Wednesday, December 28, 2011


It has been exactly one week ago that we flew home from China. What a whirlwind of a week between Joshua's medical issues and Christmas. Unfortunately, Joshua was not doing well from the trip and we had to immediately take him to the ER Thursday morning. They ended up transporting him to Mary Bridge due to his complex heart situation and he ended up in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for a few days. He acquired pneumonia caused by the trip and his poor heart, thus they needed to keep an eye on him. The good thing, however, is that we were able to get his heart condition reviewed early as they performed an EKG, Echogram and various other tests and X-Rays.


An area of advice I would like to give upcoming adoptive families; research and study as much as possible on your child's special needs. This preparation and knowledge will arm you with more than just knowledge. It will provide you peace and an aura of calm that you will be surprised will come when you run in to the "kinks" that most likely will occur with their condition. For example, the hospital normally does not allow parents to transport with their children or relative in the ambulance. This is because they are usually highly stressed and overcome by their child's condition that they often panic, causing danger to the patient during transport. However, the nurses were so impressed with how calm and collected I was, they allowed me to ride along. I explained to them that I was very prepared for his severe heart condition and knew he would most likely be in emergent care soon after our return to the states. Thus, nothing was of a shock or surprise to me. Also, when the doctors discussed his condition, they were also impressed with how much I had prepared myself and with the knowledge I acquired regarding his condition. They too were amazed at how calm I was as they told us the serious nature of his condition. It is VERY true that with proper preparation, panic and fear can be decreased dramatically.


Just as we were informed, his heart condition is very complex. And, we now know why China did not perform any surgeries. However, if he had been born in the U.S. his condition would not be so severe as it would have been caught early and surgical procedures would have been done. Nonetheless, we have met with no less than six cardiologist and cardiothoracic surgeons and all of them have told us his condition is found in less than 1% of the human population. It is so complex that they don't even know how it occurs during the development of the heart and they said we will know more about this condition than most doctors due to its rarity. In a nutshell, He has Levo Transposition of the Greater Arteries (L-TGA). On top of this already complex condition, he also has what is called Epstein Anomaly, which causes over 60% regurgitation and has caused his heart to become the largest they have seen in a child his age. His heart has become so large that it is covering almost his entire lung area. Without corrective surgery, they give him a mortality rate of less than 2 years.


We have met with two specialists both from Seattle Children's Hospital and Mary Bridge. The consensus is that we can talk to 30 doctors and all will give us differing opinions due to the rarity of his condition. The main question for the doctors is what "problem" do they repair first that won't exacerbate the other heart issues? Thus, due to such complexity, the physicians at both Mary Bridge and Seattle have agreed that his case be presented to several top pediatric heart surgeons in the world that are located at the top 5 pediatric hospitals such as Boston, Sanford, Ann Arbor, Pennsylvania and Houston. They feel surgery in the Pacific Northwest would not be beneficial for his case.


The current plan is to proceed with a heart catheter, which will be done on Monday, January 9. This procedure will give them more information on his lung capacity and particulars of his heart. This is a mandatory procedure before any surgery is performed. The results of this will be included in their report where we will wait to hear back from the doctors at these hospitals along with the cardio teams at Mary Bridge and Seattle Children's Hospital. Once they have met and discussed their finding, they will sit down with us to present our options and we can decide where we want to go for his surgery. Their hope is that they can perform the first of a number of surgeries in February, if all goes well.


The good news is that we were able to have him home by Christmas Eve and we had a wonderful, active, full, loud and joyous Christmas with the entire clan of 10. MaeLynn, just as I suspected, took a few steps back upon arriving home. She is very clingy and overall just seems miserable. But, if you feed her she becomes happy as can be. But, her neglect from the orphanage and the newness of the situation has taken its toll. However, with each day her whining seems to decrease as she is starting to get use to this rough and tumble crowd. We are confident with time this little girl should blossom. Grandma is definitely enjoying being able to cuddle with her as that is all she seems she wants to do. I pray that in a few days, the MaeLynn that started to blossom at the end of our China trip will once again arise. Next Thursday is her appointment with the cranial-facial team at Madigan Hospital, where we will begin her journey to the hearing world and reconstructive surgery for her ears.


