The Adoption Option

My spot for thoughts, feelings, rambles, and updates as we journey through the adoption process. Highlights: Dossier arrived in Thailand ~ Sept 26, 2005; Approved ~ October, 2005; Matched ~ August, 2006; Referral received ~ January 2007; Traveled & Home ~ June, 2007; Finalized!! ~ December, 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Brotherly love

I'm so pleased with the relationship the is forging between Ian and Jesse. It is very clear they care a great deal for each other. I knew Ian would be attached quickly - after all we've been talking about his brother for over 1.5 years. But Jesse's taking to Ian surprises me a little. If Ian is sitting on the floor, Jesse with often just go up and give him a hug. A little squeeze for a second or two and then he's off again (of course I never have my camera ready at the right moments, and I've failed at recreating the affection for the camera). They are brothers already and it warms my heart to see.

I've been meaning to write about some of the wonderful strides Jesse has made since being home - I'm so proud. Before he was drinking strictly from a bottle while laying in a crib - so he never lifted his arms or head to drink anything. Since being home he's mastering the beginning sippy cups and now fully tilts his head back to drink (so he can drink while sitting in his booster seat). Before coming home I'm not sure how much climbing opportunities he had, but he's already mastered climbing into Ian's small arm chair, and figuring out how to turn around and sit. And yesterday he came over to my on the couch, lifted his arms, and very clearly said "up" - my jaw dropped and Ian screamed "he talked!" He's learning so fast and being so brave about his new life. I'm a super proud mom about both my boys! :)

Next week I'm going to invite a friend over for a mini playdate. Simon is only 2 weeks younger than Jesse - they will be best friends I think :). I'm going to test how he reacts and I know that if anything goes haywire my friend, Maria, won't be offended if I shoo her out of the house. It's a perfect test. I know he'll do great - he seems to really enjoy being around other kids (which seems obvious from being in the orphanage setting) and it'll be good for him.

I also feel it's time to start introducing him to some family members. So I'm going to allow some people to start coming over and hanging out on the couch. We'll go from there and if this go well - bonus. If not, I'll stop having people over. I feel comfortable with this plan of action and I feel I have to start somewhere. Right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Week one

Today we've been home a week and I think the brotherly love honeymoon period is wearing off. Ian had a rough day today and when I tried to give him snuggles Jesse would come over and shriek loudly in protest. hmmmm - I guess this is normal and I should be happy things are settling in. We have ventured out a few times - but I've broken one of my own rules by allowing my mother to tag along and spend some time at the house. At first it was an accident, she came over while Jesse was sleeping to visit Ian but then nap was over and Ian wouldn't allow her to leave (he's very attached to his Bubbie). So began my downward spiral. I was too nervous to take them to the mall by myself so Mom came along.....I know there is nothing wrong with this decision - my mom spends a lot of time over at the house and is our primary babysitter, so her getting to know Jesse and vice versa is a good thing. I just feel bad I wasn't able to uphold the standards I set upon myself - I feel like I failed in my transition from mother-of-one-at-a-time to mother-of-two. But what's done is done.....

Jesse had his first doctor's appointment and I was beaming with pride when the doctor seemed to impressed with his development and growth. I had little to do with any of it - but it made me feel safe and secure in knowing he was so well taken care of at the TRC. Tomorrow he has his blood taken for some tests - I'm not looking forward to that!

Today I did venture out with the alone - to Ian's t-ball class. I think it might be a little soon to take him to crowded public places. Once Jesse felt comfortable with his surroundings he thought it was funny to walk around in circles. Sometimes I'd say "Come back to Mommy" and he'd just keep going. He knows he's Jesse - which is great. Not quite sure he knows yet what Mommy means and that I'm the only one he has. Any suggestions about when this time of attachment might take place - I'm really kinda clueless about it.

Oh - and Andrea, I've updated my profile so you'll find that information there.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I wasn't going to post this for a few days - to give the US Postal Services a chance to deliver them into many mailboxes around the country.....but I was just too excited about it. And there are people who read this that I do not have snail mail connections with - therefore I present you with Jesse's homecoming announcements. I worked really hard on these before I left (yes, designed by yours truly) and just plunked in the pictures when we got home. I'm really enjoying making these sorts of things and exercising my design chops again - so, if anyone is in the market for personalized greeting cards of any sort I'll make you a great deal :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Going well

We have been home a few days now and things seem to be going really well. I went through a period of regret and sadness about the fact we left Ian at home. He seems to have been well fed and very well spoiled - which of course made me feel like he would have been better with us. My mom says she didn't treat Ian any differently - but I don't really believe her. He also was acting weird because we'd be gone and I know that this is a big transition for him as well - it was just all so much emotionally for me to be home, finally, and then return to a little boy acting so weird. It's getting better all around. Ian is great with Jesse and Jesse really seems to enjoy Ian - we'll see how long this honeymoon period lasts.

