Saturday, December 27, 2008

Acer Drumming at Christmas

Uncle Dawei was nicely helping Acer play the drums at the grandparents house, Helping by making sure the drums were where Acer thought they should be.

Christmas is still happening here.

We go today to pick up our Alex and tomorrow to pick up our nephew Brandon.  Brandon will be here until Wed Night and Alex will be here for a full week.  I'm so excited it's always a joy to have either one of them here, and now they'll both be here at the same time.  Plus, Alex will finally be able to talk to Little Miss on the webcam, an event that Little Miss has been looking forward to for a long while.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Traveling for their daughters

The Blog WenJun Gotcha is about a family adopting from Little Miss' orphanage.  They arrived home YESTERDAY with their daughter.
Heads up seven up is traveling TODAY to bring home their daughter Jorga.  
'tis an exciting world out there, and we'll be joining it soon (ish)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And from all of us to all of you, a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baptism ceremony

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Walking with YeYe

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Bill and Acer decorate the tree in the snow

Bill's work had a half day on Friday and so he arrived home in time to shovel snow in the daylight.  We bundled Acer up with snow boots and snow pants built to handle MI weather like this, and Acer headed out with the decorations for our tree.  Acer loves these and had been waiting all day to go out and hang them on our scrawny tree.  Bill took the time out of the shoveling to do this, that and the fact that he's not afraid to wear matching dragon hats with the rest of his family are just two of the reason I love Bill.

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More Fun in the snow

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Snow up past his knees!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Busy Day coming up.

Acer's fourth birthday is coming up in just over a week, on a Sunday.  For some reason I got an idea in my brain and ran with it; I decided to have him baptized on the same day.  Despite the thought that we'd celebrate Acer's birthday's quietly and his family days as a larger celebration, here I am, planning a large celebration for only four days before Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What a gift

Acer's school has a Santa shop, with gifts from fifteen cents to ten dollars. Yesterday we sent Acer off with his list to buy for and a specified maximum amount to spend on each person. He came home with his gifts in sealed and labeled bags and seemed quite happy about it. I am quite sure that he was very actively involved in choosing them because .... They all JINGLE!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Taking a little break due to chaos

Sorry I haven't been posting as often lately, I just haven't had the extra oomph to do it after coming home from work and dealing with the could outside.  That, combined with my house being in total disarray from the painting means that I just haven't been spending that much time on the computer at all.
We're all okay, Little Miss is okay, we're just playing the waiting game now.
Talk to you more as I get more time!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alarms and Alarm Clocks

Did you know, that when you turn off the alarm clock, it does not go off, even if you REALLY wanted it to? No, really, test it if you want!

We found that out this morning, as I woke up @ 7:18, realizing that Acer's bus comes at 7:30. Apparently, in order to let the then sick LM sleep in, I turned off the alarm after the "first radio" as he calls it, so that the 2nd and 3rd didn't wake him. Well, I dutifully set the alarm back to weekday times, and promptly forgot to turn it on.

We did, however, pass our first schoolday panic test. He was ready(I had just cut his hair last night, so no bed head) and out the door with his breakfest (granola bars) at 7:30.

However, the favorite New This Drum did not make it out the door, I found it on the floor a few minutes later. Oh boy, we shall see what happens when he gets home.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Help Bring Little Miss Home

Here are a few new pictures to remind you of our reason for fundraising.  The gentleman in the pictures is a long term sponsor of ChunBin and the woman is a Foster Mother of a little blind girl living in Beijing.  She was visiting Bethel to see how she could help her foster daughter and took these to send to me.

We're over one third of our way to the goal and I'd like to point out the shades of us gift store has Free trade Items, and that our etsy store has handmade items, made by me and by others and donated to us.  I'll be adding more to the etsy store soon, including pretty bracelet keychains and re usable gift bags.  Heck, they're cloth, they can even be washed!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monkey revisited

He's just so cute, but I can't seem to post more than 5 pictures at a time, so here are a few more or the extremely cute costumed Little Man.  These are all from 10/30.


Acer's school was closed on Halloween, so Acer was allowed to wear his costume on the 30th.  These were pictures I took while we waited for the bus.  Yes, it really was that dark, we were waiting at 7:30 in the morning, before Daylight savings time kicked in.  In this post, the exterior pictures are from 10/30 and the interior are from 10/31.
Brandon and Acer had their usual good time and we celebrated Brandon's birthday with pizza and frozen custard.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Christian's Birthday

Here Is Acer and the drum - Note the contented smile!

Acer had a great time at Cousin Christian's Second Birthday party.  Three reasons, a swing, a slide, and uncle Dawei's (Uncle David's) Djemba drum.
Here we have a picture of cousin Logan, unknown small girl, Uncle Joe, cousin Christian, Cousin Lulu, and the cake.  For some reason Acer didn't want any cake, he said, no thank you, and could I have some ice cream please.  As he says, He had his manners on that day!

Hurrah! I have pictures to post!

I know that I haven't posted any in a while, and I wholeheartedly thank Bill's Brother David for lending us a cable to let the computer and camera talk so that I can finally post some more pictures.  Thanks for visiting even when there were only words!

This is a picture of Acer and his Chris Kimmerer Drumsticks, from the day we met Steven curtis Chapman in September.  Yes, He really loves drumming this much.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Update on Rosanna

Thank You for your prayers, Rosanna has come thru surgery fine. Here is her mother's  report

Rosanna's surgery went well! It took 2 surgeons and 3 hours, but the surgeons were very happy with the outcome. They told me prior to surgery that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult, they expected it would be about a 9, given the pathology of her eye.  They said it was every bit as tough as they expected it to be, but  they accomplished everything they had realistically thought they would. She has had her cataracts removed, and a cornea transplant.  They were not able to put in an artificial lens, but that had been a slim hope anyway. It's too early to tell how much visual acuity she will get, and she will need glasses since she no longer has a lens.  She is not a happy kid right now, as she keeps complaining that even with sunglasses, everything is much too bright and the light hurts her eyes :-) She did go trick or treating last night, and was able to recognize porch lights and tell how many there were from several houses away. She could not do that before. We are cautiously happy.  So thank you for all the prayers. It was a difficult surgery, and we are thrilled she has more opportunity now for sight than she has ever had. We'll just have to see with time what she can see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big News and a request for Prayer

Our Big news is that two years and two days since the Chinese Government Logged in Acer's Dossier, they have Logged in Calliandra's Dossier.  We're coming Little Miss, We'll be there as soon as they let us!

