Sunday, October 30, 2011


Wow, I had no idea how easy I had it before these new children came home.  I had a 5 year old as my youngest and didn't realize that I had some freedom.  I could choose to clean the house or do laundry.  I could make my bed in the morning.  I could even shower before 1:00pm.  I have been thrown back into the land of the young mother.  This brings back so many memories and a new understanding of what I have been through in the past. 

I remember the days that dragged into months of holding a child and another one needing me so I picked them up with one hand and held two children at once. The times of sitting in the rocking chair with two children on my lap and the neighbor showing up.  Of course my house was a disaster just like now.  The times when there were toys strewn all over the house and dishes on the table from breakfast long after lunch was served.  The days of dirty faces and sticky hands all over the place.  Mirrors slimmed with soap from children playing on the counter while I try to make myself look presentable.  The list goes on and on. 

I applaud all the mothers out there in this stage of life. It is not easy. The hardest part is letting everything else go for the sake of the children's long term needs. It creates chaos in my life and soul.  I then get impatient and work as hard as I can to control that.  That is the true work, controlling my expectations and emotions.  Not cleaning and cooking.  That comes easy.

We are still adjusting the sleep patterns of the children.  I have not figured out how to give them the needed naps and still get them to bed at a decent time.  The other day they both fell asleep about the time that I needed to pick up Creed from school.  I was gone no longer than 10 minutes.  I walked in the door and Hyrum was sobbing in Hannah's arms.  I ran to him and cuddled him.  In a few minutes he calmed down and sat with me.  For the next couple of days he would not go anywhere that he couldn't see me and most of the time since then I have had to hold him.  It is good but sad.  I know that he sees me as his mother and protector but sad that he has not had this all along and is just learning he is loved.

Whenever Doug and I take Hyrum and Bria out for some bonding time and date night Hyrum gets very pouty and sad.  The first time we left he about jumped out of his skin to get back to the house.  Friday when we got home from taking Tyler to dinner he couldn't get out of the car seat fast enough. He was giddy with excitement! He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the house.  We then had to check every bed to make sure all the children were still here.  This child loves his family and always wants us to stay together no matter where we go.  I have heard many times "I'm so glad we got him." 

Bria is still struggling.  I think it will be a hard road for her.  I'm sure within a year, hopefully sooner, I can post that Bria is herself and doing wonderfully. She is laughing and playing but there is a deep sadness inside of her.  She could really use every ones prayers.  I know they are heard and answered!

Pictures and Fun

While we were waiting for our last flight in LA from China, with some very tired children, Bria began to cry and couldn't be consoled.  Doug started walking around with her but it didn't help so we picked up our stuff and tried to find a new location that would distract her.  We went down the elevator and as I was getting our things situated Doug felt something warm on his stomach.  I looked around and saw something dripping from the bottom of the front pack. Yep, Bria wet his pants! 

Ressa came home for the weekend and we pulled out the ice cream.  It takes a special occasion to have ice cream at our house. She served up a very small portion for Hyrum and a good sized one for herself.  They sat down to eat and Ressa tried to give Hyrum a bite.  He didn't want it.  He wanted a bite out of her bowl.  It didn't take too long for him to make it clear that he wanted her bowl not his. Thinking it was the color of the bowl that was the problem I took Ressa's ice cream out of the bowl and traded.  He would have nothing to do with that, he wanted the bigger portion of ice cream.  Who cares about the color it's the amount that counts.

Ressa telling her sister how much she loves her.

Tyler's birthday. Every birthday has to include gum!

Malia trying to get her sister to have some fun. 

This next group of pictures were at a park close to our home.

There is a lake at this park that we like to swim at.  Olivia and Malia were picking up rocks for Hyrum and Bria to throw in the water.  I don't think they have ever had the opportunity to do that before.  They loved it.

The kids love to play together.  When the social worker interviewed the children for the adoption she asked each one of them what their favorite thing to do was.  Most of the kids said to play games with their brothers and sisters. After the third child said that she asked what kind of games and they said balls, hide and seek, and other games.  She was pretty surprised that all the children love to do these things together.

Another thing they like to do is play dolls.  Creed, Pierce and Casey have grown out of that but the rest still love it. Now they have added Hyrum and Bria.

