“For I know the plans I have for you…to give you hope and a future.”

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho

With Great Joy We Introduce Our Newest Son Aaron Donald Walsh Ho
Born January 17, 2007 Guangdong Province, The People's Republic of China Forever Ours April 12, 2010
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Four Months With Aaron

Today, August 23, 2010, marks four full months since our plane touched down in Burlington, Vermont, and Aaron began his new life with us, his Forever Family. Now at four months, most days it seems like Aaron has always been part of our family. We are so lucky to have him (and Donovan) as our son!
Here is a photo from this past Saturday (Aaron's Baptism) and April 23 when we arrived at the Burlington Airport. What a difference 4 months makes!!

Aaron's Special Day

Today, Aaron was baptized. The ceremony was absolutely perfect and was held at my mom's church in Shelburne. I found her priest, Father Michael, so wonderful to work with for my Grandmother's funeral in January. In addition, he took a special interest in our adoption of Aaron, and in fact recently used Rupert and I in his Homily related to the choices we make in our lives, specifically the selfless choices we make to help others in need. He is wonderful with children.
Aaron wore a special Chinese outfit we purchased for him in China (the same one he wore in his adoption announcement), and Donovan also wore a Chinese outfit to the Baptism. Aaron did so well during the ceremony. He listened intently to Father Michael. Near the end, when Father Michael placed his hand on my head to bless me as Aaron's Mother, Aaron also placed his hand on my head. Donovan also did quite well, sitting with my mom (who I have no idea how she was able to also take photos!)

Aaron has two special Godmothers - my best friend (whose friendship started when we were in the 5th grade) Candice (who is also Donovan's Godmother, and I am Godmother to both of her beautiful daughters), and my cousin, Laura (who unfortunately had to turn around halfway to Vermont as her 11 month old son became ill with a fever and rash - he's okay, but certainly not feeling himself!; our close family friend Letitia stood in for Laura, which we are so grateful for).

The ceremony was perfect. Afterwards we had a small gathering at our home. Although the weather was cloudy in just in the 70s, I had turned the pool heater on earlier in the day, so the water was at 86, and we were able to enjoy time in the pool. Candice's husband, Gregg, and their oldest daughter, Alexandra spent close to 2 1/2 hours in the pool! It was a great day. Their family stayed for dinner, and then a visit to our local elementary school playground and then for cremees. They also were able to see Donovan's preschool. These are such special friends of ours, who we get to see not often enough, but our boys both clearly sense just how important they are to all of us. Donovan said on the way home, "Uncle Gregg and Aunt Candice and Alexandra and Ashley stayed all day. We got to swim in the pool and play in the house and they even stayed for dinner. Then we went to the playgorund and to Joe's for ice cream and they saw my school. I had so much fun. I love those girls so much. I wish I could see them every day!" Oh, me too, sweet Donovan, me too!
The last photo is of my "Uncle" Jack (my father's first cousin). Both boys were quite taken with him and even called him, "Grandpa." It's a sweet photo!
Today was the first time Donovan has "skipped" a nap and the first time he has ever had potato chips. In fact, when I asked him if he wanted potato chips, he asked, "What are they mom? Can I try just one to see if I like it?" Needless to say, he liked it and asked for some with his lunch...
It was such a wonderful day!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Alpine Slide

As I mentioned in my previous post, today we took the boys to the Alpine Slide in Stowe. The area has changed a lot in the past few years, with the addition of a huge, expensive resort/private condos, but the slide itself (and the chairlift ride up) immediately brought me back to when I was a child, visiting it once a summer with my mom (and often one of our Fresh Air children from NYC). The price has certainly changed; I recall paying about $3 per ride and riding about 6 or 7 times on the day we visited. I think by the time I was a teen, it had probably increased to about $7. Today's price...one ride for $21, 3 rides for $42. Luckily, the boys are free riders (since they are under 5). We splurged for 3 rides for each of us adults, realizing one ride would simply not be enough, as each boy wanted to ride with EACH of us down the slide.
I rode first with Aaron, while Donovan rode with Rupert. On the chairlift ride up, Aaron sat as still as a statue, holding on to the bar with both hands, and chatting with me the whole way up about the scenery, which at some points included being able to see riders coming down the slide. At the top, we loaded into our sleds (Aaron and I went in the sled ahead of Rupert and Donovan). Both boys LOVED the ride down, claiming to have gone, "super fast." Just for clarification, my sled went "super fast," Rupert's...not so much. Aaron and I were waiting for Rupert and Donovan for quite some time at the bottom. The second ride, I rode with Donovan; Rupert rode with Aaron. We let Rupert and Aaron go in front of us on the ride down, in hopes that once down they would have time to get off their sled and take a photo of Aaron and me coming down the hill - Nope...we caught up with their sled about 3/4 of the way down. Donovan made it very clear he wanted to ride with Mommy on the final run of our visit. So, he rode up the chairlift for the final time with Daddy, and down the slide with Mommy. This time Rupert went in the opposite slide and kept up a good pace with us, so that our sleds finished at the same time.
The boys are already talking about "next summer when we come back to Alpine Slide." It was a wonderful day...