Now, as to the prayer request;  Calliandra's best friend from Bethel, Rosanna, is going in for eye surgery on Thursday.  Here is the note from her Mom.

I am somewhat in shock, as I just found out today that Rosanna (LiMing) is scheduled for cataract removal and cornea replacement surgery this Thursday. I could have used some advance warning! Rosanna is probably at least 10 years old, and this surgery is being done many years after it ideally should have been done. Thus, the chances of success are not great. But this may give her the chance to see for the first time in her life, so we are going ahead with it. If anyone feels like saying a prayer for Rosanna, it would be very much appreciated.

So please keep her, and her medical team, in your prayers on Thursday!

Second O & M letter

Hi B-T Family !
Mrs H. here with another O & M report.  I know I won't be able to send home a report after every lesson, but i have a little extra time before all my students' schedules are finalized.  I wanted you to know what Acer is doing so if he talks about any new concepts or words or ideas, you'll have an inkling about what he is doing and learning.

We went outdoors for a school neighborhood walk today.  It gives me a chance to learn what he knows and also observe specific areas for his O & M evaluation.  Our walk was 4-5 blocks long and we walked from the school to one of my students' favorite places: S. rock.  There is a large rock on the NW corner of S. & T., and it is situated under a larger pine tree.  It is very cozy and the kids love to have S. rock be their destination.  They sit on the rock and climb on the rock and most usually want o collect about 38 pine cones to bring back homes each time we walk to the rock! You are lucky -  Acer only wanted to throw the pine cones!

After Acer got his jacket and cane, we walked toward S. rock.  We walk along F. to T., cross T. turn left walk to F. and cross it (F. is an offset street at T.) and walk one block to S. where our favorite block is.  Just wanted to give you a list of environmental concepts and sounds Acer knew and easily identified, concepts and sounds he learned and explored, and other skills he worked on today.  It was such a beautiful day and we packed a lot our lesson!  I just have to take advantage of the great weather and be outside for O&M lessons!

Known Environmental concepts: Fence, Chain ( we found on on a fire hydrant and again on a pole near the school), Pole (at the stop sign), Tree, Sidewalk - he often said 'concrete', grass.

Known Environmental Sounds: Cars, Birds, Dogs barking

Environmental concepts that were introduced on our walk: Fire hydrant - measured him and the hydrant to see which one was taller (note, he knows what these are, he even knows the shape of the nut on top), Pine cone - two different kinds (he knows these too, I am a horticulturist after all so he even hears what type of pine it comes from when I hand it to him or see him picking it up).  Up Hill and down hill slopes at the streets we crossed (F & T), Stop sign.

Environmental Sounds we heard on our walk and talked about:
Saw (someone was using a table saw in their garage - when I asked Acer if he hears the saw, he asked 'Is it a chain Saw?'!  I was floored!
Rake - someone was raking his yard and we stopped to listen
Clippers - the same person trimmed his bushes in the front with some type of clippers
Dump Truck - large truck sounds and really squealing brakes - we tried to imitate the squealing brake sounds

Acer already is an active participant with his guided technique - he holds onto one of my fingers.  Acer did a great job with his cane.  One of our O&M rules is that he is only allowed to walk when he is using his cane - no jumping or running allowed.  he still got to jump and run, but not with his cane - for safety reasons both for himself and others around him.  He found the sidewalk, the grass, the planter by the bus doors, a curb, a pole, fence etc with his cane and we talked about what they are, are they hard/soft, smooth/bumpy, high/low or up/down, just had nice conversations about what his cane found and why he is learning to use his cane.

We talked about crossing the streets and listening for car sounds.  He agreed to walk to our 'climbing tree' - a tree along the route that is fun and low enough and feels safe enough to climb into a bit.  When we were walking there, I asked Acer if he wanted to climb the tree.  He asked 'Does Mrs H. want to climb the tree?'  I said ' No, I don't want to climb the tree." I asked again ' Do you want to climb the tree?' And then he asked "does the xylophone want to climb the tree?"  I laughed and said "Do you have a xylophone that wants to climb the tree?'  It was a fun and funny moment.  When we got to the tree, he did try and was being 'hugged' by several of the branches, but he wasn't interested in staying too long.  Not long enough for a picture!

At S. rock, he put his cane down on the ground and pulled himself up on top of the rock and slid down.  This was great fun and he worked at it for a good period of time.

After our visit at S. rock, we walked back to school and entered the front doors where the bumpy mat is.  I am glad he likes to touch whatever he is curious about - he touched the grass, bumpy mat, tile floor, sidewalk, and we talked about the sounds his cane makes when the tip finds them.

It was a full 40 minutes, and we're looking foeward to walking to some of our other 'hot spots' in the school neighborhood.  Wanted to give you some info so you can ask him about his O&M lessons.  When I come into Mrs A's room, I let the kids know that I am here for Mobility/  The kids were having their snack today when I arrived, and Acer heard me and said, 'Do you want to go for a walk today?' so I know he has caught on that he goes on walking lessons with me!

That is all for this chapter! I am taking a Creative Writing class this semester, and am thinking about using Acer's question, "Does the xylophone want to climb the tree?" as a title of my interest story.  Am not sure exactly what the development will be, but will keep you posted! ;-)  Took some pictures and will share as I am able to.

