Monday, November 28, 2011

So much to write...

... so little time.  So here is a picture of the girls at the park with their new little brother!

I will get some posts going soon.  So much to write.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Only 2 Hours until I Meet my Son

Two hours and counting!  After months of waiting, paper work, praying and hoping you would think that the last two hours would feel like nothing... but you'd be wrong.  :-)

I feel like a first time Dad pacing anxiously back and forth in the Hospital hall way, waititng for the Nurses to tell me everything is OK and that the Doctor is bringing the baby out.

But instead of  a hospital, it is an airport, and instead of nurses, there are flight attendands, instead of doctors there are Pilots bringing my Son.

But in this metaphor, there are no TSA Screening agents doing full body cavity searches just because you want to bring toothpaste on the airplane...  But I digress...  2 HOURS!!!!  Whoooo!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think I Can

I feel kinda like that little engine that thought he could.   The wife has been gone for... well... far to long.  But we are coming to the end!  Only 3 days left, and then everyone will be home!  YAY!

Wife can begin reading here...

Now, most things have gone REALLY well while the wife has been gone.  I mean, I've made nice meals...
... and I've had lovely people donate even MORE nice meals.

The house renovations have been progressing well... 
... although some things have been delayed.  Like, our windows.

BUT, I've made every Tap Dance Class, every Youth Group, every Karate Class, every Chines School and even done fun stuff like Celebrate Family Day to taking the children and their friend to the Wave Pool.
... thankfully with a gift card for Boston Pizza from a concerned friend who thought I might forget to feed the children.

I made special breakfasts on the weekends, even pancakes!

 Smothered in CHOCOLATE and CARAMEL sauce!

Then, things got even better!  The Windows came in!

 The spray foam is going to be cheaper than estimated.  
The siding is even going on Tomorrow!  :-)  Should be done(ish) when the Wife gets home!

Yes sir!  Everything has been going GREAT!

Wife should STOP reading here!!!

Okay, so what is with the mellow dramatic "I think I can" if everything is going so great?  Well...

  • The construction has now moved INSIDE the house.  Which means our duct work is torn apart... 

... so we have no heat upstairs.  The two girls are huddled together in bed, covered with every free blanket in the house - AND my blanket.  I may sleep in my winter coat tonight.

  • The Hot Water Tanks seems to have died.  I can only shower 1 child a day.
  • The little cuteness MissG put on SO much CARAMEL and CHOCOLATE on her Pancake she got SICK.
  • I wound up making breakfast for the kids with expired eggs.
  • I wound up at work one day, wearing clothes which did not belong to me.  I don't know whose they were, they were too big on my, a shirt I had never seen, and I was wearing it...
  • When we got to church a good friend of ours, who just so happened to be a Mom, had to get SeniorK to fix it shirt - it might have been on backwards and inside out.
  • The house (which has been kept pretty clean all this time) is now a DISASTER because of the construction. I've got coats in the kitchen, curtains on my bed, tables in the hall ways, and the list goes on.
  • I don't think I've ever been this tired before in my life - and this is coming from someone who (when he was younger) has gone on 72 hour video game marathons.

Wife can begin reading here again...

So am I happy for my wife to get back?!  Oh yea!  Now, once she IS back, things are not going to be exactly any calmer... but at least I will have my best friend back here with me.

Oh, and one saving thought though all this... Curtis out there in BC, whose wife went WITH my wife (in my place - thanks again Curtis!!!), is going through the same stuff as I am - but without any real justification!  At least when I am looking at the 42 loads of laundry I have to do tonight... which I SHOULD be doing instead of blogging... I have this warm fuzzy feeling of going "At least this will all be worth it because Lukai is coming home".  It is actually a little selfish really.  I mean, I do this, but I get that.

But Curtis... well... he's not getting anything from this.  Just unselfishly toiling away as a single Dad so that his wife can go and be a blessing to my family.  Good job Curtis.  Good job.

... you're making me look bad.

Stop it.  :-)

Sleepless in Beijing

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.

So the wife is currently in China, and I'm still here in Canada.
The Wife, BigD (our 2nd eldest son) and our new son Lukai are about 5 days away from coming home.
There have been a great many thing which I've learned over the last few weeks.  Some of them related to adoption, most related to our new son, and even a little about myself.

So instead of coming up with a comprehensive, well written, insightful and thought provoking blog post today (like my other blog posts have been really deep and insightful, I know), I'm going to walk though many of the emotions and "things" which have come up over the last few weeks.

