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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Buddy's First Day of School

The first day of school was pretty nerve wracking for our family. This year, it was time for Buddy to move to a new school.

Each time at a new school has been really hard for Buddy.

When he started school after we came home, he wasn't secure enough with Hubby and I to express his emotions. Instead, he was overly exuberant to cover up his terror. But he was a wreck inside and after a few months we decided to transfer him to a school that could better meet his needs.

The start at his second school showed emotional progress. He was vocal about not wanting to go, but not able to talk to Hubby and I about his feelings. When we dropped him off the first day he burst into tears, no longer able to push his scared feelings down.

This year, we talked quite a bit about how Buddy felt nervous about starting at a new school. He didn't like the idea of a new place with new teachers and students. He was scared and uncertain.

He was able to connect with his emotions and express them. He opened up to Hubby and I and made himself vulnerable. And he trusted us to support him and give him comfort.

As I drove Buddy to school the first day, he was bubbly and exuberant, but also very honest about how nervous he was. We went over his homeroom number and teacher's name. We talked about what he could do at lunch. And we drove by some of his former classmates on their way to the new school, too.

I pulled into the parking lot and started to walk him into the school. Buddy looked at me and said, "It's OK, Mom, I can walk in by myself."

He grabbed his lunch, backpack, gym bag and 2 boxes of Kleenex (a requirement that doesn't make much sense to me) and off he went.

I watched him cross the parking lot and walk up into his new school with a combination of sadness and pride. 

He has come so far in such a short amount of time.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Funday

Life has been super busy lately. I decided to take Sunday off of work and spend time with my family. Here is what I got up to on my first "Sunday Fun-day".

8:08 AM: I wake up to Buddy standing over me. He crawls into bed and starts playing with Grem (who is also lying on my bed).

8:34 AM: I give up hope of a sleep-in and get up. Coffee, shower, breakfast and the day begins.

10:57 AM: Hubby and Buddy leave for church (late because of a lack of prioritizing on Buddy's part) giving me a bit of much needed personal time. I putter around and drink more coffee. Nothing particularly special, but it's nice.

12:17 PM: Buddy comes home from church, Hubby stays for a meeting. When I tell Buddy he can't play any more video games today because of this mornings timing issue, he has a mini melt-down.

12:47 PM: After a bit of time and space, a still unhappy Buddy and I go out for lunch. He picked sushi and by the time the gyoza came the mood was definitely much improved. On the way home, we stopped off at the bakery next door to pick up dessert for tonight.

2:36 PM: Buddy, Hubby and I headed off to the zoo for the first family activity in a long time.

5:13 PM: We get home from the zoo, Buddy goes off to play with the neighborhood kids, Hubby does some work and I take a nap.

6:30 PM: Hubby made dinner (sausages, pasta salad, Cesar salad) but Buddy isn't feeling well. We send him off for a bath and enjoy dinner just the two of us.

7:04: Hubby gets some work out of the way, I tidy up a bit and relax while watching YouTube.

7:48 PM: After a soak, Buddy feels better and has a snack. We watch an episode of Lost and he heads off to bed.

8:39 PM: I stay with Buddy for a few minutes to help him get settled, we finish reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Then it's time to get ready to head to bed myself. Face mask, PJs on, some YouTube and now it's time for me to read (The Bear by Claire Cameron) until I fall asleep. Oh, but not before I had some of the dessert we picked up this afternoon.

I hope you had a good weekend. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Metcha Day Anniversary

In honor of today being the 2 year anniversary of the day we met Buddy, I'm re-posting this from Jan 2015. 

I almost can't believe that after over a year of preparation it only took 100 hours from the time we first saw Buddy's picture to the time we committed to adopt him.

This is a brief overview of the timeline:

  • Thursday, 9:00 AM: We have our appointment with the government adoption agency where we are shown Buddy's file, among others.
  • Thursday, 10:30 AM: We leave the appointment after deciding to meet Buddy.
  • Friday, 5:00 PM: We pick up the government document that officially allows us to visit Buddy in order to determine if we will pursue his adoption.
  • Sunday, 11:00 PM: We board an overnight bus to take us to Buddy's region.
  • Monday, 10:00 AM: We have appointment with Buddy's orphanage director to determine if she will allow us to meet with Buddy.
  • Monday, 10:30 AM: Buddy is called into the meeting from his school lessons.
  • Monday, 11:00 AM: We are permitted to take Buddy into the court yard to play and see how we get along.
  • Monday, 12:00 AM: We leave the orphanage.
  • Monday 1:00 PM: We decide to pursue adopting Buddy.

I was prepared to be confused and uncertain at our appointment at the adoption agency. Hubby and I had been told by our social worker, adoption agency and in-country facilitator that sometimes the decision of which child to visit was difficult and unclear.

For me, the opposite was true. Buddy's file was the first we were shown and Hubby and I were immediately drawn to it. We didn't want to make any rush decisions, though, so we looked at the other files that had been set aside for us that day. But we kept coming back to Buddy.

By chance (or by design, I don't really know) our facilitator had just returned from Buddy's orphanage where she had been helping another family adopt their daughter. She was well acquainted with the director and was able to call her and get a verbal OK for us to meet Buddy.

Although the director agreed to our coming, we still needed a government document to allow us to move forward. The document takes time to prepare, and since our appointment was on a Thursday, we had to wait until Monday to have our first meeting.

After an 8 hour overnight bus ride, we arrived in Buddy's home town. We took our suitcases to our rental apartment, ate breakfast, showered and dressed in the nicest clothes we had brought. We also tried to mentally prepare to meet Buddy's director and Buddy himself. To say we were nervous would be an understatement, but we were also super excited.

At the orphanage, we were shown into the director's office and our facilitator translated the director's questions for us. Why did we want to adopt, why internationally, why Buddy? What kind of people were we, what was our home life like, what kind of parents would we be? We tried to appear calm given her stern demeanor but probably failed miserably.

After she was satisfied, Buddy was brought into the room. He was still in his school uniform and was clearly as nervous as we were. After a bit of a visit, the director gave us permission to take Buddy into the courtyard where there was a large open play space.

We had brought a tennis ball and Buddy went off into a treed area and came back with a stick. Hubby tossed the ball and Buddy swung the stick like a baseball bat and cracked it over Hubby's head. Our first exposure to Buddy's stellar athleticism.

We played baseball for awhile then switched to tag. The mid-day sun was beating down and Hubby and I were getting sweaty running around in our dress clothes and shoes. Buddy's uniform pants and socks were covered in burrs from running into the scrub.

At noon, our facilitator told us Buddy needed to go inside for lunch. Before he left we tried to pull the burrs off his clothes, worried they would reflect badly on us as parents. Our facilitator told Buddy we would be back later in the afternoon and he ran off to the orphanage, turning back to wave at us and flashing a big smile as he went.

After Buddy left, we went back to our apartment. As she dropped us off, our facilitator told us the sooner we were able to make a decision the better it would be for everyone involved. We didn't feel pressured though, maybe because we had both independently come to the same conclusion.

After a conversation and some serious soul searching we decided that Buddy felt like a part of us. We officially said "yes" to him joining our family.

I don't know how it was possible to go from not knowing Buddy existed to loving him in 100 hours.

I just know those first 100 hours were the most life-changing hours of my life.