There has been some interesting develops since coming home. In Thailand, Jesse was a great sleeper and napper. He'd take his bottle, lay down, and go to sleep - not so much here at home. He's been crying every time we put him in his crib - what I call his baby money cries (his mouth gets really big and his eyes close up and no sound comes out). Before he would snuggle under a blanket now he doesn't want anything to do with blankets.....I know our crib has got to be more comfortable than the hotel one....not really sure what's happening but I'm thinking it's part of the transitioning.

Now I'm dealing with when can I take him out. We are all going a little crazy being couped up in the house. And Jesse really needs a pair of shoes. I know we still need to limit his contact with people but can't I take him to the mall??????? There is no handbook that says when it's okay to start doing these things and I'm just not sure. I know he knows who we are and that we take care of him - but does he know enough to turn to us in public with so many people around to choose from? When is it okay to test?

Well - here's our first official family picture taken right as we greeted family and friends at the airport. The boys are wearing their big brother/little brother shirts. Don't I look lovely after 22 hours on a plane :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Home Safe and Sound

Let the new adventure begin. We arrived home this afternoon to a nice little welcome at the airport. It was amazing to see everyone who came out and after getting off the plane, waiting in lines, getting luggage, more lines and finally emerging into the light of the arrivals sections I was completely overwhelmed. Seeing Ian and everyone standing there was heartwarming. My sister took some video and my sister-in-law took some pictures which I'll post when I receive them. It's nice to be home.

Things are about a new kind of adjustment now. Jesse is a little sad and confused (to be expected) and Ian thinks that means he wants to go back to the orphanage. I've been trying to explain he's just scared and soon he will be happy and carefree, too. We also realized (very quickly) that Jesse is DEATHLY afraid of our cat. It occurs to us that perhaps he's never really seen a cat before. The terror on his face was nearly amusing in an "oh my god I've traumatized my child" kind of way.

It's taking Jesse some getting used to - being in a room without us, in a different crib and just different surroundings, so getting to sleep tonight was interesting. Ian was great - he's going to be a great big brother. And here is his two cents: "So Mommy, when Jesse is big like me and you bring home another baby - then we'll both be the big brothers." Jeez, Ian!!!!! Let me get through this one first.

Thanks for all your support and yes I will continue to post - probably not daily though :) It's so nice to be home.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Packing it all up

Well the time has come for my final post from Bangkok. I can't believe we are finally heading home. In some ways it seems like the time has gone by quickly and in others I feel I've been away forever. I'm just really looking forward to home.

Today we did our last bit of sightseeing at the Jim Thompson House. It was a very unique piece of architecture and filled with so many beautiful things. It's funny because you have these great house preserved with a great garden and now restaurant and store, and right next door is a giant high rise building looming so close you could spit on it (if that were appropriate). Then we went on to find this handicraft shopping area that was mentioned in a previous comment. I had the page dog-eared in our guide book but timing and and illness had prevented me from going sooner. Too bad because it was amazing!!!!! We were short on time today as well but we had a great Thai meal and managed to do a little shopping. Sam saved a lot of money by not taking me there with oodles of time because I could have gotten in some major trouble. I did by a nice jade beaded bracelet though, so not a complete waste of time. After that is was running around returning papers to the TRC and going for the Visa. It's all official and we area ready to head home.

I keep forgetting to mention this funny story about a soi (street) dog. The stray dogs are everywhere and even the ones with owners look ragged and homeless - but anyway, I feel they need to be treated like a possible criminal. No eye contact, keep walking, pretend they don't exist. Many times they sneak attach you and bark from behind a pole - always scarring that pants of me. Well the other night when heading to the tex-mex place we were walking on the sidewalk. It was busy with street vendors, outdoor eateries and such....I was busy looking at this pub just checking it out when Sam said "keep walking past the sleeping dog to the next place" I thought the pub was called The Sleeping Dog - so because my head was in the clouds when I turned to walk I nearly jumped out of my skin to see a huge dog lying in the middle of the sidewalk. I know i made an audible gasp and nearly fell over. People must have thought I was crazy and Sam thought it was so funny. So, if I ever decide to open a bar I think I'll have to name it The Sleeping Dog. :)

We've packed up the room, have our taxi on call for 3:30am and are ready to hit the road (so I leave you with a picture of the crazy Bangkok traffic).

