Thursday, August 24, 2006


One month ago today little Jin Qiu Ju met her family! I can't believe it's been a month and at the same time it's hard to remember not having her with us. Lyle took the 3 (Yes, Abby went!) big kids hiking, so Maya and I took the ferry over to Cari and Tony's house.

The county fair was going on in Cari's neck of the woods, so off we went! Here Maya's having fun scavenging for food with cousin, Blake. Blake is just a few weeks older than Maya and although he's not too much taller, he outweighs her by just a tad!

The Orme's friends went with us to the fair and for part of the time Maya rode in the double stroller with Joey. Maya felt it was imperitive that she hold Joey's hand. Joey, understandably-- I mean they'd just met!, felt uncomfortable with her display of affection and let her know he wasn't interested!

Finally Joey figured if he went to sleep she'd leave him alone! It was way past naptime at this point, and the boys had nodded off, but not little Miss Maya!

She felt it was a good time to get a little exercise in. Have I mentioned she's limber? Actually, shortly after this she got fussy and I moved her into the snugglie where she zonked out for the rest of the fair.

Playing with Blake the next day. These two were so fun to watch. It would be hard to find a pair of cuter cousins!

Maya and Blake aren't at an age when they really play together yet, but it was so nice because they don't fight over toys either. I think they both enjoyed each other's company.

Maya was pretty fascinated by older cousin, Sophie. Sophie riding her motorcycle was a big hit! I love this picture of them watching a show together. Apparently the blankie adds to the enjoyment of any event.

Do you like Maya's post-hairstyle Don King do?

Blake had enough of pictures! The hikers and dogs arrived at Cari's on Friday afternoon and we all enjoyed hearing about their BEAR encounter! Quite an initiation for poor Abby. Actually, the dogs chased the bear into a tree and Abby didn't even get a look at him. Lyle said it was a bit challenging though getting the kids to sleep that night!

Friday night we had a fun dinner with the Ormes then headed back home on Saturday morning. Thanks Cari and Tony!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

August 15

Ju Ju really doesn't like to be messed with--putting on diapers, clothing, etc. The diaper is a must, but hey, it's summer, and the shirtless look is O.K. She really likes exploring the kitchen. She's discovered the tupperware drawer and that's become a favorite.

We had a fun visit yesterday with the Batschi family. Judy (aka Miss Hannigan at our house) speaks Mandarin and talked with Qiu Ju. Qiu Ju got such a big smile on her face! It's hard to know how much she really understands, but I know she recognizes her language. It must be rather frustrating to her that we persist in our gibberish.

Maya has decided that she REALLY likes the dogs! She finds them very entertaining and they find her interesting to sniff and generous in the dropped-food department.

Ju Ju being cute. I have to say, we've had a hard time calling her Maya. We like the name and that's what everyone outside of the family calls her, but we have to consciously make an effort to use her new name. In China, we figured it was the least we could do to call her by the name she was used to. The idea was that we'd slowly transition over to Maya, but now we've been calling her by her Chinese nickname, Ju Ju. Her other Chinese nickname was Ah Ju, but since that's the sauce we dip our roast beef sandwiches in, we've had a hard time with that one.

We've been home 2 weeks today and can't imagine our family without her. We all love her to pieces.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

August 12

Little Miss Maya has really come alive this past week at home. She seems to be more and more comfortable with her new life every day. She ventures out exploring and is having a great time. Her motor skills have improved and she's now a pretty speedy crawler, and likes to walk with us holding her hands. She's a girl on the go!

Maya has had fun in the pool, despite the cold temperature. The kids still argue over who gets to hold her and play with her next. We'll see how long that lasts!

When I told the pediatrician all of the different foods that Maya has been eating, she said, "She seems to have a very adventurous palette." We have to agree! Seriously, we can't believe how much she can eat! At the dinner pictured here, she ate: 2 large pieces of salmon, half a chicken breast, 2 zucchinis, bread, multiple slices of watermelon, and a glass of milk. For dessert, (pictured), she tried a frozen lemon sorbet. She wasn't so sure. Maybe a bit of a brain freeze.

Maya has also started to vocalize more and we're not sure that's always a good thing! She SCREAMS when she wants food and will smack the table. We've been telling her, "Say Please," which we know she's not up to yet, but when she stops screaming and tries to say anything, then we give her food. She's very good at getting her needs met!

The Beck girls on Sunday morning. I know, there's not much holding that bow in, but it lasted for a while!

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

She's a NW Gal!

O.K., It's official. She's a Pacific Northwest gal now--she loves the ferry boats!

Today we took the ferry out to Seattle so that Maya could go to her big nasty doctor's appointment. Like most Washington days, in the morning it was cloudy and dreary, but........ the afternoon, it was sunny and gorgeous! Maya had to have shots and blood drawn today, and she REALLY didn't like it! She worked herself into a serious frenzy during the blood draw and was kicking and sweating and I'm quite sure cussing in Chinese. But, thankfully she's pretty forgiving and was being a ham on the ferry ride home.

The pediatrician, who specializes in internationally adopted children, was amazed at Maya's health and development. She feels strongly that Maya's brief time in foster care really did wonders in her life. On the form, under "development", the doctor wrote in all caps with an exclamation point, "NORMAL!" We feel so blessed and so grateful to the family in China who loved her.