Notes from Acer's O & M teacher Mrs H

Acer gets formal O & M (Orientation and Mobility, or cane work lessons) twice a week.  Here is the first note we received from Mrs H.
Hi B-T Family!
I so enjoyed learning to know Acer this week - he is a marvelous "hoot"!  We went for a walk in the school and a bit outdoors for our mobility lesson on Monday and began exploring the different ground surfaces his cane found : Floor Tile, Carpet, Bumpy mat (at the front doors), wooden floor (gym), sidewalk, metal plate,  Plastic garbage cans (he found these in the gym/lunchroom).  Acer would squat down to touch each of the surfaces with his hand.

In the gym, we went up the steps to the stage, found the long curtain and then walked across the stage to the steps where Acer showed me a 'unique' style  of using his cane when both ascending & descending the steps! :)  We'll work on that - he was very confident & reacted to his cane's signal at the steps.  technique will come.  Acer found that there is a fan in the kitchen - he heard it in the hallway.

Acer has his own 'cane cup' in one corner of the room, and he comes in the room and heads to that corner to park his cane!

Great beginnings! He is an excited learner!
Will be in touch - 
Mrs H. 

Acer, School week 8

Mon Oct 20, We all got painted today!  Mrs A painted Acer's hands and feet: the rest of us just got our hand painted for the spiders we always make.

Teacher's note for the week; Some days Acer is a bottomless pit! He can really chow!  He had so much fun painting his pumpkin & digging out the innards!  he's learning his shapes quickly... I made him a bunch of ovals and he loved them. (note, Acer's favorite drum toy has an oval button and so he likes that shape)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Acer, School Week 7

Mon Oct 13, Acer said the whole pledge by himself today, isn't that terrific?!

Tu Oct 14, Devon, Julia, and Acer had a lot of fun with Mrs C., but she still made them work.

Wed Oct 15, Acer did a great job with his work today.

Th Oct 16, ... Acer was his usual cute self...

Teacher's note from Mrs A. I had "Acer withdrawls" this week because I was administering the MEAP - I missed him! He is a little sponge, just soaking everything up. His language usage is improving, too. (my thought, he's finally breaking out with all those multisyllabic words he knows and the 20 word sentences we hear him doing at home now he feels more comfortable)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is he growing up?

Yes, Acer seems to be growing up in new and unexpected ways.  We must be doing something right because he's growing in more than just height.
He has started to go and look for things on his own, even going from the top level to the bottom level of our tri-level to find a toy.  Before this, even if we told him where it was, he would ask for help with a plaintive "Mama find it?'
He has started doing the whole potty process by himself, instead of asking us to do the 'finishing' bits.  
He has left the toilet paper roll on the holder for about a week now.  Yes, I've actually been able to find it when I needed it instead of having to hunt for it or re-roll it first.
He actually asked for gloves this morning while waiting for the bus (who is this child?) and then asked to have them come off right away (oh yes, that's Acer not a changeling)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Acer's First School Picture

Here he is, in his first school picture!  A major milestone in any child's life.  Now we need to have our first multi-picture page dissection, and discussion as who gets which size.  Ah, the joys of being a parent.  These little things that we never even considered as we we thinking about adoption make up so much of our lives and we never even knew.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Amy tagged me with this and I'm doing it because weird does describe a major facet of my personality. Yes, I admit it I'm weird, in case you couldn't tell already.

1) I am both a genetically fast reader and genetically dyslexic. My spelling can get a bit funky, but if I want I can read over 1500 words a minute. I rarely want to, but I cruise along much faster than most people speed read. I love to read, and I love to take a long bath and read even better. Too bad Acer thinks he should join me now, he splashes too much for me to read.
2) I started playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 8, and some of the people my brother and I played with back then, he still plays with. D&D (D20 Now) has come quite far, and has many variations, but I love the use of imagination and all the opportunities for puns.
3) Speaking of puns, I love them and I actually make up my own jokes. One of my favorites, What did the tree say when it went in the chipper?
Nothing, it just let out a little bark
4) I am a font of useless information (like the word font here means small fountain, not a printing type). I collect these bits and then they come out of my brain at various times. I guess all that reading does have some effect.
5) I know how to and can teach people how to fix Christmas lights. I've been running the same sets since '93
6) I am a horticulturist and can put most of my name into botanical names - Heather, Calluna vulgaris - Annis, Pimpinella anisum - Bowman , Bowman's root, Gillenia trifoliata
7) I am allergic to Ladybugs, Kiwi's and Figs

And now I tag

Happy Sweetest Day!

Yes, I know most of you will have no clue what sweetest day is.  It's a holiday celebrated by only two or three states; started by a local candy company.  There is some debate exactly which company started it, so I can't give you a name. However, it is the first holiday Bill and I celebrated together as a couple, so it's special to me for that reason alone.

Happy Sweetest day Sweetie, and to all my blogging buddies, have an extra sweet one!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Best Wife

We have an on going mystery in our house; where do the nail clippers go?
Do they go to where socks go, combine and metamorphose into hangers?
This mystery bothers Bill for more than it does me because I keep a set in the car and I always know where it is. So, when I saw brand new nail clippers at the local thrift store for a whopping $.25 each, in 6 different colors, I had to buy one of each color. Later that night, I slipped all six clippers into Bill's pocket and told him 'I am the best wife you've ever had'.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Color, Glorious Color!

We moved into this house in September, 2002, and the walls throughout the house have been a blah, paint it so it sells, tan.  Except for our bedroom, which is a particularly virulent shade of bright yellow, and I can't stand yellow walls.  So, because we are moving the computer room downstairs to the family room and having the whole house turned upside down, we decided to paint.  

I've been living with paint chips carefully stashed just for this day. The front room, halls and living room are going to be a mossy blue green or mossy greeny blue, depending whom you're asking.  I got the color out of a Georgia O'Keefe picture on the wall in the hall and I LOVE it. Despite people saying it was going to make the rooms feel smaller, it really doesn't - I am so Happy.

Acer's room is going into a vibrant blue with lime green accents  The blue is approximately the shade of the bright blue plastic of many children's toys.  He won't be able to see it, but I want other kids to walk into his room and say, 'Cool room!'

