Tuesday, April 26, 2011



Charlie's baptism was beautiful. The Easter Vigil was so special. Charlie and Madi were great. In fact, all the young kids present were great, considering the service is 1 1/2 hours. I think Grandpa Wharton probably won the "poorly-behaved kid in church" title.

Charlie kept himself busy, as usual, playing with the church missals and he was fascinated by the candles that everyone was holding. The Easter Vigil starts with everyone lighting a candle before the lights go on. It is really beautiful, and thankfully, he didn't reach for the flames. Madi and Jules did their best to entertain Charlie and keep him content. We are proud to say that we never had to walk him out, and we completed the Mass without a single Cheerio.

Charlie had a few funny moments. He gave Father Tom the raspberries as we presented him for baptism. He also let out some healthy toots that were audible within a five-pew radius. He was very calm and serene for the actual baptism. He laid his head back as Father Tom poured the waters of baptism over his head. He seemed to love it. He also loved when Jimmy held him up to the congregation like Simba in the Lion King. Everyone cheered and gave him a warm welcome.  While I was holding him during the ceremony, there were a few times when he pitched himself backwards and stared up at the ceiling. I don't doubt that there were angels floating above, his brother likely included.

On Easter Sunday, while Charlie was napping, Madi and I headed over to our friend Ruby's house for an Easter egg hunt. There was an appearance by the Easter bunny, which was actually a Bugs Bunny costume. When we left, Madi asked, "Who was that, Mommy?" I said, "Who do you think it was?"  Madi replied, "I don't know, but they had white hair!" She followed that up by saying that she hadn't wanted to shout it out in case the other kids were listening.

On the way to Sheila and David's for dinner, we stopped by the cemetery to visit Daniel and Grandma Pauline . Easter brought back a flood of memories of sweet Daniel hunting for eggs in our backyard last year. He was so funny because he refused to pick up any eggs that he considered to be "out of bounds" and would possibly get him dirty! He would point at the eggs and grunt, beckoning Murphy and Myles to retrieve them for him. He was such the opposite of his little brother, who is often slobber-laden and will gladly eat dirt or just about anything he finds on the floor...

Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick were able to travel down for the celebration and to meet Charlie and see Madi, the "apple" of their eyes. They were here for a couple of days and we were so blessed to spend Easter together.

We were a bit nervous this weekend because Charlie woke up with the croup Friday night at midnight. He was up for about an hour. I gave him Motrin and took him outside to get some humidity into his respiratory system. He slept in on Saturday and had a decent nap, so we figured he'd be okay for Mass, which he was. By Sunday, his cough persisted, though the 'barking seal' cough of the croup had gone. His runny nose persisted too. So frustrating trying to figure out whether his issues are allergy related, teething related or just plain virus related with all the new germs he's being exposed too. We decided that he would go to the doctor on Monday.

Sunday night was scary to say the least. He was so full of mucus, we were terrified that he would choke in his sleep. It was pretty much a long, sleepless night for Jimmy and me. Charlie seemed to sleep; although, it certainly wasn't quality. I took him in yesterday, and Dr. Bradford confirmed that it seemed to be viral and settled in his lungs. Thank God we took him in.  He is on nebulizer treatments now and medication. Ever tried putting a breathing mask on a toddler for 5 - 10 minutes??  I can't say that it's easy or fun!  Rather than put the mask over his head, I've been kind of holding it over his face as long as I can and making a game out of it. I figure if he gets any of it, he's good.  I am now double-dosing him with Juice Plus to get his immune system built up quicker.

Thanks, Marjorie, for the wonderful pictures!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the Charts!

This is amazing stuff.

On April 4th, we took Charlie to our pediatrician for the first time. He had shown decent weight gain, but he was still 'under' on the American charts in all areas.

I took him in today--just two weeks and two days later--to find that he's grown one full inch!!  He is on the charts for height in the 25th percentile!  I was surprised to find that he's gained only a 1/2 pound given the way he's been eating.  He's still 'under' on the weight charts, but something tells me he's going to make it on there by our next visit in a month.

