Thursday, December 29, 2011

One of those God things. . .

Steve here:

I just wanted to pass along something that happened yesterday- an interesting bit of God's work in our lives.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a visit with the orthopedic surgeon who will be working on Kaden's hip & knee. His hip is out of joint, his leg is slightly twisted and his knee doesn't bend correctly. This is why he was given up for adoption at birth and sent to a "special needs" orphanage.

The reason we went to this particular doctor was simple: when our son Hayden fell and broke his arm about six years ago, this was the doctor we went to. He was recommended by the ER people who initially set Hayden's arm. He was wonderful to our son, and his staff were great. Very competent, professional and nice folks. So, when it came to who we wanted to look at Kaden to see what could be done, Dr. L was an easy choice.

Our initial visit for Kaden went very well, and now after a CT scan on his hip and an MRI on his knee, we were back in Dr. L's office to make final plans on how to proceed.

The hip surgery will be significant, with a relocation of the leg bone down into the socket, a moderate re-building of the socket and a bit of rotating of the femur (by rotate I mean cut the bone, rotate and pin back together). A little work on the knee to straighten things out side-to-side, but any more on the knee will be at a later date, after the hip is sorted out. Like I said, significant surgery. 

While we were in the office, a staff member (Jim) was calling up some new X-rays onto the computer monitor. As he was doing this, he matter-of-factly mentioned that Dr. L is a specialist on hips, and other orthopedic surgeons refer their tough cases to him. 

Hmmmmm . . .

So, six years ago, we happened to be referred to a doctor for our son with a very average arm break - any good orthopedic doctor could have handled it fine - who happened to be a specialist on hips which happened to be immeasurably valuable because we happened to adopt a boy from across the globe who happened to be available for adoption because he had a hip issue.

Hmmmmm . . .

That's a lot of "happen"-ing going on.

It almost seems as if a mighty God was orchestrating some seemingly inconsequential circumstances (while Kaden was still being knit in his birth-mother's womb*) that would uniquely benefit him here and now. 

Yet another example of the deep truth of this verse:

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8:28. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

*To paraphrase Psalm 139:13

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Minute Gifts

Looking for some last minute gifts?

If so, may I interest you in Scentsy or Cookie Lee ?

Scentsy has wonderful warmers that use a low-watt bulb
to slowly melt specially formulated wax.
With no flame, smoke, or soot, 
the Scentsy wickless candle system 
is a safe way to enjoy more than 80 Scentsy fragrances.

Click on the Scentsy catalog photo above
to view all available products & to place your order.

Order now through December 16th and receive a 10% refund
from me on your Scentsy order.
(I will need to mail you a check  for the 10% refund, 
because I am unable to give the discount from my online Scentsy account.
10% refund is for product cost & does not include a discount on sales tax or shipping cost.)

Cookie Lee - Quality fashion jewelry for any occasion.
Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, watches, etc.

Click on the Cookie Lee catalog above
to view featured catalog items.
To order, please email me at
(To view the entire catalog & to place an order,
please email me at
and I will email you a link where you can view the entire catalog.)

Order now through December 16th and receive 20% off 
on all Cookie Lee purchases.
(20% off is for product cost & does not include a discount on sales tax or shipping cost.)

Please contact me at 
with any questions regarding Scentsy or Cookie Lee.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Boutique & Bake Sale

For all you Southern California residents,
you're invited to join us for a 
fun-filled Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale

A great opportunity to get ALL of your 
early Christmas shopping done in one place!

Mark your calendars for
Saturday, November 12th - 10am - 2pm

Vendors that will be joining us:
Feliz Flans * Scentsy * Mary Kay * Solomon Beads
Cookie Lee * More Than Words Photography
Homemade Wooden Candleholders & Birdhouses
Hairbows by MrsBusyLizzy * Holiday Ornaments by Julia
Gloria DeLaCruz Creations * Baby Cocoons, Hats & Gloves
The Still Picture Company * Thirty-one
Thanksgiving & Christmas Perler Bead Ornaments
SCD Posters & Prints * Baked Goods and More!