Calliandra's room is sort of a warm, light, kraft paper brown that coordinates with the bedding we have.  I also have a few tropical flowers to cut out and apply around that also echo the feeling of the bedding.  We'll be putting her into an Ikea loft bed because she'll need the floor space as hers is the smallest bedroom.  I also got a new light fixture for her room as I just don't think the ceiling fan is a great idea with a loft ;)

We'll just be freshening up the bathroom upstairs as I painted it last year, but we'll be adding a new exhaust fan light combo.  I'm excited by this as it should finally get some decent light into the shower.

So the house is all torn apart and I'm super happy, who cares about chaos when you can have Color!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My Blogroll disappeared today off my sidebar.  Has anyone seen it?  Is it in the pound?  Do I fill out a police report?  Please help! If you'd like to be added to my sidebar, please drop me a line with your URL, in the comments.
Thanks Loads
Heather BT
Yes, it's back now, because I made a new one, but I'm still down a whole bunch of blogs - is yours one?


I know I have just mastered the art of posting 4 pictures at a time and you thought you'd be seeing more pictures of the ever so cute little man.  It hasn't happened because we're in the middle of turning our house upside down, painting, moving the computer room, all sorts of things like this to get ready for Calliandra's arrival.  Unfortunately in the chaos, the device to make the camera talk to Bill's computer got boxed up, so for now, no pictures.  Soon tho' I promise.

Acer & School, Week 6

Mon Oct 6, Acer had fun playing in the water:... (note, he came home in his spare shirt; he was so wet)

Tu Oct 7, Devon was working on his spelling and Acer was doing a little bit of everything.

Wed Oct 8, you should have seen Acer today; he was soooooo funny!  Mrs A. had the mat out and he was having a blast!

Th Oct 9 (they made applesauce, nothing specific about Acer but thought I'd let you know)

Fri Oct 10, Acer did the pledge almost all by himself, Wow!!

Acer certainly is a joy!! He's like a little sponge just soaking up everything he can.  He's sorting shapes & finding pennies in therapy putty - and he's so proud of himself when he accomplishes something.  That smile could melt an iceberg!

Acer & School, Week 5

Tu Sept 30.  It was a gloomy day but we didn't care.  Acer and Devon did some boogie ing and Anthony joined us for snack.

Acer is a real hoot! He certainly picks up concepts quickly and sure seems to enjoy himself.  I love his laugh and his smile!  He's been enjoying music & dancing & is learning the pledge.

Acer & School week 4

Tu Sept 23, Acer held the flag for pledge today and thought that was really cool!

Fri Sept 26, Acer was being his usual cute self;...

Acer is a blast! He loves learning new things and his smile lights up the room!  He's doing a great job sorting things - and he loved finding pennies in the putty.

Acer & School week 3

Mon Sept 15, Today was cloudy and cool but we didn't mind the change. And you should have seen the styling galoshes Acer had on today - oooo weeee!

Wed Sept 17, Acer had so much fun dancing to some tunes today! And he was even picking up the words to the songs! Wow!

Fri Sept 19, Acer was being his usual cute self; his laugh  sure makes the rest of us smile.

Acer is so much fun!!  He was  very happy today and laughed & played and laughed some more!
He's catching on quickly to new concepts... he does dig his heels in, though, when he doesn't want to do something.  Over all, I think he's adjusted very well...

Acer & School Week 2

Tu Sept 9: Acer was having fun with building blocks.

Wed Sept 10: Devon went to gym, Anthony went to music and Acer went riding on the tricycle.  After that, Acer took the car for a spin down the hall.

Fri Sept 12 Acer had applesauce for a snack and wore a lot of it; he also decided to carpet the floor with shapes.

Acer has this thing with throwing trays of stuff or whatever he's working with - and then he has the biggest smile.  We're working on it... otherwise he's doing very well - learning shapes, playing on the brailler, scooping etc.

Acer & School, Week 1

Every week, Acer's teacher's been sending home reports, I thought I'd oil it down to Acer pertinent comments and let you share in some of his fun.

Wed Sept 3: We have a new little guy, Acer, who's only three.  He sure is an active little guy!
Th Sept 4: Acer has a great smile and was so busy this morning.  He sure liked playing with bean bags and the silly putty.

General comment for weeek
Acer did remarkably well this week, in spite of his accident today. He's very inquisitive and seems to enjoy being here.  We sure love having him

Friday, October 10, 2008

Did someone switch Acer for a look alike?

I think the faeries left us a changeling.  

This Acer gets contentedly off the school bus, instead of fussing.

This Acer gets out of bed happily and comes to snuggle with us, instead of burrowing deeper into the covers.

This Acer got himself undressed and into bed for nap today, instead of wailing and fussing.

This Acer went potty and didn't ask for extra help, instead of asking for help and playing with the toilet paper until it arrives.

There are other examples too, but maybe, it's just that he's getting used to and liking his routine now.  He did throw the pot he was banging on, down the stairs after all, that's definitely my boy!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Article about Little Miss' orphanage, including small interview with her

This article was emailed to me, I'm not sure where it was published. Little Miss is He ChunBin quoted below.

Orphanage helps China's blind come out of the dark 

Thu Oct 2, 2008

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Many blind children in China, often abandoned by parents seeking "perfect" offspring or fearing social stigma, have few chances at a relatively normal life, but a Beijing orphanage is hoping to change that. 

Located deep in the capital's rural suburbs, Bethel orphanage caters especially for the blind and visually impaired.  The students, who would most likely receive little or no education in other orphanages, take lessons in everything from Chinese and English Braille to how to interact in society.

Bethel, which says it is the only orphanage dedicated to the blind, also provides training for staff at regular orphanages in how to deal with blind and visually impaired children.

While many of China's blind go on to find work in the country's countless blind massage parlors, Bethel's schooling aims to prepare students for a variety of careers. "This kind of school helps blind people in a lot of ways, for example they can study, and can come into contact with other people in society. So I think it's very important," said Li Ying, aged 19, and currently Bethel's oldest student who came to the orphanage three years ago from rural Henan province.

