Friday, April 26, 2013

For the blog deprived from the sleep deprived

I apologize in advance if this blog makes no sense.  I feel like I'm in a fog and cannot completely think clearly.  Jet lag is stupid.  Matt & the girls went back to their regular stuff today.  I hope they are faring okay.  If you see them and they look lost, help them out, will ya? 
 
Our flights home were pretty uneventful, which is good.  It seems Samuel's only relief from the torment of sitting in a seat that long was to go to the bathroom.  We did that A LOT.    For an incredibly long trip, we could not have asked for better.  Actually, for the whole two weeks, we could not have asked for better.  Our prayer warriors were faithful, I know that without asking. 
 
Samuel is adjusting really well.  New scenarios are very scary and the only way he knows to express that fear is to cry.  The vast majority of the time, he is happy and content.  He is completely goofy and likes to make us laugh.  I can report that he thinks looking at our dogs through the window is really funny and getting close enough for them to touch him brings on hysterics (the bad kind).  One step at a time. 
 
Nighttime has been a bit of a challenge.  He likes his bed and doesn't have a problem getting in it and going to sleep.  A couple of times each night, he wakes up and he is very scared.  Once he knows we're here, he's good.  The parents going back to sleep after that is the tough part ;)
 
I will admit that my camera has not yet been unpacked, but here's a couple of cell phone pics.  He does like his Lincoln logs, but he only sorts the pieces by size.  No building necessary.  He also has plain wooden blocks that are three colors.  He sorts them by color.
 The Tonka truck carries lots of things out of his room - cars, blocks, whatever.  He'd love it if he could figure out how to ride in it. 
For those of you who will be meeting Samuel in person soon, I will warn you that he has a bluish color to his skin.  Because of his heart condition, he just isn't getting enough oxygen.  We have an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist on Monday for tests.  Hopefully we will have him doing better soon.

I took a really cute video to share.  Too bad I can't figure out how to get it here.  Forgive me, but I'll work on it later.

Now, in completely random order, here are some things that I enjoy that I had completely taken for granted before this trip.

*drinkable tap water   *ice cold drinks  *my house  *my van  *my bed  *food that doesn't involve rice or noodles  *my shower that has a not so slippery floor  *familiar, pleasants smells  *clear blue Oklahoma sky  *traffic laws (one car per lane, slowing down for pedestrians crossing the street, use of blinkers, etc)  *QuikTrip, Reasors and even Walmart  *people who apologize if they almost run you over *two daughters who totally roll with the flow and always rise to the occasion  *a husband who puts my needs above his - two different guides looked at me during our trip and said, "He loves you very much."  *the POWER in prayer  *family and friends who really care about my family

There's probably more, but the brain is shuuuutttttingggg doooowwwwnnn.

I promise I'll get my camera out soon.

Ta-ta for now.

~Martha

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coming Home!!!!

A couple of signs at the Guangzhou zoo today that amused me. 
 Matt wants to live in a carnivore zone ;)
This precious lady has helped us every step of the way.  Grace is appropriately named.  Samuel really enjoyed talking to her in Cantonese about the zoo animals.
The zoo had statues of all the Chinese zodiac animals.  Matt & Courtney were both born in the year of the ox.
 I was born in the year of the rabbit.
 Cassidy the year of the horse.
 And Samuel, the year of the rat (I remember seeing Mickey Mouse a lot for this year).
Now, for a couple of zoo animals.  We were disappointed to find that the pandas who normally live in this zoo had been transported to the big panda facility in Sichuan for fertility stuff.  Sorry, y'all, no panda pics. 
 If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to look at the next picture too closely.  The giraffe was giving birth.  We found this absolutely fascinating.  Well, Cassidy just kept hiding her eyes and saying, "Disgusting."
There were several groups of school children at the zoo.  When they passed us, they all smiled and waved and enjoyed saying hello to us in English.  So cute.
We just got Samuel's Visa to enter the US!  It's 4:30 p.m. Tuesday here and I am fighting the urge to head to the Hong Kong airport right now and see if we can catch an earlier flight.  I'm not gonna, but I sure wanna.  We leave the hotel at 5:00 am Weds morning China time to take a 3 hour drive to the Hong Kong airport. We arrive in Tulsa on United 1690 at 10:37 p.m. Weds night (No, I don't expect a welcome home party at that hour, folks).  Did the math on the time changes.  That's almost 31 hours travel.  Needless to say, your prayers are very much appreciated! 

