Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas.

Oh we celebrate the birth of Christ in our family.  I know I know He wasn't born December 25...but what matters is that He was born! And that we pick a day to celebrate it.

What a day.

Not only was the course of history changed when God became a man...but my life was changed...and my forever changed by his sacrifice.

Each year it seems my heart is more and more humbled.

I look at this picture and I smile.  What an amazing life He chose for us.

Merry Christmas. From our family to yours.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Photos and life.

Today we did family photos.  Yes it's December 23 and yes it was cold :)  The worst part was a few of the kids weren't feeling 100% :(  We were quick and organized and we are really excited to see them.  They looked so so cute and the ones we usually struggle with for photos did awesome.  Struggle as in...Zunduka doesn't smile but today he relaxed and did amazing!  I'm sure it helped that I kept telling him how handsome he looked ;)  Even Taizi did great! Izrael...we pulled a few tricks out of our bag but I saw one shot on the photographer's camera and it was precious!!  Right as we were wrapping up it started to POUR.  I mean...POUR. We did Dean and I - couple pics in the rain so we'll see how they turned out. Hopefully you can't tell as in no frizzy hair was happening yet ;)

Last night I took a few kids and did a bit of last minute shopping.  Dean says that God blesses me everytime I go shopping. I think he's right!  I walked into Crazy 8 and it "just so happened" that everything in the store was $12.99 or less AND I had a 20% off entire purchased coupon. It's always weird when I feel a little bad for walking out of there paying $7 for full sweater dresses  but I get over it ;)  Then we did Target and I stepped out on a limb and bought a pack of pacifiers for Taizi. I knew it was likely a no-go but he grinds his teeth so severely that I thought IF he took would help a lot. I'd rather him chew through pacifiers than grind his teeth down to nothing :(  I was shocked when I came home and put one in his mouth and he never touched it!!! He kept it in there til his bottle came. Not sucking it  but definitely clamped teeth on it and seems to take comfort from it.

We saw a few people from church in Target and if I looked green...I was.  It doesn't not matter how much meds I take or how I distract 5pm it's my peak of sickness and nothing helps. I was praying I wouldn't throw up in the middle of the aisle. It's amazing how many times I control it and the moment a friend leaves the house I violently lose it.  :( Well I drove home...gagging my entire way...made it to the bathroom in the house and lost it.  Seriously.  In the middle of my crying (literally) at how horrendous it was...I thanked God for the miracle of His gift of new life. Surprise new life.  Makes me smile at this point ;)  I'm now 12.5 weeks. We had an ultrasound last week and the heart rate was 157 and the tech kept saying how healthy the baby looked. Kicking and like all Walker babies in utero....arms over face ;)  Since we won't be finding out the gender this time...I do hope we get a nice face shot at the big ultrasound in February ;)  It's actually a very neutral place for's been 6 years since we've had a bio baby boy! Yet we have 6 little boys.  Our last 2 bio babies have been girls but we only have 3 girls .... so either way we will be over the moon. And ... I'm choosing to be excited about the surprise. It's way out of my comfort zone but so are most of the things in my life ;)

Here's a few pictures of Taizi today that I thought were cute.  We seem to get less and less moments of him connecting. Dean and I were just saying how he had more connecting moments in China and now seems more than ever in his own little world. HOWEVER when we came home last night Dean had him crawling for the first time! I know I've said he crawls but I should have explained. He crawls WITH his head. Yes...he faceplants into the floor and drags his head using his back legs. It's painful to watch so we try to go to walking. However there are many reasons developmentally that crawling is so so important so we are working on it. His little posture was perfect I couldn't believe it! His only carrot is his bottle...often quite literally as it's filled with carrots ;)  So Dean put his bottle on one side of the room and what was funny is he crawled to Dean for a hug instead of the bottle!  It was very cute.

Oh Taizi. You are the daily reminder of where our hearts should be and where God's heart is. With the broken. The hurting. The lost. The least of these.  He really does seem like the shell of a human soul...and sometimes I just hurt looking at him.  Does he see the love he's receiving? Can he feel the difference in the hug? The care? The attention?  I know that God does. God sees every moment and as I read and was comforted by this week in Matthew...what is done in secret is rewarded in Heaven by my Father.  So if Taizi never sees...never fully knows...God knows.  What is done where no one sees...matters more.  No one sees the day in and the day out. The love that is lavished moment by moment.