Opened in 2003, Bethel, a licensed international charity which is run in conjunction with local Chinese non-governmental organizations, receives most of its funding from foreign, private donations and corporate sponsorship. The orphanage is almost totally self-sustainable, growing its own food and raising its own animals on 17 hectares (42 acres) of land. It now has 35 children, the youngest aged a few months.

"The environment here is really good, and there are a lot of friends to play with, and I can learn a lot of things," said He Chunbin, an eight-year-old student.

China's authorities went to great lengths to improve awareness about the country's estimated 83 million disabled in the run-up to, and during, the recent Paralympic Games. But the stigma attached to disabilities, and poor facilities, remain pressing problems in the world's most populous country.

Guillaume Gauvain, who founded Bethel with his wife, said misunderstanding and the one-child policy contributed largely to the abandonment of disabled newborns. "In some areas blindness is still seen as a very dark thing, where maybe the child is a demon possessed, so they're cast away," he told Reuters. "But in most areas it's just because, especially since you can have one child only, you want a child who can either help the family by providing income or working on the farm, or providing for the parents later on. So since a blind child for them has no hope, they choose to not pursue that way."

Many of the Bethel orphans go on to be adopted, with nine children leaving to families outside of China in the last year. Li Suyun, one of the orphanage's almost 60 employees, said students were given a solid foundation for the future.  "This place helps them a lot, in terms of their study and a suitable environment, and it is slowly developing so it should be able to help lots and lots of blind children," said Li.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Various thoughts today.

Today, Acer got off the school bus for the second day in a row, without crying or fussing.  I think he's adjusting!

As he was finishing lunch, he kicked off his shoes and actually asked to be taken up for a nap.  Who is this child and what have they done with Acer?

Big time SCORES! today while out shopping with Vicki.
1) Door Mats at 75% off, I bought three for less than the price of one.
2) A cute as heck long sleeve T-Shirt for Acer with a fuzzy iron on of a dog that says rough & tough for under $3.00
3) Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Polar, Bear Polar Bear for $2.50 each (for 2 Christmas Backpacks we're filling)
4) red gift bags at 2/$1 - red is a great color for gift bags for China and the items we've already bought will fit just fine in them
5) plates and bowls for $1 each, nice color, don't look like they only cost $1 and we'll need these extras for the Canadian Thanksgiving Celebration I'll be cooking in a few weeks.  I've invited more people than we have plates and needed more.
6) and a lovely necklace that says 'The less you see with your eyes, the more you see with your heart' could that be more appropriate for a mom of two blind kids?

This week our Dossier should make it to China.  Prayers that it would travel smoothly through the different offices and move quickly off one desk and onto the other.  We need to bring Little Miss Home!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Acer and School

We now have a whopping four weeks of school under our belt and despite the early wake up, Acer seems to be loving it.  We still have to get up at 6 AM to catch the bus at 7:30, but we're getting into more of a routine.  Sometimes Bill will do the whole routine by himself, sometimes I will, but usually both of us get up to do different portions.  I usually feed Acer and the dogs and then pick out Acer's clothes. Bill wakes Acer up and carries him to the bathroom for a first thing visit, and then carries him down the stairs for breakfast.  After breakfast, Bill's in charge of showering and drying and the dressing part could fall to either or both depending on how and when Acer makes his usual break for it into the hallway and down the stairs.  Nothing boring about our routine, Acer adds excitement and challenge all the time.

Acer has a long bus ride to the only classroom for VI (visually impaired) children in the county.  We could have kept him closer, but that would have simply put him in a classroom with learning disabled kids and wouldn't have given him the best schooling available.  

The HUGE plus is that Acer is one of only three kids in the classroom most of the time.  Acer is the youngest, the other two boys are about 8 and 10.  There is a first grade girl who comes in occasionally for some extra help, but she is usually mainstreamed in her own classroom.  Three Boys, and One Teacher and One Para-Pro, I can't think of anything better.  He gets the individualized attention he needs and he can learn at his own pace, which seems to be pretty rapid.  

Twice weekly the O & M (Orientation and Mobility) teacher comes in and helps Acer with his Cane work.  When Acer hears her he asks if they're going to go for a walk.  She writes notes about every two weeks and tells us things he says like 'Does the Xylophone want to climb the tree?' in response to her question 'Do you want to climb the tree?'

Daily, Acer brings me something home; some picture he's colored in, generally circles made with puff paint, but now he even asks for crayons.  He's made so many things I think I'm going to use them as Christmas Cards if I can keep track of them all.

Weekly his teacher sends home a list of what happened each day, it sounds like so much fun.  Of course when you're this little, play is learning.

So, even though I have a VERY grumpy and tired Acer to take off the bus each day at noon, I know we made a good choice and am so glad he has good caring teachers.

Thanks Monica and Amy!

This award was given to me many moons ago by both Monica and Amy.
Monica's blog has gone private, so I can't share her joy of life with her daughter with you but I can tell you how much I appreciate her.  We both started our adoption process so long ago, we've walked it and consoled each other during the long process, we shed tears of joy as we saw the posted pictures of each other's gotcha day.  When I got the news that we were going to get Chunbin's paperwork, I called Monica (after I'd called Bill) because I knew she'd be overjoyed right along with me.  She's donated to our Bring Little Miss Home fund and even run a fundraiser to help us.  She was my first Blog Buddy, one I treasure.
Amy has several blogs and we've enjoyed getting to know each other. She has a strong faith, a good sense of humor and a desire to share both with like minded people {like me ;) }  She's also the moderator of a yahoo group I'm on and has a keen political sense.  She's adopted three times and has 5 kids so she's seen many of the parenting issues I'm now facing.  I really enjoy emailing with her and exchanging ideas.
"The Best Blogger Friend Award! "
"I thank my God every time I remember you." Phil. 1:3

This award is for all those special blogger friends who have touched your life & are True Blessings from God!! What would you do without them?
"We love, We laugh, We Cry, We pray, We share, We care!!"
Rules: As a recipient of this award you can:
*award as many people as you want, but your friendship Had to start in Bloggy Land!
ex: (you didn't know them AT ALL before blogging)
*Say a PRAYER for each friend as you type their name & link to them on your post! Also, be sure to let them know of their award!
*Close your post with your favorite verse from the Bible!!
Now to my Awardees - you've all emailed with me, exchanged ideas, helped me through different parts of this journey called becoming a Mom and I thank you all. 

