Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Birthday!!

Emmett really enjoyed his birthday!   He started asking when it was already by the end of September.  One of his classmates had a birthday, and so he wanted one!  I'm still not sure he understands completely that his birthday is the day he was born, we'll have to keep working on that.  Anyway, we made a paper chain early in October for him to count down to his birthday.  Brianna's birthday is 4 days before his, so she made one too.  From seeing his classmates at school, he understood what a birthday meant at school.  He had no idea about anything else though, until Brianna's party.  He watched carefully as she blew out candles on her cake, opened presents, played with her friends, etc.  Then he really got excited for his!  I waited until the day of his birthday to buy a present for him from us, because he hasn't explored much yet.  However, several times this week he asked for a dump truck, including just before getting on the bus on his birthday ("Mama, dump truck please for happy birthday?") So, I found a dump truck.  We invited some of the neighbor children over that he and Linnea play with a lot, and it was just right!  Everyone was here about an hour, had cake and presents and played for a bit.  He was very tired afterwards, and went to bed early!  Here's some photos:
The special Happy Birthday chair at school

The calendar at school, with the birthday cake on the 17th.  It's hard to see, but his name is written on the cake.

blowing out candles.  he picked out the cake at the store, and was very excited to see that his name was on it when we picked it up!
all the kids
a scooter from Jacie and Ryan

color wonder paints from Bri, Livvy, and Joey

a helicopter from Elena

a fire truck from Brianna

a tow truck from Linnea
studying his lego fire truck from Grandma and Grandpa

playing with the dump truck!  (it came with the hard hat)

Monday, November 14, 2011

A busy but settled life

Life continues to be busy, and we are never bored.  Emmett is really settling in to the routine though.  His language is improving to the point that at bedtime each night he talks through what is happening the next day, and asks any questions he has.  It is quite amazing.  As I've been working on his photo book that consolidates his China photos, he's been telling us stories about his life over there.  We understand that he went to school, but his two friends didn't.  They both had more needs, and were schooled at the orphanage.  He acted out a dance he performed in school in 2009 (photos of him in green hood), and we were amazed again by how much he can remember.  He had all of us (including Grandma and Grandpa) doing our parts.  A few nights ago while we were playing games (he's just starting to learn), he shared that he never got to play at school in China.  We pretty much knew that, but now it's confirmed.  As we understand, they don't get what we call recess.  Their gym class involves everyone doing the same exercise routine in unison.  Most of class time is sitting quietly in a desk copying what the teacher is doing.  I can't wait until he can even share more with us.  I'm so glad he is willing to tell us!
Emmett is settled in school and doing very well.  His teacher says he is better at remembering the names of his classmates than a lot of others are.  He has friends there, and knows the routine very well.  He can tell me ahead of time if he has gym or music class that day or not.  I have some photos of him doing "Guess and Tell."  Kindergarten does that instead of show and tell.  The child and parent pick an object, and write three clues to help the other kids guess it at school.  The child reads the clues (whispered in his/her ear by the teacher), and then calls on classmates to guess what it is.  After it is guessed, they call on 5 friends to ask questions about it.  Emmett loves doing this, and is very comfortable in front of the group.  Here are some photos of him with his fire truck train (thanks Blake!) last week. 

He dressed up as a clown for Halloween at school, even though he had no idea why.  I really wonder what he thought about these crazy Americans dressing up so funny.  He learned the word Halloween! 

He has learned to climb trees, been to the zoo, helped with corn harvest several times, gone roller skating, learned to play with legos, trains, and how to draw fairly elaborate pictures.  He has also experienced snow, for a couple days anyway.  He was fine with wearing boots and snow pants, but when out at recess just walked around and looked at it all!   We are amazed at how he continues to absorb what is going on around him.  Yesterday he and Linnea packed their small suitcases, and took a trip out to the swing set.  The went on a long journey to get there, and were "gone" several hours, popping in to get food occasionally.  It is so fun to see his imagination soaring! 
His birthday is in three days, and he is very excited about it.  He started asking about his birthday after his first classmate had hers.  He knows what will happen at school, and is learning at home.  Brianna's birthday was yesterday, and we had her party Friday night.  He watched the cake process and the presents with obvious interest.  We've invited a few of the neighbor kids that he loves to play with over for cake after school on Thursday.  We'll see how it goes!  We went roller skating at Brianna's party, and he picked it up pretty quickly.  He was doing well on the carpet; still unsure on the hard floor. 

