Friday, December 25, 2009
This week we have had many many first experiences.
Presents arrived from my brother and his fam. Such torture having them sitting there to just look at!! We had found out a few months ago Jet had never received a present. He had a few upon arriving home but we tried to keep things simple. But going from NEVER to Christmas! Whoa!!
Can you even think about a child never being given a gift? None for his/her birthday, Christmas or just because they are loved. I am not naive, I have known it exists, but never so fresh in my mind. Never put right in front of me, as in my son. And his friends. All left behind, with slim chances of ever experiencing the love of a family.
Jet's stocking was delivered and hung making there 5! The next day he made a letter and picture, then put it in his stocking. One minute later he *found* his stocking had something inside! It was so cute!
Tuesday this week was one of the best days!! Papa was not working so we went to sit on Santa's lap! We went in the early afternoon and timing was perfect. We arrived while Santa was at lunch, expected to be back in 10 minutes. We were second in line!! Woo hoo! Jet loved every minute of it and had to be pried off Santa's lap. He did have one minute of nervousness while we were waiting but when I explained Mama would be there as well as Peanut and Bug, all was well.
Then at dinner time on Tuesday, I whipped up some chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate. The munchkins put their pjs on and we jumped in the car to munch, slurp and look at Christmas lights around town! It was a blast, as it is a favorite tradition of ours and Jet's excitement made it extra special. Thankfully we did it Tuesday night as we now can't leave the house, we have so much snow!!
I truly wish on Wednesday I had counted how many times Jet said "Mama, tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Then we open presents"!! To say he was excited is an understatement!! Not that one could blame him. His FIRST ever Christmas!
It dawned on me at bedtime he thought we would be waking up and opening family presents right away. Like it had been explained to him we did on Christmas morning from Santa. Whew, he at least knew we had to wait till after dinner Christmas Eve.
Peanut and Bug generously volunteered to allow Jet open the first present, as we take turns. He was so excited!! We opened and played till almost 10pm.
So imagine my surprise when I was awoken at 3am to shrieks from Peanut's bedroom! Excitement abounded until Mama walked in. Jet did get in an excited, "it's Christmas morning" before I separated everyone to their own spot to go back to sleep.
Then we couldn't get Jet to wake up! Finally at 8:15am, Bug went in to wake him and his gasp was AWESOME!!
Christmas morning had FINALLY come!!
Merry CHRISTmas everyone!!!
Friday, December 18, 2009
And I mean fierce, seriously.
Let me give you an example--
The munchkins and Papa were downstairs playing a Wii bowling game. I was upstairs doing chores and could hear the fun being had downstairs. Soon I could hear many strikes were being made. All was well.
For a moment or two.
Then I hear it. Two munchkins voices going back and forth, getting louder and louder. With the third voice thrown in every once in awhile. (I wasn't sure which 2 until later. I will admit I assumed I knew who it was, but I was wrong!)
Up for "debate"--whose strike happened faster. Yes, you read it right!
WHOSE. BALL. AND. PINS. WENT. DOWN. FASTER.
My first reaction was REALLY. SERIOUSLY.
Then I laughed. Right out loud. I was SO deliriously happy Papa was witness to this scene! I strongly believe he is laughing inside at me or rolling his eyes when I talk about the competition that goes on. Day after day. And I only share when I am truly exasperated!
He had first hand experience! And one of the best! I wish you could have seen his face when I brought it up later after the kids were in bed. Dumbfounded!
I don't want my kids to grow up fast at all. But I can't wait to share this one with their kids!!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
We started talking birthdays back in Sept. with Bug's being the first to celebrate. Through different conversations and events, it became apparent to us that Jet assumed you received anything/everything you asked for.
In the past Peanut and Bug have marked up the magazines, made lists, etc... I remember doing the same with the JcPenney's catalog! But they know it doesn't mean they will receive all those items. We encouraged them to not focus too much on that this year, to lessen some confusion.
One day before Bug's birthday, I had an idea to write out a long want list. I listed everything Bug wanted or had even mentioned! My mind set was then Jet would see we don't get everything we want.
Bug received 4 or 5 items from his list. I made sure to point it out.
Not too long after, Jet seemed focused on telling me he wasn't going to make a big list. "Not many things, little bit"--he says.
It took a few days to hit me......
4 or 5 things were on his list.
This munchkin will definitely keep us on our toes!! :))
Oh, and those few things...
a drum set, violin, nintendo DS, star wars legos, remote control helicopter or R2D2
Monday, December 14, 2009
"I know why Mama and Daddy brought me to America. To help Bug pick up his bedroom."
I about died laughing!! Jet was mostly kidding.
Naturally I did reassure him we brought him here to be our son. It was God's plan and we loved him, plain and simple.
We have had to reinforce to Jet our love is unconditional. As expected for a child raised in an orphanage for the first 8 years of his life, grasping the concept of family has been an ongoing one. In a way similar to a toddler, we need to list all the members or our family including his name. We can't just assume he knows he is included or say "you".
Shortly after returning from Thailand, we had the "issue" of going back to Thailand arise. After much discussion, we realized Jet didn't understand we were referring to taking a vacation there and he assumed it was him going back. We addressed the fact he was our son and would always return to America with us. (Unless he chose differently when he was old enough.) No matter where we went.
It is so matter of fact for us, no question, not on our minds..... Not so for him.
We have been home 7 months and 2 days.
At dinner tonight with tears in his eyes, Jet asked me--
"Do you know if I will have to go back to Thailand?" What?
After many tears and much talk back and forth it came out. He still questions the permanency of his new family. I know it has only been 7 months. Versus 8 years. I still wonder how long his sweet mind has to be tortured with these thoughts. The last few nights he has had bad dreams. I am guessing we have the cause of them. Will he ever be assured of his place in our family?
Much reassurance was made to Jet by myself, Peanut and Bug. (Papa was working at the time) It is so encouraging to see our other 2 kiddos react to such agony on their brother's part. The squabbles and struggles of every day life melt away, leaving a brother and sister grieving for their brother. They want to make him feel loved, special, part of our family in every way possible. Their compassion and tenderness astound me. Just some of the many wonderful things adoption has given us all.
