Greetings!

We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at: becomingafamily@gmail.com
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Still here

We have not dropped off the face of the earth. I just had to take a little leave of absence from blogging with everything we've had going on in the past month. My health hit a few tiny stumbling blocks so Button and I made a trip out to Tulsa to stay with my folks for a little while and that kept a us quite busy in a wonderful way. Then we finally made the decision to move to Oregon in July for Brian's work so as you can imagine that has thrown our whole household into chaos!! Plus, I have been busy with my own work and then Button himself keeps us running, running, RUNNING.

I did want to share briefly with everyone in blogland that Button and Mamma continue to bond more and more everyday. The pattern we see is "2 steps forward, 1 step back". If we have several days of hugs and kisses and very few tantrums then it will surely be followed by a big, bad, horrible day of endless fits and hitting. However, the overall picture is one of progress and bonding. We are very proud of him and hopeful for the future.

I also wanted to mention our trip to Tulsa because I know a lot of people wonder about the "when and how" of traveling with their newly adopted children. We made this trip after Button had been home for 3 months. We went to Tulsa without Brian because he couldn't come and we needed to go. There were not any other options - it was as simple as that. If we could have avoided breaking up our little family unit for 8 days I would have. I was with Button every second and he adores his grandparents. However, he cried frequently for Daddy (and the cat) and he slept poorly at night and nap-time. He also FREAKED OUT on the plane and the less said about that the better. I am pretty sure he remembered air-travel, much to my dismay.

The things that seemed to help the most during the trip were keeping his routine and food as much the same as possible, taking his security objects, and skyping with Daddy once or twice a day. Now that we are home though he is doing great with the exception that he calls constantly for his "GAI GAI, BOPA" (my parents) and seems very frustrated that we don't all just get with the program and move into the same house.

--Rosemary

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Button and Mamma pt. 2

After yesterday's stark post about bonding with a traumatized child allow me to offer some hope today. Yes, it does get better. Slowly. Very slowly. I also want to make sure that I put out this disclaimer since I am talking about a very personal thing in such a public forum: "I am neither feeling sorry for myself nor feeling bad about my son. Button is the most amazing little boy on earth and I couldn't love any other child any more. There is nothing about him I want to change. I simply long for the day when our relationship gives him the peace and comfort he needs."

We have had Button now for 10 weeks and both Brian and I can change his diaper with equal amounts of ease. He shows no preference for one of us to do the task over the other. This took a month.

We can both put him to sleep and he actually shows a preference for ME at bedtime and naptime!! Can I just tell you what it does for the bleeding, shreds of my heart when Brian comes down after a bedtime struggle with Button and says, "I don't know how you manage to get him to fall asleep in under 15 minutes!" And he falls asleep, face to face, with my arms around him. This took at least 5-6 weeks.

The feeding thing has almost resolved itself too. When I am alone with him (most of the time) I can usually feed him his meals without a hitch but if Dad is home things can get more complicated. He will almost always demand Dad if possible and then throw fits in the middle of the meal about odd things. That may not be adoption related as much as "terrible two's" behavior though. Hard to know.

There were two interesting things that happened that let me know we were making real progress in bonding and, even though this post is getting long, I want to share them with you because I think they are an excellent picture of the bleak realities of a non-bonding child. I tried to imagine what this would be like before it happened to me and I tell you - I could not wrap my mind around it.

The first thing that happened was that Button has this little mantra he says to himself, on and off all day, as he plays. He sort of chants his people's names. I think it's a comfort mechanism. Anyway, he would say, "Bopa, Gaigai, Dada" over and over again while stacking blocks or doing any quiet activity. At about the 7 week mark I suddenly heard him say, "Bopa, Gaigai, Dada, Mamma." I had been added to his list of comfort names. Now he always chants me in with the group. Trust me, it's a big deal.

The second thing was that about 2 weeks ago, Button woke up from his nap and I got him out of bed and carried him into our wouldbig chair for "book time" like we do every day. As we walked along I realized that something was different. At first I couldn't identify it but then I realized that Button had snuggled against me koala style with his hands around my neck, head on my shoulder and legs wrapped around my waiste. Yes, I carry Button constantly and have done so for more than 2 months, but unless he was passed out cold that child has never snuggled against me. He holds his body away from me, rigidly, making it so heavy and difficult to carry him but he demands to be carried none-the-less.

I stood in our hallway holding him and cried. It was such a small thing and it felt so huge to me. My tears made me feel so pathetic, like I was desperate for love or something. Since that time Button seems to have decided that he can perform this "koala snuggle" with me safely and he will now do it once or twice a day and then pull back, look into my face searchingly and smile. Once though, he looked at me very seriously and then slapped me hard. He is working so hard to find safety that it breaks my heart for him. And, yes, a little for me too.

--Rosemary


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Button and Mamma pt. 1

In "Toddler Adoption: the Weaver's Craft" it tells us that 75% of toddler's adopted bond first with their father while rejecting their mother to some degree. This may be for a variety of reasons - scary female caregivers at orphanages, a tight bond with a foster mother or suffering from the primal wound of infant loss of their biological mother but whatever the reason they are slow to find room in their hearts for Mom.

And yet, pouring over adoption blogs for the past 2 years I never really found very many that reported stories like this. Hmmm... could it be that we are embarrassed? That the "super mommy" myths and the stroller derby that is modern parenting has forced us into some kind of self-imposed silence? Yea, I think that's possible but whatever people's personal reasons are for not sharing I totally respect that but I am going to talk about our bonding struggles on this blog. I want Button to have the story later and I also want any other moms struggling with this to know they're not alone.

When we first met Button he seemed to "like" us both ok. But he obviously thought Brian was wicked fun for all the dude reasons: wrestling, ball playing, truck sound effects, etc. It wasn't that I didn't do those things with him but I just didn't do them as well as Daddy. Testosterone deficient. Then, while we were still in Thailand, that preference seemed to suddenly turn into a dislike for me. I can't begin to tell you how unlucky it was that Brian was sick they day of the "child transfer." After he officially became ours Button really seemed to feel that everything he was experiencing was my fault. If Brian left the room he just freaked out. Only Brian could get him to sleep, bathe him, or make him laugh. If I could explain to you my level of discouragement at that time I would. But I'll just let your imagination go to work.

Once we got home, he did a little better in fits and starts. He would let me feed him at one meal and then, at the next meal, throw food at me and hit his tray screaming until Brian took over. He would allow Brian to hold and sway him to sleep but when I did nap/bedtime he would just scream and point at the bed until I would lie him down and then he would just roll away from me and cry himself to sleep.