Monday, June 18, 2007

Little bits here and there

Well - I didn't get around posting anything yesterday, so today will be a double post. Not that we have much to write. :) Yesterday was a fun touristy kind of day. After breakfast and morning naps we headed out to lunch and to the Siam World Aquarium. It's located in one of the biggest malls in Bangkok (and one we visited again today but more about that later). We grabbed a quick bite from the food court and away we went to see the sharks and other little fishies. Now, for those of you who know me, you might know that I hate zoos. I really don't like going, although I will, and it's nothing moral or's just I don't like zoos. On the other hand I LOVE aquariums. And this one did not disappoint. There were 2 or 3 floors to navigate through ramps and tunnels and tanks that went from one floor to the next. The glass was the cleanest I've ever seen at an aquarium and in some case you'd think you could walk right into the tanks. The shark tunnel was the best -where they swim over your head and all around you. Jesse really seemed to enjoy himself. He liked looking at the pretty fish and thought the crabs and the ugly fish (and boy were there a few ugly ones) weren't too much fun. One of the coolest things we saw was a Chevy sponsored "exhibit" where they made the car into a fish tank. It's not the best picture but it was so cool. It was a good time had by all.

Then back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We ventured out to a tex-mex place around the corner. Not bad considering how hard it is to find good tex-mex in Illinois, I was impressed.

Today started out slow. We had our appointment at the Embassy at 9:30. There are warnings all over the paper not to be late or else you lose your time and that's the end of we were early. They finally called us to the window around 10:15. Not horrible had we actually arrived on time but since we arrived around 9 it was quite the wait. We were surrounded by Thais trying to get their visas as well (I assume) and a large gaggle of students who we assumed would be off for their exchanges in the Fall. Well - the appointment was painless and we go back tomorrow at 3pm to pick up the actual visa. Then we are free and clear to come home! Yippy!

I've been on the hunt for the perfect souvenir (besides Jesse) to bring home with me. Something I'll have for-always and know it was from this special trip. Yeah, so I'm a little materialist, so what! :) Anyway....we headed to a close by department store to find the air conditioning and escalators not working. We made out lunch arrangements with Eric from Beloit and headed to that mall instead. Which brings me back to the Siam Paragon. The shiniest, most intimidating mall I've ever been to. I'm not talking talking out the Gap and Payless here people - these stores included Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Valentino, Armani, and so many others I hadn't even heard of. Needless to say we just walked around and looked. Although I did find a Jim Thompson store - a silk mogul from back in the day and bought myself a cute little purse. I did find a great pendant in the department store and am now shopping satisfied. :) But seeing all these designers stores and all this "wealth" made me take notice even more that just outside there probably some guy selling grilled chicken on a stick. The way the social classes interact and co-exists has been alarming to me. I don't know enough about the Thai culture to know if the classes really work well side by side or if there's no there's just amazing to see it.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Official tourist

Well - today we took the steps at being real tourists in Bangkok. We went out on our first adventure at sightseeing and it was great. We even fell prey to the tourist trap of being fleeced for money. We wanted to go to the water taxi but the real taxi driver I guess didn't understand that, so we ended up at the wrong pier. The pier we arrived at was more of chartered boat thing and I"m sure they saw us coming - because these were not fancy boats by any means and we paid far more than the 13 Baht a person you pay for the water taxi. It was still fun - and actually reflecting it gave me a better chance of taking in the atmosphere, because the water taxis can be quite crowded and full. Here's a picture of us all blowing in the wind down the river. So anyway - the boat took us down the river to where the Grand Palace is. This was my one requirement for sightseeing - after starring at my cross-stitch pattern for about 2 years I needed to see the Palace in person. It was amazing. At the dock we were bombarded with locals trying to sell us their goods - so aggressive and following us before taking no for an answer. In the guard book it warns you that locals will try to tell you the Palace it closed, so they can take you someplace in their taxi to spend money and waste time. I didn't believe it - I mean people why would people do that. But sure enough - we had a taxi driver attached to us for nearly a block trying to convince us the Palace was closed until after lunch (it was 10:30am).

The Grand Palace and a beautiful Wat (temple) are combined in one area. You need a ticket to get in but it was a small price to pay to see the beauty of this place close up. The Wat is amazing - the shiny buildings, paintings, statues.....all the craftsmanship that went into this - all those little fingers from years ago. It must be an honor for the Thai people to show it off and it still be so beautiful. I recognized the roof of the Grand Palace immediately from my project and so many of the color choices started to make sense - they roof really is three different colors! :) We walked around and took a million pictures and it was a great morning/afternoon. We managed to find the water taxi for the way home which was nice on the wallet :) And spend a leisure afternoon of reading (while the boys zonked out for long afternoon naps).

Tonight we met up with Eric from Beloit. It was great to meet my email buddy in person and meet his family. We went to a great restaurant and can now feel satisfied we've had real Thai food in Thailand. Boy, am I glad I was feeling better because the food was delicious (and would have been impossible to eat 2 days ago).

