Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Beloved Gable!

Oh what a joy it is to share with you about our wonderful son, Gable Philip YiJun!

We met him on Monday, April 20, 2015. We traveled to Chengdu, Sichuan (where the yummiest food of all China is...and the spiciest!) and went with some special friends to his orphanage. We were signing some paperwork when we heard them say, "Here he is!" And in came JunJun, carried in the arms of a woman who has spent her past two years loving and caring for him.

We took our time. I had been prepared that he might pitch a big nasty fit because he was so attached to his caregiver, and she him. We spent time just talking with him as she stayed in her arms. We put our foreheads together. I handed him a teddy bear Toby and I had chosen for him at Chocolate World the week before. He pointed to my picture and then at me, "Mama," he told me.

After about 6-7 minutes, we began the handoff. He came timidly, but without tears. He whispered "mama" after I would say it. I then pulled out a few goodies from the "bag of tricks" we adoptive families take to meet our kids. It was the bubbles that we played with out on the porch that coaxed the first teethy grins and began the bonding between the two of us.

One amazing blessing that I never saw coming was the presence of a gentle, kind woman named Christine Keegan. She is a photographer living in Chengdu and had been dreaming of capturing these first moments for an adoptive family...but had not yet had the opportunity. We were beyond belief blessed to be that first family! She has posted a stream of her work on her blog. You can see those pictures here: http://homemadeinchina.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-gotcha-day-story-beginnings.html

We were doubly blessed by being able to stay with some other friends, the Holloways, while we were in Chengdu. They work during the week at a school, so we had their apartment during the day and were absolutely delighted to share time together in the evenings. What a JOY JOY JOY they are! Brandi and I had originally met at Shriner's hospital in Philadelphia when both of our sons (adopted from China) with arthrogryposis were being treated. Each member of their family is a joy and her husband made us laugh so much with his stories of music in China! We would love to come back and see them again!

In the subsequent days, we have just deeply enjoyed getting to know Gable. He is an incredibly SMART little boy and after one time of me teaching him the sign language for "more" he began asking for food that way. His soft sweet little voice saying ,"mo'" looking at me for another bite melts me each and every time.

He took his time learning to eat...he batted most things away before trying them. He's got a serious sweet tooth that may be the reason for his adorable chubby cheeks! I asked the orphanage caregivers what his favorite food was and was a bit shocked when they told me, "candy!" I can see now that they were 100% on!

He is the perfect mix of compliant child and energetic giggles. He can be a challenge to change his clothes as he thinks its the perfect time for a game of "run-from-mommy" complete with giggles that will melt your heart. But in general he is an easy going, happy boy. 

He is also super snuggly, a great sleeper and has decided that he MUST have his mommy almost all the time!

(This was taken during the medical exam required for getting an American visa. He was more frightened by the doctors than anyone I've ever seen.)

Evidence of his cancer is found on his multiple scars around his body from the ports and 7" incision across his belly where they went in to remove the malignant tumor. We were given a picture of him with his surgeon that the orphanage wanted us to have. I think that our Gable was really special to them. They requested a special goodbye before we left that day.

Healthwise, he appears to be completely normal. We have an appointment scheduled for the end of this week back home with a pediatric oncology team. Typically in a case like his, they would do monthly follow ups after the surgery and chemotherapy. That has not happened. We will be so anxious to hear how he is doing from a medical standpoint.

His adoption process could not have gone smoother in country and we will receive his visa today. We fly home tomorrow and are so so anxious to be together again as an entire family! Here you can see him interacting with some of our other kids using FaceTime! 

What a joyful journey it has been to return to China for this son of ours!


Monday, April 13, 2015

It's GO Time!!!

My dear bloggy friends,

How awesome it is to be writing again! I deeply apologize for my long hiatus! It has been unbelievably busy around here. (I can barely keep up with it all myself!)

TODAY we leave to bring home our little "caboose" Gable Philip YiJun!! 

We will be calling him "Jun Jun" as he is currently known as we first meet and then transition over to using his American name. (Just so you know who we are talking about...and that we didn't get a different child!)

We have been able to successfully expedite his adoption case due to his medical condition. We will be able to get him home and immediately to the oncologist for beginning assessments of his condition. We will just roll with it from there.

Many people have asked if we have any Love endlessly notecards left...and although we were once sold out, we now have a LIMITED QUANTITY available once again!! YAY!!! We also have a few sets of "Gable's Oil" sets (a specially prepared dipping oil for breads using Sichuan peppercorns that are native to Gable's province and an "Upper Crust" dipping plate with a package of Love endlessly notecards!) There are a few Love endlessly necklaces waiting in the hands of Upper Crust too, if you are local and would like to pick up one. (And if I'm allowed to say it, these necklaces are MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!!) Any of these would make fabulous Mother's Day gifts AND you will help us bring Gable home!!

To reserve any of these aforementioned items, please send an email to: uppercrust@centurylink.net .

Please DO be praying for our safety, the children who are staying behind, their caregivers, and our little Gable. We have been told that he is especially connected with his "aiyi" (auntie/orphanage worker) there and that the day we meet him may be very difficult for all of us. There is simply no way to prepare a 2 year old for all that is about to sweep through his life. Pray that love is felt and that he feels safe with us. We will get him Monday April 20th at 2:30 pm local time. (That will be 2:30 am on Monday morning for Eastern coast people!)

We are so grateful for your encouragement, love and support as we follow God's lead in our lives!

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