has the camera out!), and giggle and laugh all the time!

You are so brave, Jia. You have amazed us over and over again at how brave you are. It takes a special kind of person to leave everything they've known to travel to a whole new world, with new people, new smells, new sounds, and to handle it with such courage. We can tell you are still trying to take it all in, because often in a new situation you will hide behind Mommy, or you will reach out for Daddy to hold you. We don't blame you. Maybe we've pushed you too fast, but no matter what, you just go with flow. You extend us such grace. We know you were meant to be our daughter; God had it planned before you were born. Even though we missed out on the first two years of your precious life, we feel we are making up for it by leaps and bounds with the joy and energy you've brought into our home. You are so silly! You crinkle up that little button nose of yours at the funniest times! We've even had people wonder if you were disgusted with them, or if that was actually a "happy crinkle"! (You have Grandma Sandy guessing, that's for sure!)

We call you the "spazmanian devil" and our little "kamakazi girl" because you run around the house and bounce off all the walls and furniture without blinking an eye. You barrell down steps with no concern of taking more than one at a time. You seem to have no fear! We're just sure you're going to need stitches before you're 3. You came close to it last night after falling head first into the cabinet corner! Just a big goose egg is all that you got for that one. Don't worry, though, as we're sure there will be more opportunities!

You are so quick to learn new things. You have been able to put your alphabet puzzle together for 2 weeks now. You just pick up a letter and put it right where it goes. You know the following signs: please, more, all done, all gone, water, cup, ball, share (that's a new one I taught you that surprised Daddy!), bowl, book, table. You don't sign them all readily but if we show you, you know what we mean. We've also learned some of your Chinese (your 2 year old jibberish Chinese, that is) and we know when you want to know what something is, when you want a drink, and when you have to go to the bathroom (we learned that one REALLY quick!). You also use many many hand gestures, pulling us around by the hand, and body language to communicate with us. We're not quite as quick as you are, but you are very patient with us! You always want to hear us say words to you over and over again, and you repeat them each and every time. When you want to know what something is, we'll ask YOU "What is it?" and you will tell us. (Sometimes we think you're just testing us to see if we really know English.) You also buckle yourself in your booster seat at the table, and your chest buckle in the car. There really isn't much need for Mommy or Daddy except you need food on the table and someone to drive you around.

You love to organize things. You will lay things out in a line, or group things together when you're playing. Grandma Mary thinks you'll be an engineer, but I'm pretty sure those are signs of a brain surgeon in the making.

You like animals. You love to pet the kitties now, and visiting the neighbor horses. These are almost daily rituals. You are gentle and kind to them. We can tell you have a gentle heart and soul.

You make funny faces. Whether it's the crinkled nose, your monkey face, or the one-eyed pirate look, you always have us laughing at your silly faces! You also like to pretend you're asleep, and then you laugh because you can't keep a straight face!

You're helpful. You will carry silverware, plates, napkins and cups to the table. You also like to help with dishes. Honest! You put your toys away when asked and you generally take 2 year old pride in the things you do. Sometimes you even get embarrassed!

You are a gift. You have brought us more joy than we thought possible, and our love for you is overflowing. God has created you and fit you into our family. For that reason we celebrate you, and the day you came to join our family. We hope you will feel as blessed one day as we do right now, and we hope you will some day consider adoption to extend your family, as it is the most incredible thing we've ever been a part of. After all, it brought us to you!

We love you, Fei Fei!

Click below to see the photos with captions, or

click here to see a slide show without captions.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bordering on cruelty?

It's hard to resist the big belly laughs that come out of her while being tickled, so I look for as many opportunities as I can. This one I happened to catch on video :o)

Giggly girl

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ice cream....the cure all!

what doctor
Ice cream
Originally uploaded by jnknthecats
It's hard to tell by the photos that Jia had her first visit with the pediatrician today--and she cried the ENTIRE time! Nothing that a little ice cream can't take care of, though. I'm pretty sure she liked it.

She had an ear infection and some hardened wax built up in her ears that was dug out by a tool that looked more like a long toothpick minus the pointy end. Not something a mom or dad feels good about being crammed into their screaming daughter's ear! OK, cram is an exaggeration, but it still looked terrible! The Dr. was a pro, though, and got out the "gunk" (sorry if you're eating while reading this). Typical stuff for kids who have been in orphanages. She also is "long and lean", as the Dr. put it at 25 lbs. and 36" tall. Dr. B said to give her whole milk because she doesn't need to worry about her weight right now! Lucky girl. Developmentally she is just where she should be, and the Dr. was quite pleased with that. Now if we could just get her to speak English!

