James 1:27 " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. "

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our First Christmas Together

This was our first Christmas as a family of three and we have enjoyed every minute of it!  Carsen wasn't really into the presents this year, but that's okay, we still had fun buying them.  He played with a few of the toys, but most of them were cast aside for things he already knew how to work.  The tot shot basketball was a hit and hopefully his tricycle from Nana and Papa will be as well if it ever gets put together.  The tricycle came in a millon pieces.  Carsen has been a good traveler the past couple of days.  We went to Arkansas to visit my family yesterday, back to home last night and then up to central Missouri to Jamie's parents this morning.

We have so much to be thankful for this year.  First of all we are thankful for Jesus and the salvation he brought, because without His saving grace we definately wouldn't be the family of three we are today.  We are very blessed that 2011 brought us a referral of a wonderful little boy, named Shen Kai Zuo, who we now call our son, Carsen.  We are very thankful that his heart defect has so far been less serious than we thought it might be.  We are looking forward to 2012 and what it will bring.  We are excited to continue to watch Carsen grow and develop into a wonderful little boy!
The link below is to an article our local paper did on our adoption for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good News from the Cardiologist!!

Today we made our first visit to the cardiologist.  We were a little anxious about the visit, because based on the size of Carsen's VSD from his referral paperwork we thought it would probably need to be repaired surgicallly.  Carsen did very well during the visit and sat pretty still on my lap for most of his echocardiogram.  Jamie entertained him with the iphone while I held him.  The echo was the only test he had to have, other than vital signs.  The news is that his VSD is now considered small and there is a good pressure gradient betweent the left and right ventricle.  This all means that for now we do not have to start preparing for surgery!  He does have some left ventricular enlargement, which means at some point in his life his left ventricle has worked harder than it should to pump oxygenated blood out to the rest of his body.  The doctor believes that this probably occurred earlier in his life when the VSD was larger.  So for now we go back in six months for another echo and hope that everything stays the same.  So our prayers that we have been praying since last January for no surgery have been answered and we are so thankful!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Home Two Months!!

It's hard to believe that we have been a family of three for only two months, it seems as though it's always been this way. Carsen is continuing to grow and catch up on all he's missed out on for the first 17 months of his life. He has grown 1.5 inches and gained almost 4 pounds since we got home. We have been to the doctor, had shots, been to therapy...all the fun stuff. But he is always a trooper and gets over trauma of shots and people poking and prodding him very quickly. He is becoming more vocal and is close to saying a few words. He is starting to stand alone and is close to walking on his own. He has learned to feed himself, drinking from a straw and learning to use a spoon. He has not yet had his VSD evaluated by the cardiologist, but he will on Tuesday.

Learning to play in the grass.

Carsen has found his shadow.

First Halloween, dressed as Truman Tiger, but he was not very happy that night and especially not happy about the costume.

Daddy and Carsen headed home from Nana's one day after work.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

Sorry for the long delay between updates. We have been home for 2 weeks today and things are going really well. During the last part of our stay in Guangzhou Jamie and I both got sick, so we were really concerned how we were going to do on the really long trip home. But thanks to the prayers of many people we had a really good trip home and Carsen did extremely well. The past couple of weeks have been kinda busy. So far Carsen has been to church, the fair parade, football game, therapy and the doctor (of course). He also gained a new baby cousin, Lane, last Friday. He continues to do very well and opens up more and more each day. He seems to really be attaching to Jamie and I very well, he doesn't like for us to be out of his sight for very long. Before coming home one of our worries was how he would adjust to Max, our Cairn terrer, as he had never been around dogs at all. Well he LOVES Max and we think Max kinda likes him as well. Our trip to the pediatrician was pretty uneventful, except for the finding of an ear infection. We go back next week for our 18mth check up and to catch up on immunizations, so I'm thinking that one won't be as easy. Carsen will be evaluated by the cardiologist in November, so we will see what that will bring. Here are a few pics from our first days at home.

Off to my first football game!

Learning to feed myself

My favorite activity...bath time!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yuntai Garden

Today we went to a beautiful garden, the Yuntai Garden. It was filled with all sorts of different plants and flowers. It was also decorated extra special today for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival which is today. Tonight at the garden they have a show in which all the lanterns and figures light up and some of then shoot out bubbles. I'm sure it would have been really pretty lit up at night. Jamie got his first photo request today by some young guys. Our guide said they don't see foreigners very oftern and think its funny to get their pictures taken with people like us.
This afternoon we walked over to Shamian Island again to visit some of the shops and purchase some things to take back home. Carsen got squeeky shoes they are a hit, hopefully they will encourage him to get to walking. We put them on and bounced him and up and down and he was all giggles. He continues to do really well, inspite of the fact that he appears to be cutting some teeth, but baby ibuprofen works wonders! Here are a few pics from today, but the iphone pics don't do it justice, hopefully the ones on the regular camera are better.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Medical Exam and Chen Clad Academy

Yesterday we took Carsen to the photo shop to have his visa photo taken. Then we had to go to the clinic to have his medcial exam. Which consisted of height, weight, quick hearing and vision screening, a look in his ears and throat and then quick once over by the physician. He did very well with only minimal tears. He is starting to become alot more vocal and seems to be happy. He loves to eat and cries when we say we are done and get up to leave the table. We have to distract him with a toy or something to avoid a crying fit. He is starting to come to Jamie and I wanting to be picked up and reaching up for us. We took him swimming for the first time yesterday and we may have a little fish our our hands. He loves the water whether in the bathtub or the pool. He is not afraid either, he occasionally with stick his little face right in.
Today we went to the Chen Clad Academy which is the oldest building in Guangzhou. This academy is home to many arts including silk embroidery that looks like paintings, ivory carving, wood carving, hand painting and many other things. Then our guide took us to lunch at the Lotus restaurant, which is over 80 years old. Our lunch was very good, but still not like Chinese food as we are used to at home. We are glad our trip is on the downhill slide and ready to be in our own home. We know that the plane ride will be very long, but it will be worth it to get back to MO!

