Friday, January 30, 2009

A Big Sister's LOVE

Oh gosh, I am always reluctant to bump our updates of sweet Tyler down the page, but this is a post I have been meaning to include for quite some time. For so many reasons I need to share this, not the least of which is so that Tyler always knows and understands how long awaited his arrival has been for all of us.

It was years ago that Lauren first started asking about a sibling and began praying for a baby brother or sister. The gender mattered not to her, only that her wish be granted. How blessed and incredibly fortunate we all feel to have this family dream coming true!

During this wait for our son and baby brother, Lauren has often grown weary of the delays and struggled to understand the nuances of time lines and the tangled lines of bureaucracy. It was on one of those days we decided to help her write a book detailing all the things she hoped to one day do with her beloved baby brother.

Our story began last summer, just after we received our miracle referral, but before our "little man" had a first name. :) The story is actually quite long and each of the sentences was dictated by Lauren with minimal support. We then typed each page and she has been working hard all these months to illustrate her book. Our next step is to make several color copies, laminate each page and bind at least 3 copies into books. One for for for us.

I can't even begin to share how amazing I think this book is......yep, I'm biased, but I'm really talking about the love & hope that went into its creation. It has been a wonderful way to involve her in this process and what an incredible keepsake for us all.

Best of all, Lauren plans to actually read this book to Tyler over the years and maybe someday he will wish to pen the second in the series! Or they can together!

The book is about 25 pages long and she has dedicated it to Tyler Pei-En.... *sniffle* I can't share it all, but here is a sampling........thanks for reading along with us!

I love the BIG smiles on this page!

Someday her sweet feet will reach the floor when she sits on the sofa! Ahhhhh!

Okay....LOVE this one! Look at that leg the mohawk that defies gravity!

Happy weekend to you all!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Our Favorite Update Yet!

How exciting to find updates of our sweet Tyler awaiting us tonight! To date these are absolutely our favorites as they show such sweetness and a long awaited glimpse of one of the outfits we had sent in a prior care package! This update also featured our longest video ever, though we do lose just a bit of sound at the very end.
These updates were taken on December 30th and Tyler Pei-En was 5 months and 21 days at that time. He continues to be a tall little guy, but his weight has started to even out and at that time he was 19 1/2 pounds. Still plenty of gorgeous boy to love on! :)
Of course we have watched our video half a dozen times already and would LOVE nothing more than to reach right into that video and grab that boy! We are at just under 10 days now until our departure and less than 2 weeks until we hold him in our arms forever. Hold on baby boy, we are coming!
Oh goodness, I almost forgot.....this will be our final agency update too....the next time we see that beautiful face, it will be in person! OH MY GOSH!! O.K....deep breath here...I'm off to see all the other beautiful babies!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane!!

Yippee! We received word today that we have an AIT appointment for Tuesday, February 10th in Taiwan! Our Tyler day will be Monday, February 9th, the very day he will turn 7 months. :) We are just delighted & so grateful to finally be able to plan and coordinate our trip and to take the steps to bring our baby boy home.

So much yet to do, but thankfully all the big things are in place. We hope & pray that other families awaiting AIT dates will hear something soon too, as well as, families awaiting other important milestones and news!

6 years ago as we awaited news of our baby girl I didn't have access to this amazing community of fellow adoptive families. Blogs were not yet mainstream and we had actually never met a family who had adopted from Kazakhstan until well after our travels/adoption were finalized. So to say that this has been a tremendous support network for our family underscores how blessed I feel to have connected in this way with so many of you. Following along with your journeys, witnessing both the frustrations & delays....celebrating as families are brought together through the gift and miracle of fortunate I feel to be sharing this adventure with you all! And how truly thankful I am for the love & support that has been sent our way from all of you, our friends & family.

I promise to keep you all posted with further developments!! And I've always wanted to say........we are leaving on a jet plane! ( soon ) :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Big Sigh & Cribz

Friends, six full business days have passed in Taiwan ( 8 days total) and still we have no word of our AIT appointment. To say this unexpected delay has been difficult would be an understatement; in truth, it has caught us completely off guard. Our sweet boy turned 6 months this past Friday and still he lingers in Taiwan without us. The courts have made legal what we already knew in our hearts........that he is our precious son, and still our own government has yet to issue our invitation. :( On the brighter side though, 2 families that received notification of their Final Rulings the same day as us, DID receive their appointments and subsequent travel dates and truly I am thrilled for them both! One other family still waits with us......I hope & pray they hear something soon! :)

And just cuz I can't leave a post on a downward note, thought maybe some of you would like to see a few pictures of our nursery. What a difference this has been decorating for a baby boy, but it has been FUN! We are using the same crib & dresser that we used with Lauren, but everything else is different. Its turned out to be an eclectic mix and you will definitely see some blank walls; we hope to bring back some treasures from Taiwan to add to his decor. when we return home!

AND, next time I post it will be either with our travel dates (oh, pretty please) OR updates. Either way, it will be good news! :) Hoping you are all doing well and that those of you waiting the hard wait are surrounded by much love & support!

My amazing Mom spotted this fabric and made our beautiful bedding for us! We just love it & it has special significance knowing how much love & care it was crafted with!

