Wednesday, March 19, 2014

He's Been A Shaw for a Year (an iPhone photo review)

I can hear my furnace running.

That's AH. MAZ. ING.

That's because my heroic husband took all seven children to Wednesday night church so I could have some quiet time.

I've been needing it. 

Oh me. Oh my.

I don't know where you are as you read this, but I am writing this from the corner of Ohio North Pole. Snow lingers. Ice still lines the edges of the driveway. Winter apparently believes it is mid-December and we are all excited for a white Christmas. But alas, I do believe officially spring starts in a matter of hours.

We do not have a viable basement, and last I checked, our square footage has not increased as we have added children. 

It has been A.LONG.WINTER.

Kids (and Momma) have been cooped up.

But I must hand it to Zeb though, he has inspirationally gotten out his bicycle to ride on the ice. When Daddy told him that might not be the smartest move, he returned to the garage and came out with stilts.

Anyway, this peace and quiet is incredible. The furnace kicked on again. And it's quiet enough that I can hear it! I am choosing to ignore the phone ringing. I wouldn't normally be here, right?


I want so much to reflect.

But now, in the stillness, I remember.
I remember the joy of making this child our son.

(and just for fun, all these pictures have come from my iPhone. It's a great snapshot of daily life…not a single shot from our "good" camera.)

It was a year ago.

We were in China again, the four of us, to bring home our baby.

We were replaying something that ten years prior had us living in China.

10 years of growing did a lot to us. :) (yeah, yeah, this photo WAS pre-iPhone, but I snapped a picture of it with my iPhone!)

 We were given our boy ONE YEAR AGO YESTERDAY. It was Jensi's 13th birthday. He clearly was NOT sure he wanted this to happen.

This was our official adoption picture. He still was pretty freaked out. This was exactly a year ago today. He became Toby Shaw that day. (note his right hand position…that's gonna change!)

 After these first days, we have never ever seen this look on this child's face again.

When we met him, he had never eaten solid foods. We quickly changed that. We distinctly remember teaching him to use his teeth! He delighted in being fed noodles at a local Chinese restaurant.

 This is a shot from our orphanage visit. He is sitting on the orphanage director's lap following our big dinner out. Do you see that loving interaction? He was so blessed to have such an amazing place care for him for the first 2 1/2 years of his life.

 Now THIS is the face we began to see emerge! And then we went home to America…

Then many "firsts" began to happen for Toby. First time riding on a horse!!

 A common activity of playing "drums" with absolutely anything! We kept a bike helmet on his head 24/7 at first as he fell CONSTANTLY and would split his head open. He had not walked around much at the orphanage and had some serious balance issues, especially missing toes.

 He and I went out to Shriner's Hospital for Children to visit with the Arthrogryposis specialists.

 This picture reminds me of how before his arm surgery, Toby did most things with his toes/feet! His hands and arms limited him greatly. How quickly I have forgotten!

 We visited on "clown day" apparently!

 Daily summer life having lunch with his siblings.

 This is the way we go to the library…

 Posing with me and his bro…this took so many shots to get it right!

 July 1st Toby went in for some very serious surgery to rotate the position of his arm/hand and release his elbow. Also some work was done on a toe.

 Recovering in Momma's arms. Right where he belongs.

 Not happy, but a serious trooper. At the hospital waiting for release.

 Just a few days after surgery. His spirit amazes EVERYONE!!

 Fourth of July…he celebrates his new country!

 Four Shaw boys in the back of our new 12 passenger van waiting for fireworks!

 Flying back to Shriner's in a Cessna!! Woo hoo!

 Getting crowned by the Shriner Queen…this was more than hysterical!

 Attending an Arthrogryposis picnic and delighting in meeting new friends with the same condition.

Ice cream!! He looks so little to me here!
 Lunching it up with another AMC Chinese adoptee…FuXia. (I love this boy, seriously. If I ever feared older child adoption, this kid sealed the deal for me.)

 Cray cray road trip with 6 kids and bikes!!

 First time to the ocean Lake Erie. :)

 Laughing at the Bible story at night. Seriously, this was not canned. I can't remember what made them all laugh so hard but I felt like a rock star catching it!

 His first ever birthday cake. This is "Bu Ow" which is his name for his favorite bulldog stuffed animal.

 Family picnic day!
 Too cute not to share!

 Back to school preparations were underway…and these three where hiding in lockers!

 Nightly homework had begun. Toby was working hard alongside his brother.

 Painting while others were in school.

 The day we re-adopted Toby in America…6 months after we actually adopted him we were allowed to do this. This gave him an Ohio birth certificate.

 Giggling with his sister. I love so much about this!

 Running outside with Toby in his too-small pjs to let him experience his first snow! (This was back in October. WE.STILL.HAVE.SNOW!!!!!)

 Didn't choose every picture of his multiple broken arms…but this is his second or third. Dear boy falls and that arm that has not had surgery (elbow release) yet snaps easily and breaks the top of the ulna…and tears his tricep muscle.
 Playing with siblings…pretending they are a Chinese dragon in a parade!

 Playing on grandma's piano with his big brother, Zeb.

 Putting the star on his first ever Christmas tree.

 Playing "Joseph" and kissing baby Jesus' knee.

 Silly Toby!

 Snuggling with a black baby doll. I love our multicultural toys!

 At his first ever movie in the theater: Frozen! (and we still are!)

 Getting ready to bring his new sister home from China! (Back when we thought she'd use a wheelchair around our house!) What's that on his nose you ask? He tried shaving with Daddy's razor.
 A return trip to Shriner's gave him a straight splint for when he naps to continue working his elbow into both flexion and extension.

Joint child dedication for our littles at church…we love our effervescent pastor! (this picture is a cheater…not off iPhone!)

 Talking on a "shell phone." Seriously? How could he be so funny!?

Esty has come home! First picture together as a sibling set of SEVEN!!

 A sibling with is same cultural roots! What a joy!

Playing in the snow with sisters.
 A 4th time breaking his elbow/arm. But so cute, eh?

Snuggling with siblings.
Starting preschool…attending with his big brother and even riding the bus together! (I'm loving the new brother-bond I see emerging between these two!)
So yesterday we came full circle…this is Jensi's 14th birthday…and the one year mark of getting Toby out of his orphanage. Look at that face of pure joy!!

What a year! What a joyful addition this dear boy whose file sounded scary but was code for "Biggest blessing in disguise" and I am sooooooooooooooo thankful we said YES in faith and made him part of our family!!! We are the winners!!!

And…in case you've wondered…the house has gotten noisy once again as little feet have pattered in leaving a massive wake of boots, shoes, coats as kisses and hugs get dished out. Time for me to go do some g'night rounds.

Goodnight o first-year-with-Toby!!!

post signature


  1. So precious. Thank you for sharing your year.
    Sandy in the UK

  2. Love Love Love!!! You may not feel it all the time (or even 10% of the time) but you are a ROCK STAR! The children's faces tell me so.

  3. Your blog is a breath of life. We are in the second stage (dossier is done) of adopting an older child from India who has a physical disability. What a blessing to have people like you who have gone before is 1st timers and kept adopting. You're an inspiration.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...