Monday, December 26, 2011

Surprise Christmas Gift!

I know I've been a little neglectful lately with the blog... it has just been really *REALLY* hard to find time to blog!  And of my gosh, there is SO much to blog about.

Things I SHOULD blog about:

  • Differences between Adoption #1 and Adoption #2 in relation to Orphanage VS Foster Care
  • Bonding between the Wife and Bing, and the great progress made there
  • How I'm maybe just a little sad that the Wife and Bing are bonding... I really enjoyed being the favorite...
  • Grandparents visit and their experiences with Bing VS their early experiences with Ping
  • Home renovations and having 10 people in our home for almost two weeks with only 2 working bedrooms

But what I'm going to do, is go to bed, because I've been sick for a couple of days and really need to get some sleep.  But before I go, let me tell you about  a Surprise Christmas Gift we got recently.

I opened up my email to see a flurry of emails from Bings Foster Family, they had sent us a whole batch of pictures from when Bing was younger!

Now maybe it doesn't seem like much, but in contrast with Pings adoption, where we have NO pictures of her under the age of 3 1/2, these are golden!  Love them!  A nice surprise for Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Undiagnosed Special Need

NOTE:  I originally posted this on No Hands But Ours (NHBO), but decided to post here as well for those who may not subscribe to NHBO.  Sorry if it is a repeat for some.

Well, out little Bing is home, and has been for the past three weeks or so.  And he is doing great (at least with me).
HI!  I'm HOME!  And I'm CUTE!

For those who follow our Forever Family blog, you will know that Bing as some Special Needs.

When we got his referral, it stated that he did have Spinabifida.  I know I've talked about Spinabifida time and time again, so I'm not going to cover it here.  

Then, we found out two weeks before my Wife travelled to China to bring Bing home, that Bing had been diagnosed with another Special Need - Vitiligo.  Which can be a minor cosmetic need, or a more severe auto-immune or thyroid condition.  Again, I think I've covered Vitiligo a few times, so I'm going to move onto the 'Undiagnosed Special Need'

This 'Undiagnosed Special Need' is a rather bad one as well.  It affects not only our little Bing, but the whole family.  Not just our family, but it can affect almost everyone he has known.  And in fact, there is no medicine to help, no surgical option and no guarantee that he will ever recover from it.  And it is also the reason this post is a little late today... because I was dealing with it last night.

What is it?  Keep reading.

Friend:  So how are things settling down with Bing?
Me:  Oh good.  Better than expected.
Friend:  So he has stopped hitting your wife and likes her now?
Me:  I wouldn't say that.  He gets along better with her.
Friend:  Hummmm... I wonder why.
Me:  Yea, I'm not sure...
*I turn to the 'Screaming Wonder'(tm)*Me:  WHY ARE YOU CRYING?!
Me:  Oh, right.  为什么你哭了?
Bing:  我的妈妈回来!
Me:  He wants his Mom to come get him.
Wife:  WHAT?!
Wife:  I AM HIS MOM!
Wife:  WHAT?
Me:  Yea, can't figure it out.  I wish he would give me a clue or something.
Me:  Why is his shirt covered in blood?
Wife:  Because he got a nose bleed he was crying so hard.
Me:  But he stopped crying!
Wife:  Oh... just wait a second... he will start again.
Me:  你好炎兵!
Bing:  *incoherent babbling*  爸爸 *more babbling* 飞机 *babbling* 回来!*begins crying again*Wife:  What is he saying.
Me:  Something about an airplane, and his Dad.
Friend:  Do you think it is because your wife is the one who took him away from China?
Me:  Yea, maybe.  Bing had been in the same foster home since he was 20 days old.  So really, the foster family were his mother and father.  I don't think a two year old understands the concept of "foster".
Bing's Foster Sister (BFS):  We all miss Bing very much.
Me:  I know.  He misses you all as well.
BFS:  I catch his Mom, everyday she looks at his picture you sent us and she cries.

Now, I am no Doctor.  But when I was younger, I liked playing one.  I am however, a Father.  And as such, I feel I am distinctly qualified to diagnose our sons 'undiagnosed special need'.  See, our son is suffering from a Broken Heart.

No, no CVT Valve, or holes in the muscle problems.  Those are different... those types of Special Needs are commonly diagnosed as Heart Defects. 

My son has a fine heart.  No defects.  It is however, simply broken.

