Thankful, part 1

As I said before, yesterday – the day of our passport trip to Jiaozuo and to the orphanage was, in my head, our toughest day – and I’m incredibly THANKFUL because it turned out to be great.

I’m thankful for the snowstorm, in a way, because even though it made for a longer trip (over 2 hours each way to Jiaozuo – watching men and women try and clear the street with shovels and stick brooms…yeah.  homemade stick brooms…not kidding) I’m pretty sure the passport office was EMPTY because of it.  We were helped right away.  Last March, in this office with Philip and Rand and the Patterson family we were in shoulder to shoulder standing room only chaos.  And I played the pregnancy card and got to use their bathroom (they probably saw the look on my face when the guide told me the bathroom was very very far away and we’d just been in a van for 2 hours).  Our guide said all the officers were joking about how I was the first person to ever be allowed to use their restroom! Thankful!

After the passport photo and paperwork, we raced over to the notary office before they closed for 2 hours for lunch.  They were SO KIND and stayed open an extra 45 min. into their lunch break to help us.  I remembered it was the same gentlemen who helped us last March except…last March we were in a dismal slum-like building that would make a good setting for a horror movie with probably the worst bathrooms in all of China – 6 flights up.  This time we were so thankful they just moved to a brand new, beautiful building.

After the notary, our guide took one family who wasn’t visiting the orphanage back to Zhengzhou and we stayed with our non-English speaking driver and another family to visit the Jiaozuo Children’s Welfare Institute.   First, we had to stop and get some lunch…we told the driver a “noodle restaurant” and before long we were all sitting around at table at a little hole in the wall I’m pretty sure most people I know would not try.  The menu was entirely in characters so we had a laugh and then told Wen to order something for all of us.  He’s pretty consistent about ordering good, flavorful and safe (i.e. no strange meat) dishes.  We all ended up with noodles in a tomato broth with egg and some bok choy.  The vegetables on top we couldn’t eat because they didn’t seem cooked.  I said a little prayer for our interesting Thanksgiving lunch that the probiotic we’ve been taking would help keep us from getting sick…and so far we’ve been fine! Did I mention there was a tub of turtles when you walked in the door of the “restaurant”?

After lunch, it was on to our main goal of the day, to visit Eagles Wings – the floor of the orphanage where both WenXuan and Philip lived.  Here we are outside, before we were flooded by a welcoming committee that must have been watching for us at the window all day!

Lou Huan (on the far left) was so kind to show us around – she’s been extremely helpful with both of our adoptions and is one of those people who is so sweet you just want to hug her and hug her.  She and her husband (on the far right) gave us a warm welcome yesterday.  We are very thankful for them and for the work that they do at Eagles Wings.  And we are especially thankful for the care they have given to both of our boys.


WenXuan picked out scarves and I brought some Beautycounter for all his nannys and teachers.  We added a photo of him with his email address on the back so anyone who wants to can keep in touch with him!

Also, we made a list of his special friends and Wen went shopping with Wes the other day and picked out some really thoughtful gifts to give to his best friends who he is leaving behind.

This is Xia Li – she has the most beautiful smile – I don’t think it left her face the entire time we saw her.  We also remembered her from our last visit and I think she remembered us to0!  Wen picked out a pen set for her that he said he knew she would like.  She did!



Xiao Xiao (on the left) received a special book he picked out – he said she is always reading books and that’s what she would want.  Xia Li and Xiao Xiao are 16 and 17 years old and are past the age of adoption so they will continue to live in the welfare institute.  Thankfully they live at Eagles Wings where they are able to learn some independence – they live together and do their own washing, cooking and take care of themselves.  They also have jobs during the day at Eagle’s Wings and they get to run a little shop where they find things at the market and sell them in their own “store.”

Wes and I were also very impressed with the girl on the far right – Jing Jing.  She knew quite a bit of English and knew all about us and Philip.


Here are 2 of the older boys – Bei Bei and Jin Qiu.  They received a watch and a toy sheriff set from Wen.  They are both also past the age for adoption but stay at Eagles Wings and learn life skills and have jobs around the office and school.


There were 2 boys who were in Wen’s “room” who he gave gifts to, but I didn’t get a photo – Wen Yong and Fu Qiang.  Wen Yong was apparently the one who Wen said was crying when he left on Monday.

This is Wen’s good friend Wen Fei who we hear has a family working to come for her!  He chose a barbie for her.  She loved it!


After we gave out his special gifts, he took us to his room to see where he slept.


The stickers he had on his bed – I hope this doesn’t give Rand and Philip any ideas!



His group’s living area…



Wen Bo (above) had a sore on has to lie flat – poor guy was so bored.  Some of the others were assigned to try and entertain him!  After we saw Wen’s living area, we went to give out some treats he brought for the other kids and to see the school and say hi to his teachers… coming up…



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two days ago

I realized when I uploaded our photos we were a little behind…

Two days ago we had a down day because our trip to Jiaozuo was cancelled because of the roads and the snow.  At breakfast we had a surprise visit from Josh and Lilly, the founders of CCAI who were in China for a meeting/training (they are usually in Colorado).

Here we are at breakfast with another sweet family in our group who adopted the little girl that Lilly is holding.

Wen was thrilled to discover the pool with “baba” (he calls me “Mommy” and Wes “Baba”)


We tried to get a taxi down the street to eat dinner at the hotel where we stayed in March, but were told the roads were “too bad for taxis”…


Wen is ready for the pool – so far consistently his 3 favorite things have been: 1. swimming 2. legos and 3. orange juice


Also, Wen and I went up to the lounge and did an entire jigsaw puzzle.  It didn’t take us very long to knock it out.  Can’t wait to do some puzzles with the Uncles (mommy’s didi – means little brother in Mandarin) when we get home over the holiday.


If you’re ever at the Hilton in Zhengzhou, we’ve really made good use of the Executive Lounge.  Our room size is slightly larger (good for the wheelchair!) and we get to use the lounge for breakfast, tea time and a heavy appetizers time which has been plenty for dinner.  We can get beverages and fruit there any time during the day (I’m sure if we needed anything else they could get it – yogurt, etc. but Wen isn’t a huge eater like Philip and Rand so we haven’t needed a lot outside of meals other than the snacks we already had).  All this for only around $8-10 more a night than what our group rate was so it worked out well and saved a lot on drinks and dinner.  We had to book our own room since we didn’t travel with the group from Beijing.

Ok…working on yesterday next….