You know parenting is so rewarding.  The growth in your children...the development as they learn from their surroundings. Their character growing.  It is so very rewarding.  With's different.  There's little progress. Little change.  I don't want to ever feel like an orphanage nanny. Just supplying the daily needs. I want to give sacrificially. Give of myself even if he never can fully know the depths of it.  Give even if he never progresses.

What oh what is behind those eyes little prince...?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Last night I was making dinner and Dean had Christmas music playing. All of a sudden I had an idea...Azlan's BAHA. Cleaning my office last week I had spotted his original headband used before the implant.  This is what is used on babies etc until they are 5.5 years old and approved to have the second stage of the surgery.

I excitedly ran to get it and Dean knew right away what I was thinking. We propped Taizi up by the music, got the video camera ready. This was our moment. This was his moment. The moment when we, not in a doctor's office with an audience...but we with our family all sitting with baited breath waiting to see their brother hear for the first time...this was it.

We began. There was nothing.  He made the same sounds. The same lack of eye contact.  The same hand motions. We turned it off. Then on. We clapped loudly. We did everything. We even put the speaker by the BAHA.  Nothing.

We took it off and continued with dinner. This was after 15 minutes or so of trying.  I looked at Dean and he was in the kitchen. He was looking pretty deflated.  I said "Maybe he could hear and ..." and he shook his head.  "No. He couldn't hear".

It was a sad moment.

In normal lingo...this would have worked if he has a functioning cochlea at all. In either ear.  Regardless of either middle ear.

Izrael 20months and Taizi 3.5 years Woah.

Taizi on November 12, 2012. (look at his hair...)

Taizi December 12, 2012.  Look at his hair...!

Monday, December 17, 2012


We are doing wonderful.  The only struggle we are facing right now is everyone having a very sick Mama.  Zihao is doing so great. He's adorable. Loves his mama and LOVES the kids.  Still holds Azlan's hand everywhere and runs to Tirzah for hugs often.  We have even witnessed a few cute moments with him with Izrael! It's so funny. One day he's going to realize she really is a baby compared to him and wonder why he considered her the main rival ;)  He did have a dog in the foster home but you would never know it.  We have to keep a close on him with Rocco. We saw him pulling Rocco by the tail with both hands the other day ... poor Rocco seems to know when it's him and that he doesn't know any better.

Taizi is really really doing well.  I still can't believe the difference in his hair. I'll post a picture of him on Zihao's gotcha day and then now.  This was not hair that was buzzed..this was hair that had not grown. We assume due to very poor nutrition since that has been a big change for him. I cannot believe how much he loves baby food in his bottle (let's keep that clear...he hates the spoon or syringe!). But we are not giving up. We do want him to learn that eventually. He's very OCD (has some pretty big autistic behaviors) and change is a big deal to him. Dean is awesome at implementing it though and he eventually goes with it.

He loves the jumperoo and those legs...I kid you not...have chunk on them! He had no muscle tone in his legs a month ago...and now he initiates walking if you hold his hand.

Mentally...we still don't know.  The hand movements have significantly decreased but it is still his go-to.  He still rocks a lot and doesn't want his groove disturbed. Which we do :) Why...? Because we have bigger dreams for him than he could ever have for himself.  So we keep putting toys in his hands when he stares at his hands and he totally responds. He knows. He will drop them but we are persistent and he eventually gives up and plays with the toy. He needs so much stimulation that he has never had.

His feet are like jelly.  They are tiny but seriously just jelly like. No muscle tone at all.

We finally have the nightmare of insurance sorted out and today we made the decision to switch pediatricians.  I really dislike passive doctors and ours, though highly rated, is passive. Remember he told us Izrael's problem she would outgrow. I pushed for an X-ray...there was a penny in her esophagus...and he called me and said "aren't you glad you listened to me about the X-ray?" Right.  Unreal.

We are excited about the new doctor and have our first appointment January 7.  Yes it's a ways away but due to insurance issues we do have to wait to Jan 1 and we have family here til the 4th.

