Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This morning we discovered that Jonathan's crutches had been delivered yesterday. At first he wanted nothing to do with them, but then we let all of the other kids try them out and they suddenly had appeal! He has attempted to use them off and on today. It is amazing to watch how he maneuvers his body to get into a standing position and get the crutches into position. We will be meeting with a physical therapist next Tuesday to make sure he is using them correctly.
Yesterday, we went on our first day trip as a family of 7. We went to a children's museum out in Lancaster and then to Dutch Wonderland's Winter Festival. Everyone had so much fun, but it was freezing! Jonathan loved every ride he went on. He especially enjoyed driving the old time cars, the bumper cars (crashing is so much fun!) and the train ride. We had a great time as a family.

Life is slowly getting easier. The days are full and at night we crash. This week is a bit different as Jeremy is off work all week. The kids are definitely enjoying having Dad around. Reality will hit hard when he returns to work on Monday. We had a wonderful Christmas as a family of 7. Jonathan did awesome. He is adjusting so well. He enjoyed opening presents and learned very quickly how to do it and ask for more to open. His vocabulary is increasing daily as he attempts to sing the ABC song and the B-I-B-L-E song. Today he was sitting at the kitchen table and said "drink". I was shocked to hear him say the word drink so clearly. Everyday he is using new words. Next week we go to Shriners Children's Hospital to find out what our options are concerning prosthetics.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Shot of Energy

Picture 1- playing trucks in the snow
Picture 2- learning to love each other
Picture 3- Family game night
Picture 4- Ben with the snowman he made
Picture 5- Jonathan as Ultraman!

Only 2 more days till Christmas! The closer it gets to Christmas the harder it is to decipher if the craziness in our house is from adding a 3 yr. old, experiencing our first big snowstorm in years, or Christmas day approaching. We have so much to be thankful for this year.

Everyday we are amazed as Jonathan is picking up more and more English. Thanks to our Leap Frog Word Whammer- he can sing his version of the ABC song.

There are a few things that truly excite Jonathan.

They are when Daddy comes home from work- it is like he hasn't seen him in years, he jumps up and down, goes running and yells Daddy, Daddy!

Jonathan also enjoys looking at pictures of himself and his family. He points to each person in the picture and says their name. This can keep him busy for quite awhile.

This week especially we have watched him experience true joy over food. Yes, food. Food he recognizes, food he must have had in China. A little over a week ago we had fish sticks and he loved them and proceeded to give his brothers more fish sticks- telling them in Chinese how good they were. Then we had tilapia- that also was a huge hit. I struck gold, when I took him to the super market and we walked past the seafood display. He about jumped out of the cart, yelling and trying to jump into the shrimp display. I am not exaggerating - his level of excitement was like he had just won a million dollars. Needless to say we bought and ate shrimp for lunch! Last night for dinner I made a chicken and vegetable dumpling (ok it was already made, but I heated it up :). I set them on a plate on the table and turned around. Next thing I know I hear "yummy, yummy in my tummy tummy" and I turn around to see Jonathan shoving them into his mouth and his plate full of them. I got a huge "Thank you Mommy!" He definitely had had these before and I guess we will be having them again. He ate so many that I had to quickly make more so that there were some for the rest of us. When Jeremy got home, Jonathan proceeded to tell him that those were "yummy, yummy" and that he should eat more.

Some days, it seems like we just got home with Jonathan and other days it seems like he has always been a part of our family. It is easy to forget that he has lost so much in his short lifetime. He is adjusting so well it is easy to forget that everything is still new to him. Food is such a little thing to us, but food that Jonathan recognizes and loves is a shot of energy for him. It comforts him.

My favorite part of the day is when I put him to bed. (He goes to bed easier then any of my other children ever did) We read books. Last night we found all the cow pictures in Good Night, Moon. He is very good at picking at things that are the same. We rock and he cuddles in my lap. He then points to his bed and I lay him down and he goes to sleep till morning. If he can handle all of the change that has occurred in his little life in the last month with such grace, so can we.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What is normal?

