Sunday, December 30, 2012

Who says we can't communicate?

Sam speaks no English. He does not seem to understand much English. We don't speak Mandarin, Cantonese or the chow dialect which are all spoken in his province. But Sam is well versed in toddlerease. When he is ticked off, he uses the universal sign language. He just lays out on the ground and cries and stares at me. Now, being that I have spent some time studying this particular dialect, I am not alarmed. However, every old lady in this town thinks this is a international incident. They come over. They point at him. They point at me. Yes, he's with me. No, i am not going to pick him up. I just wait and stare back at him and his old ladies. Even when it is 40 degrees and we are at some sort of botanical garden and he is on asphalt. I've seen these battles and my back already hurts. I have no desire to fight in the trenches. When he is ready to stand up, I'll help him. Until then, I'm considering charging admission to the show.

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I don't know what day it is

In adoption, like life, there are beautiful moments. There are also gut wrenching moments of grief and loss because we live in a broken world. Our story is no different.

Just imagine how scary it must be for him being dropped off with two white people who don't speak your language after a 6 hour bus ride when you have never even left your orphanage or ridden in a car.

Sometimes Sam will hit and throw things, mainly at mama since she is there. He has and will continue to sort out his feelings of grief, anger and confusion over his adoption, his lost culture, and his first family. We will hold him, kiss him, love him, and whisper payers of peace to him though each one of these moments. I pray one day he can appreciate that God built our family with him as a cornerstone and count it a blessing. I know that I will.

Not all moments are easy but we will be thankful in each one that it brings us one step closer to healing his broken heart and grafting us into his.

Seven days and counting until I can wrap my arms around both my boys.

We had an outing to shop, eat and play at a park and he fell asleep in the carrier on the bus. Still snoozing an hour later.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday December 26th

Today Sam has been a little subdued. We will definitely have some food issues associated with not having access to ample food up to this point. We a category 4 melt down over spilled puffs earlier. JR rated it. He said the highest would be a cat 5 but that only occurs if you soil yourself. I'm glad he cried. This is only the third time he has cried at all. Often kids in orphanages stop crying even when soiled, hungry or hurt because they learn no one will help them. I want him to know that when he has a need, he can cry out and we will meet his needs.

In random facts, I think he has been potty training. He will be dry after a 4 plus hours so we sat him on potty to see if he would go and he did.

He is such a gentle and orderly child. I'm sure John Hinton will help him with his rough and tumble and reckless abandon. That or I will have to medicate both of them so they can survive. Or I'll just self medicate.

We went to the play ground here and he slid for what I'm sure was the first time. Then we did It 100 more times. I was glad to see him use some gross motor skills.

We went sighting today included a Buddhist temple which was beautiful with lovely gardens. We also went to the jewelry market and I bought ring. It was only $50 but I have no idea if it is even real silver. Our games of charades does not bring much fruit. Which brings me to dining out without our guides. Last night the three of us split 11 shrimp and one pot of tea. By split, I mean Sam eat the vast majority of it, JR got McDonalds on the way back to the hotel and I went to bed hungry. Tonight, we spilt two shrimp dishes some small bowl of white rice and two pots of tea. I'm getting better.

The low point of the day today was a guy selling dog pelts on the way to dinner. Paws and all. I thought I might die. I want to remember the good and bad from this trip. This was very bad. That was the most culture shock for me so far.

This was at dinner tonight.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sam has done wonderfully. He has cried twice. Once when we put him in the bath (his first bath. They're ale showers.) and then when we got in the van to today. He eats like horse. He is affectionate towards both of us but does favor me. He asks to be picked up by holding his arms up. He loves peak a boo. He is not very verbal and is defiantly much thinner than we are use to, but the way he is eating, that won't last long.

Here are a few pictures from today.

Merry Christmas!!!

P.S. dinner was a hot mess tonight when we ventured out. More to come but maybe I'll let jr tell it.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Good morning!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Good night

Tomorrow we will meet Sam. He will have had a 5-6 hour car ride to meet us. Poor baby will probably be exhausted by the time he gets to us. Say a prayer for him.

My first baby is making it just fine. Making sausage with pawpaw.

Making patties.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Great Wall

We toured Beijing. We saw the Great Wall and forbidden city. It was in the teens and twenties with a strong wind. So I was pretty much cold and miserable and then they expected me to haul it up endless stairs. Um, no. Ask Jessica, I've hated history and exercise all my life. She and I got coke at the Musee D'orsay in the cafe instead of seeing the art. A little bit of culture goes a long way for me. JR climbed pretty far. Here are his pictures.

found these in our closet...