Azlan is doing well. The skin around his screw is all peeling...I guess the aftermath of it being so swollen and inflammed.  The swelling is all 100% down and he is on his antibiotic still.  Zion found his BAHA yesterday in the grass!!! 7 weeks outside in the rain!! AHHH.  We have an emergency jar to put it case you jump in the pool by mistake.  No guarantees but we tried it. This morning it worked perfectly!  Totally a miracle.  By this afternoon it wasn't working and I tried it and it sounds like an ocean. Poor boy if he had to listen to that all day!  So it's back in the jar and we are praying for a miracle.

I have my first doctor appt on Wednesday with an ultrasound. I'm on Zofran (first for me) and it's working but not adequate. I can only take it every 6 hours and it gives me relief for hour 1 and 2 at this point.  :(  So 2 hour break, 4 hours sick...repeat.  We'll talk on Wednesday about other options.

There are no Christmas lights up and I dislike :( It's been cold and now windy and we've been busy. We may still put them up if we get a chance.

We are doing our family photos this week and really am hoping they turn out great.  Honestly it gets easier every year as the kids get a bit older.  The toughest ones will be Izrael and Taizi for eye contact but other than that I'm hopeful they will go great!

Amazon boxes are finally arriving at my door with Christmas gifts for the children.  I think they were beginning to think there was no Christmas gifts this year...Mama is behind but I will get it done and Amazon with free shipping to my door...? Yes please.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today hearing the devastating news of 20 children murdered...literally mowed down by a near-kid himself...right in their classroom...has most of us left speechless.

The contrast of today was so vivid.  I spent a few hours visiting friends, pregnant with their first children, adorable twin girls...fighting for their lives in the hospital. Begging God for a miracle...a Christmas miracle.

Then I went from their room down the hall to another friend's room. She too...on bedrest for weeks...only able to see her 1.5 year old daughter for an hour each she fights for the life of her unborn child.  She has made it to over 28 weeks now (her little girl was born at 29w!) and she's begging God for a few more weeks.  Her heart is clear...crystal clear...'whatever it takes...I'll do whatever it takes for my child.'.

I brought Taizi to the hospital with me for these visits today.  When I put him into the car he clung to me...putting his tiny fingers into my hair and scrunching my pony tail.  He loves doing that.  As I held him close and felt his growing...but still so frail...body...I was struck with the price that was paid for his life.   How our family worked so hard for 14 months to see every penny miraculously come in...for the leap of faith it was...the oh-so-giant leap of faith that many couldn't begin to support let alone comprehend...the emotional journey to China for 23 days and having to leave our 5 children behind...the tears that were shed almost every night with the literal, physical pain in my chest of missing them so deeply it felt un-doable....the price that was paid...for one of many of China's 'castaways'.  His value was so great to the heart of God...that it was worth every bit.  Tonight he is our child. He is loved, he is cherished, he...he belongs.

And tonight...the 20 young lives that were thrown into eternity by the selfish, pure evil acts of one.

My mind can't fathom it.  But for those of you wondering where is God...? He is broken.  His heart breaks with the broken. He draws near to them. He alone can mend their hearts. And He offers a peace that they themselves can't understand.

His love is over. And underneath.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Azlan update #2

We went to the ER last night and had bloodwork done. The ER doctor conferred with the on call ENT in Spokane and both agreed to send us to Spokane in the morning.

We came home and this morning when we called our ENT in Spokane we were shocked to hear him say "make an appt for Monday".  :(  I somehow get hooked in with doctors who are passive...I have no idea why.  Dean got on the phone and was pretty strong saying how unhappy he was that we got sent home in the first place and that we are not being taken seriously.  Our frustrations definitely climbed with the doctor's office but Dean stayed on it and finally got a phone call back with a better plan.

Meanwhile we contacted our friend's dad who is a renowned infectious disease control doctor.  We explained everything to him (he's the one that put us on the 1 year of antibiotics) and he wasn't that happy. He said our chances of killing this once and for all are slim and clearly we are just holding it off but not KILLING the strep.  Therefore the moment we go off the's back.  We have no desire (neither did he think it was a good idea) to be on long term antibiotics just to hold it away long term. His suggestion was to have the abutment removed, while in surgery culture the infection, and kill this once and for all.  After we got off the phone we noticed the swelling had dramatically subsided. We called him back and he said thats not uncommon when you are just keeping the infection under control it's going to flare up and down. He however suggested one more oral antibiotic to try before we remove the implant.