He was happy to let me entertain him though. I could play blocks with him, take him on walks, push him in his car, read to him. I was a great "clown" but as soon as I tried to be a caregiver he started to show great ANGER and really tried to exert toddler rejection. He hated having his diaper changed by anyone but when Mommy did it it was an unbelievably violent exchange. Sometimes he would lie still and smile at me until I cautiously moved close to him then he would kick sideways, directly into my stomach, with all his might while screaming and laughing.

Button is much too active for the Ergo and we pretty much figured from the second we met him that it was going to be a no-go but we valiantly tried it a couple of times to see if he would adjust. He allowed Brian to ride him around the yard a few times before screaming to get down. The one time we put him in the ergo while I wore it he pulled my hair and bit my neck so hard I cried.

How does it feel to wait for years to be a mom and then find out your child wants nothing to do with you? Oh it feels terrible! I won't sugar coat it. It's the most discouraging, depressing, debilitating emotion I've ever felt. Especially when I see him giving love so freely to his dad and grandparents.

Button and I have already come a long way and I am going to talk about that in some additional posts on this subject but for now I will say that if this is happening to you or if you are a pre-adoptive parent and you experience this in the future: "Hang in there! You are a good mom (or dad) and I think you're great!"

--Rosemary.






Monday, May 10, 2010

My First Mother's Day




May 9, 2010 was my first Mother's Day and I will always remember it. Brian and Button let me sleep for ages and finally woke me with a sweet breakfast in bed and loving cards. French toast with peach preserves! Button was so adorable. He couldn't believe that Daddy was bringing food upstairs and that we were sitting in the bed eating it. Naturally, he thought it was all a giant treat for him! Who could blame him? Everything we do is a treat for him! I couldn't have loved anything more than having that happy, laughing little boy sitting in my lap being fed french toast though. Brian was on call so he had to spend most of the day at the hospital but once he got home he made sure to let me "off duty" and I got to spend the rest of the afternoon reading and chatting on the phone. It was such a delightful rest!

I did think of Button's other mother. Several times in fact. My heart sent her loving gratitude as I watched my son play in the yard on this very special day. But we didn't talk about her. We've decided that we're going to just celebrate the ways we parent Button on American Mother (and Father's) Day. We are going to do a separate celebration of all the ways Button's first family is important on Thai Mother's and Father's Day. I don't know if that is a good or bad idea but adoption always has so many elements of loss and love mixed together and we want to try to sort them out as much as possible so that all of us, especially our children, can truly find the joy and also mourn what's gone.


I had a wonderful day and I couldn't have loved anything or anyone more. Thank you, Brian, for being my perfect husband and thank you, Button, for being our just right little boy! I'm grateful to be a mom.

--Rosemary

Friday, May 7, 2010

Button Talks

Lat week I talked about the incredible healing power that language is having in our family. But I know that many of you adoptive and especially pre-adoptive families are wanting the specifics. It has been two months since we met Button and only 6 weeks in America so what exactly does Button say and understand? OK, here goes:

We feel pretty confident that he understands almost everything we say to him now. If I notice he isn't responding or he seems angry I will get down and make direct eye-contact, slow my speech and try to simplify whatever I am saying. If that doesn't correct the attitude problem then it usually isn't language related. He doesn't seem to be grasping abstract feeling words yet though. For instance, even though we say "I love you" a million times a day he doesn't seem to know that it means anything. We even say it in Thai and try to act it out by saying it to each other and giving hugs and kisses. I say it to the cat with a big funny hug that he loves! My parents say it on skype and touch their hearts. He will mimic all the motions but his eyes have that blank look I have learned to recognize and he never repeats the sounds. We did have one "abstract" breakthrough though. He learned what "hurt" means. He was pulling and pulling on his teeth and I kept talking to him about "hurt teeth" and suddenly I saw the light go on. Now he points at the orajel and his teeth and screams "hurt!"

He says lots of nouns but like most children his age he can't really say compound consonants so truck, train and trash all basically sound like slight variations of "tuck" but he applies the noise to the object in question at the time so we know he gets it. He says: car, egg, milk, cup, dog, book, ball, duck, socks, pants, shoes, toes, bread, keys, teeth, hair, hat.

His verbs are pretty limited. He screams "eat" like a guest star at Medieval Times so we're pretty sure that's his favorite word. He says, "a walk" to mean "let's go", or "I want to leave this place" or "take me outside". So it's sort of a verb/command/all purpose wish for him. He also says "play" and "bath." His baths are definitely an activity so I'm putting that on the verb list.

His proper nouns are limited to: Mama, Dada, Bopa, Gaigai and Gilbert (the cat) who he screams for frequently by shouting "Baber." The cat does not respond. Oh he also calls Elmo "Lalala" because of his stupid song. So I guess that's another proper noun... unfortunately.

He has no adjectives yet except for "wow" and "ah-oh" but he says them so cutely that I am pretty sure he can get through life with just those.

His sound effects are developing well too (an integral part of the healthy toddler brain). He cannot whistle but he makes a fake whistle sound when we whistle. Yep, it's cute! He makes about 10 different animal noises which he can match correctly to the named animal!! He makes a honk noise when he drives the little car Duchess bought for him. He makes a vroom noise for the truck and a "choo-choo" for the train. Neither of these sound right but he is working on it!

We are so proud of our Button-Boy who is working incredibly hard to communicate with us!
--Rosemary

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Language

It has been 2 months since we met Button and I can say, without a doubt, that the number one change is language. Button's ability to understand what we are saying has decreased his anger and frustration level by about 75% and his ability to communicate his simple toddler needs has raised his trust in us a huge extent. He tells us what he wants i.e. cup and then we give it to him = he feels he can trust us to provide for him. You might be thinking that is a ridiculous oversimplification of relationship. Well, of course, it's not everything - not even close - but like I said before language has brought the single most powerful change we've seen so far.

For instance, 1 month ago a scenario would play out where he would start screaming suddenly and for no discernable reason. I would ask over and over what he wanted. I would volunteer objects. I would carefully check the big 3: tired, hungry, wet. If I didn't get lucky and happen upon the desired item (one time it was a tiny plastic cat sitting in a high windowsill) after kicking and hitting attempts, he would simply scream himself out. Now just a month later, he can easily just tell me what he wants but if he gets too hungry and starts to head down this road I say,"Button can you point to what you want?" He will then point at the object. If it is a word he knows like "truck" I will say, "Can you ask nicely for that truck?" and he will say, "Peas tuck." If it is a new word we will practice that word once and then he can play with the item.

His ability to express himself and to understand us has released so much fear from our beautiful little boy. Don't get too excited here, but sometimes he will even play with his car in the hallway and allow me to go into the potty-room alone...if I leave the door open and if I sing the whole time. Baby steps, folks, baby steps.

