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

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.

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.


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.


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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!

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!


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.


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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.

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!!

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.


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!

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.


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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!

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!