~ Martha


Parting thoughts:

Martha Elaine Meadors, it doesn't matter which side of the world we're on, when I'm in your arms, I'm home!!!  You are a beautiful, amazing woman and I'm so proud of you.  You have been spectacular in this trip.  You've been called to be a mommy again, and you're awesome at it!!!  I love you!!!

We have no room for complaint, whatsoever when a car gives us trouble, or a washing machine or refrigerator, or whatever other creature comfort we have goes out.  If China is any comparison, the standard of living is far superior in the U.S., even for us middle-classers, than anywhere else on this planet.  We are so blessed to live in the country we live in.

The metro Tulsa area, and Sand Springs fit me just fine!!!

I'm sick of rice.  Ready for a big juicy steak.

Kids are remarkable, and Martha and I are blessed with three of the greatest kids ever!!  Cassidy amazed me with her resiliance, and Samuel is doing the same.  He is just as smart as Courtney and Cassidy, and his capacity for studying a situation and figuring out what's going on is nothing short of amazing.  Courtney showed remarkable grace when Cassidy came into the family.  As a matter of fact, she showed more grace than many of the adults around her did.  I remember seathing at times whenever an adult would abruptly end a conversation with Courtney in favor of Cassidy.  Courtney always seemed to take it in stride.  Courtney now is more like an adult figure to Samuel, and Cassidy is faced with extending the same grace to Samuel and so far she's been incredible.  I'm so proud of both my girls, as well as my son!!!

Oklahoma sunsets are breath taking!

I'm sick of noodles.  Ready for some Mexican food!

I'm tired of keeping my mouth shut in the shower to make sure I don't swallow any water.

Samuel will be blessed to have such incredible family surrounding him.  His Pappy is the smartest man I've ever known.  I love him dearly and the greatest compliment I can give him is that he has my utmost respect.  Samuel's Aunt Cheryl is pretty cool too (even if she's a Poke)!  I think the world of her.  His Uncle Joe might be a bit tough on the outside, but when it comes to Courtney and Cassidy he's always been like a teddy bear, and I think the same will apply to Samuel.  Cousin Jacob was always a protector to Courtney, and Samuel is going to be loaded with sisters and cousins, including Ryan, who will watch after him.  They can mess with him all they want, but anyone else better lookout...  Samuel's Memaw is one of the strongest individual's I've ever know.  I have so much respect for my mother and I love her more than words can say.  She is an awesome example to Samuel of the ability to persevere and overcome!  His Granny was one of the most kind hearted, faithful ladies I've ever known.  He never got the chance to meet her, but she's watching over him from heaven along with his Great Grandma.

The Soul'd Out family he is joining is nothing short of remarkable!  The lives of Todd, and especially Mark and Lisa and their families have been so intertwined with ours, that there are very few memories I have over the last 20+ years exclude them.  You guys have been friends that stick closer than a sister or brother, and Samuel is going to be able to enjoy not only the music we make together, but the honor and privilege of having his life intersect with theirs.  His life will be richer for it, just as Courtney's, Cassidy's, Martha's and mine are.

His first Sunday in the USA he will step into Olivet Baptist Church and be introduced to many prayer warriors who've helped him find his family.  They will love on him, just as they have loved the rest of us.  They will help Martha and I teach Samuel about the love of Jesus Christ, and, who knows, might even help lead him to Jesus!  (Amie Taber, I've always been a little mad at you - not really!)   They will be friends, mentors and brothers and sisters in Christ to Samuel.  He doesn't know it, but he will be blessed beyond measure with the OBC family - the greatest there is.

Thanks to our family, church family, and China friends for helping us.  We will never forget how you've blessed us.