We are in touch with our surgeon and waiting to hear if he will prescribe it to give this implant one last shot.

Friends are asking about my gut feeling.  Sadly, proven to be quite trustworthy when it comes to Azlan's medical care...says to remove it and start over with a clean slate in a year or 2.  I am however willing to give it one more try with this new drug and see where we go.

Here is a picture of his Baha, Julie.  This was at the beginning of the first infection when kept telling the surgeon there was this sore developing and he was telling us it was 'normal' (...?).  The lack of hair growth around the surgery site, however, still looks identical to this picture.  :(

Thank you all for praying.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

*Azlan update

So today in Spokane the doctor said he didn't like the scarring he was seeing around his surgery site.

Backing up to give you a history:

When Azlan had stage 2 of the Baha surgery in April 2012, he contracted a strep infection in the skin around the implant.  Apparently in the OR.  It got pretty bad pretty fast. He was admitted in Seattle and Spokane and came home on IV antibiotics for 2 weeks.  Then, per a renowned infectious disease control doctor's advice, he was put on 1 year of oral antibiotics as he said this is standard for 'foreign body infection'.

Well tonight when I looked at his head (I'm sick at the thought that I didn't in the clinic today but the Doc just said he was scarring and he wasn't happy with it) I never thought to look and neither was he suggesting infection.  How a surgeon calls this scarring is actually terrifying to me :(  Well tonight when I looked, I could feel the blood drain from my face.  I called Dean over and he was very upset.  It is grossly swollen, so much so...that on one side the skin is higher than the metal abutment!!!  He is still on oral antibiotic ... remember as 1 year is not up.  I really feel sick at the thought of what is going on :( We just spoke with the on-call ENT in Spokane and he said we have to go in to the local ER for iv's.

Please pray for Azlan.  What is the next step? It does not seem like his body is accepting this implant :(

Our first medicals

We found out yesterday we were scheduled for 8:30am appts with our cleft team...2.5 hours away. Yes...we are that family. We booked it months ago because we have to in order to get in.  So we woke everyone at 5:30 ish and pulled away close to 6.  With me popping meds (that are working less than as I anticipated :( and grabbing a peppermint mocha to calm my very iffy stomach...we were on our way.  The kids never made much of a peep til the sun came up. They were all awake and a little stunned with being awake so early ;)

We arrived right on time, changed Taizi and Zihao and went in.  Our first stop was our plastic surgeon/ear reconstruction specialist.  First was Azlan.  He said there's definite inflammation around his BAHA surgery site and intense scarring and complete lack of hair growth exactly where he was shaven for surgery. Sigh.  He's still on oral antibiotics as per infectious disease...and it's doing...I'm not sure what. Just holding something at bay? This was done in April. Here we are in December.  Ahhh.  And no we don't have his Baha. Oh...emotional subject :(

Then Zihao.  He was very surprised that his ear tags are on his non cleft- side ear.  And his cleft side ear is much smaller and I honestly had not seen that. When he pointed it did we miss it.  He thinks significant deafness in his right side (cleft) and likely hearing loss in his left b/c the ear tags indicate that.

Then Taizi.  He helped quite a bit.  He said the sore that refuses to stop oozing since gotcha day on his ear (!!!) has a name. He was born with it and now it's infected.  And has a cyst down inside. He said that it has a track that would go all the way to his ear canal and has to be surgically removed.  Oh.  He said his ear canals are very small and he couldn't see much but they are full of fluid.  He noticed his eye right aways and how it is shaped differently and doesn't blink. He added it's unlikely he has much vision out of there at all but wants him to see a specialist.  Uh huh.

Then Speech.  Well that was non existent with Z and T but for Azlan there was significant progress since last time...and all that is from me working with him. I pulled him out of speech therapy quite a while ago b/c she was using no visuals, playing tons of games and really giving him 10 minutes of speech ... none of which were things I was not doing myself. Hear my frustration? Drive 20 minutes across town...go in for 30 minutes..10 minutes of therapy, lots of bubbles and games.  20 minutes drive home.  Ahhhh!!!  Therapy told me it would be years before he got the "F" and "P" sound. Well guess what? Perfect "F" and "P" sounds....when slowed down and prompted.  Very exciting!

