Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last Post: Home

For everyone following our journey who I am not friends with outside of the blog, I thought I would post a few shots of YT enjoying her new home.  Anyone who has adopted would know it was a complete fabrication if I said things were perfect (older child adoption is challenging!), but we are moving forward as a family and learning more about one another every day.  YT is very smart, funny, and cute... for our first month home I will let the pictures speak for themselves....
Leaving Taiwan

A sign from neighborhood friends greeted us at home

Following big brother everywhere

YT loves the sand and water

Hanging out with Daddy at the pier

Rootbeer floats out with big sis and mommy

Attending big sister's play with grandparents

Weekend with all of the 1st cousins

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Taiwan: Hualien on the East Coast

View of Hualien from the beach in front of our B&B

Jillian with "Douglas" the pig in the B&B's backyard
Ying-Tzu chasing geese and ducks in the backyard

Bates and Ying-Tzu stacking rocks on the beach
Johnny enjoying coffee on the balcony at Hualien Bay

Springs at Taroko Gorge.  Notice the tunnels built into the side of the mountain

Jillian found a stage!

Waiting for the train to take us to Hualien from Taipei

Bridge at Taroko Gorge

Please wear a safety helmet!

Are these helmets going to help?  Everyone has to wear one that walks the gorge trails

More of Taroko Gorge.  Absolutely stunning.

Atlantic ocean beach kids enjoying the Pacific

Johnny hitting the waves at Jici Beach

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taiwan: More of Taipei

Random pictures of the Taipei Zoo, Tamsui (淡水, or Danshui City), and other Taipei sights.
Ying-Tzu and Dad at the Taipei Zoo

She was tired by the end; we all slept well that night!

Pandas at the zoo

Ying-Tzu and Mommy

Checking out the monkeys

Johnny and Bates enjoying noodles with mysterious veggies and floating shrimp with heads.  It was delicious!

3 story McDonalds with an incredible view in Danshui City.  We stopped for the potty and got a snack.  It is a dark picture but I could not get over the view, as though it was a 5-star restaurant!

Iphone games in the car.  Ying-Tzu is amazing navigating any electronics... watch her around your cell phone ;-)

After her bath, she loves the water and wants to stay in there playing for hours

Street performer in Danshui.  More people were taking pictures of Bates and his hair than the performer

The riverfront in Danshui.  We discovered the nice cool breezes off the river that bring all of the locals here on weekends.  It is the last stop on the MRT.
Jillian and I took a cab to the coin laundry for an hour alone together.   

Whole squid, anyone?

Taiwan: Ying-Tzu Mia

We have been together 5 days now, but I am going to back up to Friday and Monday, two days we spent in Taichung picking up Ying-Tzu and meeting her birth family.  I thought I would be a lot better about keeping up with the blog on a daily basis, but we are finding that our little energetic 5 year-old is taking every bit of energy we have!  hmmm, how quickly you forget what five is all about!  Plus our go to "use your words" that we would say with our first 2 kids when they were toddlers having fits of frustration does not really work ;-)  We are finding humor in trying to communicate, and luckily she is too.  She is an incredibly happy little girl considering the huge change she is going through and the frustration of having a new family who understands so little of what she says.  I am so sad thinking of all of those hours of intense spanish practice I did when I should have been practicing Mandarin for the last 2.5 years, but we did not know our journey would lead to a mandarin speaking little girl.  Ironically, as Ying-Tzu is practicing her English when we get home, Jillian has elected Mandarin as her middle school language, so she will take it every day at school starting in August!  And Ying-Tzu and I will be enrolling in the chinese school to practice our mandarin on Saturdays.  She learns incredibly fast.

We traveled to New Hope, the social welfare institute that has been working with Ying-Tzu for the last year.  Her social workers cared for her well and we credit them with preparing her as well as possible.  Her foster mother also seemed to care deeply about her.  The meeting with the birth family was enlightening.  Our families will always have her uniting us.

Ying-Tzu with her foster mother whom she lived with for 5 months

The wall that adoptive families sign at New Hope.  We all signed... note they taught her to write "Mia", which we have chosen as her middle name.  She may choose to use her middle name in school.

Birth father, Johnny, Jillian, Steph, Bates, Ying-Tzu, grandmother, brother & Aunt all together after an emotional meeting.  Ying-Tzu is holding her beloved snoopy

Friday, June 7, 2013

Taiwan: Family of Five

Pictures for now because I know our family is waiting to hear!  We had an emotional, tiring, amazing day yesterday.  More later, we are headed to the zoo to run off energy... the hotel room is shrinking!! ;-)
Ying-Tzu at the playground in Da-an Park

Ying-Tzu, Jillian and Bates at the hotel pool

She had never been in a pool... did not take long for her to love it!  Daddy and Ying-Tzu

Taiwan: Lunshan Temple, Memorial Hall, National Museum of Art

Bates enjoying soup

Jillian and Steph in the beautiful gardens at the National Museum

Steph & Johnny at the National Museum of Chinese Art

streets of Taipei- there are scooters everywhere!

Lungshan Temple was incredible, we left an offering for our big day

Part of Memorial Hall

Memorial Hall.  The tents are the discovery channel set up for an episode

Entrance to Memorial Hall Courtyard