I have decided that attempting to be "normal" is underrated. As long as we are the homeschooling family of 5 children we will never be considered normal by the majority of the world. And that is OK. Normal is being safe, not taking risks. Normal is blending in with the rest of the world. Not sticking out. Normal is boring. So I have decided to give up my attempt to be normal. Yes, we have 5 children. Yes, we homeschool. Yes, I allow my 3 and 4 year old to ride their bikes in the house. OK- I may need to explain that last one. Jonathan has discovered that he can go very fast by pushing his bike. He also figured out how to get it into the house. He loves to be able to run pushing his bike. Jonathan having a bike in the house led to Ben wanting a bike in the house and I'm sure you can figure out the rest of the story. We are hoping that Jonathan's crutches will arrive next week and that they will replace the bike.

Ben announced last week that "He (being Jonathan) likes me!" Not sure what happened that made Ben come to that realization but we consider it progress. I am getting just a glimpse of what it must be like for mothers of twins. They are less then a year apart and squabbles happen on a daily basis, but I think Ben has realized that Jonathan is his brother and he is here to stay.

Life is getting a little easier. We are getting into a routine of sorts. We are all learning how to adapt. I am learning to let go. Tonight, Amanda volunteered to put Jonathan to bed. She put him in his PJ's, read him stories and laid with him till he fell asleep. I kinda missed my time with him, but it is really cool to see Amanda step into that mothering role. She is growing up. Our time with our children is just a blink of the eye. I gotta remember to enjoy the time I do have with them. They won't be riding bikes in the house forever.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fooled by a 3 year old

It has been a month since we first met Jonathan. Each time he has had to go potty since we met him we have helped him pull down his pants, get on the toilet and off, and then pull up his pants. Going potty is a social affair for him, it is time that he has either Jeremy or myself to himself.

Earlier this week, I was apparently moving too slow for Jonathan and next thing I know he is sitting on the toilet. Today I again didn't move fast enough and next thing I know he hops off the toilet balances himself against the sink or toilet and pulls up his underwear and pants! It was quite interesting to watch how he balanced on his one leg and used his hand to pull everything up without falling over. He did fall once, but stood back up and kept going. So now we know he doesn't need help in the bathroom (except maybe for wiping after #2 :) Because of hygiene issues he will still need help in public bathrooms, but at home he is self sufficient!

Learning something new about our boy everyday...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Big Doctors Visit

Today, we had the privilege of meeting with a wonderful team of specialists and doctors at CHOP who evaluated Jonathan's overall health and adjustment. The bottom line -- he is a happy little boy who is adjusting well! They were able to confirm for us that he is on target developmentally. The only obvious concern they could find was, of course, his speech. But the little guy has only been here about 3 weeks, so this was no shock to anyone!

Jonathan did a great job interacting with everyone and showing off. They were amazed by his mobility. They gave him a pair of lofstrand crutches (which attach to the wrists) and he took about 6-7 steps using them. This amazed the physical therapist who was surprised that he needed no prompting or help to use them. He will be getting his very own pair in the next 2-3 weeks. He will also have a few physical therapy appointments to make sure he is using them appropriately.

We will also have to follow up with an ENT Doctor took look at his tonsils (swollen tonsils are probably the cause of his snoring); consult with a urologist; and Jonathan is scheduled to be evaluated at Shriner's on January 6th for a prosthetic.

The Physical Therapist was able to tell us how to adapt a big wheel to make it easier for Jonathan to pedal. So now Jeremy has a little project.

Overall, the visit went well and that we are on the right track in dealing with Jonathan's medical issues. We came away with a laundry list of things to check and people to see, but no real unexpected twists ... and we are thankful for that!

Please continue to keep all of us in prayer. We are home, but the journey is really just beginning. Yesterday, Ben announced, "I can't take it anymore!" He said this because Jonathan had just knocked down a house he had built. Ben's world has been turned upside down and he is learning how to cope with not being the baby in the family anymore.

There have been many days when I have felt like yelling, "I can't take it anymore". There have been days I have called Jeremy at work in tears. But thank God each day is new and He gives us the strength we need for each day. We are so thankful for the family and friends who continue to support us on a daily basis. Mom-mom has gone above and beyond in caring for the kids and today she even had a wonderful dinner prepared when we got home. People think we are crazy for adding another child to our family (and yes they are probably correct) but the joy Jonathan has added to our lives has made all of the hard days worth it. His laugh is infectious, his smile warms your heart and he is teaching us what it means to love unconditionally.

