Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Olivia's 1st Christmas

Christmas was a blast and to see it through a little girls eyes is even more amazing. Hope all of you enjoy the pictures.

Mom and Liv enjoying their new ride.
Disclaimer - if seeing Liv without a helmet upsets or offends you in any way please refrain from looking at the picture

Opening gifts with John Neuharth (West Palm Beach) and Mom

Opening gifts with Mom

Really enjoying the gift Aunt Dee

Hanging with her two favorite gifts from her Aunt Dee and Godfather Dwayne Kouf

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Charity Bench Press Competition

The famous "cheeker" smile

Olivia went to one of Dad's powerlifting competition a week ago. It was a charity bench press meet where the money made went for toys. As expected she showed very little interest but came anyway for support. Hope all of you enjoy some of the pictures.

Olivia and some of the powerlifting team (L-R Frank Simms, Liv, me, Eric Borroto, Flip Adams, Greg Staruk and Ron Edwards)

Christy Breece and Liv

Liv pulling Mom's clothes off with Christy Breece and Lana Edwards

Cat Griffith and Liv

Monday, December 14, 2009

MWH Christmas Party

My company had a Christmas party over the weekend where we brought Olivia with us so that everyone could meet her. All three of us had a blast and Olivia definitely loved the attention. She got to tear up the rug with Anna on the dance floor and eat plenty of good food.

The couple of marks you see on Olivia’s left cheek is laser treatment we had done to remove the birth mark.

Here are a couple of pictures from the party.

Olivia, Mom and Dad

Olivia dancing with Anna McLaughlin
(I think Mom and Dad need to learn how to dance haha!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Preparing for Christmas Day

Our little "Jedi" Princess.

It was a busy weekend with Olivia and Mom decorating the Christmas tree and preparing for the arrival of Santa. We did make time to see Santa who made a brief visit to Bass Pro Shop. We were around a bunch of people wearing camouflage - Laura loved it!!! Olivia was able to meet Santa for the first time and sit on his lap for some pictures.

Helping Mom with the Ornaments

Early Christmas gift from Betty and Allen Ross from West Palm Beach

Not too sure about this but being a good sport.

Important meeting about the meaning of Christmas with Mommy and Santa

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving and Update

Some serious "bed head"!

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that all of Olivia’s blood-work and testing came back, she was diagnosed as being disease free and healthy as a horse. We were thinking if she was going to be diagnosed with anything it would have been a tape worm because the girl can eat…haha!

Thanksgiving was lots of fun and we all ate more than we should have. Olivia got to meet her godmother, LaJan, and the Bennett family (Mike, Debbie, and Sierra) who we have known and I have worked with for many years. Unfortunately, her godfather, Dwayne Kouf, had one of his sons diagnosed with the swine flu and we were not able to visit them. But we hope to introduce Olivia to her godfather soon.

Hope all of you enjoy the pictures.

Enjoying her 1st Thanksgiving dinner with Earl the cat

LaJan Gartner and Olivia

Sierra Bennett and Olivia

Playtime with Mommy!

Play time with Daddy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Are Back By Popular Demand!

We have decided to update the blog because of catching a lot of grief and people asking me if we actually did bring her into the house or just left Olivia in front of the garage (the last picture posted). We also believe it is a good idea since all of our family lives in Ohio and this will be a great way for them to stay updated.

Olivia is adjusting well to her new home and family. She has gotten into a schedule with napping during the day (9am and ~5pm) and going to bed ~8pm. She is trying like hell to walk which we have been told by some to discourage haha! And Olivia has very strong passion for food and I mean like “Daddy’s” passion. There is not much she will not eat. Hope all of you enjoy the pictures. I will post more in a week or two after she has all of her medical tests complete.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finally Home!!!! - Our Last Post

Back Home

Veronica and Olivia

Nonna (Laura's Mom), Olivia, and Laura

We missed our connecting flight to Fort Myers and stayed Saturday night in Chicago. The customs and immigration process took much longer than expected.

I would like to thank my sister, Dee, for keeping this blog updated and for all of you who followed us through the adoption process and trip to China. We had a blast but it is now time to get a little normalcy in our lives and show Olivia she was not adopted to a couple of gypsies. Above are a few pictures of Olivia we would like to share with all of you - the one picture has Olivia with our guide Veronica whoI do not know how we would have gotten through this process without. Hope to see all of you soon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Open Market

We visited the open market yesterday which is called the Qingpingdong Drug Market. They call it a drug market because things such as scorpions, ants, snakes, etc . that are used as a natural cure for ailments. I have quite a few wild pictures from our visit. Some of the pictures show the live critters, a large blade attached to wood that slightly resembles something that would cut paper but is actually used for shucking turtles, and a lot of cool pictures of daily life in the open market. Our guide, Veronica, thought it was best not to take us down the street with what we consider to be domestic animals because of how inhumane it could look to us. We have one more day here and even though we had an experience of a lifetime both Laura and I are ready to come home. I will continue to update this website until we make it home. Laura and I thank all of you who have been following during this journey.
Turtle on a stick.

The Butcher

Street life

Busy streets

More street life

Snake Wine

Snake Skin

Turtle Shucker


Chopping Block


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Red Couch

It has been a tradition with all Great Wall Adoption families that each group dress their sons and daughters in traditional Chinese clothing and sit them together on the red couch in the White Swan Hotel for pictures. As you can imagine, it is quite a task to get all of them to behave at once for the pictures. In our group, there were eight baby girls and one “special needs” 3-year old boy adopted. Olivia is sitting in the first row, second from the left.
I also took a picture of mom and daughter on the red couch.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Blessing At The Buddist Temple

The Temple of Six Banyan Trees was built in 537 by Master Xiao Yu during the Liang Dynasty (502 - 557). The Six Banyan Tree Temple is a world famous Buddhist temple, with a history of over 1,400 years.

We visited the Six Banyan Tree Buddhist Temple today where Olivia was blessed by a monk.

The temple was destroyed by fire in the 10th century, and was rebuilt in 989.The temple was named this because it was built around 6 Banyan Trees.After the six banyan trees died from old age, a Flowery Pagoda (see picture) was built in its place in 1097. The pagoda is 57 meters high, and is constructed of wood and bricks. From the outside, the building looks like it is only 9 stories tall; however, it is in fact 17 stories tall from the inside. The building received its name from its colorful exterior.