Thursday, May 9, 2013

Family of Five

We have really been enjoying our time since we got home. Simeon has been fighting an ear infection since before we left Taiwan, but appears to be better. Everyone was sleeping really well at night from the first day back (I credit this to God's grace and our LONG trip with little sleep at LAX). We were blessed by friends who brought us meals our first couple weeks home - it was a huge relief to me that I didn't have to worry about getting  a meal ready each night.

Simeon  is walking all over the place now and has been to two of Elisha's soccer games. He's met almost all of his grandparents, but I still need to get pictures with everyone. Below are some pictures of the last few weeks. We are blessed.

At the soccer game

Four generations

Having big brothers is a good thing. :)



Simeon's room



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Home






We are blessed.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

On our last day in Taiwan, we were able to go to a Chinese Culture Village near LuoDong. There were different shops with various handmade items (woodworking, candy, toys, glass, pottery, etc.). There was also a 130-year-old Chinese house turned into a museum there.

Eating a tang hulur like Little Pear (in the book by Eleanor Lattimore)

The front entrance of the 130-year-old home

One of the exhibits

Bamboo!

Feeding the ducks and fish one more time at the lake near The Home of God's Love

Going on a walk with Mama Bev

Saying good-bye to Showhwa (who took care of Elisha as a baby)

Taipei Airport - ready to go

Everyone did well on the 12-hour flight to Los Angeles. We made it through customs and then immigration (where we turned in our paperwork so Simeon can become a United States citizen). We rechecked our bags and went through security, then looked for our gate. It was at that point (10:30 pm) that we realized our flight to Chicago was cancelled due to bad weather. We spent the next couple hours rebooking a new flight (for 7 am), trying to figure out if we needed to get our luggage and check it for our new flight, and go back through security. A kind airport worker got us some blankets and another kind stranger showed us to a quite place where we could sleep. The boys were tired and disappointed to be sleeping on the floor, but they took it really well. By this time it was 1:00 am, but before bed Elisha even prayed, thanking God for a long list of ways He had blessed us. 

 

 After a 3-hour flight, we were greeted at the airport by Donnie's family and one of my good friends.

The drive home from the airport


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More Pictures

I have been posting pictures from our trip on Face book, but am posting some of my favorites again below for you're viewing pleasure ( right now Simeon is napping in my lap; life is good).













Approved

As of yesterday afternoon we have Simeon's immigration approval and will be able to return home as scheduled, all five of us together. All the boys have colds, two with fevers, so we would appreciate your prayers for the 29 hour trip home. We are so blessed to be on this journey and to have these three amazing sons.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cijin Island and other adventures

We started our day Tuesday by heading out on our own (Taiwan Xi En is letting us use one of their vehicles and we both got our international driver's licenses). We went to the 10 NT store (approximate translation: 30 cent store, apparently the Taiwanese equivalent to Dollar General), the grocery store, and the morning market. At the morning market we saw lots of whole fish and chickens and squid and frogs in a mesh bag still jumping around. Judah did not appreciate the smell, but Donnie was able to buy some interesting fruit at the stalls next to the meat market so it was worth the trip.
 


After Simeon's nap we ran some more errands with Holly - going to the bank to exchange money, picking up the papers that registered Simeon's adoption in Taiwan (they have to wait to register the adoption until we arrive so that we can meet him first, this is due to US laws), and to the baby store to buy more formula, another bottle, etc. This picture is from the bank (I was waiting in line to exchange the money).


There is a little bike at the House of Hope where we are staying and Simeon loves riding it. The latest game is that he has to pay a toll to his older brothers who block his way (he smacks their hand to pay the toll).

Donnie and I were surprised to find out that pineapples do not grow on trees. We were not surprised to find that fresh grown pineapples are amazingly delicious. Other fruit we have tried so far (we think): sugar apple, mango, wax apple (bell fruit), and pear. We bought an apple this morning at a market stall (Judah's request) only to find that the sticker on it said it was grown in the USA. Ha ha.

Donnie is continuing his role as "best dad in the whole world." He and Simeon love to play together. Here they are dancing after the other boys were in bed.

On Wednesday we were able to go to Cijin Island with another family who ministers at Taiwan Xi En. We rode a ferry to get there (only scooters were on the ferry with us, no cars), shopped at a couple tourist shops, and ate lunch at a seafood restaurant. The fish we ate was caught at 4:30 am that morning. We all agreed that it was delicious.

Elisha and Judah were able to swim in the ocean for the first time. It was definitely the highlight of their day, possibly the highlight of the trip so far for them (other than loving on Simeon, of course). The sand on the beach was black (and surprisingly soft). We are told that this is because Taiwan used to be a volcanic island, although I have not googled this information to verify it. :) I think the crab statue is cool



After playing in the ocean and finding shells, we trekked over to a historic light house and fort that are on the island. The boys were troopers and we were all exhausted by the time we got back to the car. This is a picture looking back over the bay and Kaohsiung City.

After resting back at the house for a little while, we headed over to the housing complex where some of the Taiwan Xi En staff live. There is a playground there and the boys had fun shooting baskets and running around.


 
The best part, though, was when we heard some music playing. We thought it might be an ice cream truck, but it was actually the garbage truck. All the people at the apartments ran out with their trash containers to load it into the truck when it arrived. Elisha and Judah were thrilled (they love watching for the trash truck at home, so this was a special treat).
 


Monday, April 8, 2013

Taiwan - Day 2 and 3

On Sunday we visited Lotus Lake, one of the main tourist attractions in Kaohsiung. Our friends, Ashleigh and Sara ( the ones who would keep Simeon on weekends and holiday breaks), were nice enough to do a family photo shoot. I don't have the pictures, yet, but am excited to see how they turned out. The older boys enjoyed seeing the turtles and fish and large birds at the lake, going through a tunnel shaped like a dragon, and climbing to the top of a pagoda. We hung out at House of Hope in the afternoon (we are staying in their guest room), then went to a bilingual southern baptist church with the Hatchers. Ashleigh left Monday morning for a mission trip to China, so we were so happy we got to spend Sunday with her.

Monday morning we stayed at the house. In the afternoon we were able to meet Simeon's birth mom and grandma. It was a huge blessing to be able to meet them and ask questions about what his birth mom was like as a child, how she decided to name him his Chinese name, etc. That night we went to the E-Da Mall, which I read is the second largest mall in Asia. We decided not to ride the giant Ferris wheel on the roof, but enjoyed walking around, eating Subway for supper, and getting gelato for dessert.


Ashleigh is an expert at getting Simeon to sleep

They have angry birds in Taiwan!

E-Da Mall ferris wheel

Gelato!

Simeon was not a fan.