Monday, August 29, 2011
The month of August has been full of growth for our Benjamin. He has improved in so many areas including development and attachment. He is almost walking now- and is feeding himself when he wants to. He loves his Mommy- and is obsessed with his sister. I took the month of August off of school to stay home with him and work on his skills. It has paid off. My husband is staying home with him during the month of September. We have been visiting the babysitter and Nannie's house a lot in order to get him adjusted to the new places he will be staying. Ben just does not handle change very well. He still has moments of unexplained crying and the bad days are not gone- but he is sure showing us his personality these days. He is a stubborn little boy- who will not give control over easily. But he can be so sweet- and lovable. We have signed up with First Steps so that they can help us- help him- to catch up on his skills. We had formal pictures taken of Ben and ER and all I can say is WOW!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
So we have been home almost 7 weeks now. Benjamin is getting better and better every day. He is not crying as much as is simply more at ease now. I will say that I think he "LIKES" all of us. I know it will be awhile before he loves any of us. It shows in the small things he does like slipping me a smile when I did nothing to earn it. Or crawling into my lap and cooing loudly all on his own. It is wonderful. But he still is hesitant about getting too intimate with me. Rocking him is way too personal for him. He will not let me get that close- just long enough to get his bottle and then down he goes. I so want to snuggle with him in the bed- but nope- that is not happening now. He will roll quickly away and avoid my touch. But we are progressing that is for sure. We visited the Nashville Zoo and have been back to the Pool a few times. But we are still keeping him close to home. I am taking a leave from school to prepare him for a babysitter. That is not something I am looking forward too. I so want to stay at home with him but we just cannot swing it. Ugh. Emma is warming up to him and is very protective of her little brother. Ben LOVES Emma and wishes she would notice him more. Life is good at the moment. Thanks for checking in with us!
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Things are finally starting to feel normal around here. Finally. Man- June was a LONG month. Benjamin is doing much much better. He has accepted me and I think is starting to like our family. He is smiling a lot now and is visibly more relaxed. He still has his moments- big huge horrible moments- but they are becoming few and far between as time goes by. We still have a lot of mountains to climb but things are so much better than in the beginning. He now wants me to hold him all of the time. I repeat- all of the time. Gets very tiring on this 41 year old woman. ER is very needy as well. She has been a trooper though. Ben has cried a lot and still cries a lot. It really grates on my nerves and I understand him. She doesn't understand and has had to really think about things. Whew. We have not really gone anywhere big. Just to the pool, and to church, and our big outing-- Dinosaur World!! Ha. Ben seems to like to go places and does well when out. I am still adjusting to 2 kiddos and the work that goes with them. Ugh. But compared to a month ago--- we are doing great!!!!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tomorrow is our baby Ben's first birthday. Almost exactly 1 year ago we sent our application in to our adoption agency informing them of our decision to add another child to our family. Our Ben was born at that same time. Due to his adjustment problems we are keeping things normal and will party later on in the summer. Don't worry Ben- there will be many many more birthdays to spend with us! He is slowly adjusting and showing us more and more of who he really is. Every day gets a little better than the last. But until I can grab him at will and kiss him all over his sweet little face- I will not rest. That day will come I know- just be patient. Everyone tells me this and I know it is true. But it is very hard. Extremely hard. He is starting to let me into his world a little at a time. I sometimes push too hard and he pushes back. But today has been a really good day. What a cutie pie.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Things have been slowly getting better around here. Benjamin has gone from hating me to thinking I'm OK if Dad is not around. He loves his Daddy!! His sleep patterns are still way off and we are up most of the night. We are trying to figure that out too. Today I took Ben for a walk outside- and he cried and cried of course- but in the end calmed down and let me swing him to sleep in the swing. (progress I say!!!) We are seeing more and more of his personality every day. Whew. This is hard.