He loves airplanes, trains, and tractors.  He and his dad are quite a bit alike!  Here is his school photo this year.  It turned out very well!

He is very aware of everything his sisters do, and very concerned that everything be fair.  He noticed that they had scrapbooks made by Grandma, and was feeling like he was missing out because he didn't have one.  Grandma made one for him, a 12x12 scrapbook of his life starting August 1, 2011.  Hers really tells the story of what all has occured since then, both in China and in the US.  Wish I could post a link to that one on line!  The one I created is to help him bring together his life before and after joining our family.  In adoption lingo it's a life book, telling about the child's life, as much as we know anyway.  I anticipate printing this book again later, when he can add some stories to the photos in it.  He gets quite animated when talking about those pictures, we just don't understand it all yet.  He now loves books and loves to be read to; which is very amazing since even 6 weeks ago he didn't sit for books at all.  It has opened up a whole new world to him.  Now that he is experiencing some "normal kid things" (zoo, tractors, garbage trucks, etc) it makes the books mean something to him.  Currently his favorite is Green Eggs and Ham.  We ate green eggs and ham for supper one night, and he really liked that!  He also likes Richard Scarey, Curious George, and any book about trucks or tractors.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of his birthday!  I'll post more after the party. 

Emmett's Life book

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What a month!

This update is long overdue, sorry!  We've been a little busy!  Emmett is doing extremely well!  We continue to be amazed at the resilience and capacity to learn of a 5 year old!  He is really settling in as a member of the family.  He is learning how to play with toys, how to color pictures (basic things American kids know by 5), as well as learning english, the routines of school, kids in the neighborhood, letters, patterns (a new concept for him), tally sheets, graphs, etc.  It is really amazing! 

On the first day of kindergarten he couldn't write or recognize his name in writing (no big surprise, since it was new to him still), couldn't free draw a picture, didn't know how to draw a picture of himself, etc.  One week later he was recognizing his name, writing it similar to other kindergartners, drawing photos of people with ease, etc!  It is amazing to watch! 

I started attending school with him full time.  He clung to me, as he was scared of school in general, but was ok if I was there.  Already the first week he was volunteering answers in class (and actually knew some of them) and playing with the other kids at recess.  He paid much closer attention to what was happening at school than when I tried similar activities with him at home.  The second week of school I started leaving a little before the end of the day to pick up Brianna and Elena, as they finish school earlier than the younger two.  He was nervous the first day, but quickly became comfortable with this.   I also stayed inside during recess to help the teacher with prep work.  He had no problem with that. 
Then after 7 days of school we went to convention!  We felt bad throwing so many new things at him, but he adapted well.  Convention was a challenge because he didn't really do any of the things our kids do to keep busy.  He didn't look at books much (though more by the end of convention), didn't color much, couldn't do much for imaginative play (no cars on the floor like I had hoped), etc.  However, he quickly learned what was expected of him (be reasonably quiet), and moved from lap to lap keeping busy.  Stickers helped at times, though nothing for very long.  He was in every meeting though, and did well.  By Sunday he was ready to go home!  We explained to the people sitting around us that we had just adopted him 6 weeks prior, so they would understand why his behavior was a little different than most 5 year olds at convention.  All were very understanding!  He frequently announced the hymns (repeated what had just been said, correctly) at his only volume, which is loud!  That generated some smiles~!  He was listening to the speakers too, because he would repeat words he recognized!  He loved playing with the kids between meetings, and enjoyed the camper.  He ate much better there than I had guessed. 

The third week of school I started leaving for the last 45 minutes before lunch, which he wasn't very excited about.  He was happy to see me at lunch, though, and by the third day of doing this, he was fine with it.  I gradually started leaving earlier in the am, then not coming back until rest time, etc.  Today I was only at school 45 minutes total!  He is doing so well!  He rode the bus this am, and I didn't go to school to make sure he got to his class (like I have the last few days).  He rides the same bus as Linnea and the neighbor kids.  I didn't see him until coming to help with math, at 1:45!  He is very comfortable at school now, and doing well.  He catches on to most things quickly, and is even with his peers is most things except language (and coloring pictures), but i find it amazing! 

