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Friday, September 26, 2008

Godspeed little man...

A heartbreaking lament to his son, songwriter Radney Foster says the story behind this song is one of the toughest situations in which a parent can be put. Says Foster: "Yeah, my oldest boy, Julien... his mother and I separated when he was very young, and divorced. And things were as good as can be expected in those kinds of situations. We were both trying very hard to be good parents. But she re-married a guy from France, and immigrated to France with my son... to 5,000 miles away. He was 5. Which led to all kinds of things; big court battles, all kinds of things. A big mess. And when I had lost, and knew that there was nothing else I could do to try to keep him closer to home, and he was going, I wanted something that he could take with him, that he would know that I loved him. And so I wrote that little lullaby, and I put it on cassette 5 times in a row. He had a little Fisher Price big button thing that he could listen to at night, and to his mother's credit, she let him. I recorded it in my home studio with just me and my guitar, and I thought that would be the last time I ever recorded it.

"And so I guess about a year after that, my manager and his wife were going to have a baby, and I said, 'Hey, let me play this song that I wrote for Jule, I forgot, I'll put on a cassette for you guys.' And I played it for him and he just wept. He said, 'That's one of the most powerful things you've ever written in your life.' He says, 'You have to put that on a record.' I said, 'Yeah, but it's a kid song." He said, 'I don't care what kind of song it is. It's an unbelievable song. It's got to go on your next album.' And so I did. I ended up putting it on See What You Want To See, the same record as 'Raining On Sunday.' Emmylou Harris sang on it, and that was just a real, real thrill. And then years later, when the Dixie Chicks cut it, and Jule was, I want to say 10 or 11, they had kind of said, 'Will you come by? We're mixing it, and we wanted you to hear it.' And I'd run into one of them in town, and I said, 'Well, Jule's in town, and he would love to hear that thing.' And they said, 'Great.' So unbeknownst to me, they're freaking. They're terrified that he won't like it. So we were all sitting in chairs, and they were behind me, I could see them. We got through the first chorus, and my son got up out of his chair and got over and got in my lap. This is a 10-year-old boy, way too big to be in Daddy's lap. But it was a real, real sweet moment."

Sweet dreams baby boy...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thank you

I've been nominated for the Smile Award by Colleen. Isn't that just the sweetest? Make sure to stop by Colleen's blog and congratulate her. She just got I-600 approval to bring little Rosemary home from Vietnam!

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

These are the rules for The Smile Award.

1. The recipient must link back the the award’s creator
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

So, here are my picks for the Smile Award, in no particular order...

Sarah at Journey to Taiwan for Hannah Claire - Sarah is so much fun. you have to smile just looking at her blog and the pictures of baby Hannah Claire. Sarah's blog is full of funny stories and great pictures.

Carissa at Faith, Hope, and Love - Carissa is preparing her self and home for beautiful twins from Korea. Check out her blog!

Kelly at Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - Kelly is the Mom of adorable Lucy from Vietnam. She's also a great photographer. She shares lots of cute pictures and stories about being a Mom. Lot's of smiles here!

Laurie at Pho for Five- Laurie is a Mom of 3 cuties age 2 and under! Needless to say, she has lots of funny Mommy stories. She has also added prizes to her blog. How fun is that? I would have nominated her even if I wasn't one of her winners ; )

Tracy at My Minivan Rocks - Tracy is another "Multiple Mom", to three kiddos age 2 and under! So, like Laurie, funny Mommy stories abound.

Thanks again Colleen! A.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Martha... Good Things, and Good Happenings

I don't think I ever mentioned it here, but I am a big Martha Stewart fan! I just really enjoy her magazines, products, shows, and especially her website I don't know how many times it has bailed me out with a recipe or a gift idea. Now, I know she is not every one's "cup-of-tea". But, you have to at least admire someone who can take the things they love to do and turn it into an empire like she has. Anyway, the whole point of this little Martha tributes is that I got tickets! Can you believe that? I filled out a blogger survey thing on her site a while back. I got this in my email last week,

Dear MARTHA fan,
You’re invited to our “Blogging Show” when the entire audience will be filled with bloggers! The celebrity guest is known to be an avid celebrity blogger so hurry up and RSVP to validate your ticket request!
Now, the unfortunate part is, I can't go. The taping is next week in New York. There is no way I can make it there. My boss is on vacation and I need to save money/vacation time for the adoption. I tried to give my tickets to a fellow blogger who lives in New York, but she wasn't able to make it either. Still, it was nice to be invited. I have decided that I will definitely plan to go another time.

Now, transferring from Good Things to Good Happenings. I got a package today from Laurie at, aka Pho for Five. This blog is definitely a must read for adoptive parents and new parents. Laurie's household is full of stories about her 3 sweet kids. As if there weren't enough reasons to read before, Laurie has recently added product reviews and give aways to her site. I must be on a lucky streak, because I won! I got this great set of Method baby products. I can't wait to try them out on our little one. Make sure to add to your reading list and watch for more give aways to come. Thank you Laurie! A.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dreams do come true... part 2

Since the day we got our referral, I have read and re-read every piece of paperwork we got on our son. We were fortunate to get measurements from each month. I was able to share those with our International Adoption Doctor. I also plotted them out on Vietnamese and American growth charts. I have done research on the area where his birth mother is from. Every little detail is an important part of his story. I don't want to leave out a single crumb of information.