And as his Heart continues to Break... so to do the hearts of his new Mother and new Father.  His new brothers and sisters hurt for him, and his Foster Family back in Taiyuan miss him greatly and their hearts are breaking as well.

I have seen Broken Hearts render even the strongest man distraught and useless.  I have seen Broken Hearts take years to heal, if ever at all.

Unfortunately, there is no surgery to fix his condition.
Time is often considered to be a healing factor... but time can also cause the pain to worsen.
I have no medicine.
No crutches.
No words to soften the pain.
Cuddles help... its like Tylenol(tm) for a Broken Heart

I have two arms strong enough to hold him when he cries, and a heart big enough to love him while he hurts... but I can not fix this Special Need.

I really wish they would list this special need on the Adoption Reports.  Maybe it would help prepare the parents of these hurting children so we can better help and understand them.  Give them more grace when they cry, and more patience when they push us away.
Hope, as one Broken Hearted child continues to heal her
broken heart, she can pass encouragement onto the others

And if you DO have a child who is suffering from a Broken Heart, you are not alone.  I think almost everyone has had a Broken Heart at least once in their life.  :-)

And always remember the words of the highly regarded Rick Astleys, who obviously was trying to overcome someone else's broken heart, their doubt in love and dealing with a difficult past in love.  His words continue to help young people overcome Broken Hearts even today (20ish years after his initial writings were released):
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Friday, December 16, 2011

IKEA and Normalization

IKEA seems to be a common theme lately here at the Blog... trust me, I don't like it either.

Recently, Ottawa has become home to the largest IKEA in Canada.  And there was great rejoicing!  So here we go, opening night, and we drag down all the kids to the new IKEA.  There were police everywhere directing traffic and keeping the chaos in check.  Luckly, they were not needed.

Canada's Largest IKEA
I'm sure poor little Lukai was not impressed being strapped into a stroller for hours while we wander through wonderfully cheap Sweedish made home decor.  But hey, this is just part of Lukais "normalization" into Canadiana and our Family.  He might as well get used to IKEA... and Tupperwear.  Maybe Party Light and Pampered Chef as well.  I mean, these are going to be big parts of his life.  :-)

The good news, is that children can "normalize" to almost anything.

Definition of NORMALIZE

transitive verb
: to make conform to or reduce to a norm or standard
: to make normal (as by a transformation of variables)
: to bring or restore (as relations between countries) to a normal condition


So what IS "Normal" anyway?

From somewhere on the internet - if you own this, let me know...

Normal is pretty relative.  For example, if a middle aged woman were to see me and my friends talking about Star Trek, TARDISes and time travelling Delorians... we might seem ODD.  However, from OUR point of view, we are NORMAL, and someone who likes watching Oprah is the real ODD person.

What "normalization" looks like in Adoption is when your beautiful 6 year old adopted daughter walks by you singing the opening to Led Zeppelins 'The Immigrant Song' ...

In a very surreal moment while doing dishes, I hear this all too familiar "aaaaAAAAaaaah ah waaaaaaa AH!" from behind me.  I turn around to see Ping walking slowly by as she begins the opening line again "aaaaAAAAaaaaah AH!".  She pays me no notice as she slowly walks past, lost in her own imagination and singing Led Zeppelin.

I'm so happy that "normal" is relative... because that means that our family, as crazy as we may be, can be considered normal.

Yes sir.  We have achieved "Normal"... what ever that may be.  :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Some Pictures from Beijing

Just a photo drop to keep the natives restless... or to pacify the natives?  Or something.  I donno.  Sleep deprived still.  SO looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.  As the Wife put it, "Vacation is Over" for me as I head back to work.  Why is it, when I am home watching the kids all day, making the meals and doing chores at home, it is my "vacation".  But when she does it... wait, 98% female readers... never mind.  I'm done.  Just look at the photos, and put the pitch forks down.  :-)

Some fancy restaurant a friend in Beijing took them to...

I was getting by on re-heated lasagna... so glad that SHE went to China, and not me.

Going to the Blue Zoo in Beijing

Some tunnel under the giant aquarium... sharks swimming all around them apparently.

New Day Foster Care ... the compound?  The Wife still hasn't
looked at the pictures with me to tell me what they are.

Oh yea!  New Day, I was right!

On the way to New Day...

