November 2009

Our Forever Family Day is very special to us. The day is also my birthday. A very special day that I now share with my mother… she was blessed with a daughter on that day many (many) years ago, and now just three years ago I was also blessed with a daughter on that day. As with previous years, we spend our special day by celebrating at our favorite Chinese restaurant in town. Some gifts are often exchanged, for me, for the Bug, and for the family. This year the Bug received her favorite new movie, Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure, and I received a beautiful silver and glass necklace created by my two favorite people. We enjoyed a wonderful evening on our very special day. I am truly blessed.

Wow, I cannot believe how time flies by so quickly.

Three years ago today, a 7 1/2 month old, scared, little baby girl named Chen Yu Huan was placed in my arms. She was brought to us by her Foster Mother, Mao Quing, who raised her from almost day one, and loved her like she was her own. I cannot begin to tell you how difficult that moment was, for everyone in the room. But, especially for the little Bug and her foster mother. They both loved each other dearly, a feeling that remains to this day.

The Ladybug cried for the first hour we were together, tears of sadness and loss. She eventually found solace by nuzzling into my chest and sucking on two of her tiny fingers for comfort. This, we later found out, was a coping mechanism that continued for about two months after we returned home.

It took some time, but eventually our little Bug grew to trust her parents, and grandparents (who accompanied us to China). We spent some wonderful time in China, touring, eating, laughing, and shopping, but most of all, we were learning to become a family.

It is now three years later, and I am wondering where the time has gone. In the last three years, our little Ladybug has grown into a very happy, silly, assertive, intelligent, musical, funny, and beautiful little girl who brightens every single one of our days. I am amazed sometimes that we are so blessed that the Ladybug was chosen especially for us. Why? Because she is just the perfect fit for our family. She is absolutely the perfect blend of her Daddy and I, with her own unique little twist. She truly is our daughter, through and through. We are so very blessed. Thank you Lord.

Below are some photos in chronological order of our little Ladybug over the last three years, one photo for almost every month of her life here in the United States. There are many photos, but it does let you seen how this little girl has grown and changed in the last three years. Also, after all of the photos, if you still have some time on your hands, there is a link to the video that I created a few years ago of the Bug’s first year of life. Enjoy!

The Ladybug’s first year of life video (click the following link, once you are there you can click on the little box in the lower right-hand corner of the video to enlarge it to full-screen):
Ladybug’s First Year of Life

Thank you for sharing in our special day. And, congratulations to all of our friends who share this day with us.


This morning, the Bug was sitting on the couch with Daddy. She lifted her foot in the air in Daddy’s direction and asked, “Daddy, would you please tickle my arches?” Arches… are you serious? My three year old knows that she has arches on her feet? Cool!


I was tinkering around on the computer tonight, checking some things after a long, long day at work (12 hour day with conferences in the evening, sheesh I’m tired). In the background, Daddy and the Ladybug were playing a game on the floor. Their floor game soon turned into a game of Hide-and-Go-Seek. The Ladybug squealed with excitement, jumped up and ran to her room to hide. A few seconds later she opened her door and proclaimed,

“OK Daddy, I am ready now… I will be in my closet.”

We started laughing hysterically.

Hmmmmm, apparently we need to teach the Bug the finer points of the game Hide-and-Go-Seek.


Ahhhhhh, the joys of Halloween. This year the Ladybug pondered for weeks what she would wear this year to trick-or-treat around the neighborhood. Her choices were a pink princess, a purple princess, and Tinkerbell, which she wore last year. Her decision was finalized the day that her Nana F. sent her a gorgeous new, blue Cinderella dress. The dress by itself is gorgeous, but what really made it stand out was the fiber-optic lights that were sewn into the skirt. The Ladybug immediately took the dress to her room, turned out the lights, pushed the button on the dress and squealed with excitement, “This is really cool!”

Add to that the blue glow sticks that the Bug wore on her wrists, neck, and crown, she looked a bit like a modern-day Cinderella stepping out to go to the nearest rave. The upside of the dress was that we knew where ever she walked, people would be sure to see her. The downside was that everybody could see her… little girls everywhere were trying to trade candy for her dress, ooohing and aaahing as she walked by (yes, I jest… just a bit). But seriously, at one point we walked up to a house where she said the appropriate greeting, “Trick-or-treat!” The man with the candy placed a piece in her basket then proceeded to say, “I have to say, you are definitely the cutest princess I have seen all night.” To which she replied, “I know.” Clearly we need to work on appropriate, gracious responses to compliments.

Now that Halloween is over, the Ladybug is pondering how much candy she can enjoy per evening. I initially thought of just letting her eat as much as she wanted that first night, then taking the rest away, hoping that she would not want any more sugar for weeks after that. But, Daddy on the other hand thought that wasn’t the best idea, opting instead for 2 small pieces of candy per night. I caved and decided that this will work fine… especially if take a bunch of it to school to share with my students. The Ladybug will never know!

So now, the Ladybug spends her evenings pondering which candy she will enjoy that night for dessert. Ohhhhhh, the difficult decisions of a three year old.

I hope everyone enjoyed a great holiday. Don’t eat too much candy!