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A non post

The “king” has left the building…Wes said today that it kinda felt like WenXuan was the “king of the castle” at the orphanage. I can’t wait to tell you more about it after I recover from the length of the day!


We had an amazing day.   Probably the day I’d wondered about most – how it would go, how hard it would be, etc. and everything went really well.  It was a long, exhausting trip and we ended up not getting back from a “Thanksgiving dinner” outing until 10pm so we did a quick FaceTime to our families at home and then crawled into bed.

I was hoping to do a post while my zantac kicks in (the food we’ve had has been really spicy which I love but is killing me with the pregnancy!) but I’m fading too and don’t have a detailed account of the day in me right now as the photos need to be downloaded and rotated (WHY oh WHY!?!) from both my phone and the nikon.

I can’t wait to tell you about it!  Please check back tonight your time!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from China!  Eat some turkey for us.

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Frozen Smiles in Zhengzhou

It’s official – Zhengzhou is frozen. Here’s what we’re dealing with…cars stuck everywhere in snow and tonight it is 15 degrees! It actually reminds me a little of what happens when it snows in NC…


This morning our bus couldn’t make it so we got on a new bus. It took us to the office where all of our adoptions were made official. Thankfully the event itself was quick because there was no heat in the building! The bus ride took a long time (maybe we could have walked faster?) – I remember looking out the window 45 min. after boarding and still being able to see our hotel…


Our guides are incredible and remain calm and collected.  They even had a little laugh with the bus driver when we got stuck (he probably had to shovel snow the entire time we were in the adoption meeting so we could leave again).


Here we are with another official Smith boy – WenXuan Murray Smith! Our oldest son!  He’s really a joy and we cannot believe the zero adjustment that he’s had (yet?! maybe it’s coming?) but he seems genuinely happy and excited and just really relaxed – although he does like to keep track of the time and schedule, but I don’t blame him for that, I think I’m the same way:)

He keeps telling me “I don’t know English” (in English) and then when I glanced over at him next to me on the bus ride today, he’d written the entire ABCs on the window as well as the word “zoo” and the word “apple” so I think he’s sandbagging a little.  Smarty.


Our hotel got a new “decor” the other day – wasn’t trying to capture it but did want to get a photo of my two happy guys…


Boy can Wen work this wheelchair.  He’s got all sorts of tricks.  I have a feeling we are gonna have 2 more little boys begging for wheelchairs when we get home…

Wen had a hamburger back at the hotel this afternoon for lunch and then we rested.  I wasn’t feeling awesome (but am fine now!) and it was deemed to dangerous for me to go…but Wes and Wen scaled the icy pedestrian bridge to go do some shopping.  Wen made a list of all his special friends, teachers and nanny’s at the orphanage and then he thought about what each of his friends would like to have and he and Wes went on a hunt for it.  Can’t wait for him to be able to give it to them, meet them and say some last goodbyes.


We were supposed to travel to Jiaozuo tomorrow, but the roads are all closed until the afternoon so we have to stay here and try again on Thursday.  Our guides are going to beg the notary and passport office to expedite the paperwork so it doesn’t delay our entire trip.  Please pray the roads clear up by Thursday so we can make this happen and still have time to get to the orphanage to have some time to visit!

Tonight for dinner we decided to stay IN and try the fancy Italian restaurant inside our hotel.  It was a nice change from Chinese food for us.  We had a good flatbread appetizer, pesto pasta and a really good pizza.  Wen ordered “watermelon juice” to drink – a switch from his usual orange juice – and after waiting a while we see the waitress walking by with half of a watermelon and took it over to the bar where they proceeded to juice it right there for him!  It’s funny in China when you order your child something cold to drink, the waitress or waiter (no fail, every time!) says…”you know it is cold, right?” as if you are crazy to not order a hot water or hot tea!  Wen hasn’t wanted any tea or hot drinks.


After dinner we went up to the lounge to sit and have some dessert – one of the things that is really nice is all the fresh fruit!  Mama and Bo are enjoying that:)


(the white fruit with the black seeds is a “dragonfruit” – it’s really good)


After dessert we got ready for bed, Wen had a bath and then we did his favorite thing – we played UNO!  Wes beat both of us twice and so we gave up and called Rand and Philip who crack us up on FaceTime.  Wen laughs at them the entire time they are so silly.

About 5 min after we hung up, Wes and Wen were both snoring.  Not sure if Wen always sleeps with a smile on his face but I can see him now and he has the sweetest happy expression.  It helps so much to see him happy – especially for me today as I was fiercely missing home and Rand and Philip.  6 nights away, while I know is not going to devastate anyone, is the longest we’ve been away from them and we still have 12 more nights to go.  While I am thankful for the days ahead to help Wen have some closure and see a few beautiful sights in his first country, I have big dreams about the fun he is going to have at home with his brothers.  And that will put a smile on my face as I go to sleep now too…

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The best day

Today was probably the most exciting day of the trip – we are finally together with WenXuan.  Wes and I are amazed at this kid (our kid!) and all that he is able to do and how well he is adjusting and how brave he is too.  We know all of your prayers helped to prepare both us and him for today – so we thank you and we thank the Lord for HIS goodness and blessing today as we have seen 12 children, including Wen, go from orphans to beloved children set in families!

A quick update – after we got back from the registration office, we braved the wind and found a noodle shop nearby.  I’m thankful for how strong Wes is, there were a lot of stairs and he was able to carry Wen IN his wheelchair up and down!!!  Superwes.

After lunch Wen and I played cars and colored and had snacks and watched some “Boonie Bears” and waited for Wes to finish the paperwork/meeting.


Then we went and joined Wes to do my section.  Because Wen is over age 10, he got to do some of his own paperwork too!


After the paperwork we went up to dinner in the lounge on the 37th floor and watched the snow fall.  I can’t wait to tell you in a post soon about some of the food…dinner was mainly fried rice and fried noodles but Wen did have some type of meat on a stick that was labeled “Blood Relationship” – what????!  He said it was good.

After dinner he had a bath and we played UNO.  Wes and I were trying to remember how to play and read the directions but turns out Wen is already a pro at UNO and could easily beat both of us.


We could tell he was really tired, so we did a quick skype call to Rand and Philip and now I can hear both Wes and Wen snoring away…so I’ll post a few photos and then get back to everyone tomorrow.

I just want to reiterate a thank you for all of your prayers – Wen was the one today the guides were asking to help tell the other children not to be scared.  Tonight he was asking me when we fly home to America.  So glad he’s as ready to be a Smith boy as we have been ready to have him!


