Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lovin' Life

Jackson is so full of life!

He is settling in beautifully!

He keeps us in stitches daily! He is very much like his BIG brother!

He is into EVERYTHING!!!!

He can now spontaneously sign and use correctly the following signs: please, more, eat, daddy, poo-poo, stinky.

He understands the signs for these and also the signs for no, mommy, wait, sit-down, dog, sleep, all-done.

His Giardia test came back negative. This is a very contagious parasite that many of the kids come home with.

He is now officially on our health insurance, so we are waiting for our appointment to the Pediatric ENT. More than likely the first visit will be a consult with a general diagnosis, but then it would not surprise me if we have to make another appointment for the MRI/CT Scan. I'm not sure which one they will do.

I think we're all on the same time zone now.

We will be getting his hair cut soon.

He doesn't like for me to leave the room, but we've been working on this. He did very well staying here at the house for an hour with my mom while I went and picked the kids up from school.

He loves to be tickled. He will lay on the floor and lift up his shirt and pat his belly to tell you that he wants you to tickle him.

e still loves to eat and he has enjoyed all of the yummy meals that our friends have been bringing over! Thanks, guys!!! You have all been so generous and thoughtful!!

He asks everyday, numerous times a day, to go and see the dog. This is BIG! He is still afraid of the dog, but everyday is a new day!

We bought a crib and a changing table. Hopefully Kurt will be able to get it all together this weekend. It will be awhile before Jackson is sleeping on his toddler bed and we feel more comfortable with him contained! We will then start having Jackson nap in his room and then hopefully transition his nighttime sleeping to his room.

So much to get done today! The dust has collected since my in-laws left and we are so thankful for all that they did for us while we were gone!

I will try to post more often! Hopefully Kurt can figure out what's wrong with our desktop not being able to read our disc from the camera. I'm having to use the netbook, also, to complete the posts.

Last thought for today...the other day Jadon says to me, "Thank you for adopting Jackson!" It just melted this mommy's heart!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Spam Blog

We want to apologize to everyone again about all of the spam posts. We have changed all of our passwords and disabled our ability to post via email. If this doesn't work, we will be contacting blogger to see if it can be fixed!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Home, Safe and Sound

We arrived home safely tonight. It is now 3:16am and I am the only one still awake. We will post more tomorrow about our flights.

Thank you so much for your prayers!

It's GREAT! to be home!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Last Post from Guangzhou

Today was a beautiful day as we walked around the Flower Market. The Flower Market only happens 5 days a year here in China. We were able to briefly watch the opening ceremony. We walked around and looked at all of the beautiful flowers for sale.

We were also stalked by the papaparazzi the entire time. Many of the other families in our group were taking pictures of them taking pictures of us.

We are packing to fly out to Beijing tonight. Please keep us in your prayers.

We hope to post one more time from Beijing before we fly out! If we can't, we want to thank all of you for following our journey and for your prayers!

See you all stateside!!!

All our love,
Kurt, Stacy and Jackson!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oath Ceremony

This afternoon it became official that Dang HeKuan is now Jackson Kuan Swartzlander!!!!  We went by bus to the US Consulate here in Guangzhou to have our official Oath Ceremony.

Jackson is now officially our son in the eyes of the United States of America!  When we touch down in San Francisco, California, Jackson will officially become a citizen of the U.S.of.A.!!!!!

His little world has already changed so much!  All of the families tonight joked at dinner that all of our newly adopted children will be expecting breakfast buffets when we return home!

Jackson missed his nap, but was able to fall asleep on the drive to the consulate.  It was blistering hot, but in keeping with Chinese custom, we have tried our best when in public to keep his arms covered and legs covered.  I truly think that is why so many of the new babies are so fussy with their new parents is because they are soooo hot!!!!

Tomorrow morning (Thursday morning-your Wednesday evening) we will be going to the flower market.  Apparently this only happens 4 or 5 times a year in China.  One place we wished we would have had time to visit was the medicinal market!

Tomorrow afternoon we leave our hotel here in GZ for the airport.  We will fly from GZ to Beijing and will be staying at the Sino-Swiss Hotel.  Our flight doesn't arrive in Beijing until 10:00pm.  We are unsure as to whether we will be able to post anything.  It will depend on our internet access in Beijing!

Our flight home will be leaving Beijing on Friday afternoon at 1:40pm and arriving in San Francisco some 13 hours later.  We will have a 4 hour layover.  This should hopefully give us enough time to clear immigration with the infamous "Brown Envelope" and get through customs to recheck our bags and catch our flight HOME!!!  We are expected to arrive in Orlando at 9:15pm on Friday 2/12!!!