He continues to be a happy child, and loves his bike above all things.  Brian has a tag-a-long for his bike, and Emmett loves to go for bike rides with Daddy.  He also loves airplanes, and got his second ride last Saturday.  This time it was just him and Brian, and he rode in the front seat.  He didn't touch anything, and seemed to enjoy it again. 

He refers to himself as Emmett now, and won't answer to Haixing.  We were looking at the video of our first meeting with him, and I said something about "Haixing"  (since he didn't know at the time the video was taken what his new name would be), and he said "no Haixing, Emmett." 

He is very loving to the family, and cautious with others until he gets to know them, which is fabulous!  It shows he is attaching to us, and identifying us as family.  He brings his bible and hymn book to meeting every time, and has to have his hymn book turned to the right hymn.  He sings occasionally.  It doesn't take him very long to learn a tune, but words are obviously harder. 

He is eating lots of different foods now.  He is willing to try anything, and sometimes will decide he likes it after several tries.  His favorite food is noodles.  He is also eating American food like pancakes and spaghetti.  He loves milk, though needs the lactose free or has major stomach cramps and other problems.  He sleeps well.  He has crawled in our bed twice in the middle of the night.  The first time was after the first day of school, and the second after the first time he had been alone all morning at school.  We figured he needed a little extra cuddling/reassurance both times.  Otherwise he sleeps in his room, but likes his sisters to sleep in there with him.  They take turns. 

Language has been interesting!  We skyped with Jeanette (in China) 1-2 times a week for the first month he was home.  She was very helpful in helping him understand what would be happening with school starting, etc.  However, about 2 weeks ago he started refusing to answer when anyone spoke Mandarin to him.  This occurred both in person and over skype, with new people and with people he knew.  We're assuming he's choosing to put that behind him.  He is learning english very rapidly.  He understands so much now, and is speaking more every day.  The other day in school he needed help with something, so yelled, "Teacher."  We would prefer he raise his hand and wait, but both the teacher and I looked up at each other in surprise!  Neither of us had heard that word from him before!  (I was helping another student at the time.)  We are amazed at his progress, and though saddened by his refusal to speak his language, we have to accept that it is his choice. 

All for now; I'll add more as I think of it.  I'll add more pictures when I get them uploaded.

Monday, August 29, 2011

More firsts

Friday night Emmett had his first ride in a small airplane. We didn't exactly plan it that way, but he let us know what he wanted. Brian had a meeting out at the airport, so Brianna, Linnea, Emmett and I came out there when he was almost done with the meeting. We wandered around the airport, and showed him which plane was Daddy's. I had told him where we were going. He brought along his photo book we made for him of our family, which had photos of the airplane in it. He compared the photo in the book to the real thing, and apparently it passed. When Brian finished with his meeting, he came out to the hanger, and unlocked the plane. We were just going to let him sit in it; as Brian had no plans to fly. He hopped in the back, buckled up, and said, "Let's go!" (This continues to be his favorite phrase.) After some discussion, Brian agreed to take him up for 10 minutes. I told him he had to stay buckled, and he nodded his head. Brianna rode in front, and Linnea in the back with him. He squealed on take off, and talked excited Mandarin the whole flight! He had a blast, and I think was hoping to fly longer. 
First time in Daddy's airplane

wearing his headset!
right after landing
Saturday was John Deere's 100th anniversary celebration in Horicon, with a big parade, lots of food, bouncy houses for the kids, games, etc.  Emmett seemed to have a good time. Saturday afternoon I bought him a bigger bike (now 16") which he rides like a maniac!  His balance has improved dramatically in 2 weeks! 
Sunday we went hiking at Ledges Park, which has lots of rocks to climb on.  He was nervous/cautious, since he hadn't done that before, but wanted to keep going when it was time to go home!  He really is game to try most anything!  More later, it's supper time. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Home for 2 weeks