We are having problems with the internet tonight and I can’t stay up any longer to wait for it to work…maybe it has to do with the snowstorm that’s coming down right now!  So we’ll write more tomorrow.  Our agenda is…the morning we go BACK to the registration office to finalize the adoption.  Then we have free time the rest of the day.  If the snowstorm isn’t too bad, we made a list of all the people Wen wants us to meet when we visit the orphanage (Wednesday) and who he’d like to get a little gift for so we may go do some shopping for those items!

I love this photo – someone pointed out earlier that Wen and I even look alike!  My entire life I’ve been asked “what type of Asian” I was…now I know the answer.  Chinese!


Love to everyone from the four of us in China…

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Q & A about our adoption and China

Over the past 2 days, Wes and I have had time to talk about everything. One of the things we discussed is the questions we get specifically about Chinese adoption and our adoptions. Some of the same questions we had when we were getting started. We realized there are a lot of misconceptions and, since we don’t have anything else to blog about right now, we’ll attempt to answer some of them!

There are boys available for adoption in China? We thought it was only girls?
Here’s a recent CNN video and story about the current situation.

So, this actually WAS true but it’s changed over the past 15 years. When the one-child policy began, the cultural preference was to have a son. Now with things like ultrasound technology (even though a gender ultrasound is not legal in China), the high abortion rate and modernization (trends away from farming and women working and getting eduactions), the orphanages are mostly flooded with boys with special needs. It is estimated that 98% of abandoned children in China have special needs. In fact, most agencies don’t even have a regular China program but only a Special Needs one.  Another reason why there are mostly boys is that families looking to adopt a little girl think of China, because of how things used to be, and so that also adds to the larger number of boys waiting in orphanages and sometimes a longer wait time for a little girl with minor special needs. I also would like to add, there are far more boys available between ages 6-13. This age isn’t as popular and unfortunately, in China, you age out of the process at 14 years old and then have no chance of a family.  Here is a more in-depth look at this subject.

Also, an article about the shortage of Chinese women.  It’s estimated that by the year 2020 there will be 24 million men unable to marry – making it valuable now to have a daughter!

Are there a lot of children available?  Is the wait long?
From Love Without Boundaries:

Adoption from China has fallen to its lowest point in years. In 2011, the last year official data is available, Americans adopted just 2,587 children…699 boys and 1,888 girls. (Source 1). That number is just 2% of all the children in government institutional care there, and just 0.4% of the total orphaned children in that country. ZERO POINT FOUR PERCENT.

The short answer on the wait time: The wait is usually 12-15 months because that’s how long it takes with the paperwork back and forth.  It could take a little longer if you have requested a girl, a young child with a very minor need or a specific special need or age only.

China publishes that it has around 600,000 children without families, but other organizations have estimated the number to be closer to 1 million.

Didn’t China just change it’s one-child policy?
Yes, this is a big step and hopefully will cut back on the abortion rate. My personal opinion is that a lot more good would come if the country would also change it’s hang ups on “perfection” and make changes so that special needs children can go to regular schools or that medical care could be more available or affordable (vs. having to pay up front if your baby is born in need of major medical attention) as well as making cities more handicap accessible.

Who adopts from China? How expensive is it?
We’ve seen adoptive parents from all different economic backgrounds. Most of which have raised the majority to all of their funds!!! There are also grants for adoptions, like Show Hope. The bottom line is, God loves adoption. When you answer His call to adopt, He will make it happen. If those of us who are called to adopt, don’t answer the call because we are worried about finances, then we aren’t allowing God to work and to use others – also taking away from them the ability to support adoption and give in a way that they can! Depending on your agency and how/when you travel, the prices for the service of the adoption varies.  Here’s a great blog post about that.

How is it that you can adopt two children in one year? Are they related?
Most Chinese children available for adoption are abandoned, not orphaned and sibling sets and twins are rare. Philip and Wen are not related, however they were on the same floor of their orphanage so have seen/know of each other.

China has a program within their Special Needs program where if you adopt one child that is deemed “Special Focus” – which means less likely to be adopted, then you are allowed to adopt 2 Special Needs children on one dossier – either on the same trip or within a year of the first adoption being final, which is what we’re doing.

What are the special needs of the kids?
In China, the term “special needs” runs a larger spectrum than it generally does in the USA. Kids in the special needs program may have ZERO developmental disabilities (other than normal delays from being in an institution) and may only have a birthmark or be missing a finger or other minor medically correctable issues. When you start the adoption process, you fill out a checklist – probably one of the hardest parts of the process in our opinion – of the medical needs you are open to.  Some older boys are labeled Special Need or Special Focus just because they haven’t been adopted or may have once had a medical need that was corrected.

Why did you choose China?
The short answer: We didn’t.

The long answer: We started the process to adopt when Rand was 1 year old and began with a domestic adoption agency in Greensboro.  At the time, we wanted to adopt a child who would be younger than Rand – knowing the process could take a year, we figured a child age 2 or younger, but felt a nudge that our child was already born – and that we were to adopt an orphan vs. getting on a waitlist for a baby (we think this type of adoption is awesome too – and a great alternative to abortion, it just wasn’t what we felt called to).  In exploring the waiting children in the United States, most all were older than age 6 (the majority over age 10) and there were very few that we saw who were available to a family who had a young child already in the home – “this child must be the youngest in the home” was what we saw for most of the children – it was ruled by a judge for attention/need purposes.   To adopt a child under age 5, our social worker explained that we would first become foster parents, wait for the child to be placed with us and then, if rehabilitation wasn’t possible, we could file to adopt.  Along with our social worker, we felt like our goal to grow our family competed with the goals of the foster care program to rehabilitate a child to his/her bio family and so we decided to look into international adoption.

Next, we began the application process with an agency out of Raleigh and, based on forms and questionnaires, we were matched with Ghana, Uganda and South Korea – we didn’t even “qualify” for China – but weren’t trying to.  We never felt peace about the agency because most of it was automated and we wanted to talk to real people and have our hands held a little more…so we told our family over Thanksgiving 3 years ago to pray for us to find another agency.  Mom sat next to an adoptive family at her church the following Sunday and asked them for a referral and we landed at Carolina Adoption Services (they have programs in Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Haiti, Mexico, South Korea, Russia – at the time – and Uganda).  After speaking with them and they reviewed our information, they suggested we watch a video about the waiting child program in China.  We watched the video and knew right then that the China Special Needs Program was the program for us. We still use Carolina Adoption Services as our homestudy agency, but because both of our children are from the Henan province, we had to switch to CCAI as our placing agency because they work almost exclusively in the Henan province.