After we had talked a few minutes, my sweet Bug lovingly rubbed Jet's cheek with his hand. And said "you have to stay here.....who else would help me clean my bedroom?!!"
A shot of humor at just the right time.
We continue to plug along grafting a new member into our family unit. Life can get busy, Jet seems to have so much English learned, it is easy to slip into a comfortable place, forgetting there is still so much to work through. We need to take the time to make the reassurances a regular part of our daily/weekly routine so we don't fall into an assumed, take for granted mode and leave the older adopted child behind.
Still living, loving and learning....
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tonight I will start with an update.
We have hit 6 months!! Who would think! Time goes sssooo s l o w will waiting for your child to come home and then it simply flies by in a flash. Why is that?! We had our last home visit and will hopefully be getting into court soon!
I can't wait to share his picture!
Jet is doing good! His vocabulary continues to grow. A short 6 months in and we are working on fine tuning his pronunciation. He has an incredible grasp of the English language and the meaning of words. Quite evident by the fact he is able to translate so many things from English to Thai!
Oh...I got it... Jet's favorite phrase....usually includes a pointer finger in the air, followed by his answer/thought/comment. We must hear it at least 20 times a day!
Jet is working to find his fit with his brother and sister, not by angry glares anymore. His "edge" or wall of protection is for the most part non-existent. We have entered a new phase of grieving, thankfully. As odd as that may sound, I strongly believe it would not be a good situation if we didn't experience grieving. Jet has mourned the loss of his friends. Difficult as that may be, he did make it a habit of bringing it up when one of his siblings was not doing what he wanted or they were disagreeing. I by no means am saying Jet did not miss his friends. His feelings were real. He just also happens to be a smart kid!! ;))
Another sign of his grieving/stress is the thumb sucking is back. He has also reverted to another "behavior/tic" we had noticed right after meeting him in Thailand. It is not as frequent as it was then, but it definitely indicates some sort of unrest in his sweet soul.
The kid has got to be so confused about our weather!! We had the snow in early Oct. and now we have had above normal temps, not even requiring winter coats!! Truth be told, the munchkin is pretty much always cold though!!
Peanut and Jet continue with their love/hate relationship. Two type A personalities either clashing or joining their abundant energy to overwhelm us type B people! The honeymoon has definitely ended for Peanut yet she still mentions a prayer of thanksgiving for Jet finally coming home. Reigning in her motherly/big sister self is my biggest challenge with her.
Bug has become more assertive and open in his relationship with his brother. Bug and Jet have finally bonded over L*ego and St*r Wa*s. Bug still requires his Sissy time. Jet struggles with the fact his younger brother is bigger than him. Competition and comparison are 2 big struggles for Jet. Also 2 expected struggles for siblings and for a child raised in an orphanage for 8 years, I believe.
I will leave my personal update for another day. Suffice it to say, I have called on a blogging buddy who had offered to talk if I ever needed it. I am admitting I need it, probably did awhile ago. More on that soon. I did say I wanted to share it all and I am convicted of that feeling again. So I will.
I missed blogging. I look forward to sharing.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bug was telling us about something that scared him. We were talking about it and how God fits into it all. Jet spoke up and said when in Thailand he told his "Moms" about monsters scaring him. He then touched one of the bracelets he came home wearing saying the "Daddies" put it on him because it would keep him safe. I knew what he was telling us, what I was understanding, between his broken English and hand gestures fit with what we knew to be true. When in Thailand I had asked Miss Oh if she knew of the significance of his bracelets/strings. The one he was indicating was only available at a Wat, the monks would be the "Daddies". He went on and on about how they reassured him about the bracelet protecting him along with the particular Buddha they made an offering to.
First, we were amazed at how Jet was able to understand "scared" and relate it to feelings he had in Thailand. Also amazing was his ability to use English words in place of Thai words. Creating a relationship to our God protecting us and Buddha protecting was not what one would expect from an 8 year old who had been speaking our language and heard about God for 4 months either!!
Almost 2 months later the stories continue and have become much more clear as his grasp of the English language grows by leaps and bounds. Even when one wouldn't think that could happen!
We have learned some absolutely wonderful things about his past. It is so great to be able to share in his first 8 years in such a way! He has been able to give us a huge understanding of the Buddha worshiping he was familiar with, different outings he went on, school experiences..... Some of the stories are more difficult to process (accept, not understand), some we are hoping are still a little lost in translation, all best left for our son to keep close to himself and us as his parents.
Last night as we sat down as a family (of 5!!) to watch N*mo, Jet explained to us he had seen it in Thailand with 3D glasses in the movie theater!! With all his friends!! What a hoot!!
Today Bug told me Jet had alot of America in Thailand! Is that a good thing? I am not sure, however it does makes the transition easier for our older adopted children.
We have even moved into a new phase. Jet is now teaching us Thai! Is that not just crazy!! I love it! Tomorrow morning he will be teaching school in the beginning of our day....Peanut, Bug and I will be learning to count to 100 in Thai!! I better go get some sleep~
Sunday, October 18, 2009
On Oct. 10th those same friends were in SD for a surprise visit. They were able to see Jet experience his first snow!!
Who would think??!!
Jet has been very anxious for quite some time about when he would get to see snow. We have let him know many times he really didn't want the snow to come yet! I mean really, he can't hold an orange just out of the fridge long enough to peel it or an ice cube tray to get more than one ice cube out!! LOL Snow = COLD
No more than 2 days prior to Saturday Oct.10th, I had talked with Jet, again, emphasizing we wouldn't see snow for about 2 more months. We would have fall, albeit a colder than normal one.
Please don't tell anyone I am to blame for the snow!
I got to make Jet's night twice that night. First, telling him he could finally wear the footed sleeper for bed. He had been waiting for this since we had tried it on in fall!! And second, having him look out the window!! It was a good thing it was a footed sleeper!!
He flew out the door and danced around on the deck with his brother and sister. They tasted snow together and made small snowballs.
He was SO excited!!
There was one small moment of indecision of whether to be excited when he realized the snow might mean he couldn't try his new skateboard he had just received.
