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November in Shenyang

Dear Folks,

As predicted, the month of November was chocked full!  The first couple of weeks were “WenXi” weeks with lots of time spent with necessary activities here in Shenyang as well as the delightful trip to GuangZhou for the final formalities of adoption.  What a thrill it was when he finally got his very own US Visa!  The new family took off for Kansas, arrived in good shape and have kept on keeping on since then!  We can’t resist the temptation to call frequently and see what’s new THAT day!  WX is settling in just fine and currently watching Christmas movies (in English) with Grandma, riding around the farm with Grandpa and trying to make friends with the semi-wild farm cats!   I’ve included some pics of this adventure for your viewing pleasure!

I’ve also included some photos of our newer kids along with the old tried and true ones.  In the coming months, I will attempt to include pictures of every one of our 24 little kids as well as the 3 school boys.  This month I will start with ZhiLei.  He is a precious and precocious four year old boy that has been diagnosed with brittle bone disease which makes him highly at risk for breaking his bones during activities that would be complete safe for a normal child.  Recently, he broke his left leg close to the hip and is recuperating by remaining quiet and taking medicine.  He has missed going to class and will be happy when he is well enough to resume his studies!

Today, we got two new kids that brings us back to 24!  One is named ZhiTong, a girl that suffers from kidney disease and the other is named YuanHai, a boy that suffers from seizures and mental retardation.  ZhiTong is able to feed herself and will be potty trained soon.  Unfortunately, YuanHai is not able to do these things YET!     

Talking about the school boys: LiangLiang turned fifteen in November!  It doesn’t seem possible that we met him when he was three!  Since LuPing and LiangLiang (both already fifteen years old) will be completing middle school after the spring semester of 2011, we are already thinking of what the next step should be for them, educationally-speaking, that is.  Since Sam (aka YongEn, DaPing) got such a late start in school because of being confined to a wheelchair, he will be staying in the same school down the street where he is doing VERY well, especially in English!  At the moment, we are considering sending LiangLiang to a school that trains accountants since his strong subject has always been math.  He will live in the dormitory there and return “home” when he can, holidays, for sure. 

LuPing is a special case because of his physical requirements that include a western toile, not available at dormitories at the schools.  Our idea at this moment is to enroll him in a trade school near our apartment (and theirs) that teaches design and tailoring.  That way, he could go to school as a day student but continue to live in the apartment with Sam and Wu Laoshi, their caregiver.  We will need to start saving for their tuition bill which will be due the beginning of the summer, probably in July.  This will cost $2500 for each boy for all three years of tuition. 

Here is a list of our recurring expenses for your information:

2010/2011 Monthly (except where noted) expenses:

School lunch    $20 each student
School materials and books  $20 each student
School fees and extras     $10 each student
Food for breakfast and dinner $150
Utilities (gas, water, electricity) $40
Rent      $230
Caregiver for students $300
Diapers (disposable)      $20 a day (24 kids plus LuPing)
Baby wipes    $5 a day  (24 kids)
Milk and fruit    $20 a day (24 kids)
Vitamins and gen’l medicine $50
Caregivers for little kids $130 each
Clothes     $15
Cleaning and washing soap  $15
Toilet paper   $20

 We would welcome all the help we can get to cover these expenses.  The situation here is that the US dollar continues to decrease in value in comparison to the RMB while our expenses continue to increase!  Kind of a “rock and a hard place” situation which has us in the middle!  I hate to even mention this but the truth is the truth and if we can’t share with you, our faithful friends, who else would even care?

We sincerely appreciate the love and support that you’ve always sent our way and, especially, your prayers for our kids, the three students and us! 

We wish you a healthy and happy holiday season starting right now!  We will be sharing about the festivities on this side of the world as they occur with the school boys as well as our little kids.  We are so grateful that WenXi is now enjoying the family he so richly deserves (and vice-versa!).  We are also super grateful for the care and attention you have always shown us and our kids throughout the years.  I believe that the One that promises a reward even for a small “cup of cold water to one of these little ones” is also watching and grateful! 

Much love, Elaine and Migyeong

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