Monday, November 24, 2008

...Here we are six months later!

Hello All. I know that we have been slightly "off the grid" for the past few months but I wanted to thank all of our friends and family for all of your support with adopting Madi. Our family is doing just wonderfully well as a family of 5. I am going to attach a slide show of Madisan's first six months with us, her new and permanent family! (If I can remember how to do it! :)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

RU wondering where we are?

We are home!!!!!!!!!!!!

We received Madisan's visa from the American Embassy around 4:30ish on Thursday. We cabbed it back to the hotel and Carter feverishly worked his cell-phone and moved all of our flights so that we could leave a day earlier than planned. I say "feverishly" because as he was doing this...he came down with a fever...and upset stomach...and then chills...and well we won't go into the gory details. We packed our stuff ASAP and departed the hotel at around 9:30 PM to board our 12:40 AM Thai Air flight back to JFK. Madisan was as good as she could be expected to be, and poor Carter was doubled over in pain in a cold sweat/fever for the entire flight (16 1/2 hours). At JFK, we had to traverse miles of terminal, two shuttle busses, and 4 security checks to board our 9:55 AM flight to Boston (all the while Carter looked like he was going to pass out). My father-in-law picked us up at the airport and we pulled into our driveway at 12 noon! (Door to door: only 25 1/2 hours!)

25 1/2 hours does amazing things in the area of bonding...We have a great Mommy-daughter thing going on. With Carter it has been a little more challenging as he has been completely out of commission with sickness - once home, the poor man went straight to bed and his folks actually took him to the emergency room last night (yes, he is that sick). He is on antibiotics and we are hopeful that he will soon be on the mend.

We surprised the kids by coming home early. They both look so BIG and so Wonderful! Madisan has been in heaven here! The look on her face is so joyful. Almost like, "If I had only know I was eventually coming HERE, I wouldn't have been such a basket case in Bangkok!" She loves,loves, loves Davis and is keeping right up with him. Sam is being a great big, BIG brother too. I'm sure the novelty will wear off, but for now it is great. She is into EVERYTHING and is a climber - climbs everything. The good thing is that she is too short to reach door handles and probably has never seen one anyway! The is pretty discombobulated in regards to time, so we were up from 11:00 PM - 2 AM last night. She was walking around with a huge shopping bag over her shoulder, chewing a (clean) paintbrush from the craft drawer, filling the shopping bag with toys and things with a huge smile on her face!

We'll post some pics when my poor, dear husband is verticle again! Thanks for all the good wishes everyone!

Well - I'm off to shower...the first time since Thursday AM...yep...I'm working on about 4 hours sleep over the last 3 is SOOOOOOOOO great to be home!

Amy (and Carter...poor him...)

PS: Where do you buy cute girl barrettes? This girl has some serious hair!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Big Milestones.....

The Thai adoption board told us we could keep her!! So tomorrow we go to the American Consulate to get her visa. As far as M goes, today was a better day than yesterday. I did my first little girl ponytail (only took me 3 tries... Ha ha!!) But the best part about today is that Manatsanan was born one year ago to the day - and for her birthday we've given her her new American name....

Happy 1st birthday to Madisan Holland!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

She's With Us for Good Now.....

Admittedly, we didn’t take any new pictures today, but we posted a brief slideshow below with some shots from yesterday, including our visit to M’s foster family – and M playing with her foster sister Baan. They are great buddies!

Today was the most challenging day yet. M arrived at the hotel a little after 10:30 am, and as we expected, she began to cry at the mere sight of us. After saying goodbyes to her social worker, she cried for a long time – and we spent the first hour or so walking every inch of the hotel. She cried a lot, particularly in our hotel room – which we know is so very different than anything she is used to. In fact, if there’s one thing we learned today, it’s that our hotel room is absolutely the worst place for M to be – we think it’s because it makes her realize that she’s not going home. More on that in a minute.

So we decided to get out of the hotel – and hit the great outdoors of Bangkok with little M. With no real clue what we are doing, we walked a few blocks in the blazing heat (and surviving the onslaught of taxi drivers, tuk tuk operators and prostitutes – all interested in getting our attention) – and ended up at a local bank which has a nice fountain and plants – with a little seating area. We hung there for about 30 minutes – the crying subsided for a bit – and M looked around at all the sights. Once that scene got old, we walked a little more – through some markets and then boarded the sky train to head over to a bookstore where Amy had a book on hold. M actually did pretty well through most of this… periodic sobbing, but actually seemed relatively “ok” with us holding her and walking around. No sitting for us yet – we try that with her and all hell breaks loose – so we’re in a “standing/walking” mode at the moment. She let us feed her some fried rice for lunch (as long as we were standing) – and the most trying moments were when we returned to the hotel room.

After walking next door to the hotel for some Pad Thai (standing) for dinner, we came back the hotel… and endured what was a couple of hours of chaos in our room. But after this first full day with her, we’ve realized this: First, M is a smart little girl. She knows that she’s not going back to see her foster family again, she is not happy about it, and she is letting us know it. Second, she knows who we are. She’s letting us hold her and feed her, and carry her. She’s also smart enough to know that if we stop holding her, and she starts to cry, that we’re likely to pick her up again. Smart of her, indeed. Third, we know she’s hurting inside – and as much as we hate to do it, there’s got to be a little tough love, or we’re gonna drive ourselves batty. So after dinner, Amy left for a little “mind clearing walk” (we’ve been trading off to give each other some brief “alone” time to keep us sane) and Carter played with M in the room. Use the term “played” loosely. He basically let her scream as much as she wanted, but decided not to pick her up… which is really all she wanted. She walked over to the door a bunch of times (which our social worker told us is common) and stood there screaming at it. When she realized that wasn’t going to help, she returned to the bed – wanting to be picked up. Carter got down on the floor with her – with some stacking cups – which she promptly threw at him – she went over to the window, then came back to Carter, then back to the window… crying the whole time. But eventually, she sat down and started playing with the cups. The crying stopped. Amy came back to the room – sat down on the floor too – and suddenly, she just conked out – fast asleep. she's had such a long and traumatic day, we can only imagine how tire she is. She’s on the bed now, sleeping, with her head on Amy – and we’re just wondering 1) how long will this last, and 2) what will happen after the normal 1:00 0am feeding she has. Should be interesting.

