Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Thursday, March 31, 2011



We are still here!


We have been very busy with our busy boy!


We have had a few appointments that have helped us get to know our boy better. 
Want to know what we found out? 
I bet you do!

First off, and this came as no surprise to us at this point, there is no evidence {as seen with the naked eye} that Asher has CP.  Cerebral Palsy.  You know, his "special need".  Cerebral Palsy is what got him on the waiting child list.  Cerebral Palsy can be a pretty scary diagnosis, especially when all you know is what is on a few sheets of paper known in the adoption world as "a medical file".  And all you can see are a couple of grainy old photos.  So, I believe Cerebral Palsy is the reason that boy waited and waited on the list. 

We didn't have a CT scan and see no reason for one at this point.  He pretty much looks and acts like an ordinary extraordinary three year old boy!

Like any good international adoption parents, we also had him tested for everything under the sun.  Eleven vials of blood, one urine specimen and a stool sample later {TMI?}......WE STILL HAVE A HEALTHY BOY!  Everything that needed to, came back negative. 

Some even better news is that Asher's titers came back that all the vaccines he had in China were good!  So, he is actually up to date on all that and won't need anything until he turns four. 

What else did we learn?

We learned that Asher has a head full of cavities!  Bad genetics?  Too much junk?  Not enough brushing?  I don't know.  Probably a combo deal.  It doesn't matter now, anyway.  We have a head full of cavities so we just have to deal with it. 

By-the-way, he really enjoyed tolerated going to the dentist really well.  He followed Claire's lead all the way.  She had an appointment too, so we used this as an opportunity to let him see how it was done.  And it worked! 

Claire hopped in the chair for her annual x-rays!

Asher hopped in the chair...

And tried to give himself the x-rays!

Oh, that boy of mine!

What can you do....except snap pictures, of course!

Then it was time for cleanings.  Claire used to only sit in my lap, but with little brother watching?  Well, there was no way she wasn't going all the way this time!  Up in the big chair is the only way to go when showing little brother's how it's done. 

Open wide!

Monkey see, monkey do!

Good news for Claire! 
No cavities!

Bad news for Asher.

He's going to loose a few damaged front teeth.

Needs a few crowns.

And about a dozen fillings.

Great visit for Claire and her pretty smile.

And well, Asher got on his zebra and rode off .....'cause it seemed like the thing to do at a time like this.  You know, with all this dental work to look forward too.

It's what I would do!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Days

So far, Asher has stolen the hearts of many here in Charleston, SC.  He flirts with our friends, enchants the neighbors and has his Godparents and Grandparents right where he wants them! 

Isabel is smitten.....and her mother-hen tendencies have kicked in big time!

And big brothers?

Are the bomb!

Especially when they play basketball with you, and give you piggy back rides.  And they boys say that we can keep him because he is at least as cute as YoYo! 

Whew.  Thank goodness for that!

For Asher's part, he has learned their English names, but continues to call them GeGe (GuhGuh for big brother) and JieJie (GiaGia for big sister). 

The English word he uses constantly? 

Hmmmm, I wonder why?
The rest of the language is not so interesting to him yet.

His first church experience wasn't so bad.  He actually sat for all of the service and was......well, not as noisy as usual for him!  I personally, was very impressed because I figured one of us was going to missing church for a while until Asher got acclimated to the situation.  We will see how next week goes.

This boy?  Is fearless!  He climbs, runs and jumps with total abandon!  His exuberance is refreshing.....and also a little scary for Mama! 

And, after his first doctor's appointment, during which 11 vials of blood were drawn for a battery of tests, Mama took him to get a little bicycle.  I know it was an indulgence.  But with all the other boy stuff we already had, it was the only thing we needed to buy.  

And Claire is so thankful not to have to share her's anymore! 
Because, that was not her favorite part of having a little brother.

I just knew you wanted to see picture proof!