Why do we want to answer your questions?
Because we want you to know more about what our eyes have been open to! Also, we have this feeling that if you’re really interested in adoption, our story, or even just can’t take your eyes off of our sweet sons from China, we have this feeling that the Holy Spirit is moving you to adopt or be apart of adoption in some way! We’d love to help you, answer your questions, let you come over and spend time with our kids and sit at our table and maybe lose any fears you have and see for yourself what it looks like up close. You’ll probably leave thinking, “Hey, if those Smith’s can do it, so can we!”

So…please call us/email us/message us if you want more info. Or if you just have more questions we can answer on the blog while we’re sitting here in our hotel room counting the minutes until we can go get Wen and get him HOME!

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Finally uploaded some photos…

Here we are gathering our luggage at midnight in the Zhengzhou airport.  A huge blessing that everything made it.  We ended up having to take a 3rd suitcase to fit all the gifts we brought!  I’m looking forward to being able to ditch it before we fly to Guangzhou and then Beijing.


This is my little trick to remind myself not to use the tap water to brush my teeth.  Last trip I forgot just about every other day and used the tap water…this time I’m being much more careful!


After attempting to sleep for about 5 hours we got up and had breakfast and ventured out to get some supplies and snacks for Wen to have in our room since we’ll be at this hotel for the next week.

Here’s our hotel from the new pedestrian bridge that was just completed in October.  Hotel is the tall building on the left. We’re on the 33rd floor!


We headed across the street to Walmart but realized the sign is on a building with a shopping mall in it and you actually have to wind through and go out the other side of the building and cross another large street to get into another indoor shopping mall area where the Walmart is on the 3rd and 4th floors.  If you asked me directions to get there or get back, I couldn’t even tell you (but I could point in the general direction).  Most all the signs are in Chinese characters so you can’t really figure out any of it.  Except the word EXIT is in English although we realized if you follow the exit signs it doesn’t always take you to a main exit.

Here’s Wes riding the escalator in Walmart – just realized it looks like there is an American man behind him – so funny because there are not too many Americans outside of the hotel here.

It’s amazing how different even something like Walmart is in another culture.  I think the only thing that is the same is the store logo!!!  I’ll show you what I mean…

Packaged eggs?

Everything is packaged, I have never seen so many packages of so many varieties of things (most that we have no clue what they actually are…except these ones in the front of the photo that clearly says “oat biscuits”)

Packaged snacks everywhere…

You may not be able to tell what this is but the aisle was clearly marked as the “Monosodium Glutamate” aisle.  MSG anyone?

More unidentifiable meats and packaged thingys…

Self-serve duck


A lot of the meats are all self-serve…


Meat pre-skewered for your convenience…

There were several huge freezers like this filled with things like this…not sure what they all are but from the signage it looked like it was all types of meats for your soups and noodle bowls or hot pot.


Here’s our hotel room.  It’s very nice and comfortable.


We are thankful the hotel is so nice because with the pollution, combined with the bad weather, we haven’t wanted to be outside a lot…here’s the view from our window.


And the weather report!  I’m glad I brought my snow boots!!!  Please pray that the ice/snow forecast won’t affect all the adoptive families in our group who are arriving today as well as all of the trips we have to make over the next few days!  Each family has to travel back to the child’s birth city in the province to do paperwork for his/her passports and also to have an opportunity to visit the orphanage.


Yesterday afternoon, our guides stopped by our room to say hello – Yisha was excited to see us and we were excited to see her – she was one of our guides on our trip last March.  We showed her photos of Philip and Rand and they brought us some more info from the orphanage about WenXuan and his schedule/diet/etc.

This trip has already felt so very different from the last one.  For starters, there is no wondering about what’s happening or where we are going or the schedule since we’ve done it all before.  Other than what it will be like with WenXuan, we know what to expect.

We also have had a ton of downtime it feels like – on our last trip we were touring and traveling at the beginning of the trip and we had Ema (my mom) and Rand with us.  We miss having them – Philip too!  No one to keep us on our toes or eat everything off of our plates at mealtime and we miss Ema testing out all the strange things there are to eat;)

Last night we were in bed by 7pm and although woke up early, we are doing well working towards “China time.”  Zhengzhou is not the easiest city but we definitely feel comfortable and safe and ready to go get our son tomorrow/Monday morning (10ish on Sunday night your time).

We had a good breakfast this morning and are going to bundle up in a minute and go out to see whatever there is to see around the hotel…any suggestions?

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It takes a village

***A long post with no photos…sorry!  But maybe it’s best anyhow since we’ve been traveling for over 24 hours…about 5 more to go. UPDATE: Flight to Zhengzhou just got delayed twice.  So we’ll get to Zhenghzou after midnight instead of 9:30pm as planned***

We landed safely in Guangzhou!  It was an uneventful 15 hour flight from JFK to Guangzhou.  The plane was nice, no one seemed really sick, the immigration line was REALLY long and we landed amongst an Egyptian group.  One thing we noticed is they take out any families or people traveling with babies and escort them to the front of the line…so thoughtful!  I don’t think they saw my “Bo bump” so we had to wait in the long lines.

On the flight Wes was able to sleep some, I was too excited and, trying to stay hydrated had to make too many trips to the restroom to get much sleep.  I remember when we traveled last March, I was the same way.  I don’t think I got a really good sleep until Philip was in our arms.  Mama on a mission syndrome I suppose.

One of the things I was thinking about in my spare time on the flight was how many people it has taken to get us to where we are right now.  From the people who advocated for Wen and helped us learn about him in the first place, to the other moms of kids with similar needs who have spent long phone calls or met me for coffee – encouraging us and helping us to learn about some things that have been, until now, out of our wheelhouse.

Then there are the moms and our siblings back home now giving us peace of mind that Rand and Philip are being loved and cared for while they are missing us (well at least we hope they miss us!)  24-hour care for a 3 and 4 year old is no small task and are so thankful that our moms and siblings have really stepped in!!!  We’re thankful for all the people who have prayed for Wen back when we first saw his photo and thought “hey, that kid looks like he could be a Smith!” and are praying us safely to and from China as well as for his heart as he prepares for this major change.  Our carpenter donated his time to build a ramp outside our house and when Belk Building Supply found out, they donated all the lumber and materials!  Our friends have gone out of their way to help in every part of this adventure and most of all, we are thankful for how excited they are for Wen to be joining our family – something we’d been praying for that is fun to see happening.  We can’t wait for everyone to meet him, and for him to meet “his village.”