Got warm fuzzies yet? you also cannot drink the water.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm trying out the VPN to see if I post directly to blogger and Facebook. If it works, Katie Cassidy will be my hero. We are at our hotel in Beijing and it is 1:30 in the morning. Tomorrow we see the Great Wall and have Peking duck. We no longer fly more than 4 hours unless we can afford first class. :)

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Location:We made it Beijing

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seattle airport

We are here at the Seattle airport waiting for our flight to Beijing. We had a rough day getting here yesterday because of snow and ice in Denver. We got to the hotel around 3:30 home time. As much as I miss John Hinton, I know that leaving him was the right decision. He is not mature enough for the demands of international travel.

We went down to Elliot bay today and saw the fish market. I'm like my daddy, I could spend all day looking at the different fish, fruits and veggies. We had a great late lunch of Dungeness crabs and a shrimp roll. Our flight is 12.5 hours so I'm glad we were able to get out today and walk around even if it was 40 degrees, windy and raining.

Next time we post (or Jessica post for me) we should be in china! We won't see Sam until Christmas Eve so don't get too excited.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Call

This is the last Vicksburg blog as a family of three.  I forgot some of my favorite quotes the other day:

My cousins little girl, Alissa Grace:  "I'm part Chinese.  I fixing to get a Chinese cousin so that makes me part Chinese."

My Mamaw when we told her we were adopting and that I had been nervous about telling her.  I mean she is 86 and this is not really the norm.  "I don't know you would be nervous.  I don't see anything wrong with adopting from Japan or China."  Sorry all you adoptive families outside of China.  I can't worry about you or your feelings.  What's important to me is that she loves Sam.  I have no idea where she got the notion that Japan had an international adoption program.

Kelsey Ann about 10 years ago when discussing the expense of buying a spider monkey, "I could get two Chinese babies for that!"  Um, no you could not.

One of the most common questions we get is what do you know about his parents.  The truth is that we know nothing of his biological parents.  What we do know is that they could not meet his needs and risked criminal prosecution to get him to the orphanage where he received much needed medial care.  We will always be grateful that they gave him life and protected it.  There isn't a legal means to give up a baby in China so it is often done in the dark of night with fear of criminal prosecution. Because of this, most children from China do not come with a family history. Therefore, we are not revealing anything sensational about Sam's past.   I get a lot of gasp when I tell people that we do not know about his family.  There is no need to gasp.  I knew exactly what we were in for in this respect.  This is a leap of faith and that little piece of the puzzle is insignificant to me.  Our family will always speak of his first family in a respectful, thankful, and loving way.

Some adoptive families may find some of the comments that I found funny to be offensive or be very protective of their child's family history.  I do ask that you not ever ask those type of questions in front of Sam. I think one reason that I can roll with some comments is because adoption does not come from a place of loss or pain for us.  I say that while recognizing that there much pain and loss for Sam: his first family and then his caregivers that he loves at the orphanage.  Sam's adoption was born out of my transformative love for John Hinton and God's constant reminder that every child deserves unconditional love and devotion through a forever family and that we could be that family.

Lets do this.

Bye, y'all.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Less than one week and people say the darnedest things

We are less than one week away from leaving!!!! We understand that blogger and Facebook are censored in China so we are hoping to email my dear friend Jessica and she will update the blog and post in "Fried Chicken and Egg Rolls" on Facebook.

If you want to join the group on Facebook, let me know.

I want to remember some of favorite quotes from this journey. I'll start at home.

JR, when we got our travel dates: "I mean this just got real!" Um ok JR, I've been doing paperwork for 18 months and drained all of our accounts and NOW it is real for you?

My favorites from John Hinton:

He and I lay in his bed at bedtime and talk until he falls asleep.
Me: what do you think Sam will want to talk about when he gets here?
JHA: Jesus!!!

Does Sam like cookies?

We need to get one (does matter what we are buying) for Sam!

JR and JHA in the truck:
JHA: what is that terrible smell. Did someone toot?
JR: I think you tooted.
JHA: Maybe Sam did it.

Nerf bullets all over our living room.
JHA: who made this mess?
Me: I think you did, baby.
JHA: maybe Sam did it.

My Mamaw: Does Sam have a TV?
Me: um, I don't think so. Things at the orphanage seem pretty basic from what I've gathered.
Mamaw: well, he should have a TV. I mean he is in China.