The pictures are of Jonathan being cute and then earlier this week he discovered our office chair which is on wheels could be used as a walker enabling him to run through the house.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's going to be a good week

That is what I must tell myself or I would still be hiding under the covers. It is at least starting out good- Ben and Jonathan are both still asleep. Last week was rough. Everything came to a climax on Friday, when someone put a bottle of white out in the washing machine and then I unknowingly washed a load of dark clothes. That was done after someone dumped at least 6 puzzles in the middle of the floor and then mixed all the pieces together. It's kinda scary when you realize your family could write the "Baby Blues" Sunday Comic. But this week is going to be better.

Yesterday, we went to the Garden State Children's Museum. Everyone had a blast. Ben and Jonathan loved it. Life was good. If only we could move into the museum and live there. Although, I am sure with time it would lose its appeal.

This week I am going to focus on Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You know your the Mom of 4 boys when...

You know your the Mom of 4 boys when...
you climb into your bed at night and find matchbox cars under the sheets
you walk into the bathroom and the toilet seat is either up or has a potty seat on it
you can't walk through a room without a Hess truck crashing into your feet
even your rolling pin can be turned into a light sabor
the highlight of every one's day is Daddy tackle time
you don't even flinch when your youngest son (yes, Jonathan) jumps off the sofa and lands standing up

At the moment, all is quiet, although the last few days have been filled with what I like to call organized chaos. So much activity for one little house. We are completing school work each day it is just taking longer. We are beginning to find a new "normal". Our biggest problem at the moment that we are working on is Jonathan's fascination with turning things off. Light switches, the tv, the computer. This is most frustrating to the other kids as Jonathan tends to turn off the wii just as they are completing a level and all data is then lost. Yesterday, he turned off the computer and (my mistake) I had been working on something and never saved it needless to say it is gone. Lots of teachable moments happening in the Shafer home. Big kids learning patience, little guy learning not to touch buttons.

In the next few weeks we will be gaining more knowledge into what can be done pertaining to some of Jonathan's medical issues. We have an appointment on December 9th at CHOP's adoption clinic. A physical therapist will be included in the visit to evaluation Jonathan. It will be interesting to hear her assessment of him as nothing is holding him back. On December 15th, he has an appointment with our pediatrician for his first well visit. Yesterday, I was able to schedule his first evaluation appointment at Shriners for January 6th. At this appointment they will evaluate him for a prosthetic. We are very interested in learning what the prosthetic options are for him.

In midst of all of this we are trying to decorate for Christmas, shop for Christmas, send out Christmas cards (no annual letter this year), and just survive. Some days we accomplish more, some less, but I consider it a good day if everyone is alive when Jeremy comes home from work. Off to grade some math tests that 2 children just finished taking. And I better post this before Jonathan turns off the computer on me!

Monday, November 30, 2009

First day on our own

Picture 1, 2, & 3- Jonathan wanted to do school work like the big kids.
Picture 4- Apparently the big wheel is too easy, he thought he would try the bike
Picture 5- Jonathan and Jordan

Today Jeremy went back to work after being out for almost a month. This left me home alone with the 5 kids. I am happy to report that we are successfully surviving! (although we do miss having Daddy around!) We started back to school work today after taking last week off. I have come to the conclusion that all of us need routine. The routine of doing schoolwork. Routine gives us something to do instead of wandering around aimlessly looking for trouble. We have started out very slowly, but accomplished what I set out to do. We even successfully navigated a trip to the library and the pet store. Don't get me wrong, it has been a LONG day, I am tired and it is only 3:46- how many hours till bedtime? But all the kids are alive, they cleaned up the playroom and now everyone except Jonathan is watching Home Alone (courtesy of the library). Jonathan is playing trucks and going from room to room checking on everyone. Only 2 more hours till daddy comes home. I think we can make it. I am sure not all days will go this smoothly, but for now I enjoy the fact that today was a good day!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Has it really only been 1 week?

Picture 1: The many faces of Jonathan. He likes to pose and then see his picture in the camera.
Picture 2: Thinking of what he can get into next
Picture 3: The princess gets the sofa for movie night.
Picture 4: The 4 Shafer boys snuggled down for our first movie night as a family of 7
Picture 5: The 5 Shafer men at the playground.

