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:
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Friday, November 28, 2008

Political Strife in Thailand

For anyone who's been watching the news out of Bangkok the last couple of days, it will come as no surprise that Rosemary's company cancelled her trip. We're very disappointed but grateful that she's not stuck in the Bangkok airport.  

For those who haven't heard, there's a long story leading up to it. For several months, a group called the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have been protesting, mostly in Bangkok, against the current government. The current situation has its roots in the 2006 bloodless military coup that ousted then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. I won't do it the injustice of trying to encapsulate the whole story here, but you can learn more about it on Wikipedia.  

The protesters, who have been mostly nonviolent and civil, have been occupying the Government House (parliament building) in Bangkok since late August.  The demonstrations have been mounting ever since, and have been expanding throughout the city.  On Tuesday, protesters stormed police lines at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok's main international airport, and broke through airport security checkpoints, rendering the terminal unusable.  Flights already in the air bound for Bangkok were diverted to Chiang Mai, Phuket, or sadly to Mumbai. All other incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled on the ground.  Worst of all, travelers who were in the airport have been stuck there.  In the past few days, the PAD has allowed buses to come and transport the civilians back into the city, although there appear to be a few hundred people still stuck in the terminal (down from around three thousand on Tuesday). 

The Prime Minister yesterday authorized the police to forcibly remove the protesters to allow the airport to be reopened.  He has since backed down from this position, probably in response to PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang's threat that any force from the police will be met with force from the protesters, and with a "people's uprising" all over the country.  I don't know enough about Thai politics to presume to have an opinion, but we're all keeping a close eye on things.  

What we hope for most is for continued peace, stability, and democracy in Thailand.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Jay and Chandra, and anyone else who is due to travel soon. We hope that this situation causes as little disruption as possible in people's adoptions, and that Thailand remains a safe and stable place for our children until we can bring them home with us. For up-to-the-minute news on this situation, I've been relying on

 - Brian

Monday, November 24, 2008

Adoption Conference

This weekend we attended the 28th annual APC Adoption Conference.  It was a really interesting day and we learned a lot.  In fact, I feel like I am on information overload.  They had a great program lined up and the cost was really affordable ($75 a person) so if you live within driving distance of NYC I would definitely recommend attending next year!

They had multiple sessions provided in every workshop hour so for much of the day Bri and I split up.  However, we did go to a few sessions together.  We both heard and loved Dr. Jan Arronson, adoptive parent, advocate and pediatrician speak about medical concerns for internationally adoptees.  If you ever get the chance to hear her - GO - she's fantastic!  Click here for more information about her  services.  We also heard a very interesting speaker named, Dr. Boris Gindis, speak about abrupt first language loss in international adoptees.  I was very reassured to hear him say that for most children adopted under the age of 3 there will be no long term affects.  However, he did urge all adoptive parents whose young child will suffer 1st language loss to seek early intervention and speech therapy.  So that's something else for us to start thinking about.

My favorite speaker was Sara Barris, adoptive parent and psychologist, who spoke on "Mindful Parenting Through the Developmental Stages".  She did an amazing job relating to her children's life stories and was so inspirational.  She recommended this book on mindful parenting by John Kabot-Zin which I'm going to try to read to the plane.

The day ended with an opportunity to sit with a panel of young adult adoptees. We both really enjoyed what the kids (ages 14-20) had to say about their experiences.  The moderator asked questions for about an hour, which I felt these teens did a great job of answering honestly and bravely.  Then he let the audience pose some questions.  However, I was disappointed that several adoptive parents asked what we considered to be pretty rude questions.  BTW - since many of you were interested you might want to know this:  I asked the kids how they felt about the new 23andme DNA testing as it might apply to adoptees.  They all said that they would be very interested in having the medical knowledge!  One girl did say she wouldn't want to know about the racial heritage info the test can sometimes provide.  One boy strongly disagreed with her for himself on that point though.  One girl also said she would not want her parents to have had the test done when she was little - she would want it to be her choice.  Other kids said it would have been good to have when they were kids.  So there was some interesting opinions but a general consensus from the kids that they wanted their medical knowledge.  The whole day was a fantastic learning opportunity and I was grateful that APC provided it.  

- Rosemary

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thailand Travels

I leave for Thailand in one week.  It's a very weird feeling.  Even though this is my job and I have been going back and forth to Thailand for years this will be the first time I have returned since we formally started the adoption process.  
I definitely feel like I will be seeing this country, that I love, in a very different light this time around.  I know that I will be more focused on learning about Thailand and not just enjoying Thailand.  I will be in Bangkok for 6 days and Chiang Rai for 5 days.

Top Five Things I Am Most Excited About:

1.) Being with the kids and staff at our home!  I miss everyone so much and can't wait to spend time with them and celebrate an early Christmas together.
2.) Thai Massage:  Best. Thing. Ever.
3.) Shopping at Jim Thompson.
4.) Visiting Doi Tung Royal Gardens - quite possibly the most beautiful place on earth.
5.) Street vendor food.