A portion of ALL sales will go towards Melody's adoption fund.

If you are interested in helping bake some yummies for our bake sale,
please email me at

For directions & other information, please email
Annette -
Alexis -

Feliz Flans

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love FLAN!!
My friend Alexis makes the best flan on the planet - I promise!

Alexis & her beautiful family are in the process of adopting
an adorable 7 year old girl from China named Melody.

The Alvarez family is in the process of fundraising to help bring their daughter home.
One of the things that they are doing is making homemade FLAN.

So, if you live in the Southern California area and love flan,
would you please help them bring their little girl home by contacting Alexis
and ordering your flan(s) today?!?

The small size flan will serve 2-4 people and 
the large size will serve 4-8 people.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home for 2 Months

It's hard to believe that we arrived home from China two months ago today with our sweet treasure!

Life has been quite busy since arriving back home. 
Our first weekend together as a family of 7 was lots of fun watching Kaden interact 
with his brothers and getting to know them. It was like he had been with us forever!!

(Jordan & Kaden)

Four days after arriving home, Camden & Jordan came down with really high fevers
and a week later, after not getting better, were diagnosed with pneumonia!

 (Camden & Kaden)

The boys got well just in time for us to head to Durango, Colorado 
for a much needed family vacation!
We had an amazing time in Durango and were really sad to have to leave and head home.
We'll hopefully post some photos soon from our trip.

(Hayden & Kaden)

Kaden is a very happy, loving little guy who has the cutest smile that just melts your heart!

 (Brendan & Kaden)

We are overwhelmed by God's goodness and how He has knit our family together!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

12 months and 10,000 miles later. . .

Yesterday (Saturday), after saying goodbye to each other one year ago in an orphanage in China - the only home either had known - Kaden and Solomon were reunited in Orange County, California. It was a moving experience for all of us - probably the moms most of all!

At first, the boys didn't quite know what to do - I'm sure it seemed strange and familiar at the same time - especially with "Parent Paparazzi" hovering around them, cameras clicking the whole time. Probably the most unexpected thing for Kaden was the fact that Solomon doesn't speak anything but English these days - he was so young when adopted that he didn't have much of a grasp of the Minnan/Mandarin mix Kaden speaks (we call it Minandarin - H/T to Brendan). When we asked Solomon what Kaden was saying, he'd say "I don't know!".

But, they figured out how to have fun anyway:

If you stop and think about it, how amazing is it that these two boys would end up together again literally halfway around the world? Gee, I wonder if God had anything to do with that?

Also, a health update on the family: we're all well! Camden and Jordan finished their final doses of antibiotics today, and except for an occasional cough and a bit of weakness from sitting or laying around for 3 weeks, they're doing great! Thank you all for your help - both physically (yummy food!) and spiritually (the prayers!).

We spent about 5 hours at the park - playing, resting, eating and starting all over again - until it was getting too dark to continue.

It was a great day, and by the time we were done, I think we all were satisfyingly exhausted.

Later last night, looking over the photos, I saw the one below, and thought of the final Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. So, to slightly paraphrase the great Bill Watterson:
It's a magical world, ol' buddy . . . Let's go exploring!

Posted by Steve, actually.
(With Annette's approval!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Update on the boys

Steve here - just a quick update on the health of our boys.

Camden and Jordan went in to the doctors yesterday (Friday) and got a shot of antibiotics
(fun! - not!!).
They continue to be sick, but aren't getting worse, and are actually getting a bit better. The other boys were checked by the doc, and they are all fine (yay!).

The ongoing prayer request right now is for continued recovery for Camden and Jordan.
A more specific request is that they both take their medicine - thick, white, yucky-tasting antibiotic - quickly and with as little drama as possible.

Also, keep Annette in your prayers. It's hard enough integrating a new son into a family with 4 boys already, but then add to that starting the homeschool year, and add to that 2 sick kids, and then I'm gone all day teaching. Life is overwhelming right now.