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And we’re off

We are feeling pumped up, excited and a little bit like we are in a dream heading to China AGAIN and this time being able to bring Wen home…here we are 8 months ago… the day we met Philip.  I can’t get over how much Philip has changed even physically since this photo.  Since June 1 that kid has grown close to 3 inches!!!

This photo was also taken 2 days before we got to meet Wen for the first time.  We knew that his adoption paperwork was being processed for him to be even available for adoption and about 1 week after this photo was taken, we found out that it happened and that he would be our son!


Other than that feeling of “I forgot something and I don’t know what yet” I am feeling good.  Bo has been moving around a lot which is fun and also helps me to remember he is along for the ride.  Funny thing – so far ALL the Smith kids will have been to China! Thanks for your continued prayers that Bo has a great trip.  My main goal is to stay hydrated and get some rest over the next 2 days on the plane and our first day at the hotel in Zhengzhou.

This time, the traveling is easier but the leaving was so much harder.  Rand kept getting out of bed to see us and tearing up on me every time I’d hug and kiss him and send him back to bed.

Yesterday in general was a not so fun day.  We also had to say goodbye to our 12 year old panther cat Haywood.  I may be the only person on earth who will miss him.   The vet suspected cancer, but we didn’t run any outrageous tests.  His symptoms the last 2 days were enough to know it was time.

Although the timing was terrible, I haven’t had a lot of time to be sad because I’ve been so busy getting packed and am even more sad to leave the boys.

Wes is compartmentalizing well and keeps telling me “it’s just a blip” – the 2.5 weeks we’ll be away from Rand and Philip will be a small blip in the Smith Family Timeline – even thought right now it feels like an eternity.

Sorry for no interesting photos.  We are sitting at our gate drinking coffee at RDU so not much to see yet…stay tuned!

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Three days.  Well…almost 2 days considering it’s already late.  We are scrambling to finish our to-do list and pack and clean up the house, etc.

In the midst of it, we got word that Wen Xuan is ready to go.  This is a huge answer to prayer because we know how hard it will be for him to leave – after being in the same place with some of the same people for the past 12 years…and we’ve been praying that he will be excited and ready.  A friend of a friend (who we’ve never even met in person, yet) texted a photo that made it’s way to us…with the message that Wen was excited to get on the airplane!

We also heard that he’d already packed his bags and requested a going away party.  Wes said it sounds like he is a lot like his mama!


That’s all for tonight, but please continue to pray for his heart and for him to be able to say all of his goodbyes.  And pray for this mama who is so excited to go but is going to have a really hard time leaving her other 2 for so long!

More regular updates from here on out y’all…it’s time!!!!

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20 Days.  We leave for China in 20 days.  I never thought I would be traveling to China.  I definitely didn’t think I’d be traveling to China TWICE in one year (not even…more like 9 months).  And not in a wildest dream would I have thought the second trip to China would be to bring home son #3 who, age-wise, is really #1…all while carrying son #4 “in my belly”…as Rand and Philip like to say.

The second time I ever saw Wes (August of 2000) he said he once heard someone say, “you know you’re in the Lord’s hands when you find yourself somewhere you never thought you’d be.”  SO…I guess I should have seen something like this coming;)

I was going to write something else really thoughtful, but in the middle of it I got interrupted by a few toddlers who think it’s funny to get out of bed (one of which we thought was ready to drop a nap and CLEARLY is NOT READY considering by the late afternoon I have no idea what has happened to my sweet child and end up paying for it at bedtime with meltdowns and irrational behavior).

So…I think I’ll just leave you with this top 10…it could grow.  So check back.  If you want.

You know you might be a China adoptive parent when…

10.  You are considering buying stock in FedEx

9.  Your local notary currently knows more details about your life and adoption status than most of your cousins and some of your immediate fam

8.  Your wish list always consists of at least one of the following things: PA, DTC, LID, LOA, GUZ, TA and CA

7.  TGIM.  Mondays can’t get here fast enough (Mondays mean your agency is open and it’s already Tuesday in China.  Chance for news = high!)

6.  You dread Friday.  And Saturday.

5.  You’ve made friends on Facebook with a lot of people you’ve never met.  They really “get you”! They’ve done it before or are maybe a few weeks ahead of you and they help you figure So. Many. Things. Out.

4.  You get strange looks from other shoppers as you measure the length, width and height of shoes, socks, pants, shorts, pajamas, sweaters, tshirts, dress shirts, jackets etc. Then, at checkout (and on other occasions) you stumble over the question, “How many children do you have?”

3.  Your debit card keeps getting declined

2.  Your dining room table looks like you’re packing and planning for a world expedition

1.  You get pregnant (surprise!)

And since every blog post needs some photos…

Today we drove to Charlotte with the boys to visit IKEA in order to get a really cool, and low, bed for Wen’s room.  The one we ordered from West Elm didn’t work out…that’s another blog post (it’s still a little to fresh for me to write about). However, if anyone needs a few pieces from what is ALMOST an expensive West Elm bed, we have some.  And we’ve had them since August.  I have no clue why the other half can’t seem to get here.  And I know more people who work for their customer service than I currently had time for.



Tiger and Monkey for Halloween Parties at school.  Philip had eye surgery 24 hours before this photo was taken – he’s doing great!  A tough kid but also a really amazing patient.  We were a little too late for a costume but he says he wants to be a doctor when he grows up.  Not sure about Rand, but lately his thoughts and conversations are mostly our hummingbirds who have apparently flown to Mexico for the winter.  Smart birds.


This was our dining room table a few weeks ago.  Now you can’t even see any of the table, but it makes me smile to see a 12-year-old’s gear laying around!


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On Monday, we got our “soft LOA” (Letter of Acceptance)!  I would have posted sooner, but we were rushing around to finish up our I-800 paperwork which can be filed once the hard copy of the LOA arrives via mail or email probably next week – but we wanted to be ready in case it came this week!  Anywhere we can cut off a day or so or overnight something, we do…every day counts!

I remember when we got our LOA for Philip and how quickly things went after that step.  There are quite a few steps (back and forth between US Immigration, China, Our Agency, The Consulate, etc.) that happen next – it’s confusing but thankfully some adoptive mamas who have come before have made guides for those of us like me…it can make your head spin the first time AND apparently the second time too if you’re preggers and can’t remember what you did just 8 months ago…

Also, it was encouraging news that our agency said it may not be impossible for us to be with WenXuan in China for his birthday!  So please pray with us that we can be there with him by November 28th.  Also, please be praying about Rand and Philip staying behind this time.  That is what I lose the most sleep over right now!

