Sleeping

One of the sweetest parts of Joshua’s bed time routine is the time we have to hold him in our arms and walk him to sleep.  As I walk I often thank God for this blessing in our lives, I pray for his growth and development, for his health, that he would love the Lord, that he would be dangerous for the gospel and that he would flee from evil.  I pray for his future.

Like many (or all – let’s be real) of you parents out there, getting your kid to sleep can be challenging.  Getting your kid to STAY asleep can require an overabundance of patience and well, more patience.  Add adoption to that mix and it can be another game altogether.  You see, Joshua is still in the process of really knowing, understanding, and believing that we are his forever parents, that we love him to the moon and back, and that he can trust us.  Thankfully, attachment has been going really well.  We still see signs of anxiety at times, but generally know what kinds of situations trigger that and what we can do to help Joshua through it.

While bedtime is not one of those anxiety producing times, there are often multiple times during the night where JB will cry out and need comforting (Andy gets about a billion Awesome Dad Points for covering most night shifts).  Sometimes he needs water, to be changed, or walked again.  But sometimes he just needs a reassuring pat on the back or for one of us (ahem, Andy) to sit near him as he drifts back to sleep.  Just a reminder that we are here, that we love him, that he can trust us.

So, we expect to hear from JB a couple of times each night. But recently he has been sleeping through the night more. There have also been nights where he hasn’t needed us to walk him for quite as long.  It’s a little thing, but just one way that our boy is growing and changing.  Maybe he is feeling safer and more comfortable with us, maybe he is growing and his body needs the sleep to work on that, maybe he is just getting older.  All the same, I will be happy to hold and walk my little boy for as long as he needs me to — and probably long after that.

 

 

 

Look What God Has Done

In the 8 months that we had to wait to begin our adoption paperwork, and in the year we spent working on that paperwork, I regularly prayed for Joshua — usually in the car on my way to work.  I prayed for the adoption process, for his foster family, for the transition that was about to happen, and for Joshua himself.  I prayed for God’s healing and protection over his little body.  I prayed for his growth and development.  I prayed that God would use Joshua in miraculous ways.

Now that we have been home for three months (whoa, time flies!!!), we have been to see numerous doctors, specialists, and therapists.  The purpose has been to discover what kinds of health and development issues Joshua has and to plan a course of action for how to help him continue to grow and learn.  There are three themes that have emerged from  those appointments and evaluations:

1. Joshua is a pretty healthy little guy and was very well cared for by his foster family.  He is a little small for his age, but is slowly making progress in that area.
2. He is a beautiful mystery.  He doesn’t seem to fit neatly into any diagnostic box and this as been a puzzle to us and all that have met Joshua in the last few months.
3. Just about every test he has had done has come back normal, or very close to normal.  That’s not to say that this couldn’t change in the future, but so far, we have not needed to do any kind of drastic intervention to help Joshua.

The only “intervention” we have really done with Joshua up to this point is to make sure we are packing his foods with lots of good nutrients, and supplementing with some Pedia-sure and vitamins.  We would certainly do whatever is necessary to help Joshua, but in these first few months of investigating, I am so thankful that we have not had to do that.  It has been such an encouragement to see how God has answered all of those prayers from our season of waiting.  He has been protecting and healing Joshua, he has been helping him grow in spite of some challenges.  God has been moving in Joshua’s life and all of the issues he has been tested for are not concerns at all.  Praise God!

We still don’t know what lies ahead for Joshua.  It is possible that we will still get more answers about his needs.  It is also possible that we will never know exactly why Joshua has the needs that he does.  Regardless, we trust that the Lord will continue doing amazing things in and through Joshua’s life.  We trust that if medical intervention is needed in the future, that God would guide and lead us through that too.  In the meantime, we will rejoice in all that God has done in this sweet little boy.

One week down . . .

We have been home for over a week now and are settling in to a routine with Joshua.  We have been continuing to learn more about how to be a family of three.  Here are some snapshots from our daily life:

1. Jet Lag: Jet lag was really hard last week.  I think Andy and I recovered well, but Joshua was another story.  He thought it was a GREAT idea to begin his day at 2am.  This would only resulted in crabbiness in all three of us later in the day.  Thankfully, he has been sleeping through the night recently, which means we are too.  Praise the Lord!

