Wednesday, March 7, 2012

One Year Gotcha Day!

Where has this year gone??? We paused a bit today to remember where we were just 12 short months ago. In Shanghai China of course ready to meet our little man, Liam. We didn't know what in the world to expect. I remember thinking and worrying that he would just hate us. After all, 5 1/2 years in an orphanage might lead to all sorts of adjustment problems. We should have known God would take care of all that! Liam was ours from the moment we met him! It's like he just knew that we were his family. There were a few rough moments in the months that followed, but nothing too severe. He has come so far in the past year. He had virtually no language in China; just a few made up signs and gestures that got him by. There were no deep conversations. There was no explanation of his adoption. Now, he's signing up a storm and soon will be hearing (with the new cochlear implants). We have a long way to go with the literacy and language development, but I have no doubt he will get there and be just fine. Today we looked at his three photo albums: one from the orphanage that showed his life before us, one that we sent him with pictures of us and his new home, and the one I made for him at Christmas with all of the pictures from our trip to China to get him. He didn't really understand the significance of the "one year" anniversary, but he grasps the concept of "forever family" for sure!

Love to all!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Almost a Year!

Hi friends and family! Can you believe it's been almost a year since we traveled to Shanghai to bring back our sweet Liam? It's as though he's always been here! Liam continues to flourish with language development in ASL. We have started the process of getting cochlear implants for him in March. We have chosen to NOT DROP the ASL though. I am excited that he will have access to all language he's presented with both visually and through hearing.

Our family enjoyed a wonderful holiday season! I hope the same is true for you all!



Saturday, May 7, 2011

We're Still Here!

Hi Friends and Family!

I thought I'd post an update since it's been so long. I've been posting pics and mini updates on Facebook, but it's time for a longer update.

Liam is doing very well! He has completely adjusted to his school and teachers. So much so, he's even being mischievous and getting into a little trouble. Depending on behavior at school, he comes home with a green, yellow, or red mark each day. This week, he finally figured out that green is the place to be! Yellow=no bike or park and a sad Mama face. Green=stickers, outside time, and a happy Mama. On Friday at dismissal time, he ran up to his teacher with the green marker and signed "green"!

At home he is doing even better. He loves to play outside and ride his bike. He hates putting away his laundry. He loves to help set the table, take a bath/shower, and give hugs goodbye on the way to school. He loves to be a backseat driver! He can tell me every turn to take on the way from school to picking up his brothers and sister. If I go a different route, he lets me know about it in no uncertain terms! He is responding well to time outs at home, too. He used to strip naked, spit, hit and kick. Now he just cries a little with an occasional hit to the wall. He also responds to the warning of time out and changes behavior.

He still LOVES routine, but he isn't as dependent on it as he was when he first arrived. Now I can sign to him the errands that we are going to do before picking up brothers and sister, and he doesn't worry about why we're not going that direction. I can also leave him with a sitter after school when I have meetings without any tears.

Liam loves church! He even participates in Bible classes. The family there has been wonderful! Everyone looks out for him and the kids and teens love him! Many people are learning a few signs so they can communicate with him. I may even try to start a Sign Language class on Wednesday nights.

He is really picking up the sign language quickly. I see his signing development happening at three levels: 1. Signs he understands, but doesn't use spontaneously, 2. Signs he can understand and imitate, and 3. Signs he uses spontaneously. He is finally starting to answer questions without just repeating the question, esp. "where". He answered a "which" question the other day. Once he gets that concept down, a whole new world of choices will be opened up to him. I never realized how hard it must be for him to not be able to communicate "which" food or "which" activity he wants to do. I am happy to say we're getting there! He can identify 4 or 5 letters independently. He signs his alphabet every night before bed (using his poster on the wall). He is just beginning to identify the colors (especially green and yellow!) He hasn't really started counting yet. He can sign the days of the week Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday on his own. He can write his name and Mom without much help. He has really good fine motor control. He can also identify several animals.

We are set up to do video chat on our gmail account at home. Liam loves to video chat, so look us up at

Love to all!

Erin Stokes

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Last day in China

We are all packed and ready for our early train to Hong Kong. We will miss China, but we are eager to get back to our life back home. What an adjustment it will be to have 4 kids...with one being deaf! I don't think we will post from HK. We will send a message from airports along the way home on Friday. We calculated that we will be in the air for 19 hours! There will be a short break on Newark before the last leg to Houston. Keep us in your prayers, please. Specifically for Liam's patience on the flight! Thank you all for following our trip and sending all the comments!

Noodle boy

My two cowboys

After dinner cuddles.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sweet sweet boy

We are just adoring sweet little Liam! He now wants to give hugs and kisses (mostly to me) ALL of the time. He really seems to get that we are for real and that we are not going away. The picture I sent to Laura to post on facebook is pretty cool. The sun was coming in the bedroom window in such a way that I was able to catch his reflection looking at pictures of the family on the iPad. A funny thing about Liam is that he loves to high five or sign to men who are wearing uniforms like the bell boys or drivers. The regular bell boys are getting used to him and giving him big smiles and high fives.
Today we went to the US consulate to finalize all of our paper work. Then we went to a park to watch the senior citizens do their morning exercises and recreation. The kiddos got to play as well. Jay, Liam, and I went back to the island to shop for friends and family. Tonight we are staying in. Jay and little man are out getting us a pizza as I type this. Tonight we will also start packing a little bit. Tomorrow we get Liam's visa and then have a nice Cantonese meal with the other families and our guide. Thursday we take an early train to Hong Kong. We decided to spend the afternoon at Disneyland in HK. Of course Friday we fly home! We cannot wait!

Liam kissing mommy.

Reflection of Liam looking at pictures of his brothers and sister on the iPad.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We had a great day! We got to take a dinner cruise down the pearl river. Liam loved being on the boat and seeing all the lights of the city. He's getting along great with the other two girls and the two older kids that came along. He'll love his brothers and sister, I am sure! We have an early day at the US consulate tomorrow, so good night to all. Love, Erin

Liam with new friends on the famous red couch at the White Swan.

Mom and Liam at White Swan Hotel.

Peanut Butter Boy