Church with Ethan

We got home from China on March 5th and took Ethan to church the very next night. This picture is from the following week when Cameron, Madeline & Michael had Rite of Enrollment for Confirmation. I grabbed a quick kid pic while I had them all together.

Church hasn't been relaxing since we got home! :) We ask Ethan "What are we in church?" and he answers "Quiet". Well, he gets the quiet part (most of the time). He does not get the "still" part though. That, my friends, is a work in progress. He does love going up to put his money in the basket and giving Father Jeff a high five. Getting out of church now takes hours because everyone, and by that, I mean everyone, wants to stop and chat about Ethan. He adores being the center of attention...and he always is!

He does know that "God is good...all the time!" and it's so cute to hear him say it!

Birthday Party

Ethan turned 4 on March 14th...the day after Michael & Madeline turned 16. We didn't want to overwhelm him (not that we could), so we just had a family dinner and cupcakes. He LOVED it!

Why is Ethan not wearing the party hat?

Mike & Grandpa built him this jungle gym in 2 days. We could have built it before he got it, but Mike said he wanted Ethan to know it was "new" and for him. Such a sweetie!

The finished product! Way to go guys!

Where has the time gone?

Can you believe it's been almost 6 months since we brought home Ethan? We can't! It truly feels like he's been in our family forever! We ask ourselves every single day how we got so blessed. Ethan is simply AMAZING! In the past 6 months he's had play dates, sleepovers, gone tubing, built sand castles at the beach, eaten everything in site, learned to swim, started pre-school, forgotten all of his Chinese, started Chinese school to get it back, and gotten baptized! On top of that, we have 4 kids driving (3 juniors and 1 senior) and I went back to school to finish my nursing. Am I getting any forgiveness for not blogging? Yea...I didn't think so!

So...I'm going to start from 3/10/11...the day of my last blog, and post what's happened with pictures as if it just happened. Work with me until I catch up?

Love you all!


Ethan on a Harley

This child is CRAZY! My mom and dad ride Harley's...so of course, they had to show them to Ethan. He didn't want to see them...he wanted to RIDE them! (Don't stress out...my mom is OLD - just kidding mom- so she gave up her Fatboy for a Harley Trike). Ready to spoil him immediately, they said yes! He rode around the block and said "One more time". It was totally unplanned to stop by, so I didn't have my camera. Today, all he could say was "Gwama...motrcwycle"...SO cute! I called Grandma and Papa and (shocking) they said come on by. I told Ethan we had to go home and get the camera first...when we pulled in the driveway, he said "NOOOO". I said "Ethan, I'm just getting the camera." He said "OK". We pulled up at my mom's and he saw the motorcycle sitting there and he started saying "Where Gwama?" She put a do-rag (since I don't actually own a do-rag, I'm not exactly sure how to spell do-rag) on his head, sunglasses and a helmut that probably weighed as much as he did. She told him to hold on to the handles and not let go...then off they went.

The Cool DoRag

Sitting on Papa's Bike

God Bless America...or Ethan!

Ready to ride with Gwama
He is fearless! The cute thing to me is...with all the people he's met, he KNOWS his Grandma and Papa...because of the "motrcwycle"! They live a mile from our house...GREAT...as soon as he learns which way it is, I'm sure he'll just walk over there on his own!