I don't necessarily prescribe to the notion that it takes a village.

But it's sure nice to have the right ones there to help!

All our love!

~ Matthew

Monday, April 22, 2013

The US Says He's Ours Too!

Big Day!  We cleared our consulate appointment.  The US agrees with China that this little fellow is a Meadors.
A visit to Shamian Island was so nice.  They have little shops with traditional Chinese wares.  So many less shops than 8 years ago.  Made us kind of sad that so many have gone out of business.
 Statues on Shamian are so fun.
 Lucy's Restaurant serves American food!  We all enjoyed. 
 Samuel has a hilarious imitation of Cassidy.  You'll just have to see it to appreciate it :)
 The evening held a river boat cruise on the Pearl River.  It was a wonderful change of pace.  Isn't Courtney pretty?
 Out on the deck looking out on the lights.  Beautiful.
 Entertainment inside - no, it wasn't Matt, but Samuel thought his balloon on Dad's head was funny.
The family on the river boat.
The Canton Tower view from the boat. 
 
 
The adoption is DONE!!!  So glad to have the U.S. consulate appointment behind us!  I was kind of surprised at how nice it was to see a full sized U.S. flag upstairs in the consulate.  Guess when you're this far from home anything from there is nice.  After the consulate appointment we enjoined a visit to Shamian Island, where the U.S. consulate used to be, and where we stayed when we got Cassidy.  It was nice to be someplace where there was less hustle and bustle.  The Island is like a peaceful retreat for us Okies who aren't used to a city of 15 million.  Martha and the girls enjoyed their shopping.  The riverboat cruise was nice.  I wouldn't recommend it for the cuisine alone, but we thoroughly enjoyed the sights.
 
The family dynamic is still developing.  Samuel is so smart, he's learning quickly.  He can identify your nose, ears, mouth - becareful with the eyes!  It's remarkable to think that when we pass through customs in San Francisco he will become a citizen of the USA.
 
One day left in China.  All we're doing tomorrow is to visit the Guangzhou zoo.  Once that's done we'll be preparing for our very early departure Wednesday morning.
 
I would like to thank, again, everyone who has prayed for us and helped us in any way.  I can never thank you enough!  It's amazing to think back to 17 years ago when we were doubting we'd ever have a child and now look at us.  We've got a Courtney, Cassidy, and Samuel!
 
Thank you Lord for your goodness!
 
~ Martha and Matthew
 
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Good day

The Garden Hotel lobby has beautiful fresh flowers that are brought in every week.  They are arranged differently each week too.  They are so pretty and make the lobby smell wonderful.
Hee hee, have you seen the movie "Up?"  Look at Cassidy..."Squirrel!"
Big smiles from the little man.  He loves his stroller.
Courtney's beautiful smile.
The weather in Guangzhou was perfect today.  Lower temps and humidity made for a great day to visit a local park.
Cassidy had to practice her gymnastics jumps.  An older lady came by to ask our guide about our curious family.  She commented that Cassidy was very graceful. 

 Man made lakes in the park.
We enjoyed a little shopping today, but we were much more in the mood for the serenity of the park.  It was a good day!  Consulate appointment tomorrow.
~Martha & Matthew

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Good News on TB Test!

Good news for today...Samuel's TB test was negative and we got his passport.  Now we've gotta wait around for the Consulate appointment and for his visa to be added to that passport. 

We had a long day of not doing much.  Samuel continues to grow and test.  He is like a little parrot, repeating so much.  I love the way he says Cackidee (Cassidy) and Courtmee (Courtney), but he doesn't really call them by name yet.  He just yells, "Hey!"  As far as using appropriate words, he says Baba (Daddy), hey, and thank you.  He volunteers kisses, they are like lipless mouth pops, but the sentiment is there.  This evening, he started using the sign for all done.  That was fun.  He gets those little boy impulses to throw things at his sister's head and such.  That's not working out great for him.  He's also learned that when he mimicks, even if he is being told no, that he can sometimes make us laugh.  Tonight at dinner, he wagged his finger back and said no.  It was too funny to keep a straight face. 

