Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fish and fun

Recently, we took off to eastern Oklahoma to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. We figured Jake would get a kick out of all the fish, given how much he has always liked fish, starting with the fish in the pond at the White Swan. We were right. He had a good time, and so did we.


It's a shark

Look at that fish

Touching a ray (we didn't actually touch one at this time but we did later)

Feeding turtles (You can buy a little container of pieces of fish and feed the turtles)

We also went to the park one day and had some more fun.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It doesn't get any better than this ...

Jake and I were leaving Grandma's the other night, and as we stepped on the porch, Jake looked up and exclaimed on the stars (we're big stargazers in our family). I told him how many hours his Mama used to spend out into the yard, lying on a blanket and looking up at those same stars.
I was just awed, and as this young girl was wrapping up her stargazing I would usually say, "It doesn't get any better than this."

I was wrong. It does get better.

Holding my son, as we looked to the heavens that night, I said, again, "It doesn't get any better than this."

I wonder what wonderfully better things God has in store for us in the future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Everything changed

One year ago today, we were getting ready to go to Chicago for Great Wall China Adoption's East Meets West conference. That's an annual event Great Wall organizes concerning adoption from China. It's quite the educational and informational event.

We had been LID for a little more than one year, and were facing an ever-lengthening wait before we would be matched with our child. A couple of weeks earlier we had submitted a special needs application, but we figured it would be a while before we heard anything about it.

Then, everything changed.

We were in JCPenney when my cell phone rang. It was Stephanie from Great Wall. She had a little boy she wanted us to consider. Talk about shock coming from out of the blue. When I regained my composure, she told me about him. Then, I told her she needed to tell Violet, too, and I handed Violet my phone.

The rest of the time was a blur as we headed off to check our e-mail and the file from Great Wall that awaited us. We were pretty nervous as we opened it and checked out the photos and the information about this little boy named Dang Wenfeng.

You've all heard of love at first sight. Well, that's what it was for us. In our hearts, he became our son right then, and everything changed.

We still had to go through the rational and sensible things, like having our doctor look over the file. Stephanie at Great Wall also had said we probably could talk to one of the speakers at East Meets West, a doctor who specializes in international adoption and who had 4 special needs girls he and his wife had adoption from China.

Well, as they say, the rest is history. The doctors looked over the files and we reached the logical decision to go along with our emotional one.

We were a family.

Look at how much Jake has changed:

Then (actually he is about 9 months old here, as our referral information was about that old, but this was among the first photos we saw.)


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Nice night for a ride

Last night we got home about 7:30, and the sun was still in the sky ... barely. It set while we were getting our stuff and ourselves out of the car.
Despite the fact Jake's car seat usually knocks him out after a hard day's work, he stayed awake until about 5 minutes from home and was easy to wake up.
Wow! It was a beautiful night, so we decided to pull out Jake's trike on the driveway and give it a go. He has been trying to ride it right inside, but carpet makes it a tough go.
He did pretty good on his trike outside, riding the length of our short driveway several times. I had to get him started, as the legs are short, but as soon as he got to pumping he could have gone longer if the driveway did.

Just getting started:

See Mom, I'm ridin':

Push, push, push

Look! Up in the sky:

OK, I'm getting the hang of this:

That was fun. ... Let me just rest for a minute:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Jake got his first visit from the Easter Bunny today.

He was very impressed:

Matchbox cars always are a hit. Thanks EB:

Easter Bunny left eggs? There's one!

Where's more?

I had to get one with a smile:

Checkin' out the spoils:

Enjoying the spoils:

Hey Baba, let go of my egg ... oh:

Whew! That tired me out:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Six months a family

Six months ago about right now (only in China time) Kevin and I were waiting anxiously as our guide was leading up an entourage to our room that included our not-quite-2-year-old son.
The doorbell rang and our lives changed forever. That day, as I opened the door, a little boy looked up and a look of terror crossed his face, which I'm sure was genuine. After all, he had traveled that day hours from the only home he ever had known (possibly for the first time ever), disrupting a schedule that never had changed before.
He probably was told he was going to his Mama and Baba. His caretakers were excited for him, but the little boy wasn't so sure what was happening.
As the door opened and he looked up at a hopeful woman and man, brandishing goofy smiles and a camera, obviously not Chinese, he began shaking his head and backing away, then the tears began.
They lasted quite a while. Eventually we were left alone as a family, something we were not, at least physically, hours before. Later, after a bath, a sleepy boy was wrapped in a towel giving his parents tentative looks amid the tears that may have been the start of a smile. The next day there were definite smiles, and then they got bigger and every day since they have turned into giggles and laughs.
As his Baba says, "I love to hear you laugh."

Church was busy today, and we had work at home to do, so it wasn't a big day adventure-wise (plus there was a cold wind blowing.) But today we were a family, just as we have been for the past six months and as we will be every day from now on.

Happy six-month anniversary son. Mama and Baba love you.

Show me that smile Little Man!

Six-month lesson learned: I scream for ice cream!

And that was then:

Well, he didn't walk into our lives, but we'll take it!

Somebody help me! My Mama has a fish face!

It's going to be OK, baby.

Saturday passed without us remembering it was our 2-year LID anniversary. By the time we realized it the day had passed into the wee hours of April 5, our six-month anniversary home.
April 4 was the date we were logged in to China, and it became our LID, which is a date in which non-special needs children are chosen for families. The LID date became meaningless when we went into the special needs program and adopted Jake. Currently, the people that got in the same line we did at the same time have a long wait ahead of them (the wait is now at three years and growing longer), as China just matched children for those with March 7 and 8, 2006, LIDs. Our hearts go out to them, but we know it can happen, it has to us, so hang in there.

We are so blessed to be hugging our son today.