Abby thinks being a big sister is quite a hoot! The boys are off at scout camp until Friday night, so it's been fun with just the girls. Madeline is such a huge help. She is going to be a very in-demand babysitter in a couple of years--that is if I let her share her services with others!

Another surprising thing at the appointment was that they said Maya's height is in the 50th percentile. My three older kids are almost always in the 10th-25th percentile range. It seems funny that our tallest may be our China baby!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Settling In

Abby came home from Idaho Saturday night! We are so thrilled to have her back! She looks so much older to us, but maybe it's just because now we have someone younger. When Abby got home, after lots of hugs from Adam and Madeline, she met her new sister. Lyle was doing a late-night pancake fest and Abby got to feed her sister her first pancake. Maya gave both the pancakes and her sis a big thumbs-up.

Lyle has always specialized in getting the kids calm and relaxed and ready for a peaceful night's slumber. He's found that the best way to do this is a game he's invented called, "Smack the Stack." The kids gather all of the household pillows, pile them on our bed, and then Lyle swings them each around in circles until they're sick to their stomachs and finally flings them into the pillow pile. As you can imagine, it really puts them in a restful mood. I keep reminding him that Qiu Ju is a "deep sleeper!!", but now she's also a Beck, so "Smack the Stack" it is!


...and SMACK!

I wish I could get inside her mind and see what she's thinking. It was two weeks ago today when we met her in Nanning and everything about her world has changed. She went from a peaceful life in Guiping to being thrown into pillow towers. Thankfully she seems to take it all in stride.

Maya was blessed on Sunday. She looked quite lovely in her Chinese blessing dress, but wasn't in a photo shoot mood, so I never did get a great picture. The blessing was slightly amusing because an 11 month old is a little more challenging to hold than the typical newborn. She kept grabbing at the microphone and at one point apparently had the microphone cord wrapped around her arm. One sweet elderly man in our ward, who has been so good to our family, said he choked up when during the blessing he felt her little hand grasp his finger.

Today we ventured out to the play place in the mall where Maya was quick to add her drool to what's already there. "Clean up on Tunnel 5!"

It's been so fun to see these two together. We missed our Abby so much. She's a little firecracker, but she is also a very sweet and special little girl. Maya is lucky to have her for a big sister.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

We're Home!

Saying goodbye to China.

Have you ever heard that annoying song, "This is the song that never ends. Yes, it goes on and on my friends..." Well, yesterday felt like, "This is the day that never ends..." By the time we fell into bed last night we'd been up for 27 hours.

I should mention that there was an exciting "first" at the airport yesterday. Lyle was holding Maya and she reached for me and clearly said, "Mama". Adam's first word was "Dada". Madeline's first word was "Dada". Abby's first word was "hi", quickly followed by "Dada". I was due.

Fortunately Maya slept through most of the flights. Unfortunately, that meant she was up at 2 AM our first night home, because while that might be sleeping time in America, it's playtime in China!

Have I mentioned that she sleeps with her eyes open? Kinda' creepy, but we'll keep her.

Since San Francisco was our first U.S. stop, we got to go through immigration with our new immigrant! It was pretty quick and painless. She's an American girl now!

Maya Qiuju's first step on U.S. soil, or as Adam pointed out, U.S. carpet.

We had a wonderful welcome home with an "it's a Girl!" sign on our front lawn, a decorated door, and lasagna in the fridge, all courtesy of the Whittles! Thank you!

We also want to thank our neighbors, the Bonomis, for the beautiful and very tasty cake!

Maya is both fascinated and terrified of the dogs. In this photo of her and Olaf, she's thinking either one of two things.

1. Great. I've been adopted by a family who keeps a grizzly as a pet. Doesn't the CCAA have some sort of rule against that? Or

2. Someone get me my chopsticks! Dog's on the menu in China and I've hit the motherlode!

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

August 1

Today is our last day in China. We have a brutal 4:30 AM wake-up call tomorrow and will fly from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to San Francisco, SF to Seattle. I am so not looking forward to the trip. Don't get me wrong, we all really want to get home, we just don't want to travel 20 some hours to get there.

China has been amazing. I knew I wanted to present a positive image to Maya of her birth country and I really worried that I might not like it and would always feel like I was lying when I'd say, "Really, China's great." But China is great and I can tell her in total honesty that she should feel proud of her heritage. We'd love to bring her back some day so she can discover China for herself.

We just got back from the swearing in ceremony at the U.S. Consulate. We're all so tired and ready to go home and are beyond all of the official ceremonies. There was an incredibly short man conducting the huge group swearing-in and he said, "First I'll answer the two questions that people always ask..." Lyle cracked us all up when he leaned over and whispered, "Why am I so short and where do I get my suits?" Actually, those weren't the questions--something to do with citizenship.
Maya has had a rough day. I think we've filled her with too much rice and not enough liquids. We tried to remedy the situation at lunch with lots of prunes, but still no success. It could be a VERY long plane ride tomorrow! Probably enough said.
I know many of you at home have expressed your interest in China adoption. If you want to be dissuaded, we're probably not the ones to talk to. The whole journey has been amazing and we have been blessed with a wonderful new daughter--loud, but wonderful. We can't wait to introduce her to her fan club! Maya Qiuju is heading HOME!