Spruce Peak in Stowe

Today we took the boys to the Alpine Slide at Spruce Peak in Stowe and enjoyed a picnic lunch afterwards. (Our second picnic in two days! We are LOVING this incredible weather this summer!)
Here are three cute photos of the boys with a huge stuffed black bear and a carved wooden bear, and me with the two boys in front of the resort.
It was a GREAT day!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day at the Waterfront and Science Center

This morning Donovan, Aaron, and I met Grandma (my mom) to go to the Burlington Waterfront for a visit to the ECHO Science Center, and a picnic lunch. The boys had a fantastic time in the science center, viewing the turtles and fish, and playing in the different areas. After our visit at ECHO, we enjoyed a picnic lunch outside on the waterfront (a first for both boys). Aaron was intrigued with the idea that we were not going to be eating at a picnic TABLE, but instead on a picnic BLANKET. Both boys loved it. After lunch we walked along the waterfront, and the boys were very interested in the boats. It was a wonderful day. (Interestingly the boys kept looking out at the lake for Dragonboats, as we were just there on Sunday for the Dragonboat races/festival.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playground Photos

Some great photos of Aaron at the playground

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Unbelievable Gift...Photo of Aaron as a BABY!

On the day we adopted Aaron, we were given a small photo album of photos of him at the orphanage, and inside was the orphanage's mailing address and email address. They asked that we send them photos every half of a year. Now that we have been home for 3 months, I have begun to gather photos for our post placement report with our wonderful social worker, Ann, in September. I set aside some to send to the orphanage, along with a dvd Rupertrecently made. I decided to email some of the photos to the email address. I received a wonderful response from the orphanage. When I replied yesterday, I asked them if they happened to have a baby photo of Xin Sheng, and tonight I received the most amazing gift...the photo I have posted above...The orphanage has confirmed this photo was taken when Aaron was between 9 and 10 months old.

And, I am full of emotions (and tears)tonight, staring at this photo - the earliest photo we have of him. Oh, how I wish I could have held him then, but I know I cannot change the circumstances of the past - for it is all part of his story and his journey to us, his Forever Family. So, now, before I go to bed, I'll go check on my sweet boy Aaron and give him an extra kiss (and Donovan too!)...and count my blessings, because I feel like the luckiest mom to have these two wonderful boys...

Dear Family of Xin Sheng,
We are so pleased to receive your emails and so many photos from your family today. This is very special to us, to see the beautiful photos of Xin Sheng and his new family.
We are pleased to know that XIN SHENG has a new name of Aaron and that this name has deep meanings, we hope this little boy can grow up like a "mountain of strength," just as is the meaning of his name now.
It is a good news to know that Donovan gets along so well with Aaron. When Aaron was here, he always wished to have a brother like Donovan for so many years and today his wishes come true.
Aaron is always very smart, we love him very much and will love him forever. We feel happy to see every progress he has made in his life.
In the photos, we see the Xinsheng wearing the TangZhuang(唐装)Chinese traditional clothes, and he is really handsome!!! And we are so happy to see that two little boys playing so happily in the swimming pool and on the beach.
The photos Xin Sheng is riding on the bike is very handsome too.
Our collegues love Xin Sheng very much and were thrilled when they see the photos.
Thank you and Best Wishes
Shenzhen Baoan Social Welfare Center

* We realize we are extremely fortunate to have received this baby photo of Aaron and such a thoughtful and kind email from the orphanage. We know we are very fortunate to have an orphanage so interested in Aaron in his new life, and that wants us to keep in touch with them. When we were in China, during a phone call with the director of our agency, I was reminded to ask all my questions during our visit to the orphanage, and to not leave with any question unasked, as there would never be another chance to speak with the orphanage staff. How lucky we are to have now received this photo and kind note...