Tanaka Family Website

The Tanaka's 2002 Christmas Letter

Santa Welcome to the Tanaka Family's Christmas Letter. We want to wish each of you a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful and blessed New Year. We also want to extend our gratitude to our friends and family who have influenced us in numerous and positive ways through the year. We are very thankful that we have the family and friends that we have and look forward to many more years together.
Here is a brief synopsis of our year in review.

Stephanie

Over the past twelve months we have seen Stephanie grow from a toddler to a little girl. This will be our third Christmas with Stephanie, but it really seems like yesterday when we first met her. Raising a kid is truly the "hardest job that you'll love". Our hats off to all the parents out there!

In January, we finally completed our adoption of Stephanie. She was already legally adopted overseas, however by adopting her again in the States, she gets an official Birth Certificate in English and is now legally our heir. In order to do this, we had to literally slap her with a lawsuit in order to take control of her life. We just hope she doesn't return the favor later.

Lawsuit
Slapping Stephanie
with a Lawsuit
This past year Stephanie learned how to ride a two-wheel bike (with training wheels), build a snowperson (politically correct), say phrases like "Oh my gosh", "Zip it" and "Ready to rock", and color somewhat within the lines with her crayons.
The Future Motorcycle Mama
One notable item to mention is that Stephanie has graduated from her crib and is now sleeping in a "big girl's" bed. Now that she can get in and out of bed herself, we don't have to wake up in the middle of the night to take her to the potty, but now she comes into our bedroom and wakes us before we are ready to get up. Another notable is that Stephanie is wearing "big girl's" underwear now instead of trainers -- just like Mom! We've learned to appreciate the little things in life.

Mom and Dad
One of the biggest milestones we reached is that we finally finished the walls in the bathroom and now can take showers and baths without getting the basement wet. It took us a measly two and a half years to reach this point -- much less time than we expected. The job is far from professional, but so far the tiles are staying on the wall, the paint isn't peeling, and water isn't dripping in the basement. Unfortunately, nobody can take a shower because there is no room to stand in the tub with all of Stephanie's toys -- no joke!

Another milestone is in the works as we begin the process of adopting a sister for Stephanie. Although the massive amount of paperwork is brutal and the time it takes seems like an eternity, we know it's what God wants us to do. We, especially Stephanie, are all looking forward to adding to our family (Stephanie wants 5 more brothers and sisters) and we hope and pray that all goes smoothly.

Joshua
Joshua has been through a lot this past year. At fifteen, he is getting up in years and they are starting to catch up to him. Recently, he was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid and had to have radiation treatments. He didn't loose any hair, but the family was not allowed to touch him for three weeks afterwards. It is not easy to avoid a cat for that long. We did appreciate the extra light when he walked into a dark room however.

The M*A*S*H Unit
This past year our family has endured many illnesses, operations, and therapy (physical, not mental). Fortunately, and with God's grace, everybody is healthy once again and doing well.

After two years of pain and limited movement, Mark decided to go to a physical therapist to have his arm examined. After three months of painful therapy, his arm is functioning once again to where he can now reach the dust bunnies that congregate on top of the cabinets. The dust bunnies are still there, but he can reach them if he wants to. Grace has been the healthiest of the bunch, with only a mild case of laryngitis to battle.

R and R
During the past year we were able to vacation twice. The first trip was to California & Seattle to show off Stephanie to relatives who live out there and to visit old friends. The trip was quite restful and fun as we visited Mark's brother and cousins.

The second trip was to Philadelphia to enjoy a two-year reunion with the other adopting parents with whom we traveled to China. It was wonderful to see all Stephanie's "sisters" once again and to learn that all (parents and kids) are doing well. I know for a fact that the parents enjoyed the time more than the kids did and we are already talking about the next reunion. We also had the chance to visit Washington DC for a couple of days. Lot's of things have changed since Mark was there last, especially the security. However, it still was a worthwhile time.

Fun at Sesame Place