.....he didn't even stop to take off his knee and elbow pads!! Or helmet!! LOL
A snowman was even built! It was a little wobbly. You know, nobody was willing to make their snowball smaller so each one was the exact.same.size. Oh the competition!!!!
Our house was filled to the brim....4 munchkins, 3 adults, 2 dogs, loud laughter, fun, and lots of love!!
It was simply put...priceless. We are so blessed.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
It was such a treat to see him interacting with another child and the giggling laughter from these two was pure joy!!
Then we found out it was his best friend who was also coming to America!!
At that time, we were told the boys were kept together at the babies home rather than having to move to the boys home. One less move for them since they had families that would be coming to get them! We were thrilled. We also learned the boys had been told they had families in America. It was explained to us this was not the norm, individuals within the orphanage were very excited for the boys and told them. Ordinarily, it seems the children are given much less "notice".
Jet knew for 14 months he had a family in America. His best friend is still waiting.....20 months after he heard the great news.
Yes, I said 20 months.
And his family in America has been in process to bring him home for well over 2 years now.
Mark and Shawna recently received some news that rocked their world and is leaving this adoption completely up in the air. There is a possibility their son is not considered "adoptable". They along with their 2 beautiful daughters, age 9 and 11, and 3 grown children, are grappling with this news. Trying desperately to understand the reasons behind all this wait and uncertainty.
God's hand has been on this adoption all along. They first spotted this young boy in Thailand 3 years ago. Yet they felt led down a different path towards their next child. After the door closed on that path, a new photo album was delivered and that young boy was still waiting....It was a full year later. Another door had been opened. They knew he was the one.
We have met this little boy. He turned 8 this past summer. He is a delightful, smiley, energetic, finger-snapping little boy! He loves to ride bikes and his favorite color is pink. Those are 2 tidbits I learned from Jet.
He is my son's best friend. Jet is well aware he has a family here in America. In fact today, out of the blue, Jet said, "I can't wait till my friend comes to America". I didn't need to ask who he was talking about but I asked anyway. I was right. My heart ached at that moment.
I call him their son, as he will always be their son. No matter what.
Please, please pray for Mark and Shawna, Marina and Alexis, for peace and strength in this wait. Pray for those in Thailand acting on behalf of this little boy, that God may slip the necessary documents/evidence in place. Pray for this little boy, for an understanding in his heart. That he may know HIS FAMILY WANTS HIM VERY MUCH.
Thank you for taking this family into your hearts, thoughts and prayers. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. I wish they lived close by, so I could hug Shawna on a daily basis. I know I would need it by now. Actually, I would have needed it a long time ago. Also I did have permission to use their names in my blog.
May God bless you all~
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Today we took part in an activity in support of respecting life. In doing so I am brought face to face with the reminder that my children grew in another Mama's tummy. And I am a Mama because they are, too. They chose what they thought would be the best choice for their child. They will always be a mother regardless of whether they went on to have other children or not.
I can't stand there with my 3 Asian children and not think about the fact they would not be here, in this world, if their birth mothers had not chosen life. In countries, in life situations where it would have been so much easier to make a different choice. I am brought to my knees as I pray for all life to be allowed to live as I realize my life would not be what it is. I can't help but pray for God to bless these women in unimaginable ways for the HUGE blessings I have been given. I pray they might know God and be comforted with their choice.
For us, it is an obvious answer to our children when they question the facts of their adoption, when they wonder why she didn't "want" him/her. Society dictated certain things where our children were born. (Like extreme poverty for an unwed mother and child, no likelihood of a marriage for the mother or son, etc...) But....
She made the choice to give life to the baby growing inside her.
She wanted her child to simply be. They were chosen, first by her and secondly by us.
And there will never be enough thank yous or words to express to our child's birthmother(s). Though their ages may not be far from mine, I feel an almost motherly instinct towards them. I want to know how they are doing, where they are in their life now, to take care of them, let them know how their precious gifts are doing. And at times, thinking about the fact I will more than likely never get to do that this side of heaven is just too much.
So till then....... thank you and may God bless you~ you are loved and cherished by God and by us.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
There are times Jet feels like he has been a part of our family forever. Then there are moments when it all feels brand new.
Jet's language skills continue to improve. He works so hard at pronouncing words. It is fascinating to me, having done infant and older child adoptions from different Asian countries,
the sounds present in our English language that the Asian mouth has difficulty making. My infant adoptions were at 4.5 and 5 months. It seems to me it would be in the development of their mouths in the womb, hereditary, which makes it difficult to produce those sounds. Jet watches my mouth so carefully, diligently trying over and over again to produce a sound like mine. His grasp of the English language is awe-inspiring, even grasping emotions, being able to relate it to Thailand and how he experienced the same emotion there.
I have noticed the last week or two, however, Jet relies on his brother and sister to give answers. He jumps in on the last few words making it seem as if he had the same answer! In a way it has given a false sense of his understanding. I am working to ensure his true understanding by questioning him directly, alternating between them all.
Jet eats well, has gained 3 or 4 lbs (much needed) and still sleeps well. One thing I have noticed is there is only 2 times in the past 5 months where Jet has told me he is hungry. I am not sure it is a feeling he is use to, or having someone willing/able to do anything about it.
We continue to work on knowing when we have to use the bathroom. Shortly after IL, he was talking about his stomach hurting and I suggested he go in and sit. He did and afterward relayed the whole story back to me--my stomach hurt, Mama said go sit on potty, I did and my stomach doesn't hurt anymore! Huge smiles and excitement!! I was able to explain when he had that feeling he needed to go. In the last week or so he has known 2x on his own it was time to go!! Progress!
I think this last month or so has been hardest on myself. I feel like parenting is a whole new ball game and I am not playing the game very well. Peanut and Bug were incredibly close siblings, very rarely arguing. In retrospect, I truly had no idea what sibling rivalry was. The "I want to do it, it's my turn, he is always first, etc....", along with the tattletale-ing has been new for me to adjust to and for us to figure out how to parent.
