Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

"This is our God, worthy of praise. The love of the Father, revealed on Christmas day."
 - Matt Osgood

Thursday, December 22, 2011

So Much To Celebrate

There is so much to celebrate this Christmas season.  It seems crazy at times that this is Max's first Christmas home.  It feels like he has been with us forever and yet just a year ago we were anticipating our trip to China shortly after Christmas.  God has blessed us in so many ways this past year through our journey to Max.  We dragged our feet a little bit on the last batch of paperwork for the finalization of Max's adoption in the state of South Dakota.  I love how the timing worked out though.  What an amazing Christmas present and a great way to start the season of celebration with our family. 

The kids were all very excited to head to court today to complete our last leg of Max's adoption journey!

I love this picture of Eric watching the kids!  One proud daddy! 


When Papa walked in the court room it was all over  .... the rest of us were chopped liver.  This boy loves his Papa! 

Love this picture of Papa talking to Max on his big day! 

We were very grateful that my parents made the drive for Max's big day! They have been so supportive of us on our journey to Max and since we have been home.  They held down the fort for 16 days while we were in China and made it through flu with all the kids, a broken fridge and the business of life with three and their school schedule. Max loves his Papa and Grammy and is quick to run into their arms for hugs the minute he sees them.  We almost had to tell Papa to leave the courtroom during our lawyer's questioning because Max kept yelling "Papa" at the top of his lungs and wanted to go by him.  

On December 22, 2011 we celebrated Max officially becoming Max Lei Fu McDonald in the state of 
South Dakota! 

The whole gang! 

I love this picture of the girls skipping away with their little brother.  What a great day! 

We finished our special morning with breakfast at the Cracker Barrel! 

So thankful that we can celebrate the finalization of Max's adoption this Christmas season, what a gift! This little boy has brought us so much joy this year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eleven Months Ago ...

Eleven months .... what does it feel like?  There are times that I forget that we really have only had Max for eleven months and yet other days it feels like it was just yesterday that we were standing by the elevator waiting to see and hold our baby for the first time.  It seems crazy that Max has still lived without us longer than with us.  As we were anticipating Thanksgiving and Christmas someone said to me, "I totally forgot that these are his first holiday's with you!  He seems like he has been with you forever!"  I love the way that God has bonded our hearts together in such an amazing way in such a short time.  

This month started off with a bang.  One afternoon I walked into the room as something Max had thrown in the air had landed in his mouth and he was choking.  It was one of those heart stoppers as he gasped for breath and then it went down.  His brother confirmed that he had a dime he had thrown up and it just happen to come down right in his mouth.  His doctor's office told us we needed to come in for x-rays to make sure it wasn't lodged somewhere or in his lung so off we went.  Eric was out of town so with four in toe we headed off for x-rays.  The x-rays confirmed that the dime was traveling safely through his system.  The kids thought it was pretty cool they could see the dime in his tummy.  

Just a few days later we were back for a little procedure.  We had decided to move forward with the surgery for little boys that is common in our Western culture but not a common practice in Max's culture.  It is getting more common not to do it around here but since his brother had it done we decided to have Max's done too.  We know down the road we may be dealing with different issues that trans racial adoption could bring and we decided this was at least on more thing that could make him feel different. He looked pretty cute in his little hat and won the hearts of the nurses.  He had no idea what was in store.  

His daddy got to go up with him and stay with him until he was sound asleep.  The procedure went well but he was not a fan of life when he was coming out of the anesthesia.  He didn't want to eat or drink anything which in turn meant we couldn't leave until he did.  He got more frustrated and agitated and then just got plain mad.  He tried to pull his monitors off and his IV out.  Finally a nurse convinced him that an orange Popsicle was really good.  He downed it and we were all very happy to get out of there.  He had a week or so of being pretty sore but he was still crazy and trying to jump off the back of couches and climb on things.  There isn't much that slows him down. 

Last year the holiday's were hard on this mommy's heart.  There was so much anticipation of having Max home with us and around our table.  We were getting so close to being able to hold him.  We had been at home on Thanksgiving last year and I remember so wishing that our sixth spot around the table was filled.  This year it is and we are so thankful it is little Max sitting with us, he is the perfect fit.  We decided to have our own little Thanksgiving dinner and the big kids thought that Chinese would be the perfect Thanksgiving dinner for our family.  Max loves Edamame.  When a bowl comes to the table he screams with delight.  He loves food and gets very excited about it but this is the only thing that gets the scream to go with it. He has it figured out how to pinch the little beans right out.  He says, "I do it!"  Yes, he is two and loves to do things himself.

Max grabbed his chopsticks and like a pro scooped up some rice on his first try.  We all looked at each other like did her really just do that?  Max couldn't even feed himself a cracker when he got him so we know he never had used a chopstick.  So either he got really lucky on his first Thanksgiving home or it is just in him.  We will see what happens next time we have Chinese food! 

Two years ago around this table we told my family we were starting the process to bring a little boy home from China. A year ago we were so close to having him in our arms ..

and this year he was enjoying his first Thanksgiving at the table.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Last year Shane was the only boy.  This year he has his brother and my brother and his wife have 3 foster boys.  We also added baby Mataya to the crew.  That is 5 new additions this year.  We have quite a crew! 

