Monday, November 30, 2009

Playground fun

Last week Simone, Aunt Jody, J and I took Sammy to the playground for the first time. He wasn't too sure what he was supposed to do, being that he isn't walking yet and all the equipment was just so big...even on the toddler playground! But it was a beautiful fall day and we really enjoyed our time outside.

Simone was "Starfire Falcon" for her Thankgiving parade at school.

Big sis is giving Sammy Wei a push on the swing....
And he is not too sure he likes this. I didn't get a single smile, until I took him out of the swing! I guess it's not his thing...
And just a random photo...he had about 15 minutes of fun finding himself in the mirror.

So we are all doing very well and it seems we've hit our stride. We are still working on that darn nap schedule, I think he is just going to be a "cat napper" as he seems well rested and happy even with the short siestas. And I must say, having Sammy in our lives has really been an incredible gift- he is such a sweet natured and loving little guy. He is always ready for a cuddle, though often not for long because there is just too much to explore. We are seeing all these little bits of his funny personality, which I just love. And I've got to be honest here...I think both his cheeks and thighs are growing daily, he is just a roly poly thing, again...which I just love!

Simone is starting to enjoy her "big sister" role more now and has been really helping me with him lately. My favorite moments really are when all four of us are together, and I think the feeling is mutual around the table. Both kiddos seem to relish those moments and we are finally really enjoying each other in a relaxed and comfy way. Maybe it's called bonding, maybe it's called family...perhaps a bit of both. What I do know is that all is at it's meant to be and I could not be a happier person.

J

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November is....

Yep folks...November is National Adoption Awareness Month.
Now I wasn't sure if I was up to such a post yet… lack of sleep and business of being a new mom to 2 has been a bit more, um...tiring than I had expected! But come on...me miss a chance at talking about adoption and all that it means to me...fat chance there!

Adoption has always been a part of my life, part of who I am. It has been a factor that has changed me and my course of life travels more than once. It has given me not one, but two wonderful families that I cherish and am very grateful for.

My thoughts on adoption have also changed and evolved over the course of my life so far, and I am sure will do so again. Adoption is not a one time deal, it's is a lifelong journey of love, commitment and an intertwining of lives. Lives that may not ever had crossed paths if not for that one huge step of adoption, that one simple and yet at the same time oh so complex yearning for family. At least that's my perspective of adoption, that's how it plays out in my world. But there is more to adoption than just one person or one couple's hopes and dreams. There is another person or people who must make an unimaginably hard choice, a choice that will be with them for the rest of their lives as well.

Growing up I always knew I was adopted. It was just who we were~ no more or less. I had- and still do I must add- the best parents a girl could have asked for. I was very loved (still am!) and was raised in a near idyllic family setting. Of course we had our normal problems just like every other family I knew, and that was because in my house we were just like every other family I knew, just that Cuffer & I were adopted. It wasn't until I hit my teenage years that I wondered who I really came from, what my "other" parents were like. Did they miss me at all? Worry and wonder about me too? Well I certainly hoped so, I hoped they worried a lot, wondered a lot as well. I felt more of a resentment for all that they gave up. I couldn't understand that it was a choice *I was a choice* that was incredibly hard, I'm sure, for them to make. But growing up I just didn't see it, yet.

And then when I started on this journey for my family, well I really just wanted a family. I laugh *oh yes laugh* at the comment I have heard..."how wonderful of you to do this".
Huh?
No really, I hadn't thought at all about the child and the course of life they may or may not have had, my thoughts were not of the saving kind and never will be. No, I thought in purely selfish ways. I wanted, so desperately, to be a Mama- to have my own family, my own children. And in adoption I was able to fulfill that, it was that simple...at that time.

After Simone came home I realized that in IA there was a bit more to it than "just being adopted". For one, we don't look alike. For two, she had a birth country and culture that would have been hers if not for us adopting her. And finally, her chances of ever finding her birth family poses much more work than it does for me if she ever chose to pursue that. In my desire to have a child of my own, I had inadvertently removed a child from all that she could have had.