Then orthodontia ... Azlan was worse case here too :) His are significantly more severe than the others ... they said his bottom jaw is growing at normal speed and his top is not.  So it's getting worse and worse and the underbite more and more severe. (making sounds like F - where the top has to go over the bottom jaw much more difficult).  They said he will need braces at least 2x and confirmed major jaw surgery as a teenager for that upper jaw.  They said "we really hope he loves the dentist"...yah. Me too :(

Then  ENT and Audiology.

Azlan-same as always.
Taizi-nothing. Test said no functioning ear drums, no anything detected. Is it foolproof? Absolutely not.  We will do the ABR as soon as other more serious issues are taken care of.  But we expected little here.
Zihao- a shocker.  The tests registered nothing indicating significant hearing loss on both sides. In fact...same exact results as Taizi! That was crazy.  We know he can hear but my gut feeling of significant hearing loss in at least one ear ... was correct.

That pretty much wrapped it up.

I walked out feeling a bit crazy.  Barely looking up but asking "God...are you sure...? You really picked the right people?" Constantly going back to how He told us" yes. Taizi. This is him . You are the family. The time is now."

He knows. He knew. And...He knows.

In the spirit of transparency...this was exactly where I was when I walked out.  :(  Taizi was loud in the clinic today.  His repetitive songs. Hitting himself. Definitely out of his groove being in that strange place.  It seemed every professional kindly was asking 'what were you thinking?'. No they didn't verbalize it. But it was there.  "Did you know he had ALL of this?"  "HOW many children do you have again?"  yah. Yah.  Well it wasn't me.  It really wasn't.  And the One who called us to a whole lot more knowledgeable than us and ... we trust Him.

In the end...that's the peace.  That's where it comes from. That's where it will always come from.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


32 years more than... I almost ... never had.

Many don't know...because I don't say...that at 10 days old my mom walked into my room and saw a blue baby Janice in the crib.  Not breathing and completely blue...Mom says she couldn't remember her address, phone number or anything important when she called 911.  Dad raced to the hospital in a snowstorm to meet the ambulance (wouldn't you do that...?)  and perhaps it was the Newfoundland winter snowstorm that gave me a gust of air and got me breathing again.  I remember my Dad saying it's the only time he remembers staying up all night to pray.  Praying if it was better to take me that night...that God would. But if He had a plan for my save my life.

Hearing that story growing up always spoke to me.  Choosing my path in life as a teenager, I would often think of that.  What did God have for me? What was it...? The doctor said if my mom had not gone in my room that night it would have been labelled a SIDS death.  They never found the cause.

My life hasn't always been easy.  I was brutally shy.  A target for teasing in school. Marriage was tough. Tougher than I was prepared for. I was young. And less than fully mature.  :)

A few years ago I remember finding a bio online written by my friend and her husband and he had said something to the effect of "we wanted to live an extraodinary life.  God has given us an extraodinary life".  I thought they were admirable. But crazy.  The people you admire from afar.  They had adopted 7 children from Africa.

We had our perfect life planned out.  Our perfect life. Perhaps not yours...but ours. And God was gracious enough to let us think we were living it.  Five biological children and 2 adopted from Africa. That is what we said when we got engaged.  And though we dreamed of adopting infants ... when God called us to Zambia very specifically to adopt then Jacob and Meleki was wonderful.  Surrender..but not much.   After coming home and 2 horrible miscarriages that took their toll on my heart more than most would know...Izrael Promise was born.  5 biological children and 2 adopted from Africa. Look at that. Just like we said. 7. The number of completion. So perfect.


Then it happened.  The against our plans, against our will, stretch of our faith in so many to China.  What...? Who...? NOW...?  

It was an all out surrender. A surrender of this is His plan. He only gives good things. He's calling us to something "bigger than me...something Heavenly...." and in the moment it totally completely "felt like chaos...but somethere there (was) peace..." and this journey was born.  The journey to rescue Taizi and Zihao.

Ok so it's 9.  It's good. We were all in.  Surrender...? Absolutely.

It was amazing just how much more I needed to surrender when I saw that positive pregnancy test in China.


There were so many times for miracles in 12.5 years.  Would have been amazing. But now...? What...?