And now, my current favorite Bible Verse - 2 Corinthians 5:7 - We walk by faith, not by sight.

More than a week of catch up, and a busy time it was.

These past two weeks have been busy ones.  Two saturdays ago, I helped with a party for my lifelong best friend Vicki, a great spa day held at her sister Lori's house.
Then we had the news that Alex would be able to come visit the next weekend, and Brandon was able to come too.
 Friday, Mum, Acer and I headed out to pick up Brandon.  It was Spirit Week at his high school and so we were greeted by Bright blue and Yellow hair, face paint, and a temp tatoo.  It sure made him look ... spirited I guess.  But he had fun and kept the face paint on all day.  He was excited because his class had won the Spirit week contest and told us all about it and his school happenings this year.
The four of us headed off to go get Alex.  We arrived a little early and went to the store next door to buy some snacks & stuff for the trip back.  Good thing we did, We got stuck in a huge traffic jam and it took us 1 1/2 hours to go 20 miles.  Because we were so late, we just had time to run through Ikea and we only got hot dogs to eat instead of the dinner we'd planned. :(
Saturday was busy, we had band practice and Alex and Brandon watched Acer.  We had to take my brother James to the hospital for some tests for his migraines (they found nothing bad PTL) and then Alex and Brandon went off to return bottles for money.  We stockpile our bottles for them to return and they had a huge load this time.
They came back and as soon as Bill was ready we shot out the door to Vicki's wedding.  We had a good time, sat with a good group of people and enjoyed watching Vicki say her vows (and Jeff too of course).
Sunday we had to get up early for Band practice before church and then had a REALLY long day at church.  Bill joined the church, and it was the 50th anniversary celebration with a luncheon afterwards and a bagpiper and Highland dancing.  We also heard presentations about the beginning of the church and its history.
It was well after one before we could leave and then Alex and I shout off to go get her ears pierced, her second set.  As I have nine sets, I decided that this was my area, and I would pay for it as long as she had her grandparents permission.  She chose pink crystal studs and managed to go through the process just fine.  We had almost no time to shop though, and that was on our list of things to do, we were on a pretty tight schedule of when we had to be where unfortunately.
We dropped Brandon off and then drove Alex to meet her grandpa.
Now the house feels empty again.
Maybe these feelings of full house, empty house are parts of what leads me to adopt? hmmm, maybe it just feels right to have the full house and.... Well I'll have to think about it more, but I do know that it is nice to have them and I'm sorry to see them leave.


I've noticed we have had a regular visitor from Doha, Ad Dawhah working steadily through all the posts. I just want to say Welcome! and thanks for Visiting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Val's Award to Us - The Spreader of Love Award

Spreader of Love Award (200x240)

Thanks Val for this Award! 
This was given to both Bill and me way back in February! I am just glad that people read and enjoy our blog, but this was our first joint award so it's extra special.  I hope I can continue to spread Love, and that my love for my family shows through.

So, now that I can finally figure out how to post these awards, I can reply properly to them. Here are the rules, very simple.
Post this blurb and link below:
This blog has been awarded The Spreader of Love Award created by The Love Blog, for an outstanding demonstration of blogging love.
Nominate as many or as few as you feel you need to !
So, here are my nominations of blogs with lots of love shown in them.
2china4Ayla  They've been home with Ayla only two weeks less than we've been home with Acer, and have had some tough times to pull through.  She shows so much love for her three daughters in the pictures she takes and the care she puts into each entry.

Adopting William This blog truly shows how different SN children call to different parents who are open to God's word.  An incredible story.

Just Another Ordinary Miracle A blog of one family's search to find a new normal after the birth of their daughter.  The love and joy in daily life in these entries touches my heart.

Moving Mountains I love this blog because I never know what the entries will be about.  4 children, 3 SN, One adoption, a lot of crazy fun and love.

Throwing Starfish A blog from the other end of adoption, from the foster home in China.  A good read from the very beginning, you'll get caught up in the lives of the little ones in no time.  Thank you Amanda for following God's promptings.

Brief bit about Chunbin from her foster home

just to tell you that ChunBin is amazing, we had people from Scotland that came to record the kids and they recorded Chunbin on the climbing wall ( she was safe ) she did amazing, she was so strong, and kept climbing until the top. She is a sunshine....
You can see the new video we made , where Chunbin is quite often on it at the Bethel website.


Heather's note, Calliandra/Chunbin is the one saying 'Welcome to Bethel' at the very begining; then she's in braids with red puffs during the next singing bit. Now let's play - Where's Little Miss; leave me a comment and tell me one new place you see her. Don't tell me all, because then others won't have any to comment on.
Also, Bethel is a cause you can join on Facebook, let your friends know about this great place!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please pray

Our fundraising has slowed down and we need some inspiration.  We're about to send out a check for more than we've fundraised so far.  God Is GOOD, he has not let us spend any money on this adoption, he's provided it all.  All I can do is continue to go on faith that the rest will be provided and praise him for what he's done so far.