Friday, June 15, 2007

A nothing kinda of day

This morning we woke up at the crack of dawn to be showered, fed, and taxied to our INS meeting by 8am. We were early - they called us in at around 8:20 or so. Go government. It wasn't too bad though - quick and painless (this time around) and we were back in the waiting room by 8:50 or so to wait for the magic paper we needed to present at the Embassy for the visa interview. We received our paper around 9:20 or so and off we went. But of course not to the Embassy - that would have been too easy. They don't make appointments until 2pm. So we went shopping! I got a ton done in this very overwhelming shopping center called MBK. I found a handicrafts store with a very nice girl who helped me out and took several Baht off each thing I bought. I also finally found some silver jewelry - my favorite being a cute little charm bracelet with elephants on it (and a jingle bell). I'm pleased.

So really - after that it was back to the hotel for lunch and what he had hoped was a nap - didn't happen. Jesse was tired but energized from lunch - so he got lots of milk in hopes of him falling asleep and ended up just going with Sam to the Embassy to make the appointment. I was waiting for a phone call at the hotel. Our Visa Interview is Monday morning at 9:30am. If all goes as planned said visa will be ready for pick up on Tuesday.

Other than that I thought I would take this time to write about a few key phrases that have been a part of our trip. This is more for my journaling purposes and so don't feel the need to be entertained or amused :)

1) He/She didn't get the memo.
Def: Noticed tourist either he: with scruffy hair and beard, wearing shorts and weird muscle tank top OR she: with tiny shorts, tiny tank tops, tiny sandals.

2) Long haired boy - just saying.
Def: Hannah has once again noticed a Thai male with long hair.

3) Find your fingers.
Def: Our best efforts in teaching Jesse some self soothing techniques while trying to fall asleep (because he likes to suck on his fingers).

4) I hope it doesn't smell.
Def: Every time we are about to get INSIDE a taxi, we hope that it does not stink the lots and lots of dirty feet (and various other body parts). Believe me, I've gagged a few times when the doors were opened for us to get in.

Anyway - that's about all for my post today. Tomorrow hopefully lots of sightseeing stories to be shared.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sighs of relief

Okay - after spending another day holed up in the hotel we have discovered that our wonderful TRC social worker and her staff worked super hard to get USCIS the papers they felt they needed - and tomorrow morning at 8am we have our appointment to get Jesse's immigration approval. It's a huge weight off my shoulders because there was really a moment in her office yesterday I actually had to visualize heading home without Jesse. But....that is not the case! He's fine - he's ours - he's coming home! After our meeting we'll go to the Embassy and set up the Visa interview - which will probably take place on Monday. Hopefully the visa will be ready on Tuesday and we'll still be heading home as scheduled on Wednesday. For those of you planning on seeing us at the airport - we aware there is a slight chance things could change (keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't because my heart is aching for a giant Ian hug and don't want to wait any longer than I have to).

So....I'm feeling better - my body is slowly catching but I feel confident enough to venture out so tomorrow afternoon and this weekend we'll do some sightseeing and some shopping. It sounds like I've done a lot of shopping but we haven't really purchased anything :) Toys, 1 bracelet for me made out of Baht (Thai coins), and a little hand painted container....that's it. I have so much more to buy..... :)

Board meeting and other such things

Well - yes, yesterday was a rough day for me. But I promised to talk about the board meeting and that I shall do. It was actually really great. We were all dressed up and looking dapper (as seeing in the picture) and we saw the other two families from the US there. Pani and her family we'd met previously and I finally got to meet Eric and Monica and their family. It was nice being in a room full of people who'd all been-there-done-that along with us and were all just excited to finally be at this point in the process. There were maybe about 35 families there (which is one reason this process could take so long, although maybe not everyone showed up as early as us) and I heard they called the younger babies first. We were number 3, which didn't actually mean we went third - because there were three meeting rooms holding board meetings and we were not the first family in our room. But anyway - we only waited about 45 minutes before getting escorted to our room. We waited just a few minutes for being called inside.

The moment of truth - the moment we straightened our backs (and Sam's tie) and held out heads up high. I don't know what I was expecting, something more formal (especially with all the pressure to be wearing Sunday best and with Sam's new look and all) but it was just a board room with 3 ladies sitting on the other side of the table. Nothing special about these ladies. The two older ones (probably in their 50's) did all the talking while the younger one (probably 30's) followed along in her book. They were very pleasant, very easy to understand, and very CASUAL! The leader of the meeting was wearing a plain old t-shirt. It put me at ease a little bit - thinking okay, she can't possibly be judging my outfit now, right? The questions began simply out our trip and our stay - then basic stuff about Jesse and how he's adjusting. Did we think he could hear well? Were we enjoying him? How our other son was doing? There was a strange line of questioning about us coming back for a little girl - I assured them I thought I would be happy with my two boys. Everything went very smoothly with the exception of me having to step on Sam's toe a few times to remind him to say "yes" instead of "yup" or "yea"

The final few exchanges were my favorite:
Meeting Leader (ML): Are you happy with him?
US: yes
ML: Have you changed your mind?
US: no
ML: Would you like to keep him?
US: yes
ML: He's yours!