In some ways, little Samuel acts like a five year old.  In some ways, he acts older.  In some ways, he acts younger.  Samuel simply cannot stand for things to not be in their proper place.  After we finish eating, he wants the dishes all stacked.  All the shoes in the room have to be together.  He has reorganized the books and papers on the desk many times.  Trash has to be promptly thrown away.  I can tell he has learned to be a helper.   He is not socially where most 5 year olds are because he simply hasn't had the opportunity to learn.  He seems to catch on very quickly, so I am anxious to see where he will be as his English language skills improve and he is exposed to more situations.

Samuel has thought Courtney to be quite funny most days.  He was treating her like a naughty little brother today.  This picture was taken yesterday.
 This is also a pic from yesterday.  This is the view out of our hotel window.  This bit of blue sky as the sun was setting was the first we had seen in days.  I really can't tell half the time if we are seeing clouds or smog.  This is SUCH a huge city.


 ~ Martha


Quiet today.  Got out a couple of times, but not a lot of sightseeing to be done within walking distance of our hotel.  The schedule, however, picks up from here on out.  I think we're all at the point where we're pretty homesick, but we're avoiding talking about it.  I can report that we've had discussions on whether we'd eat Mexican food at Chimi's first, or steak at Outback when we get home.  Right now I'd guess it's fifty-fifty.

The girls are awesome!  They're so good with Samuel, even when he's being a little toot.  Courtney gets frustrated with him, but I can tell she also feels a certain level of responsibility for him as well.  The family dynamic is forming, and it's fun to watch it develop.  I just continue to pray that it develops in the manner the Lord would have it.

Hopefully more to talk about tomorrow.  Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support!

~ Matthew

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stuff

 
Another quiet day in Guangzhou.  We had no official appointments today and our guide was busy with another family.  We spent the day in our hotel for the most part.  We did walk over to the Starbucks for a sandwich and drink for lunch.  It was really good.  Matt found the fitness center for a work out while the rest of us visited the children's playroom.  Samuel enjoys the change of pace and playing in a place where there's not so many "no's."  Courtney found a couple of NHL games for her and Matt to watch on her ipad today.  That was fun for them.  We've been watching the two Addams Family movies this afternoon.  Not great cinema, but kind of amusing, and it's in English. 

New discovery today - the reason for Samuel's temper tantrum with his sisters yesterday was that they messed with his backpack.  We packed a few little toys in that backpack and gave it to him a few minutes after we met him.  I noticed today that he wasn't playing with the toys in it.  Matt picked it up and starting rummaging through it to find two little cars that were in the bottom.  Samuel came completely unglued.  Sad reality of orphan life.  He's never had his own "stuff" before.  He would rather keep it packed up and safely his than to take the toys out and play with them.  He did finally calm down and play with the cars with Matt, but then he promptly packed them back up and hasn't gotten anything out since.  Makes me sad.  Can't wait to get home and let him see all the toys in his room that are all his. 

Tomorrow is another slow day.  Results on Samuel's TB test will be in tomorrow.  Praying for no news, which is good news.  Our guide will pick up his passport tomorrow as well.  Sunday is a shopping day, much to Matt's chagrine.  Monday will be very busy - go to US Consulate to take oath, go to Shamian Island for shopping, followed by a river boat cruise at night on the Pearl River.  Tuesday holds a visit to the zoo (Cassidy can't wait to see the pandas), then getting Samuel's visa so we can head home with him on Wednesday!  Sorry for the long diatribe - I needed to progress to the coming home part ;)

I want to end my part with thanks again for prayers.  Our guide just keeps talking about how incredibly well Samuel has handled everything.  We know that's because of answered prayer.  We are here because of answered prayer.  So I continue to request, knowing that He is listening.

Requests:  Continued health and safety for us all, negative TB test, smooth finish to paperwork, for Samuel to physically and emotionally handle that long trip home well.

Now, for the pictures...