I have received amazing support from my fellow adoptive families and Bloggers. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the advice, solace and emails of support I have received. You have made this journey so much easier as you held my hand during times of panic and stress, as well as cheer for us during times of joy. For that I thank you all.


Now for my tips/advice to those preparing their adoption journey to China:

1.      The Victory Hotel was fine, but I suggest you try to get a room in the West Building. The buffet wasn't bad, but the food never changed and we got tired of the same breakfast every day. However, we heard the food was better and rooms bigger in their West Building.

2.      Do not get a room any smaller than the Business Suite (DO NOT mistake business room for business suite). This room accommodated both my husband and I and our two toddler children just fine. It had a separate room for our bed and both children preferred sleeping on the floor with just blankets and pillows.

3.      If your child is not an infant, I recommend you NOT pay extra for a crib. I have heard from other families that their child was terrified at the site of a crib. I know our daughter would have probably freaked out, especially knowing she lived in a crib and I can only imagine it symbolizes a prison to them.

4.      We had the Victory arrange for a van to take us back to the airport. We expected to pay around 70 USD, but come to find out, it was free and part of our cost to stay at the Victory. Thus, check on this option as it could be part of your room cost and it is much more convenient than cramming your luggage in a small taxi.

5.      The beds are hard as nails. I felt like it was no different than sleeping on the floor. Get use to it as there really isn't a way around it as that is the standard in China.

6.      In the Business Suite we had a fridge but no kitchenette so don't plan on cooking your own meals unless you get a hotel that specifically has that option.

7.      You HAVE to meet Judy who owns her store called Judy. She is located around the corner of the Victory's East Building. You pass the 7-11 and continue down until you see her store on the right (just past the park). Her laundry fees are the cheapest and she is VERY personable. She gave us little freebies as well.

8.      We highly recommend you go to the Safari Park. Don't waste your time or money at the other zoo. The Safari Park is huge and we only got to see half of the park, but worth every penny.

9.      Take a small card with you with the hotel's address in China wherever you go. Taxis are pretty cheap. Take at least one evening to tour the Pearl River and city at night. They do an amazing job at lighting their cities in China, it is a camera haven.

10.   DO NOT TAKE A TAXI THAT DOES NOT HAVE A METER. We made this mistake when we first were picked up at the airport. We paid 400 Yuan, even after dickering, whereas we would have only paid 150 Yuan with a meter taxi. They will be aggressive as soon as you leave the baggage claim in the airport to catch a taxi so make sure you ask them before you even follow them if their taxi has a meter. They took us all the way to the other side of the airport and even though we kept asking, "where is your meter," and dickered with them, we just didn't feel like walking all the way back through the airport to get another taxi with all our luggage. So learn from our mistake.

11.   We found that there really aren't too many "deals" in China. We did get a great price on pearls at the pearl market, but that was about it. You can always dicker, but considering the quality and that they see you coming a mile away, you don't really get a whole lot of savings buying items in China. Phil had pajamas and I had a traditional Chinese dress tailored. They do it quick and it shows in the quality. We most likely would have paid the same with better quality in the states. Nonetheless, it was fun to get done.

12.   We ate at the Orient express on Shamian Island, which is a French restaurant that has original train cars. Not a bad place to eat. Service wasn't great, but the food wasn't bad and a nice change.

13.   You will hear a lot about Lucy's. The food wasn't bad, but nothing to rave about. There is a children's park next to the restaurant which is a good place to let the children play and get their wiggles out.

14.   We brought our double stroller and it was the BEST thing we did the whole trip. If you are only adopting one, you can use strollers that many stores offer free of charge. But, If you are adopting two, I highly recommend you bring a double stroller. We got stopped so many times by the local Chinese as they thought it was the coolest thing they've seen.

15.   We went to the Beijing Road/Grandview Mall. Beijing Road was not very long and didn't seem to have anything special or unique for sale. However, it is the oldest part of the city and they unearthed parts of the original road built over 2000 years ago. They have glass over these portions and they are fascinating to see. However, the shopping experience was poor and the Grandview Mall a waste of our time. We spent more time waiting for the elevator than shopping.

