Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Decade

I can hardly believe our Rose is into the double digits.  On Friday night, birthday eve, Lyle took all the kids camping. Rose wasn't sure she wanted to go.  She was worried she wouldn't get her traditional birthday breakfast in bed.  Lyle instead promised her "breakfast in bag", and they were off.  Bruder even hauled the dutch oven up the mountain so that they could make an especially wonderful breakfast of german pancakes.  She's spoiled.

Every year on Rose's birthday, the rose outside our front door is in full bloom, perfect for a birthday photo. This year it wasn't quite up to snuff.  We did our best though and put Rose beside one of the two blooms.

This photo from two years ago shows where our rose is usually at by June 11th.

No matter.  She had a great birthday, full of good food, great presents, and lots of love.

I tried to find a baby photo of Rose on the computer, but digital photography didn't happen in our family until Rose was a toddler.  Here she is serenading Olaf.....

.....who's also grown just a tad.
We love our birthday girl.
Olaf's O.K. too.

P.S. Last night for Family Home Evening, our lesson was "Rose is Awesome!"  Everyone wrote something they love about her and she had to guess who said what:

XiXi: "Rose cello"

Cholita: "I love it when Rose plays with me."

Lucy: "Rose is so funny and sweet.  I love her spirited personality and her innocent way of talking and acting.  She is a great and spunky girl."

Bruder: "Rose is many things.  Some call her cute, some call her feisty, and an even larger majority classify her as extremely intelligent.  Yes, Rose is a lot of things, but if there is one thing she isn't, it's a stereotype.  Rose is the very definition of the word unique, which is always something the world could use."

Mom: "I love when Rose goes outside and throws her face up to the sky and drinks in the rain or the wind or the sun.  She lives life to the fullest."

Dad: "I like hiking and running with Rose.  Today we decided to run a marathon together one day.  She was a great hiking companion on our last trip."

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Late, But Worth the Wait

Our first roses of the season!

Last year they were in full bloom by the beginning of June.

But right now things are just opening up.  

Our climbing rose has one fully opened flower.  It looks a bit lonely.

I can't believe how much growth this rose has put on after the drastic pruning I did at the end of Winter.

It's growing like a weed.

Ditto for this little boy.

Who was also worth the wait.

P.S.  This week XiXi put together his longest sentence to date:
"Mom, Cholita said she doesn't want to brush her teeth."

We've found that when it comes to tattling, the language barrier disappears.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Gift Comes Via E-Mail

I have so few photos of our XiXi pre-adoption.  There were 6 that were given to me by the orphanage and 3 that I found on someone's blog.

Last week, I got an e-mail with the subject line, "I Have a Surprise for You!".  It was from a friend who adopted a teenaged boy from Kunming only about a month before we met XiXi.  XiXi and this boy had been in the same "family" in the orphanage.  Evidently, this young man has been in e-mail contact with some of the workers and teachers from the orphanage and one of them asked if he'd heard anything about XiXi.   He wrote back that XiXi's mother knew his mother and that he followed our blog.  He took some photos off of our blog and e-mailed them to the teacher.  The teacher was thrilled to get them, and then sent an e-mail (with attachments!) in response.  The mother forwarded it on to me.  What a priceless and wonderful surprise!

This is our XiXi, just before his second birthday.  I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I think his cheeks were even more squeezable back in 2009!

This photo was taken two months later and explains XiXi's reluctance to get out of his pajama pants each morning.

Further evidence that he wore PJ pants all day long.  He saw this picture, pointed to the pants and yelled, "Cars!"  I get the impression they were his favorite jammies. (I'm basing this on the fact that he didn't scream "apples" when viewing the PJ's in the previous picture.)

I've cropped down this photo and the next, since I don't know the little friend pictured with him.  They were taken a year ago.  He looks so happy, doesn't he?

As wonderful as these pictures are, my favorite picture was a group photo of the children in his orphanage family.  It was taken in 2009 and XiXi was the youngest by far, with most of the kids 10 and older.   Of the 11 kids in the picture, I know of only 4 who have been adopted.   I remember meeting several of them when we toured the orphanage.  One of the girls sobbed when she heard we'd spoken to her dear friend and orphanage sister, who is now living in the U.S.   She missed her so much.  This girl was already 14 and too old to be adopted.   What a different life for these two girls.  I cried too. 

When XiXi saw the picture of the kids, he got a huge smile on his face and looked at it for a long time.  He whispered some names in my ear, but mostly he just called them "big sister" or "big brother".   One of the girls, a ten year-old who is now with a family in the U.S., told her mother that,  "XiXi was treated special."  That's certainly the impression that I got and also what I've heard that from everyone who knew him there.  "XiXi was spoiled," or "XiXi was the favorite."  I'm so glad that he was well-cared for, but it's also bittersweet, knowing that that wasn't necessarily the case for some other children, especially the girls.  No matter what, an orphanage is no substitute for a home.  

I'm so very thankful that XiXi is home.