--Rosemary

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bopa and GaiGai

Attachment and bonding is a funny thing. So many books have been written on it that I don't even want to think about it and yet it's still such a mystery. We are told so many things to do "right" to help aid the attachment process: parent facing strollers, child slings, co-sleeping, parent care instead of daycare when possible, time-ins instead of time-outs, feeding them instead of allowing them to feed themselves, massage, and constant eye contact.

That's quite a list of "correct parenting" pressure and that doesn't even begin to touch all the other regular parenting stuff. That's just the attachment and bonding stuff. And that's just some of it. And oh yeah, all of that effort doesn't guarantee anything, because attachment is a mystery. Yes, we need to do all that we can to help our kids through this very difficult period but we also have to just do the best we can and cut ourselves some slack.

Skeptical? Allow me to tell you the story of Bopa and GaiGai.

Bopa and GaiGai would be my parents, Button's grandparents. They arrived for a visit about 10 days after we came home to America and stayed about 4 days. The second Button met Gai Gai they had a gentle, pleasant communication. No strife. If Gai Gai said no then he just accepted that and moved on. If Mommy says no there is hell to pay. If Gai Gai changed his diaper it rarely turned into a bloodsport whereas, in those days, if Mommy did it there was carnage. Then there is Bopa. The whole world stopped turning for Button the second Bopa walked through the door. It was as if his favorite person ever, who he had known always, suddenly showed up to rescue him. Dare I say it? Bopa was more popular even than Daddy. Yes, it's true! Now my Dad has always been sort of a pied piper with little kids. I would not hesitate to say that all children like my dad and his 6 grandkids adore him...but this was RIDICULOUS!

It has been more than a month since my parents left town and Button asks for them daily. When he picks up his toy phone he calls "Bopa, Gai-Gai, Bopa". If he gets mad at us (frequently) he runs to the door and calls "Bopa" as if Grandpa is going to come and rescue him. Last week we took him for a picnic and he had a lovely afternoon out. Running and playing all day! Naturally, he was upset to go home so you can bet as soon as we put him in his car seat he started screaming for "BOPA, BOPA, BOPA!"

Then several days ago, I took him to the Best Buy to get a Sesame Street DVD and as we walked out there was an older couple who actually looked a great deal like my parents. Button went nuts waving his arms and calling to them "Bopa, Gai-Gai". Before I could stop him he raced over and hugged the woman's legs. When he looked up and saw it wasn't the right face he started screaming in terror and we had a full scale meltdown all the way home.

We don't know what enabled him to make this amazing attachment to my parents but meanwhile, we (his loving parents who care for him every day) are still working to gain access to the locked parts of our little boy's heart. Are we sad or jealous? No, absolutely not! We are thrilled that Button has a great relationship with both my parents and the Duchess. Do I wish that when Button had met us in Thailand he had been able to react to us with this instantaneous kismet love in the same way he reacts to my parents? UM....YEAH! That would have been amazing not to mention about a million times easier. But that is very rarely the way toddler adoption works - especially when the children are grieving for loving foster parents who they think are their parents.

There are no instant fixes and there is no activity, purchased item or therapy that can cause a relationship to grow when a child needs time. All we can do is give them love and patience and accept their grief. We need to give ourselves a lot of love and patience too because this is an amazing and strenuous new relationship that has taken over our lives. Attachment whether it be fast, slow, obvious, hidden or inexplicable is a mystery of the heart.

--Rosemary




Monday, April 19, 2010

Button Eats




One of Button's favorite words is eat! He says it in Thai "mum, mum, mum" and just recently he has proudly started shouting "EAT!" while motioning to his mouth. But the fact remains that no matter what language he is saying it in and, pretty much no matter what he is actually consuming, the boy loves his food!

Once we switched him from fortified formula to milk and then once we were able to cut him back to the recommended 16 to 24 oz of milk a day for a 19-month-old child instead of the 64 oz a day he was consuming when we met him he started eating like a linebacker. Button now takes a milk bottle (8 oz) with his afternoon nap and another when he goes to bed at night, and a mini-bottle (6 oz) when he wakes up at 5 am. Outside of his milk, which he still calls "nahm", what is Button eating though? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Mushrooms and peas are his favorite thing on earth, he also likes zuccini, avocado, brussels sprouts, squash, potatoes, and onions. He will NOT eat broccoli or carrots though.

He loves fish of all kinds! Fish and rice is probably his favorite meal. He will eat small bites of pork depending on how it's been cooked. He does not like chicken except fried chicken still on the bone. We suspect he just enjoys holding the chicken leg. He is not really a meat eater in general. He prefers rice, veggies and fish, which my friend Jutiporn says is a more typical diet for a small child in Thailand.

He loves almost all fruits. Papaya remains his favorite though. He loves bananas but he won't eat the large bananas available here in the US. I can't say that I blame him considering how much sweeter the little ones in Thailand are. However, if I can find the "baby bananas" that Dole sometimes offers he will eat those. He loves grapes, oranges, mango, raisins, watermelon, and pears. He does not like kiwi, apples or pineapple.

He loves to eat sandwiches probably because he can hold them himself. His favorites are tuna, egg salad or Morning Star Chick Patties Veggie substitute (meatless). He loves pasta dishes of all kinds as long as the sauce is simple and not too gloppy. For breakfast he usually eats oatmeal or grits and some fruit. His favorite snacks are: turkey sausage links, hard boiled eggs, fruit, crackers and hummus, nuts, peanut butter crackers, and cottage cheese. He does not care very much for most dairy though: real cheese and yogurt are no shows. We are trying to keep Button off sugar because, trust us, this kid does not need stimulants but we do let him have a little bread and jam after dinner. We were surprised to discover that Button loves breads of all varieties!

We haven't been eating out much but when we have he has loved the dumpling shop in town, the Himalayan Fusion buffet and, of course, our local Thai restaurant. We haven't yet ventured into any "American style" food offerings with him.

When it comes to food we have no complaints. Button is a champion eater - he will even eat our spinach lasagna. I have to admit though...we met our waterloo at eggplant.
--Rosemary


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Potty Trained?

All about the potty training:
I wanted to do a post on this because a lot of people have had questions about the subject and I know that I myself was very curious/worried about where Button would be in the process before we traveled so I wanted to make sure I gave details for families coming behind.

Button was 18-months-old when we brought him home and he was NOT in any way potty trained. His foster family's form of waist management for Button was, when at home, for him to "go" wherever he went and then they just cleaned it up. Because they had a simple plank-floor home with very few possessions this may have posed less of a problem than we would imagine. When away from home he wore a cloth or disposable diaper. Due to this, Button rarely wore pants when at home, but usually a long shirt or a t-shirt and loose shorts. This method is a common, culturally accepted, part of childrearing in Thailand (and many other countries).