Mr. Samuel is a slapstick kind of kid.  Finds the physical play hilarious.
 Any boy who has ever played with Matt know that the shirt over the head is always involved.  Samuel thinks that's funny too.
He thinks Matt's funny in general.  Wish we had a video of Samuel trying to do the Donald Duck voice like Matt.  Too funny.
 
~ Martha
 

Martha mentioned our realization today of Samuel's hangup with the backpack and it's prized contents.  Totally floored me.  Possessions are something we take for granted.  Our kids take them for granted.  How many cell phones are in your household?  We have 4.  Computers?  Four laptops and an iPad.  Three cars, three TVs, clothes, jewelry... Well, you get the point.

So much stuff we've collected, while Samuel treasures a $2 hot wheels car.  Makes me wonder what else I might take for granted in my life.  Close friends?  Family?  Freedom?  All of the mercy the Lord pours out in my life on a daily basis.

Samuel will learn that his cars and backpack aren't going to be taken from him.  But our job is to teach him the truly important things along the way.  We want him to discover that a true friend is more precious than gold.  We want him to learn that he has the love of a family that will never give up on him.  He'll never lose our love.  No matter what.

Most of all, our desire - no, our responsibility, is to introduce him to the only One who loves him more than we do.  To the One who laid down his life so that Samuel might live. 

From the day Courtney was born Martha and I felt this weight that she know the Lord.  She accepted him during VBS at our home church of Olivet Baptist Church.  From the moment we met Cassidy, the heat was back.  We had to know that she belonged to our gracious God.  Martha had the priviledge of leading her to Jesus one afternoon in our home. 

Then we felt that the greatest assignments in our lives had been completed. 

Now it's back.  The niggling in the back of my mind.  That need to know that Samuel will live forever.

If I could, I'd give him mine, cause I know where to go to find it.  But I can't.  He has to find that for himself.  But I can, and we will, do everything possible to introduce him to the Lord.

It's the greatest possession he could ever have.

~ Matthew

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:20-21

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Medical exam completed/hard questions

Family photo op outside of the Chen Ancestral Hall in Guangzhou.  Incredible artistry from the past and present in this museum.  The picture below was probably my favorite in the museum. You see, I fancy myself a decent "stitcher." This picture is embroidery. Real art. Unbelievable.
  More photo ops.
 Ivory carvings.  The intricacies are amazing.
 The Meadors kids!
Our sweet guide spends much time explaining things to Samuel in his native tongue of Cantonese.
 
Samuel continues to laugh, smile, mimic, and test those boundaries.  He's picking up on things so quickly.  What a smart, resiliant little guy he is.  He went over to spend time in his sisters' room today while we filled out - yes, more paperwork.  After a while, they called and asked if we would come get him.  He was having a little temper fit for his sisters.  Getting comfortable?  Yep.  He has also relaxed into cuddles today, which is a very positive side of the getting comfortable. 

Prayers for a negative TB test would be appreciated!

~Martha
 
Today we had Samuel's physical and blood draw for TB.  He did great on the physical part, except that he wouldn't cooperate for the eye exam.  However, we did not like the blood draw at all.  There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth during and after.  Fortunately we had a sucker handy and that made all better.  He is such a good kid - just like big sisters!  Don't know how Martha and I got so lucky with our kids, but they're all great.
 
Samuel continues to get to know his family, just as we continue to get to know him.  He did learn about the corner a couple of times today - it's not his fave place to visit!   :-)  The next couple of days are going to be very quiet for us.  Nothing scheduled for tomorrow, and just a little bit of shopping (yip-eee) for Saturday.  We're all at that point in the trip where we're ready to head home, but we've still got too long to go to really dwell on it.
 
I've got to address something that has been eating at me since we got to Guangzhou.  It's actually one thing that has really slowed down our sightseeing and robbed us of some fun - especially during the evening time - and that has been the proliferation of beggars on the streets outside our hotel.  It's something that's been on my heart for several days now.  The street just to the west of the hotel is referred to as McDonald's street by most of the tourists, but Courtney calls it Starbuck's street.  This street could be such a cool place.  There are noodle shops, a Thai food joint, a Pizza Hut that serves much more than pizza, and of  course a Starbucks and a McDonalds, just to name a few.  There are some other cool shops and street vendors as well.
 