The kids on their first four wheeler ride.  They laughed and giggled the whole time.  After about 40 minutes of going around in circles Dad came home and I was able to get them off.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tantrum Fun

Names have been changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent.   This story had to be saved and enjoyed. One day when they are 18 they will laugh and laugh at this and so will we.

Any mother of a child of significant age will know the joys of a tantrum.  Well, it's been quite a while since we have had one because of the ages of children we have, until recently.  Since being home from China we have been able to enjoy many a tantrum from the newest additions.  Today we had some backtracking by one of the older kids, no it was not Ressa.  We got the best tantrum, EVER!

One of the children was having a hard time with something another child was doing. They decided to take action and began hitting and being mean to the second child.  Second child came to me to let me know of the injustice.  Well, of course I want to know about this kind of behavior.

Child 2 "Mom they are hitting me and being mean because, (who knows, I didn't get that far)."

Me to child 1 "You need to sit in the naughty step."

Child 1 "NO"

"If you don't go to the naughty step you will be in more trouble"

I then count to three and child 1 still refuses to sit.  I take them by the arm to lead them to bed. We get to the bed and the tantrum continued. Usually the children only sit in the bed for a short time depending on the offense. I walk out of the room and I hear this.

"I hate you Mom!"

Me with a smile  "OK, you can sit in your bed until dinner."  It is now 5:00pm.

Child 1 "I hate you worse!"

"OK, you can sit in your bed until after dinner."

Child 1with all the passion they can muster "I hate you worser!"

P.S. Pictures on the next post.  Sorry for the lack.  Life has gotten very busy. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Sad Story and Observations on Morality

I hadn't planned on posting today but after seeing a story on the Internet I just couldn't hold it in. Go to this link and read.

For those that don't have time to read this the story is about a toddler in Foshan City, China that wandered out into the street and got hit not just once but twice by cars.  Neither driver stopped and 18 people passed by a bleeding 2 year old either not noticing or not caring, one of the two.  This story was very disturbing because we were just there and it would have happened about the same time we left.  Our Hyrum was cared for in that city for the first 4 years of his life. 

While in China I was unsettled by some things.  It was bothersome that people in general didn't take turns, wait in lines, follow traffic lights or even smile at someone that smiles at them.  While in China, we as westerners were always the last one on the train, bus, elevator, etc, even if we got there first and had young children with us. (There were a few exceptions of both men and women giving up their seats on the subway - that was very kind and appreciated.) On the sabbath we were scheduled to do some activities, which is not unusual even here in a basically Christian nation, and had to decline.  We spent some time wandering around on Sundays to get out of the room. On the first Sunday I came to the realization that we were in a very Godless country. The feeling of the country in general is "all about Me" and money.  Over the rest of the next two weeks we saw the fruits of such a way of life. 

I talked with a hotel worker a few times and was given a very clear picture of what is happening in a society that at one point was steeped in traditions that included politeness and a basic sense of morality.  This young adult girl was very open about many things.  She wanted to know how we deal with moral issues with our children, however, she wasn't that tactful about how she put it.  She explained to me that her grandparents' generation believe that a person needs to wait until they are married to share themselves, but her parents are allowing it and in her generation it is just expected.  She asked me what I thought.  I clearly told her that the US is pretty much the same way but I believe that everyone needs to wait.  I was incredulous when she said proudly "this is not my first boy!" I was sad to see that she thought I was so wrong.

Back to the news story.  Most streets in the cities we visited in China are small, about two car widths, and yet 3 cars driving side by side is normal.  The markets are tiny with an open front.  Many people live above or behind their shop.  Children are there with the parents until they go to school at 5 years old. It was not unusual to see a small child hanging out in one of these shops.  To have a two year old wander out is reasonable, especially when mom and dad are both busy. I place no blame on the parents as that is how things are done there. It is a quickly changing world for the people in China and the way of doing some things hasn't caught up with others. As we read the story we were not surprised in the least by what happened.  When people say you take your life in your hands on the streets of China it is true. Drivers will not stop for a pedestrian even in a crosswalk with a green walk sign.  Pedestrians walk across roads with large barriers and fences and weave in and out of moving traffic because no one wants to wait. There is no order entering and exiting the Metro or subway.  Yes, it is clearly marked where to exit and enter but no one cares.  You have to literally push your way in and out.  The attitude of those that did not stop and help this little child was evident in a lot of people that we saw.

