Friday, September 26, 2008

Update-palooza!







Yay! New photos of our sweet baby boy arrived today! We are not certain exactly when they were taken, but based on other families, we believe they were taken towards the end of August and our little man was just shy of 7 wks. We are just tickled beyond words to receive these glimpses into his growth and healthy development, but most of all just to commit his tiny precious face to memory! Sadly, like many of the other families this month, our video contained only sound, no visual!! ( Such a tease!!) Our agency has promised to work on the issue, so please check back again soon to see if we have it up and running! :)
P.S. Lauren is so thrilled that her 'baby brother' still has that mohawk, or 'babyhawk' as she has lovingly dubbed it!




videoWe got it working with a bit of help from another JOH family!(Thanks Michelle & Byron ) We are loving on this little man!! Thanks for all the comments everyone & sharing in our joy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Standing by......

Well, the good news is that the updates are in & my gosh are the babies gorgeous, alert and beyond sweet! We also got word that a family has received their Final Ruling and will be united with their precious baby girl soon!
The frustrating news is that our update of baby Pei-En was sent but returned to the JOH office possibly due to its size. I'm not complaining.....really, I'm not. I know they have one for us and I know they will fix the problem as soon as possible. ( Are you sensing a "but" here?) BUT, it was a big letdown tonight as we had anticipated seeing his little baby face AND posting about updates!
Okay....no pity parties here.....standing by for updates soon.....tomorrow? Gee, I hope so! :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Name Game

Scott Scott bo-bot, banana fanna fo fot.....Do you all remember the old name game? Have to admit that names have been on our minds lately, specifically as we struggle to give our little man a first name!
It should be easy, right? Lots of folks I know have beloved names selected for their children long before they even begin their families and those names somehow just seem to be right for the child in question. Then there are the families that debate name selections, tossing out potential selections with crazy zeal & agonizing over the right moniker. In their quest they might seek out advice from trusted family/friends, purchase a baby name book with over 5,001 available names (and their meanings) or they might even, in a dark and desperate hour, take to their computers to post ( er, I mean research) their dilemma. Naturally this latter family is purely hypothetical and I feel for that family, wandering through their days with a sweet baby known only as B.B. ( Baby Brother ) or even fondly, Little Man. Its these poor creatures whose extended family members are forced to take drastic steps (and) often at their own risk. Imagine the poor Mimi ( Grandma ) who must, with great stealth, wedge a copy of a popular baby name book into the cupboards of the indecisive couple, hoping it might spark a winner from between its covers. Picture the pure desperation of an Aunt being reduced to taking aside the older sibling of said unnamed baby and planting names choices. I know......I know, oh gentle souls....I should have given this post a PG 13 rating!
So what is an undecided couple to do? Close their eyes, open a page in the name book and point? I think not! Imagine the discomfort of finding that same finger tip resting smugly on the name Herndon ( which actually has a beautiful meaning....nature loving...ummm...not that I would know! ) or Montague, which may only be fitting for a baby featured in a classical epic tale. But in a sea ( or classroom ) of Ryan's, Max's, Logan's, Ben's, Sam's & Colin's, how would such a child fair?
So, undecided couples must continue to seek advice, scour the pages of name books and test out each potential option for possible nicknames, hidden spelling/pronunciation issues, and the dreaded other kids on the playground rhyming schemes.( Course I don't think girls actually do this? Do they? Maybe its a guy thing. ) Its a lot to consider, especially when one member of said undecided couple is capable of plucking from an unlimited number of offensive movie characters ( even B movies! ), silly rhymes or potential pitfalls for every name put forth, relegating that name to the, "most likely not" pile. And the quest goes on.
Yours Truly,
Lisa Lisa bo bisa, banana fana fo fisa.... me my momisa....Lisa

Disclaimer: The above post is purely fictional & intended for mature audiences only; no Herndon's or Montague's were injured in the making of this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Portrait of a Six Year Old





Yes, it is true....Lauren is turning 6 years old! Where has the time gone??? I have a feeling that is a question all Moms ask themselves at one time or another. Above are just a few of the photographs we had taken to mark this special event and I hope to share more of them throughout the next few months.
In honor of our little girl turning 6 I wanted to share the six things that I love best about Lauren. Of course as her Mom and number one fan, I could easily find 6 thousand, but I'm going to limit myself to just the 6 biggies! Here goes....
1. Her beautiful spirit & heart. It is HUGE and so encompassing; I know her best, and sometimes I am still taken aback by her ability to LOVE so sincerely, sweetly, innocently and openly. She melts my heart and makes me a better person every day.
2. Her sense of humor. Lauren has a quirky and witty sense of humor and when she laughs, its a big ole belly laugh. It starts at the toes and quickly climbs! It is impossible to not laugh along with her, even if she's been a bit feisty and Mama should be frowning. :)
3. Her compassion. You have all heard the expression, " he/she wouldn't hurt a fly"; this is a literal for our girl. Its just how she lives. She has earnest empathy & concern for all creatures great and small.....she once tried to nurse a wounded butterfly back to health and was devastated when it did not survive. She has a poet's soul and sensitivity.
4. They way she calls me Mama. I know this one seems strange, but when she says "Mama" it is like sweet bells ringing on a clear morning. Of course there are times she's less than pleased with me, but I'll save that for another post! ;) Without her I would not be a Mama, so that word is nothing short of magic to me. We can be surrounded by a horde of kiddos at the park and I can hear her "Mama" shout above all others....when she is most tickled, its like she is sharing a secret with me when she simply says, "Mama".
5. Her smarty pants-ness. Scott says that's not a real word, but I think all you Mamas out there know what I mean. Lauren is very bright yes, but beyond that, it tickles me when she strikes that 'put upon' pose ( hip jutting out, arm on hip, lips pursed ) and gives me her best withering stare, as if to say, " keep up with me better Mama". Sometimes I just don't get it, and she keeps me honest. It is also a scary glimpse at the teen years to come; I probably won't find it so endearing then! LOL
6. Her limitless curiosity & energy. Probably seems like I'm cheating here, but I don't think you necessarily have one without the other; or at least not when you are a kid! That boundless energy leads to a constant quest to figure it all out. Why do some stars sparkle more than others? How do dolphins say good morning to each other? Why did God make some animals cold-blooded and others warm blooded? How many steps would I need to take to get to Mimi & Papa's house if I walked there? And so on........it keeps me on my toes and has opened me to exploration I would have never guessed. She delights in the small details without losing sight of the big picture. I treasure that so much!
Happy birthday baby.......Mama & Daddy love you very much!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nuts & Bolts