I will try to blog from Thailand but I'm not sure exactly how it will all work.  It will be a good test drive though for blogging whenever we actually get to meet our child!

 - Rosemary

Sunday, November 16, 2008

23 and Me

So Rosemary called me at work today telling me about something she saw on Oprah. There's a company called 23 and Me which has developed a take-at-home DNA test (recently selected as Time's Invention of the Year), which offers genetic analysis.  They take the saliva sample you send them and they run a full panel of genetic tests for $399. They can then assess your risk for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, colon cancer, and even depression and alcoholism. The company is run by two women who are geneticists.

As a doctor, I'm always a little skeptical about things like this, but they really do seem to have based their work on solid medical research. The other cool thing about it is that they automatically update your profile as new research comes out. So, for example, if they identify the gene for leukemia they will automatically run that test on your filed sample and update your profile with the results.

As adoptive parents, we've always regretted that we probably wouldn't be able to give our kids a full picture of their medical history.  No "my grandma has diabetes and my paternal uncle had a heart attack" to fill out on the form at the doctors office. While this may not seem
like a big deal to us we have the luxury of having this information.  Like so many things about adoption, we've found ourselves thinking about how important that family history would seem if we didn't know anything about it.  It's just one more thing about themselves that our children will not have a complete picture of.  And we feel that, if we can help him to have that knowledge, we absolutely should, both for medical and emotional reasons.

Another really interesting feature of this service is the ancestry research part.  They can determine a lot about your ethnic ancestry based on the DNA sample they take from you. Again, "your grandfather immigrated to Thailand from China" is something that we won't know to tell our child, but might be able to learn from this testing.  We've learned so much about how difficult an issue identity is for many adopted kids, especially those adopted internationally. Being able to arm them with some genetic information about themselves, even if it's only a little, seems worth any amount of money to us.  Rosemary, who is a worrier, is also relived to feel that this might be helpful if our kids were really ill.  

- Brian

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Feeling Blue

We applied to Holt almost a year ago.  Then we ended up having the most botched homestudy we've ever heard of and that process took 9 months.  Somehow while we were trying to get a homestudy completed the official "Holt Adopting from Thailand" time line changed.  We will now wait much longer than originally anticipated - along with all the other very patient pre-adoptive parents!  

I know that lots of people wait much longer than we will and that we have tons of projects to keep us busy in the meantime like taking Thai lessons and moving to another state.  However, this is one of those days when I can't seem to cheer myself up.  I just feel blue.  This is probably made worse by the fact that it's cold and rainy here and Brian is stuck at the hospital all weekend.  I have so many questions rolling around in my head.  How old will our baby be when we meet them?  When will we become parents?  I mean the kind of parents who have a baby to take care of; not just the kind of parents who love a baby they've never met.  How is our child adjusting to life in the meantime?  Is our child's first mother safe and at peace with her choice?

It really is best if I don't think about it all too much.  I need distraction.  A lot of distractions. Hmm, maybe I'll go to the movies.   Special shout out to recent posts at: Funkey Doodle Donkey,  Journey to Shaun, and Journey to Little M.  All of you have really helped cheer me up! Thanks for sharing.

 - Rosemary

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The year of the...

Even though we are practicing Christians, and intend to raise our children in our faith, we are trying to learn more about Buddhism so we can help our kids to understand it better.  Nearly 95% of Thailand's population is Buddhist and much of their culture has been informed by that faith.  We really can't see anyway to share Thailand with our children without giving them a working knowledge of Theravada Buddhism (the particular kind most frequently practiced in Thailand).  

We have been surprised to discover that many Americans don't realize that Buddhism has as many different types of beliefs and practices as Christianity does.  For instance, the Buddhism practiced by friends of ours in San Diego is as different from Vipasanna Buddhism of India as Pentecostals are from Roman Catholics.  It's not a faith that should be easily generalized.  It is very interesting for us to learn about the culture and long history of this ancient faith - especially as it pertains to Thailand.  

We did find this cool site that talks about Lanna Buddhism, which as we understand it, is frequently practiced in Northern Thailand and Burma.  In this tradition, every child is given an animal sign for the year of their birth and is meant to take a pilgrimage to the holy pagoda (or special wat) of their sign.  According to this listing, Rosemary is the year of the horse and should pilgrimage to a pagoda in Myanmar and Brian is the year of the goat and should travel to Chiang Mai.  The pagodas are beautifully designed, elaborate places of worship.  Pictured above is the entrance to the Wat Phra That Doi Tung located North of Chiang Rai.  Each pagoda is believed to hold a relic of the Buddha.  Wat Phra That Doi Tung is believed to have his collar bone.  

Here's the million dollar question though:  "What will be our baby's birth year?"  