So, it was a hard day over all, but we’re realizing that she seems to know what’s going on – and she’s just taking every opportunity to let us know how she feels about it. We know she will forget about what’s bothering her in due time – and transition to becoming more comfortable with us… it’s just a heck of an hour-by-hour journey at the moment.

Tomorrow is our meeting in front of the Thai adoption board. We expect things to go smoothly. Fingers crossed.

Foster Family Visit

Monday, May 26, 2008

Escalators, Teddy Bears, and the Foster Family

So………. This morning we take the sky train over to Central Department Store (6 floor department store) and meet M and her social worker, Nareerat. M saw us and pretty much immediately started crying. She calmed down a little bit and Nareerat handed her over to me. Pat told us to walk around with her and shop and we would meet back together in one hour. So Carter and I take about 3 steps with her and she just lets loose and is hysterically crying….loudly…and every store clerk and shopper on the entire floor is staring at us. So, we continue walking…and she is screaming at the top of her lungs. We feel TOTALLY self conscious…look at us, the Caucasian foreign couple holding a hysterically crying Thai baby. I totally felt like, “If this were one of my boys at home, I would be turning around, loading him into the car and getting the heck out of there. This is TOTALLY NOT working! What on earth are they (the social workers) thinking sending us to a shopping mall for an hour?” Well…she screamed for 30 minutes straight…tears rolling down her cheeks…mucus running down her nose…and then…we found…our ultimate salvation…the escalator. Yes, we rode that escalator up 6 floors…and then down 6 floors….and up 6 floors…and down 6 floors…you get the picture…the screams turned to whimpers…the whimpers turned to post-crying “shudders”…and by the time we met up with the social workers, she had calmed down quite a bit. She sat on Nareerat’s lap for lunch and even ate a little bit (which everyone agreed was very good). Then she started to get upset again so I took her out of the restaurant, back into the store where there was a build a bear display. We played with the bears and I got her to crack a smile and actually laugh! Then, we rode in the van back to the hotel and we were given some an hour to bring her up to our room to adjust to her surroundings. Well, we walked into our room and she started screaming! We tried to get her to lay down – no way…tried to get her to take a bottle – no way…riding in the elevator is like sheer torture for her as it is lined with mirrors: she takes one look at herself being held by Carter or me and is completely hysterical…since we don’t have escalators…I walk down 6 flights of stairs…and then up 6 flights of stairs…once again this is our salvation (and a good workout !) We finally settle…at the pool…where it is quiet and breezy and open… and we have a few quiet moments…all three of us.

Later in the afternoon, we drove about 1 ½ hours out of Bangkok – and met M’s foster family. M was with us in the van – and she was surprisingly content and conked out during the ride. (Yes, this is the time when Carter and I get to just look at her and marvel on how beautiful she is and how surreal all of this is!) When we arrived at the foster home – and M knew where she was, she was like a changed person. Laughing, talking running around, hugging her foster sister, eating ice cream…. It was actually quite amazing to see her act this way. Clearly she has formed a tight bond with her family – and it helps us to see that because we can start to get a sense of how she’ll be once she adjusts to us. The hard part will be breaking that bond – and reforming it… and we know it will just take time for that to happen.

Tomorrow, they will drop her off with us at the hotel at 10:30 AM…for good. After that it is just paperwork and formalities. We both are pretty anxious about four more days of hotel life. We definitely wish we could just come home. After seeing her with her foster sister, we really feel that being home with her two big brothers will be such a help in her transition. Thanks for all your prayers and good thoughts…immeasurable thanks to all who have looked after our children while we have been gone (it means more than you know), and Sam and Davis, we miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you very soon!


A and C (It’s late…we’re beat…just going to send this off and we’ll post pictures tomorrow)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

We Finally Meet....

Today was a very exciting, emotional and surreal day for Carter, Me, and our beautiful little M.

Before she arrived, Pat told us that she feared that M was going to have a very difficult adjustment as she is very attached to her foster mother and her home. M, carried by her social worker, Nareerat, came into the hotel conference room and immediately began to cry. She was very fearful of us and being at the hotel, period. We had some toys with us and began to try to get her to have some sort of comfort level with us and gain her trust. I honestly thought that there was no way that she would allow herself to be peeled from Nareerat’s arms! But slowly she went to Pat, and from Pat to me and from me to Carter. We spent about 3 1/2 hours together. Carrying her around the hotel conference room, in the hotel restaurant, and up in our room. She was very brave, but gently sobbed intermittently throughout the afternoon – but she did allow us to hold her for much of the time. Our little girl is absolutely beautiful and it is very difficult to see her so upset and hurting. We know why she’s sad – and we also know it will slowly get better with time and patience as we become more familiar to her.

Tomorrow we will spend the entire day together – a little time at the hotel, and then some shopping and lunch in the Central Department Store (a mall). Following that, we’ll head out of the city to M’s foster family, where we’ll have the chance to see where she’s been living. Promises to be another exciting and emotional day. More to come.....