So, now I'm out of ideas; I need more. I am going to set up a table at Acer's school's Ladies Night, but that's in November.  So please pray for the finances and for my inspiration.  I know God will provide both.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sharon's Award to me - Arte Y Pico Award

I want to thank Sharon for awarding me this, I'm not sure I deserve it as it appears to be about pictures and art and design, but I appreciate it. As this is the first time in 22 months that I've changed my background and I've just learned how to post pictures, I will take the award in the spirit of friendship and encouragement for me to do better.
So now, I'm supposed to award it to five others so I've chosen my five best picture takers or blog designers
Here are my choices:
Joey at The Village Voice not only takes great pictures, makes great collages of said pictures, she also adds quotes and RECIPES of lovely food.
Ang of My Life is My Playground has a funky blog with a great pictures. I love her sense of humor and her stories of her life.
Rob at China Wheelie is taking a break from traveling China on a recumbent trike. This blog is worth the read for the pictures he takes and his take on the small town cultures of different areas of China.
Tiffany at Bamboo Sprouts takes many pictures of her three great kids in her effort to get just the right one. I appreciate all the effort, as I just don't seem to have the talent to capture Acer's mood as she does her kids' moods.
Amy over at Catching Butterflies Two She is always keeping her blog design fresh and lovely. I like her writing style and her posts, but this is an artistic type award and she doesn't let you get bored looking at the same background. She adds cool quotes, movies, and keeps her blog looking sharp!
Click Here to learn the rules

Only Three weeks later and I remember to post about this one

Thursday the 4th was a very busy and exciting day for us.  Acer went off for his third day at school and then as soon as he came home on the bus, off we went.  A quick trip to our Social worker's office to pick up (hopefully) our last piece of paperwork for Calliandra's dossier, then to the Secretary of State office for 'The Great Seal' (can you hear the theme music that accompanies those words?).  

From there we headed up to meet a former English teacher of Calliandra's,  Chris Chesbro.  Chris has volunteered at Bethel and formed a bond with our daughter and her two best friends. Thanks to mutual friends, Chris and I have been in sporadic email contact.  He let me know that he would be in town and we made plans to meet.  Up until this point, I had no idea what exactly he did.  I found out, he's in charge of all Steven Curtis Chapman's 12 or more guitars, tuning them correctly for the different songs.

We met Chris at DTE  music theatre, an outdoor venue less than 5 miles from Bill's work.  Chris took Acer and me backstage during sound check.  It was very loud, but Acer was enthralled, especially with the drums.  I actually covered his ears with my hands while they played.  You could feel the music vibrating through your ribs and lungs though, don't think I've ever been that close to  raw music.  Chris showed us a few pictures he'd taken of Calliandra and then asked if Acer wanted to play the drums (Silly question).  Acer said yes, and then, a few minutes later asked me if he'd be playing with Drumsticks (drum and sticks are a double bonus).

The sound check died down and Chris asked Drummer Chris Kimmerer (of SONICFLOOD) if Acer could sit on his lap.  Chris K nicely said yes, and handed Acer his drumsticks.  I think he was rather amazed as Acer started tapping out a pretty decent beat.  If I were a drummer and someone handed me a three and a half year old blind child, I think I'd expect random flailing, not a beat, and not reaching out to find the cymbals with his drumsticks.  Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC from now on) was approaching, and Chris K said "He's going to play for you in Dallas next week".  I'd like to note that Acer looked appropriately cool with his Bono - esque goggles on, very rocking!

SCC then came over, extended his hand and introduced himself.  I expressed my sorrow for his loss (of daughter Maria in May), he asked when Acer had come home with us, and then we talked paperwork.  Because of his connection with Chris Chesbro, and because the Bethel Choir sang with SCC at one or more concerts in China, SCC knew exactly whom we were talking about.  He's adopted three girls from China himself, so he's very familiar with the paperwork involved with assembling a dossier.

Acer then happily climbed down off the drum stage, clutching a pair of Chris Kimmerer signature drumsticks.  Yes, Chris K. gave him his very own set, Acer was overjoyed.  As Acer was showing me them I asked him if he could 'Thomas Lang' them. Thomas Lang is one of our favorite Youtube drummers and his starts one video with a long set of drumstick tricks.  Chris K. looked surprised at this statement, obviously recognizing the name, and I explained that Acer listened to MANY drum videos and named Acer's main favorite, Tony Royster Jr.  Chris K. seemed impressed at this and said "he's really serious about this then" about Acer.  (Yes, Acer's serious, we envision drums coming home this winter as a combined Birthday/Christmas present.)  Chris K. Said he didn't have any videos on youtube, and I didn't find any, but I hope he gets some there soon, we'd like to see and listen to them.

We had to go then, and decided to travel up to see Bill and show him the new drumsticks.  Acer was so excited he kept hitting them together  all the way there - Thomas Lang - watch out!  It was too bad we couldn't stay to see the concert, it would have been great, but Thursday night is our night to talk to Calliandra and that rates higher in importance than the concert.

The pictures are of Chris Chesbro and Calliandra together in China.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Seven weeks later, I finally remember to blog about this.

The first weekend in August we went camping at a campground less than 1/2 hour away.  We haven't been camping with Acer before so it was an adventure.  We were meeting up with three other families from one of my yahoo groups.  These families all have children with Bilateral Anophthalmia or bilateral Micro opththalmia (no eyes or small eyes, Acer has small eyes).  Aside from that, we all drive 2005 or 2006 dodge/chrysler minivans (we didn't know that beforehand)  We started the weekend on Thursday and ended it Sunday afternoon.

Sherry and Karl arrived first and she was able to get 4 sites together and she'd also made signs saying White Cane Campers, the name of our group (we had to call ourselves something)  Sherry has 4 children and was able to bring three of them camping.  Her older two are boys of 6 and 10, the youngest at just under a year was Kyden.  Kyden is a little bit of a girl, but oh, did she like to move and crawl and explore, and eat grass!  We were constantly on the lookout for those little hands to grab grass and stuff it in her mouth.   I think she just liked the way it felt, and wanted to see what it tasted liked as another exploration sense, not as  desire for food.

Acer and  I arrived second,  Bill arrived after work.  I emptied the van, and put stuff close to where it was going to go, but needed Bill's help to set up the tent or screen tent.  To Acer's delight, there was a playground close by.  We spent quite a few hours there.  It was so hot I had to make sure to bring liquids that he would drink.  He can get playing so much he doesn't want to pause to re-hydrate.