It was only 19 days ago that Li Futing was first introduced to us. It was 18 days ago that he officially became Jonathan Futing Shafer. It was only one week ago that we arrived back home. This last week has been one of the longest weeks of our lives (makes the trip to China seem like a vacation) but in some ways it seems like we have been a family of 7 forever.

Jonathan is a ball of energy who is constantly on the move. He LOVES to be outside. He rides his big wheel all over the driveway. He runs (Jonathan style) from one end of the house to the other pushing his cars up and down the hallway. We are thrilled that he is such a happy energetic boy, but all that energy can wear out Mama and Baba!

Here are some things that have changed in just one week:

  • We are starting to get a bedtime routine in place, and that helps him sleep through the night. I am being reminded that there is nothing like rocking a child to sleep.

  • When we were in China, if you tried to rub his back he would cringe and move away. He now allows me to rub his back.

  • He is starting to repeat and say many English words. He can say the names of his 4 siblings, "where ball?", "uh-oh", "hello", "bye-bye", count to 3, and say "please."

  • We have discovered that parenting 5 children under the age of ten is hard, but rewarding. It is really cool to watch the older children rise to the occasion and help care for Jonathan.

He is the perfect fit for our family, the piece of the puzzle that was missing. (Jeremy says the puzzle is now complete!) The neat thing is that the four older children have said things like- "When we adopt another child..." While this makes Jeremy turns pale, it also confirms for us that so far this has been a good experience for them.

It hasn't been easy for them to suddenly have a 3 year old who thinks it is funny to turn their Wii off in the middle of the video game; to have a 3 year old brother who suddenly is taking up a LOT of Mom and Dad's time; to have a brother who laughs and pours water over your head in the tub!

Without hesitation they have welcomed Jonathan and loved him unconditionally. He is a brother to them, and he is part of the family!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Five Part Harmony

While we were in China, I began to mentally compile a list of things about my “ordinary” life back home that I took for granted. China is a great nation but it is very, very different from the U.S.A. Travelling far away from home has made me extra thankful for these things:

1. In my house, I can get clean, drinkable water right from the tap.

2. Even though I live close to a major city, the air quality is good enough to support the lives of pigeons, sparrows and the like.

3. I can choose to attend (or not to attend) whatever church I choose without fear of retribution or scrutiny.

4. The size of my family not mandated by the government.

5. I have the privilege of having siblings, and my children enjoy that same privilege.

6. I work a 5 day work week, and enjoy a two day weekend.

7. In my country debate and discussion of political ideas is encouraged, and there is a balance of power between political parties and views.

8. I get to vote. I have a voice in selecting my leaders and I am free to influence the direction of my government.

9. I live in a country united by a common language.

10. I live in a country where disabled persons have rights, and may not (legally) be discriminated against.

So, if you were looking for something to be thankful for today… there’s some food for thought there.

Speaking of Thanksgiving; today was Jonathan Futing’s first Thanksgiving with us. He was quite happy at Mom-mom and Pop-pop’s table (he really likes corn) and we were happy to be there too.

While I am thankful for all that has happened this past year, I should also acknowledge that adding to our family has been a challenge. I feel like I am learning how to parent all over again (you’d think I’d have it down by now!) I have decided that adding a child to a family (through adoption or birth) requires Mom and Dad to learn a new variation on their own parenting theme. Just as a musician knows how to play notes and chords expertly but must arrange and deliver them differently with each new piece they learn.

Playing 5 pieces at once is quite a stretch! Kim and I both sometimes wonder if, perhaps, we have just lost our minds in accepting this challenge. We're stumbling through learning this new arrangement and we’re betting our lives that, somehow, God can make a five part harmony out of all this noise!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It’s good to be home!

So, like, when Kim wrote "Jeremy will post more later," she put me on the hook to come up with something in short order. Fortunately that's not too hard.

It is so good to be home. Going to get Jonathan was the adventure of a lifetime! Still, when I woke up at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning and realized I was hungry, and then realized that I could just get up and go into my own kitchen and eat a bowl of cereal ... was that ever nice!

I suppose I should try to fill in the 48 hour or so gap that covers the last bit of our travels. But there's not a whole lot to say: train, taxi, "Wow. Hong Kong is huge! I wonder if our breakable souvenirs will survive this taxi ride?" Hotel, eat, sleep, fourteen hours on a plane, HOME!