Emmett continues to amaze us with how quickly he is adapting to his new life.  It's hard to believe we hadn't met him yet 4 weeks ago!  We arrived home 2 weeks ago today.  (We are very glad we were able to go then, and not just be traveling home today!) 
Last week was very busy with our county fair, as the kids have many 4H projects that they entered.  They did reasonably well, but could tell on a few things that we had been gone more than 2 weeks just before the fair.  Brianna received a special merit (best finish award) for her woodworking project, an intartia cat.  Linnea received a special merit for her model of a solar system, which she had spent many hours creating!  Elena showed Merlin (one of our cats) and received a top blue in his category.  Many other ribbons were received too, but those were the best! 
Friday afternoon was ride day for us.  The girls each got wristbands, so they could go on unlimited rides.  I just bought a few tickets for Emmett, as I was sure he'd never ridden anything like that before.  All three girls went with him on the merry-go-round, since I was nervous about what he would do.  He smiled and seemed to understand what was happening.  He did get nervous when I got out of sight though.  After that Linnea went with him on some of the little kid rides.  He loved them all, and begged for more!  Before it was over he rode 1/2 of the grown up rides, squealing and grinning from ear to ear!  Wow!  I ended up buying him a wristband too, because he loved all the rides.  He begged to go on the really crazy ones, but I thought enough was enough for the first time.  For several days after that at home he asked to go back!  ("Mama, let's go, weeeee" with a circular motion in the air.) 
Saturday morning was cat judging.  It's not really a fun place, with 40+ cats in a room that don't want to be there, and are nervous anyway.  Brian decided to stay home with Emmett and Linnea, since an active little boy who squeals whenever he sees a cat really wouldn't help the atmosphere much.  Using google translate, I explained to Emmett that I was leaving for a little while, but Daddy and Linnea would stay with him and I would come back.  He happily waved goodbye.  However, Elena and Brianna forgot some things, so I returned home 1/2 hour later.  This time he cried when I went to leave again!  (A first).  I sat and cuddled him for about 20 minutes, then put him in Brian's arms with one of his favorite milk boxes from China and the ipad, with videos of him swimming in China.  He did fine.  It does show he is attaching well to us though! 
Sunday we had a family over whose son was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  We certainly feel for the family, since we well remember that day for us, over 9 years ago now.  Emmett didn't like sharing his family and home though, and was whiny and throwing fits several times while they were here.  One more thing for him to learn!  In between he did have a good time playing with their little guy, 6 years old. 
The rest of the week has been a little quieter.  Tuesday Emmett had his doctor appointment and received 4 shots.  He wasn't very happy about this.  I really want the shots to have a chance to start working before school starts though.  His leg was sore for a couple days afterwards, so he learned to take medicine.  Apparently medicine in China is very bitter, so he doesn't like it.  He really doesn't like liquid Motrin or Tylenol either though, but would take it with lots of encouragement.  I think he figured out it helped his leg feel better. 
Yesterday we visited his school for the first time.  We had skyped with a native Chinese speaker the night before, so we could explain what we were doing.  He was a little nervous, but seemed to enjoy playing in the classroom and on the playground.  Next Tuesday is open house, and Thursday is a short day for kindergarten, 1 1/2 hours, with only a few kids coming at a time.  His first full day won't be until Sept 6.  I'll go with him, and we'll stay as long as he tolerates.  He says he isn't scared to go as long as I am with him.  I really think he'll quickly get to love school, as he likes to be busy, and really soaks up learning!  There is another little boy in kindergarten (the other class) who was adopted from Vietnam 3 years ago.  I wonder if they will become best friends?
Emmett had another big first this week!  He learned to like ice cream!  We figured it would happen, since Brian and the girls eat lots of ice cream.  Whenever we've been going out for ice cream, both in China and here, I would get him french fries instead, since he loves those.  Well, Thursday afternoon we stopped for ice cream, and he refused his french fries.  He ate a good share of his sisters' cones, so I got him one.  We were amazed!
 Since then he eats Schwan's ice cream bars at bedtime!  He asked for one yesterday morning too, but accepted it when told they are only for bedtime.  Last night he got his own out before being told it was ok, so he definitely understood when it was ok to eat them! 
His english is expanding rapidly!  He comes out with 5-8 new words every day.  We are amazed at all he is learning.
He also had his first haircut this week.  We weren't sure how that was going to go.  We went and watched several men get their hair cut, then I asked Emmett if he wanted to go first, or Daddy.  I expected Brian to go first.  However, Emmett said he wanted to be frist, andhopped up there like a pro.  He is ticklish, so wiggled a little, but really did very well!  Clearly he knew what this was all about. 
Elena went to the dentist yesterday to get some sealants put on her teeth.  I told him where we were going, and he pointed to his teeth.  Clearly he has heard of a dentist before.  He then mimed getting teeth pulled!  I told him that wasn't going to happen to Elena.  He wanted to go in a watch, so we did.  He has his first dental appt in October, to give him a little more time to get acclimated to everything.  In one of our skype calls, I'm going to have someone ask him about his experience with a dentist, if any.  Hmm...
He is sleeping well every night, and doing well with food.  He'll try anything once, which is great!  He doesn't like cheese (no surprise, since they don't eat it over there) or any cheesy, creamy sauces.  He eats all vegies when cooked, loves meat, and eats rice and/or congee daily.  He loves that he can eat whenever he is hungry.  For the first week we wasted a lot of food, as he always wanted a lot of everything, but would fill up.  I think he's learned that there will always be more now, as he only asks for what he can eat.  He learns so fast! 
He continues to love to ride his bike; riding for over 1 1/2 miles Wednesday afternoon!  He enjoys swimming also, especially when it is really warm out.  The girls continue to be excellent big sisters!
All for now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Days at Home