Monday, March 14, 2011


I hope everyone will forgive me for my abrupt absence here, but to semi-quote my friend Anna, and put it bluntly, re-entry is hard!  You spend three weeks on the other side of the world, living in hotels and eating out everyday, devoting all your attention to that one little soul you are responsible for at the time, and BAM!  You are back in the real world, on this side of the world, that is getting up when you were going down, that means cooking and cleaning and sharing with all five blessings at home. 

Not that I'm not happy, thrilled, oh so thankful to be home.  I missed home. I missed my kids so, so much!  It's just that it takes time to pull it all together enough to sit down and put something here for everyone to see. 

Coming home from an adoption trip is not like ending a vacation.  It's more like starting something than ending something.  The adoption trip has ended.  Life as that child knew it, has ended.  But, coming home is starting something.  Starting life at home as a family of seven.  And believe it or not, one more child does make a difference!

It's a good difference, but a difference all the same.  And right now, it's kickin' my butt!  Of course, it doesn't help that I volunteered to be the coordinator of our homeschool Father Daughter Dance.....that was scheduled for 6 days after we got home.   So, in addition to introducing our new son into our family life, unpacking, dealing with jet lag, teaching co-op classes, taking kids to drama, art and composition classes, doing all the laundry, and cooking for the first time in three weeks, I was also working non-stop to make sure the dance came off without a hitch. 

So, down to the nitty-gritty!  What you have all been waiting for.  How is The L'il Emperor doing?  In a family? A large family?  Where he has to share us and just about everything else.  And he can't always have his way....or what he wants?  And we drive right on past McDonald's without a second glance! 


Better than expected on many levels.   The flights home were looooong.  We had our guide explain to him before we left that we were going to go on three planes and that it would take all day and night to get home.  He said he didn't want to wear the seat buckle.  We figured that out on the flight to Guangzhou when he sneakily unbuckled every chance he got!  She then explained to him that he had to wear the buckle!

He spent the first flight playing and listening to music with the headphones......oh, and pressing the call button for the flight attendants!  Nice.  We landed in Korea and let him play in the play area for a while before our next flight.  That was a nice outlet for him.  Because that next flight?  Yeah, that's the one that lasts thirteen hours!  He spent the first three hours watching T.V. and eating dinner......oh, and pressing the call button for the flight attendants!  Yep.  Even from the bathroom! 

He spent the next hour screaming.  And the next four or five, sleeping.  Thankfully!  Then he was back up and ready to go!  But, there was no place to go.  So that made for an interesting few hours with a mommy and daddy working on no sleep.  When we finally landed in Atlanta, we had to get into line with hundreds of others to have our passports checked and stamped and to turn in his brown envelope from the consulate.  Well, that darn brown envelope meant that after standing in line for 45 minutes to have our passports looked at, we then had to go to the Immigration processing room.   And wait.  Wait in a room full of people, most of whom were waiting on green cards, and one other adoptive family.  Wait for one officer to process the 15 or so files in front of us so she could get to us.  Thankfully, as the room got more full, they sent another officer.  After another hour, they tore open our brown envelope, typed a few things in the computer and sent us on our way.  To get our checked bags so we could walk them through customs and re-check them.  Then we raced to get our flight home only to find it delayed!  We finally made it home around mid-night.  Twenty-six hours after we left our hotel in China!  Whew. 

I have to say that even though the paperwork for international adoption is nerve wracking, that flight home is brutal.  I think it's the worst part of the whole process!

Home?  Well home was a sight for sore eyes.  And an eye opening experience for a little someone.  The first few days were a little difficult.  He wanted to explore everything, naturally.  But, there were things we didn't want him into. His "push every single button" tendency is not as bad as it was in China.  He still pushes buttons he shouldn't push, just not every single!

I thought he would be insanely jealous of his brothers and sisters.  Not so.  He adores them!  He and Claire do have an occasional scuffle over a toy.  But, for the most part he seems to really enjoy having all the kids around.  He is very upset when we have to drop someone off somewhere for something.  The boys take a class on Friday and Isabel takes some on Tuesday.  He calls for them until they return!  It is really sweet.