Yes. Now.

And tonight at the end of my birthday that was more than celebrated by this amazing family He has loaned me...I think of that little bio by Brad Groothuis I saw years ago.  "We wanted to live an extraordinary life" and I smiled. I thought they were crazy. Admirable...but crazy there was no doubt.

Tonight I feel humbled. Completely humbled to be living this extraordinary life.  I'm not sure if there is a birthday that I don't think of my dad telling me about praying all night for his baby girl that they didn't know if was going to make it.

I pray as you read this journey ... you don't think about this ordinary people living this extraordinary lives...instead you are pointed to the God who has called us to it all. The Savior that someday we will lay our crown at His feet in worship.  It's all about Him.

Tonight I'm thankful that He heard my dad's feeble cry that night for his newborn baby girl.  Thankful for this amazing family he has brought from around the globe. Thankful for the gift of a miracle life inside me.  Thank-full.

All of the children lined up with gifts tonight :)  Here's Chazano waiting with his :)


Zihao threw his box to me, he is so cute. Then he waited anxiously as I opened it. He was giggling so I knew something  was up! ;)

9 gifts was more than what they had so Daddy wrapped a roll of tp for Zihao to give mama. Look at him doubled over laughing! So cute!

Azahria Peace's gift ;)

Zihao hugs :)

Gifts or no blessed tonight.

Some gifts were stuffed with diapers as a joke and Zion thought it was pretty funny that his had an old bag in there for me to dig out first :) They loved my grouchy face ;)

Friday, December 7, 2012

A fun day.

This morning started with Dean at early morning basketball and Zihao screaming at the top of the stairs long before anyone else was awake.  :) I bolted out of bed and there he was just screaming.  This would be cause for alarm...except it's just what he does every morning (or close to it).  I picked him up and carried him back to bed and tucked him in and that was it.  Never heard another peep.  It was about 7am and yes...the other 8 were still sleeping and I wanted it to stay that way ;)  It's like he sees it's dark downstairs and freaks out wondering where the children are.

I got back in bed and at about 7:30 heard Taizi moving in his playpen.  This was amazing. Here's why. Remember how I've said he falls asleep at random times and in random places...? Well the problem is...he's NON transferrable :) So as 'out' as he is...he wakes and stays awake sometimes for 2-3 hours in his bed. He doesn't cry but we just feel bad b/c his sleep pattern is getting weird.  So we tried putting him to bed early and it's the same process. A few hours later he finally stops singing and goes to sleep.  Well...last night while Dean was cooking dinner (yes...I know!;)...he fell asleep on the couch.  We were like...ahhh! It was only about 5:45pm or so.  So I suggested to Dean to let him get in a deep REM sleep and see if then we could transfer him.  We left him there til about 10pm (since he's deaf...he's not hearing any of the sounds anyway) and we turned off all the lights and put a blanket over him ~ and Dean kept him in his 'laying on his front' position and voila...the transfer worked!!! We were pretty excited.  Maybe we can actually let him sleep anywhere and not worry about it if we have a way to move him. you know why we were excited that he didn't wake til 7:30!  Yes! :)  He doesn't nap so that awesome night's sleep is so needed.

He wakes and stands in his bed. He doesn't sing or cry he just stands there. Rocking back and forth as if he's done this day in and day out for years.  Hmmm.  At about 7:45 or 8, Izrael woke up (also in a play pen in our room) and our day began! :)  Side note but I LOVE the play pen. I'm not sure about whoever invented a crib but we've had endless "foot stuck in the rails" and "banged head on the rails in the night and woke themselves up" and on and on. ... and a play pen solves those issues! As the baby gets older we put a nice comfy blanket down b/c the padding isn't that great and what a difference! Izrael slept in a crib in China and woke her self up so many times in the night from bumping her head.  Taizi screamed every night when we put him down (memories of being in there all day...?) and never cries going to bed in the playpen. So it's all good.  And we only had one :) So I finally found a great deal on Craigslist for a $130 one that was only used a handful of times for a babysat child and she was selling it for $30! It's awesome.  I love saving money.  ;)

This weeks we had 2 friends come by and give us winter gear. Seriously...buying a winter coat for 2 children each year is do-able. Try doing it for 9.  And boots. And mittens. And... ahhhh! This was an awesome gift! One friend gave 4 winter coats that all fit Zunduka, Chazano, Zion and Azlan! The other friend gave a coat, snowpants and 1 pc awesome snowsuit all in Zihao's size!  So thankful.