The 'meds' for New Day

Ooooh, Air Canada!  Going home!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pictures From Taiyuan

So, I managed to recover the hard drive, no problems really, other than the usual.
Lets see, I pulled the hard drive, put it in an external drive enclosure, hooked it up to the other computer and voila!  I could see the files!  Started trying to copy them... then the fun started...

Me:  Oh my gosh... its full of... files.  Okay, copy files from external drive, to the computer...
Windows:  These are not the files you are looking for.
Me:  What?  Yes they are.  Look, right there in the folder!
Windows:  I don't see any files.
Me:  How can you not see the files!  Look, there, in that folder... the one called Photos!
Windows:  This folder?
Me:  YES!  That folder.
Windows:  What folder?  The truth is, there is no spoon... er, file.
Me:  WHAT?!  Wait!  Where did the folder go!
Windows:  I told you there was no folder.
Me:  GAH!  What did you DO?!
Windows:  You do not have permissions for that folder.  It belongs to user {0ce4991b-e6b3-4b16-b23c-5e0d9250e5d9} .
Me:  What?!  That user is the user from the OTHER computer... where I took the drive from.  Fine, I'll just assume control of the files... *typing furiously*
Windows:  Yeti, what are you doing... Yeti?
Me:  Nothing.
Windows:  Would you like me to sing you a song?
Me:  Sure.
Windows:  *begins singing*  START ME UP!!! If you start me up, I'll never stop!  NEVER STOP!!!
Me:   ... almost there.
Windows:  I'm sorry Yeti, I can not allow you to do that.
Me:  GAH!  What did you do now?!  Okay, you know what, forget it Windows.  I'm doing this old school!  Where is my command prompt!
DOS:  Would you like to play a game?
Me:  Yes, lets play, "All your files are belong to us".
DOS:  Okay... here are your files.  You will be the owner of all the files in approximately 42 minutes.
Me:  I love you DOS.
DOS:  The nukes will be launched in 12 minutes however.
Me:  WHAT?!
Fate:  Oh, did you need power for your computer right now?  *BAM*
Me:  AAAAH!!!   Did we just loose power to the whole hou... *BAM*  ... oh, power is back on.  We lost power... just... long... enough... to crash... the computer.  Oh gosh!  MY FILES!  *frantic typing*
Windows:  There are no files.
Me:  I know there are.  Stop playing.
Windows:  I know I was messing with you before... but now, I'm serious.  When you lost power, the ACL list corrupted.  So now, I can't even see the files, to tell you there are no files.
Me:  Noooo!  Dang you, you danged dirty ACL list!
Windows:  If it makes you feel any better, DOS says he just isn't that into you.
Me:  I hate computers.

Anyway, long story short, eventually I DID recover the files, and yes, it really did go like that.  We lost power and the file system really did get corrupted, but hey... now, once I can get the Screaming Wonder to stop screaming and let me have a few minutes, I'll start uploading photos.

Here are some from Taiyuan.

... octopus

BigD really ate that.  I think that trumps the Croc me and SeniorK ate.
And yes, BigD really did eat it just to "one up" his big brother.

Brothers hanging out...

Just chill'n at the hotel...

Getting ready for the train from Taiyuan (太原) to Beijing (北京).

Cool looking trains, a great way to see the country.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Technical Difficulties...

... yea, you could say that.  The wifes laptop has died.  Taking along with it the bazillion pictures she took while in China.  So I've pulled the hard drive and started trying to recover the files.

I got this... 
While I much about with this, check out Braided Tresses - she managed to post some pictures of her Mom and everyone while they were in China getting Lukai.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It only took 5 Children...

... but FINALLY one of them likes me!

I feel a little bad that this post is so long coming, but really, this is the first chance I've had to blog since Lukai came home.  See, when he came home, he very very quickly bonded to me.  Attached so quickly, so much more quickly than I ever imagined.  I was like "Hey, Adoption is FUN!  It's NOT just getting yelled at in Mandarin!"

Pastor Kim and my Fake Brother In Law Nat met us (and Lukai) at the airport ... again.  :-)
As I saw Nat walking in, I noticed he had a CARS balloon for Lukai.
Then, about 30 feet behind him, I saw Pastor Kim with the same CARS balloon.
I thought that was pretty funny.

A whole blog post is going to have to be dedicated to MissG there,
she FINALLY gets to be the Big Sister she always wanted to be!
She following Lukai around the house, takes care of him, is always asking
"Daddy, can I give him a kiss?"  And he has responded SO well to it!
He tackles her with hugs!

