Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just some more random cuteness

Before I move on to new pictures, I have to post a few leftovers.

The day after his birthday, Quinn was still so pooped he fell asleep on the hard floor while playing with the leftover streamers.

A fun toy, a glass of cold milk and a nice warm day. You'd be smiling, too!

Quinn's first meal with his super-cool, three-section, big-boy plate. The days of chopping up everything and mixing it all together officially ended this day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One year ago today

A year ago this morning, Tom and I were excitedly meeting the families in our travel group and getting ready to head to the Beijing Children's Welfare Institute. A year ago this morning, Quinn was going about his business, with probably no idea that his entire world was about to change. And then we met. Overwhelming joy on our end. Total shutdown on his end.

This is our first family photo:

This is what Quinn looked like then:

And this is what he looks like now:

It's astonishing to consider how far Quinn has come 365 days. We've seen him learn to sit up, to eat solid foods, to use a sippy cup and then a straw, to pull himself to a stand, to cruise around holding onto furniture, to walk, to babble, to run, to talk.

More importantly, we've seen his fun-loving, hilarious, sweet personality peek out from behind his protective armor and then leave it behind all together. The kid who wouldn't look us in the eye for nearly a week now jumps across the room into our arm, squeals with delight when he sees one of us after a separation and barks "MaMa" or "BaBa" when he wants something because he knows we'll come running.

I can't even put into words how much we love this child. We were blessed beyond imagination the day we became a family one year ago, and we can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snuggle buddies

Quinn really loves human contact, and we love to oblige. One of his favorite activities is to lie on the floor and play "snuggle buddies" with BaBa.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Language explosion

Quinn's speech therapist long ago told us that multi-tone, multi-syllabic babble immediately proceeds a language explosion. Well, here we go. For the last three weeks or so Quinn has been picking up roughly a new word a day. He'll repeat anything we ask him to, but we only count words he says unprompted and then only if he gets the context right. He's up to 31, but he only says them individually rather than stringing them together.

For the past few days he has added only one word total. But he is babbling up a storm. All sorts of sounds, all sounds of pitches, all of it chatty and motor-mouthy.

So before the language explosion begins, I'd like to pause to memorialize my favorite Quinny words so far:

Moo-azoo (music - his very favorite thing)
Buh-weh (bread, said with a vocal upturn on the highly emphasized second syllable)
Teee (a very high-pitched 'please')
Chi-chi (cookie, usually said hopefully at the end of every meal, including breakfast)
Uhnnnnnn (run, BaBa, run!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Paging Doctor Quinn Jianrong, stat!

Quinn shows a strong preference for toys that involve putting stuff together. This Dora the Explorer playset from Obaachan (Grandma Tokie) is the perfect blend of scientific and imaginative for him. He uses the stethescope to check baby cougar's pulse, he puts the cast on and off of baby cougar and when he's done playing he puts all the pieces inside the backpack. We love this toy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Imitation nation

Quinn is suddenly all about imitating MaMa and BaBa. He loves to hold the phone to his ear, use the keys to open the door, and on and on. Tonight at dinner he was pushing a lime half into his straw and we finally figured out he was making like Uncle Bruce squeezing a lime into his Corona. After rubbing the lime all over the straw opening he tipped his bottle back, took a sip and made the most hilarious grimace!

Quinn created the little scene above while "helping" me cook dinner the other night. He watches me make a salad just about every night. So this night he very carefully took all the big bowls out of his cupboard and lined them up, then took the salad servers out of the utensil drawer and tossed his imaginary salads, all in a row. He'd toss one, move on to the next, then the next, then the next, and then back again.

It's so cool to see their little minds at work!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My grandma, my servant

Quinn and Grandma Marj have quite the bond. They each think the other is pretty perfect and they can't seem to get enough of each other's company.

But if there were a competition for who gets the most out of the relationship, I give the edge to Quinn. He may be only 2, but he can get his grandma to do pretty much anything he wants her to do on Mondays, Grandma Day. During meals, he'll shove a bare foot at her for some "This Little Piggy" action, which is what's happening in the upper photo. In the photo just above, he convinced her to pull him around the house in his wagon for a full 30 minutes. That's nothing compared to the hour-plus of Peekaboo, with Grandma expected to repeatedly hide wherever Quinn directs her to hide and jump out - again and again and again - to "scare" him.

All this and unconditional love, too.

It's good to be the first grandchild!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Group classes and orphanage kids

I could use some advice on something odd I'm seeing with Quinn, adopted 11 months ago and now almost 28 months old.

At home and even out and about, he engages with us, plays interactive games, laughs, listens and is a joy to be around. Same goes for when family or friends visit the house. He loves his Gymboree exercise class and interacts well with the kids there, although there isn't a ton of interaction built into the class.

However, he seems to hate group classes. Tom takes him to music class one a week (Quinn LOVES music and wants it on all the time). But in class he is not a bit interested in anything except shaking maracas when it's time and staring at the CD player.