So today we met our friend, Mimi Char at an elderly home to sing carols.  There were 3 of them there to sing and well we made the group a tad bigger. The folks clapped when we came in, they were so excited.  The kids relaxed and even sang their own song, John 3:16 a la RIZERS to them!  They were amazing and Dean stood in the back with Izrael and Taizi in the stroller who never made a peep and seemed mesmerized by what we were doing.  At the end, one lady yelled out "can you all come back every day??" and Mimi Char stepped aside to tell us she can be really mean and yell out mean things so this was quite something ;)  I love elderly people and feel that's something this next generation is mission: a respect and love for elderly.  We are working really hard to see that our kids are taught that.

From there we went to Costco.  Yes. THE Costco trip.  I had the stroller with Izrael and Taizi in it...Dean had the cart with Zihao in there. The other 6 were walking.  They were amazing.  Zihao is a copier...he is very bright and mimics everything the children do.  This is awesome because we have worked hard teaching our kids how to act. Though imperfect...they have been trained well. And he's just copying them.  If they go pick up their shoes...he runs to the door to pick up his.  The other night at dinner Tirzah said "Zihao, watch Tirzah..." and she showed him how he was chewing with his mouth open and then showed him the proper way and we were stunned to see him totally copy her and close his mouth!  I'm like "sweet!!!" ;)

At Costco we had a funny moment. We were in the toy aisle. I bought a doll there for Azahria for Christmas last week.  She saw it and totally screwed up her face.  Dean and I exchanged a face of "great!!" and then she saw the specific one I got and was like "hmmm no".  Fabulous. Now I know what she doesn't want! ;)

We found the huge gingerbread men to decorate and plan on doing it Christmas Eve or sometime close.

Tomorrow I turn 32.  Tirzah came up to me tonight, as serious as she could be, and said "Mama ... today is your last day as 31! You will NEVER be 31 again!! (you'd have to know her to know how she said this ;)...and well I don't want you to turn 32!" I said "why?" she said "because I don't want you to get old. I like you just the way you are!" :)  It was pretty cute.

My close friend, knowing the boundaries with adoption, offered to babysit for a few hours tomorrow.  So I talked to Tirzah about how she will have to stick by Zihao. If he needs hugs, she will be the hugger.  I told her if she does a really good job helping with him I will pay her.  Her eyes lit up ! (she has $66.49 in her bank account ;) and suddenly acted like she was taking mental notes. "ok. Make sure all hugs come from me so he doesn't run to your friend.  Ok.  Help him with his pizza. Ok. Sit by him during the movie. GOT IT. Anything else?" :) It was very cute and she is amazing.

Just to show you how amazing...before went to the nursing home this morning I looked over to see this. I told them not to move so I could get a picture.  My Tirzah is sweeter because of you!

Singing with Mimi Char's friend at the nursing home. I kept bringing Chazano out front and eventually he'd sneak in the back ;)


Izrael rather spell bound by all the people singing

This was cute. After we came home Azlan sat with Zihao at the counter while we made lunch.  They started doing this 'holding your fist against each other's cheek" they weren't hitting or anything but both were dying laughing.  I think they have a secret language... ;)

They have an incredible bond.  I would say Zihao adores Tirzah but it's funny how as playful and crazy as Azlan can be...he always has an eye on him.  We went for a walk around the block the other night and from the time we left til we returned...Azlan stayed at the back of the pack with his arm around Zihao. The entire way.  The others even did races to the signs and everything...Azlan stayed with Zihao. That's very out of character for him...but he really has this protector spirit after being in China with him. It's very beautiful to see.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We are doing really really well. Zihao is doing amazing and Taizi is doing well.