2. Trying new things:  While we are trying to keep things mostly low-key at home for Joshua, we have been trying to introduce him to new things as well.
We tried the swings at the lake . . .

. . . and he didn’t think that was very fun (although he DID smile a few times!)

We tried fingerpainting . . . .

. . . and this was tolerable, but he mostly just tried to figure out what was ALL over this hands.

Not really new, but Joshua loves bath time!  He loves to splash and put his ears in the water.  I have also seen him drink the water a few times, but perhaps he has discovered that isn’t the best idea.  To embrace this love of water, Gramma and Grampa found Joshua a lifejacket for some fun at the lake, and I bought him a mini-kiddie pool to use at home.  I think the weather is finally starting to get warm enough to make good use of these things!

3. Family time:  We have had our families over in small doses over the last week.  It has been sweet to watch these new relationships form.
 

4. Lots and LOTS of time around the lake:  We have been taking this kid out for a walk or run around the lake about two times a day.  He enjoys wearing his glasses and looking around as we walk.  He continues to find it HILARIOUS if someone is walking or running right next to the stroller.

5. Bedtime routine: We have enjoyed having our evenings with Joshua.  While he drinks his evening cup of milk, Andy has been playing the piano.  Joshua appears content to listen and will sometimes crawl right next to Andy’s feet.  Then I sing him a story and Andy reads from the storybook Bible.  We brush his teeth (not his favorite thing!) and then hold and walk him for a few minutes before he falls asleep.  These are sweet moments that I know are fleeting!
 

6. Doctor appointments — Please pray!:  We have several appointments on the calendar for Joshua and three of them are this week!  We are hopeful that the doctors we meet with will help us better understand what Joshua’s needs are and guide us in how we can best help him reach his potential.  Would you be praying with us over all these appointments?  Joshua does not seem to enjoy anything invasive and going to the doctor is all about that!  Please pray that he can cope well with each appointment and that we can find creative ways to help him.  Pray that the doctors will be able to gather accurate information during each appointment as well.

Thank you for your continued support as we have transitioned home.  Having friends to talk to, meals made, errands run, the lawn mowed, and other chores done has been a HUGE blessing for our family as we continue to figure out our new normal.  We are thankful for our community!

 

 

We are home!!

It was a long journey but we are happy to say that we are home safe and sound!  We had a total of three separate flights to get here.  We left our hotel in Guangzhou on Wednesday afternoon (Wednesday morning central) to catch our evening flight to Beijing. The original plan was that we would get in to Beijing around 10:30pm, spend the night in a hotel, and then leave for the airport to catch our long flight at 6am.  Not the most ideal situation.  We were thankful to be on the same flight as our guide and she was able to get us on an earlier flight.  This turned out to be a blessing, as there was some bad weather that delayed our new flight by an hour.  We would have arrived in Beijing much, much later had we been on our original flight.  Joshua did GREAT on the plane.  He slept for the first two hours and was mostly content for the rest of the time.

We didn’t get to our Beijing hotel until about midnight and made it to bed around 1am.  Joshua woke up upset around 4am, which is also how Andy and I felt inside after so little sleep.  Still we piled back into the van at 6am and made it back to the airport to catch our long flight to Seattle.

On that flight was a whole choir of high school kids who had just completed a tour in Beijing.  I fondly remember taking band trips in high school and it was fun to see these students enjoying that experience as well.  Joshua again did really well.  He slept for the first three-ish hours.  He had some moments of needing to be held and walked (really, who doesn’t need that on such a long flight?) and we also let him play on the floor by our feet.  I think he enjoyed that the best and may have stayed there the whole time if we had let him. We also let him watch some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in his seat.  He really liked that too.  Another fun fact about this 11 hour flight is that Joshua needed about a MILLION diaper changes!  He also somehow wet through about four pairs of shorts.  And this is not at all for a lack of checking said diapers.  Thankfully we had enough diapers to last through the whole flight and were were able to restock once we got our checked bags at customs in Seattle.

As soon as our plane landed on US soil, Joshua technically became a US citizen!  We had a pleasant time going through customs and enjoyed talking to the officer working at the desk as he went through all of our paperwork.

