Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Son in China and Colorado

6 Months Home

On Dec 27th Andrew Xiao Tong had been home with us for 6 months. To us it seems like he has been here forever. We have watched him grow and change over this very short time. He looks different has gotten bigger and has a new smile. He however is still our little angel from China. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about where he has been to where he has come. To honor is culture and homeland is our duty that we gladly embrace. He is full of life and energy. He says Ma Ma all the time and is getting ready to start speech therapy. For the people who are closest to me they know how we still struggle with attachment esp with me. I have moments sometimes at night when he does settle and I get to hold him close and thank God for this child. He brings so much joy that it would only seem appropriate to honor this 6 month period. I have posted a couple pictures. One of the boy we feel in love with as a picture and the boy we know as a person.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Prichards

Today was a day of family and the joy of children. The day started early and poor Katie woke up sick so it took us awhile to get it all together to see what the man in red had brought! They had a lot of fun. It was fun to see Andy on his first Christmas with us. He wanted to open his as well as all of our gifts! Riley told us that giving feels good! It was a priceless Mom moment:) It was a good Christmas. So much prep but so many memories made! To see their little eyes lite up is priceless.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Prep

Brianna was an angel in her play at Preschool! It was really cute! Then I agreed to let the kids make a gingerbread house! I got fired from this job -something about the walls not being straight!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


At this current time there is a fellow Pingliang family that is in China picking up their son who was in the orphange with Andy. There story is amazing and nothing short of a miracle. We have all waited for their little boy to come home and join his best friend, now his sister who was also with him at Pingliang. The fact that both of these kids came from the same orphange is a story within itself. Their story can be found at the website www.bringingjackhome@blogspot.com
Tonight we showed Andy pictures and current video of this little boy. Andy's reactions made my insides cry as I saw the excitment in his face. We then went on to show him other children from the orphange and current pictures of them. Once again he started laughing, clapping his hands and just so excited. He is 2 and I am amazed. I always knew I wanted to keep in contact with these families and now I know what an amazing gift this will be for him and us. When we were done he tried to reopen my computer to find them!

A season of miracle if you ask me:)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dr Apt

We took Andy back to the Dr on Monday for a follow up apt. Things are looking good and he is back to eating real food with us. He looks so good. Seems I can't look at him enough or kiss those new lips. When they went to take Andy's arm restraints off he did not want that to happen. They said they had never seen that happen before! I guess I will save them in his memory box to show where we have been and where we are going! So now I must work on Christmas as I hear daily how many days until it happens!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

He has a new smile!

Andrew has a new smile and we are getting to see it once in awhile. I am in awe at how different he looks and love his new little smirk. He is feeling better and I think very anxious to eat real food in just three days (but who is counting!) . He misses his favorite bears very much at bed time so that makes the nights rough but we can get through that. I am amazed at what one week can do. We took all the family to Riley's Christmas program and Andy was the hit of our small community as many had not seen our new boy! We know so many have prayed and kept us in their thoughts. We know how much this helped and pulled us up in so many ways. Thank you!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 5 post op

Here is a new picture of our boy. Life has been a little stressful at the Prichard house but each day makes us closer to real food and no arm restraints. When we brought Andy home we gave him two bears that have become his favorite buddies to sleep with. Unfortunately the only way he likes to sleep with these bears is in his mouth. With his palate repair this is not okay for the time being but I know we will all be glad when they can sleep with him the way he likes:) I have got a lot of time to hold Andy and have him close. I will miss this when he feels ready to GO again!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our First Day at Home

We are home. We got home last night. Today has been okay. We have our struggles esp with drinking. We have finally resorted to feeding Andy by syringe. Control is our main struggles as we go from a 2 year old that could eat a drink by himself to someone having to do it for him. I am trying to make sure he is hydrated and just deal with his fits of not being able to do it himself. Sleep is hard but hopefully as the days go by and the pain the gets less that will subside also. We have had a lot of help which I am grateful for and now thankfully it is the weekend. I am going to sneak away tomorrow for a couple of hours and run a 1/2 marathon that I was training for long before we had a surgery date. Probably not the great mom thing to do but hopefully 13 miles will clear my head to deal with the next week. My mind has been on Andy's biological parents so much and wishing there was some way they could see him now. It is amazing what modern medicine can achieve.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 2 of our hopsital stay

Today Andy started out the day very rough. We had a HORRIBLE night but I believe it is always better when the sun comes out. Today he started to liven up and is looking so much better. We had lots of company today to fill our time and now if Mr Andy will just drink we will be able to go home. This of course will be a battle but I am hoping tomorrow he will start drinking. He is carrying his cup so we are hoping he lets us help him use it soon. I miss the others so and hope to be home as a family soon!

Not feeling so hot in the morning

The next day

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It has been a long day but Andy is out of surgery and looks like a new kid. Our day started at 4:45 and he has surgery at 8 until 12:30. He is doing okay and having pain as is to be expected. So very hard to see your child in pain. He is very fussy and having trouble sleeping but that is to be expected. We feel blessed by everyone helping out and keeping us in their prayers. It is a journey that is hard but necessary. I am not very "nursy" but looks like that may have to change. I have felt like crying many times throughout this day..so much ,but he is safe and in good hands and that is what counts. I will write more as I have time.