I think I've said it before but Izrael (20m) calls Zihao 'Ah-HOW' and it just might be the cutest thing ever :) We hear "ah-how...ah-how' all day long. If there's any sound she needs to learn how to say in this family...I'm thinking it might be "Z" :)

We received a huge package from my Grampa's sister Auntie Katie and Uncle Dave the other day. It was such a nice, personal package. Each child (all 9) got a personalized fleece blanket that they love and there were 4 knit hats as well! Here are some recent photos:

We celebrated beautiful Tirzah Liberty's birthday this last week. She turned 9 years old while we were in China. She is in love with horses and will sometimes even cry when she thinks about owning one some day. She loves her little brothers and sisters and most importantly LOVES Jesus.  She says a nonchalant 'thank you' if you tell her she's beautiful...and will be quick to tell you she's happy just the way she is because God made her that way.  She is a real princess.

Her horse ice cream cake!


Blowing out those candles

So excited about her new horse books! ;)

And loves her new horse Bible!

She has spent hours this week working with this set Auntie Joss gave her!

5 boys piled up with their new personalized blankets from Uncle Dave and Auntie Kate!

Zihao with his new blanket ;)

And Azahria Peace with hers :)

Tonight Dean put Taizi on this little car and he loved it.

Dean has been walking with him a lot and he now moves his legs much more voluntarily with Dean only supporting his hands instead of guiding his feet.

Almost to Daddy!

He made it and came for a hug :)

*I updated photos on a few more posts but the biggest one was "The Trek Home" post :)*

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our week.

Taizi loves it here.  He really does.  And he loves those could you not?

His falling to sleep routine is getting hard.  He falls to sleep at random evening the middle of doing whatever he's doing...and you cannot move him.  We do...and he then takes hours and hours to fall back to sleep.

His food: is really gross :).  I just started gagging thinking about it.  We are doing formula and baby food.  I think the bottle goes to the back of his throat because it does not seem like this food is going near any taste buds!  It's pretty thick, looks disgusting, ( truly! And when you are pregnant...?:(.  ). And he eats it.  So that's awesome.

He is still sweating and gets lots of baths - which he loves.

He loves the jumperoo--he jumps like crazy! This is so amazing for his tiny, frail little legs.  The kids all love seeing him's pretty cute.

On Saturday my friend and neighbor had a welcome home shower for us.  It was a few of us ladies...and desserts. Seriously doesn't get better than that! I had thrown up 4 times that morning and was in pretty rough shape but it's amazing what getting out does for you!!  I did fine the entire time (and yes, came home and threw up again ;).  We had a lot of fun, especially seeing my beautiful friend Amy!  One of the topics that came up was loving newly adopted children.  Many of us (if not all) definitely think...these children need all the love they can get! Just love them! Everyone! Smother them with hugs and kisses, they have been so deprived. can't :) It's true they do...but it has to come from their family. They don't know boundaries and the way you teach them is first of all by WHO touches and loves on them.  Our family was so blessed by this shower...with many gift cards being given to help with the cost of their clothes and needs going forward.  Thank you to each of you that gave!

We went to church today and Taizi, Zihao and Izrael sat with us.  They did amazing.  We brought our new stroller and Taizi loved it.  Zihao was shy today which was good to see ( since thats truly how he is) instead of him reaching to touch everyone he saw.

Zihao is doing fantastic.  Really really amazing.  He runs to hug Mama every time I come into the room...he eats whatever we serve (this is new)...he sleeps in his room with Azlan and sleeps about 11 hours each night...he now goes potty 100% by himself...he is very huggy with Tirzah....he loves getting his teeth brushed...he is 100% convinced that Izrael is also 3.5 years old;)...and there is not one doubt in my mind that he knows he is home.  All the work I put into sending many many gifts and photos and albums--prepared him for us and who we are.  He mourned deeply in that first hour at gotcha and not since.

On another note--we still cannot find Azlans ear.  :(.  We lost it the night before we flew to China and I'm thinking it may be outside somewhere:(.  The replacement cost on Cochlear is $4000 and he needs this Baha.  I feel physically ill about it.  Dean had said so many times he didn't see us having it very long because Azlan is a healthy 6 year old boy.  He's active.  It fell off allllll the time.  Obviously it fell off one time when we weren't right there to grab it.  I'm not giving up.  Please pray that we find it.

Oh...Zihao now puts his hands over his eyes when we pray.  It's the cutest thing ever and melts me.  So amazing that he will hear about God every single day of his life from now on...and we pray one day...will get to know Jesus himself in a very real way.