We rechecked our bags, went through security, and had a little bit of time before our connecting flight home.  I really did enjoy my time in China.  AND it was really freeing to drink water from the tap, order breakfast in English, and talk to the staff at the gate without a language barrier.  Andy has done an excellent job the whole trip of ordering us food, and getting us where we needed to go.  It was nice to be able to do some of those things for myself for the first time in several weeks!

The plane ride home was also mostly uneventful.  Joshua again slept almost the entire way.  His most impressive (and really only) “meltdown” occurred when we landed.  He did NOT want to be on the plane (or at least in his carseat) ANY.MORE.  He was such a trooper the whole time that this little incident did not even seem that bad.  He calmed down almost as soon as he was off the plane and back in his stroller.

THANK YOU for all of your prayers over out air travel. They were answered!  Joshua did so great.  I think we now have the confidence of knowing we could take additional trips in the future and he will do fine.  Where to next, kid?  Disney World??

We were greeted at the airport by my parents and Andy’s family.  It was REALLY great to see familiar faces and to finally introduce them to the newest member of the family.  We piled all of our luggage into the cars and headed back to our house.  

Our home had been cleaned, the fridge and freezer had been filled with food, and there were balloons, chalk drawings, flowers, cards, and art to welcome us!  So great!

 

Joshua spent some time playing with toys with his new cousins.  It was really fun to especially see our niece take such an interest in playing with Joshua and finding ways to make him laugh and smile.  Joshua has three foster siblings that delight in doing the same thing, so it was so encouraging to see this new relationship being built between cousins.

After family left, the three of us were able to just take some time to chill out for awhile.  We we all EXHAUSTED, but managed to keep ourselves awake until 7pm.  I know. We are out of control over here.

We all slept really well.  Joshua woke up briefly at midnight, had a little party from 2:30am-3:30am, woke up briefly again around 6am, and we were all up for the day around 7am.  So far I would say it is Us: 1, Jet Lag: 0.  The score could change later today, but so far we are all feeling good.

We got Joshua dressed, fed him breakfast, and then went out for our first family run around the lake this morning!  Joshua was a little uncertain at first about this new stroller, but soon was tapping his toes, looking around, and laughing.  Andy pushed the stroller, and I think Joshua thought it was funny to watch me run beside him.  Or maybe he was laughing AT me since he didn’t have to work so hard??

It is so good to be home.  It has been fun to begin finding our new normal here.  Joshua has been exploring new toys and places in our home and has been content overall.  We look forward to the process of him getting to know our friends and family.

As always, thank you so much for your love, support, and encouragement in this season.  We have been so blessed in these last few weeks and are grateful to have such a supportive community.  God has shown up in amazing ways in the last two and a half weeks, meeting us in the midst of our joys and fears, and giving us a mother and a father’s heart for Joshua. He is near, he is faithful! We trust and hope with great expectation for how he will continue to knit us together as a family of three.

 

 

June 3rd and 4th

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay connected to the internet long enough to upload pictures for this update.  Hopefully we can add those later!
**Pictures have been added!!**

June 3
We woke up around 7am this morning, got ready for the day, and then headed to the Guangzhou Zoo with the other families in our group.  It was not at all crowded, but it sure was hot and very humid even though it was still fairly early in the morning.  The zoo had many animals in mass quantities:

Swamp Beavers (which reminded us of R.O.U.S’s from the Princess Bride)

Elephants

Giraffes

And there was even an exhibit full of raccoons!

JB seemed to enjoy the stroller ride, but we weren’t sure how much he could see or enjoy the animals.  He for sure didn’t appear to enjoy the heat – he was very sweaty and fussy at times and downed one bottle of milk and two sippy cups of water in the 90 minutes we were there.

Around 12:30 we headed back to the hotel.  It was really nice to just have the rest of the day to relax and hang out.  We fed JB lunch and prayers have been answered about his appetite – he ate a full cup of food and then some!  We played for awhile and then, as if a switch had been flipped, JB fell asleep for a nap around 3:30pm.

We had made plans with a few of the families to go to dinner and then to the hotel pool after the kids were all done napping.   We were able to wake JB up around 5:30 with minimal crabbiness thanks to another bottle and the iPad.  Then we headed out for dinner to a seafood place.