It's amazing what love, nutrition, sunshine, and the power of Juice Plus can do for a body:-)

Charlie endured three shots today.  He was a trooper. He cried, but I'm not sure what disturbed him more--the shots, or the big bandage that they placed on one of his "sucking" fingers!  I tried to remove it before his nap, but he wouldn't let me. Good thing he has two hands...


Monday, April 18, 2011

Charlie's Baptism

My parents have been pushing for Charlie's baptism since we arrived home from China. I know they were concerned about having him baptized before their return to California. One night, my friend Carrie was over and mentioned what a perfect season Easter would be for his baptism. The next day, I phoned our "family Deacon", Deacon Lee, and he arranged for Charlie to be baptized at the Easter Vigil at St. Vincent Ferrer! What a miraculous event to take place at such a meaningful time!

This will be our first "public" baptism, and it is a very special one for our family. I remember when going through RCIA several years back, Deacon Lee told us about how years ago, all baptisms were public. It was only recently (sorry, I don't remember how recently) that private baptism services became popular. A public baptism seems so fitting for Charlie given everything that our friends and our beloved St. Vincent's community have been through alongside us in the past year or more. We know that so many prayed for Daniel. We know that so many have prayed for Charlie. We are grateful for such an amazing support system in this world.

We wish that all of you were close enough to be present for Charlie's baptism. We know that you have been "invested" in our lives as well, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We promise to post pictures.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I love this post

I love this family that traveled to bring home their son, Adam,
at the same time we traveled to bring Daniel home. 

They are constantly an inspiration to us through their faith.

I love this post on Jennifer's blog. 

It says so much about how these precious children
feel about having a family.

The Smith's will always have a special place in our hearts.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mommy & Me

Last week, Charlie and I started Mommy & Me classes at the YMCA. He was fascinated with all the goings-on. He loves the music though he didn't engage very much, likely because the songs don't make sense to him yet. He seems to mostly observe though he does enjoy constantly knocking down a block tower that another mother constructs for the kids.

When we went into the "gym" area, Miss Lora rolled him down a foam wedge a few times. This is an activity she does with all of the willing participants. Ever since this was introduced to him, I have seen him lay on the floor periodically and try to work on this new skill! Initially I thought he was tired, until I realized what he was doing. He's been practicing his new skill this week too.

There was a twinge of sadness the first day when the bubbles came out. Last February, I remember posting of Daniel and his absolute fascination with bubbles in this very same classroom. Charlie is fascinated with them too. The photos below are my "bubble boys", Daniel last year and Charlie this year.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Show Hope

The week we left for China, we were surprised with an amazing and unexpected, but hoped for, notification. We were given a grant from a charitable organization called Show Hope.

Show Hope was founded by Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. You may have heard of them several years back when they lost their precious daughter, Maria, who was adopted from China. When we applied for a grant back last November, we felt a common bond given our loss of our child.

The interesting part is how Show Hope was weaved into our adoption process. Jimmy's Aunt Karen initially called us back in 2008 from Steven Curtis Chapman's concert. She was all fired up and told us all about his organization and how they were helping to fund adoptions. She knew that in our hearts we were ready to pursue another adoption, but we weren't sure if it were financially feasible.

So I started to write them a letter. But I never completed it. I never sent it. I didn't feel that it was absolutely necessary at the time.  We proceeded with our adoption process and depleted most of our resources bringing Daniel home. It was worth every penny.

We knew this time around we needed their help. I found the letter that I started two years before, and I finally finished it. I told them all about Daniel and about our common loss of our children. We shared our story with them, and they bestowed upon us a gift that we will forever remember. They helped us bring Charlie home.