Home With Ethan

What a trip home...30 hours of traveling with a 3 year old...save me Tom Cruise! Just kidding...he was actually wonderful, considering he slept about 9 of those 30 hours.
When I saw the Statue of Liberty, I started crying...1. because I was SO thankful to be in the United States, and 2. because my son just became an American citizen!
We actually saw some familiar faces in the airport in Newark. One lady from Milwaukee (after watching Ethan be disciplined with the "one, two...", commented "That's not the child you just adopted is it?" I was like um..yea! She couldn't believe his English and that he actually listened to me. Remember a few blogs ago that Baba don't play. Well Mama don't play either!
He slept the entire the entire way to Jacksonville, so he was completely wired when we arrived at 10:35 PM. Maloy & Cameron were both there to greet us and played with him for awhile. At 2 AM, he was still singing. I was like "Ethan...GOOD NIGHT!"
His first and second meal in the United States were...you guessed it...McDonald's! Dinner and breakfast. Yummy! We got home at 9 AM Saturday morning. Michael and Madeline were waiting on us! All the kids just adore him and Ethan couldn't stop hugging and kissing them!
I'm pretty sure we had 4000 visitors Saturay. Ok, I'm exaggerating. We had 3000! Everything I read said not to overwhelm the child. This child overwhelms me! Ethan is so outgoing and friendly to everyone he meets! He shakes their hand, or hugs them and says Hello. The girl's friends were loving playing with him...dancing, took him on a walk, brought him gifts...he was definately the little Emperor!
After very little sleep, and go go go all day, we thought he would crash last night. No such luck! I think he was still on China time. At 4 AM, he was screaming "Mama...I love you!" I walked in his room and said "Ethan, I love you too, but it is night night time!" He finally went to sleep at 5...Mike & I got up and had coffee. Did we adopt a 4 year old, or a 4 month old?
Today we took him to church for the first time. I just can't do the cry room, so we sat where we always sit. He was SO good. Talked a lot, but not to loud, wanted to know where his communion was, and gave Father Kaz high five! Everyone was so thrilled to meet him!
It 's 9:00 PM and he's sleeping...PRAY that he stays that way!
He is truly a gift from God and just TOO funny! I told you he was always bargaining with me. At dinner last night, I said 5 more bites and was like 1, I said 5, he said 1, I said 5, he said 1...so I pulled out the "One...Two..." and he said, "OK...two!" No one at the table could keep a straight face for that one.
One more thing...my friend Erin Powers, was the Angel who posted EVERY SINGLE BLOG for me! I attempted to give her credit and she wouldn't post it. So I am giving her the kudos she deserves! Thank you thank you thank you Erin...for finding Ethan for us, being such a wealth of information on adoption, and for bringing my story to everyone back home. You are truly amazing and I love you!
Thank you all for your comments...I promise I'll start answering them soon! Going to bed now! Love you all! Tonya
I've taken video of our trip home, seeing his house for the first time and meeting his brothers and sisters, his grandmas and papas, and some aunts and uncles. As soon as I figure out how to up load it, I will.

Waiting to board in Beijing!

Our last flight...to Jacksonville, FLorida
Meeting Cameron and Maloy in the airport for the first time
First car ride home to Gainesville with Mr. Monkey
Michael and Madeline waiting to meet Ethan at home


Goodbye China...

What a 17 day whirlwind this has been! I can hardly believe it's over! I thank God for watching over us and watching over those we left behind. I trust in him everyday and cannot wait to see what his plans are for us!
View of the Lake

Outside of Lucys

Ethan and our guide, Aron
We have loved the entire experience of seeing Ethan's birth country and visiting the many landmarks they have here.
Owner of Paddy's
It is truly a beautiful country! The Chinese aren't that different from us...they are proud of their homeland, they love their children, they work very hard and enjoy their life.

The bonding we have been able to do with Ethan over the past 10 days has been priceless. Our son is amazing...he has his dad's kind heart and long eyelashes (quite unfair) and his mama's outgoing personality and sunny smile! (I think he got his Aunt Bonne's stubborness!) He is so inquisitive about so many things!

One thing that he has learned this week that totally cracks me up is to bargain. We'll say "Ethan 5 minutes." and he'll say "Two". We'll say "Ethan, 3 chips." and he'll say "One." He gets the concept, he's just so going in the wrong direction. We're always like..."OK, that's fine." And he just smiles.

I also love that reading time at night is with Baba.
Mikeworks long days, so I know that will be a special time for him and Ethan. He doesn't even bring me the book...just goes right to Mike and sits next to him and helps him read the story...so cute!