16.   The Pearl/Jade Market is fairly close to Shamian Island, about a 15 minute walk, and that was a lot of fun as there is more to see and prices are much better.


If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly. Thank you all for following our journey and I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas and will have a very festive and Merry New Year!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Yesterday was a big day for us. We arrived at the U.S. Consulate around 8AM. At 9AM, along with 20 other families, we were asked to swear in our children by asking us to stand, raise our right arm, repeat after them, and have our paperwork reviewed. We were the first couple to be called to the window and 15 minutes later, Joshua and MaeLynn were legally our children and U.S. Citizens, though it becomes official the moment we land on U.S. soil. Mr. Li has done an amazing job at getting us in and out of each and every appointment in a very timely manner. For the most part, we were always the first couple to be seen.


Afterward he dropped us off at Beijing Road which is at the very heart of the city and the oldest part of the city. This area has a lot of shopping and the Grandview Shopping Mall. However, what was fascinating is that they unearthed part of the original road dated back to 2000 years ago and placed glass over these portions for viewing. I will add a few pictures, but it just fascinates me that we were looking at manmade roads built before and around Christ's birth. All in all, shopping is okay but we feel you really don't find too many great deals in China. We also do not suggest going to the Grandview Mall as we wasted more time getting on and off the elevator than anything else. They only have two elevators for the entire mall and 11 floors, so the wait can be lengthy. Though, we did browse the outside vendors and did buy some watches.


Unfortunately, the early to late evening brought us quite a scare. As soon as we arrived home to get ready to go out to eat, Phil picked up Joshua and noticed he was quite hot. He immediately started to act lethargic and Phil took his pulse…150 beats per minute. Of course we gave him his medication in hopes to lower his pulse, but his temperature and struggling for breath got us very concerned. We called the hotel desk for a thermometer and Phil went out to see what he could find that may be able to help him. His temperature was 101 and while Phil was gone, he started to gag over and over and couldn't catch his breath. All I could do was hold him, try to help him, and cried between prayers. Eventually he finally coughed up a bunch of mucus. Phil arrived home and another adopting family gave him some children's Tylenol (you can only purchase medication at a pharmacy in China). Phil gave him a blessing and he quieted down a little. We had pizza delivered and he seemed to get his appetite back, but unfortunately, it all came back up. Nonetheless, after about 4 hours, his temp started to decrease and they both went down for bedtime just fine.


This morning his temperature seemed fine and he has been acting okay so we continue to monitor his pulse and pray he will do fine for our flight home tomorrow. We recognize that this is just the first of many rodeos that we will have with Joshua and we have to remember how fragile he truly is and make sure we bundle him up and not over exert this little guy.


Today we are just waiting for Mr. Li to arrive with the children's Visas. This morning we walked Shamien Island again and did some more shopping. I was finally able to find a tailor that will make me an authentic, Chinese dress and have it completed this evening. They are even making Phil a matching tie. We bought all the girls Chinese dresses so we plan to wear our outfits at church the following Sunday after Christmas. Hank and Michaele will be joining us again this evening and we plan to take them to the French restaurant we ate at when we first arrived. All in all, we have had an amazing time in China but it is time to head home and we cannot wait to be on US soil. God bless all of you for following our adventure. God bless our children and God bless the United States of America.


I will try to post those things that I have learned most from this trip for those of you that are preparing in order to give you some advice and tips for your travels. Take care everyone and the next time you read our Blog, we will be HOME. Have a Very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Today was pretty much a restful day, for me anyway. Phil took Joshua and went to church with Hank and Michaele while I stayed home with MaeLynn. But, it was just what the doctor ordered because…AT LAST…the real MaeLynn arrived. I cannot get over the amazing transformation. She giggled, laughed, played and…get this…even RAN around the room. She became one feisty little girl that has an amazing laugh and smile. She even ran up to me to give me a hug and kiss all on her own, without any prompting. We played for no less than three hours straight and had one amazing time. I truly believe she just needed some one-on-one time, without any outside distractions. It was one joyful day today.