Red Couch Tradition

It is a tradition for adoptive families to take pictures of their newly adopted children on the "Red Couch" at the White Swan Hotel on Shamian Island.

This morning we went with the Hoaglands by Taxi to the island to take our pictures and to finish shopping!

We are finding it difficult to get Jackson's attention while taking pictures and then when we do have his attention, it is difficult to maintain it. We have found that Jackson can recognize the sound of laughter and will look up from what he is doing and begin laughing along with you.

These are a few of the better shots!

love me some noodles!!!

After shopping on the island this morning, we stopped for lunch at the White Swan Deli. They have a delicious noodle and pork soup. Although it was probably close to 80 degrees and we were sweating it still sounded good.

Jackson is a little noodle pro! Kurt isn't too bad himself.

Sorry there aren't more pictures of me, but I seen to be having some seriously B.A.D. hair days here in GZ...maybe I should have left my hair longer for the trip so I could just pull it back in a ponytail!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Advertising Hackers

Please over look any advertisements posted to our blog. We are not posting these, apparently advertisers have hacked in and posted. We will remove them as soon as we are aware of the postings. Thank you for taking this journey with us!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gotcha Day and 1 Week Later

We wanted to show you how much Jackson has adjusted in just one week's time.

He is a sweetheart!

He is funny!

He is obstinate!

He is loving!

He is a tease!

He is a great eater!


He is smart!

He is handsome!

He is LOVED!!!!

He is OURS!!!!

I don't know what order the pictures were posted, but you will be able to tell the difference between the first time we held him on Feb. 1st (Gotcha Day) and yesterday Feb. 8th!

We just got word that we passed our Consulate Appointment!!  Another BIG milestone!  Jackson will be issued his Visa.  Tomorrow we have our Oath Ceremony at the US Consulate!!!!

Our little boy is COMING HOME!!!!!!!!

We are so thankful that we were obedient to God's calling on our lives! No journey is easy, but it is always worth it!!  So many people have commented on how blessed and fortunate Jackson is to have us adopt him.  And as much as that may be true, it cannot measure the blessings that he has given our lives and our family!  We are anxious to get him home to Sydney and Jadon so that our family will be together as one!

The Robitussin has arrived!!!  Thanking Jesus for our wonderful guides here in GZ that have helped us every step of the way!!

Both our guides, Jennifer and Sarah, told us yesterday how much Jackson looked like Kurt.  They even said "He is definitely YOUR child!!!!"  Isn't God good?????  ALL THE TIME!!!!!!

Be blessed!

Various Pictures-1

TB Test

> Today we went back to Shamian Island
> to the Medical Exam office to have Jackson's TB test read.
> We have been worried about it because it was getting
> bigger.  When we woke up this morning it was smaller, so we
> continued to pray that he would pass.  If he didn't, then
> he would have to have a chest xray. 
> When it was being read, they had to mark it with a pen so
> that they could measure it from point to point.  Praise the
> Lord!!!  He passed!!  It was right at 10mm the limit!!!!
> I can't remember if I posted this but Jackson had to have 4
> vaccinations.  The day after the vaccinations he was
> running a fever of 101.4 and not feeling well.  He was a
> trooper as we traveled to a tomb of a dead emperor that was not stroller
> friendly.  It was also raining ALL day!
> After the TB test was read, we boarded the bus to go to Yue
> Xiu Park to see the "5 Rams Statue".  This is the symbol of
> GZ.  I will have to post at another time it's
> significance.
> We then went to the Pearl Market, only to find that it was
> closed already for Chinese New Year.  Our guide made some
> phone calls and then took us to another store that sold
> quality pearls.  We were able to purchase pearls for
> Jackson to give to his bride and a strand of black pearls
> for myself and another special little girl in our life!  I
> don't think they were as inexpensive as they would have been
> in the other market, but we really wanted to get them.
> We may do a few picture only posts because we have so many
> photos that we want to share.
> We do want any other families that are following our blog
> and are coming to GZ soon to know to bring short sleeve
> shirts and a lightweight jacket or sweat shirt. 
> Nothing is worse than being too hot!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Feb. 6th Medical Exam Day

Today was a sad day for Jackson!  He was not very happy being at the Medical Exam office.  But, we survived.

The weather outside was slightly breezy, but VERY humid, as you'll be able to tell by my hair!!  I don't know if I've ever seen my hair this out of control!