One night, I decided to look back in my email history to January. I wanted to see what was going on for us when our baby boy was born. I know approximately, within a day or two, when he was born. When I found my emails from that week, I found emails between a good adoption friend and I. I was telling her about some dreams I started having about our baby. The first dream was so realistic, I dreamt the whole trip. I could feel myself holding and rocking him, kissing his head,and smelling his sweet baby smell. My friend recalled having a similar dream about her daughter around her birthdate. It was also very realistic. She could feel her baby snuggled up on her shoulder. She joked that maybe our baby was born that night.

My dreams continued for a few days. I had these dreams over the days we now know our baby was born and when he was relinquished. I am so grateful I don't clean up my email box often! I am so happy to have this record. Not only do I know when he was born to his birth mother, but I know when he was born in my heart and in my dreams. A

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dreams do come true... Part 1

On August 1 we got "The Call". Our coordinator called me at home really early to say she had our referral and ask if we could come to the office. Of course that answer was YES! We had been expecting "The Call" all week. Some other families with our agency had gotten their referrals the week before, so we knew we were very close. Each day, we thought it was going to come. Each day, by 10AM I couldn't stand it anymore, so I contacted our coordinator to hear, "Sorry, nothing today". It was a nervous week. With all the talk of Vietnam deadlines, I was worried that some little glitch would prevent us from getting our referral in time.

I was so excited when I got to work, I couldn't concentrate on much. I canceled some meetings so I could meet D at FTIA on time. At FTIA, They have a small conference room where you generally go to talk to your coordinator. The first time I was in that room was when we met with a China coordinator to turn in our application. She informed us that China wasn't a good fit for us because of a minor medical condition my husband has. I was completely devastated. I was numb. We had planned to adopt a baby from china since before we were married. I had been researching China for years. I belonged to a support group full of families with babies from China. I had never looked at any other options. I just sat there and cried. They recommended Guatemala and Vietnam as good fits for us, but I couldn't even consider them at the time.

I got lots of support from my Adoptive Parent friends. I started looking into Guatemala because there were no Vietnam adoptions at that time. A friend gave me a push toward Vietnam. She had a friend who had adopted before the shutdown. As I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. When I was in grade school, our Church sponsored some families that had fled Vietnam after the war. We had Vietnamese children in our school and I was familiar with the culture. It seemed more and more like a great fit for us. I made an appointment with the FTIA Vietnam coordinator at the time. Once again we met in that room. The program was really new, so she didn't have a lot of information at that time. We had a very engaging and long conversation. I cried again, but they were happy tears. I felt God was leading us to Vietnam, and this comfort I was feeling was a sign. When we were done, she told me that I would cry one last time in that room, when we saw our baby's face for the first time.

So, I was prepared for the crying when we got to the agency. I pictured the papers being passed across the table and my uncontrollable burst of tears. It didn't happen quite like that. D met me at the agency. I took a deep breath, and we went in. They paged our coordinator. When she came out, we headed down the hall to "The Room of Tears". Before we got there, she surprised me by thrusting a stack of papers into my hands. On top, was a picture of our baby. It was the sweetest face I've ever seen. My eyes welled up with tears. I didn't cry right away. I was completely overwhelmed with joy. It was like a giant hug of happiness. We went in the room and D and I were able to stare at the pictures. We couldn't take our eyes off this little boy who would be our son. Our coordinator went through all the documents and explained what they were. I remembered to ask the right questions, but my heart was too busy to listen. I don't know if tears ever actually escaped my eyes in that room this time, but there were many times they were so full, I struggled to focus on the pictures.

After leaving the agency, we went to my Mom's work and to my work to show off the pictures. Then, we went to Build-A-Bear and made him a sweet little monkey. D & I each added a heart when he was being stuffed. We ate lunch at the food court and I made lots of phone calls. A good friend was able to meet us at the mall with her kids. Her beautiful daughter (I like to refer to as my future daughter-in-law) was adopted from Vietnam. It was wonderful getting to spend our special day with special friends.

We came home and promptly shared photos online. We had lots of extras printed up. I filled photo albums for work, added photos to D's wallet, a photo frame by the bed, and album in my purse, computer backgrounds everywhere. The little boy who had captured out hearts that day was making his way into our everyday life. The best part was the necklace. I had bought it several months before anticipating our referral. I added two photos to the charm and have worn it next to my heart every day since. I wasn't able to carry this sweet boy inside me, but he will stay next to my heart instead. A

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gifts for baby...

We are so excited! The director of our adoption agency will be traveling to Vietnam very soon. He has offered to take packages to the babies in our son's orphanage. We are so happy to have the opportunity to reach across the world to our baby. We have stuffed a ziploc bag with goodies for him. We included a photo album with pictures of Mama & Daddy, granparents, his new home, and friends/family that can't wait to meet him. I have translated the "who's who" into Vietnamese. I am hoping his Nanny will read to him about all the family he has who are waiting for him and loving him. We are also sending three little outfits, two teething toys, and a Tigger snuggle blanket.

In other news, our sweet baby was also showered with love from friends and family. Good friends from our local adoption support groups threw a lovely baby shower for our little man. How cute are these diaper cakes! The large one has a bottle of Champagne inside! I am so lucky to have met such a great group of people. They have been so supportive through this long process. We are truly blessed in so many ways.

Adoption updates: I don't really have a lot of news on this front. We hope to file our I-600 in the next week or two. Other than that, we are just waiting. We expect we will get a notice of required DNA testing shortly after filing the I-600. DNA testing is pretty new to Vietnam adoptions, but it has been done successfully in other countries for some time. We hope that this process will go smoothly. While it makes me anxious, I am forever grateful for the information our baby will have about his birth mother. I am glad we will have this important piece of his history.

We also hope to maybe get updated pictures soon. I can't get enough of that sweet face! That's all for now... A