When Phil, Hank and Michaele came home, she even started to get playful with the men. Finally Phil was able to see this amazing, gorgeous little girl just blossom. He was so pleased. Hank even said that there were a few times it almost made him cry to watch how much these two have grown since the first time they met them. I am taken back on how such innocence can gain trust so quickly. We now know that MaeLynn sees us as her caregivers and, hopefully in time, her parents. 


We took a walk around the hotel and bought some beautiful Chinese dresses for the girls. Phil is having some Chinese sleeping clothes made and I had a Chinese top tailored. We were able to discuss family history and have them share their adventures since their arrival in China. It was hard to say goodbye and we hope we may be able to squeeze in one last reunion before we depart on Wednesday, but only time will tell. Tomorrow is the big day as we go to the Embassy and we must leave early in the morning. Though it was a fairly relaxing, chill out day at home, it was probably one of the most fruitful where MaeLynn is concerned.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Today was incredible. The days keep getting better and better, or at least the days we spend with Hank and Michaele. We met up again for breakfast and then caught a taxi t to the Safari Park. It is an awesome zoo and I highly recommend those that will be adopting soon to make sure you put this on your MUST SEE list when here in Guangzhou. The zoo is quite large. We were only able to see half of the zoo and just a few shows so plan a full day. The zoo does a great job at getting you up close and personal to the animals.


The children seemed to really enjoy the day. Joshua was so animated when he watched both the elephant and tiger show. He clapped, giggled, pointed, screamed and I'm sure told us everything that was going on…in Chinese. After the tiger show, Hank and Phil were bringing them down a huge flight of stairs in their stroller. Both Joshua and MaeLynn had the biggest smile and then Joshua started to count each bump in Chinese and had the most infectious laugh. I did get a video and it is just darling.


After the park we met up with Hank's and Michaele's Ward for their Christmas party. It was held at a restaurant that some of their Ward members will be opening soon. The kids once again seemed to really enjoy themselves, but I have to say, MaeLynn went to TOWN on all the food. What was amazing is that she ate everything on her own and almost everything in sight. Even Hank and Michaela noted in just the day since they last saw her, she improved significantly. We are starting to finally see the true little girl that is inside and are so ecstatic. Joshua has taken to Uncle Hank and followed him wherever he went. He has become so enamored with him and it is quite endearing.


We did have one major setback. The restaurant has a rather steep staircase with about 20 steps. After Phil changed Joshua, he was coming up the stairs with Joshua behind and just as they reached the top, I looked over and saw just the tip of Joshua's head and then no more. I jumped to my feet with a scream and Phil immediately turned around to watch his little boy fall head over feet down the hard staircase. Phil ran to grab him but no luck. However, a Ward member did manage to grab him at the very bottom, but all the members grew quiet with worry as this poor little boy started screaming in pain and fright. Phil came to the top of the stairs and I wasn't sure whose heart was beating faster, mine or Joshua. We have been told to make sure his pulse stays below 100 beats a minute and have medication to bring his heartbeat down if necessary. Unfortunately, I left his medication at the hotel. Needless to say, I grabbed Joshua in my arms and Phil announced to everyone that he is okay.


Yes, the little guy is a trooper as he calmed down rather quickly and the next thing you know he was off laughing, screaming and letting everyone fall in love with him. He is such a cutey and one amazing little man. On the ride home we were mesmerized by the city. They do amazing things with lights and it is just gorgeous. We are just having an amazing time and so glad that Hank and Michaele are out here as we are truly enjoying spending time with them. Tomorrow we will be hooking up with them for church and actually rather disappointed that it will be our last day with them. We are truly falling in love with China and the people and most important, our two little cherubs.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I apologize I didn't Blog/email yesterday, but we had the best day, only second to picking up our children. It was the first real free day we have had since arriving. No appointments had to be met, so we made plans to spend the day with our aunt and uncle, Hank and Michaele Burris. Thus, we had one fantastic day, but got to bed rather late. At 8 AM they came to the hotel where we had our breakfast and then left Shamien Island to go roam the streets of Guangzhou for a little bit of shopping. It was great to get out of our little area and explore more of the city. The streets are packed with vendors and lots and lots of real, authentic…knock offs.