I have also had a difficult time feeling comfortable explaining myself to anyone. We wanted to have kids, a "big" family. We struggle to have these children and to be parents, how dare we feel anything other than excitement, happiness in our new situation. It feels contradictory to the waiting phase where all we could think about was getting our child home. It is a blessing, we are thrilled yet like any parent growing their family, we have struggles.
We ARE so blessed to be a family of five!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
She's definitely not in this house!!!!!!!!!!!!
But thanks for thinking of me, buddy! I cherish the innocent inquiries and his earnest attempts to understand and be a part of our family. I am so thankful he is comfortable enough to say what is on his mind!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
|Make a Smilebox slideshow|
(Make sure you hit play 2x, once on this page, then again when the screen comes up to start the slideshow!)
We had a great time, definitely. I hadn't put too much thought into how it was going to be for Jet to go. Papa and I had talked a couple of times about it, things we knew to watch for in regards to attachment, etc.... It was a trip we had to go on for a variety of reasons and it was an opportunity for family to meet Jet.
From the start, though Jet was confused as to where we were going, how long to get there and the weather, he never exhibited his previous signs of being nervous/anxious/uncertain. He was hesitant and shy when meeting new people at first. Very normal behavior and a good sign, I believe. However, he was able to see his brother and sister interacting and seemed to fit right in.
The first part of the trip was family centered and busy with the 90th birthday party. We did take the 5 cousins for a photo shoot at the Pic*ure People which turned out fantastic! We had two 8 year olds, one 6 year old and 2 15 month olds!! So much fun, I look forward to posting a few once we hit our 6 month mark for Jet!
As you saw in the slideshow, the 2nd couple of days was at a friend's house which is very resort-like. Papa hadn't been back to IL in 5 years so he hadn't seen "L"'s new digs. Our kids combined with "Z" are safe with many options of things to do. Our munchkins have known L their whole life and are comfortable with her. She enjoys being with them, so it is easy for me to feel "off" and let them go to her. I realized shortly into the 2nd day Jet was becoming too comfortable with L and disregarding us. Peanut and Bug know what Mama and Papa have for rules and expectations still stands but that isn't something Jet could have known, let alone understood. Thankfully, it did come to my attention and I started to pull Jet back to me and Papa, insisting he come to us for things, hold our hands when necessary, etc...
As a side note, vacation is a difficult thing to explain, let alone one Jet had ever heard before. Usual chores are different or non-existant, different parenting is exhibited if other kids are involved, no routine, often more activities planned, lifestyle differences....So many things you don't realize when your other children have grown up with those differences, as they are in EVERY family, knowing that every family is unique. We have answered a few questions along the way but for the most part, it just IS.
For a child, who has one experience of a family/home in the US (or anywhere for that matter!), such a change can be confusing/overwhelming! And though his language skills are incredible, there are some things that aren't able to be explained in a way he can grasp.
Had we spent enough time trying to explain vacation? Did we do enough planning of what we needed to do, what our family/friends needed to not do? It is hard to think of EVERY scenario, each moment of what MIGHT happen.
What did happen I don't think I would have ever come up with in my mind as a scenario. No matter how much thinking I put into it.
Jet knew what state we lived in, we had used a map of America to show where our state was, where we were going, what states we would drive through and we had discussed we would be heading back home. Home and our state were two words we had used many times since Jet came home. We thought they were fairly solid in his understanding.
Leaving went off without a hitch. We had to stop by Papa's family one last time for a quick visit. Then the long ride back through the same states. We stopped at the same exit/restaurant/gas station. (For no reason other than we are creatures of habit!) Our emphasis was on home and our state. We arrived, unloaded the car and drove to return our rented car, picking up our car along the way. It was at a stop on the way home (again) when Jet fell apart. I was asking him a question and when I turned to look at him, I saw the tears glistening in his eyes. I opened up the flood gates by asking what was wrong. He sobbed and sobbed for a little while until he was able to choke out he liked Aunt L's house. He listed all the really fun things to do there as why he liked it and wanted to be there. I did my best to explain we all liked it, it wasn't like that every single day, Z didn't get to do that everyday, fall and snow were coming there too, and we would go back next year.
For a few days after I was told "I can't wait to go back to IL, I like Aunt L, I like Aunt L's house"...alot. Jet has had more melancholy episodes since returning and has been ATTACHED to my side. He has been like a bear on honey when he realizes I am on the phone with L. Jet has become more picky about things in our house, comparing it to L's house. He has become more assertive in things he WANTS, expecting to get them, like food choices, doing activities, not doing chores.
Some of those things could be related to regular family life adjusting, I realize, however the situations do present in similarity to our time in IL.
2 steps forward, 10 steps back...isn't that how the saying goes!! Or at least close! We enjoyed our time, no doubt! We had beautiful unexpected nice weather. Family and friends met our new son and we got to meet new nieces! New memories made! Lessons learned!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Yes, it is Papa singing, playing guitar and a song he wrote on the Smilebox!!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
When Jet first came home his idea of play with a doll was throwing it down and all around. It didn't take long for him to catch on and the other day when Bug was getting Tracey in her carrier, Jet wanted to do the same!! I am going to make him a black one this weekend to match one I use with my daycare infants. Good training for the future!!
Vacation was good, too soon for Jet though. Writing that now.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
It is INSANE to take 3 children on a 10 hour car ride. One with minimum understanding of "10 hours".
We left the house, with everything but the kitchen sink, and made 2 quick drive thru stops. Upon stopping to grab pizza for lunch in the car, Jet said "Illinois?". (Our destination)
Our concenus was Miss Oh did a GREAT job translating to Jet how long our flights home were going to be home from Thailand. Us, not so much, in preparing for this trip!!
Peanut and Bug forgot since last year how to travel! I have made this trip at least once every year with them as we have family and friends here. Last year was great. This year Peanut basically asked every hour what time it was, as she knew what time we estimated to arrive. Bug talked about being restless and are we there yet constantly.
Can you even imagine if we had taken them to Thailand!?!! I assumed they would be great travelers as they have been in the past. It would have been one long flight!!
We are here for Papa's grandma. She turns 90 today! Big celebration happening on Saturday. Papa hasn't seen his family in 3 years.