Our homecoming was wonderful. It started out with a long and not-so-wonderful immigration line at the Newark, NJ Airport, followed by an immigration officer who didn't know quite what to do with us.

But all that melted away when we were greeted by Mom-mom, Pop-pop, Aunt Suzy, Uncle John, Nephew Andrew and Cousin Lauren and ... KIDS! What a joyful feeling it was to hug and hold Amanda, Tyler, Jordan and Ben and to introduce them to their new brother.

We came home to a cleaned and decorated house (thank you Laura, Gwen and Denise!) and a small feast. I was worried that Jonathan Futing might be overwhelmed by it all. But once again he proved to be a resilient little boy. I think he was just grateful to be able to get down and romp around in the play-room here and his eyes lit up when he saw all the toy cars.

I have absolutely no frame of reference for this experience, but I think we're all adjusting to our new family pretty well. I fully expected that by now there would have been either a melt-down or a knock-down drag-out fight over some toy or another. Instead all is quiet. I even observed at least one instance of (gasp!) sharing.

Saturday night as we were getting ready for bed Ben said to Kim with a smile: "My Mom and Dad came home." In spite of our consistent and repeated attempts to convey to our children that we really were coming back (Kim, Mom-mom, and I all had our part in that) we wonder how much of this "coming back" business his four-year-old mind could handle. Two weeks to a four year old is a very long time. I'm happy to report that Ben is doing well. I'm hearing "Daddy, play with me!" quite a bit, and I am doing my best to give him (and the other children) extra dosages of Daddy time these days I am home from work.

So now we are into a season of firsts. Our first meals together; our first car trips (where will everyone sit?); our first walk around the block as a family of seven!

To give you a feel for the pace of things around here, I started this post at about 7:30 this morning, and it is now 10:03 PM. And Kim just remembered to run outside and get today's mail.

A little here, a little there, we’ll get the job done. In fact, I think that's good for tonight ...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Full speed ahead

We made it home! We thank God that our family of 7 is now under one roof. It is a lot like having a new baby. Jonathan is into everything, leaves a trail of cars and has to be watched every moment. Instead of sleeping with a teddy bear, he sleeps with 2 Hess trucks. Jeremy will post more later but for now here are some photos.

Photo 1 & 2 playground in China
Photo 3 & 4 first family game night as family of 7
Photo 5 playing playdough- (thank you Mrs. Doggett)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2 more sleeps!

We are on day 14 of our 16 day adventure.  We were joking with one of the other couples the other day that if you can come out "still standing" after this trip, you could easily win "The Amazing Race"!  (In fact, some of our taxi cab and bus experiences have reminded us of that TV show.)  This trip has been hard, but very rewarding.  This journey we began a little more than a year ago has taught us that with God's help, guidance, and direction we can achieve what may look impossible. 

God has used so many of you to help us obtain the funds needed to complete this journey; so many of you have partnered with us in prayer; so many of you have supported us in ways we will never forget.  We are thankful to God for each and every one of you who have partnered with us to make this dream of adding Futing to our family a reality. 

We realize that we have been blessed with a little boy who was loved and well taken care of even before we saw his first picture.  His foster mother must be a very special woman.  This is quite evident in Futing's behavior, attitude and disposition.  We will forever be grateful to her for taking such good care of our little guy for the first 3 years of his life. 

We also realize that this journey is not ending.  It is really just beginning.  In about 72 hours our family of 7 will be under one roof for the very first time.  We
enjoyed our time in China, but we are ready to go home.  We are realizing that once home, the journey will get harder.  Having a 3 and 4 year old under the same roof is a recipe for squabbles and conflict.  All 5 children are going to need special attention as we learn what our new normal is going to look like.  We ask that you continue to partner with us in prayer.  In the next few days, please pray for us as we board a plane for a 14 hour flight home.  Pray for strength for Mom mom as she continues to parent in our absence.  Please pray for a smooth transition for all of the Shafer children.  Pray for Futing as he is introduced to his siblings and especially for Ben, our 4 year old, as he now has to share Mommy and Daddy with this little boy we have been calling Jonathan.

The pictures with today's post are from the famous red couch here at the White Swan hotel.  Many, many adopted children and their parents have had their pictures taken there!  The rest of pictures are from a celebratory romp in the play room and in the near-by play ground.

