Another adoptive mom decided to do a special blog project this month. She has featured a different adoption story each day on her blog and called it 'Project Chosen'. It has been really neat to read each story and today it is our story. The link is on the right- just click on the project chosen button or go to http://www.threadsoffaithfulness.blogspot.com/.
June 21, 2009- We quickly left the church service in Beijing and boarded our own van to go to the airport. We flew to Xi'an in the province of Shaanxi, China. Our guide picked us up in a van- with a driver- and started talking to us all about the history of Xi'an. She told us we were on our way to meet our son. Then she started quizzing us about China. We just wanted to ask about Alex. We got to the Civil Affairs office and began the paperwork. Alex came in with his care-takers. He was not scared or shy really. He loved playing with the bubbles we had brought and laughed at Ryan. Nick was jumping up and down. He kept telling Alex 'I'm your brother Nick.' Alex stood up straight and recited all his Chinese poetry for us and the they told us it was time to go. I picked Alex up and carried him to the elevator. He never looked back. He didn't cry or act scared, he just let himself be carried. He didn't make eye-contact with us or smile, but by the next day he was laughing and smiling. Alex just acted like he belonged from the very start!
We stayed in Shaanxi for five days. Our favorite part of the tour- besides getting Alex, of course- was getting to see the Terra Cotta Soldiers. It was amazing to see. We also spent a lot of time in the swimming pool and crossing a very dangerous street- at least to us American drivers- to go to a mall and food court. We would each pick up one of the boys and wait for a little break in the traffic and then run halfway across the street to a stopping point. Then we would wait again and try to dodge the cars to get to the other side. We would go to KFC and Wal-mart and found a really good Chinese restaurant.
After we left Shaanxi, we flew to Guanghzhou to finish up paperwork for Alex. There was a lot of confusion at this point and I was not feeling good, but we still had some enjoyable days. We rode a van to Hong Kong and managed to get an early flight home. We arrived home on July 5th- I think. I went to the hospital and the boys stayed with my parents for a few days.
July 2009- We were adjusting to life with two boys. Nick and Alex shared a room and Nick shared all his toys with Alex. Nick was so excited to have a brother but found it hard to know how to play with him and get along with him at first. It was hard not being able to communicate. Alex didn't really know how to be a part of a family but he was learning more everyday. Our Sunday School class threw a welcome home party for Alex at Incredible Pizza. He really enjoyed that a lot!
August 2009- Alex and Nick were starting to really enjoy playing together. Alex began speaking short English phrases and that made it easier for Nick to be able to accept him as a playmate. Nick started Kingergarten and Alex was happy to have some time alone with Mommy during the day. However, he quickly learned that he missed his new playmate Nick and would ask when it was time to go get Nick. Nick enjoyed the break time at school and felt very special that he was the older brother and going to school. But he would run to Alex each day after school and give him a hug.
September 2009- Alex and I went to Grandma Hunn's house. He met some of my family and enjoyed playing with our cousin Anna. October 2009- Alex dressed up as a fire-fighter for his first halloween. He kept telling everyone he was a fire truck. We went to church and Alex was thrilled by all the candy and people and games.
November 2009- Alex enjoyed seeing all the Christmas decorations and playing with the nativity set and village set. Nick was so confused on his first Christmas but since Alex was a little older and had Nick to explain things to him, he was pretty excited.
December 2009- We celebrated our first Christmas with Alex. Nick had a wonderful year getting to open presents with Alex and play with him during Christmas break.
I made the boys special gloves for their special hands. Now if they would just keep them on when they play outside. Alex and Nick get along really well now and both have things to teach each other. Alex loves to color, draw, paint, and do anything you give him with his hands. He has helped Nick learn to enjoy doing things like that more. One of Alex's Christmas gifts was a Zoob set. He loves to build all kinds of creatures- mostly dinosaurs and lions so they can roar really loud. January 2010- We spent a weekend in Branson at the Welk's Resort. They have a new indoor waterpark with a big waterslide. Nick would have never tried until he saw Alex do it. They had a great time chasing each other with water guns- well, mostly they both ganged up on me and Ryan and chased us.
January 26, 2010- We celebrated Alex's 5th birthday with a 'party' at our house. We invited both sets of Grandparents for dinner. Alex was so excited to get to open presents and get all the attention! We were so happy to have him at home with us for a birthday. It is hard to imagine we missed his first four birthdays although we did know about him on his fourth birthday- which made that one really hard!
February 2010- We had a great day at the St. Louis Zoo with the boys.
My plan was to take Alex to get pictures made in a few weeks. Then he flipped over his tricycle at the Y and landed on his eye. It didn't help that he was wearing sunglasses. I guess the only good news is I got to do some holding and comforting time with him. I don't get a whole lot of that with Alex. He wanted to leave the Y so I had to end my new class early. I'm hoping the spider man icepack will help it not to look horrible by tomorrow and we'll postpone pictures for now. I want his hair to grow out anyway. I cut it too short :)
Today, it has been 8 months since we met Alex and 2 1/2 years since we met Nick. We took them to the newest restaurant in town after church today- the Oriental Buffet. Of course, they loved it and both ate a lot of noodles. Yesterday was a beautiful warm sunny day so I took the boys to Mastodon and Powder Valley. We wanted to hike at Mastodon but it was way too muddy. Nick loves to do the hike up the hill- with all the steps- and he loves the museum there. We ended up just playing in the field for a long time and on the playground. Then we went to Powder Valley and hiked the "long" trail which wasn't that long but the boys liked saying they did the long trail. The only thing that would have made it a better day is if Ryan had been with us- he was at work :(
This morning, we watched a show about the St. Louis Zoo. We thought it would be interesting but as Ryan stated on his facebook status- it was pretty boring. According to Ryan, he would have rather watched paint dry, done someone's taxes, listened to Al Gore describe how he invented the internet or watched Celtic Thunder on PBS. We think these pictures of our day "at the Zoo" are much more interesting. We had a great day on February 3rd taking the boys to the Zoo.
Nick and Alex have some pretty interesting conversations in the car. Yesterday, when we were driving home from school, Nick said "Alex, what is your favorite thing?" Alex replied, "Ummm, eat spicy noodles." Then Nick said "Nope! Try again." So Alex said "ummmm, play and read books with Nick." And Nick said...
"That's right! You got it. You win the piston cup. Now don't forget you are suppose to say read books with Nick. Okay?"
Wow, those older siblings are something else, aren't they Jackie? She had to put up with me all those years so I guess she knows what Alex is going through.
But later that night, after a kid body-slammed Alex to the floor at McDonald's, Nick said in the car "Alex, I need to tell you something, I love you very much. Do you understand?"
Alex did not respond by saying oh, I love you so much too Nick you are the best brother in the world. But he did say yes and he didn't roar at Nick. So that is progress!
And mentioning another little brother, here is a picture of my newest nephew Tyson. He is 3 weeks old (yesterday), but this picture was taken when he was about 24 hours old.
I love to teach piano and am always researching new ideas, games, activities, and music to make piano fun!
I am blessed with a loving and supportive husband and three amazing kids. We have traveled to China three times now to bring home Nick, Alex, and Rylie!