These two boys can’t wait for their older brother to be home with them!

Philip and Rand

(photo by Meredith Macy Photography)

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More news…

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(Photo cred: Meredith Macy Photography)


We are still waiting on our LOA (letter of acceptance) from China – this is the last major approval before we get our travel approval and we think we should get it in the next few weeks (based on the time it is currently taking other adoptive families to receive it).  Once we have our LOA we will travel within 3 months to China – it was exactly 3 months with Philip’s adoption.

In the meantime…the Lord has blessed us with a miracle…a baby!  We were surprised to find out I was pregnant and my due date is April 2nd.  We had an ultrasound today and it looked a LOT like it is probably a boy but we will keep you posted on that since it is really to early to tell “officially.”

We told the boys this afternoon and they were really excited.  Rand can’t stop smiling and talking about “the baby in mommy’s bump.”  We told WenXuan a little over a week ago (through a contact/friend who was visiting the orphanage) – since he’s our oldest, we thought he should get to know first!

Throughout our adoption journeys I’ve been asked the question a lot… “do you think you’ll ever have another baby?” While sometimes this catches me off guard as not really anyone’s business, I usually try not to be offended and share what’s true:   I have always had a desire to have more biological children and I believe that desire is from the Lord.  I have prayed “Lord, if a baby is not something you have in store for us, if you would take that desire away”…and the desire has never gone away.  Sure, it has taken to the back-burner lately as all we’ve been able to think about are Philip, WenXuan and also some really special kiddos we know about in China and are praying for the Lord to send them families, but the desire of having another baby has always been there.

We had help with Rand and our doctors told us it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant without help, but that it was probably unlikely.  For the past few years, we’ve just left that up to the Lord to decide for us and truly have believed that if HE wants us to have another baby that HE will guide us to the help we need or make it happen!

I do think the Lord also knows me so well and my heart for adventure, even though I never expected my next adventure would be adding THREE children to my family in 1 year!!!!  But we are up for the challenge and have never felt so incredibly loved and blessed by God.  A little over 5 years ago I remember being so sad that we didn’t have any children and now am experiencing the overflowing joy of knowing we will be a family of 6 by April – it is truly incredible.

And we know what everyone is thinking…who knows what that crazy Smith family is going to tell us next time they say they have news!?

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Today we got word from our agency that our dossier officially went back to China.  In adoption lingo, this is called “DTC” and is a big deal!  The next few big milestones will be:

LID – Log In Date – this should come in a week or so

LOA – Letter of Acceptance – the biggest factor in determining how long our wait will be.  Some come quickly, some people wait around 90 days. With Philip our LOA took a little over 60 days.  I’ve heard through social media that they are taking around 45 days average right now.  But some people get them sooner!  PRAY WE GET OUR LOA QUICKLY!!!!

There are a few more after this (TA, etc.) but we’ll get to those later, but hopefully not tooo much later.  Our boy is waiting and we want to GO!

After hearing from WenXuan through a visitor to his orphanage, we learned he’d like to keep his name WenXuan.  So, he will officially be WenXuan Murray Smith and will have the same initials as Wes.

Recently, we’ve been working on gathering some things to send him another care package (pinehurst hat, legos – he loves legos!!!, some basic word books, etc.), we are working on getting his room set up for him and getting everything lined up for his school when he arrives home!

Thanks for following along…hopefully we will be posting more often with NEWS!

Last Tuesday, we met our friends the Pattersons at the Zoo!  We were celebrating their son Cheng Rui’s 6th birthday.  He and Philip lived in the same orphanage and knew each other and we all got to spend 2.5 weeks in China together (some about that here and here).  It was so fun and easy to be with this sweet family – even though it’s been 4 months since we saw them last we were all able to just pick right back up where we left off.  It was a sweet day.


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Blueberry picking

Last week, at the recommendation of a friend, we set out to find a local farm in Carthage, NC – Olde Carthage Farm – for pick-your-own blueberries and blackberries.

The boys were excited and loved picking the blueberries.  It was an easy activity for them to do! Philip was more interested here in eating the blueberries than smiling for the camera!

(Sometimes I have a hard time finding boys clothing that we like – for those who have asked, both boys are wearing similar shorts: Rand’s are H&M and Philip’s are J. Crew factory.  Rand’s shirt was a bday gift from his friends and Philip’s is from our trip to Vieques.  Shoes are here and here.)
The boys also picked some blackberries, but Philip is used to eating raspberries at home and had trouble not picking the red ones!!!!!  SO…we purchased some of the blackberries they had there on hand ready to buy for anyone that doesn’t feel like picking!
Isn’t the farm beautiful? I wanted to stay all day.  Best thing of all, it’s CERTIFIED ORGANIC!  And…so is Philip apparently!
They also had lots of flowers and tomatoes for sale.
The owners were really nice and great with the kids.  They even let Rand and Philip borrow some nets to catch butterflies and June bugs.
There were also lots of bees but thankfully they kept to themselves!
If you’re passing through Moore Co. or are local and need some blueberries or blackberries go check it out!  I think they said they would have blueberries for another few weeks and blackberries through August 1.  We will definitely be back soon.  Next up…some blueberry recipes;)

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Happy 4th of July

Celebrating the 4th of July at the beach with Wes’ extended family. And I’m testing out a new blogging app that will hopefully help me keep up with posting updates better!!! Testing…

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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Smith Party of FIVE

We are proud to announce that this evening we received Pre-Approval (aka PA!) from China for our son WenXuan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Giving praise to the Lord who is the giver of all good gifts for surely this the best gift we could get – another son!

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(this is an old photo I took from Eagles’ Wings Facebook Page)

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(WenXuan is on the left and his best bud who was adopted last summer is on the right – they are sad here to be saying goodbye but little does WenXuan know Jay’s mom and I have already been scheming a reuinon.   Photo cred. from Jay’s family blog)


When Philip was moved from House of Love in Guilin, China to Eagle’s Wings in August of 2013, we started scouring the Eagle’s Wings facebook page in search of updates and photos about him.  In the process, we saw photos of WenXuan and thought – hey, he seems like a really cool kid!  Then, we saw an update about him on an advocacy site, and saw a video and Wes and I both watched it and looked at each other and said – that kiddo could be a Smith!  I was especially drawn to the fact that he had such a twinkle in his eye – we couldn’t stop thinking about him.