Off to celebrate!!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
In Thailand (and at home before travel) we used Jet's Thai name and nickname. If I remember correctly Miss Oh did ask us if we were giving him an American name and I am fairly certain she did mention it to him. But we never discussed it there. We had more important things to discuss, like potty etiquette!!
Once at home I used Jet's American name with his Thai name as his middle name when calling the kids sporadically. I am a full name kind of Mama. My munchkins get called by their first and middle names often. So it fit. And I used it as an explanation for him. Bug and Peanut have part of their Korean name in their middle names so it was fairly easy for him to grasp.
We had spent 20 months calling Jet by his Thai name, it was a hard habit to break. And quite honestly, Papa and I had never sat right down and said we felt it had to be done one way or the other. We had time and felt Jet had choices. We simply made him aware we had chosen an American name for him.
After we had been home about 7 weeks or so the munchkins and I went to a musical performed by dancers from Peanut's dance studio. We ran into a family from our home school group we hadn't seen since returning home. My friend was introducing one of her son's to Jet and I leaned down to Jet and said can you tell him your name? Jet immediately said his American name! I was stunned. I hadn't yet thought to put the question to him. It hadn't seemed like enough time had gone by to me!
Shortly after that we were getting ready to attend a 4th of July party and I sat Jet down and asked him what he wanted to be called. He chose his American name and said he wanted us to call him that too. So that was how he was introduced.
Some of us in our family are better at using his American name. Bug calls him by his Thai name almost exclusively. Papa uses his nickname the most. Peanut and I use his American name.
In typical toddler fashion, Jet uses his name when referring to himself as he is at that stage in learning the English language. He uses his American name. Except when talking about his time in Thailand. He uses his Thai name then. It is honestly quite funny. He will change the name if he gets confused and says the "wrong" name. The first time he used his Thai name when talking about himself in Thailand I was quite surprised!
He answers to all and doesn't get upset about any name he is called.
Just a little over 2 months left and we can let you know what his name is and show you a picture!! Can't wait!!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
About 1 week prior to traveling to bring Jet home, it hit me, Jet would be standing! I had stuck with the non-messy sitting down method with Bug. He is an easily distracted kid and I simply didn't want to deal with it. (Terrible, I know!) YIKES! I wasn't sure how ready I was for the "big boy way" from a little boy.
That was more MY problem..... still not much thought on the differences and communicating those differences with our language barriers.
Jet's reaction to the western style toilet in the bathroom was our first inkling this was going to be an adventure! I was SO thankful Papa was the favorite at these times, for sure!! It was a mix of peaked interest and of being terrified.
We quickly realized Jet never asked to use the bathroom. He would go for hours and hours. I am assuming there was a set schedule for everything at the orphanage. The caretakers, quite frankly, would not be able to get anything else done if they took each child when they needed to go. Way too many children and not enough caretakers. Plus Thailand is a country that uses the elimination communication type method. After a few days he began to initiate needing to go on his own at times. Yeah! This was pretty easy, huh?!
Since I wasn't the one assisting with the bathroom time it took a couple of days for us to realize (ok, for me to ask!) he wasn't sitting to do anything. If you catch my drift! ;)) He must have had one uncomfortable tummy by this point, poor guy!
Jet had no desire to sit on this western style toilet and our hotel had HUGE toilets, too. I couldn't blame him too much as his tiny Thai bottom was LOST on it! And I will add for the benefit of others adopting older children, a different method is used which doesn't use toilet paper. So that needs to be taught as well. Jet was NOT thrilled with this concept.
Jet seemed to have NO idea when he needed to take time to sit and go. He still only seldom is aware of the need. I have to try and keep track and remind him. A couple of weeks ago I realized he will use our Thai version "hong nam" for a quick visit and use of American "potty" if he is going to "sit"! LOL I have to work hard to remember this because I will often tell the kids to go potty before we are leaving the house. That gives Jet cause to stop and look at me with a questioning face!
I assume the method used to potty train is the cause of him not knowing/realizing the signs telling him to go. Not regularly going and the change in diet has created some uncomfortable situations for all involved. In Thailand, I would typically need to leave the hotel room for the duration of time needed and here at home, nobody likes to go near the bathroom for awhile after. TMI??!! Just keeping it real!
On another subject, thank you very much for the prayers and kind words about Papa's job. He had an interview this evening for a job he would LOVE to do. It is with his company, but a long shot. We are down to 2 weeks and I had panic set in this evening. I had been doing well, knowing it was in God's hands and He knew this was going to happen. And He has a plan. It is so easy though to let fear and doubt creep in, allowing despair to take over. We know despair is not of God, however. When searching through my Bible, I came upon this--
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12: 7-9
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Rocked our world, even though we know the economy is in trouble. Praying hard it doesn't rock our adoption too much. We will be contacting our agency tomorrow.
We are praying another area of the company will be able to offer him a place. If you could join us in that pray we would appreciate it.
Will post again later tonight about adoption.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
A description of the food served at the orphanage-- We received a definition as well as saw 2 lunches being served. It is a clear broth with pork balls or chicken, thai veggies, and chinese noodles or noodles. They are served a bowl of rice after that with taro, mango or banana.(or just rice)
Take out stock in chicken broth!! My best piece of advice!!
When we first arrived home, I made quite a few stir-fry's, fried rice and pad thai meals. All were well received, I thought. Then Jet had a tummy problem (tomorrow's post!) and I went out and got chicken broth to make soup. It was the first time Jet said "good" without being asked if he liked it! Well, duh!! Our version of soup--broth, rice, chicken, carrots--is what he ate everyday, three meals a day.
It has become quite comical because every time I have a whole chicken out, he points and says with hope in his voice, "soup"!! (I tend to cook a few whole chickens at once, then pick the meat off to use in recipes)
Jet had definite dislikes in the beginning. Macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, sandwiches, oatmeal, beef of any kind, mexican food, strawberries....to name a few.
One thing to point out, I know the baby books say to try something many times before knowing if they really don't like it. I equate the process with Jet over the last 3 months, in many parts of development, to be similar to a baby/toddler's. Only on mega steroids!! The process, that is, not Jet!