We had many experiences to show us the more tender side of some in China as well.  Those that gave up their seat on the Metro because we had little children. People that stopped us to give directions from overhearing we were lost. Others that would stop to tell us good job for adopting the children. And those that truly wanted to communicate with us for some reason but we couldn't because we knew no Chinese.  Some others humbly overcame their fear and nervousness to speak with us just to practice their English. 

I am not China bashing here, I think there are many good things about China as a country and it's people.  We enjoyed our time there and love our children. I am just so sad to see the decline in the world and the lack of charity throughout all societies.  It is a sad state that we have come to as a people in general.  We see these kinds of things all over the world and in our own backyards.  I often think about what can be done. The scripture about how Alma stepped down from the judgement seat to preach the gospel because of the wickedness of the people comes to mind.  The only way that we can change things is by teaching about Christ then living a virtuous life ourselves.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hero Mom

This is Sereen again. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how amazing my mom is and convince you why she's not only a hero to me but to many people around her. That's why I will just ask you to do me a favor.

Wednesday night my mom's cousin Alice nominated her to be Allstate's "Hero Mom." The winner will receive $2,500. To win my mom would have to receive the most votes. Which means we need as many people as possible to visit this link  and select "vote" next to the story posted by Alice of "I'm so funny (sometimes)" about DeAnne. You can vote once a day until November 4th. My mom is currently in second place but needs about 300 more votes to catch up with the first place. Your vote will count! you can also spread the word by inviting your friends to this facebook group.

Thanks for all of your support I know it means a lot to me and my mom.

Just to illustrate how big of a heart my mom has: Alice nominated her thinking my family could use the extra money for Christmas especially after having spent so much on the adoptions. My mom's first thought was to use the money to help someone else adopt. And that's why we all love her, always thinking of others!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Flu Again!

I have known of many people that get sick when they travel to pick up kids so I brought an arsenal of meds just in case. I didn't need any of them but as soon as we got home Bria started in with the flue. At first I wasn't sure that's what it was. She was cranky and sullen, wouldn't eat and started to have diarrhea. All signs of transition. One night she started to act like she was going to throw up. Soon after the fever came. We didn't get much sleep and she felt miserable. After 4 days of off and on symptoms she pulled out of it. Then I came down with it. Unlike children though moms can't just stop and lie around and cry when they want something. It would be nice though. Many others in the family have sore throats and are getting head colds. This too came from Bria. She has had a runny nose since we first got her. I thought it ran its course in China but we still are wiping her nose once or twice a day.

Bria is showing signs of some progress and will willingly come to mom but most of the time prefers Creed or Dad. I made Doug change sides of the bed so in the middle of the night he can take care of her without me suffering the rejection. Rejection isn't easy but when you are woken up in the middle of the night not having slept much in the past week then thoroughly rejected, it requires a lot of patience. Right now I would rather avoid the situation than have to be the better person. She has moments of being happy and smiley as well as crying. I anticipate the crying will begin to diminish and the smiles will be more prevalent.

Hyrum is doing very well but I do see him adjusting still. He is usually running around the house getting into things. He laughs a lot and loves to be tickled. He runs away as soon as we take his diaper off and wants us to chase him. He eats most everything around. But in the mornings when he wakes he is stunned and sad. I think he is still surprised when he sees he is not in familiar surroundings. I pick him up and lay with him as he cries. One of the children will walk in and that will distract him. If Hannah comes in he immediately smiles and wants to go to her. He has nightmares most nights but they are getting less intense. I can hold and rock him and he goes right back to sleep.

Something that we have seen with both children is the lack of ability to deal with disappointment. I never would have thought of this as being a challenge for them. If they don't get their way they go into a fit. Bria will cry and cry and it sounds like she is pushing it out. Hyrum will run to the other room, throw himself on the floor and fake cry. Once in a while he will have real tears. When these things happen I take them in my arms and try to show them how to be sad without throwing a tantrum. Hyrum responds very well. I think Bria was able to get her way previously through crying because she is good at it. She cries almost all day with small breaks. I have never seen more tears. I think having so much stimulation and options is very new to them.