But there are also beggars on the sidewalks, strategically stationed about 75 feet apart.  These aren't just any beggars either.  Several of them are so deformed that it makes me wonder if they've been surgically or forcefully altered.  Several of the them are prostrate on the sidewalk, wearing nothing more than a loin cloth, flopping around a pan or hat lying by them.    It breaks my heart to see such human tragedy, but it disturbs the girls terribly - so much so that they don't want to get out at night.  To be honest, it disturbs me too.  I'm not sure a caring person could walk up and down the sidewalks and not be troubled by such a sight.  We found similar images on the sidwalk outside the Forbidden City in Beijing.
 
What disturbs me more, is that I've got this sickening feeling that someone is profiting off these poor souls.  See, they're not out there all day every day.  Most of them couldn't get out there on their own if they wanted.  Yet, by 5PM or so, there they are, and they seem to be precisely placed about 75 feet apart, as if they each have their own turf.  Someone is leaving them there and someone is picking them up - as far as I can tell, without even so much as a cup of water to sustain them.
 
It also bothers me at how easy it appears for everyone to walk right past them, or in a couple of instances, step right over them while on their way.  Have we, as a society, become so calloused to the human condition that we've lost compassion?  The question applies to me first and foremost.  I've left money in the past and I'm going to leave more, but I find myself wanting to do more for them.  Yet I mostly just walk by them, not knowing what it is I could do, and trying my best to avoid looking at these people on my way to my fancy room in the opulent Garden Hotel.  These beggars need the Lord as much as anyone.  And he loves them - as much as he loves me.  I don't know.  I don't know where the line is and what I can do to truly make a difference.  Maybe leaving money does allow someone to buy food for them.  But what if some evil person is pocketing most of it and using only enough to keep their cash cow alive?  I have no answers - I'm not smart enough.  Just questions and disappointment in myself for not doing more.  To quote Casting Crowns: "If we are the body, why aren't his arms reaching?"
 
I would ask that everyone who reads this stop long enough to pray for these poor individuals.  And I pray that all of us can do what we can to make our corners of the world better.
 
For all my failures, I'll rest my head tonight knowing that I'm making a difference in the lives of two former orphans.
 
~ Matthew

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quiet day in Guangzhou

Samuel is continuing to do amazingly well.  He has been mimicking lots of words, but today as Matt came into the room, he pointed and said, "Baba!"  That's Chinese for Daddy.  Sweet, sweet moment.

Our daughters continue to be amazing.  Samuel loves his sisters and they love him.

Below, you will see Samuel's ornery look.  He is definitely a little stinker.  We are working on that balance between making sure he completely trusts us and teaching him what no means.  We've tried no in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.  He doesn't respond appropriately to any of them, so I suspect he understands and is just being stubborn. 
We decided to try to swimming pool today.  When we stopped to take his t-shirt off in anticipation of swimming, he dropped his drawers too.  I was laughing so hard, it was hard to help him get them back up.  As far as swimming, it was an epic fail.  The water was cold and Samuel hated it.  I should have known that.  We ventured out to a store today and got some more Diet Pepsi and snacks, as well as a stroller for Samuel.  He just gets winded really easily we have too much walking ahead of us to carry him everywhere.  He cried really hard the first time we put him into it, but decided quickly that it was not only okay, but fun.  He giggled every time we hit a bump in the sidewalk. 

Just paused posting for a serious Samuel melt down.  His sisters have their own room and he did not want them to leave.  I then put him into the bath, further making him mad.  We saw some serious temper, but Daddy's firm "no" stopped the fit in its tracks.  He's now snuggled up in Daddy's lap.  I'm thinking we have some nasty show downs in our future, but I think the fact that he's comfortable enough to show his temper is actually probably a good thing.  Can't be all roses, huh?

Enough for that...gotta go back to the cuteness.
We made a trip to the police station today and had Samuel's picture taken for his passport.  He was a little sleepy and enjoyed a snuggle with Courtney.