That's all for now, we'll try to update after the weekend is over.

Thank you in advance for the prayers and support!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Quick Update - and Prayer Request

Greetings to all - Steve here.

This is just a quick post to update you all on how we are doing.

First, Kaden is doing great! He's bonding and integrating into the family really well. He seems happy to be here, and he's definitely enjoying his brothers! Of course, it would be great if he could be fluent in English by tomorrow. . .   (ha!)

Our next two youngest, however, are not doing too well right now, and we would appreciate any prayers you could send on our behalf.

Both Camden and Jordan (boys #3 & #4, respectively) got sick last week - high fever, tired, etc. - and have not gotten better. Annette took them to the doctor yesterday (Wednesday), and it turns out they have both developed pneumonia!

They are tired, coughing, not eating well, and generally feeling yucky.

Our prayer requests would be:

    1) Complete, fast recovery
    2) That they would be able to stomach the anti-biotics they are taking.
        The stuff tastes ICKY, and it's a challenge for them to get it down. Jordan got it down
        last night, and it came back up about 10 minutes later.
    3) That the other boys would not get sick, and would do well during this time.
        Kaden is understandably a bit of a challenge right now - curious and into everything as he
        explores and learns his new world.

Well, gotta class to teach!

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Photos - Part 3

We're leaving, on a jet plane...
Here's Kaden as we leave for sunny, hot (but not humid!) California.

Not much to show for the actual flight. Because it was a night flight, they turned the lights down, and everybody pretended to sleep. Actually, Kaden got in about 8 hours of sleep, which was great, because it meant only about 3 hours of keeping him occupied after he woke up. He did great.

As we got home, this is what So.Cal. looked like:
That's downtown LA, all the way to the mountains. Who stole all our smog?!?

Whoever it was, thank you!

And what awaited us as we landed?
Lots of boys!

They were happy to see us, and totally excited to see their new little brother.
I think Kaden is going to like this...
Thanks to Alexis and Amador (and their kids Elijah & Angelina) for taking care of our kiddos while we were away, and bringing them to the airport, and thanks to Paul & Stacy (and new baby Jubilee) and Jay & Dee (and Elianah) for showing up as well. You are all so important to us.

Home!! For the first time.

Kaden is now an official Californian! In-N-Out fries!!
I wonder if you could order a Double-double "Fuzhou style"?

And now, a day and half after landing in America, Kaden went to his first ever Church service!

Finally, one anecdote:
During the church service, after the music, Kaden got bored, and as opposed to all the adults that this happens to, he let it be known that he was no longer interested in sitting there. So, off we went to walk to halls and wander until the service was over.

I spied a drinking fountain, and figured Kaden might want a drink, so I pointed him to it, and when we got there and I turned in on for him, he did the only thing he knew to do with running water and a basin - he put his hands under it to wash them!

I realized then that by growing up in a country where you don't drink the tap water, he had probably never seen a drinking fountain before, and certainly had never used one. I had to show him how to put your mouth up to the water and suck it in. The first few times, he blew instead of sucked.

Yes, an interesting, fun and wonderful adventure awaits us.

Thank you all again for your support for our family on this journey that is only now really getting started. More posts to come, and your ongoing prayers are more important than ever!

God's rich blessings upon you all.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More Photos - Part 2

Annette and Kaden looking out over the Pearl River. This is at a river-side walkway on Shamian Island. Off in the distance is one of the 400 gazillion high-rise apartments in Guangzhou. 

On the Monday we were in Guangzhou, we went to a tailor's shop to have some shirts for the boys, and a dress for Annette made from real Chinese silk. Here's Kaden being measured by the tailor. It is a team of husband and wife. How did they do?

Tah Dah!!
The lady is the wife half of the tailor team. The clothes are incredible, and by U.S. standards, incredibly cheap! If any of you going to China to adopt and want their contact info, let us know.