I have had a couple of people tell me they are worried that the kids might feel like they are just in another orphanage with all the children we have. I let that thought bother me for a few minutes but the more I reason it through I realize they have love and stimulation and are learning to create bonds. This family will be intact forever and the people at the orphanage will only be temporary. This family offers them education and a knowledge of who they are and why they are on earth. They will learn about their Savior Jesus Christ and be taught how to serve and love others. Bria and Hyrum now have the opportunity to learn how to be a mother and father and function as successful people. Yes we have a large family but these children are never without love and people who fight over who gets to hold them. (Wow, that was good therapy for me. I am going to have to come back and read this from time to time when I ask myself "what do I think I am doing".)

We will post some pictures tomorrow. Sorry there haven't been any. Life gets crazy when you get home and try to add the new children and find a new normal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We're Home and Transitioning Well

We finally made it home after being awake for 39 hours.  Doug and I didn't sleep more than an hour and the kids were going on 4 hours of sleep.  Bria was very emotional and cried at everything but Hyrum was his happy self and made friends with all the stewardesses and other waiting passengers.

While in the LA airport waiting Bria fell asleep.  She woke up crying and Doug walked around trying to get her to calm down.  It didn't work so we decided to walk to the next terminal. All of a sudden Doug felt something warm on his belly.  Pretty soon he was wet all down the front of his pants and there was a puddle on the floor.  It was so funny.  He looked like he had wet his pants.  We had the suitcases at this point so he was able to change his pants.

This morning when the kids woke up everyone was waiting at the door.  The four of us slept utill about 10:00am after getting to sleep at 3:00am.  It took no time at all for Bria and Hyrum to warm up to all the other children.  They now want nothing to do with Mom and Dad.  We have had to set down some rules that only mom and dad can do anything for them.  If they want a drink, something to eat or be changed it will be our job.  Hopefully this is enough to create the attachment necessary.  Both children are in heaven exploring things and finding out about their new life.

Now that it is two days later, there is a little more to say.

We went to church today intending on staying just for Sacrament meeting.  The kids did so well that we decided to see how they would do for the next two hours.  They did good but by the time we got home I could tell that they were feeling a bit overwhelmed.  Bria surprisingly chose me as her support for the main part of the afternoon.  By dinner she was back in Creed's arms until bed time.  Doug took a small turn but that was it.  Hyrum is being very much a two year old.  We are getting a lot of tantrums. Nothing big but he is sure to let us know when he wants something.  I haven't been able to get him to let me hold him without a fight unless he is dead tired. I think he is loving the newness of it all but is highly emotional as well.  I give it a couple of days until his emotional crash and he needs mom or dad.  This is quite a change from the little boy that wouldn't leave my side for the last 2 weeks even to take a shower and use the bathroom.  He was right there at the door saying hi and sticking his fingers in until I came out.  I want that little boy back.  He needs to keep doing this.

I am calling the social worker tomorrow to get our post placement done for all 3 kids this week.  Tuesday marks our 6 months for Olivia.  We are all anxious to get this legal and official.  I am hoping that we can get a court date for the beginning of November but no later than the middle of  the month.  Doing all 3 post placements at once will save us some money which will be a good thing right about now.

I worried about how Olivia would do while we were gone. I didn't know if she would back track or even what to expect.  Since we have gotten home she openly and often tells us that she loves us and missed us.  She wants lots of hugs and is truly happy.  She has a sparkle in her eye and I can tell she is feeling more secure.  What a blessing for her and us.  I can say that I really did miss her and now I feel an even greater love and normalcy with her than before we left.  I do believe the counsel that some professionals give in that the newest adopted child will feel more intact in the family when a new child takes their place by birth or adoption.   A little disclaimer, I know it doesn't always work but we were blessed this time. Olivia's adoption has really been the dream experience.  I give full credit to our Father in Heaven and the sweet spirit of a special little girl.