It was just very pleasant and less than 15 minutes, I think. It couldn't have been much longer than that.

The rest of the day went down from there but we are working on those issues. WACAP back home knows all what's going on and our TRC social worker has already been in contact with the INS worker and faxed over a few documents that will hopefully move things along. We will keep you posted as we hear.

Thanks for all your comments and support - it means the world to us. And for your entertainment I've included a little video of my duet with Jesse.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In the guise of full disclosure

Hi everyone, Sam again. I'm getting pretty common around here, maybe I should get my own account for the blog.

Anyways today was our Adoption board meeting and all went smoothly as can be. I think Hannah may want to expand on that a bit, but really the fear and anxiety we felt over that was largely overblown. It was a real simple affair with three women from the Child Adoption Board. They asked us a few questions about our trip, how Jesse was adjusting, etc.. It was much like the meeting for the homestudy, you expect a lot worse than it really is.

What we really should have feared was the US CIS / Homeland Security. They hold the real keys and are the real gatekeepers in this whole ordeal. If you are in the process or the slightest bit squeamish you may wish to turn away now.

After all Jesse had a father. He had a mother (as so many do). Oops sorry wrong tale. Anyways Jesse's mother had relinquished her rights to the Thai Red Cross, and the father was apparently not in the picture. I had thought that it was a pretty clear case of a single parent who can not support a child. On the I-600 form there is a place to indicate this exact situation. Well apparently that may be our downfall.

Here's where it all gets sticky. Jesse's mother says she can't support him and hands him over to the Thai Red Cross (TRC.) The TRC gives us his referral. We travel to Thailand and meet the DSDW Adoption Board, who gives their approval. We thought we were home free. Well then the USCIS steps in and says wait. Are you sure he is an orphan? Could his mother support him by our standards? Under Thai law do we need to try contacting the birth father if his information is known? Will Jesse be able to become a Listopad? Will Hannah and Sam be able to catch their flight on the 20th of June? Tune in next time same bat time, same bat channel. Oops sorry again ;)

So apparently the CIS officer is going to do some investigating and hopefully give us some more information tomorrow. She seemed optimistic, but with government employees you never can tell what they are really thinking. I think its part of their training program.

What I don't get is that he was relinquished to the TRC, not us. So how can USCIS say no, she really could support him if she wanted to, which is their way of trying to stop baby buying? Its not like she relinquished rights to us, she didn't even know we existed. Another twist in the whole thing is that she may be supporting her first born son still. So I am not sure how that is going to come into the USCIS' determinations.

So hopefully tomorrow we will learn more, though it means we will probably be holding close to the hotel all day in order to see if we need to do anything or not.

And getting back to the title, I wonder if I had just checked the box "no parents" would all this have been glossed over?

PS If you are going to be around Ian, please don't discuss this in too much detail. If an unfavorable decision comes down we will talk to him then, until then I don't want him worrying about his brother not coming home.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Well it's nearly 6am on Board meeting day and I didn't sleep very well at all. I kept getting up for 1) to go to the bathroom or 2) because of weird dreams in which people were telling us the wrong places to go for the meeting.

Anyway - I'm starting to feel better which means a little more energy and a clear head. We'll see how today goes with the running around and such.

Yesterday we ventured out to find a toy store - although the newest edition of our Bangkok travel guide led us to the 5th floor of huge shopping was not there. Luckily, it hadn't moved far and we walked through three connected buildings, and a small courtyard to another use shopping building to the giant department store inside there. Any which way, we found the toy section and scored for Ian - he's been wanting the Plan City Log Truck for a long time and since our store at home hasn't been carrying it...and they are made in Bangkok our hopes were high. And we found it. We are now heroes to our 4 year old.

Before he headed out for the adventure, it was nap time and I think it's safe to say Jesse has gotten used to all the personal attention. The first few days he took his milk and went right to sleep in his crib...not so much the last few days :) But when this is his preferred place of rest, how can you get mad? It's safe to say he's mine - all mine.

We are still here

Just to let you all know we are still here. Hannah still isn't 100% so I am just putting this in as a space filler to say we are still alive, Jess is still here.

I think Hannah wanted to blog about today so I won't, but tomorrow is the big day in all of this, Board meeting, Visa interviews. So we need to get our sleep (especially Hannah) and will probably blog a lot tomorrow.

Good night and wish us luck. ;)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Times with Daddy

Hi everyone Sam here again. Since Hannah was still feeling a bit under the weather Jesse and I went out, and I was told I had to enter a blog about it.

