3 Years Together!

It’s hard to believe there was ever a time that Alex was not with us – but it really has just been three years.  Three years ago we walked as a family of two into the SWS and after a very emotional goodbye, left as a family of three. We were very blessed that Alex was so easy going and really just rolled with the changes. He has always been a pretty happy little boy – something I love to see. He still sucks on his two fingers - something that warms my heart and drives me crazy at the same time.  He still has the same infectious laugh.

Yesterday I went to an AMAZING Asian grocery in London, United Supermarket to get supplies for our dinner. As soon as I walked in I smiled. The smells were so much like Seoul. The produce department was just amazing – next time I will take pictures. And just like Seoul – it was crowded! I wish I could have stayed longer to check out all the different departments – but I had a friend waiting in the car – just gives me an excuse to go back!

I made Tangsuyuk (pork) for dinner. That was our favourite dish while in Seoul from a restaurant in the Yeoksam subway station – I think it was called Pateo (sp?) – it was an Asian fusion style restaurant that had a lot of Chinese offerings so that’s why the Tangsuyuk.  It was pretty darn good for my first attempt! Matt had made it 2 years ago for us too. We had kimchi and “Hite” beer.  We also had some of those jelly cups and a rice cake filled with red bean paste… yum!

And this was a small carrot at the Asian market.

Our "Hite" - they don't sell it locally :(

Dinner is served.

After dinner Alex was gracious enough to wash all the dishes for us. (I will be rewashing them this morning)

Little man in training.

Our little boy is so amazing! I can not imagine a life without him.

Playing Catchup

Like many of you have been feeling, life has a funny way of running ahead of you, and you end up feeling so far behind.  This week I’m going to try to catch up with various things going on at the Robinsons house, beginning with a quick movie review.

On Saturday night I watched the movie “Mother and Child“.   Here is a synopsis from the IMDB: 

Almost forty years ago, a young girl of fourteen has sex, gets pregnant, and gives her baby up for adoption. Fast-forwarding to the present day, we meet three very different women, each of whom struggles to maintain control of their lives. There’s Elizabeth, a smart and successful lawyer who uses her body to her advantage. Any time she feels that she doesn’t have the upper hand, and cannot control the situation, she uses her sex appeal – whether that be starting a romance with her boss when she suspects he is trying to start one himself, or finding some way to control her overly friendly neighbor and husband. Karen, meanwhile, is a bitter health care professional who obviously has a lot of heart but never shows it. She gave up a daughter at the age of fourteen (wonderfully shown rather than told, she is the young girl and mother of Elizabeth), and has never gotten over it – her bitterness inspiring her to lash out at everyone around her – even the gentle man at work who is undeniably drawn to her. Finally, Lucy is a woman who has failed to conceive with her husband, so she turns to adoption to make the family she desires.

I thought it was a very interesting movie about about the twists and turns, the joys and the sorrows that can be associated with adoption. This film shows various view points and life long impacts of the domestic adoption process – for the birth mother, the adopted child, and the adoptive parents. The movie is slow at times but if your life has been impacted by adoption you will find it very interesting. You will need some tissues handy for this one, because as many of you know, adoption, especially private domestic adoption is not for the faint of heart.

Adoption #2 – where are we?

Good question – where are we? If you remember back in January we got notified that we could start the homestudy process for our second adoption, affectionately called Adoption #2.  Well things got kinda delayed because of our move.  I wanted all the documents to be for the same address so the plan was to get started in the middle of March.  Then the whole Alex not sleeping thing happened, and we were way too tired to do anything beyond the basic household necessities (and even then we were slipping at times! Thank goodness for our cleaning lady).  Now that things are getting a bit better (or we are just adjusting to the lack of sleep), some of the paperwork is getting done.  Luckily since this is the second time around, we just have to do a homestudy update, not a complete homestudy.  So far we have completed the application, questionnaires, the financial paperwork, and the CAS checks and reference checks have been mailed out.  Next week we get our medicals and fingerprints done.  After the fingerprints are done, we submit them to the RCMP for Interpol clearance.  And when everything is received I’m sure our social worker will want to come and see our new place and get an update from us.  All the while that is going on, we will need to get started on completing our Dossier for the Children’s Bridge.  Phew.  In the mean time I’m finally getting Alex’s Canadian Citizenship paperwork done (just need photos and pay the fee), and plan a super dooper second birthday!  I can’t believe Alex will be 2 in just over 2 weeks.  Overwhelmed? Yes. 

I’m sure many of you have felt this way – but it is a real surreal feeling knowing that somewhere in Korea there is a woman who is pregnant right now with our child. It gives me shivers. 

I can’t wait to see this view again. 

View from the SWS Guest House when looking towards the SWS.

When you wish upon a star…

… your dreams can come true.  And ours certainly did.  