I've taken him to library story time about five times and that seems to be even worse. Today the only things he wanted to do were grab the necklace of the little girl next to him and, like in music class, check out the CD player (he is quite taken with ours at home, too). He didn't want to sit in my lap to listen to the story (although he'll happily let me read to him for 30 minutes or more at home). He wants no part of the craft projects except to throw the crayons. They always sing a beanbag song during story time, so I taught it to him at home and he has it down cold. We haven't gone to story time in about a month and today I was excited to see if he'd do the beanbag song with the other kids. Nothing. He showed no recognition of the song and did none of the movements he knows so well. If I hold him in my lap during the stories, he squirms and is miserable. If I let him go, he either runs to the CD player or tries to kiss a kid, which typically gets a bad reaction from either the kid or the parent. He was doing so many odd things today that a little girl asked her mom, "What's wrong with that boy?" and other parents were encouraging their kids not to stare at him.

Quinn spent his first 16 months in a BIG orphanage (500 kids) and I wonder if he just had enough of big groups of kids or, worse, if he fears he's back in the orphanage. I'm stumped about how to help: Should I just accept that he isn't ready for group classes and stop going or should I make him keep going in order to get him used to being around other kids?

He doesn't go to pre-school or daycare, so these classes are his only interaction with kids his age.

Thanks for any help or observations you may have!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why it's cool having a kid (according to the dog)

Baxter, our insecure and needy pickapoo, was the family member we thought would have the hardest time with Quinn's arrival. Wrong. He thinks the kid is the coolest thing ever. And this seals it: On hot mornings, when Baxter gets tired on our walks, he gets to ride on the foot rest of Quinn's stroller. Now that's a dog's life!

Monday, October 5, 2009


How do you teach a 2-year-old not to throw toys at the window, at the dog, at you?

Advice, now, please!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Decision made

After much Internet research, many phone calls to doctor's offices and many conversations with parents, we have decided that Quinn's surgery will be done by Dr. Peter Waters at Boston Children's Hospital. When I initially e-mailed asking if he did the kind of surgery Quinn needs, he personally e-mailed me back the same day. That impressed me. I've also talked with many families whose children were treated by him and heard many positive stories.

Quinn has an MRI and initial visit with Dr. Waters in early November, with surgery in early December.

So Boston, here we come!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles

We brought home some bubbles from Quinn's Gymboree class. My goodness, they are the best. After a couple minutes, Quinn and his god brother Jack were in a bubble cave.

Easy, cheap and fun entertainment!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


We had hoped to have Quinn's brachial plexus surgery done by Dr. Nath in Houston. But our insurance company has denied that request. They did, however, quite generously offer us four good alternatives. If anyone knows anything about any of these BPI programs or the docs there I sure would appreciate it.

Dr. Peter Waters, Boston Children's Hospital
Dr. Scott Kozin, Shriners, Philadelphia
BPI team, Mayo Clinic, Rochester
BPI team, Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Thanks for any info you may have!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I knew this day was coming but...

Last week I had to go to New York for a board meeting of an organization I'm deeply involved with. The best part was I got to visit a family we traveled to China with and witness the amazing transformation of their beautiful daughter, who is so changed in 10 months it's just incredible. The worst part is we had to use the nanny service for the first time. Two half days, two different nannies. My goal was to have him in family care only for six months and we made to to 10, so I should be happy, but still.

Quinn, little soldier that he is, did well with both women. I was slightly panicked from afar and kept hoping everything was going okay.

Does this get easier? Will we ever think date night is a good idea??

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chinese food!

I'm learning to cook Chinese food, with a goal of having at least one Chinese meal a week. This was my first success: rice noodles with tofu and vegetables (and lots of rice vinegar). Quinn, a true Beijing noodle boy, dug right in!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Graduation day nears

Since arriving home, Quinn has been in various types of therapy for his various developmental delays. Now home 10 months, he is starting to catch up to his chronological age.

First to go was occupational therapy, when the state-provided therapist said she didn't feel like she was needed anymore. Now we're looking at the end of speech therapy and physical therapy. The speech therapist said Quinn is approaching normal for a late talker, and she may start cutting back from weekly to twice-monthly sessions. The physical therapist said Quinn's shoulder is as good as it's going to get without surgery (we're still waiting to hear what the insurance company is willing to pay for) and she's happy with his physical development except that he stands with his feet too far apart, making his ankles roll inward. So she's going away for a month, during which we're supposed to put him in a tight little skirt made of an ace bandage for a while each day to force his legs together. He loves putting on MaMa's shoes and sunglasses, let's see how he feels about skirts!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's hot!

This summer has been one of the worst ever. It's been over 100 almost every day in August, with none of our usual summer rains to cool us down. Even so, Quinn LOVES to be outside. He spends a good deal of his inside time standing at the back door in hopes someone will take him outside. Then when he's outside his entire head and face are soaked in sweat within seconds. Poor kid.

Quinn seriously can't get enough of this sandbox. Unfortunately, the same goes for Buttons the dog. Sometimes they have a stare-down to determine who gets to play in it first!