The food was good overall, but the service was very, very slow.  Still, it was nice to connect with the other families.  JB mostly wanted to be held by us or to relax in the stroller.  He was not at all interested in eating (maybe he was still full from lunch!).  The restaurant had some lit up fountains that he seemed to enjoy.  After our long diner we all walked back to the hotel.  There was thunder and lightning and a few raindrops.  We walked quickly (which JB loved) and made it to the outside of our hotel just as the heavy rain began to fall (JB did not love this so much).

We all put on dry clothes, JB downed two (TWO!) more bottles of milk and we settled in for bed.

Tomorrow we go to the consulate to apply for JB’s visa.

Thank you for your prayers.  We continue to work on finding some kind of a routine in the midst of these busy days.  We know that JB has gone through a lot of transition in the last week and only has more to come.  Our hope and prayer is that we can be sensitive to his needs, comfort him in the midst of his grief, and encourage him to be the man God has designed him to be.

June 4
Consulate appointment day!  Joshua slept well throughout the night only waking up once for a diaper change.  We had to get going a little earlier than we have the past few mornings so he needed some help waking up.  We went down for breakfast around 8am and initially Joshua didn’t want to eat.  However, some of our new friends, a family we have been traveling with, were seated nearby.  When we turned Joshua’s high chair away from the busy breakfast room and faced him toward the quiet corner where our friends were, he chowed down on eggs, oatmeal, and fruit just fine.

We left for our consulate appointment at 9am with two of the other families.  We were only allowed to bring in our passports, a bottle, and a diaper.  We had to leave everything else with our guide.  The waiting room we went to was full of about eight or nine other adoptive families.  It was again great to connect with a few of them (some of whom we have seen at other times on our trip) and compare notes. While we waited, Joshua was in a great mood and was happy to play with us.  Once it was our turn to meet with the consulate official, we were asked just a couple of questions, double-checked a form we had filled out earlier and we were done!  We should have Joshua’s immigration visa tomorrow afternoon.  Hooray!

Once we got back to the hotel we parted ways with the other families to let the kids (or adults??) take their naps.  Joshua again ate lunch like a champ (yeah!!!) and was happy to play on the floor with toys.  We also tried having him stand up a little bit.  While supported on a bench he was able to support himself on his legs for about two minutes.  I was standing behind him, and showing him music and toys to play with.  In that moment what I really wanted was to have one of my PT friends supporting him and I could be the music therapist in front of him.  Some day soon . . .

Around 2:30 we headed back over to Shamian Island to meet the other families for shopping and then dinner.  Joshua fell asleep in the stroller right when we got there (he never took a nap after lunch!).  We walked around the island for awhile and then went to a great Thai restaurant.  Joshua again ate well and was smiling and content throughout the meal.  It has been fun to see him perk up around the families we have spent so much time with.

Tomorrow will be a low-key day initially.  We can just hang out at the hotel until our guide brings us our visa in the afternoon.  Then we head to the airport for our first of three flights on our journey home.

We really can’t thank you enough for your encouragement and prayers.  We see evidence in how God is answering them in the abundance of strength, patience, and joy He is giving us, and also very practically in the fact that Joshua is eating well with little fuss today and yesterday.

Please continue to pray specifically:

  1. For our flights.  We will start our journey Wednesday morning central time.  Pray that Joshua could be comfortable and content and that we could be creative, patient, and compassionate in comforting him when he is uncomfortable or irritable.
  2. That airline staff and other passengers could be patient and compassionate as well.
  3. That we could all get some good sleep on the plane.

Thanks!  We can’t wait to come home!

 

June 2

Hi all,

Sorry we don’t have any pictures for you today…but I’ll give you an update anyway.  Joshua slept a full night last night, waking up around 8 AM.  He started the day off a little crabby today…he wouldn’t eat much breakfast, and it seems like he might be losing some weight.  This is very likely due to the stress of separation from his foster family, as we’ve heard that this has happened before when he stays with people other than the foster family.  Still, the little guy needs to get some meat on his bones, so we’re doing everything we can to help him eat!  At home, we rarely if ever eat at McDonald’s…but here, it is not only a nice reminder of “Western” food, but also is something that Joshua likes to eat.  So, since he needs the calories…greasy chicken sandwiches it is!  At least for this week.  :)

Today is Sunday and all government offices are closed, so it’s basically a free day for us.  We spent it by heading to Shamian island.  Apparently this is the place where all the foreigners in Guangzhou used to live…it has many western style buildings, and until very recently, the U.S. consulate was there as well.  We went to a church there this morning which was in both English and Chinese.  Joshua really enjoyed it!  Especially the music.