Part of the application process was that Jimmy and I both needed to write a statement of faith. Jimmy procrastinated for a week or so, and then one night he sat down and spilled it all out. I was so proud of his profound words and his faith that he seldom shares. He is such a special person. I realized just how inspirational he is down deep in that beautiful heart of his. I cried when I read what his heart had put on paper. And here, I thought I was the writer in the family. Here is what he wrote:

"My journey towards finding my faith started when my wife and I began the process to adopt our first daughter from China in 2006. We searched many churches and finally found the perfect home that was right under our nose, and it was filled with our friends and acquaintances. We started attending St.Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, and it was the perfect fit to revive our faith. We entered into the RCIA program and as each class ended we realized how much we were in missing in God.

The congregation accepted us with open hearts and arms as if we were already family. It was fantastic to feel so close to God. We brought our beautiful daughter Madi home on a Thursday, and that Sunday we made our first family trip to church. Madi, as well as we, loves that Sunday Mass that brings us closer to God. 

We realized how deep our faith was when we brought our son Daniel home from China last February. Daniel had Tetralogy of Fallot and needed open-heart surgery. We were confident that God would guide us and protect us through this surgery. Daniel’s surgery on May 11th was successful, but his lungs became an issue and many other problems arose. One evening, very late at night, we were called into the hospital for an emergency procedure. My wife Lisa and I called our closest family members and friends, but no one answered. We realized this was part of God’s plan to prepare us that no matter what happened, he had a greater plan for Daniel. People all over the world were brought together for prayer chains in Daniel’s name. Some that had distanced themselves from God were now getting closer because of this little boy and our strength in our faith. That night, as we walked the empty hall of the hospital, we realized the possibility that God had another plan for Daniel as much as we wanted him with us. We began to realize there was a strong possibility he would not come out of the hospital alive. We felt this feeling of calming and warmth knowing that if he was called to Heaven, he was where we all want to be someday. 

Daniel passed away on May 30th.  It was Trinity Sunday. We saw this as a beautiful sign that Daniel had spread the word of the Lord and it was his time. We will never truly understand why the plan was put in place but we know Daniel touched a lot of people and also solidified our faith as we found comfort in the saddest day of our life.
We have now been matched with another beautiful boy from China with a small hole in his heart. With the love of family, friends, and God, we know he will be safe. We are thankful that Daniel is watching over him and watching over our family. Faith will forever be the most important rock for this family."

We could not be more grateful to Show Hope for their financial assistance bringing Charlie home. We know that our sweet little Daniel had a hand in their decision, and that makes this gift even sweeter.  We hope to pay it forward someday.  

Please consider supporting Show Hope or an organization that helps orphans.  Whether you are called by God to pursue your own adoption experience or to make a charitable contribution to Show Hope to help others answer their call, God's orphans are out there in the world.  And they are waiting. Waiting for families to take them, to love them, to keep them, and to show them hope.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Busy Body

Isn't it true what they say about kids and toys? You could spend a fortune in toys, but what they really want are the pots, pans and remote controls?

Charlie, meet Tupperware. Tupperware, meet Charlie. I have a feeling this will be one of his favorite spots in the house!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We took Charlie to the cardiologist today. Dr. Rhoden listened to his heart and heard only an "innocent murmer". They wouldn't even proceed with an echocardiogram. It was deemed unnecessary based on the fact that she heard a "second heart sound".  He's growing normally, so it seems, and he hasn't had a history of illnesses that would put up any red flags. We were instructed to bring him back when he's 3.

When we brought Daniel home from China last year, our friends Michelle and Jerry Gemma gave us a beautiful plaque with a quote that I reflect upon quite often:

"There are two ways to live your life.  Once, as though nothing is a miracle. The other, as though everything is."   Albert Einstein

We are certainly seeing these miracles unfold before our eyes. Hallelujah, hallelujah.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adjusting to a New Life

I'm not sure Charlie could be doing any much better than he is. He's been right on track with sleeping ever since we got home. He's been eating like a champ. We've removed formula from his diet, and he's on all table food now. He really is a good little boy.