This was actually the name of a yummy snack Scott's sweet Granny used to make for him during the holidays. It is probably most similar to Chex Mix, but hers had a special Grandma infused magic! :)
I also thought it was an appropriate title to give a brief explanation of the District Court Process in Taiwan; the process that will hopefully bring our baby boy home to us, sooner rather than later. We found out yesterday that our papers were translated and sent overseas this past Friday, September 5th, officially marking the countdown to bringing Pei-En home.
I have done a bit of research, but mostly borrowed the following information of the court process from a few of my blogger friends. (Thanks guys! ) I could probably fill 2 posts with a more complete explanation, but thought instead I would share the Cliff notes version. ;)
I know many of you have privately expressed frustration and confusion as to why our little man cannot join us immediately ( and oh, we wish he could!! ), so I hope this helps to shed some light onto this process. As always, thanks so much for All of the support you have given us!

District Court Process
Essentially this is the legal overview of the process with the main purpose being to protect the best interests of the child and all parties involved.

1. Hearing:
Usually around 1-3 mos. following the submission of the court papers, a hearing is scheduled in the district where the child lives and is primarily a fact seeking mission on behalf of the judge. He/She will familiarize themselves with the pertinent details of the child, birth family, adoptive family, placement, etc. The timing of this can vary widely, depending on the judge's docket, the case load of the Social Worker assigned to the case, availability of all required parties to attend and several other variables.

2. Part 1 of the Final Decree ( 1st Ruling ):
The timeline for this generally follows about 1-3 months after the Hearing.
Essentially this component of the process outlines the decision of the judge to go forward with the adoption/review critical information as such relating to the case. There is a 10 day waiting period before further action can occur and the birth family has up until the expiration of this 10 day period to change their minds.

3.Final Decree ( 2nd Ruling ):
Normally this occurs 2- 6 weeks after the 1st Ruling. This marks the completion of the Court Process.

Following these steps, there will a Change of Household Registration filed for the child and all immigration requirements will be met. Additionally, loose ends such as, documents being translated, etc. will also be addressed at this time. The final step in this process is the issuing of Travel Dates by our agency. JOH parents are generally given approximately 1-3 weeks notice to travel & prepare for the flight, time overseas, etc. At that time, those of you following our journey/blog will most likely see a post titled something like....AT LONG LAST, or LEAVING ON A JET PLANE, or something equally expressive of our jubilation!! :)

Phew....okay, thanks for hanging in there & reading along and I hope it has helped to illuminate this process. In following other families journeys I have seen the entire process take anywhere from 4 months to the more heartbreaking end of the spectrum, 7 months. We have no illusions about this wait; we expect it to be difficult and wish he could come home now along with all the other waiting babies/families. We take heart knowing that the above process works to protect the very best interests of each child and all parties involved and when it has concluded we can feel confident that a fair, transparent, legal decision as been rendered. Maybe that will bring us some peace in the coming months.....


Thursday, September 4, 2008

School Days


Okay, so I'm a bit behind in posting as school actually began this past Tuesday. Lauren has been so eager and excited all summer long to start Kindergarten and I wanted to share a few photos of her first day of school. Kindergarten marks a big milestone both for the kiddos in question and their folks. Some of you know that I can be prone to that Mama syndrome of what I fondly call, " misty-eyed moments" and this one certainly qualified! As much as I knew she was ready and as much as I want this for her ( and want it to go well!! ) there was a small part of me aching just a bit for our old routine and to wrap my arms around her and keep her close/safe for just another moment.....another hug...another shared giggle....another moment of discovery...another moment before she becomes a 'grade schooler'. And that folks is the misty-eyed monster in me!
Now the logical part of me knows her school is amazing and trusts that her teacher will keep her passion for learning ablaze while introducing her to all kinds of wondrous things throughout the school year....but in that moment, as I watched her skip up to the school entrance & look back at me with a radiant & confident smile.....for just that moment, I wanted to freeze time.........for only a moment.
P.S. In the days that followed that "moment" I can say that it has been pure pleasure watching our baby girl adjust to the big changes and flourish in school. She loves her teacher and classmates alike and I am amazed at all the things they have already done this week! So for now the "misty-eyed monster" is watching with pride, joy and dry eyes! :) Lord help me when she starts First Grade and attends school full day! LOL