One of JR's clients: I knew someone who adopted and within weeks they got pregnant with twins!
Me: oh I hope not!

Everyone, and I mean 4 out of 5 people: so does he know English?
What I say: no. He has a cleft palate so he will need lots of therapy before he can speak. We expect that he will understand us pretty quickly after he comes home.
What I'm thinking: well sure. His orphanage has only offered him milk paste and porridge and he was wearing girls clothes in his picture but they offer English as a second language enrichment classes.

Those are just a few of my favorites. :)

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Sunday, December 2, 2012


New Years Day 2012, JR and I went to church.  We had communion and open alter.  When I knelt at the altered I prayed earnestly that God would either bring me a child through adoption or unburden my heart.  JR and I had been in the China program for five months.  I was discouraged.  I was tired.  I was frustrated.  I was so frustrated because I felt like God had placed a heavy burden upon my heart for over two years but had not led us to a child.  And there are plenty of children who need families.

It was just days later that I saw Sam's sweet, sweet face and dimples.  God answered my prayers with Sam.  I hope we are the answers to his heart's prayers.  Now, almost a year later, after hours of training, lots praying, some crying, and a ton of paperwork, we are going to bring Sam home. 

Sam is my grandfather's little brother's name.  John Hinton is named after my grandfather, John Hammond Hinton.  In Hebrew, Samuel means "God has heard."  How appropriate. 

Many of you have asked how you can help or if there is anything that you can do for us during this time.  I ask for your prayers for John Hinton.  He will be in excellent hands, but we will gone 19 days.  He burst into tears when we talk about leaving.  I know he will have a difficult time adjusting to Sam.  I'll be kind and say that John Hinton is currently living up to his only child reputation and a delayed terrible twos.  Please pray for Sam.  Not only is this a terrifying experience for him to leave the only familiar faces he knows, he will be overwhelmed with sites, sounds, and people that he has never experienced before.  Please pray for our travel and for Sam to remain calm.  On our way home, we will fly one day within China back to Beijing, spend the night, fly to Seattle, spend the night, fly to Denver to New Orleans, then drive home.  That is enough to exhaust anyone much a toddler. 

I'll keep thinks updated.  We leave in 17 days...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blog hoppin

My friend, Erin, blogged about us today over at Thanks for the support and encouragement!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just in case you forgot...

Just incase you forgot how stinkin cute this kid is. Which is totally understandable since I haven't blogged in forever.

Super heroes and candy collection. Nicholas, Jacob and Plum.

Stealing said candy. Notice the chair

Drag racin with daddy in the hallway. Safety first, Mama's rule.

My view for the week.

I can't wait to get home to my guys!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Party Like a Rockstar

You only turn three once, but you can celebrate for days!
You have Mexican with the big hat.

You enjoy cupcakes with your friends at day care.

This kid is the spitting image of his daddy but his love cupcakes is straight from his mama.

I love this kid.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

3 years old

We've come a long way, baby.

You are everything your father and I ever dreamed of and more. 

I thank God every night for you.

The last three years have been an adventure and the best years of my life.
All my love, Sugar Plum.  Happy Birthday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Referral acceptance

We received our referral acceptance today! This means that he is ours and that we can share Samuel Xinwei's picture too!

Our agency expects us to travel in December. We would welcome prayers for Sam and John Hinton. All of this will be so unfamiliar and scary for Sam. And I'm pretty sure John Hinton thinks he is getting a baby just like all of friends who got baby brothers and sister. Please pray for all of our transitions.

Here is a picture of the other little rock star for good measure.

Got to go work on paperwork!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dirt (Sigh)

It's a good thing little boys are take-your-breath-away-kind of lovable because they are so stinking gross and dirty and stinky!!!

Before bath:

During bath:

I had to drain the water and start over.

I wouldn't trade it for the world. Bring on the boys!!!

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy (Belated) Grandparents Day!!!

We were returning from God's Country yesterday (Starkville) so I missed grandparents day.  So, Happy Grandparents Day to Grannie, Grand Daddy, Mammaw, Nonnie and PawPaw. 

I ordered a picture book for Sam recently.  I will be able to send it to him once we get our Referral Acceptance, and hopefully, one of the nannies will read it to him along with the Chinese characters for each one of us.  You would thought we all had never had our picture taken.  Here is one of my favorites of Plum with Nonnie and PawPaw.