He now loves macaroni and cheese, doesn't gag on his oatmeal and finds peanut butter tolerable.
He doesn't grumble about sandwiches but still prefers chicken and turkey to beef.
Soup still does reign as best!!
A side note, the soup is eaten with a spoon and a fork. Actually, Jet likes to eat most anything with both utensils. And they use them at the same time! Not one and then the other. For a while after we got home, Jet wouldn't use both. I assumed it was because his siblings didn't. However, in the last few days, he has gone back to eating that way.
When we first had Jet join us in Thailand it was obvious he was expected to eat what was on his plate. Being unfamiliar with quantities and wanting him to try new things, we had to pay close attention to whether he liked something or not. We always had something we were fairly sure he would like as well.
Papa worked to get Jet to understand he didn't have to completely clear his plate. Papa would exaggerate full by leaning back in his chair, patting his stomach and say full. Near the end of our time in Thailand Jet leaned back in his chair, patted his stomach and said FULL!! We laughed till we were crying!
And when I say clear his plate, I mean clear his plate. He will literally eat every little kernel of corn, piece of rice, noodle, not leaving anything on his plate. He still does, unless it is something he is not fond of.
We did go through a phase where he thought he could say no thank you to something that was being served. LOL
I can count on one hand how many times Jet has asked me for something to eat. He still isn't too confident with full and hungry. He did wai in the beginning each time we would offer him something to eat in between meal times.
The orphanage gave us a bunch of boxes of milk to take with us. They were soy and cow milk. We have many allergies in our house so we have all kinds of milk--goat, cow, rice, soy and almond. His favorite is the rice milk, vanilla flavored.
We do very very little soda and the bubbles drive him crazy! He is a very fast drinker and that is uncomfortable with fizz.
Hope this helps plan for some easier transitions in your house!! Any questions ask!
Monday, August 3, 2009
I have never been able to get this out of my heart. Our first 2 adoptions were through Holt International. I read their stories over 9 years ago, while waiting for our first child. It is a driving force in continuing to pinch pennies, drive older cars, not have cable and more.
It is even more relevant to me today after having been to the orphanage 3 months ago. I know one day I will stand before my Lord to answer for my life. I hope to be able to say I have answered for these children in every way I felt you wanted me to, Lord.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Last night, I am listening to Jet and Bug play and think I hear him saying something that sounds like Latin. Part of a Latin song we sing at Mass. But I am quite sure I am just hearing things. I listen again, more closely.
Peanut is sitting next to me and starts to giggle. She proceeds to tell me they are learning the songs we sing in Latin at Mass!! And I wasn't hearing things, Jet was singing it!
Then all 3 broke out in song....
Agnus Dei, qui tolis peccata mundi miserere nobis.
They are having a blast!!
And Jet is fitting right in. In fact a few of the leaders didn't even realize he hadn't been in the country very long until I said something the second morning!! (His teacher did know)
Bug and his best friend have enveloped Jet right into the fold. When John Paul asked for us to get together, he said Bug and Jet's names!! Made my heart feel good. Such a sweet boy!
Thanks for letting me share!!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The first is a touchy subject for any of us in our house. Since we had just lost our Sam right before traveling to Thailand, we are still grieving. Quite frankly, we still have up and down moments in regards to it. We have pictures around and haven't been able to get rid of his toys/bones.
Jet is very interested in dogs and loves to hug my sister's dog, Daisy. He naturally has looked at pictures and looked to me with questioning eyes. I know we have been able to help him understand Sam use to be here with us, live inside our house, didn't bite and those were his toys. But I do not know what he thinks happened to Sam. I have not had the words to explain why we are at times in tears about Sam. Why Bug prefers we don't talk about Sam in front of him. Jet at times, seems concerned and I am unable to give him an understanding. That is difficult for us both.
The second subject is a personal one for me. I am a plus size gal, to put it bluntly. Recently Jet saw a picture of me at my Grandma's from my HS senior year. Years before PCOS ravaged my body. He gestured with his hands indicating small to big while puffing out his cheeks. Lovely. I simply smiled and gave the "God makes everybody a different size, shape and color" comment. One or two more times here at home he has made similar gestures and I have responded the same as well. I don't want to discourage him from expressing his thoughts but do feel uncomfortable. Then he did it while waiting in line at the post office a day ago. Obviously, I am aware he means no harm by it. And I know he doesn't have a grasp on our words for inappropriate, hurts feelings, for me to let him know why not to do it. Difficult for me as I already struggle being comfortable in my skin.
We knew there would be times we would struggle with the language barrier and I must say it has been so much easier than expected!! Just a few of the quirky times I thought I would share!!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Why? Why?? Why would someone consider making a movie about orphans, depicting such ugly things on CHILDREN who have already suffered huge losses in their little lives.
How is Hollywood accepting such trash when it is so "popular" to adopt among the stars? Is it different because they are adopting babies or toddlers? Or different because it would never happen to them? They could never have a child who has been hurt so badly by others in their life, they are no longer able to "feel".
I am now not just an adoptive Mom, I am the mom to an 8 year old who joined our family about 2 1/2 months ago. MONTHS. He was over 8 when he came home. The child depicted in this movie is 9 years old. I am outraged to say the least.
I am so angry with a society that would allow movie makers to even THINK a movie such as this one would be profitable. We should be making Warner Bros very aware of how deplorable this movie is to all. Each and every member of our families should be outraged for their nieces, nephews, cousins, grandkids, kids, children who are adopted. All the people party to the making of this movie should be bombarded with mail from the adoptive community.
Truly it is trash, even if you aren't personally touched by adoption. There aren't many people nowadays NOT touched by adoption personally. So you might say it is more common place/acceptable to adopt so the movie is "no biggie". So NOT true!
Infant adoption is much more acceptable today. Toddler adoption is starting to be more commonplace but older child adoption is still filled with horror stories. The few you can find. It happens rarely and is talked about even less. This movie will sure change that! All the negative stereotypes will be rearing their ugly heads squashing any positive voices that are trying to cry out for these children.
I love adoption. I wouldn't be a mother without it.
