Monday, July 1, 2013

Home almost three months


The past few months have flown by and this week we are coming up on having Taite home three months. It has been an amazing three months with many ups and of course some downs because that is the way the cookie crumbles when you have six kiddos. Overall, I have to say that we have been blessed beyond belief with such an easy transition for Taite. There were so many reservations I had adopting a toddler but her transition and attachment has been ridiculously smooth. We had other fears about her language acquisition, her disability, and just the overall adjustment for everyone else in the house but all the worst case scenarios we had expected had not come to pass.
Since Taite has been home her language has increased tremendously. She now strings 2-3 word sentences together and uses them in the appropriate context; which would put her to being almost fully caught up for a 2 1/2 year old. We are working on potty training which is going fairly well. We also met with a specialist to get more insight as to how much use she will have in her right arm. As of right now it looks as if therapy is the best treatment for her and her limited use of her right arm. Our kids have bonded with Taite and treat her just like they do their other siblings. Delylah still struggles from not being the baby but she still tries to be the best big sister she can be.
We have also had some special happenings in the last few months since my last post. We hit the two year mark for Heather, Logan, and Zach joining our family. It is hard to believe that they have been with us two years and when we look back it is amazing to see how far they have come  and how much they have achieved in that short time. We have to also boast about Logan. He is a kid who really did not learn easily in school and was not on grade level two years ago. When we got his state test scores back this year he passed every one. Not only that his reading level improved tremendously and he has developed a passion for reading (like me :). Heather also went to her first school dance. She looked amazing for her 8th grade formal. It was awesome to see her lit up with excitement for this milestone. Zach also reached a milestone and that is officially heading onto middle school and graduating from 5th grade. I think this may be a bit of a shock for him in the fall but we know he will roll with the punches and make the adjustment.
Lennah and Delylah also reached milestones. Delylah is done with Pre-K and Lennah finished kindergarten. Wow! where has the time gone. It is so hard to believe these little babies I held in my arms just a few short years ago are growing up so fast. They are driving me nuts with there now strong desires to express themselves in their own way. No longer can I buy clothes for these two little ones to share because they have such different tastes and wants.
We also took our first family vacation with Taite. We headed a condo on Lake Palestine in Texas. It as about an hour and a half outside of Dallas and the kids had a great time. It was a more laid back vacation where we just hung out by the pool and did some local cool stuff. We did take one day to visit a new awesome amusement park in Dallas that the kids truly enjoyed. I have to say Fair Fun Park in Dallas has to be the best value for the money when taking a family to any sort of part with rides. First off admission included visits to an aquarium, botanical gardens, and museums on top of all the rides and free bottles of water. We also visited a local zoo and tiger preserve. It was adorable to watch Taite learn about animals and get so excited. All the kids had the opportunity to feed birds at the zoo and they totally got into it.
Overall it has been a great three months. I know only a daily basis we have to break up squabbles, make lunches, fold laundry, work on learning and we don't sit back and appreciate how smoothly our kids transitioned into our family. We know we are one blessed family with a lot to be grateful for.