Some adoptive families don't want to talk about this because they don't want their children (and foster families) to be judged by small minded people (understandable) but I feel comfortable just saying this is one thing that is done differently in a different culture and it is perfectly acceptable. Americans don't do it that way, and I am happy about that, but it's ok that Thai society is more comfortable with body function. A superior attitude might be simple to feel but it's healthy to remember that we are one of the few countries with the money and resources to diaper our children 24-hours a day.

Button is much more conscious of his body functions that the average American diaper trained child of his age probably due to actually having been able to feel himself going to the bathroom for the last 18 months. When he does his business he tells us ASAP and then when I ask, "Do you want Mommy to change your diaper?" he will shake his head yes. So while he is not potty trained he is aware of his bowel function and I am trying to keep him from loosing that awareness with all of our plastic sterility. I have hopes (naive though they may be) that this will aid in our eventual potty training.

The other thing I will say is that when we first met Button we accomplished a diaper change under the watchful eye of his social worker, the amazing Mo, in our hotel room. He was placid as a summer lake. I thought, "Fantastic! No problem! The kid doesn't mind diaper changes!" The thing was that as long as diaper changes remained infrequent they were kind of a novelty. So that was cool. When Button realized that he would be wearing said diaper all the time and there would be no more peeing on the floor and these diaper changes would occur regularly every two hours he sort of went berzerk. For the next 3 weeks diaper changes were a fight to the finish. Now we pretty much have it under control but for a while there it was American Gladiator in the nursery.

--Rosemary


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1 month Update

April 10th marked 1 month that Button has officially been in our custody! In some ways it seems like we were seeing his sweet face for the very first time only moments ago and in other ways it seems as if a lifetime has passed. The one thing we know for sure is that we are so blessed to have had this month with our son. What an amazing experience it has been to become parents, bring our child home from the other side of the world, overcome jetlag and illness together, introduce him to his grandparents, and start getting into the hang of a routine. That's a big month!

In the past month this is what we've seen:
Progress -
*Button now naps! It took weeks to get this figured out but he takes 1 afternoon nap from 1 to 3ish. He will only sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed (where he sleeps at night) and I have to lay down with him until he falls asleep. He sleeps fitfully, waking several times during the nap, but as long as I am right there to keep him from panicking he will go back to sleep quickly.
*Button now takes his bath without screaming!
*Button now sits happily in his booster seat at meals!
*Button now understands that diaper changes are a part of life. Unavoidable and best to just simmer down and get it over with.
*Button has started to say both our names occasionally when he wants something.

Regression (or part of the healing process depending on how you look at it)-
*Button shows more anxiety now if one of us leaves a room even if it is to walk around the corner in our open floor plan living/dining/kitchen main room.
*He will start crying for no reason sometimes and be inconsolable for quite some time.
*He loves to meet people and is a super cute social butterfly but we are pretty sure that he is "mommy/daddy shopping", a very real part of many adoptees experience, with almost all adults we introduce him to. We are limiting his social interactions and trying to make sure that bonding happens only with us. The reality of this though is that it limits our social interactions and that can be frustrating.
*His temper tantrums are becoming much more marked. It is healthy that he can show his anger and let us know how sad, confused and hurt he is by everything that has happened to him, without his permission and for reasons unknown to him, but we are working to find appropriate ways to keep this behavior at bay because we want him to be safe inside the boundaries of our family.

All together bonding and attachment is progressing as it should, Button got a fabulous report at the pediatrician who declared him in perfect health (other than eczema) and very bright, and we are EXHAUSTED but happy first time parents who adore our son and are finding our way through the maze that is life after kids.
--Rosemary


Monday, April 12, 2010

House of Grace





In my efforts to recount our time in Thailand I want to make sure I don't fail to talk about the four days we spent in Chiang Rai. Many people adopting from Thailand spend their pleasure time at the beach but we chose to go north because we have wonderful dear friends at the House of Grace, a girl's relief and rescue home in Chiang Rai, where I worked for many years.


We didn't stay at the home because we were worried about so many people interrupting the flow of bonding with Button so instead we took a room at a lovely hotel close by and would go out to the girls' home after breakfast and return later in the day. Initially we had some concerns that Button might feel frightened by all the children or overwhelmed by so many new faces but we ended up being so glad that we made this trip!


He had a great time and it was the first place that we saw him relax. He loved playing with all the little girls and being doted on by the big girls. Of course, all of the staff members were delighted to see him and love on him too. Most of all though I think he really enjoyed the opportunity to eat his meals (truly authentic Thai food) outside on a mat or gathered at a table of Thai speakers. We could see him blooming in the cultural blessing of familiar language, food and faces. He just adored my dear friend and former co-worker Jutiporn, the director of House of Grace, and her two young sons.


We were glad that we had rented the hotel room because we think it was important that we step away from all the super-fun socializing he was doing and reinforce those VERY tenuous bonds of family at naptime, bedtime, bathtime and breakfast but after everything he had been through we were incredibly grateful to see our baby smile. We were also pretty grateful to get a little bit of help ourselves and to see the loving smiles of precious friends.

--Rosemary

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Button's Massage

Those of you following our journey will remember from my previous posts that we had been reading about infant massage as a way to foster bonding and attachment. We heard a lot of positive things about the power of touch and everything we read really compelled us to try infant massage.

I would like to immediately go on the record saying, "Toddler massage is not infant massage!" Button was 18-months-old when we met him and getting him to sit still (even when exhausted) was a feat of miraculous powers so the massage seemed as if it could never happen. The infant massage book calls for these long sessions with the child prone on their back, gazing up into your eyes, totally relaxed at your touch. Yeah right, my poor kid hasn't been relaxed since he met us (don't blame him) and he never lays down until he passes out. But we really did feel that if anyone ever needed to relax and feel calmly loved, if only for 2 minutes, it was our over-excited, traumatized toddler so we persisted.

Every night before bed, after his final diaper change, when he is just in his nappy, we lay out a soft towel on the floor of his nursery, put on a lullaby cd, and let him sit between the two of us while we put lotion on our hands and rub it all over his body. At first it was like wrestling an eel into a garbage sack. He would scream as if we were hurting him and use all his rather considerable muscle to get away. We would quickly finish slathering him and let him get up. Then one day as he was crawling viciously away from me, I was rubbing his legs and I moved onto his feet to keep hold of him and he started making almost a moo-ing noise and quit moving. That was the first positive sign of physical contact during the massage. After that we started and ended with long sessions on his feet.