And now...well now I have my second precious baby home and yes, once again I've changed my vision of adoption. Of course the basics are still the same...adoption is a wonderful way to create a forever family. But what is involved, the people effected, the lives forever change...my thoughts of all that have changed. I can never replace the culture he would have had, but I will do my best to show both of my children a love for their countries of birth and a respect for their birth families. In my children I now see the importance of not only that culture but the role that the birth family has played in this joining of my family. Even though these are my very own children I've realized that I will always share a part of them with their first families. I must acknowledge the loss they may feel and the impact of their not knowing if these sweet babies are safe, loved, cared for in the capacity that they would have cared. I can only hope they know in their hearts the answer to that...

And then there is the question of "real". I was once rather baffled by the use of it in adoption. What does real have to do with your family, your parents and siblings? When I finally understood the real question behind it I formed my standard answer..."of course we're real...my parents changed my diapers, took care of me when I was sick, brought me to school my first day, took pictures of my prom, walked me down the aisle when I married my true love. My brother was really just as real, we loved each other, hated each other and loved each other again. He tortured me, defended me and was often my best friend." So does it get any more "real" than that? Well, in keeping with my theme of evolving thoughts of adoption, yes...there is more to “real” than the actions and milestones in life. There are all of those emotions that go with it. The love that only a mother can know, the heartbreak when your child is hurting, the absolute adoration you feel for these children of yours. The pride you feel at each accomplishment and the excitement of every new exploration. The ability to move a bus, mountain or nosy person in the grocery store to protect your babies… all this is so so very real.

And here I am, still amazed at how my newest tiny little bundle can have such a huge impact on my life, my emotions. How wonderful to have this gift, to be able to raise both of these fantastic babies as my own. Rocking him to sleep each night I'm often surprised to find myself crying- tears of joy at the feelings of love and happiness I have regarding him, and at the unbelievable bond we are forming. And this feeling is only compounded knowing that once I get my sweet dumpling gently off to sleep I will do so again with my big girl- those amazing feelings and the bond of love already established with her. I have these two wonderful children in my life forever and this is in itself such a true blessing for me and really a true gift bestowed on us by their first families. Each child is a miracle, a blessing and a reason to thank God- and through adoption I’ve been able to experience this with both my forever families.

Oh Rambling post, will you ever end?

Yes, I end here because it has taken me well over a week to write this and because one of those little blessings I have been speaking of is getting anxious on my lap and it is telling me it truly is time for this post to end.
This post had no specific purpose it’s just some of my thoughts on adoption, mainly for me to remember in years to come what adoption meant to me at this time in my life. And because, well we all know I just can’t say no to talking about it!
J

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Random

Oh hi there!
Yes, long time no post...it's been a bit busy in these parts! Good busy though.

We are settling into our routine and everyone is adjusting pretty well. Sammy seems like he has always been here, yet there are moments I am still awed and amazed at his tiny presence. He is just a joy and we are all very much in love with the little dumpling! Sleep is getting better, he is now sleeping in his crib and only wakes between 4 & 5 for a small bottle, then back to sleep till 7! Nap time...well that is still a whole different story. Twenty-six minute cat naps 4 times a day and that is all! I am hoping to consolidate them into one 40…50… um… a longer nap in morning and afternoon.

And having two kiddos is wonderful, tiring and challenging all at once. For example…I went to the grocery store with the two of them for the first time the other day. Funny, I had 3 different people ask if I needed assistance. Did I look that frazzled? I felt like all was going well, although it was a bit trickier than with just one walking talking 5 year old.But one of the people who asked if I need a hand was a father I knew from school. Naturally I quite smugly declined any help-I have this all under control...thank you very much!
But then after asking he decided to strike up a conversation with me. Seriously! I had it under control but let’s be honest…not by much and that little bit was fading fast…
So here I am in the parking lot with the diaper bag sliding off my right shoulder, Simone pulling my left arm, two grocery bags that appeared quite manageable in the store now weighing around 8,000 pounds slipping out of my hands and the squirmiest of worms in my arms trying like crazy to get down. Well, I had to take him up on his kindly offer and ask him to dig my car keys out of my sweatshirt pocket and walk me to the car so I could deposit said squirmy worm and two ton bags into the car before I dropped all three!