Things are going remarkably well considering all it could be, but jet lag is hard!  Especially with a child who has no idea why he is awake and hungry in the middle of the night!  Anyway, apart from that, we're doing well.  Emmett has adapted very well.  He immediately recognized his own bed, and has slept there every night except the first night we were home.  (He slept with Elena the first night).  He started out waking up at 1:15 for the day, and actually slept until 6:30 this morning!  If he wakes in the night (occasionally once) I just lie down in his room with him for a bit and he goes back to sleep.  He is quickly figuring out what things are ok to play with, and what things to leave alone.  I am amazed at how quickly he is catching on to things!  He learned how to ride a bike Monday morning!  He loves to ride his bike now.  It's been a very busy week, since our county fair is on.  We're been there the last 3 days to turn in projects and get them judged.  He is tolerating that quite well.  He still likes to be carried, so I'm getting stronger arms. 
Brian went back to work Monday am, and Emmett was awake to see him off.  We skyped with my parents shortly afterward, and their visitors explained to him that daddy was going to work, and would be back.  We went to visit Brian at lunch time.  Tuesday am he waved goodbye contentedly, but at lunch time got his shoes on and said, "Let's go."  We can't go to John Deere every day, so we got busy doing something else instead. 
Linnea goes to cello practice every morning, and he minds that worse than Brian going to work.  Today he accepted it and told her goodbye, but previous days he has gotten upset when we leave there without her.  She went to a birthday party Tuesday afternoon, and he didn't want to leave her there either!  He asked for her every 20-30 minutes for the 3 hours she was gone.  When we went to pick her up, he ran across the park screaming her name!  She heard him and came running, and got a big hug.  It was precious to all watching!  Several other parents were amazed, especially knowing Emmett has only been with our family just over 2 weeks. 
He enjoys the swimming pool, and is getting braver.  Soon I'll give him a "learning vest" that he'll wear on his chest to help him float.  So far he clings to us or stays by the steps.  I think he is close to getting enough confidence to strike out a little more on his own with the vest.  He loves to ride the lawn tractor with Brian!  I've told him that only daddy drives the tractor, so he doesn't beg me for rides all day!
He has done very well in meeting so far.  Sunday he kept himself busy and hardly made any noise.  He slept through Tues evening gospel meeting.  He has figured out where the crayons and markers are, and spends some time doing that.  He does enjoy watching his Chinese music DVD's.  I imagine it is comforting to hear his language.  We have skyped twice this week with people who speak his language as natives or very well, and he chats for a bit, then goes off to play, stating, "bye-bye!"  Overall we are quite amazed!  Next week will be calmer, as the fair will be over.  We'll be able to spend most of the time at home, and get more of an idea where he is developmentally and academically.  His gross motor skills are better than I had expected.  He can write his numbers 1-9, and is working on Emmett.  He can write his name in Chinese characters.  He is learning to count backwards by operating the microwave.  He continues to love to push buttons, and quickly learns to operate things.  I was hoping he wouldn't figure out the garage door opener soon, but of course that didn't take long.
Our social worker came for a visit Monday evening.  She was amazed at how attached he is to the family already.  While she was here he decided he was hungry.  He got a bowl out of the dishwasher, the Cheerios out of the pantry, milk out of the frig, and brought it all to the table.  She says it's like he's been here for months already instead of a few days.  We are very lucky!
All for now, thanks for thinking of us!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