Friday, April 12, 2013

And Taite made Eight

We have been home a week and I finally have some free time to catch up and blog. This time around I had a few days where I could not get back into the swing of things. I would be exhausted and lay down but could not sleep. I must have had about 8 hours sleep in 3 days between the one day in transit back home and then the first two days here. I think most of it was trying to catch up with the kids, Keith, and worrying about Taite's adjustment.
So backtracking I guess I will start with the travel. Taite did awesome. I had the only kid on the entire plane ride that did not have a meltdown once. She only had about 5 hours sleep but she was a pretty happy camper. She would be fidgety here and there but not once did I have a wailing kid. It also was a smooth plane ride with no delays which made me even happier. I was so panicked that something would go crazy and we would not get home. We landed and had to do the whole customs bit and immigration and again we had no problems. Then it was time to see the family. I was so worried about Taite and her going to Keith and the kids since she had never seen then and because she was so terrified of strangers the whole time we were in China but low and behold she must have know that Keith was her daddy because she went right to him. I was so relieved that she didn't have a fit and refuse to go with him. We got home and little miss went to sleep and slept most of the night (even though I didn't).
The next few days we did have some adjustment trials but it went well. She was absolutely terrified of the dogs and would have fits if we tried to put her down for her to run around. That was our biggest obstacle. Finally about three days of being home she finally would run and play on her own without one of us holding her. I gradually eased her into going down by holding her hand throughout the house while I did tasks and it worked. She still will cry occasionally when the dogs go up to her but it is not too often nor for too long.
The kids are also in love with Taite. Lennah has been trying to play little mommy with her. Although I have noticed that the last two days Lennah has certainly been spending less time with Taite. All the kids have also spent time playing and just being big brothers and sisters to little Miss Taite. I  think the only one who has had a hard time with the transition has been Delylah. I think it is most difficult for her because she is no longer the baby but her and Lennah have a love hate relationship and for the first few days of Taite's arrival Lennah has spent her free time with Taite. Lennah and Delylah can fight like cats and dogs but then the next minute be playing school or playing with dolls together. So I think in some ways Delylah is dealing with sharing her best friend while also not being the baby anymore.
Taite is also developing quite a little personality. She will play tricks like pretending to sleep and then when we get up to her she will open up her eyes and start hysterical laughing. She also has a little mischievous side in her too. She likes to mess with her brothers and sisters by play fighting already. I think she is getting that from Lennah and Delylah.
Taite has also been picking up English slowly. She has about 10-12 words down and today she did say two words together so it is coming along. She definitely understands what we say to her so hopefully she will start talking more and more.
Overall I have to say the adjustment has been a lot smoother than we thought it would be.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Visa appointment and last two days

We have had a busy last two days. Yesterday our guide took us shopping and of course I love shopping. I was able to get Taite several special items for when she gets older and get everyone else on our list some gifts for when we get home. Our guide also brought us to Shamian Island where we had lunch. This place is where most families used to stay when adopting here in China however since the major hotel in that area that was used is under renovation most people no longer stay there. I will say it is a beautiful area and very interesting because of the colonial architecture. It too also had some great shopping.
Last night the ladies I have become friendly with all went out for dinner with our kiddos to an Irish Pub. I think it is so funny that this is the second Asian country I have been too and that there has been an Irish pub in both placed. I will say the food was good and so was the company. It is great to have other people to hang out with especially when your husband is at home.
Today we had our visa appointment which makes me feel good that we are another step closer to home. Tomorrow Taite's visa will be ready to be picked up and then on Thursday it is time for home. After our appointment our guide took us to the Sun Yat Sen memorial hall. Being a social studies teacher I thought this place would be a great place to see. It was a beautiful building and a very reasonably priced entrance fee only about a buck fifty in USD. I was hoping more of the information would have been in English but it was still a beautiful place and luckily our guide was able to tell us information about some of the displays. It is definitely worth a quick visit if you are in this area.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Safari Park Zoo

Today was probably the best day we had in China in terms of doing something fun. Our guide took us to the Safari park zoo here in Guangzhou. It was such an awesome place. When your first enter the park it takes you on a tram ride to see animals. I have done other safaris like this before but I will say this one really was great. Then from there you get off and there is a whole park to walk through waiting for you. It was amazing to see pandas, koalas, white kanagaroos, they even had a dinosaur exhibit that was really cool. I was just so amazed and impressed. I think what made it so impressive was the fact that the animals were kept  really well and it was a zoo that quite honestly exceeded even American zoos that I have been to. They seemed to care for the animals and they weren't confined. They also had a nursery with incubators for little animals. I honestly could have spent more time there if it did not start to rain. I also wish all my kids would have been here to enjoy it with us because I know that they all would have loved it.
After that Taite crashed and we came back to the room before dinner. We are still having some fits and today she had one right before we were leaving for dinner. It just seems that about once a day she needs to have a melt down. Language and age are a barrier to our communication so I think this is her way of grieving. She is super attached to me but I am sure it is still scary in her mind that for only a week she has been away from the place she called home for the last two years.
We then went to dinner with a group of our new friends that we have made here. As great as all that was Taite has major issues with strangers and we are having a difficult time dining with people because she turns away and will not look at anyone. What ends up happening is that she stays facing my chest and eats while she hides her face. When people try to talk to her she cries. I am not quite sure why she is so shy and scared of strangers. I am hoping that we really can move beyond her fears because she has 5 brothers and sisters at home and a daddy to meet and I really don't want her to totally reject them now that she has had me alone for this long. beyond her being scared of everyone dinner was great and I think we have made some great friends that we can stay in touch with once we all hit the states.
Safari Park Zoo