We also spent time with Eric's sister and her family over the Thanksgiving.  We hardly saw the kids as they were too busy playing.  Life with cousins is good!  

The last big first for Max in our family is Christmas.  There is so much in the next weeks that Max will do, see and experience for the first time.  He was in awe of the lights when we pulled them out of the box for the first time.

We opened the box of decorations and he joined right in.  The first ornament he grabbed just happened to be a glass ball.  Before I could say his name he wound up and gave it a throw because that is what you do with a ball when you are a little boy.  It hit the floor and shattered and stopped the other kids dead in their tracks.  It looks like we may be putting some decorations really high this year.  Max quickly got into putting ornaments on the tree and was very proud when he got them to stay on the tree.

We have some fun holiday traditions as a family that the kid were very excited for Max to experience this year. We started the month with a fun breakfast at the North Pole.

As you can see Max thought the snowballs aka powdered doughnut holes were pretty good! 

Our next holiday adventure was our trip downtown to see Santa.  The kids were so excited for Max to see Santa.  I was pretty sure he would be all over it.  He is Mr. Social and will freely talk to anyone and everyone.  In fact he is my greeter.  No mater where we go whether it is the gym, grocery store, church, Target, school ... you name it he yells "Hi" to everyone along the way.  The baby before us screamed bloody murder on Santa's lap and Max just stared at her so I wasn't sure how he was going to react then.  He jumped right out of Eric's arms, ran to Santa and jumped on his lap.  

It is our family tradition to stop for shakes at the Diner after our visit to Santa.  Max thought this was pretty fun too!

Every year we get the kids ornaments for Christmas, pj's and a Christmas book.  We started letting them open these early in December so we have all month to enjoy them.  Max's ornament this year was an airplane which symbolizes the year we flew across the ocean to bring him home to his forever family. 

The kids have had fun teaching Max how much fun funny face pictures are!  Like I said ... he just fits! 

We are anxiously anticipating Max's first Christmas home! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ten Months Ago ....

 Ten months ago Max had never set foot outside of the orphanage.  He has experienced so many firsts over the past 10 months.  We are so thankful that we have been able to experience these firsts with him and see the wonder in his little eyes.   

There are so many things we take for granted like the seasons changing, flowers blooming, leaves falling, the sound of the wind through the trees, airplanes flying in the sky, ants crawling on the sidewalk, worms in the driveway after a rain, hugs, kisses, I love you's, siblings, walking hand in hand with someone who loves you and of course in the fall the joy that playing in the leaves can bring.

Max experienced the joy that comes from gathering leaves in a pile, rolling in them with his sisters and  brother and throwing them in the air so they fall like rain on him.

Max joined in on bedtime stories with Shane.  What boy wouldn't love a book about Sharks.

The fall experience isn't complete with out pumpkin carving.  Max wanted to be like all the other kids and draw a face on his pumpkin.  He really had no idea what was in store for his little pumpkin.

Alexa and daddy were trying to convince him to put his hand in the pumpkin.  I knew from his reaction to different textures this was one that would sure make him stop and take it in and really feel what was between his fingers.

He became very possessive about his little pumpkin and didn't want any help gutting it.  He did decided he would rather do it with a spoon than his hand.  I don't blame him.  

He squeeled with delight when Eric carved his face in his pumpkin.  He carefully carried it outside by himself and sat down right next to it with a huge grin on his face.  It took a bit of convincing, kisses and good-byes before he would leave his pumpkin outside and come inside.

Max also experienced his first Halloween. As you can see he was a pretty scary lion with that big smile! The big kids have learned pretty quickly how Max reacts to new experiences .... like everything else he embraces it with everything he has.  They knew he would love Trick or Treating and couldn't wait to see him in action.


Max reacted just as we would have predicted ..... he LOVED it.  He would run as fast as his little legs would carry him from house to house.  He would scream at the top of his lungs with excitement as he ran.  He didn't even have a clue that people were putting candy in his bag.  He is Mr. Social so just was loving the excitement of meeting and greeting all kinds of people.  He won many hearts which in turn meant a bag full of candy. Eric would try to catch his hand on his way to the next house and often this is what they looked.  Eric trying to slow our ball of energy down and Max trying to pull his daddy along a little faster. Look at that sunset ... could it have been a more beautiful night? 

Max's night was cut short when his little feet just couldn't keep up with his body.  I know this will be the first of many bumps along the way.  When you have someone who lives life to the fullest and without hesitation you are bound to have some bumps along the way. This is what makes Max who he is so we will embrace our little man and he embraces life.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Family

Our first "real" family portrait as a family of 6! 

Love the energy and joy he has brought to our family.

His smile lights up the room!

Four blessings .... we are blessed! 

He continues to blossom before our eyes.

His siblings love playing with him ...

he has added so much laughter and joy ... 

they love watching him discover this new world around him.

This picture is worth 1000 words.  This is who Max is .... the joy, the life, the energy, the blessing of walking hand in hand with our little boy! God is good! 
© The Journey To Our Son

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