Thanks be to God, I am now a strong advocate for older child adoption.
I have been to the orphanage. I have seen a few of the 143 million orphans searching for a home. I have had them reach out and clutch my arm, shirt, purse, as soon as I get close enough. So happy to see and touch a fellow friend's new mom. Not even their Mom, another child's mom. I have looked at a group of 36 cottage mates standing before me, smiling and giggling, wiggling with excitement. As I silently count them, the math makes me even sadder. See, I know only 59 children came HOME to their families in the US in 2008 from Thailand. I know there are other countries involved but it still leaves alot of numbers behind. Except it isn't numbers to me. It is faces and eyes.
These are the faces being hurt again by such a film being produced and shown. To prejudice a society against considering giving these children a family.
Please watch the trailer as seen. It opens tomorrow, July 24th. Please please consider boycotting Warner Bros. And let them and all those involved in this film know your feelings.
Not attending the film isn't enough. More must be done.
For the children left behind. The faces I will NEVER forget.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
She said it is inspiring. She wants to inspire people. So more kiddos have a family. Because there are some million (143 million) orphans in the world. And less than 5% over the age of 5 will be adopted. And that's not right.
Be inspired. I am.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Did you know a newborn baby knows their Mother's heartbeat from being in the womb and is comforted by that same heartbeat on the outside of the womb? But if an adoption plan is made for them, they never hear that familiar heartbeat again. Instead they hear a different heartbeat, or two or three or a different heartbeat each time they are picked up.
One of my munchkins had the birth mother's heartbeat, first foster mother, hospital nurse heartbeats for a week, second foster mother, travel escort and then me. All in a matter of 5 months.
Jet missed the first eight years of "normal" infant/toddler experiences. That sense of security and familiarity. That is alot of different heartbeats.
I had gone through 2 infant adoptions without much knowledge of the attachment part. Nine years ago very little was shared or talked about related to attachment in adoption, particularly in infant adoption. What a shame that was and continues to be, with such a small focus on the losses infants experience. I know now the mistakes made with our first child and the consequences there are for that lack of knowledge. I was very determined to do what I could to set Jet off on the right foot.
Allowing him to be my baby/toddler in as many ways as possible was what I set out to do.
Most suggestions I read about in books were targeted for the toddler adoptions. If my son wanted to lay in my arms and have a bottle that would have been fine, however with a 6 and 8 year old in the home, I couldn't imagine the new 8 year old would even think about it.
I knew we would snuggle, I would hold him in the crook of my arm like I did my babies and still do with Peanut and Bug, I would sing to him, I would apply lotion for the touch, I would find opportunities to feed him, ensure we were the only ones to offer food for a long time, keep him close by, help him with daily skills even if he could do them on his own.
But I felt like something more tangible was needed. Something that would always be there to remind him he WAS able to experience baby/toddler time with his mom and dad. To heal that loss he had experienced. Peanut and Bug are both still blankie kids so I got Jet a baby blanket. We took it to Thailand with us so he would have it from the start.
As a side note, I was very bothered by the idea we would be leaving even the clothes he had on at the orphanage. I knew it was very important to have that one familiar thing and to not wash the clothes right away so they could have the familiar smell as well. I thought the blanket could serve for both. As it turns out, he did not have to change his clothes.
I had the blanket ready for the first night and made sure it was with him every night since then. He showed no real interest in it until about 2 weeks ago. Then boom! His baby blanket has become very important to him and goes all around the house. He asks to take it in the car with us, reads with it and snuggles it at night. I quite frankly have yet to wash it either!
I am so thankful he has taken to the blanket and I feel it is playing a small role in his healing the past losses he has experienced. I would highly recommend using something like this if adopting an older child!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Some of our more fun word mishaps--
"Mama, here's milk!" Shouted to me from the foyer while he had been playing outside. Took me a minute.....it was the mail!!
His arms in a muscleman pose after moving something--"MUSTARD" with lots of pride in his voice!! After a moment of confusion--MUSCLES!!
The wonder Jet shows for all things continues to keep us all more wonder-filled. It makes you stop and smell the flowers so much more and remember to thank God for all the many blessings in your life. I was running to our grocery store recently with Peanut and Jet. I was not looking forward to the trip and as I pulled into the parking lot, Jet lets out this "AWESOME". He was so excited to be going there!
It is so fun to hear "awesome" in a Thai accent! It is another favorite word. Bug says it alot so now Jet does too.
Foods Jet didn't like before are now enjoyed, some of them. Mac and Cheese is good as is oatmeal. Peanut butter is still not. He really enjoys helping in the kitchen. Actually he likes to help everywhere. He voluntarily comes up and asks if he can help quite often with many tasks.
He is rather proud of the fact he is no longer freezing cold all the time! Just wait till our winters come, sweetie!!
We have days of struggle, sadness was very evident a day or two ago. Even Peanut came up to me and said she thought he seemed sad. I used our Thai book to show him the word sad. I was saddened by the fact he didn't know the word sad in Thai. But he needs to know it in English? We just keep loving each other.
In the mail today we received about 40 or so Thai/English books I had ordered. I wish I could have captured the smile on his face when I showed him the books! He was so excited and so proud tonight when he read the bedtime story to Peanut and Bug. I love to sit and listen to him speak in Thai.
I realized something while listening. He speaks in this quiet gentle voice. We thought he was shy with his voice and his English and had been asking him to speak louder. Why is it we are so loud? I am going to work on the other 4 of us being quieter and more gentle in our sounds. It sounds so much nicer!
Jet no longer sucks his thumbs at night. His sores are gone. Quite honestly, that happened rather quickly, I am so amazed. A good sign of attachment!!
We are so thrilled Jet is home! We are very blessed to have this boy as our son and thank God he is home where he belongs!!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Korean-American, Thai-American, Chinese-American.......
Our first 2 munchkins were born in S. Korea and were placed in our arms at 4.5 and 5 months. Our children have tan skin, almond shaped eyes and jet black hair. They are Americans. They have been raised Americans, even though we incorporate their Korean culture into our lives. We live in America. I have not understood the need for one to say Korean-American, etc... We are all American citizens, regardless of our nationality, and I have felt it is something that actually works to divide us as a people. We have chosen to live in the United States of America as Americans. It simply feels like a division, showing and creating a difference where it doesn't seem necessary to have one.