Father in Heaven does watch over us and guide our path.  It has been hard for me to trust that at times but I can no longer deny He is there in all things.  I know I will get impatient still and lose faith here and there but I am grateful for this testimony that I have to rely on.  Life is ever changing even still and we could be filled with great confusion and concern over certain aspects of life but  we are not.  This is not because we are strong or good but because the Spirit whispered it is all in the Lord's hands and we need only take life one step at a time.  I have decided to give in to this and just have faith.  There will always be something that can cause challenges but I don't want to live in fear anymore.  We want to live as some friends of ours do, with the attitude that "everything is great" as they lose their house and all they posses.  I choose to try and be more like that.

I just need to close this post expressing my love for my Father in Heaven.  I feel more inadequate today than ever before.  I have more responsibility to our Father and many of his children and hope that I can live up to the opportunities given to me.  With this I also know that my Father loves me and will not let me fall too hard.  He loves my children more than me and will inspire my thoughts and support my righteous actions.  With all my heart I want to live worthy to see him again some day and have him say "Well done thou good and faithful servant"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We're Coming Home

As unreal as it seemed that we were leaving for China a few weeks ago, it now seems unreal that we are actually coming home.  This has been quite a journey - geographically and emotionally.  For our last meal in China we opted for Pizza Hut.  Before coming to China, we were very anxious to try authentic Chinese quisine.  Now that we have been here, we are quite content with the Americanized Chinese quisine.  Monday we went to a restaurant called "O, La La".  Kind of funny since Chinese people can't pronounce "L" very well.  We asked our guide to tell us the name of the restaurant and she pronounced it very well.  Nothing like the O, Ra Ra we could have expected.  The menu was full of weird stuff - pig lung, turtle, chicken platters with everything but the cluck, eel, pigs feet, cow tongue, turtle, etc.  We wanted to buy a menu from them just to bring home.  After looking at the menu, Deanne and I both thought we would be stopping by McDonalds on the way back to the hotel, but Ann did very well ordering for us and we had a great meal.  There were some very soft steamed rolls that we dipped in carmelized sweetened condensed milk - that was yummy.  Another family with us ordered the local micro brewed beer - Pearl River.  Yes, this is also where the Pearl River pianos are made. Anyway, we ran out of Sprite and Bria wanted more.  I reached for the beer bottle and said I will give her some of that, assuring everyone that it was OK since she wasn't Mormon yet.  That got a good laugh from the other Christian friends there.

We went to the circus last night.  That really was an amazing circus - nothing like we had ever seen before.  And most definitely nothing like Hyrum and Bria had ever seen before.  They were on overload about 15 minutes before it ended.  I had to take Bria out to watch the last act from the top of the arena.  It was guy getting shot out of a cannon and the noise from the cannon put Hyrum over the top and Deanne came up with him right after that.  We took a shuttle bus back to the subway station and made it back to the hotel around 10:30.  Everyone was wiped out - we let the kids sleep as long as they wanted and they finally stirred around 9:30.  We missed the buffet breakfast in the hotel so we settled for instant oatmeal in the room. 

The 3 families in our group took taxis to a book store this morning.  We met a guy named River (his self assigned English name) who wants to be a Christian and wants us to meet his Christian friends here from America.  He emailed us by the time we got back to our room so we emailed him the link to the Chinese version of and told him he would learn more about the gospel on that site.  He seems very anxious to soak up whatever he can about Christianity, as a growing number of Chinese people are, so we'll keep in contact with him and see where it leads. 

We packed our suitcases this afternoon.  Ann dropped of the visas for the children around 5:00. We took a walk to a nearby park - we had seen part of it, but didn't have the camera last time we were there, so we wanted to go back with the camera before we left.   Walking around the park worked up the appetite for Pizza Hut.  

We are all ready to go with 4 suitcases, each weighing 49 lbs.; 3 carry-ons with vital adoption paperwork to verify in customs that we are not smuggling the kids from China, enough snacks, kids books, games and diapers for almost 30 hours of travel and layovers.

Bathtime has changed in the last couple of weeks.  It took me 5 minutes to get him used to the idea the first time.  Now you can see he has overcome his fear.

The splashing was pretty intense.  I am sure that will be a hard habit to break them of at home.  Oops.

Circus.  These two were about 50 feet in the air with no net or wires.

Elephant jump rope.

This guy was about 80 feet in the air running and jumping on the outside of these wheels with no net or wires as they were spinning .  A certified lunatic. 

In front of the circus, obviously, can't you read the writing?