Jackson ate a great breakfast, but was grumpy this morning.

We rode the bus with all of the other families from WACAP to the island and walked through the White Swan hotel.  The inside is beautiful, but the outside has much to be desired. 

We began our walk to the Medical Exam office and that is where the humidity began!  I forgot to mention that we were able to borrow a stroller from our hotel for Jackson which we are so thankful for!  It was a long week carrying him around everywhere.  But, I know it was great for bonding!!!  So wish we would have just bought the Ergo carrier!!!

Once we walked into the Medical Exam office we knew that we were in for it.  I'm not sure if there was air conditioning, but there was at LEAST 30 other families in there with us!  Plus, all of the other family members they brought with them.  And then there were strollers and crying children!!!  A doctor's office nightmare!!

Our guide was wonderful getting us where we needed to be.  And this is where the crying began.  Jackson weighed in at 11.7 kg which converts to a whoppin' 25.79 pounds and was 82 cm long which converts to 32.3 inches.  After weight and height we went to the medical exam room where the female doctor began to examine HIM!  Once she removed his diaper to check him, she gasped and started laughing, saying "It's a Boy!!!...I thought it was a girl!!!"  She must not have read that on his medical reports.  So, she had to call in the male doctor to check him out.

Then we waited to see the ENT.  He examined both sides of his head for his ears and used the otoscope to look into his little ear and then made notes in his file.  Jackson had no response to the little keyboard that he played, but did respond to the squeaky rubber duck that he snuck around to his little ear. Then the wait began for his vaccinations and TB test.

Jackson required 4 vaccinations and his TB test. This was hearwrenching to have to hold him for them all. I love our nurses at home who do this with such expertise! Please pray that Jackson's TB test will be negative. We go back on 2/8 to have it looked at. If it is positive, then he will have to have a chest xray.

Thankfully we were able to watch them open the vaccination boxes from the refridgerator and we were given all of the boxes to bring home to Dr. Ahmed along with his shot record from the orphanage and the Medical Exam office.

We ate lunch at a deli/noodle restaurant. Kurt and I enjoyed the Rice Noodle with pork soup. We thought that Jackson would love it because he was hungry, but started his next tantrum. He wanted no part of the noodles. It seems that the tantrum begins as something small but turns into grieving. It is difficult to listen to the sobbing to the point of almost vomiting. But we know that this is all part of the process and we continue to pray that he will allow us to comfort him.

The best part of today was getting Jackson's chops. This is a traditional Chinese stamp that has his American name and the characters for his Chinese name. Jackson was born in 2007 which was the year of the Golden Pig. So his chop has a pig on top.

Jackson just woke up from his 2 hour nap and we have given him Tylenol. It seems that his little legs are hurting him.

Tomorrow is a day of sightseeing. We're not sure where we are going. We have not yet been to the Pearl Market. So, I hope that is where we are going. We are trying to buy gifts for Jackson to give to him on his birthdays. We probably won't be able to do a gift each year, but we would like to buy a strand of pearls to put aside for him to give to his wife one day. (And maybe a strand of black pearls for Mama, too!)

Passport and Flying to Guangzhou

We had to have our bags packed and ready for the BellBoy to pick up at 9:00am, with hopes of leaving to the airport at 9:30am. 

As of 9:15am, Sarah, our awesome guide was still at the office trying to get Jackson's passport issued!  Fortunately, she had a friend, who had a friend, must have been God, and Jackson's passport was issued. 

We left for the airport by 10:15am.  Thankfully our flight had been delayed by 30 minutes because the Hoaglands were having issues getting through security.  Apparently one of their checked luggage had been flagged because it contained a small can of hairspray. 

We made it in time for our flight.  Jackson did wonderfully.  He did have a couple of tantrums on the plane but they centered around food.  He didn't like being buckled into the seat and had soon figured out how to unbuckle.   This was the first time that he has tried to bite me

The Garden Hotel

We are in heaven!!!! This is probably the most spectacular hotel we have ever stayed in! We have a suite with soo much room!

We arrived here on Friday, Feb. 5th at 4:00pm The surrounding area is awesome! It seems to be very Americanized and feels safe! We even have a Starbucks!

Jackson had his first McDonald's experience and seemed to love the chicken nuggets except for the batter it is fried in. After dinner and a stop at the 7-11 next door to buy bottled water, we headed back to the hotel to bathe Jackson and get him to bed.