I think this is a good idea, mostly because I am grotesquely sleep deprived and forming any coherent though feel well beyond reason and possibility... but also because it is my hope that everyone reading this either has, or will have had the opportunity to have an energetic little boy (or girl) throwing die-cast cars at their spouses head while you yell in vein over Skype (in chinese) to stop throwing said die-cast cars at their new mother... er, wait, what I meant to say was "I hope everyone gets to experience the joys of adopti... er family!"

Special Needs be darned!
See, I was expecting and prepared for SpinaBifida.  But just a couple weeks before we left, he was diagnosed with a 2nd previously unknown special need - Vitiligo.  Now, we don't really care about the Vitiligo - it could be as trivial as a cosmetic issue, or as severe as a thyroid or auto-immune deficiency.  What we were scared of was *someone* deciding that the adoption was no longer allowed.  Our provincial government could have decided that this special need was not "on the list" and therefore, the terms of adoption are no longer valid.  Someone in China could have decided that it was no longer in the best interest of the child to be adopted.  It was a few days of complete emotional panic as we tried to re-assure our adoption agency, our province and China that we still wanted to adopt little Lukai.
1st meeting between Mom and Lukai
But the bottom line was, we already loved our child, even though he was not home yet.  And if tomorrow any one of my children were diagnosed with Vitiligo, it would not have changed my love for them.

Little Boys are Energetic!
It has been a while since we've had a little boy around the house.  I think its been about 9 years since we've had a little high energy, rough and tumble little ball of AAAAAHHHH stop throwing things at my head!!!  But that is OK.
Looks happy, but apparently dosn't like swimming
Well, it is OK for now, because he is still in China, and I am safe and sound over here.  My wife however, is looking a little tired.

When the 1st Words out of your Child's Foster Mother's mouth are "He is Such a Naughty Boy"
... take it at face value.  :-)  Oh cute for sure.  Look at that smile.  Those rose coloured cheeks!  How could he ever be so Naugh... hey, hey, put the car down!  No, don't you smile at me like that.  Finger wagging and head shaking is universal.  Wipe that smile off your face.  Don't you DARE throw that OWWWWWW!
That is the foster mom in the middle
She did happen to say that he was a naughty boy in the loving, endearing way that only a Mother can, where you know you are loved, but oh so close to getting into serious trouble!

Being Stuck at Home playing "Mom" for 3 Weeks is NOT fun
I don't know how you Moms do it.  I really don't.  I mean, I now understand why my wife yells at the kids.  I mean, being a Dad, you sometimes see your wife snap at the kids with the old "Oh I have told you a THOUSAND times!!!", but I didn't really understand it until now.  Until the 12th day of getting them ready for school as they run outside in their bare feet and no coats... and I'm standing in the door way, yelling like a crazy person "GET YOUR COATS ON!".   Oh, and I understand too why when I come home after work and am all "Hey, how YOU doing?" she isn't at ALL interested in how I'm doing.  She wants to sleep.  I get that, now, more than ever.  Because I'm not even interested in how I'm doing after a long day of work, children, cleaning, laundry, and all that stuff.

Never Judge a Foster Parents by their Picture
... even if they look so very unhappy.  My wife was able to meet Lukai's Foster Mom (you can read about it here), which was AMAZING.  And WAY better than we expected, after THESE photos.   But I just finished an hour long Instant Message (via QQ) chat with them, and their hearts are breaking.  I know that in China, if the foster family wants to adopt the child they are fostering, that they have to come up with the orphanage donation - which is something like 35,000RMB.  Or roughly two years wages for the average worker.  I do not know what happened with their family, if they tried to keep Lukai, if they wanted him to get a home, but I DO know that they love him deeply.  They said repeatedly that they are happy he is with us, but they miss him.  My Chinese will never be good enough to express my thanks to them, and pay them the respect and honour they deserve ... and it is not because I suck at Chinese, it is simply because words can not express things adequately, regardless of language.  However, if I knew Interpretative Dance, I think I could have nailed what my heart wanted to say!

See, my child is still 1/2 a world away.  And that is all I care about.  Getting him home, holding him in my arms, hearing him laugh (Skype just doesn't cut it), and dyes, even dodging the odd die-cast car launched at my head.

All the Special Needs, pain, troubles and worries pale in comparison to my desire to simply hold my child for the 1st time.

Now, my next post might be asking the best way to bandage head wounds inflicted by flying die-cast cars...

Monday, November 21, 2011

BigD and the Wife VS the Great Wall

So BigD got to go up to the highest point on the Great Wall, just like SeniorK.  He even got his gold medallion at the top - which made him very happy!  :-)

uhhhh, I gotta climb that?