After that, we had lunch with all of the other adoptive families at Lucy’s restaurant, which had the best sweet and sour chicken I’ve ever had.  I brought the hand cranked food mill to try and mash some up for Joshua, but he was not interested.  He did, however, eat a full  cup of mashed up Chicken McMuffin from McD’s!  I don’t know what they put in that food…

Coral did some more shopping, and Joshua and I went back to the hotel for a nap.  Seems like we’re finally finding a rhythm to our lives…just in time to experience jet lag on Thursday and start all over again!  But at least we’re beginning to form some bonds and attachment with our son.

We find ourselves looking at him and loving him more every day, even as we realize how much caring for him is going to change our lives.  Praise God for that!

May 30-June 1

This is a long update!  We have been very busy the last few days and our internet has been a little spotty.  Thanks for joining us on this journey! 

Thursday May 30th
We started our day with a trip to Beiling Park.  It was really nice to just walk in the sun and enjoy the water, trees, and flowers.  We also toured a cemetery of sorts toward the back of the park as well. I think it was fun for JB to have some stroller time that morning.  Based on what we learned yesterday, we decided to skip the Provincial Museum in favor of lunch and nap time.  Unfortunately, that meant missing out on learning more about JB’s province and history.

JB didn’t eat very well throughout the day, skipped his nap, and ended up just crashing around 6:30pm.  He woke up twice for diaper changes and once to drink more water, but otherwise he slept well throughout the night.  Andy and I took advantage of his sleepiness to pack all of our bags for our trip to Guangzhou in the morning.

Friday May 31st
It was difficult to get JB to wake up in the morning.  He was still pretty sleepy and irritable around 8am.  He still seemed to be fighting a bug of some sort so we opted to give him some Motrin.  Andy held and walked him for about 90 minutes while I finished packing.  We had to leave for the airport by 11:30am and we were just praying that JB would be well and content for the flight.  After that snuggle time with Daddy, JB seemed back to his cheerful self.  We loaded up the van and headed to the airport.  We bought a car seat specifically for the plane ride and used it in the van as well. JB seemed to enjoy the seat and remained content for about 40 minutes of the 50 minute drive.  Victory!

We put JB in the stroller and he LOVED walking around the airport.  He spent the time looking around and smiling.  One shop had a dancing/spinning robot playing “Gangnam Style” and he especially enjoyed watching that.   He was in such a great mood prior to the flight, so we were hopeful things would stay that way for most for the 4 hour flight we were about to take.

The staff at the gate let us board first.  Initially, JB was pretty mad when I put him in the car seat so Andy just stood and held him until the last possible second (The plane was already taxiing down the runway and moments away from take off).  JB had fallen asleep in Andy’s arms and stayed asleep in the carseat for the next two hours.  He had about 45 minutes of fussy time when we had to just pace the aisle of the plane, but otherwise he was content.  THANK YOU for your prayers for us!!

We arrived in Guangzhou and quickly realized that we were “not in Kansas anymore”.  The air was hot, sticky, and very tropical compared to the cool, comfortable weather we had in Shenyang.   We were met by our guide and checked into our hotel.  We settled in, found some dinner (thanks McDonalds!), gave JB a bath, and figured he looked about ready for bed around 9:30pm.  We were so wrong.  The kid caught his second wind and happily played with his toys until midnight!  Apparently it was party time!

Saturday June 1st
JB slept well throughout the night.  He briefly cried out once, but was quickly comforted back to sleep.  He woke up cheerful at 7am and we went to the hotel breakfast around 8am.  It was great to see the other families from our group with their new children.  It was also incredibly reassuring to hear that they have also experienced irritability, tantrums, and refusals to eat.  I realized at that point that in many ways we had been somewhat isolated in our adoption experience as we were the only adoptive family in our hotel in Shenyang.   Since every adoptive family must come through Guangzhou there are MANY families going through this transition just like we are.  While I sincerely hope that each family can transition smoothly, there is something very comforting about going through that transition with others.

