Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baby Steps

It's been awesome to watch Shepard become more and more comfortable with his family and new home.  He is a fairly agreeable little boy...not much correction has to take place at all!! He is SUCH a sweetie!! 

There have been a few neat things we have watched take place that has shown a lot of growth and attachment to his new family and home.  

One of the very first things we noticed were important to Shep were his shoes and ALWAYS keeping them on.  He was very diligent to make sure if he got on the bed or furniture...he neatly took them off while he was on the bed...but as soon as he got down...He IMMEDIATELY put his shoes back on and did not want to walk around without them.  This continued as we got home.  He did not want to go outside with out his tennis shoes or Crocks.  He wouldn't even walk around the house without shoes.  Well...over the last week or so...we have noticed him walking around the house completely barefooted...and not caring!! He doesn't even notice it!!! He even will go without his house-shoes once he has had a bath.  

For us...this just shows he is much more comfortable and feeling more at home.  We love that!!! I love it that he will take off running in the back yard to play with his "Gu Gu" (Big Brother).  He's even loosing a little bit of that obsessive need to make sure they are neatly lined up and in place.  Which...I really liked that quality!! LOL!!! Sharing a room with his brother will loosen his neat streak up really quickly!! HA!! This is a wonderful baby step though!!

Mark has noticed that when Shepard sits in his lap...he will now relax and rest his head on him.  Before, while we were in China, Shep would sit with him...but he would not rest and just completely relax.  Now he does that. It is another small baby step of feeling comfortable and trusting.  :)

He is slowly making wonderful connections with Silas!! YAY!! Silas has been working very hard on relationship building and it is the most precious thing!!! Shep wants to spend more time with Silas and even ask for Silas to help him some!! This is good!!! Silas has introduced him to Xbox 360 Kinect and he LOVES the golf game.  He thinks it is so fun!!! And just tonight...I caught this cute photo of them sitting together like buddies watching his favorite kids worship music!!! Definitely a baby step in the right direction!! 

We've made it to church three weeks in a row.  Shepard is NOT open to going into the childrens ministry area right now.  We are ok with that.  We have been taking him in with us to the sanctuary.  Today..he actually made it through the service a little longer than normal.  He cannot wait to go and pick up his big sisters and big brother so we can go home!!! He LOVES to leave and go home.  But he wants us ALL to be together.  He doesn't understand if we aren't all together.  Very sweet!!! But he does great when Mark has to go to work or one of us have to be apart from the rest.  He just likes it when we are all together!!! This is definitely great steps in the right direction!!

Over all...Shepard has made this transition very beautifully.  Our thanks definitely goes to our Heavenly Father for this...but also to his foster parents in China.  I know it must have been very hard for them to let this sweet precious boy go.  But the years they poured into him...are not wasted!! Those years have laid a wonderful foundation in his sweet little spirit to attach and bond to his forever family.  It's difficult not knowing his whole story.  But we are blessed that the rest of his story will be lived out so we can see all the mighty things he will do for our Lord!!! We know he will truly "shepherd" many people into the Kingdom of God!!!

We visited our pediatrician here...and he was amazed at how healthy and wonderful Shep is doing.  We do have to visit a specialist early in July for a minor surgery.  The doctor couldn't believe that was all we were looking at!!! He was very impressed not only with Shepards health but his intelligence.  He even noted it was God that placed him in our family so he can fulfill all that has been destined for him.  Such a blessing to have doctors like this!!!

That is basically all the info we have for now.  We are beginning to find our new norm...and it's busy...but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!! God is so faithful and we are thrilled we stepped out in faith and said YES.  God is good and we look forward to all He has in store for our future!!! 

Until next time...Hope you all have a wonderful week.
Mark & Buffi

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One Month Ago Today!!

At the pool and this is what Shep wants to play with!! He LOVES music!
I can hardly believe that this precious little face has been with our family for a whole month!!! My how the time flies!! He truly is the most precious little boy and the perfect fit for our family.  God SO knows what he is doing!! ;)

As a family we are finding a new normal!!! We are all learning to adjust things back to the pre-school level.  Short bursts of activity instead of long...mid day naps where the whole house stops...and lots of ABC's and 123's.  Our oldest three are doing so amazing!! They are terrific older siblings.

We are learning so much about Shep!! He loves music (like his Mom!!! maybe a future worship leader?!?), puzzles, riding his bike that his Grand dad got him, swimming at Cha Cha's (our aunt's house), he is even starting to like our dog Pretzel!! He is a very smart, agreeable and sweet little boy.

He is very attached to his Big Sister Sophie.  He absolutely adores her.  Our social worker was surprised he wasn't more attached to Sadie with her being Chinese.  I told her...oh...he likes Sadie all right...he wants to kiss her all the time!! LOL!! He must think she is pretty!! ;)  We have to tell him Sadie is his SISTER, not a girl friend!! HA!!! Too funny!!

Shepard does like Silas....but you can tell he feels some what of a competition toward a boy.  This must  be something he picked up from being in an orphanage.  We have explained it to Silas and are working on helping him learn to bond with Shep on Shep's terms...and helping Shepard learn that he is not in competition with Silas for attention.  It's a process and we will find it with the Lords help, wisdom and direction.  They will be big buddies before you know it!!

Last Sunday we took Shepard to church for the first time...and he did wonderful!! He clung to us with his dear life...and when people wanted to see him...he was very shy...and wanted mom and dad.  For an adopted child...this is VERY good to see...especially with strangers!! It means he KNOWS who his mom and dad are and feels safe with them!! Bonding is taking place and it is a very good thing!!! He made it through most of the church service.  He LOVED the music...and after shouting out loud during the sermon....restlessness set in and Mark took him out to look around.  We have taught Shepard some sign language...and he kept giving Mark the "all done" sign...and saying Bye Bye to everyone.  LOL!! He was done!! It was a success though and we will slowly ease back into things.  We will be sensitive to his needs for sure before we just jump back in and serve.  Our ministry is our family right now...and in due season...we will know when and where to proceed!!!