Today we went and got Jesse's visa medical done at the BNH hospital. It was interesting to say the least. You go into the hospital and the receptionist pointed us towards the check-up centre on the 4th floor. There we had to fill in some paper work in the first sitting room, and wait a little bit. Then we went to take his height and weight in the vitals room. After that we were taken to a second waiting room to wait for the doctor. This other waiting room was pretty cool, it had couches and snacks and all kinds of goodies. It was kinda like we had made it "in" somewhere ;).

After waiting a little we saw the doctor who listened to his chest and heart. The one thing I don't like about this process is that it seems all the players only know their little part and not the whole. I say this because he said that we should sign the adoption waiver, even though it looks to me like he has all his vaccinations. Which is all well and good and we will sort it out when we get home, however the affidavit seems to have a place for someone to notarize it. I thought it was the doctor, wrong. So now I am thinking it is the person in the Visa interview, but who knows.

So after seeing the doctor and him telling us all was good and in order we went back to the swank waiting room. While we were waiting for the paper work to be finished up we met Eric and Monica, who are people Hannah talks to on the list serv, who are also adopting from Thailand. Apparently I was recognized as the one who had to cut his hair and shave ;) So Jesse and I at least met Monica and her family. I'm sure we will meet up with them again with Hannah this time.

Boy this has grown long.

After that Jesse and I went for a walk. And yes I can attest to Bangkok being a little stinky. We went to a drug store for Hannah, and then were out and about so we stopped by a language institute run by Nicklaus Mische . He is a guy I was told I should get in contact with by a friend of mine. So all in all we spent a good deal of the morning out and about. After tat went spent so quality time in the hotel room. Jesse is opening up more and we are seeing more smiles and laughs. He is also starting to babble while we are elsewhere, so that is good.

Well I've monopolized enough of all your time. We will write more tomorrow as we see what the day shall bring.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Random reflections

It's 10:15 on Sunday morning and I'm not feeling very well. Not sure if it was so much heat yesterday or something I ate. Either way - I slept a little later and we went to breakfast a little later. Sam currently has Jesse checking out the outdoor garden. The cleaning people are here so I feel weird jumping into bed....anyway...I thought this was a good time to write down some things I've been thinking about.

Bangkok stinks. I don't know if it's the many street vendors (food ones) or the exhaust from all the cars and motorbikes...either way every so often there will be a waft of air that spells like rotten eggs. It's not pleasant.

As many of you know, I used to be a writer and I often still create scenes in my head and imagine how a situation will play out...I imagined a hundred times how it would be the first time I met Jesse. It was nothing like that. I imagined I would cry - I would be overwhelmed with emotions....but I wasn't really. I was nervous and apprehensive and scared. I didn't want to scare him so I was very distanced. It wasn't until we were about the walk out the door on Friday with him in my arms that all those emotions came up. I just couldn't hold back the tears - and just kept saying "thank you for taking such good care of him" Yes, he's small but he's not starving. Not once during our feedings there or after has he grabbed for food like there was no tomorrow. He might be a little developmentally behind but he's walking and grabbing at things and nothing I'm worried about at all. It's just so amazing that they loved him so much (as we could tell by all the people who came to wish him good-bye). We are lucky we was able to spend the first 15 months of his life there.

Today is starting off slow and we haven't heard any mumblings but we still get a few smiles. He seems to be sleeping a lot and I'm not sure if it's because he's used to it or because he's mental exhausted from the trauma. I'm sure things will continue to get better each day.

Lets see if this works

Hello everyone Sam here again, I know this took a while, but I hope it works right.

Introducing (drum roll...) Video!

This video is of Jesse in our hotel room babbling away while watching diving. If you listen closely at the end between our laughing you can hear Jesse giggle a little.

A major breakthough

Well today was a great day. We started out with the typical snuggly behavior just bonding and hanging out around the hotel. We took a mini adventure to get Jesse's visa pictures taken and ate some lunch out. We tried and tried to find someplace that looked clean and good but in that section of the street, where we were, there were mostly chain restaurants from the we ended up in a store claiming to be a New York Deli. Not exactly what you'd find in New York, I have a feeling. But my lox and cream cheese bagel was good and Jesse enjoyed his chicken breast and some wheat toast. Sam's was a weird sandwich claiming to be BBQ Chicken.