Another lunatic going under and horse at full speed.

A walk in the park with the much appreciated front pack.

More lunatics riding motorcycles in the wire sphere.

More lunatics waiting for the shuttle to go to the circus.  If you saw how the shuttle bus drivers drive those buses, you would agree with me that these are lunatics.

Sea food restaurant.  Or should I say, "see" food restuarant.  You can find your own Nemo and have the cooks fry him up while you wait.  Doesn't get much fresher than that!

Mom and Hyrum outside the US Consulate after final visa approval.  He and Bria are officially approved to travel to the US, however, he didn't seem too thrilled about it at that moment.

Hyrum and Bria trying out their new "squeaky shoes".  They normally want us to carry them through the lobby of the hotel, but not when they can annoy everyone within earshot of these noise makers.  Do you know how loud these sound in a 3 story lobby with granite floors and walls? 
Like we needed one more reason to call attention to ouselves...


Monday, October 10, 2011

TB and Shopping

You ask how TB and shopping go together.  Well, in the adoption world passing the TB test is a must to immigrate to the US.  If you fail then a chest x-ray is done and medicine is administered. It just so happens that on the island where the test is given there is also some good shopping.  We went early this morning to read the results of the TB test on the children.  All is well and we will be coming home.  Yippeeee!!

After we got done at the Medical Clinic we were taken to a government run store.  At these stores the guides get commission on all sales they generate.  Not only that the prices are very high.  We bought a couple of things and got out of there.  As stated by one of our group the sales people are worse than car salesmen.  They breath down your neck and insist on you buying things. When you say no they act as though you have just offended them.  They have many reasons why you must buy an item. It was ridiculous. We were very glad to get out of there.

We then went back to the island to sight see and do more shopping.  Funny thing, when we went to our first store we saw some of the same items for much less money.  Many people talk about Jordan's and rave about him.  I have now joined the Jordan fan club.  This guy was so nice.  He is someone that we could easily be friends with.  He is very welcoming and warm.  He also writes your children's names in Chinese characters and English.  For those that want to shop there but don't know how to find him that's OK. All the stores are named the name of the owner.  You will see Jordan's easily or you could ask your guide.  They all know him.

As we were checking out Doug asked if a suite case was OK to buy.  I said sure I trusted his decision.  Jordan thought that was great that we had that much respect for each other.  He also said he was blessed then quickly followed it up with the clarification that he was Christian and that's why he used the term blessed.  I quickly added we were Christian too.  Through the conversation he told us that he liked how grateful I was and the people in Guangzhou like that.  I guess most people aren't very grateful around here.  Doug and I discussed that once how no one seems truly grateful for things.  A simple gesture is just expected and an insincere thank you is given.

After walking around the island and more shopping we found our way to the Metro.  We had to walk down a street with all kinds of dried things. We had no idea what they were but they didn't smell so good.  We did recognize a few things like the sea horses, snakes, huge mushrooms and ginger.  We were told that was the medicine market.  I wonder what the sea horses are for.

Tomorrow we will be going to the consulate to finish up the paperwork.  We are almost done and ready to come home.  Wednesday we will pick up the kids Visas and pack to leave the next morning.  We still have several things we want to do and see but won't be able to fit it all in.  As the kids are getting more used to us they are also getting more squirmy and less patient so that will eliminate some of our activity options. It will be a fun busy time.

Both kids showed great progress today.  Bria is more emotional which is a good thing for her but with that she is also letting Mom Hug and kiss her more.  We bought her some squeaky shoes and she has been in heaven.  She loves her new shoes and runs around just to hear the sound.  I let her pick them herself and she wanted pink.  It's a good thing that I happened to buy her mostly pink clothes on accident.  I guess I love pink too.  We also bought Hyrum some squeaky shoes to grow into.  At first he didn't want to try them on.  He later tried to put on Bria's which became a problem real quick so I got his out and showed him they squeak.  He plopped down on the floor and stuck his foot out to wear his shoes too.  They both ran around the room squeaking.  It was so fun to watch them.  Hyrum is doing a little better today.  He needed me to lay with him to go to sleep and he laid on top of me and went right to sleep.  That was a first. He has wanted to do that but couldn't get comfortable.  Tonight he was at peace. Bria also let me hug and kiss her for bed but went right back to dad.  It was amazing the difference in her today.  I think we are starting to see out little girl come through at moments.  She was truly happy at one point today and could see and feel the true emotion. 

