Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Six months ago,

We met our youngest child. Our 5th son. Our sweet Calvin. We had just arrived in Zhengzhou the night before, after traveling for two days. Our flights over were not the best on timing as we had such short notice. We received our Travel approval on Monday, Jan. 14th, we asked if we could travel before Chinese New Year on Feb 8th. Timing was really tight because we had to have time to get to China, 5 days in Calvin's province, 5 days in Georgia, and about that long in Guangzhou, and get out before CNY started. We had to wait and see if we could get a consulate date before CNY. So we weren't able to book our tickets till Thursday morning. And we left on Sunday. So last minute tickets to China, are A.)expensive, B.)hard to get good times, layovers etc...  add a 13 hour time difference and we were pretty exhausted when we arrived. Then there was a mix up in the hotel, that took like an hour to clear up. I was so glad to settle in the night of the 22nd. And so excited. Scared. Nervous. I couldn't wait to meet Calvin, but I was dreading it in a way too. I knew it was going to be hard. heartbreaking. I knew he would be scared, sad. I didn't know how long it would take him to adjust, to learn to trust us. Because we were having our "Gotcha Day" on a Wednesday, instead of the usual Monday, we were the only family that day at the Civil Affairs office. Calvin's province of Henan has a high number of adoptions, and so I had seen many pictures/videos of the room we waited in for him to arrive. The fog/smog was very bad that day, and so he was delayed arriving. It was about a 2.5 hour drive for them on a good day. It was so overwhelming waiting for him. Staring out the windows, waiting for the van to pull up. And then there he was. He looked scared, but wasn't crying. I went and tried talking to him, and he was very serious. The nanny handed him to me, and he immediately started screaming, arching his back, and pushing me away. I sat down on the couch and Daddy tried to show him his little pack we had brought. Offered cookies, candy, toys, book, none of it worked. Tried to let him play on the little ride on toys in the play area off to the side. He just cried and screamed and pointed to the door. We finally finished after about an hour and left. We had to stop at the Walmart on the way to the hotel to buy diapers. We had been told he was pottytrained and he wasn't. He only wanted me, and refused to sit in the cart. So I carried him through the store. He weighed a bit over 30lbs and I was sweating like crazy despite the cold temperatures outside. It was hot in the store and I took my jacket off and I remember the disapproving looks from those around us.  He stopped crying occasionally back at the hotel. He was so scared though. He would start again at any change. If I went to the bathroom. If I moved from one seat to another. He fought me endlessly as I carried him when we had to be out. Yet, if I offered to let him down to walk it was even worse, and he would cling to my legs. He cried for hours and nothing we did comforted him. Slowly, he started to trust us, and he started to feel better. Although, I don't think holding him down for 4 enemas to get his antibiotics endeared us to him any. And we finally made it home. And got to know each other. And he has come so far. He still likes things to be as he expects. He doesn't love change. And that's hard in our big, fly by the seats of our pants family. But he is getting braver everyday. He loves the beach, and usually the pool. He happily goes to Sunday school with his brother now. He plays in the yard with abandon. In the beginning, he was literally terrified of leaves. He didn't like to have dirt on him. He plays in the mud now. He goes down the slide, and swings. When he first came home, he would eat every bit of food on his plate. Even when you could tell he didn't really like it, or he was full, he couldn't let the plate go. He would sit and eat until it was all gone. It was like he wasn't sure when there would be more, and so he couldn't not eat it all.  I'm happy to say, while he is a really good eater, and likes most things, he leaves food on his plate now, and tells me,"All done". He was so unhappy in the beginning. He laughs, belly laughs now.  He is smart, and notices the littlest details. He is determined. and has the sweetest heart. While we still have lots of fits, and frustration, mostly related to us not always understanding what he is saying, he wants to please us, and tries so hard. He is affectionate, and loves his siblings too.  It hasn't been and isn't all easy, but he is so very worth it. I'm so thankful for my son. I can't believe it's already been six months, and yet it seems in some ways to have been much longer. While some of these pictures break my heart, and are hard to look at, I am thankful to have them. To remember, and to know how far he has come. How far we all have.
Our breakfast in the Hong Kong airport as we waited during our 5 hour layover to Zhengzhou. This was Tuesday morning. We had been traveling since Sunday. So tired!

The view out the window of the Civil Affairs office as we waited for Calvin.

Calvin as he came in the door with his Nanny.


And he is thinking let me go!

Daddy trying to break out some treats. Calvin didn't care a bit.
So scared. I was trying to talk to him. He is trying to wiggle away from me.

Back at the hotel. A little better.

eating noodles                                                                                                      
And the next day, it was official!
What a difference love, family and time make!

Friday, July 19, 2013

summer time

Going to just let some pictures tell our last few weeks.

John-Michael turned 11! I just can't believe it. And yet he is quickly turning into a young man. He is almost as tall as I am, and changing every day. He wanted to go skating on his birthday. And so we did.

Hamilton trying to stay upright at first. He did great though.

John-Michael and Abram wayyyyy at the end. I spent a lot of my childhood in this same rink.

There goes Olivia and Abram.

This is Olivia about an hour later. Yep, she fell. Not even skating, but while in line to do the limbo, lol. She got her skates tangled up and fell over. I helped her off the floor, as she couldn't put weight on it. Her ankle was swelling and I thought she must have sprained it. She is really tough with pain. And she was crying and saying it really hurt. So I told the birthday boy and everyone, we had to go. They helped me get her to the door, and I pulled the van up.

We went to the local walk in clinic because it was after hours. They x-rayed it, and put it in a temporary cast, after telling me they thought it might be fractured!

Daddy came through and took John-Michael to get his choice of takeout, since it was too late now in the day for me to cook the birthday dinner. He choose sushi and chicken wings. Yum!

And cheesecake for dessert, double yum!

The next day I took Olivia to see an orthopedist. They said it was an obvious and significant fracture, and sent us for a CAT scan of her leg right then and there!

She got blisters after just one day of the temporary cast. I guess it was rubbing. Notice the bruising. :( Turns out that she broke her leg. The tibia bone, several cracks through the growth plate, and then up through the middle and out the side. They felt it was borderline for needing surgery. So they put her in a full leg cast to totally immobilize it, and hopefully avoid surgery, and screws and pins.

Here we are at the store. Can you tell how high that cast goes up her thigh? It's huge.

In happier news, I found these two watching a movie in my bed like this :) It's a tough life.

This is what happens when you have a family of Trekkies. She can say, "Live Long and Prosper".

Aren't they sweet?

We really don't all fit at our dining table anymore, and certainly not if we have friends over.  It's not in the budget to buy a new one. So my Sweetheart built this for me! Isn't it beautiful? We plan to distress it and paint it with milk paint. At first, I was thinking a green, but now I'm thinking red. We'll see. I'm not the best at picking colors.

Vivian brought two brothers this last time, and they had the best time together.

Mary Poppins came by, and brought cupcakes!

Now stained to peek through after we distress the milk paint.

Cow day! We all dressed up as cows, and enjoyed free lunch at Chick-Fil-A

And that's whats going on around here lately.  :)