On another note, Jia has been off and on as far as liking her Mom. :( The last few days have been challenging because she hasn't wanted to have much to do with me. I am trying to be patient because I know she is still adjusting to life with us, but I won't say it isn't difficult. Today seemed better, but tomorrow may be another story! Jason goes back to work next Tuesday so it will be just Jia and I at home. A friend recommended I take Jia to do something fun, just the two of us, and do it often. That way she will associate that fun event with Mommy. This is important during the attachment stage. She loves riding in the bike carrier, and going on walks in her stroller. I think I might take her to visit the animals at Hovander. Any other suggestions (outside of the house) would be greatly appreciated, as I've never had to entertain a 2 year old on a regular basis! Overall, we are all doing great and we are really starting to feel like we're getting the hang of this parenting thing, not that we're good at it! Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. Oh, and feel free to give us a call whenever. We'd love to hear from you. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Something I'm learning to get over

Originally uploaded by jnknthecats
Yep, motherhood has been a good opportunity for me to let go of some things. What kind of things, you ask? Well, lets start with playdough. *Playdough comes in many different colors, kept separate by individual cans. Correct me if I'm wrong, but when an adult plays with playdough, I'm pretty sure we like to keep it from mixing. This makes it much easier to determine which can it goes back into when one is done playing.

Looooong gone are the days when the playdough will remain true to its original color. Blobs of pink, blue, purple, yellow and green are no longer! Now it's pinellow, bleen, grurple or a mixture of all of the above. Just the way a 2 year old likes it. So yes, I'm learning to get over the fact that playdough is BETTER when it's multi-colored. It's definitely more fun to look at, even if it does stretch my anal-retentive mind (or is it obsessive-compulsive?). I guess I'll look at the bright side...we no longer need multiple cans to store it!

*I think someone could make BIG money by marketing playdough that is already mixed, made especially for obsessive-compulsive parents like me. Hmmm, I think I'll write to Hasbro right now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

2+ weeks as a family

May 28, 2007001
It's hard to believe we've had Jia in our lives for 15 days. In some ways we feel like we've known her forever, and in other ways it's all brand new. Each and every day she is getting more comfortable with us, but at times we are reminded how fragile she still is. We look forward to the day she can meet you all! We aren't sure when that will be but rest assured, it will happen!

She is soaking up everything around her, and loves to imitate us. We're pretty sure her first English words were "Veggie Tales", but it probably takes a mom and a dad to decipher it! It sounds more like "vehee tae-wuhs" to a tune that is similar to the true song. Who knew a 2 year old would be this fun??

Friday, May 25, 2007

Jet-lag is a B-U-M-M-E-R!

I'm pretty sure Jia's photo speaks for all of us...we're in a daze. Jet-lag is every bit as hard as I've heard, and then some. Throw in a little sinusitis and you've got a rip-roarin' good time. Jia and I are both stuffed up, and I've been downing the Sudafed while she is hopped up on children's Triaminic. I finally wised up and bought the "strips" that melt on the tongue instead of some awful pill or liquid that dribbles down her chin because she's gagging too much to swallow it.

Let's just say our first day at home was plain hard on us all! However, it was made sweeter by the lawn being mowed (thanks, Jim Carol!), groceries in the fridge (thanks, Lindsay & Laurie!) and flowers to boot from Grandma & Grandpa. Jia likes her room, and seems to be very comfortable here, but she doesn't care to venture outside much, nor does she like the cats.

Well, you be the judge...

She's also not too keen on visitors right now. She basically tried to shut the door on our neighbor, who graciously took care of our kitties while we were gone. I'm pretty sure that's not on the top 10 list of How to Win Friends and Influence People. She also cried when Grandma & Grandpa A. came over to see her in all her cuteness. That'll have to wait for another day! She hid in her room after about 30 sec. of introductions. Luckily we prepared G & G because we'd already had the "door-shut-in-the-face" episode and knew what to expect. I'm pretty sure they still love her anyway. :)

We've got a live wire, I tell you! When the orphanage said she was active, they weren't kidding. She is not one to sit still. I think I'll write a weight-loss book: "Want to lose weight? Adopt a 2 year old." I'm pretty sure I'm going to have my hands full with this little dynamo. Once we get cable internet (I'm calling today-dial up won't do when I have a gazillion photos to upload!) I will try and upload a video clip of her since we may not be up for visits for awhile. She is hilarious! We are constantly laughing at her silly antics and she seems to be coming up with some new ways of making us fall in love with her even more. She is really catching on to the sign language and also picking up a few English words too. I'm pretty sure she'll be ready to start Kindergarten next year. (That's a joke, in case you thought I was one of those "my child is a genius" mothers-even if she IS a genius I don't want to push her. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Saying Goodbye

Am I cute, or what?
Originally uploaded by jnknthecats.
Today we went with friends, the Schultz' and Nelsons, to the Chinese flea market (a.k.a. Haizhu Square) to wonder around and kill time while we were waiting to go to our consulate appointment. Jia was so spunky today and man is she ever fun! Each day her personality comes out more and more and we can see that she is the perfect fit for us. Jason says you never have to guess how she's feeling (like Mommy), and she enjoys playing around and being silly (like Daddy). You should see some of the faces she makes! She mimics us too which is hysterical to see sometimes. That is partly why she already knows a few signs (sign language). Because she was stuffing her mouth so quickly, I motioned to my mouth and then rubbed my throat and said "swallow" (that wasn't a "sign" but I was trying to show her to take her time while eating). Well, tonight at dinner she would look at me when her mouth was full and then she'd rub her throat. She's a quick one! I'm pretty sure I'm going to have my hands full at home. They described her as "active" and now we know why. :)

She really is the joy of our lives already and it is amazing we've been a family for over a week now. Others in our group have commented how much she's progressed, which is true for all the children here. One little girl, Kiera, would only walk around in a 12 in. radius for the first several days. Now she laughs and plays with her Mommy & Daddy! It's so fun to see them all blossoming!