Andrew Surgery Dec 2nd

Monday, December 1, 2008

Andrew Xiao Tong- My little man!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We are on our way!

Here is one more look at our boy as we know him. When we started this adoption they labled Andy as Special needs but that could not be more of an incorrect name for him. He was born with a lip and palate that is not closed but he is full of energy, life and a lot of spunk. Tomorrow he will have surgery that will lead to some trying times I am sure. This surgery is necessary to help him speak which he wants to do so much. It will also help him to look "normal" which really is an overused word as none of us are really normal:) I have had this strong desire to take many pictures of him. For those of you who know me I have tons already. It seems like we will come home with a new looking Andy. My heart, and maybe his someday, will want to see the boy and the picture I feel in love with. So on to our next journey.

Winter Day

For Thanksgiving weekend we had some snow. Riley and this year Brianna have been
out there almost all day. It took us 45 min to get everyone ready to go out. Katie and Andy were not liking those snow pants and Andy is going to have to learn to wear a hat. It was a fun stay at home day after a week of continuous travel. One more day until we leave for the hospital....more to come:)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mom's little helpers!

We heard from the hospital the other day and Andy's surgery will be on Dec 2nd at 7:45 am. He will be in the hospital until Thurs assuming all goes well which we pray for. Feels a little crazy now as I think of getting everyone ready for Mom being gone as well as what Andy and I need for the hospital. This week we are concentrating on our first Thanksgiving as a complete family. We will be with Brian's family on Thurs but today we are having friends for our Thanksgiving at home. All of my little helpers have helped in their own ways. We have so much to be thankful for may we learn to share a little more each day of our lives.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What is 6 + 7+25?

This was the question asked by Riley as he was putting on his shoes for school today. I didn't think much about it until we walked out to wait for the bus. At this time he told me this was his calculation about how many more days until Christmas. I pointed out that we first needed to make it through Thanksgiving but that seems like a day that is a mere inconvenience in his ultimate goal! I hadn't given it much thought although I am busy trying to get a lot of "Dec" jobs done so we can hopefully have a quite Dec and let Andy heal with some sense of peace. He will go for surgery two weeks from tomorrow. We don't know the details but I suspect we will hear from the hospital soon. I look at his smile and think how it will change soon. I will know it is what we need to do but I will miss the way he came home to us!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Red Thread Run

Red Thread Run

Our adoption agency held its yearly RED THREAD RUN this Sat. I do a lot of runs throughout the year but this one is always my favorite and closest to my heart. It is about adoption and the Chinese belief that a red thread runs to connect people who are destined to be together. It was a beautiful day and the kids all had a great time. Riley did the kids run! My family was there and did the walk part with Brian and our kids. These adoption events are so refreshing to me as our story in no way needs to be asked about and we can be our blended family freely. It was fun this year as we had both Katie and Andy home. The past too years we had been waiting either for referrals or the various dates that adoptive families long for.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Energy is a funny thing with me. I am the person who goes and goes and rarely stops...drives my family crazy. When Andy came to our family I meet my match! The orphanage told us he was the busiest boy they had and they were not kidding! The only time of the day he lays still is when he sleeps and he does that well as his little body recharges! I used to never think "I am tired" and now every once in awhile about 4:30 pm I stop for a minute to think I am tired, but the moment is fast as I resume watching of my four sweet children. Adoption is a path so perfectly designed as these children are not mine by DNA but they are mine by my heart. It is funny how sometimes our personalities can be so much alike! Andy is less than a month away from surgery. This will be an interesting time and those arm restraints, well we all know how he will hate those! Andy has been home for 4 months now and I am amazed how it feels like he has been with us forever...I must run more miles to keep up with him:)

Monday, November 3, 2008


Two Years ago when Brian and I decided to move to the Eastern Slope of Colorado we left our dear friends on the Western Side. This has always been hard for me as we miss them very much..but this weekend we meet half way and just caught up. They also got to meet Mr Andy for the first time! The weekend was super busy with Halloween and our trip but SO worth it all. I am amazed how our kids just pick up as they have never been apart and how blessed we are to have them in our lives!


All Dressed up and ready to go for Halloween! Andy was exhausted after this weekend. Not too sure about this American tradition.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Making Cookies is Fun but Frosting is Better!

Time for Pumpkin Carving

Daddy and his many pumpkin helpers!