After some thinking and prayer, we felt led to ask some questions about him and learned that he wasn’t currently up for adoption, but if a family came forward, they would likely finish and submit his paperwork to the CCCWA to be considered for adoption.  We asked more questions, talked to adoptive families who have met him and also got a detailed email from the amazing lady who founded Eagle’s Wings and she too mentioned that WenXuan had a…you guessed it…”twinkle in his eye.”

So, a little over a year ago, we made it clear to our agencies and, in turn, his orphanage, that we would like WenXuan to be our son and we’ve pretty much not had any clue as to when or if this could actually happen, in fact, we were even told it could be unlikely…until a few weeks ago.

Fast forward to our trip to China for Philip…we were up on and off in the night with Rand who got a little sick in Guangzhou and I checked my email and almost fell out of the bed when I saw we had matched with WenXuan!  We immediately requested his file and approved it right away and started filling out forms in the middle of the night we were so excited.  And so TORN UP because we just met him – with extremely guarded hearts – when we visited Philip’s orphanage, less than a week before! It was all we could do to not fly back to Zhengzhou and get back in that van to go hug his neck and tell him the good news.  We even asked our agency if we stayed a little longer if there is anything that could be done, but we have to resubmit a lot of new forms here in the US as well as China so there was no chance to bring him back with Philip.  And we weren’t allowed to announce it formally until we had PA – which now we do!

When we found out in China, Wes and I both knew deep down that it was going to happen, in fact, when we dream about our life and talk about our plans as a family, WenXuan was already a part of those dreams.

In 4-7 months (estimate) we’ll be headed back to China to bring home the oldest Smith brother!  We are praying we’ll be able to celebrate his 12th birthday here, all together at HOME.

And you probably have a lot of questions – so do we!  So far, what we have to go on is this: if we let the questions (the hows and the whys especially!) get in the way, we’d be disobedient and completely paralyzed.  I think of how the Lord told us about Philip and then HE plowed the way for it all to fall perfectly into place.  So we have to just keep trusting that the One who chose WenXuan to be a Smith will guide us through the details.

Please join us in prayer for WenXuan as he continues to wait and, in a few days or weeks, whenever he finds out that he has a family that his heart would be prepared and that the wait won’t be to much longer for him…or for us!

Rand especially is excited to have an older brother, but having a hard time with WenXuan still being in China.  We told him the news back when we were in China and he’s reminded us every day that one Smith is missing.  Yesterday he got us all choked up because he started crying when he saw the photo of WenXuan from the blog.  He was trying his best not to cry, his lower lip giving him a time trying to hide it.  I asked him why in the world he was sad and he said because Wen (what he calls him) wasn’t here and was still at the orphanage.

Thanks for sharing in our excitement over this news! We think WenXuan is an awesome and amazing kid and we can’t wait for us all to get to know him and for him to be here, at home, with his FOREVER FAMILY.




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Happy Birthday Philip

Today Philip is Three.  We’ve been home from China almost three weeks now, and tomorrow it will be one month since he’s been with us!  I’m thankful our “family day” is so close to his birth date because for me, and probably someday for him too, his birthday will always be bittersweet.  A celebration, like all of us have, to welcome another year of his life, but also marking the time back to a gigantic loss.  We don’t know anything about his birth parents, or the situation or even why he was abandoned.  We can’t even guess or tell Philip things we “think” might have been the case – we’ve learned (from wiser “been there done that” adoptive parents and countless hours of “parent training”) that’s an unfair burden to give to a child, even if it’s well meaning, so we don’t make anything up, we just say what we know: whoever left him, must have wanted him to be found and to be safe because they put him out side the gate of the hospital when he was a few days old.  We don’t know anything else about their wishes or their needs or their age – or what the factors for their decision were.


We also know we love Philip’s birth parents.  We have them to thank for the blessing of him.  And we pray for them, that they will come to know Christ, if they don’t already, and we pray for them because we have Philip in our lives and they do not.  And maybe someday, in this life, we will have the joy of meeting them face to face – and we are up for that, if that’s part of this adventure.

In the meantime, Philip is THREE.

And we do know a lot of new things about him…for example…

1.  Right now, yogurt is his all time favorite thing.  Vanilla, Blueberry, Strawberry, Strawberry Banana…doesn’t really matter, he loves it all.

2.  His brother Rand is a pretty big favorite too.  Yesterday, Rand went back to preschool for 3 hours in the morning and Philip didn’t realize what was going on and kept asking for him. Today when Rand left, he knew what was up and oh how he cried and cried for Rand.  He was so excited when I finally told him we were going to pick Rand up!  Rand, in Philip-speak is Ray-And

3.  Philip wakes up happy and is a jokester – not sure if his “silly/slapstick” side is true nature yet or just to get attention, or maybe a little of both but he definitely will drop something on purpose and be dramatically funny or do something he knows is silly and give “that look” – then laugh and laugh.

4.  Philip has warmed up to being outside and loves it now, and also he loves bath time.  He’s brave in the tub.  He’ll put his head under water and come up laughing.  The complete opposite of his cautious brother Rand, I have a feeling we’ll be doing some swimming lessons this summer in the pool with adventurous Philip!

5.  He is mischievous and strong-willed which, to us, shows intelligence and the fact that we are in for it…

6.  Other than Ray-And, some of his favorite English words are Nina, Mama/Mommy, Baba, Yogurt, Banana,  All done, Uh-Oh, OH!, Mommy’s Coffee, and Amen – he’s got that one down really well!

7.  Even though Philip doesn’t know much English he sure can remember English if it’s to a tune.  He has been singing “let it go,” “Old macdonald,” and a silly little song that Wes made up of Chinese words we have no clue what they mean! Today, he’s been singing “dappy durth day do yao”all day long.  Really, whenever we sing a little tune or he repeats a word back to us – even if the word is wrong – he gets the rhythm or syllable exactly right.  He’s always humming a tune or seems to have a song stuck in his head.

Today, I think we were given a song for Philip.  I heard it on the radio this morning as I was thinking about him and thought how fitting for his life right now.  I claim it now as our prayer for him…

“Amen.  Amen.  Let my song join the One that never ends.  Because He Lives.” – Matt Maher

You can listen to it here.  And this one is good too!

On this start of a whole new year of life for our mischievously musical Philip, we pray that his song will one day too join the one that never ends.  Amen!



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Saturday through Tuesday

On Saturday, I set up a table at a local event to promote my Beautycounter business.


