Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spoke Too Soon

I may have "spoken" a little too soon. Finally. FINALLY, we have seen some movement. We got an email this a.m. from Kristen saying that as of yesterday we are out of translation. It is a small step, but a step nonetheless. And in the right direction at that. We probably have a very long wait ahead of us still, but it sure would be nice if the CCCW@ would see fit to make up for lost time and expedite the rest of this LOA process. Here's hoping!

Almost to the Century Club

Well, today is day 99 of our LOA wait. To put things in perspective, most people dread (and really not that many people make) being allowed into this notorious club, and we are likely going to hit it while still IN TRANSLATION! I have started to lose my ability to stay positive. To be honest, I've really only fallen apart twice, but I'm actually moving beyond the sad stage into the angry stage. This. Is. Ridiculous! No new information from the other side of the world. We just waiting. When this whole process started, I had hoped to travel this summer. That optimism seemed well-placed. We put together our dossier in record time and were logged in in the middle of February. If we had followed the norms, we could have conceivably had our Gottcha Day when our little one was 21 months old. Well, July is out as is August. Dear lord, we hope we can get to Ethan before his second birthday on 10/10/10.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 93

That's right. Day 93 and we're still in translation. I really have no other information. I called Holt, and they are doing what they can. They can't do much. It's really out of their hands, too. They call and email and check in, but what else can be done? I've been told that our case is being looked into on an individual basis. I appreciate that, but I get the feeling there is no real sense of urgency on the part of the CCCW@. They're plodding along. After all, they have no little one they're waiting on who is growing up away from them.

Then I got some even more disheartening insight. Even after we get out of translation, we're looking at minimum of 4 weeks -- yep, another MONTH -- before we get our LOA. After the LOA is issued, we're staring down 2 more weeks before our I800 is approved. After that? Two weeks for our NVC cable. Our Article 5? Add another 2 weeks. The wait for travel approval? You guessed it! Two - three weeks. UGH! That means the BEST we can hope for for travel will be the Aug. 31 travel group. Waaah! :'( That not only means three more months away from Ethan, but it means we probably won't be traveling with some other adoptive parents who not only are adopting a little guy almost Ethan's age from the same orphanage / province / city but who also live relatively close to us. If we learned anything last time, being in-province with other families in invaluable. The support and camaraderie are great as are the lifelong friendships you can establish. Being in the trenches together helps to forge some pretty strong bonds! ;)

Well, I guess we just continue to pray, pray, pray for some good news so we don't delay going and getting our little boy any longer than it absolutely has to be. Let's face it. There's no other way to put it. As a wise woman once said (Emily); this sucks!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Little Something to Get Me Through

The wait is starting to become unbearable. Today is day 85 of our LOA wait, and we're still in translation. On May 22, it will be five MONTHS since our referral. This process is excruciating. Then. At our staff luncheon to celebrate our last day of classes (although we still have teacher work day tomorrow), I happened to glance down at my BlackBerry. Of course, that thing is NEVER out of my sight / reach. You never know when a critical phone call or email may come from the agency. I sat down with my plate full of food, and if you know me, I do mean FULL, out of habit, I clicked on my phone. Two new emails awaited me. From Cheryce. From our agency! The subject lines? "Update" and "Additional Photos." I let out a small, relatively quiet scream, jumped up from the table, and walked across the commons so I could open the attachment up "alone." They included 17 pictures and answered questions about Ethan. My personal family physician -- and cousin by the way -- responded to an email about 10 minutes after I sent it. I love you Jessica! She had the following to say, "Developmentally it sounds like he's right where he should be - speaking a few words, recognizes body parts, playful and interactive." She added, "According to their measurements, he's now 50th percentile for height and 95th percentile for weight (as compared to Chinese boys)." Ah, my lil chunky monkey. My heart is singing! I cried quiet tears of joy. Several female staff members joined in in the ooooo's and aaaah's, God Bless them, but what surprised me most was that a few male staff members even came over to share in the excitement. Seriously, Brandon Valley High School is quite possibly the single best school district in the nation in which to work; I love my co-workers!

Ok. Without further ado, some pictures

Love, love, LOVE this one!!!

Awwww. Our little teacher!

"Now you see, this, this is a blue circle. (Please ignore my split pants!!)

"Hmmmmm. Now where do you suppose all that tea went?"

We have 13 more picture, but since updates are few and far between, I think I'll post them every so often. ;)

His stats are as follows: 26.4 pounds, 30.7 inches tall, and 12 teeth. It is reported that "he has received good care from his foster parents so he is in good health. At present, he can understand most of instructions of adult and follow them. He can understand facial expression of adult and knows adult is happy or unhappy. He can recognize his facial features and point to their positions. He recognizes some daily items such as clothes, shoes, socks, light, apple and so on. He can speak simple words like mom, papa, door, taking, etc.
He is outgoing, active, and lovely. He always readies to smile. Giving him his favorite toys or playing with him can make him happy. He is upset when someone stops him to do his want or other kids grab his toys. (UH OH!) Holding him or kissing him can comfort him. (Awwww!) His favorite toys are ball, building block, wooden horse, etc.
He wakes up at 5:30 AM (UUUH OOH!!!); he goes to bed at 8:30 PM. He takes a nap from 12:00 - 1:30. He sleeps well. He still takes formula with a bottle. (Is it possible I will get to give my baby a bottle? Be still my beating heart.)
His nickname is Day Yong. He has received your family album and his foster parents often show it to him and tell him who are his parents and who is is brother."

