“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."

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Aaron and Donovan!

It's 2 pm and the boys are napping and still have presents to open..
Aaron...certainly taking it all in, but overwhelmed by the holiday.
Donovan, for almost every gift, he said, "Oh I've been wishing for this." So cute!!
Here are a few photos. I'm putting captions/information above each photo.

Donovan and Aaron as reindeer!

Donovan and Aaron in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, with the gifts Santa left!

Proudly holding new trains Santa left them. Aaron received Emily; Donovan received Edward. Donovan wondered if Sir Toppham Hat would recognize them and call them by name when they were driven through the station (on the train table Santa brought last year). Sure enough...as they drove through, Sir Toppham Hat called out their names. Both boys were beaming ear to ear!

Grandma brought Santa hats for the boys and they loved wearing them!

Mommy and her 2 boys!

Daddy and his 2 boys!

Mommy and Donovan

Silly boys!

Fun with blocks and marbles!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sledding Fun!

Donovan and Aaron in front of the sign at Donovan's WONDERFUL preschool. No school this week and next and we went to use the sledding hill.

Donovan on the sledding hill. These photos do not do it justice - it is tall and steep and we fly down it on the sleds! The boys LOVE it!

Full Speed Ahead! Look closely and you can see those bumps/jumps where Donovan is. He was laughing the whole way down!

Pure joy at the end of his sled run

Here is Aaron flying off course! A WILD RIDE!

This is Aaron walking over to check on how Mommy and Donovan are doing, after we veered off course and crashed! We were fine - and laughing hysterically!

Hmm...What am I supposed to do now?

Heading back up the big hill

Happy Boy heading up for one more run

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Polar Express to the North Pole

Sunday we rode on the Polar Express to the "North Pole" and saw Santa. It was a magical day!!

The Polar Express is a very special event, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. In our area, it runs for just one weekend. It's difficult to get tickets. We've never had luck with the lottery system for purchasing tickets, and are so fortunate a colleague of mine volunteers at Polar Express. Volunteers are entitled to purchase 4 tickets, and last year and this year she has graciously allowed me to purchase those tickets. We are so fortunate!

This year was Donovan's 2nd time on the Polar Express, and of course, Aaron's first. What a wonderful day! We arrived, waiting indoors until the conductor announced, "All Aboard," and then we walked up and boarded the train. This year we rode in the rear car, which was a dining car - we had a table between us - it was wonderful. Aaron asked, "Do some people sleep on this train?" We were served cookies and hot chocolate, and as the train began to journey to the "North Pole," we sang Christmas carols. Our train had to come to a stop to switch tracks, and then we arrived at the North Pole where hundreds of elves, dressed in red, greeted us, waving and welcoming us to the North Pole. The children wore nametags, and the elves all called them by name. We were brought inside, and welcomed by a local choir singing, "Believe," and then one of Santa's helpers read The Polar Express to us. At the end, Santa arrived, and said, "If you believe, follow me," and motioned up a large staircase. The line was long, and when we reached the top, both boys were eager to see Santa. Donovan went first, and hugged Santa, who promptly picked him up and hugged him. It was so sweet. Then Aaron approached and hugged Santa and Santa bent down and kissed Aaron. Then both boys were given their silver bells, which they were ringing all the way back to the car...

I remember last year as we walked into the North Pole Station, Donovan realized the Elves were calling him by name because he was wearing a name tag. He promptly covered it with his hand, to avoid the attention...This year however, he LOVED the attention - giving the Elves high fives when the offered. Last year on the train ride, Donovan was totally into looking out the window (FIRST TRAIN RIDE) and eating his cookie and not very interested in the singing of Christmas carols and did not like hot chocolate. This year he drank the hot chocolate and while certainly he was very interested in looking out the window for reindeer and elves, he was very much interested in what was going on inside the train car.

And Aaron? It amazes me how this child of ours approaches each new holiday with such openness and enthusiasm (dress up as a monkey and say Trick or Treat? SURE!; he's already talking about how in the spring when the bulbs he planted with Grandma come up an Easter Bunny is going to come and bring him jelly beans) In preparation for the Polar Express, we've been reading the book and talking about it for a couple of weeks now. Aaron was aware of the schedule - train ride, book read aloud, see Santa. He was a bit uneasy during the long wait, wanting to run his fingers through my hair. Once it was time to go on the train, he was ready! He LOVED the train ride. We kept asking him what he thought, and he said, "Good," and "Really Good." He was shy when we arrived at the North Pole and the elves were calling him by name (much like Donovan last year), but sat nicely for the story and was brave to go up to Santa and give him a hug. His response to receiving the bell...the biggest smile ever - and it lasted all the way to the car.

We asked what they liked best:
Donovan: "EVERYTHING!"
Aaron: "The train ride, and the hot chocolate, and the book, and Santa, and my bell."

Magical Day for our Family!

Everything Changes...

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names.
They are easier to ignore before you see their faces.
It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms.
But once you do, everything changes."

~ Anonymous ~

8 months ago today, we met our son, Aaron, and yes, everything changed for one incredible little boy, and everything changed for one lucky Mommy, one lucky Daddy, and one fantastic brother.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

From Aaron's Province...

We've heard so much in the news about China perhaps ending the One Child Policy...however, this policy is very much still THE LAW.

And people ask us all the time why boys are abandoned in China...
Well...this news story is from Aaron's province in China...(You'll have to click on the option to SKIP THE AD to get to the article.)


We are much more familiar with Chinese baby girls being abandoned (often the first child and parents abandon the baby and try for a boy), but when there is already one child in the family, and a 2nd child is born...the gender doesn't matter. You've violated the law...I think some people might try to keep the boys longer, but when your family/relatives are in danger, the child is often abandoned and no one asks where he/she went...So sad...

I think as Americans, we cannot begin to comprehend a local government taking a family member hostage until the Mother succumbs to forced sterilization. This blatant human rights violation is appalling in this day and age in a developing country. The women and children and families of China deserve so much better...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Making a Difference...

We had an absolutely wonderful weekend with our boys - nothing out of the ordinary, just lots of fun at home. I love watching Aaron and Donovan and the relationship they share. Almost 8 months that we have had Aaron as our son and I'm thinking about what a difference he has made in our lives, and we have made in his. Love this story (below)...

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish in the ocean."

I then asked, "Why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean, past the breaking waves and said -

"It made a difference for that one."

Our decision to adopt Aaron obviously made all the difference in his life, but in ours too - we are so lucky!