Monday, August 22, 2011

Ni Hao from Shanghai

We received an e-mail telling us the care package Lin sent back to her friends in Shanghai arrived safe and sound. They even sent back pictures of the kids opening their gifts! Since Lin has been home with us, we've sent many pictures of her back to her old orphanage. She has even spoken to her friends several times on the phone, but this was the first time she has "seen" them in over a year. We weren't sure how she would react, but she seemed very happy to see their smiling faces.

One of Lin's "aunts" showing off the photo album we sent to the kids.
Lin has talked so much to us about the kids in these photos and looking through the pictures they sent is bittersweet. It feels like WE know them a little bit too. Our hearts are open for them... if only we could just open our doors as well. Lin definitely plans on staying in touch and sending more care packages. She also wants to know when we can go back to visit. It was hard enough the day we met Lin and our bus pulled out of the orphanage having to watch her friends and caretakers wave goodbye. I can't imagine visiting these other kids that we've come to know from the stories Lin told us and having to get back on the bus and say goodbye. It helps us understand some of the loss Lin has had to endure.
Lin's best friend back in Shanghai opening gifts and reading a letter
Okay, wiping the tears away... the girls only have two weeks left before school begins. Lin will be heading into 7th and Ruby will be taking another year of preschool. Our adoption agency had a Summer ice-cream social where the kids had a chance to win some back-to-school supplies. They play numerous carnival games and left with backpacks stuffed with notebooks, pens, scissors, erasers, calculator, etc., etc.
Ruby demonstrating her wicked swing... GOAL! 

Lin giving it a shot... another fine GOAL!

The girls hanging out with our social worker Jan, an amazing person with the biggest heart!
The girls are also squeezing in one more trip before Summer vacation ends. In just a couple of days, Lin and Ruby will be taking off with their grandparents and cousins for a trip to Mackinaw Island. What ever shall we do with the house to ourselves for a few days?!

Ruby "helping" Lin learn English...

...well, kinda.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chinese-American Girl

Although Lin would say she's only Chinese and not American, she's really quite the Chinese-American girl. I certainly don't ever want her to lose her Chinese identity, but I can't help but be thrilled when I see her being just so American!

The other day I came home from work to find her plopped on the couch with the TV on, watching one of her Chinese TV shows on DVD, flipping through a Seventeen magazine. I wish I would have snapped a picture of this very Chinese-American moment but, alas, I didn't.

And talk about worlds colliding! Somehow Dave found the following You*Tube clip the other day and when Lin saw it, she couldn't stop laughing. It's a video of one of Lin's favorite Chinese bands, S.H.E., singing an all-too familiar song from a current American pop culture phenom (and now that Lin has seen this video she has vowed that she, too, will learn how to sing this song... she was practicing it in the car just today)...

If you are the parent of a teen or preteen girl, American or otherwise, you gotta see this.

Yes, Lin has come down with a slight case of "Bieber-Fever!"


And for those who wanted the recipe I used for my zucchini brownies, which were ridiculous in their deliciousness, follow the link here .

(Note: I followed the recipe exactly, although some people suggested adding eggs. Don't be alarmed that the "batter" is not like a batter at all, but is very crumbly and dry. I'm telling you, the result is yummy fudgy sinfulness!)

Happy baking!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Uh-oh, I lost a Follower!

Oh man, I'm down one follower here on the blog, and I didn't have all that many to begin with! I guess you folks are trying to tell me I don't write enough. I'm sorry, I'm sorry!

Here's what's been going on this week... Medical stuff. And if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll remember that Lin is NOT a fan of doctors. Nor is she a fan of being reminded that she lives with some fairly hefty medical issues every day. I'm having a hard time knowing how best to deal with her attitude.

She had a check-up with her cardiologist which went fine. She was prepared for what the appointment would involve, she knew what to expect, and she did just fine... until the doctor told us he wanted her to wear a monitor for 24 hours. She wasn't prepared for that, didn't understand it, didn't want to do it. And then she needed some blood-work done on top of that. And that's what killed that day. Angry, angry, angry.

But we got through it. She wore the monitor, she gave blood, we all survived.

And then the doctor called a few days later and told us he wants her to go on a daily heart medication. It's not a huge problem, just some irregular heartbeats that showed up on the monitor, and he wants to see if medication helps even things out. She'll do another monitor in 3 months to see what affect the meds have.

But now Lin's attitude has gone from angry to, "I don't care. I don't want to know. I don't want to talk about it. I don't care. Whatever." And it's hard to see because I know she DOES care. She's pushing her feelings back and she won't let us talk about it. I just don't know what I can do to make it better.

So that's been this week. In other news, I made ridiculously delicious zucchini brownies yesterday. In fact, they're calling my name right now...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Xie Xie Ni!

谢谢! A big THANK YOU to all the folks who helped sponsor Lin’s “Art for the Heart” project. She has reached and greatly exceeded her fundraising goal. This is a great opportunity to help enrich the lives of orphaned children in China. Speaking of which, Lin has just sent out a care package to her friends in Shanghai. It is filled with letters, jewelry, candy, an MP3 player loaded up with her favorite music, magazines, etc. She spent a lot of time putting it together and had a giant smile when we sent it off. We also e-mailed the Shanghai Children’s Home to keep an eye out for the package and they said they'll send us some pictures when the girls get their gifts. They thanked us for everything we've done for Lin and said she was the best among all of the adopted big girls and to stay in touch. It is so nice that Lin has kept in contact with her friends and hopefully someday they'll see one another again.

And here are a few other highlights of our Summer...
Ruby beating the Summer heat!

Celebrating during the last night of church camp
Dave also worked his magic and scored some tickets to a sold-out Taylor Swift concert. Even though Lin's iPod is full of Asian popstars, she actually loves listening to Taylor Swift.

Waiting for the show to begin with her cousin Megan
Taylor Swift rocking the house!

All smiles after the show
And last weekend, after months of lessons and practicing, Lin swam across the pool on her own. WOO-HOO! She is learning how to swim! We still need to work on treading water and swimming up from the bottom after she jumps in. But, at least she's not afraid to take the plunge. Although, the first time she jumped in, she must've been hoping Dave would catch her like he does Ruby. OUCH!