We left our hotel at 9am to go to JB’s doctor appointment.  Every child that is being adopted must go through a check-up and tuberculosis test.   Based on our experiences with teethbrushing and eye medicine-applying, I had a feeling JB was not going to enjoy the morning, but that he would also recover quickly.  The first step was to do some paperwork, which Andy completed.  Then JB went to a series of four rooms – Height and Weight, Ear/Nose/Throat, Heart/Lung/Reflexes (?), and then the Blood draw for the TB test.  They did not let parents into the room for the blood draw.  We had to stand outside and just listen to JB cry, which was really hard to do.  He did recover quickly, but it still would have been nice to be able to at least be with him during that time.

This doctor appointment trip was another time where I felt comforted being surrounded by other adoptive families, other kids who didn’t like being poked, and just generally other happy and tired parents.  Again, I wish the best for all of us, but am glad that while we are away from our friends and family at home that we can till be near people who understand what we are going through.

We also received some general confirmation about JB’s condition.  It was not at all a surprise to us to find that JB has many needs and delays.  However, it does seem to be a surprise to others, as JB’s condition does not match the medical records we received when we got his referral.  One of the doctors said to Andy that JB will need life-long care and asked us questions if we understood what that meant.  We affirmed that we do and that we still firmly believe we are this precious boy’s parents.   Our homestudy was written broadly enough to include really ANY condition JB could have, so hopefully we will not run into difficulty in our consulate appointment on Tuesday.

From the encounter with the doctor I was reminded that we will probably go through some grieving about what JB can and can’t do.   At this point, we are assuming intelligence, and believe that JB has great potential to grow and learn with the help of resources and intervention in the midst of being in a forever family.  We also are trying to be realistic in that JB’s gains may be slow, or may never come.  But for now we hold on to the hope that God will continue to do great things in his and our lives regardless of what JB’s developmental growth looks like.

Following the appointments, our guide took all of us to the grocery store.  This was a huge blessing!  We were able to pick up water, diapers, and some foods for simple meals and snacks.  We came back to our room, had lunch and have spent the afternoon just playing.    While Andy was out doing some more adoption paperwork, I introduced JB to the iPad.  He watched and smiled at Fireworks, and even figured out that if he touched a big green button on the screen that music and fun visual pictures would play. Smart boy!

After a walk with Daddy and more play time on the floor, I found both of my men passed out like this:

It has continued to be a sweet time of being knitted together as a family of three.  We love getting to know JB and finding ways to get those sweet smiles and giggles out of him.  We are excited for JB to get to know you too.  We are excited to just be home and find a regular routine.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  Please continue to pray:

  1. For our remaining three flights Wednesday night and Thursday (3 hours, 13 hours, and 3 hours).  JB likes to be out and about, and air travel is not very conducive to that.
  2. For our consulate appointment.  Since JB’s condition does not exactly match the records we have, there could be some trouble.  However, our homestudy should cover us.  Pray this appointment goes smoothly.
  3. For future doctor appointments in the states.  JB recovers quickly from any kind of invasive procedure, but it would be great to help him cope with these things while they are happening.
  4. For our continued health and safety.
  5. That we can trust God in everything.

Day 3 – A little harder.

Hey all,

Today was Day 3 with Joshua!  Last night sleep was a little harder to come by…but still not too bad.  After breakfast, we had a very full day of touring.  We visited the imperial palace (which was the capital of China during a brief period in the Qing dynasty).  I told JB that perhaps one of his ancestors lived in the palace.  Who knows?

Next, we took a long car ride to the orphanage, and received a tour from the orphanage director.  From what we hear, this orphanage is one of the best in China.  From what we observed, the kids we saw were all being very well cared for.  They have a cool program where foster mom’s stay on campus with the kids and take care of them.  These kids are being loved, but we know that these kids could definitely benefit from forever families.  We continue to pray for more adoptive families (Chinese and international) to adopt these children!

When we left the orphanage, we discovered the cost of skipping nap time and lunch.  JB was fussy and had a slight fever during the afternoon.  Coral gave him some tylenol and walked around with him for awhile, and soon enough he was once again his normal, cheerful, self.  We played a game with him to help both attachment, verbalization, and motion.  Coral invented it.  It’s pretty simple – we pick up his hand and touch Coral and say “mama”, then we touch me and say “baba” (that’s the Chinese word for dad), then touch him and say “Joshua”.  He absolutely LOVES this game, and he kept smiling and raising his hand for more!  We probably played “mama, baba, joshua” about 100 times.

