Monday, November 29, 2010

Mission Accomplished!

The elusive Christmas card photo!  It becomes more elusive with each new child.  And then, add Wenxin to the mix.  Click here to see our first family photo.  All you can see of Wenxin is the top of his head.

But recently, he's been looking at old family photos and commenting that they are missing a very important person -- HIM!

He's also pointed out that in our new family photo, he plans to be the child sitting on Mama's lap.  Not Katherine or Julia, but -- you got it, Wenxin.

So I played it up.  "Mama wants a family photo with Wenxin on Mama's lap."  He began to warm up to the idea. 

We decided to take the photo in our back yard to minimize stress.  Yes, that broken down old fence is in my backyard.  It's my neighbor's fence that was blown down by Hurricane Charley in 2004.  All that's left is a panel or two, and I guess it makes a nice backdrop if you want a casual rustic look for your Christmas card picture.

Thirty minutes beforehand, I fed Wenxin one of his favorite meals.  I tried to change his clothes. When he put on the shirt I requested, but balked at the pants, I just backed off.

Then I promised him that if he smiled nicely so Mama could have a good photo of our family, he could have a whole pack of bubble gum.

At first things did not look promising.  When we all smiled, he scowled. 

Then we tried another approach.  "Let's all make angry faces."  And here's what we got.
 He ran behind the fence and peeked through a hole. . .
And hung upside down like a monkey. . .
It was kind of contagious. 

Finally, all our efforts paid off.  I think we have a winner.  Coming soon to mailboxes everywhere!

Christmas Cookies Christmas
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Downloaded from Wenxin's Camera

Wenxin takes that little camera and documents everyday life at our house:  the good, the bad and the ugly.  The fat, the tired, even wrinkles and nose hairs.  Yep, he likes extreme close-ups, but I'll spare you.  Guess I'm really trying to spare me.
We've been having really long homeschool days.
Daddy was brave enough to get a haircut, and we have about 30 photos to prove it.
Look what happened next.
Didn't I make a rule against stuff like this?
Wenxin's getting way too good at the Wii.
The TV provides endless photo ops.  


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Conversations that Wear Me Out

I'll probably never publish this post.  This is probably just a chance to vent a little and then hit "delete."

A lot of my conversations these days end up wearing me out. 

It usually starts with someone asking a "why" question about Wenxin's adjustment.  I try to briefly explain things about older child adoption that it's taken me over a year to learn.  A year of reading tons of books and blogs.  A year of talking with other adoptive parents.  Plus two months of actually getting to know my new son and reading more and asking more questions of folks who've "been there done that."

I offer my best "short answer."  Then. . .

Raised eyebrows.  An objection.  A concerned look.

The most tiresome are the conversations where I feel the need to defend something that goes against what a person would normally think.  Like . . .

- the fact that Wenxin would not like to meet the Chinese person they know and talk to them in Chinese. (I got this one wrong initially.  I thought he'd like to talk to Chinese people in Chinese.  Not sure what it triggers in his little mind, but right now he doesn't seem to want to go there.)

- the fact that even though he's 7 1/2, he's still terrified of doctors and dentists.  And strangers, even when they are family friends.

- the fact that we don't feel it's best to force him to switch to an American name unless he wants to switch.

- the fact that while Wenxin faces many challenges, learning English is not one of them.  Language learning is coming naturally. 

- the fact that we aren't going to "spank" for the behavior they just observed because we are starting from square one teaching Wenxin how to live in a family.  We're also not going to send him to his room.

It's probably tiring too because it brings up all kinds of insecurity in me.  Because while I've read a lot of books and talked to a lot of people, Wenxin is a unique individual with a unique history.  There are no "cookie-cutter" answers.  So when someone questions my judgement, I wonder, "Am I doing this wrong?"

And that's exhausting.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's the Smile

I posted this crazy"bath-time hair" photo on my Facebook earlier today.  One of my soccer friends who's seen Wenxin several times a week ever since he came home commented that he looked "different."  He looks different to me to too.  At first I thought it was just the wet hair.  And then it hit me. . . it's that enormous ear to ear smile. 

It's not his normal look.

Of course this photo was taken in the bath.  You may remember that bath-time, especially bath-time with bubbles, has always had a magical effect on Wenxin. 

I'm looking forward to the day when big smiles like this are spontaneous and frequent. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Saved by a Meatloaf

Take a naturally beautiful girl.  Add a famous hairstyle, mom's new white bathrobe, her brother's Nerf gun and what do you get?  One beautiful Princess Leia look alike on October 31. 

We made it through Halloween - whew!  Four kids, four costumes, one newly adopted son who melted down and refused to dress up, but enjoyed trick or treating anyway.  Now, I'm probably going to gain ten pounds, sneaking candy from the kids' bags tucked away high on top of the fridge.

We've been home from China six weeks now.  I'm wondering if six weeks is the standard point where new adoptive parents just bottom out? 

This week I've been hit by a wave of exhaustion.  The last six weeks (and the 2 1/2 before in China) have been intense and I don't see an end in sight. 

I was saved this week by a meatloaf.  A friend at work made it for us and sent it home ready to pop in the freezer for future use.  I heated it up tonight and it filled my house with a yummy smell.  Tasted great too!

So many different people have prayed for us and served us in practical ways.  From helping us get ready by painting our house to delivering home cooked meals and restaurant gift cards our first month home  - the body of Christ has been a blessing to us. 

Do you have a heart for the orphans of the world and yet feel that God is not calling you personally to adopt?  Maybe God is calling you to help by coming alongside a family who is adopting.  This link from Focus on the Family shares practical ways the church can help in a little booklet called Wrapping  Around Adoptive Families:  How to Provide Support to those Called to Adopt.  Take a look!