We didn't take many photos today, and I only chose to post one. When we get home I will upload the rest of the photos to our Flickr album. I plan on continuing the blog when we're home, for awhile at least. We want to thank you for joining us on this incredible journey and for prayers you may have said on our behalf. We truly couldn't have made it the past 2 years without the encouragement and support of all of you!

So we say goodbye to China, for now, and to the new friends we've met along the way. It's sad because we've shared something special in this place, and yet we're happy because we are bringing home a daughter, to a new life, and to people who love and care about her already. We can't wait for you to meet her!

P.S. We have a loooooooong day tomorrow--up at 4:30 a.m. Please remember us as we take the long journey home. Thank you!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sadness & joy

Jia with our guide, David

I have such mixed emotions about leaving China on Wed. morning. We have really enjoyed our tour group, and plan on keeping in touch with many of them. It has been so nice to spend time with other families that are going through the same things we are. There is real camaraderie here at the White Swan because there are so many families here that are adopting. China is an interesting country with so much history. We have actually seen ancient history! Jia's culture is one of grace and pride, and the country is changing every day. The "open door" policy has made a difference in the life of the people here, both good and bad. I am so grateful we experienced the culture and the people. I can honestly say we would do this all over again if we could because it is an experience of a lifetime.

Yesterday a friend and former colleague from Evergreen met us at the hotel and joined us for our afternoon shopping excursion at the pearl market. Joan and her husband, Don, have lived in Guangzhou for the past 2 years while teaching at an International School. It was so fun to have my own personal tour guide! After the pearl market (there were bags and BAGS of pearls everywhere you looked!) we had about an hour and a half before dinner so Jason took Jia back to the hotel and Joan took me to the real China. We hopped on the bus and rode to the cloth market and then to a place called Haizhu Square. Haizhu Square is where you would buy anything and everything that is "Made in China"--literally! Booth after booth of just about anthing you can think of. I could have spent hours there! The shopping in this city is amazing!

When we got back to the hotel, Jia seemed very out of sorts. In retrospect I'm not sure it was a good idea I left her behind. She cried and cried all through dinner and wanted nothing to do with me. She actually woke up a bit on the cranky side. Today, however, she warmed up to me again and we had a terrific day! When she is happy, she is so fun to be around! She is still having a hard time in the mornings when she first wakes up, and doesn't care for either of us. It seems it takes her awhile to wake up. She's taken to just lying in her crib and shaking her head "no" when we reach to pull her out. We don't push her because we aren't in any hurry here. Jia is a very compliant child and is so good for us unless she is tired. We are very blessed that way! She picks up her toys when she is done playing, throws her garbage away, and basically does what we ask. What more could a parent ask for? And her smile; we still can't get over her smile! Even when she's crying she is so darling! She is a very good eater too and eats pretty much every vegetable (LOVES broccoli, and also eats tomatoes & onions!), but her favorite thing to eat is Cheerios.

(click the image for a slideshow)

The funny thing is she doesn't care for bread so I think we'll be eating a lot of rice and noodles at our house! I'm going to have to take some Chinese cooking classes. :) If I could only make Chinese food the way they make it here. Chinese food at home just won't be the same.

As far as Jia's itching, I gave her some Benadryl today and it helped. One of the babies here had scabies and her mom treated her for it and the itching went away, so we're not entirely sure that is what is going on. She has a doctor's appt. on the 31st so we are anxious to figure it out. It can be pretty miserable for her.

Tomorrow is our consulate appointment (I think at 3:30pm) and once that is done the adoption will be completed. We then will pack things up and get ready for a VERY early departure from the hotel on Wed. morning. I know we are going to be exhausted when we get home (it will be 1:00am China time) and it will be a long day of traveling for us. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We are hoping for a smooth transition back home. :)

New photo album

Look on the right hand side and you'll see I added "Our Photos". I will be using that from now on to upload photos so if you need your Jia fix, you can check there :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Photo album

I want to thank Mary for reminding me to include the link for our photo album. I don't upload every picture because it takes so long, but all of the photos that I've used on the blog are there. It is

Mom, you were right about Jia not needing her bear as much. She wouldn't let it or her blanket out of sight for the first 4 days but now she is much more comfortable without them. They were actually part of a care package we sent to her (Great Wall sent it for us from Beijing) and apparently she became very attached to them.

She woke up early (4:45) this morning and has been itching like mad! The scabies make them itch terribly, even up to 4 weeks after they are dead. Poor thing. It is amazing how much a parent's heart aches for their child when they are not feeling well. She has finally fallen back to sleep so I must go catch a few winks before she is up again. Today we get to tour the Chen Family Temple. I'll post more photos tonight :)