Friday, January 25, 2013

More to Note

Fall Fun
We had dental visits for Kylie Gail and Bobby.

We bowled at cousin Jessica's birthday party

We went to Northside church and their big fall festivities. 
This picture was taken at one of the booths.  Kylie Gail was tinkerbell, Lilly Rose was a fairy, and Bobby was a cartoon character named ??? They picked our their outfits with my neice Erica. 
Nicolas had fun mixing costumes
Then we all had to try the mask!

                                                           Fall Clean Up

We needed a little help with the tree clippings

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog Failure and Second Month Home

Blog failure, Yes.  But not abandonment....I started this in October, just did not get back to it. 

The second month home has been very busy.  The kids both started School.  Bobby is in third grade and Kylie Gail is in Kindergarten.  Bobby's transition has gone very well.  Kylie's took some some days with Dad attending and a few with Mom transitioning the drop off.  Finally,  she got it and enjoys school more than any of the other kids.

My daughter in law convinced me to have the kids pictures taken. So here is a sample:

 And Lilly Rose had her surgery to relieve the hydrocephalus that she has had for the last 5 years.  This was a surprise diagnosis,  discovered when she had the baseline MRI the first year she came home.  A Third Ventricle Ventriculostomy (instead of a shunt) was an option, but she was neurologically intact, so it was not urgent.  We monitored  it every year.  We decided to get a second opinion after talking to my niece, who just happens to be a neurosurgery resident at Stanford.  We decided to go to have the surgery at Stanford by Dr. Michael Edwards, a world expert in the procedure.  We actually knew that this would be coming up and have spent our first weeks home preparing to be gone for these 4 days.  We are so pleased that it worked out well.  With the help of my sister in law, daughter in law and the older boys. So Lilly Rose will have PE in the library for the next couple of months and is allowed to wear a neat looking hat (not usually allowed at school) to cover her healing incision.   Praise the Lord all is well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The First Month Home

We are moving forward in all things.  The kids started Chinese school first, as it is held in our church, Fresno Chinese Gospel Church.  We know the people well and it was easiest to start there.  We also started the after school tutor and all around helper person, Pam.  Yes, this is my sister-in-law and good friend who happens to be very invested in our children. 

We were pregnant together 20 years ago, and our children have been raised together.  We are doing our adoptions together, Keith and I just finished earlier.  I can not help but feel this is God working.  She is DTC waiting for word on her LID for Blossom from Harmony House.  I am holding Blossom  in the pictures of August 25, 2012 More about Blossom later. 

Going on, the kids just finished two full weeks of school.  Bobby is in the third grade and doing very well.  Kylie Gail is in kindergarten and has slowly come around.  She is very attached to Keith and wants him with her all the time.  He is going back to work this next week, so we transitioned to me taking her to school and dropping her off.  We will be doing an IEP, with accommodations, for both of the kids because of their medical needs. 

We also made the trip to our primary doctor this week.  Both kids will have referrals and specialists for various needs.  We are lucky to have a great doctor and she is worth the wait.  We have requested the same doctors as the ones who see Lilly Rose.  Neurologist is Dr. Isabello Artacho, the nicest guy on earth and Dr. Kaji, urologist, from Children's Hospital of Central California.

I will post some pictures later, as my Laptop is now broken and I am too busy to get it fixed before we go to Stanford for Lilly's Surgery.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The First week home Sept 16-24th

  Our first day home and we slept through church, but made it to the weekly Chinese school program.  We signed the kids up and bought their books.  We also learned that Bobby speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and another dialect  of local language.   In fact it was kind of cute, his question to the teachers was, "Why do I need to learn Chinese?  I speak 3 kinds of Chinese already!  Well, of course, we hope that he will be able to retain his language ability. 

We are going to stay low and close to home for the next month.  It will be a couple of weeks before we will start the kids in school.  We will get our new routine going and hang on.

The kids are smart, talk constantly, and need a lot of time to play hard.  Our house is quite loud now.  We are praying for a smooth transition for us all. Especially the older boys who feel invaded.

Back to work for me where there is piles of paperwork.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Trip Home

We left for home on Sept 15th at 9:30 am and arrived home 29 hours later.  Keith and I both slept about 4 hours on the plane and the kids slept 8 or 9. We flew from Guangzhou to Seoul then to LA.   Once we landed, it took about 90 minutes in the airport to go through customs them immigration.  We called the bus to the parking lot, then sat and waited another 20 minutes.  Nothing was so sweet as the sight of our car.  The drive home took forever and was complicated by tiredness and the kids not being on the same pee pee schedule.  Ha Ha.  When we arrived our wonderful sister-in-law, nieces and nephew had prepared a wonderful surprise for us. 

Pam has also prepared a bowl of popcorn and had cold Diet Pepsi in the fridge.  There is no better way to say  " I love You" at that moment than to give me that cold Pepsi.  In fact, Pam had actually prepared 3 total  meals for our first 3 days home and placed them in our fridge.  What a friend!  Thank You so much Pam.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Last Day in Guangzhou and Reflection on the China Economy

The Last day in Guangzhou was just a matter of getting ready to leave and relaxing.  I did not take a single picture.  So I thought I would reflect on appearance of China a bit.  The greatest reality of China was how much things had changed in 5 years.  We have the unique situation of having visited the same 3 cities that we were in 5 years ago.  The traffic is horrible, but the driving is better.  Though still absurd by our standards.  The people appear more modern both in dress and behavior.  The buildings continue to be more modern and there are fewer dilapidated structures among the new buildings.  The culture is fast and rather self oriented, unless one is in a 5 stare Hotel.  The first 3 stories of buildings are usually businesses.  Above that are wast opened windows with underwear hanging to dry.  If you do not look up, you would never guess.

Our guide explained to us that Guangzhou is the largest exporter of garments (clothes) in the world.  There are hundreds of large factories in the area.  Eight or nine years ago Guangzhou was 8 million people, it is now 24 Million people.  There are 30,000 people employed at the Nike plant alone.
So, this is also why there are so many foreigners. They have come to take advantage of the low cost labor.  We spoke to people from Syria, Yemen, and the Netherlands, all doing business in China.   The face of China's Cities is changing.

 The cost of living has tripled along with the population.  With growth comes inflation.  One of the things that the government did was to pay the farmers to sell their land to make way for business.  In exchange, the farmers were given property in the large apartment complexes.  They now rent these properties, at vastly elevated rents, more than tripling their rental income in comparison to their farming income.  Good deal for them.

What this all means to US?  The prices are going up.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Consulate Appointment

We we not allowed to take pictures inside the consulate.  But, we did take a few pictures on the outside.  The appointment it's self was a long wait for a few questions and a long look at our kids.
There were a few toys for the kids and it was not unpleasant.  I mean after all this was the final step to the adoption and nothing else is importan,t if we can not bring the kids home to the United States.

The Conners
The Nielsons
Our Guide, Simon, with the kids