This is the third time in the last 4 hours I've started this post!  Hopefully I can complete it, or at least get enough to be worth posting!   Sorry we haven't updated in a while.  The last few days were pretty busy.  Wednesday we hung around the hotel trying to keep occupied until Emmett's visa was ready (4:30pm).  It was raining, so we couldn't be outdoors much.  Previously we've let the kids play in the rain and get soaked, but not such a good idea on the day we are traveling!  Emmett isn't used to being in rain, and goes back and forth between Brian and I under a tree, and the girls out in the rain.  He's pretty open to new experiences though!  Anyway, we managed to while away the time with some new indoor activities, though Emmett doesn't stay doing any one thing very long, until it was time to go.  Thankfully the paperwork was done on time.  We picked it up and headed for the train station, to Hong Kong.  I admit was a little nervous going through immigration, but we sailed through without problems!  Now I feel like he is really ours! 

Emmett had done very well on the airplane and in the van, so we anticipated the train would go well.  Silly us.  He sat for the first 1/2 hour, then was all over the place:  in the aisles, in the seat of the people ahead of us, yelling, etc.  He wasn't mad, just busy!!!  Anyway, we survived.  We took a bus from the train station to the airport, then the hotel shuttle to the hotel.  We didn't arrive at the hotel until 11pm!  Everyone was exhausted!  We all slept well.  We were up Thursday am to take the bus back to the TST area of Kowloon, to meet Shona and Hele.  Emmett is very intrigued that we know people everywhere that know his name and speak his language.  He will be disappointed in the US!

 We had lunch with them, and took the ferry across to Hong Kong Island.  Emmett enjoyed them, being his usual teasing self.  He told Shona that she couldn't go to the bathroom in McDonalds, because there was a dog in it.  When she went anyway, he ran over to Hele and told her that he had fooled Shona.  He keeps life interesting!  Shona and Hele put us on in a bus to the Stanley market, then returned to their usual schedule.  The bus ride to Stanley was interesting!  Very narrow roads, double decker bus, and lots of twists and turns.  Those drivers earn their money!

This was taken from the side window of the middle of the bus!

Saw lots of beautiful scenery!  We wandered around there for a bit, then took a bus back to TST.  We found a children's playground on Middle road (very nice!), and the kids played there for an hour.  Emmett is cautious, but willing to try most anything he sees his sisters do.  They had a blast, and got rid of some energy!  We hit TGI Friday's for supper, then took the bus back to the airport, then shuttle to the hotel.  We need to be on the 7am shuttle to leave in the am, so hit the sack early!