Here's a video we took at Pizza Hut.  Yes, Pizza Hut is our favorite place here.  The pizza is really good as long as you avoid some of the more creative pizza toppings.  Interesting note...at Pizza Hut you can get everything from pizza to pasta to steak.  Made me think of Taco Bell in the movie Demolition Man.
video
 
I look forward to hearing those words voluntarily and with him completely understanding what he is saying.
~Martha
 
 
Martha gave you a good description of the day's events.  Tomorrow is a busy day.  I don't look forward to taking Samuel for his physical appointment.  It isn't going to be pretty.  As Martha mentioned, Samuel has been testing us a little more.  Maybe it's me being a "glass half full" kind of person, but I do believe that's a good sign.  It's a part of the process.  He's going to test the boundaries and we've got to set them.  Neither of us relish this, but as sweet as he is, he's also a strong-willed five-year-old boy.  He needs to know we love him enough to set and enforce the boundaries.  I get tickled at the girls.  They hate it if I get the least bit stern with him.  Today he was reaching to stick his finger in an electrical recept and I said "No."  He stopped, looked at me and turned back to the recept.  I jumped up and slapped his hand away before he got his little finger in it.  He frowned at me and held his hand, but walked away.  I thought the girls were going to beat me up, though.  I was the bad guy with all 3 kids for a little while, but it didn't take long before we were all on good terms again.  Such is the life of a dad with a new son.
 
Wouldn't trade it for anything!!!
 
~ Matthew
 
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Officially ours!

Absolutely could not be going better with Samuel.  He is silly, crazy, ornery, stubborn, and tries to make us laugh when we tell him no.  Wrestling with Dad and sisters comes naturally and completely cracks him up.


 His backpack is a prized possession.  He packs it, unpacks it, and packs it again.
 Samuel is not the only one having a little fun.  There is a small play room in the hotel for the kids.  Our visit there tonight resulted in much sillyness.


 Peek-a-boo!
 Rocking and rocking!
Aunt Cheryl...notice the OU shirt?  Matt wanted to make sure you saw it ;)
 
Today we went to the Civil Affairs office and finished our paperwork as far as China is concerned.  We promised that we want him and will never abuse or abandon him.  Well, duh ;)
We then went the very long way around to the store (my fault) to buy Samuel some shoes that actually fit and were boys shoes, not girls.  We are all happier with that.
 
Tomorrow, we go to the local police station to apply for Samuel's passport.
 
~Martha
 
 
Hi all, Martha wanted me to tell you she ended abruptly because Samuel was sitting in a chair yawning really big and she wanted to try and give him his first bath.  We'll see if it turns out like trying to give Cassidy her first bath - exactly analagous to trying to bath a cat!!
 
Samuel slept fairly well last night.  It took us about an hour to get him down, and he slept until two when he woke up scared and crying, so I scooped him into bed with us.  He woke up again at about five, once again scared.  I had to turn a light on, and when I did I saw that his eyes were still closed.  I said something to him and he opened his eyes.  He looked at me and then Martha and stopped crying and snuggled back in.  Good sign.
 
I hear much wailing, hold on.... Getting our hair washed can be traumatic!
 
We enjoyed a pretty good day today as we continued to get to know each other.  As Martha told you, we finished our China paperwork.  You can tell that lawyers and politicians have had their fingers in the adoption process because it takes a small forest of trees to complete the paperwork.  Sheesh.
 
Other than that, as Martha mentioned, Samuel is wonderful.  He is 100% little boy.  I don't think that playroom will ever be the same!   :-)
 
We had our first showdown today!  :-)   I had put a stool away and he wanted it back out.  I said no, and he locked eyes with me and began pulling it back out anyway.  So, I took it from him and put it back where I had it and told him no again.  Needless to say, this displeased him greatly.  He pouted at me until I made a funny face at him.  He laughed, and I no longer wore the title of bad cop.
 
I have so much on my mind that I want to say.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to get it out.  Suffice it to say that I am continually amazed by the grace God pours out on us every day, in every breath.
 
~ Matthew
 
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."   2 Corinthians 13:14