The kids asked to hear something funny so here goes.  I got poked in the eye!  Normally that is not funny but it was Hyrum's hair.  His hair sticks straight out and is stiff.  I was holding him on my lap and turned the other direction when his hair poked me in the eye.  It took several hours to quite hurting and is still irritated when I get tired.  He also hit me in my very broken nose twice now.  Dad said every child has to break my nose at least once.  I hope we can avoid that and have Olivia and Bria miss out on the experience.

A very welcomed all-American meal.  The shake was a little weak, but not bad. 

Bria's first taste of ice cream.

The old standby of apple juice.

Hyrum ready for his first taste of ice cream.

Not sure what to think of it....

Giving mom the evil eye and wondering what she just put in his mouth...

Hyrum hauling around our new suitecase we bought to haul around our new stuff and
haul it back to the US.

The gang at Lucy's Restaurant on Shamian Island.

Mom with our guide, Ann.

Hyrum making some freinds at the playground.

School children on Shamian Island. 

Very pretty (and expensive) porcelain.  Some of it was handpainted by a lady we watched right there in the shop.

This artist did some awesome finger paintings - we had to buy a couple.

Yes - these are seahorses.

...and more seahorses.

And dried snakes.  This was part of the medicine market.  It had loads and loads of all kinds of dried stuff that is used to make medicine.  No thanks.  I'll take a pill.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Quiet Day

Today was a quiet day.  The Branch here in Guangzhou had their conference weekend so we spent some time watching conference.  We tried last week but had a lot of problems with the streaming.  It took about 2 hours to watch 2 talks.  They were great talks but it loses some of the impact while you anxiously wait for the next 10 words.  Today was great.   We had a rough start but were able eventually to watch a whole session without any problems.  I can't say enough how much I love conference.  It is my boost and reminder of why I do what I do.  Today I was reminded again the importance of choosing the Lord's way and the happiness it will bring.

We got a few very cute pictures of the kids.  We saw some very good progress with Bria.  She began to try and interact with me and teased me several times.  At bed time we had prayer and they both were very quite.  I think they know what it is and the importance of talking with our Father in Heaven.  We laid them both down and I kissed Hyrum all over the face. After a minute he grabbed both of my cheeks with his little hands and looked me in the eye with a big smile.  He was connecting and giving love.  I next went over to Bria to say goodnight.  I hesitated to give her a kiss but decided to test the waters.  I kissed her and she giggled so I kissed her all over the face like Olivia taught me was important. (Thank you sweetheart for preparing me) She started to laugh and laugh.  That is a huge step for this sweet little girl.  Everyone please keep praying for both of the children.

We walked around a while showing a new couple where to eat and get snacks.  We wandered over to a park that I recognize from other families blogs.  It was amazing how beautiful and big it was.  We didn't bring the camera because we didn't think there would be anything to take pictures of so we are hoping to go back and spend more time there. 

After getting back our guide Ann called about the morning plans.  She asked what we did and Doug told her we played tour guide.  She was amazed at how much we are doing on our own. She said we are the most adventurous family she has ever seen.  Usually families are too afraid and tired to go out on their own.  She was glad that we have an interest in her city.  She said we are making her job easy because we took the new family on a tour so they would know their way around. It's nice to hear that we are making someones job easy.  I don't think the people at our agency would have felt that a month ago. :)  We have found out though why they were so busy and couldn't give us all the attention we would like to have gotten.  They have two families here right now that are adopting children that are aging out.  When this happens they have to pick up the child before their 14th birthday or are ineligible for international adoption by China law. These families will always take priority, understandably.

OK, here are the cute pictures.

Do they look like brother and sister, or what?

Bria already trying to follow in mommy's foosteps.

Hryum following in mommy's footsteps too???

Hyrum wrestled Bria to the ground when she teased him about taking his newly found blanket.

Bria taunting Hyrum to come give her some more.  Bring it on!

When he didn't jump on her, she came laughing and looking for a fight....and got laughs....

The sincere smiles are coming more often for Bria as the days go by.