It's all good though! I cannot believe how much I am enjoying having Sammy here, and how cool it is to see Simone and him together.

So below are random photos and a cute video (yes still on my regular camera, I haven't had the chance to locate the video camera yet. It's on the same to do list as the laundry that's been in the dryer for two days...)








video

I hope to post more soon, I have one in the pipeline I am hoping to get done this month!
Thanks to all of you for checking in, I love to hear that you are enjoying the photos and updates. It makes me so happy to share my slice of sweet life with you all!
J

Friday, November 13, 2009

And home at last

So we are home at last. What a long trip home that was, but so wonderful to land in Tennessee!

And yes, we were "those people" on all three flights home.
Oh yes, you know exactly who "those people" are...the ones with the screaming baby on the flight. Poor Sammy Wei just had a tough time with those little ears of his. Once we got up and moving he was great, but it was so sad to have him cry so!

Simone... well she was just a perfect travel companion and we are so happy and proud of what a huge help she was on both the flights and in the airports.

And now we've been home for a few days (-okay over a week, I'm just real behind-) and everyone is adjusting well. We had a few rough nights to start with but it is all working out now. I'm working on a nap schedule...he sure likes to cat nap and I'd sure like him to take two solid naps a day. So after a 40 min nap he is now on my lap as I type....maybe tomorrow he'll sleep longer!

So on to the photos...
This is the typical stance you'll find him in when you leave the room for a moment and return. See the "ya, I just pulled up on this couch" look he displays...he knows he rocks it, even in duck pj's!

And taking us back a week or so... when we got off the plane our Aunt and friends were waiting for us with balloons and big ole grins! We came home and they had decorated the house with balloons and streamers and stocked our fridge! What amazing family & friends we have! My parents sent us some flowers, how wonderful to have some fresh and beautiful flowers upon our return!
And there was a table full of goodies for both kiddos! Clothes and toys and teethers! We were just so surprised and so grateful for all of it!! They made Simone feel so very special and helped out with some clothing for our big boy!
Here's Sammy Wei meeting his Auntie Jody for the first time...

And meeting his "Auntie" Starla. He's taken quite a liking to both of them, as well as all our other family & friends here. Social little guy!


And here is how he slept the first few nights home...on the living room floor with one of us, covered in a blanket. Thankfully we've moved to crib or our bed depending on the night.
And he loves Simone's old "entertainment center" The two of them have been bonding well over the last week or so. He just adores his big sis, and she so enjoys him (well, most of the time...)!
So this is how we've been doing. I started this post on Monday, it is now Friday.... But Sammy Wei has been doing wonderful and is adjusting quite nicely. He is just a bit clingy still so I don't get much done beyond the bonding and cuddling. Think I'm complaining though? Oh no, not one little iota!

Sammy went to the pediatrician today and is in excellent health. Almost 21 pounds and 27 inches. Our ped is very pleased with his overall development. I must say here that we owe so very much of this to his wonderful foster mom and all of the obvious love and attention she gave him. What a wonderful start to his life she has given him, and us!
Okay...off to birthday dinner. And to all of my friends who reminded me of what a wonderful and amazing birthday gift I was given...well yes, you are so right! I have so much joy and love on this day, I could not ask for anything more!
J

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just a few videos

I admit...I am very behind in my posting. Getting this little guy on a nap schedule and settling in has proven harder than I had expected!

I have a post "in the que" and will finish tomorrow (I think!) But promised my Mom & Dad some videos to hold them over till they can get down here to meet Sammy Wie!