Janet, Matt and their two sons arrived next.  Their oldest is 5, so he fit right in with Sherry's two. Wesley is such a cute little guy, at 2 1/2 he's the next oldest after Acer.  He's musically talented, he already sounds out songs on his mini grand piano and he has the amazing ability to sit, and balance his legs to they don't touch the grass, Killer Balance!

At this point we noticed that there was another trend among the families: On the way there the women, who'd met online, were telling their husbands about the group and quizzing them as to which child went with which parents!  The husbands wisely tried to remember as much as possible.

The rest of that day was mainly a hang out and get to know each other day.  I'd brought a lot of stuff from home to entertain the three older kids, it was easy to do because it was all packed in our wagon ready to go.  We'd had Bill's family reunion the weekend before, and so I'd just left the stuff in the wagon and we brought it all with us.  The lots were spacious enough that we were able to set up the ladder golf and the giant blow up soccer set no problem.  That night two of us had the usual camp site bandits hit our screen tents - Racoons!  They destroyed a little bit of food, but nothing major.  They totally ignored junk food, the least healthy stuff they went for was bread.  Just goes to show, animals can be wiser than humans!

Friday the three families went swimming at the little lake in the park, we were camping in a county park.  The water was really shallow and the fish were incredibly unafraid of people. Schools of 10-15 would come up and get really close to you if you stood still.  The other two families went back to camp, but Acer was going to play on the playground near the lake when I looked up at the sky.  The clouds were rolling in FAST and mean looking.  We zoomed home and secured our site.  I pulled everything away from the edges of the tent, Bill took down our screen tent and anything damageable went into Hiho.  In the midst of these preparations, the last family arrived and we were barely introduced before we were working like crazy to get their tent up before the storm hit.  A county sheriff actually drove through the camp making a get under cover announcement during all this chaos too.

Brandi and Scott and their little daughter Kayla had made it into their tent and then the skies opened up.  Kayla's the youngest of the group, by a whole three weeks.  I imagine she and Kyden will grow to be great pals in the future.  Scott actually had to get up early to go to work on Sat.  So we were really glad he was willing to make the effort to come out.  Kayla is the one whose birthday Acer went to just a couple weeks ago.

After the skies opened up on us, we sat in the HiHo and waited it out.  It wasn't too bad being in the car, we were warm, dry and safe.  A little but later, the skies cleared and all the families started poking their heads out.  We took inventory and made sure everything was okay.  As we were doing that, we could see a line of clouds coming in, despite sheriff's driving through and saying we were out of the storms.  These clouds were funky, they rolled over themselves as they travelled.  This translated into some decent sized hail hitting our heads a few minutes later. Note, Hail is formed when rain falls down, and then gets blown back up and freezes, repeated until it's heavy enough to fall through the wind.

We had a decent night's sleep, but Sherry and family's stuff got soaked and so they headed home (than heavens it was relatively close) and spent the night there.

Saturday, the park had a couple big events planned, hayride, corn roast and band.  the whole group went, but at different times.  We stayed later than the other families because there was a band playing.  This is the band where Acer first played on a real drum set, and the drummer even gave him a pair of real drumsticks.  You can see Acer drumming on garbage can and pole in an earlier post.

Sunday, we all basically just packed up and went home.  We were the last to go and the park sure looked lonely without the others.  All in all, storm and raccoons aside, we had a good time and are looking forward to seeing them all again.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family needing prayers

Room for at least one more is still in China and their daughter is still in the hospital.  Please keep praying, they are having to work within an established bureaucracy while fighting to do the best for their frightened daughter.  

I've put a link in the friends in blogland blogroll on the sidebar, you can check there for updates. Please let them know you're praying for them, at last count they had over 600 messages of support still to read.  These are helping bouy them up during this stressful time.
Heather BT

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Seven Years today we've been married, Eight years since our first date.  

The best eight years of my Life.  You've helped me realize dreams, You're my other half, my soul mate.  In so many ways it seems we've been together much longer, in so many others, like we've only just begun.  You blatantly humor me, let me snuggle with frozen, from working outside, butte and feet, and put up with my innumerable idiosyncrasies.  

Who knew that Mindy would be this right  when she said the 'You and Bowman would really get along' and blatantly stuck us together in  her wedding.  She's right and you are the most right part of my life.  

I love you rocks and rocks.


Urgent prayers need on behalf of a small child

There is a family in China right now whose child is desperately ill in the hospital.
Visit here to read the whole story, and join me in sending prayers up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Children's Hope Families

There's a new yahoo group CHI-families you can join.  I know all the others were shut down so this is a new one you can join.
Heather BT
Also, I've started a CHI SN one myself. go here to join.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Acer's Family day celebration

Okay, so I'm continuing in my quest for world photo domination.

I think I'm slowly getting better at this, and by the time Acer graduates from College,
The world will be mine..... Bwa Ha Ha Ha ha!!!!!!!

These are a couple pictures from my brother's phone that never got posted.
These are from back in May, when we celebrated Acer's Family Day.
We plan to always celebrate this as a bigger holiday than his December birthday (for a lot of reasons).
So.. here are a couple pictures of my favorite Little Man in one of the coolest t-shirt/hat combos ever!

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Little Miss's ever shorter hair!

In the few months that we've been talking, Calliandra's hair has been getting shorter and shorter. Here I've ever been practicing with a Barbie Head doll so I could do cool straight hair things and now, it's getting so short I don't know what there will be left for me to braid. Oh well, she's just so dern cute whatever length her hair is. These are snapshots taken during some of our Skype conversations.

And, A Big HUGE whew of relief. Last week our agency said that they WERE allowed to turn in our dossier and we don't have to switch. Thank you all for your prayers. While I never doubted the other agency's competency, I knew that CHI had dealt with Bethel before and would let us go there to pick her up and to meet her existing 'family'. This is good for closure and also for us to understand her life before us.
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