Seeing our faith passed on to him in such a short time amazes me. He knows we pray before we eat and he's the first to kneel at the bed when it's night night time. I cannot wait to bring him to Queen of Peace Catholic Community...just hope Father Jeff is ready for him!

Ethan goes to bed happy and he wakes up happy! We kiss him and hug him and say night night, turn off the light and he goes to sleep. First thing in the morning, he says "Mama" and opens his arms with a huge smile.

Watching Ethan see so much of the world for the first time is a joy! There is so much love for this child in our hearts...and even more waiting on him back home.

There are so many children, not only in this country, but also in ours, who need love and attention. Even if adoption isn't for you...find a way to make a difference in the life of a child! For our family and for Ethan...it's the quote from The Blind Side...
"Yes, we're changing this little boy's life....but he is FOREVER changing ours!"

Thank you for sharing this journey with Mike & I! We hope you enjoyed our blogs and our videos.
Stay tuned for many more updates in the life of the Meyer and Walsh families!


Our Last Day in China

We enjoyed our last breakfast buffet this morning! Usually I eat cereal for breakfast...but these buffets have so many options and it all looks so good...I'm eating omelets, bacon, toast, cereal and donuts. Sometimes I throw in something Chinese that looks yummy. When I first got here, I thought...YES! I am gonna be so skinny when I get home! That plan didn't work out so well. For anyone coming to China...
you definitely won't starve!

We met Aron and left for the Liuhua Lake Park. The parks that we have seen are so peaceful and beautiful. What amazes me though, is that they are mainly used by the older generation. I think that's awesome...they exercise, sing, walk, chat with their friends, play games....all things that I'm sure keep them young and active. Very few children are seen running around the parks. Both that we visited had children's areas with rides, however you had to pay for them. Every activity for the adults was free.

Ethan loved the park and rode a few rides. He had to try everything. Sometimes he's very cautious and sometimes, he's a daredevil. It's always a toss up who he will choose for a ride with him...mama or baba. I got the bumper cars and baba got the flying umbrellas!
There were so many huge trees and Ethan was concerned that they may fall on him.
Aron dropped us off at the Island again. Ethan was concerned how we'd get home. Can you see he is concerned about many things. When I see him bite his nails, I wonder what is going through that little mind.

We found out that there are actually 2 Victory Hotels...the old one and the new one. I videotaped the lobby of the new one (Victory East) this morning, so if any of you are staying there you can see it.
We went back to our favorite little store for a couple more gifts, then lunch at Lucy's. Ethan finally got sweet and sour chicken...he LOVES it! I find it funny that you can find it on any menu in the states, but in China...I haven't seen it.

After his nap, I just couldn't face the playroom one more time...for this hotel being so beautiful, the playroom makes me feel (to quote my son) "yucky!" So we played in the room. We have a "time out" corner in our room (yes, Ethan has visited it)and Baba got put in it. No idea what he did!

Our last dinner is at our little Irish Pub we found...The Paddy Field! We are such creatures of habit when we find some place we like! The owner is SO sweet! He's been here 7 years with his wife and they have a little boy and little girl. YUMMY food!
Everything is packed and we are READY to go! Aron is picking us up at 5:45 AM to head to the airport. Our flight leaves at 8 AM for our 3 hour flight to Beijing. Then we leave at 4:35 PM for our 13 1/2 hour flight to Newark. We arrive in Newark the same day at 5:10 PM and leave for Jacksonville, Florida at 8 PM.
Praise God we are almost home!
The con's...LONG day, 3 year old with us. The pro's...business class (we have beds), they serve FREE wine (and a lot of it), and we are traveling at technically our night time. OK...I'm not stupid, the pro's are definitely outweighing the con's.

We ask God to watch over us on our journey home and to grant us patience when we need it most. Can't wait to get to Jacksonville and see our kid's smiling faces!
Love you all!
Mike, Tonya & Ethan

To see a video of our last day in China, click here