Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Tooth Fairy

Emily lost her first tooth. 
The family tooth fairy handed her 50 cents.
(Teeth are cheap in a family with six kids.)

I think Alex was seriously considering knocking out a few teeth 
so he could collect.

He settled for $2.50 in back pay.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Catching Up with Alex

Just like this picture, life's a bit out of kilter.
Adjusting to a new family member takes time and energy.
And it's so worth it all.
Children are never a mistake!

Those that God calls, he enables...

  The language barrier has been harder than we expected.
Thanks to google translator, however, I've been able to say in a CALM Chinese voice
(that sounds just like me, especially the calm part),
"Quit being a pest."

On the other hand, Alex said his first sentence.  The other night Kenton told him to go brush his teeth but Megan was in the bathroom.  When Alex went back to the living room and Kenton again told him to brush his teeth,  He protested, "Megan bathroom, okay?"
Not bad for only hearing English for a little over a month.

One night in the barn he told Kenton, "Baobao, NO!  Alex, YES!"
So we're working on switching just to his English name.

Alex loves his baba.  It's a little hard to take a backseat but I love that he wants to be with his dad and brothers.  Since the girls bonded first with me, I guess it's only fair.  He squeals with delight when dad pulls in the yard.  The other day he walked all the way around the pasture fence while Kenton was checking it.  

Alex is a normal 7-year-old boy.  When he's bored, he is a pest!
Most of the time the kids are pretty tolerant but several times he's crossed the line with them.
This morning Jamison asked to be in our room with the door LOCKED.
He'd had enough.

Alex eats almost everything.   I don't necessarily know that he likes it, 
but he eats it. 
We are also doing lots of Ramen noodles.
His paperwork said he doesn't like sweets.  It lied.

It's always amazing to us how fast our kids our kids get used to the idea of grandparents.  I think some of their first words have been grandma and grandpa.  Alex enjoyed helping my mom in the kitchen and wanted seconds of Martha's vegetable soup.
Birthday presents help too.

The last couple of days things seem to be jelling more.  Yesterday they all played a game of penguins, waddling around with blankets around their feet and making more noise than seems humanly possible. Blind man is another current favorite...something like Blind Man's Bluff.  Hide the thimble...Bender style...Hide the tractor-trailer.  

The kids dug all sorts of dips and notches into my freshly plowed garden.
Grandpa wasn't the most popular fellow when he came through with the culli-mulcher.
Alex is learning to join in with their fun.

Alex turned 8 on Sunday.
We had dinner and birthday cake.

Then he dragged us all out to the living room for presents.
It was nice to see our self-contained son get a little excited about something.

He got a bank, remote control car (thanks for the idea Rebecca Gallo) and pocky.
The grandparents got him a toolbox with a couple of tools and a ball with handles.

One day Emily and Alex spent quite awhile pounding dog food to smithereens on the porch. They had blast but powdered dog food isn't all that appetizing to dogs so I suggested they go pound dirt clods in the garden.
I received a five-gallon pail of powdered dirt.
 Call me if you want some.

Alex refuses to speak Mandarin.  He barely responded to Mandarin speakers in China and totally ignores them now.  He tolerates the translator but will NOT respond in Chinese no matter how much pretty-please-with-pink-sugar-and-a-cherry-on-top I try.

(Alex and Pearl)

Alex has been with us for over 5 weeks now.  We have never seen him shed a tear.
We have discovered that he tends to smile when he is hurt or scared.
This is scary and makes it harder to know what he is thinking 
and how to help him.

We have never seen him be sneaky or underhanded.  I gave him all the Chinese money that was discovered in pockets or the washing machine or elsewhere.  He was thrilled. When he got a dollar from a new friend and Mexican pesos from his cousins for his birthday, he was delighted.
When Kenton left cash sitting on the table, guess who found it and brought it straight to me?

  • There has been no spitting, no biting, no kicking, and only one incidence of hitting...that I know of.
  • He asks for something if he wants it.  He doesn't just take it.
  • He LOVES electronics.  We usually don't let the kids have them until 7:00...and then it's a free-for-all.  One day he kept asking and I kept saying no.  I finally used the translator to tell him that if he asked again, he wouldn't be able to use them until the next day.  He groaned, smiled, and has seldom asked since but does watch the clock like a hawk around 7.
  • He doesn't whine or complain when he doesn't get his way.  Ever.
  • He doesn't like playdough or coloring, etc.
  • He likes math and is very good at it.
  • He likes playing soccer.  He's on Kaitlyn's team and plays just like most other U-8...swarm and kick.

Alex is amazing.
He is doing well.

But it is STILL HARD.

Everyone has had their moments when they'd like to clunk him.  That makes us sound pretty awful, I guess, considering all the changes he's been through and how well he's handling them


Adoption is STILL HARD.
Adjustments are hard on everyone!