Jackson still doesn't like taking a bath very much, so I actually got in the bathtub with him and the toys and he did ok, until it was time to wash his HEADFUL of hair! I forgot how slippery babies are in the tub when you are in there with them! It would NOT have been a Kodak moment!

The outside of the hotel is decorated for Chinese New Year so we will probably head out there to take pictures of the decorations with Jackson in them.

We do wish that this hotel was on Shamain Island where all of the shops are. I was hoping to avoid anymore Taxi rides while here in China!

Pictures of Airport and Flying

Pizza Hut

As I said earlier, Jackson loved the Pizza!!! We had a difficult time catching a taxi back to the hotel, but we eventually got back so that we could put Jackson to bed and pack up for the next day's departure to Guanzhou.

We should have received Jackson's passport on this day but for some reason there were delays. We weren't even sure if we would have it to fly out. Thankfully the Hoaglands are Christians and they had been praying fervently, as well as Kurt and I, and my mom!

Last Night in Taiyuan

Our last evening in Taiyuan was spent with the Hoagland at Pizza Hut. Jackson loved the pizza with everything on it! He is really such a sweet boy even though he continues to have tantrums. The tantrums usually stem from being told "No" when he throws toys or has something taken away from him. The pictures are of our hotel in Shanxi. We had planned on getting a picture of our TINY room...but we ran out of time/forgot. We literally only had the walking space between the end of the bed and the dresser/desk. Only enough room for one person to walk by at a time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Last Day in Taiyuan

Today is our last day in Taiyuan. We leave for the airport at 9:30am. We have been here in Taiyuan with another family, the Hoaglands. They have been wonderful and have been an answer to our prayers. This is there 2nd adoption from China. Our guide, Sarah, has been a God-send! She is a lot of fun, personable and funny. We will miss her greatly when we leave.

Tomorrow afternoon, we meet up with Mark and Leslie that we spent our time in Beijing with. They adopted a 3 year old girl that just had cochlear implants. Their entire family is deaf. I am looking forward to seeing what Jackson's reaction will be when he spends time with them. When he is tired, he gets angry when I try and sign simple things to him! We're hoping that they will have advice for us! We will also meet up with the Goreckis. Kerri and I have been emailing each other for a few months now. She has been wonderful during the torturous wait for our Travel Approval.

Hopefully we will have a better internet connection in GZ. It has been especially difficult not having the video portion of our Skype working with Sydney and Jadon. We miss them terribly and can't wait to get home
to them!

Thank you, Angela, for getting our posts onto our blog! It has been frustrating not being able to share all of the details in length! Our hotel room is TINY!!! We literally only have one walking path in our room. That is between the beds and the dresser area which we could not unpack our suitcases because there aren't any drawers! The lights are frustrating because they are on motion sensors and are not very bright.

Jackson had his first ice cream this afternoon, but of course we forgot to bring the camera. We also forgot to bring wipes for clean up! He really enjoyed it and wish we could have captured the moment he was waiting for more with his tongue hanging out!!!! Have I mentioned that we have to hide the food in our room! HE LOVES IT!!!! It was vanilla, so maybe tomorrow in GZ we can try chocolate!!!

Our next post will be from GZ. Please pray for Jackson for his first airplane ride!!


Is it too obvious?

Jackson is so smart! Although he is small, we often forget that he is almost 2 1/2 years old. He LOVES books! We know that he has been read to. He was very quiet this morning after his bath and then I gave him his book to look at. His eyes lit up and before I knew it, he was turning the pages and babbling away. We still are not sure what he can hear. We know that he heard Kurt sneeze really loud! When he wants to read, he will get a book and make his way to you and show you the book and turn around and back-up into your lap.

We went to Wal-Mart today (yes, we traveled all the way to China, just to go to Wal-Mart)bought Pampers, shoes for Jackson, a Chinese New Year decoration for him and foam blocks. He was so excited when we opened the package of blocks. He sat and played for a long time with them. He was even stacking them with Kurt. When he was done playing he INSISTED that HE be the one to clean them up. We have seen much evidence that he was raised well over the past year and a half with his foster family. We also received everything back that we sent in his care package. He also new what everything was. When we get to Guangzhou, we will develop the pictures from the disposable cameras.

A Little Bit of Sunshine in China...

to brighten our day!

All Smiles!

We hope you enjoy the pictures of Jackson. He is attaching beautifully to both of us. He is beginning to show some "True Colors" by getting upset with us and having little tantrums.

Our posts will be small because we don't think blogger is handling the overload of our sweet boy too well.

He's more than we could have dreamed for!