We took him to our pediatrician, Dr. Bradford, on Monday. He has gained a pound since we've had him. The most encouraging news is, that once again, we were told his heart seems normal. Dr. Bradford heard a normal heartbeat and also believes his ASD has healed!  We scheduled an appointment at a cardiologist tomorrow morning so we can get an echo-cardiogram and find out if it's true. We pray it's true.
The weekend was very busy with friends and family meeting Charlie and bonding. We had a special visit from one of my dearest friends, Mo, and her family. They came in for the day on Sunday, and we were so thankful to spend some time together. We don't get to see them often. The timing that they were in Orlando on business was too perfect for them not to come down for a visit. Charlie had his first swimming experience at the DeBonis' pool that day too. He loved it!  He never missed a beat as Daddy swirled him around in a little inflatable boat. He truly just goes with the flow.


Saturday, April 2, 2011


We woke up on March 31st at 5:00 a.m. to prepare for our trip home. It is a long one, to say the least. Our first flight, from Guangzhou to Shanghai, was nice and short and without event. Actually, the whole trip thankfully went that way. We had a decent layover in Shanghai, which gave us sufficient time to check in and relax a bit before boarding our 14-hour flight to Newark. There was a really cool kids play area in the airport which helped pass time for the kids during the wait.

Madi and Charlie were troopers on the "big flight". Charlie struggled a bit to get comfortable because he was overtired. Jimmy walked him to the back of the plane and cradled him until he fell asleep. He slept on Jimmy's lap for 8 hours!  Madi stretched out across their two seats and slept for about 6. Jimmy and I managed to sneak in some sleep here and there. When we arrived in Newark, Charlie's paperwork was submitted and he became a U.S. citizen right there at the airport!

By surprise, we were greeted in Newark by the Burns family. Their daughter, Katie, came home from China in the same group as Madi. They traveled two hours and took five trains to get to Newark airport to welcome us back to U.S. soil. They had handmade banners, a bag of bagels in hand and some toys for the kids. We haven't seen them since our China travels in 2006, so it was a welcome and very sweet surprise.

We knew the trip couldn't go entirely without a hitch. Our major snag was a delay from Newark to Palm Beach, our final destination:)  Our flight ended up leaving Newark at about 10:30, 1 1/2 hours past scheduled departure. That put our arrival into Palm Beach at 1:30 a.m. where we were greeted by Bubba and Grandpa Murphy to get us home. We could have cried. You tend to get emotional after traveling 32 hours straight! They were smitten with Charlie from the get-go and were so excited to give Madi big hugs.We allowed Charlie to sit on my lap for the drive home. He was scared of the car seat, but we know that will be short-lived.

We made it to bed at about 3:30 after visiting with Grandparents and friends, and Charlie didn't fuss too much in his new crib. If you could see the crib he used at the White Swan, you'd understand why!  He must feel like he's in paradise here at home. We listened to him coo for a while before he fell asleep, and he actually made more sounds and noises last night than we've heard him make in the whole two weeks. The kids are both sleeping in this morning while we catch up. It will be a fun weekend of introducing him to his new surroundings. I think Charlie's diggin' his new life. So far, so good...

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Note to Daniel

You did it, buddy.

Soon after you left us for Heaven, you planted a seed in Mommy and Daddy to come back to China and bring another child into our family. So we did. We followed our hearts and God’s plan, and here we are with your little brother, Charlie. We are now a family of four, plus an angel.

We will never, ever forget you. You will always be our first little boy whose spirit was brighter than the sun. We promise to take very good care of Charlie, and we will think of you so often as we watch him grow. He will know all about his big brother and what an amazing little soul you were here on this Earth.

Thank you, Daniel, for teaching us so much about love and about life. Thank you for seeing us through on another divine mission of faith. We thank God for the months you were in our life. We will love you forever, our precious son.

note from the narrator (Andrew). Once again, I am handing back the blog to the Murphys, as they will be arriving home today. It almost seems routine to subvert the Chinese blocking of blogger. Again, I am humbled at the notion of being asked to be the herald of all of this news. Saying hello to Charlie so soon after saying goodbye to Daniel is hard. So I won't.

Hello, Charlie.

See you soon, Daniel.