This is how he looks 95% of the time with me, smiling, laughing, having fun!

Gets along great with his siblings!

He has a BEAUTIFUL smile!

Another Blog (or two) is going to have to be how this adoption, has helped me
learn more about my other adopted child.  Ping so WANTS to be a good big sister,
but she just doesn't know how to be a good big sister!  She was almost in tears saying
"Why doesn't Lukai want to hold MY hand!"
My first reaction was "Because MissG spends time with him!  You didn't even
want to stay home from school to meet him!"  I did not say this.  And I'm so glad
I bit my tongue.  Because now I see, oooooh, she WANTS to be a good big sister.
But no one has equipped her to BE a good big sister!

Sleeping after another busy day with Dad... because he won't let Mom touch him yet.
So yes, he has been attached to my hip since Friday.  Non-stop.  I'm so freaking tired!
At least the night terrors seemed to have stopped.  The crying has stopped as well.
... well, for the most part... and for me.  

Unfortunately, at the same time, he started to reject his new Mom.  And, I mean, really reject her.

I've talked about rejection before.  So, I'm not going to dwell on that here.  Head back two years in the blog archives here, and you can read about our first adoption where Ping rejected me... and rejected me HARD.  It took months before she would hug me, spend time with me, or even let me touch her.

That was hard.  I don't think that it is really able to be understood unless it has happened to you.  I mean, in your head, you know WHY your child is rejecting you... but it still hurts more than you could imagine.

So, as my wife is having her heart broken, I'm stuck now on the other side of rejection... where I am loved.  And my day is full of hugs, and cuddles and kisses.  Me and Lukai play, and laugh and have a beautiful time.  He is a wonderful, lovely little boy, who is energetic and fun!  He has a beautiful smile and loves to laugh!  We play so much each day and have so much fun!

Is he kind of spoiled?  Maybe.  He cries quick if he doesn't get his way, and he cries hard if he gets in trouble.  But all things being equal, he might just be crying because he is on the verge of tears from all the change in the past 2 weeks...  Even in the 4 or 5 days he has been here, he is doing so much better.

A couple days ago, I went upstairs, and I told him I would be right back (我回来,一点点).  Now, I'm sure my Mandarin isn't perfect, but he should get the idea.  Well, he decided to just scream and cry like he was being beaten!  He actually cries so hard that he gets nose bleeds and can throw up.  Crazy.  Anyway, he was screaming, everyone was stressed, and I was able to eventually calm him down.  Now, if I leave, I can tell him the same thing and go upstairs ... he might stand at the base of the stairs, but he isn't screaming anymore.  So he IS trying to change and to be less scared/angry.  With Ping, it didn't feel like she was trying to change.  It was like "I'm just going to be mad at you until I think you've suffered enough".

Oh, and being able to speak to him in Mandarin has *really* helped.  I know that everyone says "in a couple of months he will be able to speak english" ... but that is a couple of months of pure [beeeeeep] for everyone involved!  The fist few weeks is the first impression, the first bonding moments, and the firsts for a lot of things.  Being able to tell him stuff like "I told you 'no hitting'.  Hitting is bad, you need to tell your sister 'I'm sorry'" ( 我告诉你不打。不打是不好。你告诉她 对不起。), and then have him go and apologize has been HUGE.  Being able to tell him that he is being to loud and needs to stop, what do you want to eat, are you tired, etc. etc. etc. has been great.

I know my wife is hurting.
I know my son is hurting.

But in between that, I have this knowledge that my son likes me.  And it may have taken 5 children, but finally, one of them likes me more than Mom!  And maybe that shouldn't make me happy... but it does.  I've been the runner up parent for the last 4 children.  And it feels nice to be wanted.  I feel I little guilty about this.  But my heart dose break for what my wife and son are going though.

And I know what my wife is feeling.  Because I've been there.  I've been rejected by our child before... but I don't think Lukai is going to be rejecting Mom for long.  I'm sure this time next week will be miles better.

Now, I'm going to go and watch my new son sleep... because he is a beautiful boy!  My heart is bursting with love for this little guy!  This adoption is still really new, but it already feels totally different... I've taken almost everything I thought I knew about how adoption goes, and tossed it out the window.  Because this is totally different.