During Brian's trip to China they had an opportunity to get many pictures of Andrew and his Nanny. Until this point I have kind of kept them away as we have worked on becoming Andy's parents . Of course this may take many years before he completely trusts us, especially me since he seems to resist me more. The other day I felt it was time to take those pictures out and share them with him. I put one of him and his Nanny in a frame and he melted my heart when he saw it. He would point to her and kiss the frame over and over. He also wanted Brian and I to kiss the woman who was his Mom for the first two years of his life. Brian said he felt that this was a completing the circle moment for Andy as he saw her again. So now the frame sits within his reach and he does love to love that picture. I think of her often and the connections we have over this little boy we both so love!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Niece is 2!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Patience has become a daily word in my vocabulary. It is something that I pray for at least once if not many times a day. Andy it seems has regressed as we go through the many changes that have happened to him in life. He seemed so very close to bonding with me but that seems to have disappeared for the time being. I would always tell people that adopting a SN child who is older is one of the four joys in our lives, and I would do it many times over if we had the means and everlasting energy. I would be honest to say that as a mother when Andy is thrashing around in his crib at night and there is no way that he will let me comfort him is one of the hardest parts of my mothering. I know that we will go through these phases and the tides will change. Brian and I both feel the demands of four children but we also feel the joys and knowing that we are so very blessed. My heart does ache for this little boy because the world sees him in a better place but I know that the pain of loss runs deep, and throughout his life we will deal with it on different levels. I know that nothing in life is easy and really adopting Andy has taught me this on a deeper level . This is where my patience must expand as we work through the pain that is still very raw in him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brian and I only currently have one niece and one nephew and they happen to be born three days apart so Oct is fun and busy for us! We started out this last weekend at nephews Sam's 1st birthday. It is so much fun being able to be part of their celebrations and seeing his so precious little face. We call him our Gerber baby.

Riley is on fall break and I am enjoying having him home for awhile!! Brianna and I had a moment the other night that made me even more understand how important it is to take the time to have individual moments with each of the kids. We for the first time in our lives had back to back ballet classes, she would dance first and then I would have my class. What a moment in my life. She told me so was so glad to be with me and "none of those babies"! Don't get me wrong she loves them, but she had a chance to have my undivided attention and it was awesome to hear the way she communicated with me.

Birthday Fun

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Andy said MAMA!!!

Last night as we were reading books Andy said Mama and has repeated it today so we are calling it the real thing!! My heart melted as we continue to make that Mom and Son bond. He is starting to say a lot and we hear Katie mimicking him! Riley and Brianna said Dada first and Katie and Andy said Mama!! I am thinking once Andy has surgery and his mouth starts to heal we are going to get an earful from him and Katie I believe will follow quickly!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Family Time

We try as a family to have family time once a week where we read from the Bible and then do an activity. This week it was making a volcano out of flour and as surprising as it was it actually worked and the kids loved it. The messier the better!

Boy Scout

Riley was so proud to wear his boy scout shirt! I had sewn the patches on which concerned him since he knows that is not my strength. So great to see him so excited over this activity!


Andy and I have taken huge leaps in our relationship. As of last week he has actually wanted me over his Dad and on Sat when I left for a day of scrapbooking he actually cried for me! I can remember the day when Katie did the same thing. It is one of the things that as both and adoptive and biological parent you don't realize how you take that bond for granted without understanding how and when it happened. Andy has now taught Katie to say "NO" so we officially have two two year olds who say "No" to everything. Riley and Brianna are spending their time focusing on Halloween and the activities of that day. Life is never dull! I have spent a great part of the summer putting away food to feed this group throughout the winter and it seems winter is almost here as it is to freeze soon! I sure will miss summer:)

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Growing Family

Pictures from our weekend getaway

Family GetAway

We just returned from a weekend with my family in the mountains. What beautiful colors to see and appreciate. Between my sisters and I there are 6 kids and it makes for a busy and fun time. They are all getting older and starting to interact as cousins. It is fun to watch and as I am amazed at how we have grown. Riley got to take his first official "big boy" fishing trip and it seems he has the same fishing bug as his Dad, Papa and Uncles. I heard he didn't want to leave when it was time to go. Brianna is more than happy to be with Grandma and actually was very upset when we left because she had ONE more thing to tell Grandma. As for Andy and Katie they have a cousin their age and it is just amazing what three TWO year olds can come up with . We also have our little cousin Sam who at almost one and is blown away by all the activity. Andy has been home three months now. It does seem like we never knew a time without our little man. It always takes a lot for me to mentally prepare for all us to go away for a trip but it was so worth it!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fall News

We have heard from Andy's doctor and feel very relieved that Andy's heart seems to be fine. They will keep a watch on it over time but for now there was no hole to create the heart murmur so we can go forward. With those apts behind us we headed into a full weekend of soccer, boy scouts and all that fall activites bring. Brianna played for the first time this weekend and I have to say it was so cute. She spent some time laying on the grass when she wasn't on the field because she was SO tired. Riley graduated to the big kid soccer field and got quite the work out for his first game. It was fun to watch. As for the little ones they had a long morning watching. We are always a novelty when we go somewhere with everyone. I am always so engrossed in the moment of trying to keep track of everyone that we must truly be a site to see!

Soccer and then a little snoozing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

This weekend we took the kids and cousin Abby to the pumpkin patch. They were so cute there looking for the perfect pumpkin. The guys were hunting this weekend so lots of Mom's and Grandma time. Today I took Andy for his echogram. We should know more in the next couple of days. That was not an easy adventure with him but we eventually got the pictures they need.

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