The nannies will probably wonder what this boy is going "home" to! 
I have to say a special thank you to my parents for helping me today and always.  Not only does my mama take John Hinton to get his allergy shots every week which is the opposite of fun, but today she took him home with her because I did not feel good.  They are always willing to help with him when we need it.  It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 
Sam may have been born an orphan but soon he will be a son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, and loved sacrificially and unconditionally.  He will be one lucky little boy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Boys are weird...

They see a hole and think I bet I could fit in there and then they freaking get in there!!!

You put out a slide. They think "she put up a diving platform!!!".

They like worms in their yogurt.

And I can't wait for our next boy, to see if he crawls in the dryer or cuts it on when his brother is in there, if he slides or dives, and if he like gummies or m&ms!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The little highs

The adoption path is filled with emotional highs and lows.

Low: sitting up tonight tying to understand and submit sam's paperwork for immigration.


Super cute construction sheets that came in today for our littler guy. I figure little boys' obsession with all things construction is about as close to a universal truth as I can get.

When I am particularly worried about where Sam is or what he is doing or what he is missing each day he spends institutionalized, JR reminds me that this time next year, he will be home and hopefully, sleeping in his construction bed in his room with his brother.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big day, HUGE DAY

Friday was a huge day in our adoption.  Our dossier left our adoption agency and is on its way across the world to China.  Our dossier is 80 plus pages of documents that detail our lives from birth.  It has taken me a little over 5 moths to compile, every page has been notarized by a notary, authenticated by the MS Secretary of State and certified by the Chinese consulate.  It is my labor of love.  It will be translated and the Chinese government will determine if we may adopt Sam. 

I cannot wait to meet Sam.  I wonder every day what he will be like.  Will he be a mama's boy like Plum or prefer his daddy, be an early riser or night owl, be rough and tumble or more sensitive, have a quick temper, love candy, demand coke, hug our dogs, think his mama can do anything, cheer for the garbage truck, strip down naked at every opportunity, love Curious George, be shy or love people?  Only time will tell.  I don't expect that the first few days and weeks will reveal his true nature.  My big fear is that he will not know how to love us or accept our love. 

We are hoping to travel to pick up Sam in December or January.  Until then, we will enjoy summer and fall as a family of three. 

Last week, we will welcomed home daddy and Pawpaw from their deep sea fishing trip. I cannot tell you how excited Plum gets when the coolers are unloaded. "WHOA! HOLY COW! FISH!!!!" He gets super excited.  Posing with dinner...a blue crab, a snapper, a red fish, and a flounder:

He carried this poor blue crab around all day Sunday.  He even drove it around in his jeep. "I'm gonna ride it in my jeep."

Don't worry, I'll have them bring back another blue crab next year in case Sam wants one.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Too cute

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Sunday, June 17, 2012


Fathers Day.

Birthday to Plum.

Mothers Day.

John Hinton was a little confused about what we were celebrating today.  He did eventually manage to tell my daddy happy fathers day.  He continued to insist the cake that I made was his birthday cake. 

We are short on pictures of JR and my daddy. I'm even missing lots of old pictures since my computer died a few months ago.  I did get his one of Plum holding a croker that his PawPaw caught this weekend. 

Poor John Hinton got to my parents house on Saturday and asked where his PawPaw and when he found out that he had gone fishing he had a meltdown that PawPaw had left without him. I don't think he will be making the south Louisiana trips anytime soon, but I know his PawPaw cannot wait to take him. We love you so very much, PawPaw! 

I did find this one.  It is an old one, but one of my favorites.

The two loves of my life.  Happy Father's Day!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For the love of...

Today was picnic day at daycare.
This meant a sack lunch lovingly prepared by me which was barely touched by Plum. Lunch was followed by SNOW CONES!

Tonight at bedtime,
Me: I love you, John Hinton.
JHA: I like snow cones. I eat them ALL day.

Well then. It may have his first but I don't think it'll be his last.

For the love of snow cones

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

not like the others

[disclaimer here: this is not intended in anyway to make light of or be disrespectful to moms who do not work outside of their home. It is my core belief that all moms that are doing it right are working their fingers to the bone until they finally collapse, emotionally spent and physically exhausted. Being a home maker, like many other wonderful attributes and decisions (being skinny, a good public speaker, outdoorsy, athletic, a doctor, a missionary), just do not reflect my life or how God made me. So please don't read anything other than mutual love and respect into it.]

I have looked like most other moms for most of my mom life.  I'm the right age, married, and shop at the Gap.  I have shared maternity clothes, breast pumps and baby carriers with my friends. 

In short, I fit in with the the other moms I know. 