Tonight when we went upstairs to change his diaper and get the "going to bed" routine started he grabbed his lotion off the low shelf and sat down in the middle of the floor and started pretending to rub it on himself. When Brian and I went and sat next to him he pretended to rub our legs. We have a lot of road left to tread with massage (and all of the techniques we are working with) but I am really glad we didn't give up. He still won't lay down and let us massage him and the massage never lasts past 85 seconds but each second is pure happiness for all 3 of us and it always ends with a kiss. WORTH THE EFFORT!
--Rosemary

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bathtime


Learning how to parent a child who already has a catalogue of likes and dislikes, fears and a personal history with the world is an interesting task. Ever since we took custody of Button in BKK bathtime has been an absolute nightmare. Button, who is not afraid of anything, (dangerously unafraid in fact) has been terrified of the bath. We tried everything. Still the screams persisted.

Finally, we decided to use the inflatable tub recommended by my friend Terri on her adoption blog. Peace reigned in the bathroom. Now Button loves his evening bath!! We don't know what made the bath so scary. We never even ran the faucet while he was in the room but maybe he just felt lost in such a big sea of water. After all, his prior experience with baths was being sponged off in a large bucket so I can see how this was pretty different.
--Rosemary



Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter

Button's first Easter was lovely! We had a wonderful weekend. Brian actually had the weekend off and Sunday was my parent's last day in town so we really enjoyed ourselves. We didn't try to go to church because we knew Button couldn't possibly sit through a service yet and we didn't want to leave him in the church nursery. We just feel it's too soon for that kind of separation. So my mom planned a super cute Easter egg hunt in the backyard and made him his very own Easter basket. He had a blast with all the goodies and the grown-ups had just as much fun watching him figure it all out. Afterward, we ate a delicious brunch at one of our favorite places here in town and still made it home for an effort at naptime.
Hoping you had a wonderful weekend wherever you may be,
--Rosemary




Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Journey Home


There is no way I can describe a 24-hour, 3-plane-change journey with a newly adopted child. No one can convey that experience via the written word. It's simply not possible. What I will say is that if there were any other way to bring Button into our life I would have done it. I would have paid any amount of money (were it ours) not to have had to do that. It was the most unpleasant experience of my life and I am not a wimp. I once made the trip home from Thailand with typhoid fever. This was worse. Much worse.

Button was actually pretty good, all things considered. He is always pretty good. He is a great kid! We took the non-stop flight BKK to LAX which left at 6:30pm so by the time they finished the dinner service he was exhausted and ready for sleep. We were super lucky to be on a 1/2 full flight. The angels sang!! The seat between us was empty and since we were already in the bulkhead we were able to lay Button on the floor in front of our feet and he slept for about 6 hours straight. AMAZING! Travel tip: even if you suspect that your child is too big or won't use the bassinet service offered by almost all airlines go ahead and order it anyway because it will ensure you a bulkhead row. Your child must be 2 yr's or under to use the bassinet on most airlines so we just squeaked by and, of course, Button was way too big but the bulkhead row is soooooo worth it! Another travel tip: don't make the mistake of ordering the "baby meal" on Thai airlines if traveling with a toddler. It is jars of baby food so if your kid is a big eater like Button then Mommy will go hungry all the way across the pacific.

Once Button woke up though... we still had 5 hours left to go and he was mad! We walked the aisles, we played with every toy in the bag (and we brought a bunch), the stewardess brought a Thai airlines goody bag, he played peek-a-boo with the lady across the row. Still time crawled by. It. Just. Crawled. Then just as they put on the seatbelt light for descent into LAX Button had a massive diaper blow out so severe it was bubbling up the back of his pant's waistband and the attendant wouldn't let me change him.

After a layover in LAX we still had to face down a 7 hr. red-eye to the east coast. When Button saw we were boarding another plane I think he went a little crazy but fortunately we had pleasant seat companions on the completely full flight and Button slept at least half way there. The rest of the way he screamed and threw toys. It was mind-boggling. We arrived in D.C. at dawn, ate breakfast and played chase and hide-and-go-seek with Button at a deserted gate while waiting 2 more hours for our shuttle flight home.

Was it worth it? Of course! What a ridiculous question. There isn't anything on earth that isn't "worth it" in order to be a family and be with our son. What advice would I give to traveling families? Prepare for the worst; leave optimism at home; take more toys, snacks and diapers than you imagine ever needing. Just in case this post is too bleak for some folks I've included a few of my favorite pics from our journey home as a bit of a cheer up.

--Rosemary





Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finally time to write!

I realize it has been weeks since I blogged but I've hardly been able to remember my own name so writing was out of the question. However, my mom is with Button now so I have a little time for blogging. I do intend to work backwards and fill in the blanks about our time in Thailand. I want to be able to have a clear written memory for our records and I also know from personal experience that some pre-adoptive families out there may be following this blog carefully as they prepare for their own journey.

Let me just say for today that we are doing fine. Button is adjusting better than anyone could possibly have hoped given the trauma that all of these children go through. Many experts believe that toddler adoption is the most difficult kind of adoption and I can understand why. The child is old enough to know that something "wrong" has happened but not nearly old enough to understand any of the explanations.

Button is an extremely active, strong willed, happy 19-month old little boy. He loves to play outside, throw the ball, go for a walk, be read to and imitate most anything we are doing. He is very smart (of course) and he is already saying 7 or 8 words in English including pointing at the door and saying, "A WALK". He also does a huge variety of incredibly cute things that I will try not to bore you with.

In the interest of not sugar coating this process that is adoption, allow me to also share some of the difficulties. He will make absolutely no efforts what-so-ever at directly addressing either one of us. Sometimes he will even hit us in the face to get our attention but he won't say "Mommy or Daddy". This is a typical part of grieving and it is important that he hold us away from his heart as long as he needs to. It took 10 full days for him to recover from jetlag but now that he is better he refuses to nap during the day. Adoption trauma aside, he is fully enmeshed in the terrible-two's, and feeling the need to sow some oats. He can climb into ANYTHING. He does hit and bite and pinch when he is upset, which is frequent.

All that being said, we love Button so very, very, very much and we are thrilled and overjoyed that he, and no one else, is our son. He is the absolutely exact right child for our little family that was two and now is three.
--Rosemary

Friday, March 19, 2010

Home at last!

We finally arrived home with Button this morning after the following itinerary: 14 hour flight from Bangkok to LAX, 4 hour layover, 6 hour flight from LAX to Washington Dulles, 2 hour layover, 30 minute flight home to Virginia. Whew! I get exhausted just writing it! But we're home, my mom (the Duchess) is here helping in so many wonderful ways, and we're all just trying to deal with our jetlag, which is atrocious. Can't wait to post more about our trip and about our new lives as Button's parents here in our own little house! Never really seemed like this day would get here, but all of a sudden, here it is. Thanks all for your interest and prayers and advice and help during our planning and travels. Will write more soon, but just wanted to let everyone know we were home safe and sound.