- Brian and Rosemary

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reflections From a Restaurant

A couple of weeks ago we went to see a show.  Afterwards, we noticed a Thai restaurant that was still open so we ducked out of the crazy Time's Square crowd and went in to eat a little late night dinner.  This was one of those wonderful, really-real, Thai restaurants where everyone working there is Thai and the walls are covered with pictures of the royal family and Thai wats.  

Our waiter was a very handsome Thai man.  It's funny because now I find myself looking quite carefully at Thai people of all ages.  I am not trying to be rude I'm just wondering what our child will look like.  What will he look like at 4, at 12, at 20 at 35 at 50?  I sometimes wish I could say, "I only want to study your lovely features because maybe my child will look like you and that is precious beyond words to me."  Naturally one cannot go around talking like that so I avert my eyes and try to act like a sane woman who is simply ordering the garlic shrimp with coconut rice.  

It was great to hear that beautiful Thai accent being spoken.  I know that many people go ga-ga for Italian or French, but for me the most beautiful language on earth will always be Thai.  I love the gentle rise and fall of their tonal speech.  I think even when Thai people speak English their lovely accent comes through giving our own language such a pretty twist.  Maybe this is why it irritates me sooooooooo much when I hear an ignorant person refer to Asians and then make that "ching-chong-ching" speech pattern.  That sound is the exact opposite of Thai harmonies.  Like most racism it's just a broken idea.  

A funny thing happened at dinner though.  Brian, who loves his food spicy, asked the waiter if he would bring out some Nam Pla Prik.  The waiter laughed and said, "You have been to Thailand. Where have you been?"  When Bri told him Bangkok and Chiang Rai the waiter very snottily informed him "Chiang Rai is not really Thailand."  This is a typical attitude for a certain type or class of people in Thailand.  Chiang Rai is a very small, very poor city located in the far north of the country.  It's proximity to the golden triangle made it the epicenter for "trouble" in Thailand for a very long time.  The local culture there has also been heavily influenced by drugs, Burma and the hill tribe people (Akha, Hmong, Lao, etc...).  It was funny though to hear such an entrenched opinion from so far away.  I couldn't help but wonder how long it had been since this Thai ex-pat had even been home much less been to Chiang Rai?  Although, I do know that it is almost impossible to believe that your own home can change while you are away.

- Rosemary

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Exciting stuff

Again, we are not going to talk about how we voted on this blog, because thats not what we are doing here.  However, I am excited to say this:  As the future mother of a non-white baby I am thrilled to be able to tell my child that a non-white person can hold the highest office in the land.  

I also think it is a great legacy for mixed race families that our President Elect, Barack Obama, hails from an interracial family.  He had grandparents, who he dearly loved, who were not the same race as him.  When strangers saw him with his mother they did not assume that they shared the same cultural heritage.  Yet, he loves his family and has become a strong, independent man who has achieved huge things in his young life.  

Regardless of all political structures, I think it is exciting that America has FINALLY elected a minority and I think it is especially exciting that he speaks positively about his mixed race family.  

- Rosemary

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thai responses to our election

Election day!  An exciting time of waiting in line, filling in your ballot, and waiting for the swing states to determine our fate.  I thought it would be interesting today to see what people in Thailand think of our election.  A peculiar thing about being American is that our politics are interesting to the rest of the world.  

I checked in on the Bangkok Post and The Nation, Thailand's two main English language papers, to see what they had to say.  The Nation, which is mostly a business paper, was debating the merits of an Obama vs. a McCain presidency in terms of trade agreements and tariffs.  The US is Thailand's number one export market.  The Nation reported opinions that McCain would be better for Thai business and exports because of his republican free-trade tendencies and that he would be less hard-nosed about human rights and environmental conditions to trade. That last part was especially interesting to me in terms of how our policies are seen by other countries and how they affect other economies.

I'm not going to talk about any of my views or preferences because this isn't a political blog. But, among other things, this blog is about Thailand and I thought it'd be interesting to see what they think of the next president of the United States over there.  Enjoy your election night tv everybody!

- Brian

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fantastic Lullabyes

We haven't bought anything for our baby yet since we don't know who we are expecting or when they will arrive.  I must confess though - this has been really, REALLY hard for me.  We agreed though that buying a bunch of stuff this early would probably be a logistical mistake.  Especially since we are moving in 8 months.  So instead I have been doing "research" online.  I don't buy anything I just find all the stuff I want to buy and then take copious notes.  I'm afraid that this is going to result in even more purchases further down the road but at least I am managing to keep my desire to "mommy-shop" in check for the time being. 

Anyway, I found something so cute I just had to share.  There is this great website called Rockabye Baby where you can find tons of fantastic albums which have all been put through the  lullabye treatment for baby.  So now when you rock your little one to sleep instead of listening to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" over and over again you can enjoy the familiar tunes of U2 .  

The website is designed very well.  You can listen to a clip of each song in preview before you order the album and the cover art is cute too.  So even though I am being a good girl and not buying anything right now I suspect that we will end up owning a bunch of these.  At the very least a nice cross section like The Beatles, The Eagles and Bob Marley.  

- Rosemary