I have learned over the last year that I do not "fit" the adoption mom mold. But I like to fit in.  At first, you may only see the similarities, I will love my adopted child. I want the best for him. I have prayed for him and cried over him for a year. I have worked my butt off to get to him.  But I am different.  It was obvious when I went to an adoption conference a few months ago. It is painfully obvious as I read adoption book after adoption book about not being more than 3 feet away from the child for months on end or "wearing" the child as much as he can tolerate [I'm picturing Sam thinking why the hell is she always wearing me in this restrictive carrier (which I have already bought) and why won't she let me down to play with that other one?] or being the child's sole care provider for at least a year through cocooning where you don't allow anyone to touch, talk, make eye contact or give gifts to the child.   

Here is my dirty little secret, I leave home everyday to go to a job.  That is right, it is outside the home and a paid child care provider takes care of Plum.  Her name is Angela.  As Plum says, "her is nice.  Her is pretty."

I no longer look like the others.  At this point, the books don't help.  The experts have no advice for you other than "you should really change your priorities and make arrangements to be at home with him for at least six months." 

Well, alrighty then.   The message is clear.  I'm not adoption mom enough. 

It is overwhelming and intimidating.  My friend Ashley is always quick to remind me that while I can read book after book, none of the experts take into account that Sam is our child and that God brought us together.  JR told me that although a stay at home, home schooling, garden growing, minivan driving, preacher's wife (also all good things that do not apply to me) probably would make a better adopting mom,  God placed adoption on my heart and answered my prayers with Sam.   I need to rely on him for healing for Sam.

I don't have to look like other adopting moms, because I am John Hinton's and Sam's mom.  That is good enough.

Sam shouldn't feel too put upon by all of my short comings, John Hinton was not delivered without drugs or breastfed.  And he even cried it out a couple of times, and I only wore him a handful of times.  He has been fully vaccinated and doesn't even get organic food and has always had to sleep in his room. As a bright spot for Sam, I do not monitor sugar or dye intake, Fridays are candy mornings and we get donuts on Saturdays.  Oh, I also allow coke. 

Here is the product of first attempt at parenting...

This is waiting for my second...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Well, hello there.

It has been a while.  A month.  Things have been busy here.  And frankly, I've been too exhausted to blog and don't feel witty or entertaining or informational.

Traveling. Sick baby. Traveling. More sick baby and allergy testing.  Our air conditioner died. Like cannot be saved. It was a HOT 5 days.  After an "investment", we are cool.  Plum got sicker. Finally, Plum has been fever free for 24 hours!!! 
I think it was the trip to the casino buffet with his great grandmother that finally pulled him out of the five days of virus and fever.  He still has pneumonia, but we will continue treatment and go back for a recheck.

We are anxiously waiting for progress from immigration on our adoption paperwork. We expect to go get Sam in December or January.

We wait.

I shop and monogram everything with his name as any good southern mama to be does (pictures another day).

His family prays for him.

We cannot wait for him to be able to express himself.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm leaving on a jet plane in 12 hours...

Thanks, Pittsburgh. It's been fun.


I mean I need to start smoking and cuss dirtier before I can come back, but it's been fine.

After all, you are home to giant sandwiches with french fries in them (primanti brothers).

Just one more "sleep" and I will back with these loves. 


Yes, Addy had climbed into Plum's car seat.

No, he was not happy.

Yes, she did have to move so he could get in.

And no, I have no idea why she looks like the devil.

Monday, April 23, 2012

That's why God gave you so many...

Teeth, I mean God gives us a lot. So that way, when you lose part of one, you have plenty of others. Yep, plum chipped his tooth today at daycare. Only time will tell if there is any nerve damage. I'm guessing he will be just fine though, considering my official notification was that he barely even whimpered when it happened. God bless Sam's little heart. If he isn't an accident waiting to happen, I won't know how to treat him. But I'll learn.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Tax Day!

For the last 8 years or so, J.R. has sent some variation of this dancing purple hippo (DPH) out to his tax friends to mark the celebration of the end of tax season.

We could not be any happier to see the DPH, a.k.a. Kozo, again.

In the words of the Plum, "shake ya booty."

Monday, April 16, 2012

safety first

We had a "near miss" with a head injury last week. One hundred dollars and a trip to got gear later, we now have the right tools for the job.

His PawPaw would not rest until this baby had a helmet. By that, I mean he called me multiple times to discuss our current personal protection equipment plan. "We can put a lot of him back together again, but we cannot put his brain back together." The Plum is now ready to ride.