One year ago today we met our son.  It still seems surreal that we travelled around the world and were blessed to be able to bring home the most amazing and beautiful little boy.   This year has been the best year ever (although I really could have done without teething and H1N1).  We have learned so much – and it is amazing how much love you can have for someone.  I can’t wait to watch Alex grow into a young man… I know it will happen in a blink of an eye – and that saddens me, but it also reminds me to enjoy every second we have with Alex because he truly is a wish come true. 

Here’s a little video I put together of our trip to Seoul, meeting Alex, our Forever Family Day, and then our trip home.  I hope you like it.

 

Handle With Care

I (finally) just finished Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult.  What a great book.  As I seem to discover with pretty much every book I read or listen to recently - this book touched on adoption.  There is a character in the book who was adopted domestically and is searching for her birth mother.  I wanted to share a paragraph about what her character thinks adoption feels like.  I think it is kinda nice, and hope this feeling is true - but not being an adoptee, I of course really don’t know.

“Being adopted felt like reading a book that had the first chapter ripped out.  You might be enjoying the plot and the characters, but you’d probably also like to read that first line, too.  However, when you took the book back to the store to say that the first chapter was missing, they told you they couldn’t sell you a replacement copy that was intact.  What if you read that first chapter and realized you hated the book, and posted a nasty review on Amazon?  What if you hurt the author’s feelings?  Better just to stick with your partial copy and enjoy the rest of the story.”

That same character at the end says:

“Parents aren’t the people you come from.  They’re the people you want to be when you grow up.” 

The book was even more moving for me since I have a close friend who had to make a very difficult decision this summer to terminate a late term pregnancy.  Reading this book at times made me cry for her – and “understand” a bit more of the pain that she is going through.

Next Steps

This past month has been such a blur I haven’t had a chance to update everyone on what’s happening on the adoption front. 

On August 5th, we had been home with Alex for 6 months!  That night we had our final meeting with our adoption practitioner.  Everything went well and we even spoke with her about having her do our homestudy update for adoption #2.  After the meeting, our AP sent in the “ROACH” report to the Children’s Bridge who then sends it to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  The ROACH is the “Report of the Adjustment of the Child in the Home”.  Once the report is reviewed and approved by an adoption officer and everything is in order, the Ministry will send an approval report to our agency.  At that time a Director’s Statement of Adoption is also sent.

Once the Director’s Statement of Adoption is recieved, our agency’s lawyer will prepare an application to have the adoption finalized in our local court.  The court hearing usually happens between 9 and 12 months of placement (on Saturday we will be 7 months – can you believe it?!).  We have requested to attend court for the official finalization if it is possible.

After that all happens, we will be able to apply for a birth certificate, a social security number, and then finally a passport.

Then we can start everything all over again for Alex’s little brother or sister! Phew!

Very Upsetting

This week Imagine Adoption declared bankruptcy.  Imagine is an adoption agency in Cambridge Ontario that focuses mainly on adoptions in Africa.  There are hundreds of families who discovered this news by visiting the Imagine website.  I can not even fathom what these families are now feeling.  The anger, the sadness, the heartbreak, the uncertainty of where they now stand.  There are at least 70 children in a transition home in Ethiopia waiting for their adoptive families to come get them – but no one knows what the status of those children now are.  Can the families even go get them?  As many of you know, you pour your heart and soul into an adoption process – and to have your dream vanish in an instant must just be devastating.   And with the expense of adoption in these poor economic times, many families may not be able to start over.

At our PRIDE training, at least half of our class was adopting from Ethiopia through Imagine, and a very nice couple we met at PRIDE is included.  Brenda and Mike, Matt and I are thinking of you – last night you were the first thing I thought of when I heard the news – my heart goes out to you.  All of the families and babies affected by this horrible event are in my prayers and in my thoughts.  I really hope and pray that those who have received referrals are able to go bring their babies home.

Brickman’s Picnic

Yesterday we were so lucky to be able to attend the annual Brickman’s Picnic (we attended last year too).  The picnic is for families who have adopted children from South Korea through the Children’s Bridge.  Just imagine about 30 little Korean children running around having a blast!  It was great!  I go to meet many of the lovely ladies who have commented on the blog (Julie, Marilyn, Ruth), and meet their boys too.  We also go to catch up with Karen, Kevin and Lucus which was so nice.  We met many other wonderful people and talk about our adventures into parenthood.   A few of us even started to plan a play date in Waterloo Park.  It was so neat looking at the older boys, imagining what Alex might look like in a couple of years. 

Alex had a blast – he walked all over, mooching food from total strangers, played on the trampoline, played in the sand, and practically fell asleep as soon as he was in the car seat.

Thank you so much Marilyn and Bob!!  You are amazing hosts and we can’t wait for next year!

I wish I could post pictures, but since I didn’t ask for everyone’s permission, I will share one of Alex enjoying all the bubbles!

Bubbles!

Bubbles!