Saturday, November 1, 2014

More Updates and Sweet Smiles

Well I am dusting off the cobwebs of this blog. I am embarrassed to say that my last post was a draft that has been sitting unpublished until now. I had completely forgotten about it. Our life is full, busy, crazy and rich. So much so that I have not had time to keep up this blog. So here is the latest update:

Daniel is doing awesome. He fits into our family just like he has always belonged. When we arrived home we knew there were some medical issues we would have to address with specialists. First, he came home with a mouth filled with rotten teeth. He rarely complained of the pain but I could see the huge craters of decay in many of his teeth. Our pediatric dentist was unable to handle his complex case and referred us to a pediatric dentist up at Stanford as his dental care would need to be done under a general anesthesia. Poor fellow had most likely not had many positive medical experiences and he was scared to death. He would not cooperate. He would not take his sleepy juice. He would not talk to us, the doctors, or even the translator who spoke in Mandarin. I felt awful for him but this had to get done. Three hours later, Daniel was out of surgery sporting some shiny silver crowns in addition to the other fillings and teeth extractions. His recovery was quick and he was so happy to not be in constant pain any longer.

At home recovering with orange sherbet

We are also in the midst of working with Neurosurgery at Stanford to determine what needs to be done for his hydrocephalus. He is stable right now and there appears to be no damage from the additional pressure inside his head. The doctors commented that he is a true miracle, as the location of his hydrocephalus should have caused visual impairment and intellectual delays. Well I can positively say there are no delays in this kid! He is so, so bright. His English is amazing and he understands much of what is said to him.

When school started we had planned to home school Daniel until he gained enough English to handle a school setting. Well, our lovely little school has worked it out for us to attend in the first grade class with me accompanying him as his one-on-one aide. I know one of the reasons his English has taken off is the language rich environment he is in every day. I know this season will be short as soon he won't need me to go with him, but for now I cherish the time I get to spend with him each day. We are so blessed and thankful for the way the Lord has placed amazing resources in our path.

First day of School

Wearing his Cat in the Hat while practicing math facts

In addition to Daniel's schooling, I am taking a couple of courses toward my degree again this semester. It has been rough juggling everything but I know it will be worth it. Nina auditioned for the music production of Annie and is cast as one of the orphans. It is a busy rehearsal schedule but she is very excited to be in her first production. We have had a few other medical needs pop up with the children and currently have one child scheduled for surgery over the Christmas break with the possibility that others may also spend their holiday break recovering from procedures. With all this daily craziness, I have been reluctant to participate in the annual Angel Tree project that I have done each year with Reece's Rainbow. I must be completely out of my mind because I am doing it! I rationalize that whatever I can do for my angel is better than nothing. I hope I don't let him down but I have to maintain a realistic expectation too. The goal is to raise $1000 for my angel by December 31.  That is a huge goal but every penny added to his grant will help his future forever family bring him home. I pray this is his last year on the Angel Tree. So without further delay, I would like to introduce my 2014 Angel, Mickey!

Click on this link to donate. All proceeds are tax-deductible.

Isn't he adorable?  He has been listed for several years on Reece's Rainbow but continues to wait for his forever family to find him. Could you be his mama or daddy? If not could you share him via social media? We need to share his sweet face with everyone. I pray this is his last year on the angel tree and next Christmas he is home with his family.


The draft that never got published...until now

No we did not fall off the face of the earth. If you have adopted before, you know how things are at home those first few weeks. The jet lag was hard this time; both Lou and I got a stomach bug that lasted a week; all while trying to assimilate our new son to his new home, family, and environment. Our split ranch in the foothills is quite a bit different from the hustle and bustle of Chinese city life. Everyday he learns more English but we rely heavily on Google translate still. He has a delightful sense of humor and loves to use his new language skills to tease us. He knows many of the fruits and animals in English, and likes to call us monkey or banana. He also loves to chant "shake a Baba" or "shake a Mama". We aren't entirely sure what that means but he says it in a joking way and we always appease him by doing a little dance and responding to "shake a Chong Chong". He does answer to his English name, Daniel but Chong Chong sounds so much better when we are being playful.

Daniel does miss some things about China but I am sure as time passes he will less and less. For now though, he pines for Chinese food. As well traveled Americans living in a diverse region of the country, we eat a varied diet representative of many cultures. Our family does eat Chinese food but we also eat Indian, Mexican, Italian, and Moroccan in addition to the typical American cuisine. In China as well as many other countries, the diet is homogenous. I cannot imagine eating Chinese food everyday for all my meals but if you always did, our menu might be a shocker. He is a good sport most of the time but sometimes he just makes a X with his arms to show me, "no way!" So while the other children happily chow down on waffles, oatmeal or toast, Daniel is sipping down ramen for his breakfast.

I can say that each day with him, I fall more in love. Our other children have done well with his arrival. There have been a few bumps in the journey but for the most part he fits into the family perfectly.  So now what? Well, the children return to school in August. Daniel's English is not developed enough to handle a Classical school education just yet so I will be working with him at home until he understands enough. He is super smart so I imagine he will catch up to his peers in the next year, if not earlier and will join the girls at school as well.

Are you done? (As in adopting more children) I would never say never but six is kind of a large family and we are getting older. Lou reminds me regularly that we personally cannot save all the orphans. I realize that as well but sometimes I need reminding. Depending on which statistic you read, the number of orphans worldwide is anywhere from 147 to 163 million. Even at the low end of that statistic it is a staggering number to comprehend. I will do my best to advocate, support, and pray for these children and invite you to join me in making a difference. My next post will highlight ways we can help make a difference and a dent in these depressing statistics.