Huge milestones for MaeLynn. She hardly cried, actually smiled a few times, really taking the initiative to feed herself and when Hank and Michaele left, she actually waved goodbye. Not so happy this morning, but not crying as much and right now she is entertaining herself. This morning she was also feeding herself a little bit better and got a huge smile on her face.


But, the thing that made our century was during out dinner at the Cow and Bridge, which is a Thai restaurant not too far from our hotel. Our wonderful waitress was tending to the children and talking up a storm with Joshua. I asked her if she could translate what he was saying, which she did. Then I asked her to ask him if he knows who are his mommy and daddy? Once asked he immediately pointed to me and said, "Mama," and pointed at Phil and said, "Papa." Then when asked about grandma and grandpa, he pointed to Hank and Michaele. Needless to say, Phil and I were beyond ecstatic. He was so cute when he called us Mama and Papa as he even giggled and drew his arms out in hug like motion. Be still my beating heart!!


Today we take the kids to get their TB test checked and….Oops, just had a little scare. Just as I was typing the previous sentence, I asked Phil how long before the Medical Clinic closes to get their TB test checked? He then said with panic, "Oh my gosh, isn't it until noon and isn't it five minutes past?" I thought we had until 3:30, but also started to panic. You never saw two people zip on out of their hotel rooms. We just grabbed the kids, plopped them in the stroller and RAN to the medical clinic. It was clearly lunch time but they took us right in, looked at their arms, told us they were okay and now we are back in our room ½ hour later. Whew…what could have been a BAD DAY was just avoided. Just for the record…I was right; it was until 3:30. J


So, now we wait for Mr. Li to come here at 4:30 where he will give us the children's passports and prep us for Monday's swearing in at the embassy. We are thinking about heading down to the Grandview Mall this evening. We tried to buy some clothes for Joshua but felt they were asking too much ($40/ for three items). And, we have been told that you cannot dry the clothes in a dryer as they do not have dryers in China and the clothes would not be able to hold up. Thus, I'm fine with waiting until we get to the states, but we'll see what the mall has in store. Yesterday we found some great deals on Jade and Pearls. Phil purchased two long strands of real pearls for under $40…try to get that in America. No, they weren't for him. Hank and Michaele were extremely helpful in teaching us how to barter and making sure things were the real deal when it came to Jade and Pearls.


Tomorrow we plan to go to the Safari Park as we've been hearing some great things. We'll be sure to take lots of pictures. Again, thank you all for following and hope you are enjoying this holiday season!! We sure are!


WOW...just as we were all lying down for a nap, we heard MaeLynn's crying getting closer and closer. We looked up and there she is crawling in to our bedroom. This is a HUGE deal. First time we've seen her crawl. You can tell she hasn't done it a lot as she was sure struggling, but again...what initiative. This is great!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today we had to get their medical exam and apply for their passports. Unfortunately, I woke up at 2 AM and MaeLynn woke up at 3 AM so we were all a bit tired today. We met with Mr. Li at 10:30 and walked to the medical examination office. We first stopped along the way to get their Visa pictures, but poor MaeLynn couldn't stop crying. Alas, we got her picture but she did NOT look happy.


The exam went pretty quickly, but of course they brought in a few doctors regarding Joshua. He is pigeon chested and they had concerns to discuss with other doctors. But it was odd as they seemed fearful to say anything to us as if we didn't know that he had a heart condition. But when we reassured them that we were very aware of his condition and that, yes, we knew he has a pigeon chest, they relaxed. The worst part of the exam is when we have to hold them to get their TB test. I held Joshua and Phil held MaeLynn, but you still always feel like a monster when you have to submit your child to anything that causes them pain. Yes, they cried a little but were troopers.


Later in the afternoon Mr. Li drove us to the police department where we applied for their passports. Once again it only took about ½ hour, even though there were quite a number of families there. They seem to have this down to a science so that wait times are fairly short.


When we got back home we ate at Lucy's, a popular spot for adoptive families due to carrying a few American dishes. It was fine and the kids seemed to enjoy it. The major milestone, however, is that MaeLynn finally took the initiative to feed herself. She isn't able to hold a fork or spoon as her dexterity in her hands has not been developed sufficiently and she is very use to being fed. However, after I would feed her a few bites, I would feed myself. After a while she seemed to get tired of having to wait for me so she started to pick up the spoon to feed. She didn't have much success but we were ecstatic as it was truly the first time since she came to us that she showed any interest in trying to feed herself.