I’ve been on a mission to spread the word about safe products/cosmetics for the past year now.  So, since I’ve got your attention, go and check the ingredients in your products.  And your family’s products.  If you need help, the Environmental Working Group has an app you can download and scan barcodes that saves loads of time.  It’s called Skin Deep.  Or you can go here and type in the names of your products.  Even if you don’t buy Beautycounter, find something safe to use – we can’t control everything in our environment but we are 100% in control of what we put in and on our bodies!  Ok, there’s my PSA for the day.  Also, if you do want to try Beautycounter, or want more info, let me know.

Philip and Rand’s favorites:

Nice Do Shampoo – we squeeze a little in the tub for bubbles too!

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Lustro Body Oil in Rosemary Citrus – this is the only “lotion” I can get Rand to use (strong smells bother him) and Philip gets mad when I tell him he can’t have more.  I put it on both boys immediately after the bath!  And for me, I mix it with a little of the hydrate body lotion.  There’s actually a Mother’s Day promo now with the lotion/oil combo.

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And the boys have been taking frequent baths because we’ve been enjoying springtime and have been outside as much as possible in between rain showers.  The boys collected some “wild” flowers on our walk and learned about dogwoods and azaleas.  Thankfully no shoes were thrown.


I did a smoothie experiment with my Pilates friends and I’m convinced I might need to sell my juicer and get a vitamix.  These were delicious.


Other than that we’ve been hanging tight around the house.  Rand went back to preschool today after a week off for spring break.  We’ve still been enjoying lots of yummy meals and sweet visits from friends & neighbors coming to welcome Philip.  Don’t tell Charlie McWilliams (aka the chicken connoisseur), but last night we enjoyed the most perfectly grilled chicken – our friend Caitlin is apparently going to have to teach me how to make chicken because mine has never turned out that good!

Here’s a shot of the boys eating some pretzels today that we made!  Our sweet friend Amy brought us a delicious dinner and her son Walker suggested she also bring us his favorite snack – “make your own pretzels” and lemonade.  Perfect for our rainy afternoon.


I thought this was cute of the boys and Nina watching Wes pull up in the driveway the other day.  You can tell it’s towards the end of the day around here because of the missing/mismatched clothes.  Ha.  They seem so little yet they make so. much. dirty. laundry.


And with that, I’m off to bed.  Yes, everyone has asked – we are sleeping great!  However just not in our regular places yet.  We’re still divided up one of us with each boy in separate beds for the night. Eventually we’ll all be straight but we’re taking our time and just savoring that everyone is sleeping until at least 7am  (A real miracle.  Even pre-china, Rand rarely slept past 6am) AND taking 2hr (Rand & mommy sometimes too) and 3hr (Philip) naps every day as well.

Tomorrow is a very important day – Philip turns 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We’re around

Sorry for the delay in a new post, but we’ve been really busy just doing life!  The kids take a little longer to fall asleep at home vs. in a hotel room for some reason and by the time we get them down for bed, it hasn’t left much time (and some nights we’ve fallen asleep trying to get the boys to sleep…) – although Wes and I did sneak in the season finale of Downton Abbey the other night! And have caught up on a few episodes of Madame Secretary.  It’s pretty good if you haven’t seen it.

Also, April is one of my busiest months!  I have not one now, but TWO boys with birthdays coming up, window boxes/planters to be planted and my garden to plan – these are a few things I really look forward to all year!!!


It’s a good thing our car didn’t have room for more or we’d go broke.  I think I would be really happy working at a nursery/garden center some day.  There is something about plants and greenhouses that I can’t resist.



In addition to the window boxes/planters, we planted 30 hosta and 30 ferns for some little “shade gardens” in the new landscape plan.

We also celebrated Easter!  Since we’ve been staying in for the most part in order to teach Philip we are his parents, and to not overwhelm him, we hadn’t planned to go to church – it’s not like he will be able to go to nursery or Sunday School for a while (without one of us), BUT Easter morning, at breakfast, Wes and I decided we couldn’t NOT go to church so we decided to go get dressed and give it a try!  Rand went to nursery and Philip sat with us.  He did really well, considering every time I tried to tell him, in Mandarin, that he needed to be quiet, he thought I was telling him “I love you”…Mandarin is HARD y’all!!!


After church we went to “Ema and Pops” house for Easter lunch and then took the boys home for naps.  After lunch, Ema and Pops and Uncle Sam and Aunt CeCe did an Easter egg hunt in our yard for the boys and Uncle Fred and Aunt Tina, along with Uncle Wellborn (Rand and Philip’s great, great uncle!) came over to meet Philip and see the egg hunt go down.

The candy and toys were a big hit – Philip caught on right away and wanted to eat as he went…thankfully Ema only put one or two jellybeans or one gummy worm or one graham cracker bunny in each egg!!!



And Uncle Sam helped the boys work out some of the sugar rush.












We’ve also taken some walks in the past few days, one to our local Arboretum – as I shared on Instagram (follow me @annafranklinsmith I post a lot more often on Insta!) – on that first walk together, Wes and I marveled at how many walks we’d been on with just Rand and Nina and talked about Philip the whole time and what we needed to do, what was the next step, dreamed what things would be like…etc. We waited a long time for this inaugural walk!!!



It was “very real” too – because we had to get on Philip at one point about throwing sand and he wasn’t happy that we made him get back in the stroller…so he threw 2 shoes and a sock…But all in all, it was a good outing!


Rand’s been enjoying helping make popcorn – a snack we eat just about every day.  We’ve been really liking this recipe for a healthy version.  I omit the pepper and coconut oil (we have an air popper – $20 on amazon…) and drizzle with melted Ghee (you can see it melting in the top of the popper!) + turmeric mixed in and a sprinkle of sea salt! YUM.


And we’ve been taking good naps every day (keeps everyone happy).  Sorry for the scary pic of me half asleep.  I’m not good at selfies, but I wanted to document how Rand likes to cuddle when he’s fast asleep.  I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be doing this, so I’ve been trying to soak it all in while I still can, it’s just about as sweet as it gets!


Yesterday, we needed to run an errand in a nearby town, so we took the boys with us on a mini day trip and stopped at Smithfield’s on the way.  The waitress brought both boys a balloon.  I’m pretty sure they think that’s why we made the trip.


Philip thankfully is really content to ride in the car.  I’m thinking we have TWO great travelers on our hands! He even caught a little snooze on the way home…


Best shot I could get of the boys.  Wes is happy, Philip has a “hand up/peace sign” reaction every time we bring out a camera and Rand is getting down to eating his drumstick. Apparently with some texas pete?!?!


I’m thankful for my boys and all of our moments of real life (even if some are without a shoe or two).

Thanks for continuing to follow us even though I’ll only be posting “often” and not always daily!



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