He is eating much better!  He has tried things I didn't think he would try and eaten things I didn't think he would eat. 

He chases Piper, the cat, loves the two little sister-dogs and is absolutely terrified of our sweet, harmless beast of a black lab, Georgia.  He has locked me in the sun room twice because I walked out there to do something and that is where Georgia is being kept right now.  I guess he thinks that she can open the door if it isn't locked so he keeps a close watch on that door! 

The hardest things is sleeping.  He cries at nap time and bedtime, which he rarely did in China.  He also cries out in his sleep a lot at night.  That part is very sad.  I don't know if he is re-living that moment when he his foster parents left......or the times we told him no.  Maybe it's the time I put him in time out at dinner that upset him so much?  Or could it be that he is remembering something we don't even know about?

He has learned very little English yet.  At least to speak it.  He seems to understand a lot of it perfectly well.  And he answers completely to Asher now.  We called him Jun An in China because it was the only thing he would answer too.  As for speaking.  He still goes on and on in Mandarin as if we understand him.  He doesn't seem to get frustrated either.  You know, that no one has a clue what he is saying! 

His nick name?  It's Crash.  He earned this name in China because the child leads with his head.  And it often results in a knot on it!  I do believe that he hit his head at the very least, once a day in China!  Well, it hasn't gotten better here.  Last night he tripped over a root, running in the dark, and landed, face first on those darn gumballs that drop from sweet-gum trees.  The side of his face looks like someone drug him on the asphalt!  Nice.  And just in time for our first post placement visit on Saturday! 

And life?  Has been crazy enough, that I have taken very few pictures.  I have no great shots of him with the other kids to share yet.

I guess I better get on that! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

This is what I know.

I have only known my son for 17 days.  Not long at all in the grand scheme of things.  But, in that little bit of time, this is what I've come to learn about Asher:

  • Asher is a Strong Willed Child.  As in, he should have been the cover model for the book! That iron will is going to take him places one day.
  • Asher has no boundaries.....yet.  He feels he has the freedom to do and touch whatever he wants.  He walks up to strangers and looks at their things.  He put the lid on some lady's cup in the park.  He took a pen out of a waitress's shirt.  He takes things off your plate, punches every button he sees and runs off to wherever he wants to go.

  • He has a smile that will charm the socks off you!  And, he knows it.
  • He is very, very, very smart!  And a wee bit manipulative.
  • He LOVES his daddy!
  • He tolerates me.

  • He loves toy cars, buses, airplanes and trucks.
  • He doesn't care about books.
  • He loves to be outside!
  • He loves to long as it isn't green....or vegetable.....or generally healthy for you.  Basically, he likes McDonald's nuggets and fries.  Oh, and pringles, oreos and chocolate. 
  • He does love peanut butter and eats it by the spoonful! And he loves yogurt.  At least those are healthy.  Just don't tell him that! 
  • He loves to take showers and baths.
  • He loves blowing bubbles and playing with playdough.

  • He is fiercely independent.  But, wants you nearby.
  • He is a good sleeper....but, he is still wrestling demons and he cries in his sleep most nights.
  • He is very attached to his Mandarin language and doesn't seem to want to learn English yet.  That's going to change in a few hours when he realizes there is no one to translate for him. 
  • He is nervous around other children.....for a few minutes.

  • He can throw an excellent tantrum when he doesn't get his way!
  • And there is something in his eyes that lets you know, he's had a rough 3 years 9 months....

This is what I know:

I can't promise that the rest of his life is going to be carefree or all happy days.  But, I can promise, that no matter what, we will be here for him.  Even when he thinks he doesn't want us.  Even when he says he doesn't need us.  Even when he's had a bad day, like today, when nothing seemed to make him happy and all he did was whine and throw fits.  At the end of the day, he is still my son and I hugged him and told him I loved him.  He wiped my kisses off!  Oh well.  Some days will be like that.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Red Couch

The tradition of all Chinese adoption traditions is the Red Couch photo.  I have no idea how it got started.  I  do know that most adoptive families used to stay at The White Swan hotel on Shamian Island because it was nice an very near to the American Consulate offices.  The Consulate has since moved, but most families still stay on the Island because it is very adoption friendly. 

