At the age of 37, I have finally decided what to be when I grow up. As a mother to two fabulous and complex boys who struggle with diagnoses like Asperger syndrome, sensory processing disorder, and dyspraxia we are used to daily routines that involve therapy, patience, and compromise. When we decided to add another child to our family, our hearts led us to Winnie, and she just happens to have Down syndrome. Follow our journey as we continue to learn and work through these needs. Sometimes we live one day at a time and sometimes we live hour to hour. Welcome!

Friday, November 15, 2013


We have been home one week, but Chris and I have been with Winnie for three weeks.  Getting to know her has been a joy and a pleasure.  I think that we were both scared and nervous travelling to China to meet the child we would welcome into our home and  into our hearts.  We thought it might take a while to learn to love her.  She’s already a person after all.  She is walking and talking.  She has a big personality with likes and dislikes.  She has more than needs…she has wants too.  She was abandoned and has lived at an orphanage and with a foster family.  Her care has been mostly good but inconsistent.  She has had a lot of trauma and grief in her little life.  The transition of adopting an older child can be very hard, and we were prepared for the worst.  Several of our friends (and even one of my doctors) assumed that our life was over, that we were bringing trauma and destruction and a child with RAD that would never be cured into our already complex family.  I am so happy to say that they were all wrong!  

Wiki Stix on the plane

Meeting family at the airport

Miss Winnie Sunshine is delightful, and both Chris and I felt love at first sight and we know now that Winnie loves us too.  She is a joy to parent, and she fits into our family as if she has been here all along.  I am so sad for the 5 years of her life that I have missed, but I know that those years (even though they were very difficult at times) have made her into the wonderful little being that she is today.  I can tell you that my whole family will treasure every moment we have with her.  She is a supernaturally special little girl, and I am not sure why we got chosen to win the kiddo lottery, but I’ll take it.  She is a rock star and we adore her. 

We have learned a lot about her over the last three weeks, and each day we continue to learn more.  What follows are the highlights, along with the photos that you really want to see. 

What we have learned about Winnie in 3 weeks time:

·      She’s a busy busy busy bee.  We had not planned to send Winnie to school until the Fall of 2014, but she will be starting a half day preschool in January and we know she will love the socialization.  I think it will certainly help prepare her for Kindergarten too. We decided this just two hours after meeting her.  She is certainly ready.

·      She LOVES fried rice, but she will also eat spaghetti, black bean and chicken tacos and Grab the Gold bars!

·      She likes to go places in the car…. especially the grocery store.  I can’t wait to take her to the Chinese market.   She thinks that it is a total riot that I can drive, and she likes her music cheesy and LOUD.

·      She sleeps like a champ.  She lets me rock her to sleep and then she sleeps all night long cozied up with her Nena made blankets and pillows in her own big girl bed.   Have I mentioned that the boys still sleep in our room?  Yeah, she sleeps in her own bed.  Wow.

·      She is the World’s Biggest Fan of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf.  She knows how to cue it up in the iPad all by herself.   The rest of us are tortured by the theme song stuck in our heads all the time, but she loves it and so we endure. 

·      She gets her point across.  This morning first thing she came to me and said “Mama! GoGo (then made a chomping motion) GeGe (pointing at her feet.) The Chinglish sign language translation means that our dog Annie was walking around with Pearson’s shoe in her mouth.  And she totally was.  Winnie got that shoe and took it all the way across the house to put it in the cubbies where it belongs. J
·      She sill likes me better than Chris.  Duh. We are working on it though. 

·      She has seen a dentist and three specialists at Vandy.  She’s very healthy (YAY!!!,) but her teeth are rotten.  Like all of them.  New teeth via General anesthesia coming soon.

·      She’s seriously used to being bundled.  She likes Hello Kitty house shoes, gloves, a sweater, and a beret when lounging in the house.

·      Except she doesn’t really ever “lounge.”  She is either asleep or running at full force coloring, driving her car, playing with her dolls, working on sign language, playing with Pearson, bossing us and the animals around, cleaning up after us, eating, entertaining her visitors, working on puzzles, and “being a mischief” as her adoption file mentioned.

·      Speaking of her file, it also mentioned “Winnie scares dogs.”  She is very forceful and quite bossy, but I don’t think that most dogs would really find her to be scary.  We decided they must mean that Winnie was scared of dogs.  She WAS scared of dogs, because Annie our Golden Retirever came home from the Kennel three days after Winnie arrived, and after one blood-curdling scream, Winnie is now hugging Annie and kissing her on the lips. 

·      She likes to eat.  When she is hungry she will sign “eat” to me, get a spoon and go stand by the microwave.  It turns out that Trader Joe’s makes really great fried rice, wonton soup, chow mein, and lo mein…. I think I have mentioned before how much I love Trader Joe’s.  I love it even more now.  She also loves my nemesis: hard-boiled eggs.  (GAG)  Yes, we have chickens in our backyard, but I prefer my eggs cooked any other way but hard-boiled.  Chris is trying to win Winnie over by making these for her and it might just be working.  She LOVES them…and she peels them ALL BY HERSELF.  Hello amazing fine motor skills!

·      She brings out the best on all of us, especially her brothers.  They love her to bits and will get down on the floor with her to play legos and push her car and help her with the iPad.  They just grin from ear to ear when they see her and interact with her.  They are nurturing, and I am not sure I have ever seen this side of them before.  It is pretty awesome. 

Most of all, she is ours.  “Meant to be” like for real.  She is funny and joyful and bright and delicious and just down right delightful.  We are all so much better with her here, and just feel like she’s always been part of our family. 

The journey has been a long one, and it is not over by any stretch, but all in all we have done quite well and we truly couldn’t imagine a better scenario.  Don’t tell me how lucky SHE is to be with us…because it is SO TOTALLY the other way around.   WE are the LUCKY ONES.  And thankful.  SO Thankful.  Just in time for Thanksgiving too. 




Sweet baby

THE eggs

Sweet Henry

Winnie scares dogs?

Reading to her stuffed animals

Sweet Pearson 



  1. She is absolutely adorable...and so glad she's fitting into your family so well! God is good! :)

  2. Such a smart, funny, and exceptionally adorable little girl...but then, we knew that all along, didn't we?

    Cheryl Graham

  3. I love you. You write so well. (this may be a nice book...ahem) I love her sweet face and smile. I am so happy for all of you!!!!!!


  4. God is Good and Your Family is Good and Blessed!!! So Happy for all of you including the dog and chickens!!!

  5. Such a wonderful report! Isn't it funny how these little ones "lucky" to be with us end up enriching OUR lives more than anyone could dream? Enjoy her, my friend!

  6. WOW! What a cute little girl! The picture of her inside the Cozy Coupe is adorable!!!

  7. How sweet to see her with her siblings. Never see her on facebook witht he others. I guess they are at school when you are taking pictures.

  8. I am so glad that I read this post on Thanksgiving Day.