On the way home we ended up speaking to a very congenial storekeeper. She had excellent English and we chatted for quite some time. She was taken by our stroller and we told her that we have had quite a few Chinese locals come up to us to ask us about our stroller. She said you just don't see double strollers in China. That started us off on a very long and fruitful conversation. She told us that she pays 150/month for her apartment and we probably pay that for one night. She then said for the 10 days that we pay for our hotel, that pays for almost a year of her rent, which by standard is considered a little pricey. She then told us that her daughter lives in her province with her parents and she only sees her twice a year and has been doing this six years. I told her that I watched a documentary on China and it talked about how it is very common for parents to move to the big cities to make money to send home and only see their children once or twice a year for a few days. She said that it is not an easy life but nothing is free in China and if she wants her kids to have a better life she has to have money to get them through school. Phil and I were amazed at the sacrifices they have to do and also became so much more appreciative of the many blessings we've been given.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Today, Joshua and MaeLynn legally became our children. We went back to the Adoption Registry and had to interview and sign more papers. It was fairly quick and harmless. On the way home, the children fell asleep so we felt nap time was necessary. At first, Joshua put up a fuss but eventually settled down. MaeLynn ended up on the floor again, but this time fell asleep sitting up with her front bent over on a pillow (tonight she fell asleep in the same position). This behavior really makes me believe she stayed in her crib way too much. Her walking ability and dexterity in her hands is like that of a one year old. We've been told some orphanages keep them in cribs until they feel they can walk sufficiently, which is usually when they are in their twos. If this occurred at her orphanage, then her walking, potty training and eating ability as been greatly stunted. 
After they finished their naps we gave them a bath. Unfortunately, Joshua had an accident and we suspect it was because he was too scared during nap time to go in the "dark" bathroom or tell us he had to go. It was very obvious that it was most likely their first true bath. Bathing is usually done by a quick wipe down, not immersed in water. At first they were slightly trepidatious, but soon thoroughly enjoyed the bath and bubbles. Joshua went crazy with the Sippy cups and poor MaeLynn put up with constant water being poured over her head. 
We walked Shamian Island and stopped at a playground. Joshua has no fear and walked around like he owned the place. MaeLynn doesn't really walk unless you hold her hand. She will stand in the same place forever until she is prompted. They both loved going down the slides. Joshua loves the outdoors and when he suspects we are planning to leave, he gathers everyone's shoes. MaeLynn is most content being held and I did get a cute picture of her lying on daddy's chest right after her bath with daddy snoring away. 
Tonight we ate at a French restaurant. Yes, I know, eating at a French restaurant in China. Other than the service, the food wasn't too bad. The weather is gorgeous and so is Shamian Island. We walked around some more and stopped to purchase items for the kids and munchies. The area is a HUGE HUB for wedding photos so everywhere you look there are couples getting their pictures taken. We've been told that it is the norm that after a few years of marriage, when they can finally afford it, they go all out and get their wedding photos done. It is not uncommon for them to be in 3-10 different outfits that they rent. That explains why all their clothes are always the finest, Vera Wang level looking digs. One thing we really like is how everyone is in to exercise.This includes the elderly as they are often outside playing battmitton, exercising or just visiting. 
Once we came home to get ready for bed MaeLynn started having a fit, but this time she actually had a temper tantrum. We actually saw the strength in her legs as she wailed them all about. We bought her a blanket and a bottle as we assumed she still used a bottle due to her mouthing movements, and we were told she always slept with a special blanket. She didn't take to the bottle at all and she was too upset to care about the blanket. However, I suspect a lot of it was total exhaustion and the other the fear of sleeping in a place she is still not familiar. We know time will heal wounds, but it hurts to watch her so stressed. The more we observe her the more we are convinced that she has some global delays. When Phil put food on her tray at the restaurant, instead of trying to pick it up and eat it with her hands, she bent over to eat it like a dog. Phil kept forcing her to use her hands, but her dexterity is so poor. Her legs are so stiff when she walks it is as if she never walked before. When I was walking with her and we came to a small step, instead of bending and slowly stepping down, she leaned completely forward that had I not been holding her, she would have fallen on her face. She also will clutch the food that is handed to her in her hand and hold it for hours if we forget. She had a rice cake cookie at the park today and Joshua finally got tired of seeing her hold it that he went over and kept taking her hand and forcing the cookie in her mouth until she would take a bite. He would give her a few seconds and then do it again. Thought it was funny to watch, we had to nip that one. Time will tell with this precious little girl. The lot she was handed early in her life wasn't the best and hopefully with time, a family environment, proper hearing aides and some therapy, she will thrive. 
Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share our experience. If you would rather not get these long emails, just let me know and I will take you off my distribution list. God bless!

