Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grateful

Hey, I'm back to the normal blog!  We're home now, and the agency said we're free to share pics publicly online now.  (We still like to maintain some privacy, so please avoid referencing our last name or hometown.)

I know you all must be thinking I'm obsessed with blogging every detail. You're kind of right!  The past week has already become a bit of a blur.  I don't remember which day we did what and when he had this breakthrough or that extreme bout of grief.  The blogging truly has become like a diary for me, and I'm just sharing it with you.  :)

We've been home for less than 24 hours, but I'm feeling good and the rest of my family is occupied (Trent & Asher sleeping, big kids playing in the front with their buddy), so I'm taking a minute to jot down some positive things about the last few days, which have been long!

Reasons I'm feeling grateful:
*For our families!  We missed our big kids like crazy.  It brought me to tears a number of times and made my physically hurt.  I remember another mother in our situation said something so true:  "Being here without them makes the trip so much easier.  And it makes it so much harder."  I thought that exact thought many times.  But I had such a peace about where they were and whom they were with.  It was our family members, whom we are very close to, and whom our kids know and love and trust.  I also know that they love our kids unconditionally, so I wasn't overly worried that C and S would drive them bonkers and they'd never want to watch them again!  (I'm not saying C and S didn't drive anyone bonkers...just that family forgives. Ha!)  I just can't tell you what a peace of mind it gave me.  Plus, they all rotated in and out of our home, keeping things in better shape than when we left!  Leaving snacks, foods, coffee creamer, mopped floors, cleaned freezers and completed projects when they left.

*Asher has re-learned that baths can be a positive thing.  In our new hotel in Bangkok he took 3 LONG baths.  He smelled great and we used it as a way to pass the time.  When we were stuck in Seoul for 9.5 hours, we paid for a teeny little hotel room IN the airport. (Totally worth it, btw.)  It had a small bathroom with a glass door shower, and a hand-held nozzle.  I put him in there with some lukewarm water, a bar of hotel soap and some IKEA stacking blocks and in that 9 hours, he took two shower baths that were both about 50 minutes each!  (While I sat on the toilet lid and enjoyed the free airport wi-fi.)

*We stayed healthy in Thailand!  This was a big concern for me, and I truly think that being healthy helped us stay stronger emotionally for the draining and intense experience that it was.  Asher, as well, never had more than a minor runny nose, which allowed him to experience several take-offs and landings pain free.  Thank you, Lord!  (Also--I will now swear by Airborne and Emergen-C, because I used both like crazy and it seemed to work.)

*Our son is a good sleeper.  As with staying healthy, I think the fact that we got a decent night's sleep each and every night was a huge factor in how we were able to function.  He did struggle some, and needed bottles/comfort during the night, but even at the height of his grieving, we had no really long, sleepless nights.  The sleeping also made the plane rides manageable (which is good, b/c when he was awake he was kind of a holy terror.) We happened to have both of our long flights during what his body concerned "night time" which was a plus.  An age-appropriate dose of Benadryl also helped.  ;)  He slept literally for 5 of the 5 and a half hour flight from BKK to Seoul, and about 7.5 of the 10 hour flight from Seoul to Seattle.  That big pink silky bedspread was a pain to drag around the world, but I was oh-so-happy we had it!  At one point on the longest flight, he was so agitated in his sleeping on our laps that I just laid that thing on the floor and he slept so much more peacefully!  This lasted for a good 6 hours, but when they turned the lights back on, a flight attendant walked by and said "SIR!  Your baby!  He's on the ground!"  Trent said "Yes.  He is."  "He has to be in a seat."   BOO!  He didn't wake up right away, but it certainly was the beginning of the end for our peaceful, sleeping child.

*Our son is a good eater.  We have yet to find a food that he doesn't like.  Although today we tried grill-cheese * turkey sandwiches today and he dug out the cheese and turkey and passed on the bread.  We have learned that some of his favorites are: chicken, grapes, red bell peppers, cucumbers, banana, noodles, rice, pears...those are just some off the top of my head.  This has already made the transition to the US a little easier for all of us.  We are trying to incorporate some Thai-style food as much as possible, but he's been doing great with the American-type foods we've given him so far.  However, he is a MESSY eater.  I swear, it's like Cookie Monster the muppet....we know that the cookie goes into his felt mouth, and we see lots of crumbs flying, but not sure that anything actually gets swallowed.  For some reason, he (Asher, not Cookie Monster) likes to stick his finger (or fingers) into his mouth while he's chewing.  It's like he's pushing the food around with his finger instead of his tongue.  This makes excessive amounts of drool and chewed up foods fall out of mouth continuously!  But I said I was going to focus on the positives, so let's just say:  I'm grateful for wet wipes. SO. MANY. WIPES.

*We met so many neat people along the way.  Just on the way home alone, I had some great conversations with people about Thailand, adoption, the pacific northwest, Holt, etc.  One of our favorites was a group of people we were sitting with at the gate in Bangkok.  Our flight was delayed about 45 minutes, so we had lots of chat time (at 12:30 am) with the people around us.  First there was an American grandma with her Thai daughter-in-law and 8 month old grandbaby.  We also met was a Thai woman and her American husband.  And the people we talked the most with was a Thai couple who live in Dallas, who were probably in their early 60's.  They were sitting right behind us and overheard us telling the others that we were adopting Asher.  They told us they adopted a son (from Thailand after they had moved to the states) 28 years ago.  They both have graduate degrees and retired from high-paying jobs to own a few businesses.  We didn't talk about when they moved to the US, but they were both fluent in Thai and English, with a strong accent.  They played and interacted with Asher like true grandparents, speaking to him in Thai, which made him smile.  The wife asked me why we chose Thailand, and I told her we were drawn to the program b/c of the foster family aspect, but also did some research about the country itself and found ourselves feeling good about this country being a place we would like to be connected with from now on, a place that we could learn about and teach our son and help him feel connected to his home country.  She had tears in her eyes and said "Thank you for saying that."  It was really sweet.  She said their son is not married, but they are really wanting to have some grandbabies!

*We survived the first night at home with minimal jet-lag damage.  I've heard it gets worse in the next few days, but so far we're doing pretty well.  We kept Asher awake until 8pm, and we crashed around 9, and although it was a pretty restless night for all 3 of us, with several wakings and cryings, we never had to absolutely give up and get up and play with him.  He settled in for a deeper sleep around 5am and we let him sleep until 8.  We'll see how the next few days go.  We've been trying to play outside and let lots of sunlight in!  Also, I had my first mug of fresh coffee (first fully caffeinated in weeks!) with my coffeemate creamer and it was oh-so-delicious and helpful getting going this morning.

*My big kids are being rockstars with their new brother!  Many of you have seen the picture of them holding his hand and walking in the airport.  Too much!  Again, I acknowledge that we are 100% in the honeymoon stage right now, but I'm loving it while I have it.  Asher walked into the house following Carson and Sydney last night and didn't hesitate one second.  They spent the entire evening playing and smiling and mimicking and hugging and kissing.  Asher was in first-world toy heaven.  Everywhere he turned there was something new and fun to play with.  His favorites so far are the baby stroller (our ankles and toys have the bruises to prove it) and the strawberry shortcake remote control car--er, strawberry.  The kids practiced saying "Sawat-dee" while we were gone, and Sydney says it constantly to him!  Carson is doing a great job, of altering between calling him Asher and Saran as he gets used to both names.  We've also seen Asher respond better to our re-direction and disipline now that the kids are in on it too.  There's been less spitting and biting for sure.  I feel kind of bad for him, when he has four people saying "MAI-DAI!!" (don't touch) as he heads for the flat screen!  I give it less than 48 hours before they start to get on each other's nerves, but for today?  I'm enjoying have two built-in babysitters.  Carson did refuse to change a poopy diaper, though.  Psh.  Whatever.

*Can't tell you how grateful I am for all of you!  I know that internet community doesn't replace real-life community.  Fortunately, many of you are both.  But I can honestly tell you that the feedback, the comments, the prayers, the messages...they absolutely sustained me in the days before our departure and as we plowed through the difficult days in the oppressive heat of Thailand!  I'm grateful to share our journey, the beauty and the sorrow.  Thanks for coming along for the wild ride, and I have to tell you...the wild part is really just beginning! 


16 comments:

Jill said...

I can't even tell you how excited I was to see a new post from you in my reader! Welcome home and it's so great to read about all of the positives. Praying for you as you settle into this new life!
And, I know what you mean about needing lots of wipes :) Jace may be a few months later and has completely mastered using a fork/spoon but still prefers to use his fingers and makes a MESS. PB&J on tortillas is our worst, especially when he runs his hands through his hair while they're still messy :)

Jo B. said...

Ooh, goody: A nice loooooong blog post. Looking forward to getting to know Asher! Really proud of Carson and Syd, even though this is the honeymoon period. Super happy to have you home, Jen!!

Becky said...

OH, I love this post! Carson and Sydney were so adorable yesterday. You can see that they already love Asher and think of him as brother. One of my favorite things about having Bethany, is watching how much the big kids love her and how much she loves them. It is so special. I am excited to watch this wild ride unfold. Thank you for taking us along! :)

Diane Davis said...

i've looked for a blog post about five times today. don't ya know it's all about ME? sooooo glad you are having a bit of a honeymoon period. i love the pictures of carson bending over and being so attentive in the airport. and syd's hand on carson's arm in your family photo? forgetaboutit! it's a perfect example that even when your kiddos think they can't stand another minute of one another, they are just so bonded. it won't take long for asher.

[you might think about cutting and pasting your blogs back here since the stories are so good. or not. ;) just a thought.]

excited to hear more as the timing is right. i sooooo appreicate the honesty. and when asher grows up and can read about his story, he will too. you don't sugar coat anything, and there is so much love in both the grieving and in the lightheartedness. good stuff, bunch.

xoxo

Steph said...

Woot! I say that because how can I put into words how I feel right now? Im.Possible. ;) Mike got a great pic there. This may be really corny, but there has been this old spiritual going through my head since seeing your family reunion last night. Anyone remember this old one?

He touched me
Oh, he touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened
And now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Praise God! And what a family of 5 you are.

Wendy said...

Loved reading about your journey, Jen. And Thai kids? They aren't that into bread as a rule. I do "roll ups" for Lily. I just roll the meat into tubes and she eats it all up. I haven't met a child adopted from Thailand yet that's been into the bread on a sandwich.

Welcome home!

Aimee L. Salter said...

*Happy Dance*

*Happy Dance*

*Happy Dance*

*Joyful prayer....*

Bridget said...

Congrats!! I didn't want to intrude on your private blog, but I thought of you often. Ditto what Wendy said about bread. I have seen it a few times. We have had more success with potstickers and quesidillas, though.

I still struggle with getting healthy food in my kids. I work outside the home, and trying to wip something healthy up in 20 minutes is a challenge. GET A RICE MAKER. Saved our lives.

Bridget

Ellas Mama said...

Congrats! I can't wait til I get to meet him. He and Ella will be WiNeMa buddies!

Nina said...

What an incredible moment I will keep in my heart. I play it like a movie in my mind and get blessed over and over again. Jumping up and down joy from the adults to all the little ones with all there signs giving you love. Great is His faithfulness for each moment. I dearly love you 5!!!!

Amy Bentz said...

Well Jen, I'll never forget our long conversation about adoption years ago on our way to the coast... I loved hearing your heart then and I can hardly believe it has finally come full circle! You are home :) Words you long to utter on this long journey of adoption.

I am thrilled to hear the kids are loving each other. A momma needs that, even if it is a brief honeymoon phase. It is at the very least a glimpse into the future for your family of 5.

As a fellow adoptive mom, I want you to know how much I appreciate your honesty. I love that you share the good and the bad. No matter how many books we read or seminars we attend nothing helps prepare us better than a first hand account! I'll be honest, sometimes your honesty made my heart hurt so much I could hardly breath. No matter how hard we try to prepare ourselves for the bonding and attachment, the truth is it is NOT EASY. I look forward to learning from your victories and from your short comings. I am proud of you. It takes a strong person with a lot of love and patience to climb the mountain you just climbed. You did it! And it will be worth all the sweat and tears! I love you my friend and are so glad YOU ARE HOME! :)

Emily said...

Thank you SO much for sharing this with us!

Angie said...

I love hearing how things are going now that you're home. I love that your big kids are taking it so well, too. So sweet! Oh yes, the infamous "mai dai!" every two seconds. We laugh about it now!

Angie said...

I love hearing how things are going now that you're home. I love that your big kids are taking it so well, too. So sweet! Oh yes, the infamous "mai dai!" every two seconds. We laugh about it now!

Catiejoyce said...

LOVE this!!! ;-) So glad you are doing so well and able to reflect on all the reasons you are thankful.

PS. I have four people yelling MAI DAI too! ;-) Gotta just laugh. :-)

Ava and Sara said...

I "saved" reading this til I was in bed (well, AM in bed) so I could end a loooong day on a positive note.
This whole adoption journey has been such an eye opener for me and again I find myself realizing more things I'd never thought of. I'm praying now for a peaceful transition for all of you. So glad you are home.
By the way, love all the airplane sleep! The part about the flight attendant was awesome.