Friday am we were all up and to the airport.  Good thing we were early, as the lines were long!  We finally reached our gate about 10 minutes before boarding!  We anticipated (again, silly us) that Emmett would enjoy the plane ride back to the US because he'd have his own personal screen with movies and games.  He is a big button pusher, and loves all electronics.  However, he wouldn't let anyone help him, and the only thing he could figure out on his own was how to call the stewardess!  Yikes!  All considering he did well, but took the ingenuity of all of us.  He did enjoy the Ipad, and moved from lap to lap checking out what others were playing/watching/doing.  About half way through the flight he settled in Brian's lap and watched a movie with him, sharing the earphones.  He did sleep the last 3 hours, so that helped (out of 15!). 
The flight was one of the more interesting we've been on in a while!  About half way through (7 1/2 hours into it) the flight attendants paged "all medical personnel to the front please."  That's a good way to raise my blood pressure when I know we're over the ocean near Russia and have nowhere to land.  Anyway, a man had collapsed in the bathroom and was lying on the floor passed out.  A cardiologist and I responded.  (Boy was I glad to see him!).  The man's blood pressure was really low, and as soon as we got him flat on the floor with his legs elevated his BP came up and he started talking.  To make a long story short, sounds like he was dehydrated.  We kept him on the floor for a while, made him drink lots, and finally put him in his seat (with help) in first class, which has seats that lay flat.  We told him to drink more, and not to get up without help.  We had a big discussion with the crew about whether we needed to divert anywhere, and decided for many reasons that he would be ok.  (This all took about 45 minutes).  We went back to our seats.  Emmett was glad to see me (he wasn't sure what to think when i disappeared so quickly).  He grabbed my hand, and clearly wanted to go with me somewhere.  I'm sure he thought I had discovered something fun to do.  So, we walked up and down the airplane some, though he was clearly hoping for more.  Anyway, we headed back to our seats.
About an hour later, here came the same page again.  It was the same man, who collapsed again after walking to the bathroom by himself.   This time we kept him on the floor, and instructed him not to get up!  When he needed the restroom again the flight attendant came to get me, and I made him crawl there and back.  Doing that, his blood pressure stayed stable and he didn't pass out.  Whew!!!  About an hour later they came and got me again.  He crawled to the bathroom, but opened the bathroom door standing up, and collapsed into the flight attendant's arms.  I was right there, so we got him on the floor again.  This time, the medical advisers from the ground wanted an IV in him.  Thankfully we were only 1 1/2 hours from Detroit at this point, or we would have had to land elsewhere.  Anyway, I stayed with him for a while, monitoring the IV, and went back to the family for landing.  Brian and the kids did really well with me disappearing for long lengths of time.  The EMS met the plane, and took the man off first.  They asked me and the doctor to talk to the EMS, as well as give a written report.  So we did this while everyone else waited.  Finally we got off, and were able to go through customs immigration (2 different places for us and Emmett), security again, and barely make our plane to Madison.  Boy were we glad to be home last night!  Needless to say, every one's sleep schedule is all confused!  Emmett got up at 1:15 this am, so we're all up except Brian.  Started laundry, etc.  I'll probably post less frequently now, but will keep you updated on his progress at home.  Thanks for following our journey! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Consulate visit

We had our appointment at the American Consulate this morning.  After a passport check and security screening, we were admitted to the area that processes adoptions and other American citizen matters.  There were about 15 adoptive families there.  We all jointly took an oath that all of our paperwork was correct, then were called up one family at a time to go over all the paperwork one last time, sign our immigration form for Emmett, and finalize everything.  Now we just wait for his visa to be issued, hopefully tomorrow, so we can start our journey homeward!  We are planning to take the train to Hong Kong tomorrow evening, spend a day there, and head home Friday.  For some reason the plane tickets home were much more expensive on Thursday than Friday.  We will be meeting up with some people in Hong Kong, so will enjoy our time there I'm sure. 
We ate lunch at Starbucks today.  Emmett wasn't too impressed with the offerings there, but did eat 1/2 of a chicken ceasar wrap.  We went swimming this afternoon, even in the rain.  We were able to be in the pool about an hour, but had to get out when it started thundering.  Later this afternoon we explored the hotel more, and found a play area with a slide and a couple of swings.  The area (rooftop) also has a pond with a bridge, some fish, and a waterfall.  It was a peaceful place to be for an hour or so.  Emmett enjoys swinging and sliding.  He will enjoy our backyard!  He is learning more english, and more about our family.  We were throwing pool toys in the pool this afternoon, which was a blast.  Then I made motorboat noises as we went to get them.  However, he threw his silly putty in the pond this afternoon, and it sank.  Bye-bye silly putty!  We just told him it was gone, and he accepted that.  He is testing boundaries, but rarely in a defiant way.  He'll start something he isn't sure about doing, and will look at me out of the corner of his eye to see my reaction.  If I shake my head no, he'll usually stop after a minute or two.  He was defiant once in the pool a couple days ago, trying to get into the deep end.  I know he didn't understand it was deep there, as the rest of us went there, but he scared us.  He went there again, in spite of my "no", so got a "time-in."  Kids from orphanages are frequently left along for punishment or just because, so time-outs aren't recommended.  The message is to be that the activity isn't appropriate, but the child isn't being rejected.  So, I got him out of the pool and held him on my lap for a few minutes.  He didn't like that much, trying to pinch and wiggle away.  After a few minutes I let him go, pointed at the shallow end, and he went that way.  We never had a problem again!  I had someone explain to him later that it was too deep in that end, and mommy and daddy couldn't keep him up there.  He really is a very reasonable kid!  We are very pleased that he is our son! 
Currently all the kids are playing hide and seek in the hotel room again.  Dad plays too at times, but I only get called of there is a problem!  Apparently he has figured out who the disciplinarian is, as I am the one he asks about things or tattles to.  Interesting!  (Not that Brian doesn't discipline, just seems like it is me more often.)  Goodnight all... though it is early morning for you.  3 more days!