See, I didn't let SeniorK sit on the ledge...
cuz it's a  880 meter drop STRAIGHT DOWN!
Call me silly, but this seems like a bad idea.

Hmmm, not as bad English as the "Steep Slope, please loose headway" sign.

Who is kissing BigD?  Seriously, I don't know.  But that's my boy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meeting the Foster Mom

A gift to us from the orphanage
 When it was close to the time where Lukai and the Wife were going to meet for the 1st time, the Wife had asked if she would get to meet the Foster Parents who have been raising our little Lukai since he was only 20 days old.  The guide told us that they were 'not allowed to meet' and that this was just the way it was 'in this province'.  Now, we knew from talking with other ShanXi adoptive parents that this is not the case.  Many have been able to meet the foster families.

I figured there was something afoot.  I mean, we're not getting to meet the parents.  The orphanage was 'too busy' to do the Delivery Day at the original time.  I figured that the orphanage WAS expecting the foster family to travel with Lukai to the drop off, and that the family refused, and then the orphanage was scrambling to find someone else who was free and could bring Lukai to us.

Turns out, I'm a judgmental idiot.

"I get to meet the foster parents in an hour and a half!  They are coming!", those words from my wife were probably the most singularly happy yet terrified words I've ever heard.  I didn't know what to expect.  Judging from the last pictures, they didn't look happy.  What would they say?  Were they angry?  Happy?

When the two ladies DID meet, the old Mom and the new Mom, what was going to happen?!

She still doesn't look happy...
Then Lukai's Foster Mom and Lukai's new Mom embraced each other with a hug, and then sat down on a lobby couch.  Lukai's Foster Mom scooted in so close to my wife that their hips were pressed up against each other, she held my wife's hand in hers, and then sobbed for an hour straight.

The first thing the Foster Mom said to my wife was, "He is such a naughty little boy."  But she said it in an endearing loving way which only a mother can, after she has earned her motherly stripes by surviving many broken things around the house, or having to have chased him for hours on end while he ran around the house.  She also said that "no one in the village thought he would even get adopted."  So maybe they really were thinking he would be theirs forever?

So for about an hour straight the Foster Mom cried, and sobbed, and spoke to the wife in Chinese with the translator popping in and out of the conversation, and at the end, she said she was happy that we were adopting Lukai, that she could tell we are good people and that Lukai will be loved.

The Foster Mom eventually made her way back to the car, holding my wife's hand the whole way.  And as she climbed into the car, still with tears in her eyes, I can only hope that we will meet all of the dreams that she has had for her son.

And we will always honour the Mother that Lukai has had in China, because she deeply loves him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ping's Photo Album

Well, today is our 2 year Forever Family Day!  Yes, it has been 2 years since Ping joined our family.  And although it may be a touch late, here is an album for her.  :-)

Lukai Photo Album

So, instead of posting a thousand photos in a thousand posts, I'm setting up a web album slide show.
Hopefully this will work for everyone.  If you are having problems seeing the pictures, please let me know.
The goal is that as I update the album with pictures, this slide show should automatically update... and then everyone can see the new pictures here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

1 more...

... unless the wife sends even MORE.

Skyping with Lukai

So yea, Skyping with my new son from China.  Which was great.  I can hear him crying from the other side of the world.  Oh the wonders of the digital age!

And boy can he cry!  Still all things considered - the little guy is doing great.  I don't think we can even really begin to imagine loosing the only parents you've known your whole life, and being tossed into the arms of someone else, who looks so different, sounds so different, smells so different, and can't even talk to you.

But on an unexpected note, the Foster Family IS going to meet with the Wife!  Turns out it was the Guide (possibly) who did not want them to meet.  But in an hour or two, the Wife will get to meet the foster family. Which is great.  I mean, now they can sit face to face, and stare awkwardly at each other while neither group can speak a common language.  Should be great!  :-)

Oh, and on that note (aince I'm just kind of unwinding the old nogg'n here, and emotionally discharging) the place where Lukai is from has been translated by some as "Hard to Find".  The name of the area in english (pinyn) would be spelt YingZe Qu.  Now, Ying can be 硬, 英, 迎, 应, 赢, or any one of the other 247 Ying's in the Mandarin dialect. Really, c'mon!  Anyway, yes, one of those translations can be "Hard".  Ze and Qu can eventually be translated into something what when you stick it all together sounds something like "Hard to Find".