Monday, December 12, 2011


AT LAST, we are proud parents of Joshua and MaeLynn. We met with Mr. Li at 1:30 PM and he drove us over to the Adoption Registry in Guangzhou where we met and picked up our two newest additions to our family. It was quite an experience as you can imagine. Both of them did NOT like the thought of going to perfect strangers and they both immediately started to cry. However, MaeLynn calmed down rather quickly but Joshua was the loudest and cried the longest then all the children that were there. Yes, I know every parent thinks their kid is the loudest, but in this case, it was a fact. However, after about an hour and people started to leave, especially Joshua's orphanage workers, he immediately stopped crying and started saying, "Goodbye, Goodbye," with a huge smile. Since then, he has been in very good spirits.

MaeLynn is who I am concerned about the most. Even though she calmed down rather quickly, she just became limp and numb. You could tell the whole ordeal was quite traumatic for her. She threw-up in the car on the way over from the orphanage so today has not been her day. Now that we've been back at the hotel, she seems to be slowly settling in and getting just a tad more animated. While at the Adoption Registry, her worker said that she does seem to respond when they call her name very loudly, so they suspect she may have some hearing. This was good news as it sounds like boney conductive hearing aides should work fine and she will not need cochlear implants. She did like it when I held her hand up to my throat to feel the vibrations. She actually held her hand up to me on her own a couple of times. She does have eczema so we will need to get the proper skin care treatment.

Joshua is TINY, and I mean 18 month old tiny, even though he is 3 years old. He and MaeLynn are close in size, though MaeLynn is slightly taller and weighs A LOT more than he. However, he is VERY bright, extremely curious and seems to communicate quite well. He knows his local dialect very well, but of course, that doesn't do us any good. Mr. Li said that he doesn't even know how to speak it as it is a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin. But, Joshua knows exactly what I am asking of him and has let us know he needed to go to the bathroom. He even performed duties that I asked him to do without having to repeat myself. I used English mixed with sign language and he picked it right up. I asked him to go over to the T.V. to grab the cookies for MaeLynn. He immediately shook his head in the affirmative, ran over, grabbed the cookies and gave them to MaeLynn. A few minutes later he did something similar again to another request. He is quite helpful and seems to really be settling in. Just now MaeLynn buried her head and when I went over to her, she immediately started to cry. Without hesitation, he went and got her doll and handed it to her. He is doing VERY well. 

He has also been very good at letting us know his needs. His orphanage workers told us that though he is tiny, he knows way more than a three year old should know and is quite a bright and inquisitive child. We noticed this trait right away.

I feel MaeLynn will need to take longer to adjust. We need to remember that though she is bigger, she is over a year younger. Therefore, mentally she seems to be right on target for being two. Tonight Phil is running out to Subway and 7-11 to get them congee (a rice cereal) so that we don't disrupt their diet. Of course, they've been given cookies and Chinese treats all day. MaeLynn has hardly touched anything, but Joshua has been eating up a storm. His orphanage did say he is not finicky and eats quite a bit. I would have to agree from the few hours we've been with him.

One cannot even imagine the fear these two children have had to experience, being ripped away from all that is familiar, especially their caretaker. Nonetheless, Phil and I couldn't be happier at this moment as we gaze on these two amazing angels. We are proud parents of six, beautiful and amazing children!