State of the Nation

We are all doing really quite well for only having been a family of seven for eight days! 

That being said, here is what that really means:

  1. Samuel is becoming more needful of Steve and I to be in close proximity to him.  He becomes more concerned if one of us has to leave the room.
  2. Samuel is eating and sleeping marvelously.
  3. We are completely out of his element and he hears people speaking about his legs a lot.  We fill him with as much love and reassurance as we can about our pride in his abilities and appearance.
  4. He is baby and he is boy – all rolled into one.  Diapers and cooing.  Preschool songs and bossiness. Needful of snuggle time and wanting to test the limits of his strength and agility.
  5. He is most definitely a dominant lefty – Grandpa H. rejoices (it only took 2 kids and 8 grandchildren!)  😉
  6. Faith is having a great time in familiar territory and yet is needing Mom and Dad to be close.
  7. Faith has really shown more interest in this little person than I have ever seen her take interest in a child before.  She’s really enjoying being a part of caring for him and playing with him.  
  8. James is struggling with the fact that he has a fair bit of independence on this trip and yet still needs supervision.  Boy – Man.  It’s a tough place to be.
  9. James loves his new brother.  Samuel reaches for him and asks for him to carry him.  Steals his glasses and James grins. 
  10. Grace is doing really very well.  She’s remembering amazing details suddenly about our adoption trip (we stayed in this same hotel) – things she adamantly refused memory of before haev now been brought to the surface.  She’s rolling with it very well and we are seeing our daughter blossom into a new settled place at times.  Amazing.
  11. Grace is very patient with Samuel.  This surprised us as we thought there would be more jealousy.  Samuel loves to stroke her hair but often will add a playful tug to a handful and she scolds him gently.  Today she told in a very mature way that she doesn’t mind him playing with her hair, but that we just need to work on helping him not pull it.  Wow! 
  12. Garnet is having a tough time shifting up a rung on the family ladder.  He is super kind to Samuel and goes out of his way to share with him and be kind and play. However, he sidles up to me whenever given the chance for an extra snuggle or a game of chopsticks.  It’ll take time and reassurance.  I also believe the visit to Yinchuan next week may help him too.  He’s anxious about the unknowns.
  13. Garnet is a super sharer.  He lets Sam have the last bite of a snack.  He wants to play on the floor with him.  He teaches him silly faces and like to make him giggle by tickling him gently on his little legs.  Samuel calls him Gege and that goes a long way in Garnet’s books. 
  14. Steve had a new experience today.  Samuel was in the carrier at the Dirt Market and wet through his clothing, the carrier and Steve’s jacket and shirt.  We happened to be in our favourite shop and the proprietor had remembered our family.  We were chatting and then she offered for us to change Samuel’s clothing and diaper right on the framing table (it’s a photographic print shop).  She even offered her winter coat to change him on and hand carried the stinky diaper outside to the trash by hand.  She was very sweet! 
  15. Another vendor saw Samuel’s runny nose (it was cold – it snowed today in Beijing!) and offered some of her toilet paper for his nose.
  16. The taxi driver we took back to the hotel cooed at Samuel in Chinese.  He also narrowly missed rear-ending a car when said car slammed on its brakes in order to avoid a bus at 80 km/hr on 2nd Ring Road. He saved us 27 RMB over our family’s other taxi by speeding and dodging though.  hehe
  17. One of the other children in our group calls Garnet “Barnacle” much to the chagrin of her parents.  She’s terribly cute.
  18. The kids are missing their cats.
  19. Grace has asked after home a few times. Such nice things to hear from a little girl who wasn’t sure which place she wanted to call home a short time ago.
  20. Have I mentioned that Samuel is FAST!  Oh, and agile?
  21. At the Dirt Market: Grace spent $14 Cdn (5 items – pretty and mostly wearable), Faith spent $11 Cdn (4 items – dainty and decorative), Garnet spent $1.50 Cdn (1 item that frightens me to no end – can you guess what it was?), James spent $30 Cdn (a pair of somethings that may or may not be removed by customs from his checked bag – any guesses?)  
  22. Our trip to the countryside is cancelled tomorrow.  We are visiting a new butterfly gardens here instead. 
  23. Your prayers, comments and e-mails have meant so very much to us.  Keep them coming!  We’ve been praying over things you’ve shared with us too.

Off to bed after some quick laundry in the tub at our 5 star hotel.  Motherhood…


  1. And this is why bringing the whole family is such a blessing *sigh* We are so overwhelmed with thankfullness at how well your sweet family is doing! I’m so *proud* of Grace, I know Ping has made it loud and clear that under no circumstances will she come to China with Mama. Your kids must feel very secure and safe with you and Steve. Well done my friend!!!

    Family of 7! You’re nuts ya know that!, But you’re in good company

  2. Do happy to read all your bullet points. First, yey for the lefties (Yes, I am a lefty too and am hoping that Mary might be since Sylvie has long dashed those hopes).

    It sounds as if your first weeks of bonding are going well if Samuel is eating and sleeping well, but beginning to be more concerned if you or Steve leaves the room. Also glad to hear about all the other kids, it sounds as if this has been a very good trip for all.

    I told Cory about your taxi experiences, we just smiled at each other reminiscing about our “almost” accident where the driver slammed on the brakes and poor Sylvie fell forward and fit the floor. Luckily, she was ok, but man oh man… I never thought I would be so happy to see child car seats.

  3. Loved reading all that is going on. sounds like the kids are all doing amazing! What a blessing to have with you. I did have to giggle a bit about the carrier/diaper, ha! I have been there too … :) And that picture of Samuel sleeping, so precious!

  4. Yikes! That’s my only fear about the traffic here. If it weren’t for the kids it would just be exciting, but all those crash test dummy commercials pop into my head when they are with me!

  5. I had forgotten to read the blog and am having so much fun catching up again. We’ve been sending up prayers for you guys. The boys seem really excited to meet Samuel. Justin actually send that “Sammie” (hope you don’t mind) is his best friend. :) We’ve been showing them pictures and he remembers “meeting” him on skype that one time.
    As far as the purchases by you children, I had to laugh. It’s so funny to hear how they choose such different kinds of things. I’m guessing Garnet bought a toy spider. Figures for little boys. And all I can think of that James would buy a pair of is handcuffs :) Don’t know why, but what other pair of something would get removed at customs. Pants would be fine! But then I think that $30 seems a bit much, so I’m stumped. 😀

  6. Jacinthe Gomes says:

    Hi Shelley, It sure nice to read about your journey. However, I have to admit that I don’t read it everyday. Computers have a way to take so much of our time away and it goes so fast! So I kind of limit my daily time on it.

    I’ll guess that James bought a couple of Sea Horses that are suppose to bring financial gain to any household. Cesario & I were given a pair at our wedding and we are still waiting. Hope it works for you guys…. Ma

    Keep posting & I’ll keep on reading.
    God Bless, Jacinthe

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