Here we are at the American Consulate offices to take care of the U.S. side of the adoption process. Cameras weren't allowed any further than this, so we took the photo and put away the camera. BTW: it's about 90 degrees inside this building at 8 a.m.  I definitely miss some things about China, but the weather is not one of them.

After this, our guide, Lilly, took us to an open-market street that was devoted to traditional Chinese medicine herbal treatments and products. I never found out what ailment dried lizard on a stick was used for, but I'm sure I don't have it. Really. I'm sure. I promise.

Hmmm. This man is using chopsticks to pick things up from this big bin. It must be something yummy, right?

Oh, uh, never mind. . .
Yes, they were alive. 

Later in the week, Lilly took us up five flights of stairs to the top floor of a building.
For . . . .


This was seriously delicious food! The place had no sign, no one spoke English, and the menu had no pictures. If not for our guide, Lilly (in the photo below), there is no way we would have ever gotten here. And, the food was about 1/3 the cost of most places we ate. The meal pictured in the bottom of the above photos was 3 entrees (two pictured), and cost 58 RMB (less than $10).

Thank you, Lilly!

All good things must come to an end, and thus, here we are at the Guangzhou airport.

The final installment to come . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finally More Photos - Part 1

This will be a 3-part post, just to make sure none of them are too long, and won't load.

So, with running commentary from me, Steve, here we go:

Here we are in the lobby of the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou. It looks nice, but it is NOISY! That waterfall made the lobby sound like the Log Ride at Knotts Berry Farm. Since the lobby was the only place to get wireless connection, we had to to FaceTime with the boys here, with lots of "what?" "could you repeat that?" "what about the cheesemakers?"

Here's another image from the island where our hotel was. Very green. Very Beautiful. VERY HOT & HUMID!!

Isn't there any hope of rescue from our plight in this damp inferno?!
Oh, wait!! What is this????

Yes, there was a Starbucks on Shamian Island, and they became very familiar with the phrase "Iced black tea, no syrup (sugar)"

Yep, when it comes to the ladies, I still got it!  Although that one on the left seems to be playing hard to get...

Guangzhou at night. The multi-colored building in the back is an office tower for CCTV, the Chinese cable company. It has synchronized lights on the outside, so it's like a giant Pink Floyd concert prop.

Kaden and Daddy video chatting with the big brothers back home.

I'd mentioned this on an earlier post, but here is a photo of the total earthly possessions that Kaden had when we got him. The only thing that we got back from the care package we sent to him was the shirt. That is one well-travelled shirt! Made in China, shipped to the U.S., bought and shipped back to China, then flown back to the U.S. It should have had a boomerang on it.

More in the next post...

We're home! . . . and REALLY late on posting more photos!!

Steve here - We're home, and I have a bunch of photos to post, and will be posting them later today (maybe tonight).

Sorry for the delay!

Bad Steve.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An overdue update

Greetings from Guangzhou!
It's been a bit of an adjustment here - no in-room WiFi, for one thing!
So, we have to post and Skype from the sitting area in the lobby of our hotel.

Kaden had his physical exam, and passed just fine. Kudos to our guide, Lilly, who got us to the clinic 3 minutes before a huge crush of adopting families showed up. We were in and out in 15 minutes, while the folks behind us were looking at a loooooooooong wait.

The next big thing for us is a meeting at the U.S. Consulate on Wednesday, and then home on Thursday night. WooHoo!

So, enough writing, here are a few photos!

The view from our hotel room:

Kaden passing the "are you cute enough to be adopted?" test:

Shiamen Island, where our hotel is located.


A shirt they are selling in lots of shops on the island. I don't know if they mean this as a compliment, or not. . .

Daddy and son at the Temple of Six Banyan Trees.

Yummy noodles!

Swimming at the hotel pool. This is only Kaden's fourth time in a pool - truly, just about everything is a new adventure for him.

Are words needed for this one?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Huangsha Ave,Guangzhou,China