Anyway - after that we headed back to the hotel for a nap. Jesse ended up napping mostly on the bed with us because when we tried to move him he cried. His cries are so cute and pathetic. His arms go out like a baby monkey and these big crocodile tears come down his face before any sound comes out. Then these little moans escape his mouth and it's just too much to handle...of course we have been giving in to the crying and picking him up as part of the bonding process. It must have worked because after his nap he awoke into a new personality. We were sitting on the bed playing with his toys and all of a sudden there were smiles and giggles coming from everywhere. So many smiles and him trying to make us laugh and knowing his was being silly (like by putting the bottom of the sippy cup in his mouth instead of the top). It was so great. Here's a great picture that shows of his teeth, too. Then I turned on the TV to watch the security channel (it shows a perfect shot of the lobby and the restaurant to see if it was open for dinner) and there was platform diving on. Jesse went crazy pointing to the TV and making noises and trying to talk. (He's seen the TV before too, so it was something different this time to trigger it) Once he started he wouldn't stop!!!!!! So much babblings and pointing, it was great. (we have video but Sam's having trouble loading it)

The test was taking him down to dinner - to see if he became all shy and limp again - and really not so much. He's definitely a little stranger leery and clung to us but he sat in his seat and ate his noodle soup and some rice. It was a really great turn in the road and we'll see if it continues tomorrow. We also gave him a quick mini bath to get him used to the idea - I don't think he's used to sitting in bath tubs.

It's getting late and I have some more minor details I want to write about, but I think they can wait until morning.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My head is spinning

I can't even believe I'm sitting here typing this and Jesse is in the crib behind me. We brought him home with us this afternoon - and things have been going well. Our playtime this morning was okay - we were able to muster a smile from him with a little tickling but it was a great start. Although it was the only one we managed to see. And he promptly fell asleep after a few more minutes of playtime. You can see in the pictures we spent a good amount of time snuggling while he rested this morning.

We left him for a few hours and ran around to drop off some paperwork for translation and then to buy some diapers and a few bottles. We're hoping he'll catch on to the sippy cup but for now he's still on his familiar bottle. We went back after his afternoon nap and everyone gathered to say good-bye to him. He was a lot of the social workers favorite :) They brought out his little girlfriend and his other good friend to say good-bye as well. The girlfriend brought many smiles from him. Then he was handed over to us - you'll see in the picture - and we headed back to the hotel for some quiet time. He loved having all the toys to himself and gathered everything up in his lap. He loved turning the pages in his book.

We headed out to dinner with an email friend who is here to attend the board meeting on the 13th as well. She's adopting a 6 year old. It was nice meeting her and her family in person and we hope to connect with a few more families from the states, who are also attending the meeting.

Well both the boys are sleeping - we've already talked to Ian (who is about to start his day back home) and I guess it's time for me to get some sleep, too. We think Jesse might wake up for a bottle in the middle of the night, so better get some rest now. :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Promised Pics

Sam here. Hello everyone ;) Here are the pictures Hannah said were forthcoming.

The one is of his lunch. Its basically boiled wide rice noodles with some chicken pieces in some broth I think.

The next is of him looking a bit sad while holding onto me. Its interesting because even though Hannah thinks we make him sad and they say he's not very open with strangers, he's not in a huge hurry to get away from us.

And the last one is the three of us in one of Hannah's favorite photo types, where everyones together and she takes the pic without looking at what is being looked at. We've gotten pretty good at figuring out where the camera is pointing :)

Day two

Well we visited Jesse twice today but it didn't seem to matter. He was not feeling us today and was quite weepy both times. Although, this morning we almost got a smile there was no such luck this afternoon. It made it a little easier to say good-bye knowing we make him so sad. The social worker said he's afraid of all strangers - but it's hard to see him shut down around us and the perk back up in his crib. I know we are strangers and I know it'll take time I just didn't know how hard it would be. Most babies like me.

Anyway - we took some more pictures that Sam will download later and I'll upload later. But I thought I would write a little about what's going on. Our hotel is a little out of the way (most of the taxi's have had a hard time finding it) so it's hard to venture out because we have to take a taxi everywhere. We are surrounded by alleys which in the daytime are fine but I don't want to walk around them at night. We've eaten most of our meals at the hotel restaurant which I'm hoping once we will not be running back and forth to the TRC will change. Then we can explore different parts of the city and eat at new places around.

Things we've seen a lot of - 7-11 store and McDonald's. I was surprised about the McDonald's because I thought KFC was more popular, but I don't think I've seen even one of those. Other things we haven't seen so much is silver jewelry. I thought it would be everywhere. Maybe if we check out the weekend street market I'll find something cool.

Things I regret - not packing my sandals. It's only day 3 and already my pinky toes have blisters. Not learning more Thai phrases before we left - it's a very fast and difficult language and it's really hard to communicate with people.

I miss Ian like crazy - even though we've talked everyday and I'm sure he's having so much fun without us (probably having is full of french fries, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs). I'm always aware of what time it is there and what he might be doing.