I mean, our children are Asian. Papa and I are not. Papa has black hair and olive colored skin but me? Not so much. In fact, I am a glow-in-the-dark kind of white gal! It is fairly evident upon seeing us as a family we are multiracial. Yet why must there be that separation? They are OUR children, our sons and daughter. They simply could not be more ours had they come from my womb. We became family and each of them an American citizen when a judge declared it so. (Really it was before that but you know what I mean!)
I do not mean this to say it is not important they were born in S. Korea. I do not have any desire to deny their start in life. We discuss their birth country, birth family, customs and traditions of S. Korea. Our munchkins celebrate all 5 of our nationalities with art like this:
(For your reference, 2 S. Korea flags, 1 Thailand, 1 German and 1 Poland flag)
I end up feeling like we are being asked to separate our children from us by stating the rather obvious Asian-American or Korean-American. There are so many moments and times we have to differentiate our relationship to our children because they are adopted. I don't feel it necessary to add to it.
It is Jet's situation that made me start thinking about this conundrum.
He lived a Thai life for a little over 8 years. 8 years. He experienced the culture, food, Buddhism, traditions.....He speaks, reads and writes Thai. He has piles of pictures from his first 8 years in Thailand. His friends and caretakers were all Thai. All of them "like" him.
By saying he is an American instead of Thai-American does that "remove" the Thai life from him. Would we be saying his first 8 years living in Thailand weren't important? Yet he is OUR son. He will become an American citizen in just a few short months. Could we be saying to him "you aren't a full American" by including the Thai?
As a parent, we want to do the best for our children. Adoption adds an extra element of circumstances where you feel the need to proceed with caution. Each child is different in the way they will connect with their birth country and what it means for them.
It feels like we live in a world where everyone struggles to be "better", noticed, more important than the next person. That can only cause division and conflict.
It seems to me like it should be really pretty simple. We are Americans living together in the United States of America.
One nation. Under God.
We are all blessed to live in a country where we are free to live our life, incorporating our nationalities, beliefs, customs and traditions. God bless the U.S.A.!!
Some may agree and some may disagree with my views. Please respect that and be kind in the comments. I do appreciate good healthy discussions that makes one think.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Now, if you don't know the story, this dear woman had to do our HS quite a few times to get it all Hague approved. And they went over it with a FINE tooth comb since we were WACAP's first Hague family for Thailand and second total!
Here is a pic of our SW'er with Peanut at her first post placement visit May 2001. Sorry about the quality, it is a scanned in picture! Peanut is not quite 5 months here!
Doesn't she look loke someone who LOVES her job!! May God bless you, BP, for all the children you have helped over the years!!
Friday, July 3, 2009
This teleconference included people from all over the country. It was well received. The last category to respond to was "tell us something no one would know about you". One of Papa's unknown facts was he had traveled to Thailand to bring home his son.
The director was making comments to Papa and asked him what he thought most adventurous about the trip.
Well, let's see........
We went to Thailand. Well, it is a global company, though many at his site have never even flown in an airplane. So no that's not it....
We went to Thailand, a place with beautiful beaches. True, but we weren't able to GO to the beach so best not to use that one.......
We live in the rural midwest. In a town of 130,000, the biggest town in the state. Enough said! But adventurous??
We don't speak Thai, culture shock, food changes.... Potentially overwhelming but most adventurous?
We flew to Thailand and came home with an 8 year old son! Yes, THAT must be it, definitely most adventurous part!!
Neither one of us can imagine what else would be an answer to that question! I mean he DID have a picture of the kids!! LOL
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Our struggles here come and go. Each day brings new experiences for everyone. We have been spending alot of time working on individual relationships.
Peanut and Bug have never been very competitive with each other. It is something we worked hard at, like we play games to have fun with each other, not just to win. They have never been the type to challenge each other alot or to constantly struggle to be first.
It creates a different environment when there is a strong desire/need to be first or to always be looking to be the winner. I feel the atmosphere becomes more tense and that became hard for Peanut, Bug and myself. We all started to crack.
I will admit I did not anticipate not being first to be an issue. Jet came from an orphanage. He could not have been the first every time! Jet also struggles with a need for personal space that I didn't see as a problem because of living in an orphanage. It is a two-fold though, because he doesn't have a problem with invading YOUR personal space but prefers to have his own personal space left alone.
Bug is a very laid back kid. He has struggled more than I anticipated from the changes. Mostly from having to share his sister. He did start last week to be very bothered by the fact he was always last. Jet and Peanut were getting along well and would forget to include him.
Peanut has been an incredible big sister to Jet. She has been forgiving, helpful, generous and patient. Last week she momentarily lost her ability to tolerate all when the increased language skills brought out some not so nice words. Peanut is a spirited child who reacts dramatically to most everything. Fortunately, she only shared her thoughts with me, not in front of Jet or Bug.
Jet is at the stage with vocabulary where he understands alot, is able to communicate most things but lacks the names of the feelings or has a hard time using his words when he is upset. We have had more emotions from Jet in the last 2 weeks than we have had in the last 9+ weeks. More personality, more crying, more smiles, more frustrations, more sadness.......
Papa and I have spent time re-evaluating the needs of each member and of the family. We have purposely set up scenarios to address the above situations. Our focus till now has been on our family of five as a whole. Now we are trying to break it down as well into smaller relationships. We continue to keep our world small, though Jet does much better when we do go out. He is still often like a deer in the headlights. Not surprisingly.
We are having more days where the laughter and giggles out-numbers the crying. Thank you, God!!
Learning, loving and growing as a family of five!!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Here is the little step I fell down. Not the 2 BIG steps, just the little one. And yes, I fell down it, all 2 inches of it!!
.....to go visit the store, chat with the store owner's son, drool over the guitars (whew, none were left handed!) and take pics of his outing!! In typical tourist fashion!
Hope you all are having a good evening! I am off to give myself a pedicure while munching a cookie or two. Blessings~