My first Carousel Ride

Dinner with our new friends

White Kangaroos

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Yeah we have been in Guanghzhou since yesterday. It is a nice feeling knowing that you are close to bringing your child home. Plus it is nice to have people to talk to since in Hohhot most people did not speak english.
But I guess to catch up we arrived here late yesterday afternoon. The flight went pretty well for Taite and we only cried at the beginning because she was so tired. She took a nap and woke up and all was good. We are staying at the Garden Hotel and I must say it is pretty amazing. We have a two room suite so that was totally unexpected. I also have a pretty swanky bathroom so all in all it is pretty nice. Last night was pretty low key and since the friends I had made were not here Taite and I ventured out alone and ate at an Italian restuarant. She definitely is a strange eater for a toddler because I ordered some calamari and fried shrimp and she chowed down. Then (thank goodness) I went to starbucks. I was thrilled that there is one right across the street. I threw out my typically no caffeine after lunch rule for myself and splurged on a frappucino at 7:00 at night. Luckily I still managed to go to sleep last night.
Today we went to breakfast and met several other people with children. It was awesome being able to talk to other people. From there we had to do Taite's medical. She was not a happy camper. She already is terrified of strangers and for the last blood test they take the babies alone. Yeah! she screamed. After that our guide took us and the other family from our agency to an awesome lunch. I was so fortunate to have great company for lunch and good food. I was even brazen and tried the goat dish our guide ordered. It tasted like beed and honestly I really wouldn't have known any different if she didn't tell us. Taite also ate a big lunch and tried virtually everything on the table.
Tonight we also got to eat dinner with our new friends jacqueline and Gavin. I am so happy we got to meet them in Hohhot and hopefully when we do head up to New Jersey and New York to visit our family we will be popping in to say hello to them as well. Tomorrow we have a big day planned since our guide is taking us to the Safari Park Zoo. I am pretty excited and hopefully Taite will love it.
The View from our room

Bad Hair Day

New Friends Taite and Jason

Making noodles

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

I can brush my teeth

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Inner Mongolian Museum

Today started off being a pretty quiet day. We ate breakfast, played, ate lunch, and then napped. After Taite's nap our guide's dad (she apparently had to pick up the passport) took us to the inner Mongoliam museum. It was nice to finally get to do something that didn't entail local shopping or eating at the hotel. I have to say it was a beautiful museum and had some really interesting Chinese and Mongolian history. Taite was a bit young to get any of it but of course the social studies teacher in me loved it. I know Keith would have loved it too and it stinks that he is not here to experience any of it with us.
Tomorrow we leave for Guangzhou. Thank goodness. I feel like we are one step closer to home. I cannot wait to see Keith and the kids because this feels like an eternity without them. Today we got to facetime with them since Keith was home from work and has an I-phone and it was nice to get to see all of them. I know they miss us and we miss them.
Taite also is picking up a little english. She now can say no no, she did say button that one night and I haven't gotten that word back out of her, she can say mama and she did say her name at dinner tonight a bit. She seems to be understanding me too. Tonight when I said let's go take your bath she just strolled into the bathroom. When I tell her that we need to put on her shoes she goes to get them. She seems to be a pretty smart kid. We are still having bouts of sadness. Today she had 2 of them. She just out of nowhere will start crying and go stand by the door. I am not quite sure what she is thinking when she does it but it is saddening to watch. I expected a hard transition and beyond those occasional episodes she really is doing well. I know we will also have some big adjustments when we get home but we will take everything one step at a time.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warming Up

Today was a very low key day and we just had to go do the passport stuff so we can get Taite home. But I will say it was a big day for bonding because baby girl said mama. Yep my heart melted. I know she is a shy little one and has not said much so this was huge. It is amazing how much she has bonded in such a short time. We are almost done here in Hohhot and Friday it is off to Guangzhou and I am bit disappointed that we haven't really done much exploring. Tomorrow our guide is supposed to take us to a museum. Hopefully it will give me more insight into this area so I have more to share with Taite when she gets older.