The red couches are part of the decor of The White Swan hotel lobby areas.  And most adoptive families, no matter where they stay, make their way to the White Swan to plop their child on a red couch for a photo shoot.  Because it is a tradition. 

Anyone care to remember what Claire thought of that tradition?  Yeah, it wasn't pretty!  She and her betrothed, YoYo, screamed bloody murder all over that little adoption their Chinese dress clothes, no less!


Asher's day was different.  You see, Asher = big ole ham.

Some people call it, being photogenic....but, I know different.....HAM!
Oh, the cuteness is killing me!

Back row: Jackson age  and Tao Ming Zhu ....or Judy....or Callie Jo {age 12}
Front Row: Kimi {3}, Jon Paul {3}, Jonathan {4}, Asher {3}, Dylan {4} and Will {3}

I posted a few of the best.  When you try to photograph 8 children at once, you are not going to get that prefect shot.  At least, I won't.  But, these were pretty cute! 

Here is one of the entire travel group.

Just for cuteness sake.....a few of the boy cutting up.....and only he can!

A little Kung Fu action.

And some goofiness that almost landed him in the pond!
I kid you not!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All Done!

Today was the big day, of the trip to Guangzhou!  It was our consulate appointment.  We were up at the crack of o'dark thirty and traipsed down to the East wing of our hotel.....which is like three blocks away, for breakfast.  Then we boarded a bus to the consulate with the others in our group.  Once there, we had to pass through two security points and leave all electronics at the no pictures.  The next part was when we took our oath and then we turned in all our paperwork for Asher's visa.  Everything was inspected in front of us and we were told it was all good!  Now we just have to wait until the visa is ready. 

I almost choked in the window where we turned everything in.  The Chinese guy processing everything mistakenly said "his visa will be ready August 14th!"  What he meant, I soon found out, was that it would EXPIRE August 14th.  BIG DIFFERENCE! 

Good news?  Asher's visa will be ready tomorrow afternoon!  Bad news?  We didn't know about the change in the process that shortened the time until after we were in China!  So, even though his visa will be ready Thursday afternoon, we can't leave until Saturday morning, because our flights were already booked based on it being ready Friday afternoon.  But, it's good news for those coming behind us. You don't have to stay as long because they do your oath and paperwork on the same day! 

Even though I could not take picture in the consulate, I got a few before and after.  There are some pretty cute ones of other kids in our group too! 

This is Dillon with his dad, Mark.  He is four and a cutie pie!

This is Jon Paul.  It's hard to get one of him smiling so I did great by surprising him when he wasn't paying attention!  His parents are right in front of him.

The little button on the left is Sophie.  She is Dillon's sister and she was adopted over a year ago.  But, the big girl, Tao Ming Zhu, is a new adoptee!  She is absolutely beautiful and I'll try to get a better picture soon!

Here is one of my favorite little girls, Kimi.  I fell in love with Kimi months ago, when she was on the list waiting to be matched.  I think her parents, Kathy and Mike, are wonderful.  God sure knows what he is doing!

This is Jackson with his mom, Beth.  Sweet, sweet boy! 

All soon to be US citizens!

And of course, Asher!
Anyone want to take a guess at why Asher is usually on Paul's shoulders in pictures?

To celebrate, we took the customary "Red Couch" photos and then had dinner together.  I'll be waiting until tomorrow to post those famous pictures, but for tonight, I'll leave you with this....


Look closely......because that is no chicken!

That would be pigeon.

Did I mention that we also had a group dinner, all set up by our Chinese guide.  Cantonese special food = pigeon!  And before you ask, yes Dad, I ate it.  Hello, my name is Chelsea and I ate roast pigeon thigh {not the head} in China.
 It was actually {clears throat} not horrible. 

But, I won't admit that it was good.