But, when you look on the Chinese Map, it is really YingZe Qu ( 迎泽区 ), which really is, just a name with no real meaning.  It is literally translated into Pinyn (romanized spelling of chinese words) as YingZe.  Not, hard to find.  That would have a different Chinese Spelling.  硬赜区 vs 迎泽区 ... see?  TOTALLY different!  Hmmmm... if your computer can't display chinese characters, both spelling probably just looked like 3 empty boxes.  Trust me, they are TOTALLY different!  :-)

But how symbolic of adoption anyway.  No longer symbolic in the "hard to find" way (as we have found him), but still, adoption is so mis-understood and mis-labeled.  People "think" they know it.  Some "think" that adoption children are "this way" or "that way", but really... it is so often our rigid views which cause us to see something as our filters dictate and not what really as they are.  Did that make sense?  I'm kinda sleep deprived.  Maybe stop reading... or I should stop typing?

My child is probably still crying, and  my wife is probably trying to do her best to console him.  And I'm sure the lovely couple staying in the room right next door to my wife and child are thinking "What is WRONG with that kid!"  Are we going to mis-label him, or any of the other 147million orphans, as some horrible child who is going to be a handful?  Or are we going to take off our filters, look at reality and realize that this little boy has just lost the only parents he ever knew... and by good golly, give these hurting children enough love to grow.

Anyway, go back, look at the cute pictures up there, and ignore the ranting above...  G'nite.

Finally Some Pictures!

YAY!  Finally got some pictures from the Wife!  So apparently, he is quite the little boy.  He plays rough and is quite outgoing and active!

The Wife said when they got him, that he kind of cowered against the wall and really did not want to interact with anyone.  So the wife put toys at his feet and slowly he started to play and engage with everyone.  Him and BigD appear to be getting along great!

I just watched them playing in the hotel room together for like a half hour, BigD was hiding under the blanket and popping up and Lukai would laugh ... and then hit him.  :-)  He slept though the night - but woke up about 4 or 5 times with "night terrors" and apparently even hit the Wife across the face twice while sleeping.  Oh they are so cute when they are punching you in the nose!

Anyway, he seems like he is healthy and all that.  He sure did not like taking a bath!  Apparently, he was quite dirty and had some bad B.O - so the Wife threw him in the bath.  He screamed though it all!

Its a BOY!!! (try to act surprised)

Early this morning, or late afternoon if you were in China, we welcomed into our family our newest little one.  Lukai Paul* YanBing Berzenji was greeted into our family by his mother, older brother BigD and a small army of friends and government officials.
He weights about 40 pounds, and stands almost 3 feet tall.
The "delivery" was looooooong (well over 12 months) and at times, painful.  But at 40 pounds, what did you expect.

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, and a certain laptop which appears to enjoy making my life miserable, I have no pictures of our latest bundle of joy.  Once I get some photos of our new baby, trust me, I will be posting them for the world to see.  It's what we proud Dads do.

And yet, I keep sitting here... staring at the computer screen... as if that will somehow make the pictures show up that much quicker.

* == Paul is Lukai s middle name - after Grandpa Paul on the Wife's side!  Surprise Grandpa Paul!  We love you and you mean to the family!!!  From taking BigD fishing to showing SeniorK how to make Wine (which really, I'm not sure it was a great idea teaching a 12 year old how to make wine, but that's for a different conversation.  :-) ) and all the love and support during our Adoption Process - you are a blessing to the family and we love you!

Science and Tech Museum in Beijing

NOTE:  Luaki IS with his mother now.  Awaiting photos and more news!

While in Beijing, everyone got to go to the Science and Tech Museum - which is apparently beside the Olympic Water Cube.  It is not normally on the tour - but we knew BigD would LOVE it!  It just so happens that we have a good family friend who is in Bejing, so they accompanied them to the museum.  Apparently, this museum is like 5x bigger than any museum we have here in Ottawa.  Figures.  I mean, Beijing is like 21 times bigger than Ottawa.  :-)

Our friends T, and his daddy 'Allan'.  I don't mind using
Allan as his name, because I'm pretty sure that is not
his real name anyway.  :-)

Mouth is smiling, eyes are sleeping.

BigD looks to tired!

One of the 4 IMAXes in the museum!

I guess its an OmIMAX, the screen wraps right around

AWESOME!  An Angry Bird Car!

And a Plant VS Zombie CAR!?!

Re-enacting the battle between the Snow Pea Shooter and the Zombie.
Everyone sing with me now... 'we don't want zombies on our lawwwwwn,
we don't want zombies on our lawn'.  YouTube it.  Plants VS Zombie song.
See what happens when I'm up all night waiting for news?!?!

I so want this car.