-Brian

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More pictures

We're back in Bangkok after a long weekend in cool (relatively) north of Thailand with our friends at House of Grace. It was very nice to be out of Bangkok for a few days, and Button loved being surrounded by kids and loving Thai people. Of course, I'm not posting those pictures right now (too frazzled to make cogent blog postings!) Here are some pictures from our DSDW meeting and our day at the zoo. Quick paperwork update for those who have known that we've been having problems: we have our visa interview tomorrow morning at the US embassy, and will hopefully be leaving Thailand Thursday night. Not too bad! More soon.

-Brian




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Thursday, March 11, 2010

You take the good, you take the bad...

So we have had a really stressful introduction to family life. We feel so BAD for Button because his transition to our family was always going to be full of loss (no way around that) but no one could have predicted it would be this uncomfortable. Brian got sick first. The day they brought Button to be a permanent part of our family (his goodbye day with his "Yai and Pa") Brian was virtually unavailable he was so sick. So there we were. Mommy and Button. Yes, that is correct, my body was a human shield for his laser beams of hatred. Brian would appear occasionally.

The next day we had to go to the DSDW meeting to officially receive his paperwork and become his parents. I started running a fever that day but one cannot miss the DSDW meeting so I carry on.

The third day Brian is feeling fully recovered and I continue to feel rotten but what can be done? We have a kid to take care of and that kid is completely miserable anytime we are in the hotel room. He's no fool. He recognizes this as the site of all his loss. He needs constant distraction from his total misery e.g. "Where is my Yai?" So we decide to go to the Bangkok Zoo. It's a lovely place and I highly recommend it if you are coming here with your own unhappy adoptee. We had a very nice morning looking at animals and eating popsicles at the goat pen. Button is especially pleased with the giraffes. Then it is lunch time so Brian goes to hunt for food and I take Button to change his diaper and wash hands for eating. Button looks at me calmly and throws up on his clothes. Then while I am cleaning that up he throws up on me. Then while I am cleaning that up he throws up on the wipes. Yes, that is 3 projectile vomits in a row. We finally find Brian and go back to the hotel immediately. Button throws up in the Taxi. #4! The taxi driver yells at us all the way back to the Pantip Court. I give him an enormous tip and run upstairs.

At the present time, I am no longer running a fever but existing on applejuice and rice. Button still has a fever but is keeping food down for about 24 hours now. Hoping and praying the kiddo feels better soon!
--Rosemary

All about Button

So it takes a while to amass any sort of knowledge about your child but we are working hard to learn what we can as fast as we can. Here's what we think we know so far:

Button is clearly a leftie. He has full use of his right side (you can bet we checked) but throws and kicks and uses his spoon with his left hand almost exclusively. I am delighted to see this because left handed people rank as highly creative. Brian is delighted because left handed players are highly desired pitchers.

He is addicted to his bottle. Both emotionally and physically. He is drinking 8 8 oz bottles of fortified formula a day. Ummm...yeah. He hardly eats a bite of solid food because he is constantly full of liquid fats. We are trying to figure out what to do about that because he is way too old for formula. He carries the bottles (2- 1 for water and 1 for milk) around with him always. He keeps them holstered under his armpits when he uses his hands for things. It's actually kind of cute but a habit that eventually we hope he will be able to part with. Like in time for school.

He has already said his first english word. This morning playing soccer with Mommy and Daddy he pointed at the ball and said "Ball" then kicked it. We are duly impressed. His Thai vocabulary that we've identified so far is mostly "Eat" "Hungry" "GO" "Car" "Grandmother" and "Cat".

He loves cars, trucks and motorcycles more than anything on earth. He makes "vroom" noises when he sees them and he loves to ride in taxis and look out the windows at passing cars.

He doesn't like chicken but loves congee and fruit.

He is crazy about Daddy and prefers him in every way. He likes me and will certainly allow me to hold him, feed him, take him on walks, play with him, etc... But if Brian is available he really wants it to be DAD! His foster parents said that he called her "grandmother" and him "daddy" and that he was a real Daddy's boy there too so we don't know if he's just kind of wired that way or if he is working through some missing of his "Yai" who he calls for frequently. It will be interesting to see how it plays out but for now I love watching Brian and Button together. They are soooo cute and Brian is an AMAZING dad!

--Rosemary

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Button's village

These are a few pictures from Monday afternoon with Button's foster family. The older couple are his foster parents. The other people pictured are their family, who live in the same village with them. Button has definitely been raised up to this point with an "it takes a village" viewpoint! We are so grateful for all their love and care for him.

-Brian





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Button and Daddy

Here are some of Monday's events captured on film. The day started off with some Slinky to break the ice, then a trip to the Central Department Store in Bangkok (new shoes!), and some fun with sunglasses for the long car trip out to Bang Sai. R will right more about what's been going on since. I liked these of me and the boy, though.

- Brian






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Monday, March 8, 2010

Long Day

Brian is sick. Brian who is never sick is sick. The man has survived 9 years of medical training and has the immune system of an ox and he has been terribly ill for more than 12 hours. We think he has some kind of virus because he is running a fever. In case you are wondering, I don't feel great either but I definitely don't have whatever is plaguing him...yet. The timing of this is really bad because we have a lot of government appointments to go to today with VISA stuff and on top of all of that Button is being delivered here into our care permanently around noon. We need all hands on deck so please say a prayer that we can get this illness beat.

We had a very long and busy day yesterday. In the morning, we all went to the Central Department store to do some shopping and eat lunch. In the past, some families have felt frustrated by this activity because it is a difficult day for the kids. Very overwhelming and stressful for them and creates and lot of difficulty in toddler wrangling. But we were told that it was important because it helps to prepare for the atmosphere of airports. What a smart social worker!! It was loud and bright, full of strangers and weird things like escalators which fascinated Button. By the time we got to lunch he was overstimulated, had a hard time eating and then fell sound asleep in the middle of the food. Poor kid.

In the afternoon we took the 2 hour drive out to the village where he lives with his foster family. His foster parents are the sweetest, kindest people and we loved meeting them! He clearly has a wonderful relationship with both of them and their extended family who all live right there. Button seems to be kind of a guy's guy and he is very close to his foster father and he adores Brian and thinks everything he does is SUPER COOL. He imitates all his noises and gestures in this completely adorable way! His foster parents have a little pre-teen granddaughter who lives there and Button obviously loves her and does everything with her. She showed us all around their street and took us on the little evening walk that she usually goes for with Button down to the river. He is a VERY physical, active little boy who needs to be doing something all the time. One of the few words he does say is, "GO!" His foster mother told us that taking his evening walk is very important to him and she made me promise that we would continue this tradition at our house. She seemed incredibly relieved to hear that we had been to Thailand before and that we had friends in Chiang Rai and planned to return. I don't think she believed we would bring him back to visit her but she seemed hopeful at least.