Later, more hot pot buffet, a bath, and then a Skype phone call with family.  Late into the call, he watched grandma playing with a stuffed bear on the other side of the world, and he started laughing and laughing!  Technology really is amazing sometimes.  But it’s also frustrating, like when the internet connection dropped and the call spontaneously ended…doh.

All in all, it was a harder day than the first two, but still very good.  Two more days in Shenyang, then it’s off to Guangzhou!

 

Day 2: Official Paperwork Completed

Day 2

JB slept well last night, only waking up briefly once around 2:30am.  I think I had the best night’s sleep on our entire trip and finally slept later than 4am.  This morning was our first trial in how to get everyone dressed, fed, and out the door at a specific time as we needed to meet our guide at 9am to go back to the Civil Affairs office.  We were slightly rushed in getting everyone ready, but Andy and I did well tag-teaming taking care of JB.

We met our guide on time and completed all of our official paperwork to adopt JB.  He is officially our kid!  He was in a pleasant mood throughout the paperwork time and I learned that he really likes to do “Slow Claps” (you will fit in just fine back at home, dear child).  He smiled and laughed and reached out to do more for several minutes.

We got back to our hotel around 11:30 and decided, even though it was still early, it was time to figure out lunch.  This was a wise decision because it took us about an hour and half to get through the meal.   JB was incredibly hungry and quickly made it through a beef/veggie wrap.  The beef must have tasted really good at first bite, but then had a spicy kick afterwards.  The poor guy kept going for more bites and then stuck out his tongue and fussed shortly after that.   Andy had to go out for more food because JB was just not done even after making short work of yogurt and applesauce.   In the midst of this we had parenting fail #1: The Chinese blender JB’s foster family gave us was accidentally plugged into the US outlet, frying the motor.  Bummer.   Thankfully we have a manual food mill with us (and a Walmart close by) and Andy has become very skilled at using that.  After lunch JB easily went down for a nap.  Andy and I had a chance to nap too.  Again, this kid is fitting in just fine.

We enjoyed a nice dinner at the hotel buffet.   It seems we are getting a little faster with meals – this one took us just over an hour.  There was some live music played at dinner and JB seemed to enjoy that. We ended our day with a Skype conference call with four grandparents.  It was great to connect with our family and share about our experiences so far.   JB was a ham and gave them lots of smiles and giggles.  He also showed them his computer skills and came close to ending the call a few times.  As an added bonus, his third (and second largest!!) poopy diaper of the day was also shared around the world via Skype.  This is real life people.  Real. Life.

So we have made it through Day 2 (mostly – the child is still happily wide awake with no signs of slowing down. He also just produced the largest poopy diaper of the day.).  We have continued to enjoy getting to know this little boy and figuring out how to do life as a new family of three.  JB has already brought a lot of laughter and joy into our lives.

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement as we continue on our trip.  Praise the Lord for how he is moving in our hearts.  Please continue to pray for our time here and for attachment for all of us. We are happy to have this time away to get to know JB and experience his city and culture. We are also ready to settle in at home.  It is tricky at times to find routine while living out of a suitcase. Pray for JB’s foster family – pray that God would comfort them in the midst of missing JB and help them to transition to what their “new normal” will be.

 

Gotcha Day!

Woke up early this morning…Coral and I couldn’t sleep well.  We found Walmart, ate breakfast, and waited until the designated time.  Then, in a van and to the Civil Affairs office for our child’s province and then…there he was!
We did some paperwork, then we went back to the hotel, picked up some Chinese food to eat in our room, and just played with him.  He didn’t want to nap, so we went for an outdoor adventure to Walmart.  He fell asleep almost right away, and didn’t wake up until we were back at the hotel.
This evening, we did some more playing (got some smiles and laughs, and even some babble that could be construed as “baba” and “mama”…).  We had a hot pot buffet for dinner, and JB had three plates of it (ground up in the food mill of course)!  What a hungry boy he was!
After dinner, we did bath time.  He enjoyed this too.  All in all, hardly any fussyness today, except right before bed.  Coral walked around the room with him for a few minutes until he fell asleep.  Now he’s laying in his crib, completely zonked.
We know that there are hard days ahead, but thankfully, today was a great day with Joshua.  We are so blessed to have him as a Karsky.
-andy and coral