Below is just him being him in the morning. Notice the dimple...it's still there and oh so cute!

video

And here he's crawling to the kitchen chairs, something he does 20+ times a day! Listen close and you may hear his little voice.

video

And a huge Happy Veterens day to all of our military folks out there! We thank you for your service to our Country. You all keep America the beautiful *and free* land that it is. Thank you

J

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recap of our last days in Taiwan

Oh yes, bloggy world...I am a bit behind in my postings these days. Between 30 odd hours of travel and the subsequent jet lag, plus getting Sammy Wei used to his new digs, new dogs and all the fantastic new visitors...well I've been a wee bit busy! A good busy though...

So here's a recap of our last days in Taiwan. We had a great last few days and getting to know our son was made even more special against the backdrop of his home land.

So here I left the room for .2 seconds and the little fellow was standing up on the couch with this look of absolute satisfaction on his darling little mug!


And we went to the Flower/Jade/Handicraft market on Sunday (Wow...a week ago!) What an amazing place- so fun and with so many beautiful treasures. We wanted to take so many of the stunning plants home, not to mention the jewelery! The market is located in a parking lot underneath the freeway overpass. It was in the same parking lot we used for our AIT appointment!




And the kiddos are bonding well. The plane ride home was a really cool point of big sis - little bro bonding, but it really all started in the hotel. Oh, notice he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth...four little teeth have popped though since we first met him!

On Monday, the day we left, we headed over to the Taipei 101 and took the big elevator to the top. What a cool thing that was, and the views where stunning even on a cloudy day!
And somebody discovered the magic of his own toes up there! Too cute!


Little guy can cat nap anywhere, anytime! It has proven quite hard to get him on a nap schedule, though I'll keep trying!
I said before that we felt both sad and happy to be leaving Taiwan and that feeling only grew as the time approached to leave.

Taiwan was such a wonderful experience for us all, not only because of the precious gift that it bestowed us, but because of the whole landscape of the Country! And by landscape I mean all of it, not just what you see visually. Although that in itself amazed me continuously.

But the textures of the city...you'd have a stone street next to a brick sidewalk leading to marble wall. Beyond that marble wall would be lush green trees held up by painted black poles set against a bamboo fence. A metal and glass building with a craggy mountain range in the far back was beyond the fence, just adding more depth and texture. I couldn't even capture the visions we'd see on film and have a hard time writing them here...there was just too much.
But beautiful is the word I use to describe all of it. Each street held a new and wonderful assault to the senses...the smells of all of the food vendors, the elegant and trendy clothing the Taiwanese people wore, the sight of the sun peeking past a glass building and glinting on a water fountain, oh...all the noises of horns and buses and scooters and people talking~ all of this blended together, and not a chaotic fashion but in one that just breathed with you.

And the people...so kind, so helpful, so respectful of each other and just so beautiful. Our experiences there were made even more enriched by the amazing people that we met and spoke with as we explored Taipei and Taiwan. I almost feel a bit of guilt for taking Sammy Wei away from all of that culture and beauty. But I know for certain it is a land we will journey back to with both he and Simone, maybe more than once.

So as soon as I get another free moment I'll keep my postings up and tell you all about the trip home and how we've done since we've gotten back...

Thank you all for traveling this amazing and life changing journey with us!
For those that have gone before me, I thank you especially for all that I learned from you and your own journey. For those of you on the path we just took...Oh the amazing things you will see and do! I look forward to experiencing them all again through your eyes!
J

Sunday, November 1, 2009

And here's some random photos of the last few days!!













We are having so much fun here, Taiwan is a beautiful and exciting place. The people here are so nice, the scenery is lovely and the city is always so full of life!
We are happy and sad to be heading home tomorrow. Sad to leave such a wonderful city, but so pleased to be getting home, to our life with Sammy Wei!

Our newest addition is doing wonderful and we feel beyond blessed, beyond lucky and are just so thrilled overall with becoming parents again...and to our little guy! He is a joy, truly a very sweet baby!

More to come when I have a few moments!
J