Monday, August 8, 2011


We started our day (after breakfast) by taking a bus to Shamian island, where the medical clinic is.  That place was insane today!  Thankfully, we didn't have to be there long.  There was a huge line at the TB room, but it isn't the Chinese way to patiently stand in line and wait their turn.  We let our guides push us to the front, and were out of there in a few minutes.  Jeanette and Michelle were along with us.  Shamian island has quite a bit of green space to run in, lots of statues, and many shops and restaurants.  We picked up some clothes for Emmett, and a couple things for the girls.  We bought Emmett a native outfit that we will get photos taken in, then keep for him always.  We had a nice morning just wandering and shopping.  It definitely is steamy here! 

We had a quick lunch at a deli, then returned to our hotel.  The ladies and the grandparents had a rest then went out for coffee.  We took our tribe to a local park.  It is just down the street from the hotel.  However, you have to cross under the street to get there.  That sounds pretty intuitive, but if you think so you haven't traveled in China.  We experienced the same thing in Nanjing.  There is a whole separate world below the streets!  It's a complete maze down there!  We came up 4 different places before finally getting the one we needed to get to the park!  It was cooling down in anticipation of the coming rain, so wasn't a bad walk.  There were statues of bighorn sheep, which intrigued Emmett.  We watched a little Chinese girl getting her photo taken.  She was posing in a way that inspired imitation.  We let our 4 take turns going out on the rock she was standing on in the water, and getting their photos taken.  Emmett is a ham!  It started raining while we were in the park.  Emmett is clearly not used to being out in the rain.  He drags us under a tree or something else close by.  His sisters love to play in the rain though, and he can't quite figure that out.  He would go out with them in the rain, then return to us in shelter; back and forth several times.  In the end he was as wet as they were!  We arrived back at the hotel dripping wet, but happy.  The kids all showered, and Emmett hopped in the tub.  I had brought some small water squirter toys, that were a big hit in the tub!  He played in there for an hour!

For supper last night we took the metro 2 stops (again a different experience that in the US.  Once you find the metro and figure out which train you need; no problem.  We came out to a large shopping area with many restaurants.  We ate Cantonese food for supper, which was very good.  We shopped for some more clothes for Emmett.  I didn't bring much, because we didn't know what size he would be.  We also bought a computer program for Chinese kids to learn English, and some CD's of songs in Chinese, and stories in Chinese and English.  Emmett loves music!  Grandma has some children's songs on her ipod on Mandarin, and he loves that!  It was an interesting day!  We learned more about Emmett's fear of police.  We must have been in the underground at shift change during the afternoon, as we saw many groups of police moving around.  Each time Emmett would come running up to me and want to be held.  He would whisper in my ear something (clearly about he police), and let me carry him for a while (unusual).  This occurred several times.  Last night when we were walking around we saw an armored car with guards holding machine guns.  The poor little guy just about came apart!  He had a terrified expression on his face, turned pale, and was visibly shaking!  We gave him lots of hugs, and Michelle tried to reassure him.  He kept asking who the man with the gun was going to shoot, whither he would shoot a "good man" or not.  Michelle tried to explain he was guarding money, but I'm not sure how much of that he understood.  It was very sad to see him so scared!  Hopefully we can decrease that fear as time goes on.  All for now; kids are up ready for breakfast!