We received our glider & ottoman from Mimi O. & Papa Mike for Christmas. Its a bit of gliding heaven and I just cannot wait to rock with our darling boy. BTW, its been Lauren tested and approved. ;)

This baby dresser was used by my older Sis, then me as babies ( now stop doing the mental math....yep, its vintage ) , all 3 of my sisters amazing kiddos, Lauren and now Baby Tyler. Wouldn't even consider using anything else! And the BOY letters?....well, our family likes to state the obvious. LOL

This toy box was hand crafted by my sweet friend Renee's incredible is that? Her Mom also gave us the beautiful quilt tucked into the diaper changer bottom shelf.....I cannot even tell you how soft and gorgeous that quilt is and how touched & grateful we were to receive these items & the amazing support from them all!

Well guess what? I feel so much lighter just sharing these images and remembering again all the LOVE & generosity that has gone into this nursery. Now we just need our little man to complete the look! :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Final Ruling!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh, it still does not seem real! We received word earlier this afternoon that our Final Ruling had arrived! My hands were shaking for close to half an hour following that incredible news and we still are dancing on cloud nine! ( Folks, there is still plenty of room up here for more......we hope & pray there is more good news coming for all the other waiting families!)

In the past when a family would receive their Final Ruling they were generally given immediate travel dates and an AIT appointment. (AIT issues the Visa for baby's travel!) We have learned that AIT is implementing new procedures and will only translate documents related to the case and issue an appointment following submission of the Final Ruling. So this means we will wait an extra week or two for news of our appointment and subsequent travel dates. We are still hopeful travel will be in January but cannot say for certain! ( Remember those unexpected twists & turns I mentioned in my last post! :) )

No matter what though, this amazing & long awaited news marks the end of our court process and Tyler Pei-En is legally our son. We could not be more proud, delighted, blessed and excited!! I'm so very happy to share this news with you all!

We are coming Baby Boy!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What I Have Learned......

When Scott & I announced our joyful plans to adopt a second child, reactions were overwhelmingly positive and joyous. One of the more curious questions we have been asked since that time has been which of the two processes to date have been more challenging. It is a question that I have given considerable thought to and find myself simply unable to really answer. There are several explanations for why I am unable to do so, not the least of which is that our processes will have taken place 5 to 6 years apart and involved two very separate and distinct foreign countries & journeys. (We also have not yet completed our 2nd adoption, making hindsight impossible just And as I thought about it even more, I realized that while each program & adventure has been unique, there are many more things about both adoptions that are similar.......with that in mind I thought I might share, What I Have Learned About Adoption:

** I have learned to embrace every family's adoption story as unique, beautiful and invaluable to better understanding the overall adoptive process, while also recognizing that no two experiences or timelines will be exactly the same.

** I have learned that tenacity, faith and even sometimes luck are required to see this process through from beginning to end. And that sometimes even that is not enough..... actually I would quantify this statement with LOTS OF LUCK needed :) .....

** I have learned that support is invaluable. Support from family members, friends, adoptive groups, your agency....all are necessary and instrumental.

** I have also learned that said support can come in many forms: from the friend who calls unexpectedly to ask how your adoption is progressing, to the family member who listens patiently & with compassion while you tearfully share your fears & anxieties along the way; to the surprise gift that arrives for your baby, or to the kind email or blog comment sent by someone across the country who has walked in your footsteps ( or is currently sharing the path ) and simply understands.......incredible!

** I have learned there is no shame in accepting help( that can be hard for me) and admitting that the process can sometimes be bigger than we are capable of managing alone. Similarly I understand that reaching out the hand of support on our good days to someone who may be struggling brings unexpected blessings and strength.

** I have learned that the devil is in the details. Check, double check & recheck all the facts at every step along the road!

** I have learned that like all major life events, perseverance is critical and adoption(or parenting for that matter!) is not for the faint of heart.

** I now understand better the legacy each of these miracle children bring to our families. With them comes the echo of a rich, beautiful and vibrant culture.....the imprint of a distant land....the hopes, dreams, wishes and sacrifices of a birth family. International adoption at its best bridges the gap between cultures and creates families with an inherent understanding and appreciation of world cultures. I have learned newfound respect for so much.

** I have learned that friendships can be forged unexpectedly and in the most unexpected of places throughout this journey. ( You all know who I'm talking about!) Priceless & thank you everyone!!

** I have learned that when I thought I couldn't tolerate another day of the agonizing wait, I somehow was able to....& that often others have waited even longer.

** I have learned that God rarely gives us more than we are capable of handling.

** I have been honored to accept & understand that sometimes its God's unanswered prayers that shine the brightest and give us our best gifts. Often when we least expect it too!

** I have learned to never take a day for granted with our precious daughter( and the cherished son we are awaiting)....I know something bigger than our love & plans brought us & keeps us together. I am humbled by that thought.

**** AND I have learned that I won't number the above reflections or use the words "finally"....for I know well that about the time I think I've seen or experienced it all, a new twist or wrinkle will take us soaring around an unexpected turn or loop. And I know for certain, that I am a better person for the ride! I have also learned to hold on with both hands! ;)

May this coming week find you all happy & well and bring good news to all waiting families!