He's quite adept at using his feet!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Orphanage Visit and on to Guangzhou

It's been a long couple of days. On Thursday we went to Xuzhou to visit Carsen's orphange and to see his finding place. It was a 4 hour drive each way, so it made for a very long day. Carsen did really well in the van and didn't fuss too much. The director of the orphange was very kind and too us out to lunch when we arrived. It was nice, but some of the dishes were a little too extreme for our tastes, things like the lining of a goat's stomach and shrimp that were not deheaded or anything. She then took us to the place where Carsen was found. He was found at the entrance to a park at about 7pm one evening and they estimated him to be about 2 days old. That was a very emotional place for us, it was hard to imagine him lying there cold and helpless. But that was just a small part of God's plan for his life, because if he wasn't left there we wouldn't get to be his parents. We went back to the orphange to see his nannies and the places where he had slept. We meet several other sweet children, some that are waiting for their parents to come and get them. They care about the children there and do the very best they came in this situation to provide for the children, but its just not the same as a mom and dad. On the way back to Nanjing Carsen really started to play and giggle with us. He is becoming more open to us and reaches for us and likes to be cuddled. Overall he continues to do very well.

On Friday we made the trip from Nanjing to Guangzhou, where the US Consulate is located. Our guide got us to the airport very early and we sat there for hours and then our flight was delayed for 45 minutes. We did not get to Guangzhou until after 7 and it was after 8 when we finally arrived at our hotel. We were all exhausted and pretty much went straight to bed and the boys are still asleep as I type this. Today we will go to the medical examination office and get Carsen's exam, apprently this is just a very quick exam and he will not have to receive any shots because of a new law that allows us to do vaccinations when we get home and he is under 2 so he does not have to have a TB test.

Carsen and daddy at his finding place

Having fun on the van ride

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Xuanwu Lake and stuff about Carsen

Sorry for no post yesterday to all of you who were waiting. We just didn't really do alot so I didn't have alot to say. We went back to the civil affairs office where the adoption was finalized. We saw the couple from Ohio that we met at O'Hare, their little girl is adorable. Then we came back to the hotel and basically just hung out. Carsen has got to see all his grandparents yesterday and today via facetime and skype. It's really cool that we can talk to them when they are on the other side of the world. Carsen is doing wonderfully so far. He is eating and sleeping very well. He is starting to smile and giggle more with us as well. He is getting to like taking a bath. He loves scrambled eggs, carrotts, rice and cabbage. They told us he likes fruit, but the only fruit we have gotten him to eat is baby food fruit.
Today we went to Xuanwu Lake, otherwise known as Dragon Lake. It was very nice weather wise as well as very beautiful. There is a very nice path that walks around the lake. There is a big statue of the Goddess of Lotus and a Buddhist temple on the grounds. Then we went to a Jade showroom and a traditional Chinese lunch. After lunch our guide took us to a clothing market where we got Carsen some more pants, because most of his are too big in the waist. We paid less than $5 for 2 pair of athletic pants. We are now back in the room for the day and Carsen is fast asleep.

Jamie and Carsen sporting the MU gold and black.

Carsen really likes hanging out in the stroller.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Wow what a day! I don't really know how to explain it. We arrived at the civil affairs office before Carsen and were waiting with another couple for their little girl. We were standing in the lobby and I see a lady walking up with a little one in her arms and I realize it was Carsen. He has done fairly well. We were told he likes toys that make noise and light up. So we gave him a little phone that plays music and lights up, well until he became so tired he didn't know what else to do that phone was in his hand. When we got back to the hotel he began to play with some other things as well. Just like in the last pictures we received he really likes the beach ball as well. He has taken a liking to my phone already and played with the Tom the Cat app, which actually brought out a few giggles. Then shortly after that it was over, he was very tired from the long day and all the changes. He fought it very hard and cried for what seemed like forever. My heart just broke for him, because I knew he was so very scared. He is fast asleep right now, so we will see what happens when he wakes up. Here are a few pictures from today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Today is Carsen Day!!

In a couple of hours we will meet our guide in the lobby of our hotel to go and meet our little Carsen!! We are getting excited, nervous, anxious and anything else you might think of. We arrived here in Nanjing yesterday afternoon. Our hotel, the Holiday Inn Aqua City is very nice. It is attached to a mall, where there are many Western choices to eat and shop at. We found that Papa Johns pizza is just as good here as in Missouri. We will try to post pictures this evening. Prayers are much appreciated at this point!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 2 in Beijing

Today we went to Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City. It was very interesting to see all of the buildings and hear some of the history surrounding them. Our guide told us that many older Chinese people wait in line to see the Chairman Mao, who is entombed in his crystal casket. After walking through the Forbidden City we then went on a tour through the Hutong, which is the original neighborhood of Beijing, and there are still people who live there now. We were driven through the Hutong by a man on a rickshaw. Jamie says he defintaly earned his money today. We also had lunch in the Hutong in the home of a family, it was very good and we really enjoyed it. Jamie is also getter a little better with his chopsticks, since that was his only choice today. Tommorrow we will be off to Nanjing where we will meet Carsen Monday morning.