This is one of my favorite recent pictures of Quinn. It's so horribly hot outside, and look how contented he looks!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The three-legged race

This picture is hard to see, but I was so proud of Quinn this day. If you look way in the back on the right side of the frame you'll see Quinn and me holding hands. We're running the three-legged race at my company picnic. This child actually let me tie his leg to mine and ran the entire race with me, including picking himself up when he fell and getting right back to it. We did not win, but I could not have been prouder of this spunky, sweet, fabulous little guy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Red Egg and Ginger Party

Our local chapter of Families with Children from China hosted an awesome Red Egg and Ginger party for children who have arrived in China in the past year.

Here is an explanation, from

"In Chinese culture, a baby's first month birthday calls for a celebration. Proud parents introduce their latest addition to friends and relatives by holding a red egg and ginger party. Traditionally, the baby's name is also announced at this time.

"Guests attending red egg and ginger parties bring gifts. Lysee or "lucky money" in red envelopes is often given to baby boys, while girls may receive expensive jewelry. The guests don't leave empty handed, either. The parents hand out red-dyed eggs, symbolizing happiness and the renewal of life.

"Red egg and ginger parties have their origins in ancient Chinese culture. As in other countries, infant mortality rates in China were quite high prior to the medical advances of the twentieth century. A baby who reached one month of age was likely to survive, and so the event was celebrated."

At our event there were eight kids, and after a delicious banquet dinner at a Chinese restaurant each family was invited to make a short presentation, and then we each got a beautiful laquered red egg carved with our child's name in Chinese.

Some families showed slides or talked about their adoption experience. All the stories were great to hear, and so different - the kids ranged from babies to 14! All of them had special needs of some sort, or were older.

Rather than do a presentation, we decided to read the kids our favorite adoption book: "A Mother for Choco." If you haven't read it, check it out. Quinn sat in my lap and all the kids gathered around us, which was fun.

It was a really special night. If you ever get invited to a Red Egg and Ginger party, go!

The setting was beautiful and the food was yummy.

Grandma Marj came with us. Check out Quinn's cool summer outfit, bought at Michael's in Guanghzou.

In typical Chinese banquet style, the food kept coming and coming. Quinn LOVED the ginger noodles.

Quite shockingly, the kid who will not eat anything cold went quite nutty for the ginger ice cream. He ate his entire bowl, and went for mine, too!

Here's a sign of the times: Of the eight kids who came from this year in our chapter, four of them are boys!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It looks like surgery - times two

Thanks to the amazing parents on the various adoption-related Yahoo groups I follow, we learned of a doctor in Houston who specializes in treating brachial plexus injury, a nerve injury that can occur at birth if the baby gets stuck and is yanked out. Even better, we learned that he occasionally holds free clinics around the country, so we took a short flight to San Diego last Sunday and met him. Our intention was simply to get a second opinion on whether Quinn needed surgery, but we were so impressed by him that we decided we'd really like him to do the surgery.

The good news is that while the orthopedic surgeon we have been visiting said we'd need to choose between a surgery that would allow him to reach up to the sky and one that would allow him to rotate him arm outward, Dr. Nath does both. He said Quinn's level of injury is on the not-so-serious side (he ranked it at 40 percent, with 100 percent being the most serious), which makes him a good candidate for surgery and gives him a good chance of a full or near-full recovery. However, that means two surgeries — and two trips to Houston. We're negotiating now with our insurance company to see whether they'll cover it.

So keep Quinn in your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An amazing gift

I'm starting to think about (not yet work on...) Quinn's baby album. In getting organized, I came across these photos, which I had not posted before.

In Beijing we visited Quinn's finding place, a subway station, and had the amazing good fortune of finding a security guard who was on duty the day he was found and told us which police sub-station he had been taken to. We went there, and were able to meet the man who picked Quinn up from the subway and brought him to the police station. Thanks to the generous staff and our wonderfully tenacious Holt representative, Leah, we left with a copy of his file - and pictures from the day he was found, at six days old.

The bed Quinn is laying on is still at the police station, and that blue-and-white-checked blanket is still on it! I plopped Quinn right down and got a picture of him on the very same bed where his journey began.

And here he is, Baby Jianrong, on June 14, 2007:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our new American

The Fourth of July was special for us this year, since it was Quinn's first Independence Day as an American. So we got all decked out and got my brother to take our photo, then we ate sloppy joes, pasta salad and corn on the cob. Doesn't get more American than that!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

About that shirt...

Several people have asked why Quinn is wearing a shirt to go swimming. It's a swim shirt! Made of swimsuit material with an spf of 50. We got his at Gymboree but have seen them at Target and other places, too.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who knew???

To celebrate Quinn's birthday, we took an overnight trip to Phoenix (nice resorts there are CHEAP in the summertime) and went swimming. To our great shock, Quinn knew how to swim! He walked in the water up to his waist and then leaned forward, let his feet float, arched his back and started paddling. We couldn't believe it. We know he received physical therapy for his brachial plexus injury at the orphanage, and our best guess is that they did some water therapy.

Quinn and Ba-Ba head into the pool:

Hey, this is fun!

Here's how it's done:

Quinn kept trying to push Tom's hand away so he could swim on his own, but Tom wouldn't budge:


Whew, swimming makes us thirsty!

And happy:

My favorite picture of the day. This is Quinn's cow impression, but here he looks just like a little monkey: