Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sydney Paige, age 5

Dearest Sydneygirl,

It probably gets old for me to start every birthday letter with the same refrain: I can’t believe you’re another year older!  But truly, FIVE years old seems to be the start of a new season.  Actually, in the last 6 months or so, I feel like we’ve entered that season.  It’s the season where you start to become YOU.  No longer just a quiet little sister; the easy-going, late-walker, late-talker; the sweet, shy girl who doesn’t say or do much.  You are blossoming into the girl that is and woman that will be SYDNEY PAIGE!  You are realizing that you have thoughts, opinions, likes, dislikes, friends, favorites, talents and WORDS to describe it all.  You are no longer subjected to being carted around town for events that involve only your big brother.  Now YOU are the one who gets to be in the middle of the action, and you have risen to the occasion. 

It may seem trivial now, but I love recording details of your life for you to remember later.  Right now your favorite book to read is Richard Scary’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Well, actually, we usually don’t read this book, we look at the pictures together and you find the little gold bug hidden on each page.  There are over 30 spreads in this book and you know where Goldbug is on each and every page.  We do this as many times a week as mommy can stand it.  You also love the familiarity of some Sydney classics like Knuffle Bunny, Pinkalicious and Purplicious.   But you’re also getting to the point where you’ll pick your own new books out at the library, and not just rely on me to choose for you.   After we read together at night, you are also super obsessed with doing a little back scratch game I taught you.  It’s a little rhyme that says “Going on a picnic, X marks the spot….”  You ask for it every night and even memorized it yourself and do it on Asher’s back!  It cracks me up.

You are very girly and drawn to feminine things.  You love dressing up in fancy play clothes and especially love the forbidden fruit of wearing play makeup.  You are excellent at imaginary play, and enjoy dressing and redressing your barbies and other dolls, putting them to sleep, baking invisible foods and serving them to me all day long.  You like watching Doc McStuffins, which is a cute show about a girl who is a doctor to her stuffed animals.  In fact, the other day daddy asked you what you want to be when you grow up, and you said you want to be a mommy and maybe a doctor.  Of course this pleases me to no end, that you feel like you can be and do whatever you want, and especially that you see value and fulfillment in being a mommy!

You have quite the sassy attitude currently, and it gets you in trouble daily.  Of course sarcasm runs thick in this household, so you come by it honestly.  But sometimes your budding wit catches me off-guard.  The other day the three of you were playing with our toy kitchen and you were bickering relentlessly.  You each wanted to be the head chef of the restaurant and were pushing each other and whining.  Ignoring my reprimands, you marched up to me for the 6th time as my “waitress” and, with a little pad of paper in your hand and a sneaky smile on your face, you asked “What would you like?”  I did not smile and said, “I would like my kids to get along while they play.”  Without missing a beat, you dropped the smile, raised one eyebrow and said “We don’t have that here,” and walked away.  Ha! 

Your confidence has also soared in the last year.  You went from a girl who cried every day at preschool drop-off to a girl begging for playdates, confidently skipping towards swimming lessons (where you completely shine!), and bravely conquering a two-wheeler at age 4.5.   You’ve slowly been learning all your letters and sounds, and numbers.  It doesn’t come easily to you, but you have shown that when you are determined, you can make great progress.  You LOVE writing your name everywhere, and have gone through approximately 597 blank cards and envelopes this year, writing imaginary notes to everyone you’ve ever met and get well cards to any friend of yours who misses a day of preschool. Sometimes they have letters or numbers, sometimes pictures, often just multiple colored lines, which you correctly identify as patterns.  If we sent all the “pattern cards” you made this year, we’d be broke from the stamps alone!  But I love that you are thinking of others and that you like to express yourself through writing and drawing.

Another interesting aspect of your blooming personality is that it has caused me to think more seriously about parenting a daughter.   Before this last year, when I read and saved articles on tips for raising a daughter, it was mostly in theory, because you were very young and honestly so low-maintenance.  We had never had actual discussions. Now we are having conversations and you are noticing the world around you, soaking in what you hear and observe.  I know those first few years were formative, but now, more than ever, I can tell that you are shaping your identity, your view of life and, most importantly, your view of yourself.  This world is hard on girls—on women.    I want so desperately to give you every possible head start as you enter into it.  I seek wisdom constantly on how to ground your confidence in Truth.

 I want you to know from the core of your being that you are a child of God and VALUABLE and worthy of love. I want you to see yourself as a capable, talented, funny, and smart girl.  But I also want you to know that you are beautiful.  Sweet daughter, there is a difference between pretty and beautiful.  Pretty is skin-deep.  Pretty has only to do with appearances.  There are many, many pretty girls in this world.  Red hair is extremely pretty.  You are definitely pretty, and people tell you that all the time.   But beautiful?  Beautiful is MORE. Beautiful shines.  Beautiful is rare.  Beautiful takes what you look like on the outside and magnifies it by the strength and compassion and graciousness that you pour out.   Beautiful is red hair on a girl that LOVES PEOPLE and puts other first and cares when others are suffering.  My precious girl, you are BEAUTIFUL, and I pray you always strive to find the source of that beauty from Him.  

It's the eve of your birthday, and I could stay up late into the night telling adult Sydney who is reading this letter everything I love about nearly-five-year-old Sydney.  As you look back and remember your childhood, I pray that it is a blessed blur of generally happy times; I pray God will give you selective memory to cover our rougher days.  I hope we have conveyed to you how much JOY you bring to our lives, and how deeply and completely you are loved!  Being your mom (and your brothers') is the absolute greatest privilege of my life!  I can't wait to see what the next five years bring.  And the next.  And the next. And the next....

Love, love, love,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 10, 2012--Zoo and Bath

Originally posted June 10, 2012
Hey all, it will be short tonight.  We switched hotels late this afternoon to a very posh place right next to the airport (quite a ways from where we were), and there is no free internet.  You can pay $6/hour for wifi or wait in the lobby for one of two computers to be free, then use it for 20 minutes.  I chose to save my money and try to skype with the kids tomorrow morning.  :)

Saying goodbye to the Pantip.

We decided to go to Dusit Zoo today and it was great.  The shows and scope were not as big as Safari World, but it was a really beautiful park/zoo and lots of shade.  Plus it was only 100 baht/adult to get in.  Trent and Asher got to feed elephants and a hippo for about 80 cents each.  It was a great way to pass the day.  I would highly recommend it to any traveling families.  Of course you are hot and sweaty, but it's really a lovely place.

 Yes, that's a hippo.  One of the deadliest animals--truly.  And for 80 cents you can put your hand in his mouth.  Of course you can.

Asher was not too excited about feeding the elephant.

As soon as we arrived at the new hotel, we were missing the Pantip.  It may be a little older hotel, but the people are lovely and amazing, and it is small enough that you really start to feel at home and just “known.”  This place is HUGE and fancy and dinner cost us 4 times as much as the moon house!
BUT, great breakthrough up in the hotel room before dinner: Asher took a bath and liked it!  We just put several inches of lukewarm water in with some toys and I put my feet in.  He warmed to the idea and ended up staying in there for 45 minutes.  It was great to see some wrinkled fingers on that boy.

Our flight leaves at 1am tomorrow night/Tuesday morning, so we need to leave here around 1030 pm tomorrow.  So we have a little over 24 hours to kill.  Fortunately, the skytrain station is within 5 minutes walking distance, so we’re actually going back into town.  Again–live and learn!  If I had to do it over again, I would have stayed at the Pantip as long as possible. Oh well.
I probably will not be able to post tomorrow since we’ll be getting ready to take off.  If I do, it will be brief. Thanks for all your support and being along with us on this journey!  Once we get back home we’re allowed to post pictures of Asher, so I’ll probably go back to my blogspot address.   Much love and thanks to all of you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 9th, 2012--Saturday and the corner

Originally posted June 9, 2012

I remember reading other travel-adopt blogs and somewhere around now the mamas say “She’s like a different kid!”  Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but I would definitely say we turned a little corner today.  This morning and at naptime, Asher woke up without crying.  HUGE!  For once we were not in a hurry to get out of the room, b/c he was not crying.
We headed back to the outdoor market for a few last-minute souvenirs, mainly a couple things for the kids.  It was hard to shop with our little guy…which we knew it would be.  :)   We get SO many funny looks and even comments when we are out and about with him.  But it’s a lot easier and I feel much less judged now that he is calm and content, rather than crying and flailing.  The subway is WAY less crowded on the weekend.  But we were sitting next a beautiful Thai girl who had on sunglasses.  Asher pulled the sunglasses off my head and put them on his face.  (He’s done this a few times and seems intrigued by how it changes the view.)  He then looked over at our neighbor and she laughed.  Then the glasses slid down his nose and he was still watching her, so she slid her glasses down her nose.  They played a copycat game for a few minutes and entertained all the passengers around us.
We got back to the room and actually felt like we could just relax in here without walking on pins & needles.  Throughout the day, Saranasher has had several bouts of grief that come on pretty much without warning and can last up to an hour.  But that is a marked improvement from just yesterday even.  Trent went and picked up some lunch and Asher was just happy as a clam while we were eating.  So happy that I got the camera and took some pics.  He has the most amazing and adorable dimple.  It’s just one, and it’s over and down from the side of his mouth on his left side.  LOVE. IT!
Then we did the nap thing.  He still cries at sleep time, but we have our routine down and he doesn’t fight it near as much.  We get his big pink blankie and Minky and we all lay on bed and I sing.  We do this at nap and bedtime now, and Trent was laughing that as much as I sing at church, he’s never just sat down and heard me sing for so many hours on end throughout our whole relationship!
After his nap we tried the pool again.  He still was not interested in getting in, but this time we brought a beach ball and some squirty bath toys and he was slightly amused.  He was happy and playing and we got some great pics.  We headed back up to the room and literally by the time we got in, an unannounced storm had rolled in and the view was completely blocked by the monsoon rain.  It was fascinating how quick and strong it came.  Lighting and thunder to follow!

We had dinner in our room with the Brenemans tonight, b/c they are leaving in the morning.  It was fun to just let Layla and Asher play together.  These 2 kids whom we have thought about and prayed over and cried over and worried over and stared at…living and breathing and healthy and not hurt by the floods and….OURS!  It was a great way to spend their last night here.  I will miss them greatly, especially my dear friend Catie.

As they were leaving and we were saying goodbye, Asher got very agitated.  I started walking them to the door and he became almost frantic.  I closed the door and walked back to where Trent was carrying him and for the first time he clearly reached out for me.  He was upset, panicked, for quite a while and we just stood there in the entryway, the three of us hugging and us trying to tell him that we weren’t leaving.  It was a heartbreaking reminder that he is so very fragile.  I’m worried that the several transitions over the next few days are going to mess with him a bit.
We gave him the dreaded bath (a teensy little bit less fighting, I think) powdered up, pj’s on and even through his strong crying, he didn’t even wait for us to tell him what to do, he just headed for the big bed where all his loveys were.  We laid down and did our thing.  I kind of entertain myself with the variety of songs chosen each sleep time.  It’s a mix-tape, if you will, of nursery songs, lullabies, hymns, broadway show-tunes.  Nothing’s off limits.  Tonight I’m pretty sure we covered “You Are My Sunshine,” “How Great Thou Art” and “Tomorrow” from Annie.  He was not falling asleep (but not crying).
BUT..I’ll never forget that as he was fidgeting and getting settled, he reached out his hand and rested it on my arm.  Then he moved his hand to my hand and grabbed my finger.  I opened my hand and held his hand, and he let me.  It was the first time he’d allowed or initiated any physical touch while falling asleep.  I could see his eyes and know he was still awake. Of all the songs I sang tonight, when that happened, I had just finished singing a song my dad used to sing to me when I went to bed, and I can’t think of any words to more perfectly capture my feelings right now:
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best
Lovingly it’s part of pain and pleasure
Mingly toil with peace and rest

June 8, 2012--Friday, Safari World

Originally posted on Friday, June 8th, 2012:
Dear Diary,  today started out rough and ended rough, but there was lots of good stuff in the middle.
Trent and I were hoping for a lazy morning, since we didn’t have to be anywhere until 3pm.  But after a few minutes of happy playtime (see pics of balloon), Asher was feeling very sad again.  He was even more sad when we took turns taking showers and weren’t all together in the same room.  As much as he doesn’t let us hold or comfort him, he likes it even less when we leave.  No one’s relaxing or having a lazy morning when there’s so much crying going on.
We tried to skype and facetime with the kids, but the connection just wasn’t happening.  I was very disappointed, but was able to shake it off.  We took another load of laundry to the place in the alley, then decided to take a taxi to try out Safari World.  Let me just say–it was great!  Totally a good way for us to spend the day with a toddler who doesn’t like the room.
We took a taxi, but I thought someone said it was a quick drive.  It was not.  It took about 30 minutes, 3 toll roads and coast 240 baht (about $8) on the way there and 300 ($10) on the way back.  But, I was just glad our taxi driver had understood what we said and wasn’t driving us out into the middle of nowhere.  As we were headed down the freeway, it started to rain–no, it started to downpour.  We were all wearing shorts and t-shirts.  When we arrived, it was still pouring.  As I stood in line for tickets, I got completely soaked.  It’s a strange feeling to be soaked from sweat and rain at the same time.

We bought 2 little umbrellas, getting pink and blue, and figured we’d give them to the big kids when we got back.  Due to our misunderstanding (to be honest, I’m still a little confused) we paid for 2 adult tickets to 2 different parks, when there is no way we could have done both with a toddler.  The whole thing is called safari world, but there is a part where you ride on a bus and drive around to see animals, and another part where you walk through an amusement park/zoo/sea world kind of thing.  We did the walking part, and I think that’s marine world?  Not sure, but ask some questions to save yourself some $$.
ANYway, it only rained for about 10 minutes, and then the humidity and sweat only made it feel like it was raining.  The first thing I noticed was that the animal handling and enclosures in Thailand are completely different than those in the US.  For instance: Siberian tiger, cougar, leopard?  Separated from our son by a mere CHAIN LINK FENCE.  Seriously.  Those pictures in the slideshow are not zoomed.  IN fact, I had to zoom OUT on some of them to get it focused. We were inches away from these animals–could feel their breath if we wanted to.  I did not want.  I wondered if there are just fewer stupid people in Thailand.  In the states, it would take about 20 minutes for some numbskull to stick his finger in, have it bitten off, then sue the zoo.  Also, many times there is a waist-high wall keeping you from, say, the seals, but on the other side of the wall is a 15 foot drop into their pool.  You drop your sippy cup? Camera?  Child?  Not a pretty picture.  There are no second chances here, people!  All this just floored me, but was great for viewing…we said over and over how much Carson and Sydney would have loved this place!  Maybe LInda, you can show Carson the picture of the white and yellow snake?  It was a python and we figured he would get a kick out of that.

The big thing at Safari world is the shows.  The taxi driver, door man, everyone told us about the shows.  To be honest, they were really good–often they translated into English, but even when they didn’t, it diden’t matter.  But I think we liked them even more b/c ASher loved them!  Our first one was the sea lion show, and he, who has been bothered by big crowds in the past, didn’t mind a stadium full of people and loud music.  In fact, it was the first time we’ve seen him dance!  It was a great moment.  He was completely captivated by the show, watching intently, clapping with the audience.  When I would turn the camera toward him to take a picture, he would frown and point at the show, as if to say “Not me!  Take a picture of THAT!”  Watching him at these shows was worth the price of admission.
The park itself actually seems pretty run-down, but I’m spoiled by Disney standards of amusement parks.  There’s also not a lot to be had lunch-wise, so I’d bring lots of snacks next time.  Note to future travellers.  Also, no debit cards accepted. Bring cash.  It’s not cheap–900 baht per adult.

We made some friends at the park, a group of guys vacationing from Iran.  They sat near us during the first show and came up to talk to us afterwards.  One of them teaches English in Iran and was keen to practice with us.  We had a great chat, then they found us about 30 minutes before the next show and sat with us again.  This show was the biggie–the dolphin show.  The stadium was packed!  And it was so interesting/good for us to truly be the minority.  We saw one other caucasian couple today, and they were European.  Trent with his neon shirt and me with my neon legs and us with our Asian son drew plenty of strange looks.
Since the dolphin show is so popular, it started filling up at least 30 minutes prior.  We talked more with our Iranian friend. He told me a)we HAVE to try Iranian food ASAP, b) we need to come to vacation in Iran and c)we should adopt our next baby from Iran.  :)We had a miscommunication b/c I told him I’m an English teacher.  He said he teaches English too, then started asking me about certain texts.  Then we realized after a while he thought I taught English language learners, like he does.  I had to explain to him that in the US we use the term “English” as a subject for US kids, to cover reading, writing and literature.  I could tell he was disappointed.  He and his friends were very intrigued by our small orange crackers shaped like fish, and found it strange that they were very popular in America.
As we were all waiting, there was a Thai MC who came out in front with a microphone–we had seen him at the other shows.  I don’t know how else to describe him except to say if you have seen the NBC show “Up All Night” he is so AVA.  Dolphins?  What dolphins?  As far as he was concerned he was the star of the show.  He had swagger, skinny jeans and was just totally in his element–hardly spoke a word of English, but it wasn’t hard to get the gist of what he was saying.  He was doing karaoke to some popular Thai songs, and then he said he was going to sing some songs from around the world, and when your country’s name is called, you have to stand up and sing & dance.  Well, there were at least 20 buses of tourists from India, so he started with that, and they went crazy!  They were all cheering and singing along, and many stood up and started dancing.  There was this older Indian man several rows in front of us and he was totally getting down with his bollywood self.  Several young Indian girls ran up to the MC and started singing into the mic with him.  We were loving it!

Then he started a new song and my friend told me it was from Iran!  He and his friends cheered, and you know what?  We did too.  We felt like honorary Iranians for an hour.  There were definitely less Iranians, but all around the stadium, groups of people stood up and danced whole-heartedly.  Several rows behind us, some guys were dancing and one had a little baby he was dancing with, and the baby was just squealing with delight.  It was seriously a highlight of my day—I think I included a picture in the slideshow.  They didn’t even bother singing an American song (we wondered…what song would tehy choose? Surely something by Lady Gaga, then we’d be embarassed), since I think there were only 2 Americans in attendance of the entire park.  But it was seriously such a fun and festive atmosphere, I almost forgot about the drips of sweat running down my entire body.  ASher was totally into it, dancing and even mimicking Trent singing into the umbrella as a microphone.  *Sidenote…throughout the park there is tinned instrumental music–sometimes all flutes, sometimes synthesizer–of AMerican music.  We absolutely heard No Doubt and Britney Spears.  But they were very slow and melodic…it totally was cracking us up!
The dolphin show was great, but we left early, b/c we needed to get back to the hotel to meet some friends.  Even then, between diaper change and getting a taxi, it took a long time to get home.  Asher did well most of the day, with only a few behavioral issues–again, very normal stinky toddler stuff like running away, dropping into a ball when trying to be picked up, or hitting when he doesn’t get his way.  But most of the time he was highly amused and happy.  He did not want to hold my hand, though, only Trent today.  So I was surprised when he didn’t protest when I took him into change his diaper, and then he let me carry him out of the park and hold him while we waited for the Taxi.  In the taxi, he fell asleep with me, which was picture worthy, b/c it was a first.  I was sweating like a banchee and had stood in the pouring down rain, but I still wanted a picture.

At the hotel, we met up with Carlene and Steven, a couple from Holt who are here early…they are going to meet their son in a week or so!  They are also going to meet 3 other Holt friends! It was fun to make a connection in real life.  We stayed outside in the beautiful Pantip courtyard until the beautiful Thai insects started eating us alive.
Although Asher was not wanting to be in the room this evening, Trent and I didn’t have the energy to go out so we…wait for it…ordered pizza delivered from Pizza Hut.  Oh, ya’ll, it tasted so good!  I really have not been feeling tired of Thai food…it’s often made so fresh and with lots of veggies that it just doesn’t sit heavy in your stomach.  But some pepperoni pizza was a great prescription for a little homesickness.  We did the dreaded bath a little early tonight and then toughed it out through a lot of crying before bedtime.
I know in my head that staying until Monday night really is the best thing for Asher.  My heart wants to be with Carson and Sydney and have our family together, but Trent pointed out that Asher needs us more than they do right now, and that he will never have this opportunity to have us alone and undistracted again.  So we’re not pushing the early return, just biding our time, continuing to try to help Asher grieve.  We will switch hotels on Sunday afternoon, to stay at a nicer place close to the airport.  I know we’re in the homestretch, and hoping I feel that soon.  We did get the US visa and an adorable little Thai passport today. So other than flight status, nothing’s standing in our way of bringing our guy home.  See you all soon.  :)

Friday, June 07, 2013

June 7, 2012: US Embassy Day in Bangkok

Originally posted on June 7, 2012:
Last night, even as I was writing a blog post, the craziest thing happened.  Asher fell asleep on the floor with his pink silky.  No crying, nada.  Then this afternoon, we tried it again.  We just pulled the shades, laid his blankets on the floor , gave him a bottle and we both started reading quietly, and he fell asleep.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer if he let us hold him and feed him the bottle, but he’s making strides.  (we’re also making strides in reducing the number of bottles.  He’s used to 10 a day!) He’s not crying, he’s dwelling peacefully in the room with us and relaxing enough to fall sleep.  Right now we’re trying it again, but he keeps getting up and looking at a toy or playing with the Thai flag.  Our plan may backfire.  But did I mention? He’s not crying.  We’re gonna let it play out. He just walked over here and peeked around my chair and gave me a very guilty looking smile.  Now he’s reaching through the slats in the chair to poke my back.  :)   And now…I smell poop.
I’m back. Since it’s early and things are calm, I decided to put the pics in the post tonight.  There aren’t a ton of pics anyway.  It’s hard to take pics whilst chasing a toddler.  But this is a pic of our guy in the morning.  He is always very, very sad when he wakes up.  I’m sure he remembers what happened all over again and is thinking “You guys?!?  I thought that was a bad dream!”  So in the mornings we definitely let him have a bottle to help deal with it.  Pretty cute, huh?
This morning at breakfast we skyped with the big kids and aunt tara.  It was the first time they had seen Asher!  He was nonplussed about seeing them, but they seemed excited to see him.  Then we met Pat and took a taxi to the US Embassy to process and interview for ASher’s visa to enter the US as an immigrant.  Heads up to future adoption travellers, don’t bother bringing your camera, your ipod, your USB drive or ANYTHING with ANY type of batteries or “on” buttons.  We had to go through security a few times b/c of lack of communication (and memory on our part about what was buried in those diaper bags.)  However, if I hadn’t brought my camera, I wouldn’t have snagged this pic outside in the line:I know right?  Totes presh.  Asher is definitely preferring Daddy, especially in public.  This morning, that was a really good thing.  Have i mentioned that my husband is awesome?  The wait for our interview was LONG, and the only room with AC was completely packed.  We sat on the floor or stood for a long time, but this little 20 month old boy was just not having that.  Trent and I went outside with him and he was behaving…well, probably like most rowdy toddlers would behave when forced to wait in the heat in a small area for a couple of hours.  He kept wanting Trent to hold him, but then was just FLAILING constantly.  My shoulders hurt just watching them.  I offered to try to relieve him, but ASher wasn’t taking it. Trent did set him down several times to just walk around, but still…it was a long morning, and Trent was just a rock.  He wasn’t phased by what would have had me in a major mommy tizzy.  Love you, babe.  ;)
The visa interview itself was brief and painless.  Although before the interview, Pat takes our papers to someone up front, and they told her that they were extra busy today, and we might get our visas this week or next week.  WE’re supposed to leave Monday night.  Just the THOUGHT that someone might tell me we have to delay our flight gave me a lump in my throat the size of Texas.  I had to fight back the tears.  But our agent was very friendly and understanding and said he’d make sure it was ready by tomorrow afternoon just to be sure.  I wanted to hug him.  Afterwards I confessed to Catie that if they had given me the bad news there, I would have had my first public meltdown in southeast Asia.
After that long morning we tried lunch at Just One, which an outdoor restaurant down the street from the pantip.  I don’t recommend it.  It cost us 4 times as much as moon house and the service was not great.  Fortunately, there was only one other couple in the huge outdoor layout, b/c Asher was in full boy mode, throwing sippy cups, clanging silverware, screeching, and yanking the tablecloth so all the waters fell.  NOW I remember why we didn’t eat out during entire years of late 2006 through 2007.
But the best thing happened after lunch.  We came back to the hotel room, and he just…played.  I remembered the fun part of having a toddler is…they can find lots to do if they are not restrained.  Just get them somewhere safe and let ‘em go. There’s not a lot in this room for him to mess up, and we have lots of toys out and he finally started kind of interacting with them. I got a great video (which, again, will have to wait until I get home) of him playing with the inflatable duck bath we brought.  He HATES (all caps) baths, even with the duck, but turns out it makes a great game of basketball with some soft blocks.  We let him draw a little too…it made me wonder what, if any, experience he’s had with a writing utensil.  He even put himself to sleep again on his silky while we read and he had a bottle.
While he slept, I went downstairs and skype/called Korean Air to see if we could get an earlier flight.  It turns out all the Seoul-Seattle dailies are full for the ENTIRE month.  So they put us on a waiting list for Saturday & Sunday, and I have to call back each day to see if anything opened up.  BUt the other thing is they can’t guarantee the flight from SEattle to PDX, so we might get stuck in SeaTac!  It’s not looking good, so I’m bracing myself for four long days of killing time in Bangkok.  We just aren’t in the mindset to be really touristy with a toddler. We’re thinking ducit zoo or safari world…suggestions?
After naps we took the subway/sky train combo to the infamous MBK with the Brenemans.  Ashman is not a huge fan of crowded trains.  We decided it’s worth a couple extra bucks (and often more time, b/c of traffic, but time? Is something we have plenty of) to take a taxi.  Here’s us in a rare moment of non-crowdedness.
We stayed for dinner and came back to the hotel to wind down and go to sleep.  We had a heartbreaking moment of grieving when Ashersaran found this gift (see below).  It is a special thing sent by his foster grandmother.  It is a model of the hanging cradle that ASher slept in as a baby, and still hangs in their home for the new baby.  Our social worker said grandma made both the big and the little cradle, and in the excitement of the day, forgot to give this to us, so she sent it with his things on Tuesday.  But when Asher was dinking around tonight, happily distracted, he found this and just fell apart.  Oh, it was so sad.  It is encouraging to see all the strides he is making in trusting us, but still breaks my heart how badly he misses his foster family.  I was thinking about how an adult or older child would feel if their life were changed so drastically so quickly.  No one in the world would ask or expect them to be “over it” by the end of the week.  I just have to keep telling myself that this is a process…a long one.  A friend of mind compared adoption to an arranged marriage.  It’s not love at first sight, but it is meant to be love.  We fall in love a little more each day and drive each other crazy along the way.  We laugh and we cry and we bite (OK, not me and Trent) and we bath and we walk and we sleep and we eat and we carry on and learn more about each other each step of the way.  And I know before we know it, we won’t be able to remember a time when we weren’t madly in love.
PS: Asher didn’t fall asleep on the floor tonight, but we laid down on the bed with him and sang him to sleep fairly quickly.  Baby steps to love.