So, we're still a long way from LOA, but this goes a long way in comforting me!!! My baby is doing ok, and today, we are almost five months closer to bring our sweet baby Ethan home!! Please pray our travel is sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Please Understand

It will probably (will) be several more months before we go get Ethan. During this waiting and inactivity, I have been stalking other AP's blogs, living vicariously through those who are moving ahead, going to get their little ones. On several of those blogs, people have been posting requests and helpful hints to family and friends in anticipation of their returns. Those blogs got me to reminiscing about our homecoming with Aiden and obviously looking forward to our eventual return with Ethan. I have been doing an evaluation about how I handled Aiden's attachment / bonding / abandonment issues. In some areas, I did pretty well. In others, though, I failed miserably. One situation I handled very poorly was my desire to be "normal" mom to a "typical" child. Considering the trauma our little guy had been through -- more in 27 months than most people endure in a lifetime -- that notion was beyond absurd. He had lived with his biological / first family for around five months. He was so ill, his heart was so weak, that they were forced to leave him on the steps of a church in hopes for a better life...maybe in hopes of life itself. For two years, he lived in an orpahanage where he was passed from care-taker to care-taker with no real consistency or continuity; where he likely cried with nobody to comfort him; where he in all likelihood did not have enough to eat; where he was cold in the winter and hot in the summer; where he was just one face in hundreds of faces. Still, that had been the only home he knew for two years when a couple of strange looking, strange sounding, strange smelling people who ate strange tasting and even feeling foods came and pulled him away from everything that was familiar and comforting to him. And we drug him half way around the world, literally half way around the world.

When we got home, well-meaning, loving people offered advice about what to do in any given situation, from letting him sleep alone, and to letting him "cry it out," to, "It's ok if I feed him or hold him; he's been home for weeks," and I responded in one of two ways. 1.) I tried hard to implement or take the advice to heart. 2.) Got defensive, frustrated, or angry because I knew this wasn't right for Aiden or our family but didn't feel like I could say anything without looking weak, ineffectual or....defensive, frustrated, or angry.

So, I wanted to share now and maybe again later some of the advice and information fellow international adoptive parents have shared on their blogs. I hope everybody will take this in the spirit in which it is intended: with love and appreciation. We have to be Ethan's staunchest advocates and focus on doing what's right for him. Remember, we really do love and appreciate you all!


1. Trust the adoptive parents' instincts. They may notice subtle symptoms that well-meaning family and friends attribute to "normal" behavior.
2. Accept that attachment issues are difficult for anyone outside of the parent to see and understand.
3. Be supportive even if you think everything looks fine to you.
4. Allow the parents to be the center of the child's world. One grandfather, when greeting his grandson, immediately turns him back to his mom and says positive statements about his good mommy.
5. Tell the child every time you see him what a good/loving/safe mommy/daddy he has.
6. As hard as it may be for you, abide by the requests of the parents. Even if the child looks like he really want to be with Grandma, for example, he needs to have a strong attachment to his parents first. Something as simple as passing the child from one person to another or allowing others to hold a newly-adopted child who is not "attached" can make the attachment process that much longer and harder.
7. Accept that parenting children who are at-risk for or who suffer from attachment issues goes against traditional parenting methods and beliefs. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.
8. There is often a honeymoon period after the child arrives. Many children do not show signs of grief, distress, or anxiety until months after they come home. If the parents are taking precautions, they are smart and should be commended and supported!


1. Assume a child is too young to suffer from emotional issues related to attachment.
2. Judge the parents' parenting abilities. What looks like spoiling or coddling may be exactly what the child needs to overcome a serious attachment disorder.
3. Make excuses for the child's behaviors or try to make the parents feel better by calling certain behaviors "normal". For example, many children who suffer from attachment issues may be labeled as strong-willed by well-meaning family members. While being strong-willed can be seen as a positive personality trait in a child who has never experienced disruption, this type of behavior in an attachment-impaired child may signify problems.
4. Accuse the parents of being overly sensitive or neurotic.
5. Take it personally if asked to step back so the parents can help their child heal and form a healthy and secure attachment. You will be asked not to hold him. This is not meant to hurt you. It is meant to help prove to him who his mommy and daddy are. Allowing people to hold him before he has accepted his forever mommy and daddy can be detrimental to the attachment process.
6. Put your own time frames on how long attachment should take. One mother was hurt when she was chastised by a relative who couldn't understand...after all, the child had been home six months. It could take weeks, months, even years. Every child is different.
7. Offer traditional parenting advice. Some well-meaning family members will tell a new mother not to pick the child up every time he cries because it will spoil him. A child who is at-risk for attachment issues must be picked up every single time he cries. He needs consistent reinforcement that this mommy/daddy will always take care of him and always keep him safe.
8. Fall into the appearance trap. Some babies/toddlers with attachment issues can put on a great show to those outside of the mother/father. What you see is not always a true picture of the child. Even babies as young as 6-months-old are capable of "putting on a good face" in public.
9. Lose hope. With the right kind of parenting and therapy, a child at risk for attachment issues can learn to trust and have healthy relationships. But it does take a lot of work and a good understanding of what these children need

taken from

As much as I wanted to be an "normal" mom in a "normal" family, there is nothing average, typical or normal about adopting a toddler internationally. Is it beautiful, and wonderful, and fun, and rewarding? ABSOLUTELY!! It is FABULOUS, and I love it. It is, however, also unique and needs to be recognized as such. I sincerely hope this does not sound preachy or whiny or...nuerotic. ;) I merely want to inform and explain. And to say thanks to everybody who cares enough to want to help and who loves us through all of this!!