His foster parents told us that they have fostered 10 children through Holt but 8 of them have been reunited with loving birth families here in Thailand. Only one other child, long ago, went to America. She said it was very hard for her to see Button going so far away and she had been worried for many months about who these people were. She was very kind to us because she said that when she saw our faces and saw us with him she could tell that we were very loving and fun and that we would be good to him. I cried the whole time she talked and so did the social worker translating. She is 65 years old and she has done a very good job, in limited circumstances, with caring for and loving our son and we are so grateful. We can't wait to come back and visit her.

By the time we got home Brian was sick. When he is feeling better he will post pictures. I can't work the camera. Lightswitches are as technical as I get.
--Rosemary

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Meeting Our Baby

I don't think I will ever forget those first minutes when Button when walked into the room. He was such a brave little guy. His social worker was walking next to him and he was sort of surveying the situation (3 social workers, 2 families of farangs and the other sweet little matched toddler who was very loudly upset) but he didn't have to be carried and he never shed a single tear.

I sat down on the floor and started playing with some toddler sized blocks we brought. I stacked them up (counting in Thai) and knocked them over with small explosion noises. Button cautiously edged closer to the fun. After a minute or so I held out a block to him and he happily took it. In another minute I said his Thai nickname and he came over, stacked his block and knocked them over. Then he sat down and took over the blocks like a happy little dictator stacking and knocking them down and handing blocks to me or Brian to hold. Then his social worker gave him a ball out of her diaper bag. This is clearly the FAVORITE toy and he immediately recognized me as a subpar partner. He kicked and threw his ball (hard and long and connections) with Brian thereafter. He is content to play with the ball for a very long time and he rarely misses his aim. Brian is overjoyed!

At this time the other family left to go to their room and it was just us and the social worker and Button seemed to suddenly take stock of very new (and strange) surroundings. For a second I thought he might cry but then he just tiptoed over to a large bank of cabinets by the tv, gave us a mischevious, over-the-shoulder grin and started opening them one by one and pushing buttons on the TV. He let me hold him and walk all around the suite showing him the bedroom where we would sleep, the bathroom where we would wash up, the kitchen where we would have snacks (translated by social worker). We have no idea what he is absorbing at this point but he doesn't show much fear. He climbed right up on the bed and snuggled in the pillows and wanted to be read his book. He wanted to be read the book in every room in the house. I'm so glad that we basically have a small children's library waiting for him at home because he obviously likes books. My turn to be overjoyed!

Our whole group met in the dining room for lunch and we had our first go at feeding him. Typically, he was most interested in drinking from Daddy's cup of cold water but he ate a fair amount of fried rice and an insane amount of papaya so I was satisfied. He does an extremely cute thing though: when he gets a bite of something he especially likes he takes both fists and rubs them, opening and closing on his tummy, in this expression of pure delight like a little Koala bear. So far he doesn't seem to have any particular preference for one of us over the other. He loves playing with Brian - it would appear that blocks and ball are better with Brian. He happily lets us both hold him and carry him though. We are so grateful that he is not afraid or resentful of 1 of us because this makes sharing the parenting load so much easier and we hope this equal adjustment to us keeps up.

Today we were also given a very comprehensive update of his schedule, food needs, and personality by the social workers. As we studied it after he left we couldn't help but laugh. I have no idea what these updates say to other parents but Button's says, "Please be aware of accidents that happen due to to this little boy's curiosity and activeness with climbing, searching and loving of electronic appliances." And Brian said we didn't need the toilet locks!! The update also told us that his favorite toy is his ball and he loves to play in water and take his bath and that he is afraid of ducks and the noise they make. Cute, huh?

We were only with him today for 4 hours before he needed to go home and get some rest and decamp from all of this stress. Even though I hated putting him in that van I know that this slow process of transition that HSF does is best for the children. He is so beautiful and perfect and we can't wait to see him again! Next, among other things, we will go to his foster family's home to meet them, show some expression of our deep gratitude and get to see Button in his familiar environment which should be an eye-opener. Exciting!!
--Rosemary

Button Pictures!!!

So we met our son this morning! We'll post pictures now and do a full recap later on. Too, too excited right now to put words down. As you can see, he started off a little sedate, but that didn't last too long. A lot of times I felt like a wildlife photographer. As you can see, once he catches sight of the camera, the jig is up! But he eventually tired himself out, and fell asleep in R's arms right before leaving for the day. More later.

-Brian


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Waiting for Button....



A hotel room waits for its new resident....







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Staying Busy

Today is the big day. Today we will meet Button! So naturally I woke up at 2:45am. At this point, I'm really nothing more than a shivering chihuahua. I hope I can pull it together enough to hold the kid. Oh wow, I'm super excited! Poor Brian has been practically baby-sitting me since we arrived and now we are getting a real toddler.

We had a wonderful day yesterday. Since we've both been here before and blessed enough to tour the "Big Bangkok Hot-Spots" we decided we would just spend the day running some errands and making sure we had all our P's and Q's in place for "BUTTON DAY". After a lovely breakfast in the garden we took advantage of the hotel's complimentary shuttle to the skytrain. Fortunately, the shuttle drops guests off at the Sala Deng stop, which is right in the heart of the Silom District of Bangkok (the area I am most familiar with) so we shopped up and down both sides of the street enjoying the early morning cool and calm that only jet-lagged tourists discover. We got delicious ice coffees at the Doi Tung shop. While in Thailand, please frequent the Doi Tung shops. They have lovely gifts, delicious edibles and all of the proceeds go to help the hilltribe minorities! After that we rode the skytrain 2 stops (20 baht) to the Siam Center to check out the mall and look for some things we accidentally forgot and others we still needed to buy.

We bought wrapping paper for our gifts for the social workers and Button's foster family. The Thai's do the most magnificent wrapping paper and bows and the girl helping me was so excited about the options for "making cute". The end result was not cheap but we did indeed make cute. After that, we wondered through a fantastic toy store looking for presents for the little girl we sponsor at House of Grace in Chiang Rai. We are going there for a few days when we are done in BKK and we will get to visit with her as usual. We want to make sure that she knows that despite our new parental status we still love her absolutely and she can always count on us. The girls in the home have so little and I don't want her to feel she is loosing...again. So from Brian a pink doctor's kit because little girls can grow up to be doctors too and from me an Asian Barbie because little girls can grow up to be fashion conscious doctors!