I'll post more with the pictures.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Meeting Jesse

Today was a bit surreal. We didn't have our appointment until 2pm and I was so calm the entire day. Like there was nothing special going on. We went to breakfast in the morning, then walked around our hotel area (I bought a pen and a mechanical pencil with purple lead) and then came back for lunch. We lounged around and time ticked by so slowly.

We finally got in our taxi to head to the TRC - we even had the address written in Thai but that didn't help. We got lost and were driving in circle, which made up about 5 minutes late. For those of you who know me I hate being late and usually I'm early. But anyway - I'll have to post about the traffic and driving here another time. I think I get 10 grey hairs with every taxi ride.

So we are finally at the TRC and we meet with the doctor. She doesn't give us anything we didn't already know but he was still napping so we talked with her. The person who we normally would have talked with is out with a back injury and will see us on friday (or possibly tomorrow afternoon, we weren't sure).

We walked over to where all the babies are kept, they are so cute! I saw him right away and he was so willing to get out of his crib for the social worker so he could be held. He was such a little monkey with big sleepy eyes. We met with him in the playroom and pulled out lots of toys to coaxed him. He stayed with the social worker and we played pass the ball, and then she moved closer to me and he sat on my leg, then my lap, and then we progressed into snuggles and such as well. He really likes being held and rested on both me and Sam. We couldn't get him to smile today but he didn't cry! Which was a relief for me. We had to leave after a few hours but we fed him some of his dinner and we will return in the morning for more playtime. I'm not sure when we will take him with us - I want to take things slow and so does the social worker. Leaving him behind was not as hard as I thought - I knew it was best for him. He doesn't know us and I think we was pretty done with us by the time we left. I've loved him for a long time and after seeing him in person I can now describe this feeling. I love him like I love a lot of children in my life. But he's not mine yet. I know by the time these two weeks are up and we head home he'll be mine, it felt so right holding him today.

We found out some great information about his history as well - and we did see a small picture of his birthmother - she is very beautiful. We'll have more information about his past then I thought we would, but I'll save that for another post. For now - I leave you with some pictures. And we go back tomorrow to play some more in the morning and again in the afternoon - hopefully we'll see some smiles by then. Enjoy!

Of course we have a ton more pictures but it's too hard to post them here. I'll send one giant album about to anyone interest once we get home.


Here are a few pictures from my sushi snack in Japan. I'll spare you all of the one of me actually eating it (taken by Sam at very close range) :)

I ordered 3 that I was familiar with and then took a chance and ordered Mackerel - I liked it the best!
But they were all good - every last one ")

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We're in Bangkok

It's nearly 1:30am Wednesday morning and we're settling into our hotel - obviously to have the computer up and running. There is a fierce thunder/lightening storm going on that started during our taxi cab from the airport. Really glad it didn't start while we were in the air.

Our flights were long but mostly uneventful. 1 rude man kept is window shade up in our section of the plane the entire first leg of our trip. The sun was so bright that one window lit up the whole section. He was right across the plane from me - so I was making shadow puppets on my window shade. He didn't seem to notice (or he didn't care). The second leg, from Japan to Thailand I slept most of the way.

I did eat sushi in Japan and I"m pretty sure the guys were laughing at me. I took pictures but it's too late now to download - so those will come tomorrow because we'll have other pictures to download then. Well actually it's technically today :) And in about 12 hours we will meet our son for the first time. I think we should get some sleep so we'll at least be on the local schedule and I have a feeling our wake up call will come before I know it.

hugs from Bangkok! :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

T-Minus 24 hours...

and all the busy worker bees are buzzing around the house in preparation of the trip. Currently, my mother is fixing the hem on Ian's curtains - Sam is wrapping mini hot dogs in dough for lunch - and I am making my final post before heading off to foreign lands to change my life forever.

This morning we 1) built the crib, 2) Reorganized/clean Ian's room making room for mentioned crib 3) cleaned the back room for my mom, 4) have stuffed on carry-on bag filled with snacks.

We still need to 1) Pack our clothes suitcase, 2) Clean up the kitchen from our lunch making mess, 3) Pack away the piles of storage and garage sale items we have purged from our house, 4) Pack second carry-on back and finally 5) check,check and triple check that we have all our paperwork, chargers, electronics, and such

Last night I had a dream that we got all the way to the airport only to find out Sam never packed any of my clothes. Which is better than the dream about flights being cancelled - because at least I can buy new clothes. I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep tonight but it's hard to believe we leave in just 24 hours! 1 day!!!!! Because of travel I won't be posting until Wednesday morning (Bangkok time, which is Tuesday night Central standard time) and I'm not sure I'll have time before heading to the TRC - although I'll try just so everyone knows we arrived safe and sound. I think I could probably use Word to type up entries from the plane and then upload them later. Maybe there will be a funny story from the plane and I'll just have to write it down. Anyway......

I guess I'll talk to you all from the other side of the world :)