One of the biggest blessings is we have had so many people contact us with interest in adoption and adopting.  What a blessing it is to us to be able to share, encourage, mentor, and support others as they pursue walking down this road.  Mark and I truly have a desire to see an organized effort in mentoring others through the process of adoption, helping families raise funds, and providing support after the adoption.  We are praying about ways to make this happen.  If YOU are someone interested in adoption...let us know and we'll be glad to help you get pointed in the right direction!!

That's it for now!!! I don't want to bore everyone with all the normalcy of life...but I do want to keep you all posted!!! I do have one prayer request....we have had several people ask us if we can do photos for them. Since we had to borrow $11,000 for the final portion of our adoption expenses...we do not want to say no...we want to say yes because we do NOT want to be in debt.  Pray that we would find the best way to do these photos without being separated from Shep...and to where we can raise the rest of the money we owe for the adoption.  We sure appreciate those prayers!!! We know God will give us wisdom.  We just want to be sure we move in the right way and at the right time!!

Also...Mark has a "product" he has been working on since December and we are waiting on the first prototype to come in.  Once it comes in...we will be submitting it to some companies praying that it will be picked up for their stores.  Please pray for favor regarding this.  Maybe this would be a way God would choose to help provide as well!! :)

Thanks a ton!! We love and appreciate you all!! We will keep you posted as we have more new and interesting news!!
Mark & Buffi

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Home One Week

We have officially been home from China one week! What a great week it has been.  We have been so glad to be home and try to work on finding our new normal with four children.  We've had several questions about the I thought I'd try to answer.

How is Shepard doing? What about the language barrier?
Shep is doing great!! He is a trooper and fits perfect in the family.  He does well with change, praise God, and has a pretty agreeable personality.  He likes to keep his shoes on all the time...although...we have caught him running around barefooted without realizing it! That's great and means he is getting more comfortable!!

His "special need" was considered developmental delay and while we didn't see it a whole lot in China...we can see it here at home now that we are watching him run and play.  He is developmentally much more like a 4 year old than a 5 year old.  While he WANTS to do all the things a 5 year old would do...he can't always do it without getting hurt.  He has fallen several times while running in the yard. He has quite a few "owies" on his elbows and knees!! ;)  His gross motor skills just need a little work.  He is totally capable and there is not an inability to do things...just a delay!! We will definitely be working on that this summer!!

Language is definitely more difficult with him than it was with  Sadie. Sadie was only 3 and didnt speak very much.  Shepard speaks a LOT and just goes to town telling us something in his most urgent voice and we stare intently trying to understand.  But we don't.  All of us are using lots of body language!! :) Thanks to Google Translate we are able to communicate to him what we are trying to say and help him understand what is going on.  It's been a wonderful tool!!

We have found out several things he does not like to eat that has surprised us.  Things like chicken nuggets, scrambled eggs, bread, ground beef as well as a list of other things.  We are slowly figuring him out.  When all else fails...we get out the noodles and dumplings.  Those are winners EVERY time!! :)

Overall...he is doing wonderful!! He sleeps well.  He has slept with us in our room most nights.  He slept in his room two nights, which was great!! He woke up between 3am and 4am to come into our room...which is totally ok!!! He also takes naps in his bedroom. As long as we tell him through Google translate what is happening...he is great!! God knows what we as a family can and cannot handle!! We are very blessed and we look forward to every day getting more and more familiar with each other!!

I cannot praise our other three enough.  They have just all grown up over night it seems.  They have been a tremendous help with Shep.  He loves them and they love him!! They all three jump to help him and will make accommodations for him through this transition.  We are SO PROUD of them!!! Sophie has become like a second mom to Shep.  He loves her a ton and she is SO MUCH FUN for him!!! I don't know what I'd do without her!!!

Sadie and Silas have done great too!!! Silas has even taken on the huge responsibility of watching Shep outside in the yard for brief moments in our absence.  This is huge growth for Silas.  Prior to our trip...we were asking Sadie to watch Silas in our absence!! LOL!!! It is amazing the fact that you get what you expect! Really!! Before our trip to China...we expected Silas to need to be watched.  Now...we expect he is capable and responsible enough to help us...and HE IS!!! it has been such a blessing for him in this way!! Really beneficial in helping in grow up!! :)

Mark went back to work on Friday.  We all went in with him to show Shep where he would be when he was gone...and also to meet all of Mark's wonderful co-workers! (Mark is SO blessed to work where he does and with the people he works with!! They are such blessings!) Anyway...we wanted Shep to know what was happening and he did GREAT!!

After he has had moments around a lot of people...he seems ready to say bye bye.  He definitely lets us know.  But he has had no trouble wanting to go with Mark and me at all!! Such a blessing in this transition!!

We've had a few days off together and tomorrow starts our "official" back to normal schedule!! Praying we can find lots of things to do each day that will keep everyone entertained and  happy!!! :)

Here are a few pics of our day at the park this week!!! Again...thank you all for continuing to pray for us and encourage us through this journey!!! You all are such blessings to us!! We love and appreciate you!! Have a great week! Blessings!!
Cute little curious look!!!! 

Walk at the park

Here we are...without me! :) I'm taking the pic!

Swimming with JieJie (Big Sister)

Hair cut with Mama 

Help Nana walk with her walker

Wake up and play with Jie Jie and Gu Gu

Writing ABC's - I think?