Then we rode back to the Sala Deng stop and ate lunch at the "Bug and Bee" a darling little fusion restaurant which serves Thai food wrapped up in crepes. They also have a variety of cold fruit drinks. I know it sounds like an odd idea but when I saw the sign I said to Brian, "That's either really bad or really good but don't you think we must try it?" So we did and it was delicious! We shared the Thai Tuna salad in cold crepe and the curry puffs in hot crepe and a lime soda.

After lunch Brian declared that I had to spend at least 3 hours napping because my eyeballs were starting to twirl so I was put to bed. When I woke up my sweet husband had made us dinner reservations for a fancy night out in honor of our last "No babysitter needed date night." How cute is he? He took me to the Oriental Hotel, which is one of the oldest and loveliest spots in Bangkok. They have 9 restaurants to choose from and their French theme is consistently voted one of the best restaurants in all of Asia. We, however, ate at the traditional Thai restaurant on the riverfront. The weather was perfect with a soft breeze all evening and the food was delicious. A very fun part of eating here is that you arrive at the hotel but then The Oriental's complimentary lighted barge takes you across the river and you eat on the other side.

Well, that brings you up to speed and my next post should have Button details in it!
--Rosemary

P.S. If some of you are wondering about the very specific details in this blog they are for other pre-adoptive families who will be traveling after us and staying in this exact hotel, looking for places to eat, needing to use the skytrain and trying to cope with the new surroundings. Reading each other's blogs is one of our best ways to prepare for this wonderful but complicated trip.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brian's photoblog, part 1


My contribution to the blog while we're over here will be pictures I'm taking. Just to set the mood, before we get into the really exciting stuff, here are a few of Bangkok at night from our hotel room, as well as this morning's sunrise from our balcony. I love this city, and will try to get some more pictures throughout the day today to share it with the rest of you. Then, of course, starting tomorrow will be the pictures everyone (including us) really want to see! Our video camera won't work with this computer, but rest assured that I'll be shooting lots of video, too, which we'll put up as soon as we get home. Thanks everyone for your well-wishes and prayers.

-Brian




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Tales from Jetlag

We had a great day and I am now broadcasting live from the land of JETLAG. Brian is, of course, sound asleep. We managed to stay busy and awake until about 10pm in an effort to re-set our body clocks but I woke up at 3:30am anyway so here I am. At least it gives me time to blog!

When we arrived at the hotel our room wasn't ready yet because it was only 8am so we left our luggage with the concierge and went exploring. We are in a nice little area a few blocks from a subway stop and a small night market. There doesn't appear to be a lot of tourist action. After about an hour (and several wrong turns) we found our way back with a pretty thorough understanding of our surroundings. There is a 7-11 only a couple of blocks away which sells many helpful things for adoptive parent shoppers like poki sticks, diapers and juice.

Getting unpacked took forever because the whole thing was completely surreal. We kept placing toys and toddler clothes in drawers and then realizing that Button would actually wear these clothes in just a few days and play with these toys in this very room. So then we had to take a really long time deciding exactly which drawer we should put the toys and clothes in. The whole thing was ridiculous and hilarious so finally we just put our bathing suits on, grabbed our ipods and went to numb out by the pool.

After a swim and some sun therapy we got cleaned up and went in search of dinner. We found a lovely little open air Thai style restaurant called "Mali" just down the street where we were seated in quite possibly the world's smallest booth. Brian says he is still unfolding. Bri had the red beef curry and I ate vegetable tempura while we enjoyed the street scenes come to life around us.

After dinner we walked to the end of the street and discovered a little massage sign beckoning to us so we went in and enjoyed an hour long Thai massage in a couple's room. I don't know how they do all that bending and twisting but those treatments are perfect after the cramped plane ride. For everyone, who is about to make this trip and shy of getting one my recommendation is: just try it! Of course, that's my recommendation for everything, isn't it? Anyway, the massage shops on the street are always about 1/2 the price of the hotel spa's, they do a better job in my experience and I think tales of "misconduct" are highly exaggerated. Beside if a masseuse ever confuses the situation and offers something inappropriate one can use their car-date voice and say, "NO THANK YOU". I am a solid believer in the power of the firm car-date voice in all awkward situations.

The dining room doesn't open for another hour and a half so it looks like I'm going to be eating Button's poki sticks. Now I wish I hadn't been such a strict Mommy and insisted we forgo the chocolate covered poki in favor of the plain pretzel poki. First parenting lesson well learned!
--Rosemary

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sawatdeeka from Bangkok!

We are finally here! I have never been happier to arrive in the City of Angels and I've never had such an amazing reason for the excitement I always carry in my heart when the plane touches down here.

Considering that it is such a mind-bending trip everything went very well for us. We stopped in LA and got to visit and rest with two of our dearest friends, Tiffany and Brittany, who have just been amazing and supportive of us through this whole journey. Then we hopped on a non-stop 17 hour flight straight into Bangkok. For my money, non-stop is the way to go. I know some people like the lay-over's to stretch their legs but I just want to take my medicine and get it over with as quickly as possible. We flew Thai Air which is always a delight. Everything from the service to the food to the in-flight entertainment was top-notch. I was able to sleep several hours which is pretty good for me and, of course, poor exhausted Brian slept the entire way. He even slept through the food. It was like a bear in hibernation.

Now we are getting settled in at the hotel and trying to keep ourselves awake through the daylight hours so we're headed out to rustle up some food and a massage. Perhaps a swim this afternoon? After the unending winter we've had in Virginia this year, it's so lovely to be enjoying this 90 degree weather!

We're in Thailand and sooner than we can even believe it we will meet our son. Today we are so very blessed!

--Rosemary

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Button Pictures!!

Last night we received our final update of Button before traveling. WOOHOO! We leave the country in 1 week. I absolutely cannot believe it is finally here. We are running around with a million things left to do and loving every minute of it. Being busy for this reason is the most wonderful thing on earth. But I know none of you care about any of that - "The pictures, for heaven's sake, Rosemary, get to the pictures!" So without further ado, here's Button:


Isn't he adorable? Of course, we know you all agree! For all of you waiting parents who are curious about these things, the progress reports have a bit of basic info about height and weight, body measurements, eating and sleeping habits and any special needs that Holt may be keeping an eye on. Some of the reports may take the time to comment on personality and disposition and some of them don't. Our report this time said that Button is cheerful and active and makes many funny gestures and plays harmoniously with other children. We are incredibly grateful because these are far and away the best quality pictures we have ever received of him and they are only 2 months old so hopefully this gives us a clear idea of his little face (and clothes size) as we go to meet him IN JUST ONE WEEK!!! That means so much to us since children change on a near daily basis.

On cloud nine,
--Brian and Rosemary