Tomorrow afternoon we'll be getting on a train headed for Hong Kong, and then its just an overnight hotel stay there and a short 13 hours or so in a plane and we'll be home!  It's likely that this will be the last blog post until we are back on American soil. 

Pray that Futing sleeps on the plane ... a lot.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I do solemnly swear ...

Today was supposed to be a slow day where the only thing on our schedule was to check the voicemail at our hotel room's extension at 12:00 noon.  Our facilitator, Shiyan, told us that no news would be good news ... that is if we didn't hear from her, it meant that there was nothing wrong with our paperwork and everything was on track.

So we ran some errands and walked around the square here on Shamian Island.  The photo here is of Futing posing with a statue of a music teacher being followed by children.  There are a number of statues like this around the square.

When we got into our room at about noon and saw a red light on our phone, we both thought "Uh-oh."  But there was no cause for alarm.  Shiyan's message said that our paperwork was fine and that the U.S. consulate wanted us to come to take the oath a day early.  So, off we went with the other families in our group.  The task at the consulate was really pretty minor compared to other hurdles we have cleared: simply wait around with a bunch of other tired-but-giddy adoptive parents and wait for your child's name to be called.  

One couple in our group held eachother's hands over their heads to form a human arch for another family to walk under when their name was called.  That sort of caught on, so we passed through a similar human arch made by about three other couples when the name "Li Futing" was called.

Then it was a quick sign here and sign there and wait a few more minutes and then pick up your papers again.

Then came the oath "I do solemnly swear or affirm that ... " and it was done.  I'll pick up Futing's visa tomorrow and when our plane lands in Newark, he will be an American citizen.   Citizenship certainly isn't the only gift we have to offer Futing ... but it is an awfully important one.  I have come to appreciate my country a good deal more over these past few days.  I'm glad that Futing will be able to call it home!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A rainy day in Guangzhou

Praise the Lord! Futing's TB test was negative so we are good to go!   Tomorrow we have our consulate appointment ... not sure what happens there ... we don't even go! Our guide goes on our behalf, but we do need to be in the general neighborhood if we are needed for some unexpected reason.  On Wednesday, we have the "Swearing In Ceremony" at the consulate, Thursday we get Futing's passport and then (huzzah!) we begin our journey home.

Futing has been doing fabulously well.  His favorite english phrase is "Good Job" and he claps when he says this.  He is now saying "Wuh eye nee" to us (this means "I love you".)  He is giving hugs, kisses, and referring to us as Baba and Mama. He loves cars of all kinds and playing peek-a-boo.  

Don't be fooled though, he has had some melt downs.  As he becomes more comfortable with us, he is pushing more boundaries and sometimes yelling at us in Chinese.  Parenting in full public view is always difficult and it is a tad more stressful when you can't understand what your child is saying ... but EVERYONE ELSE can.  (The potential for humor and/or catastrophe here is vast!)   It will be interesting to see how he reacts when he realizes he is not an only child.  I am sure we will have more squabbles over sharing and learning what it means to be a part of a family of 5 children.  Please keep us in your prayers as we navigate what will be a new "normal" for us. 

Today, it was raining so we went to the mall.  It was about a half hour cab ride from our hotel.  We actually felt normal for the time we were there.  We were probably the only Americans in the mall but shopping in a mall is the same in China as it is in the USA. 

Initially we were going to fly out of Guangzhou at 11:00 PM on Thursday night, but after consulting  with our guide we have decided to take the 5:00 PM train to Hong Kong instead.  This will allow us to arrive at our hotel around 8:00 PM instead of 2:00 AM (which would be our arrival time if we fly).  Friday our flight leaves around 11:30 AM (I think) and we arrive home around 1:30 PM ... just a short 2 hour flight!  (OK really it is about 13 hours!)  It will be so good to be home and back with our other children who we miss terribly. 

Numerous Chinese shopkeepers and people we have just talked with on the street have remarked that he is a lucky boy to have a family in the USA.  But really, we are the lucky ones to be adding such a wonderful, humorous, giggly little boy to our family.

Attached are some photos of us.  They are:
  1. Futing sporting some cool sunglasses
  2. Futing and Baba goofing around
  3. Kim and her friend Melissa checking out the Mall directory (quick!  Where's the Chinese/English dictionary!)
  4. Baba, Futing and Ultraman!