It's also worth it!
Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Emily and the Great Physician

I know you're probably thinking...

Forget Emily!


Thank you!  Alex is doing great
And tomorrow...or Saturday I will update about Alex.
Unless I'm still suffering from dishwasher failure
and the kitchen has been condemned.

So Emily's cyclic vomiting specialist decided to retire in spite of our threats!

The ungrateful buzzard!
Part of Alex's middle name is after him!
(The Li in LiBao was kept because of Dr. Li)

The upshot is we're not driving all the way to Milwaukee to see a cyclic vomiting NON-specialist!

We decided to move her back to where her pediatric cardiologist is and our local pediatric GI that knows her situation and suggested Dr. Li in the first place.  He agreed to follow the protocol set up and we were good to go....until insurance!

 Ruby hospital and specialty clinic no longer accepts our insurance.  

Now what?

Because, you know, pediatric cardiologists and gastroenterologists grow on trees!!!

Stupid insurance!

The website was no help.
The first insurance person I spoke with said, "I can't find any!" and hung up.
The second offered me names for an adult cardiologist and a pathologist.
I hung up.

Our next step was to try and see if our local doctor's office would prescribe the meds for her.  She has a protocol and the meds are's doable, right?

Kind of.

She came in with a big smile and said, "You probably don't remember, but I already have seen Emily several times."  No, I'd remember!  She's seen Dr. Porter and Chris Baker and Melinda Stoner.  She continued, "I saw her at Ruby when I was a resident there."  

An unasked, YES answer prayer from God.

A doctor who already knows:
what cyclic vomiting is
Emily's specialists by name and studied under them
that we are crazy in love with our daughter,
but not the crazy-we-should-be-committed type
our Emily

It's been almost three years since Em was at Ruby and this former resident still remembered her!

She also remembered praying with Kenton one dark day in the hospital when the outlook was pretty bleak and we didn't know what to do.

She agreed to help us in any way she safely can.
It can't be everything we hoped for, but we expected that.

We are so thankful that God sent us to a physician that understands and is willing to help!
God has blessed us and Emily SO MUCH!

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Baobao's second word was hungry which should come in handy around our house.  He's communicating pretty well considering our Chinese consists of hello, goodbye, and thank you.  He's beginning to imitate which is great. He's also picked up NO, hey you, and yes.  

Here he is agreeing to be adopted.  

A reminder

Facebook is blocked in China so I can't access it.  I have seen your birthday wishes on my email.  Thank you so much.  It was a pretty special day here!


We had a long ride here yesterday.  It was fascinating to see spring move into the country as we rode from north to south for 10 hours.  Different housing, different farming, etc.  Kenton loved it, but the rest of us had had enough after about 4 hours.  We probably have 500 blurry pictures as we flew along at speeds up to 306 km/hour.  We didn't realize that we should have brought food along and were quite hungry after riding for 10 hours.  A 3-year-old boy fell in love with Jamison and became our companion for 3 hours or so.  He shared his oreos and we shared play dough and electronic games.  He was a super cutie but I don't think Jamison was too sad to see him go.  Kenton roped a Chinese man into a game of Uno with himself and the boys.

We reached our hotel on Shamian Island (Victory West) around 10:30 and found that it didn't offer much in the way of privacy.  I was exhausted and frustrated and MAD!  All I could do was cry.  This morning we got it worked out and we are staying.  Our room has a balcony and that's kind of fun although the humidity is HIGH and so are the temps.  :)    My online friend is right down the hall with her husband and newly adopted daughter.  For my birthday she introduced me to starbucks which was fun.  :)  It makes me smile that my first visit there was in China.  :D  We also made friends with a couple from Chicago.  

    You know how little kids make instant friends at the park in seconds?  They don't know names but they're friends anyway.  That's a little like adoptive parents here in China.  It's a lot of fun to meet new people who share similar interests and experiences with adoption.  Truly amazing!

Baobao likes to watch tv and play electronic games.  He doesn't like to be out and about.  He can be a bit of a pest when he wants to go back to the room  ALL THE TIME.  It's a bit of a balancing act for us trying to recognize that he's been through a lot of change and needs a lot of understanding while not enthroning an emperor and setting him up for major disappointment when he gets dethroned at home.  Not to mention that the rest of us would go crazy spending 24 hours in a hotel room together.  
The island is beautiful and smells heavenly.  We look forward to being in a place that's a bit more familiar than Taiyuan was.   We'll be sitting for a few days without progress during the Tomb Sweeping holiday.  Tuesday we'll get started again.  


Monday, March 28, 2016

Alex Li Bao Bao

This is Alex and the boys.  He is a happy child.  Holly says he picked them.  I don't know what that means exactly.  He is liking the boys, burger king, soccer, and  the swimming pool.  I'm posting this for her.  She says he is a good fit for their family.  Honeymoon period is on.  Holly's mom.  Sue