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Well, thank the Lord we made it home in one piece and slightly sane. There is just nothing one can do to make that 14 hour plane ride enjoyable. I have never been in first class so maybe there is a secret. Ben did great on the plane. Slept a lot. He decided quickly that Vanous was his favorite. He tolerated Vanous holding him as long as he was in the carrier facing out. On the plane he let us lay him in the Bassinet the plane provided for some time as well. So that was all good. But he did not like me at all. He would cry if I touched him. Refused to take a bottle from me even if positioned away from me. Wail if I picked him up. So poor Daddy had to be the babysitter ALL THE WAY HOME. ER was a trooper. She did much better than us all. We were greeted at the airport by friends and family. And thanks to my Mom had supper on the table for us and a refrigerator full of groceries. I was exhausted- physically and emotionally. I have read numerous blogs and books about this kind of trauma but to see it in person was truly heartbreakiing. And to be refused by him just about killed me. We were up all night with him on our first night home as well just to add to the exhaustion. He is raging as he grieves the loss of his world. (raging is scary) Thank goodness, my Mom and Sister came to take care of ER and the house while we rested best we could and let me try to get him to trust me. He is doing better. He let me carry him around in the carrier today for about 3 hours. He is tolerating my touch and will let me play with him somewhat. But Daddy is still the one. We have not taken many pictures so I'll have to post again with them later. He is adorable. Hoping to sleep a little tonight.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
It has been a very long day. Poor Ben. He is totally upset. He has cried nonstop since the handover. He will not let us hold him. Just cries. Heartbreaking wails. Looks around the room for something familiar and then cries harder. Poor baby. We have done all we can to try to get him calm but I think he just needs to grieve. He finally cried himself to sleep. So sad. I may cry myself to sleep as well. ER has been a trooper. She has been absolutely no trouble on this trip and took the day in stride. We are trying to pack now since our bus leaves in the morning at 7:15. Pray for the people sitting next to us on the plane. Ugh. No pictures this time. Trust me- you really did not want to see the ones we took.
On a happier note- during the 30 minutes or less that he was calm- he gave us a couple of the most beautiful smiles that would melt your heart. We are really hoping to see more of those tomorrow. REALLY HOPING!
Monday, June 6, 2011
Monday- Well, today was a holiday in Korea. Therefore, the places we planned on going to were closed for the day. (It is kind of like our Memorial Day). So we chose to go back to Insadong. I really liked it there anyways. We had a guy on the street paint us a fan. (gorgeous).. Made our way through the CROWDS!! (Understatement.) And just wore ourselves completely out. We made a few more purchases- and came back to the hotel for ER to nap. (us too). And then went back out for Pizza.
Tomorrow is a big day. At 11:00 am here- 9 pm Monday night for you all- we will be taking custody of Benjamin. For us it is all very exciting but for him it is going to be very traumatic. He has been under the care of the Foster Mother for 9 months. She is his caretaker/ nannie/ mother. He is going to be so scared and upset. Please pray that we will do the right things to make his transition as easy as possible. And remember ER in your prayers too. She is processing all of this faster than I ever dreamed. Already the questions are coming about her own adoption story and how this one compares. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a hard day on her as well.
Next Post--- our first pictures as a family of 4!!!!!!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Lazy Sunday for us. We laid around the hotel room until after 10 am. (Emma's favorite part of the trip is the hotel room). Then we decided to take a stroll up and down the streets near the hotel. We have about had our fill of taxi's. We found another mall and lots of shops. Once again- very expensive stuff. In fact, we found a Chanel store and a Tiffany's. Way out of our league. But we DID find something great. It was a Playplace for kids full of Teddy bears. You paid for 2 hours of playtime. Yes- expensive to us but worth it to ER for being such a great girl this trip. So off she went to play and play and play. She tried very hard to make new friends but the language barrier makes it difficult. But it was great to see her surrounded by other kids, tons of kids, that looked like her. We hoped she felt like she belonged and was not the "different" one as she is most of the time everywhere we go. Van and I had coffee as she played. ($4 for a cup BTW)..... and we had a waffle for dessert today- waffles are the new thing here in Korea apparently. They cover them in ice cream and whipped cream. Very very good. ER is napping now and we may venture out again tonight.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Now today was much more successful than yesterday. Insadong was the kind of place we were looking for. Lots of small shops with more traditional types of things. But we ran into a small- no a big problem. Everything is VERY expensive. Maybe we were spoiled by our trip to China where we bought tons of small trinkets and nice presents for ER and family-- or maybe we are just really cheap people- but either way we were shocked. We quickly had to rethink our plan. With ER- we bought her 18 gifts- one for each adoption day until she turns 18. We planned on doing the same for Benjamin but we may have to rethink. We did buy everything I planned on buying today. We got him a new Hanbok (traditional Korean outfit) and of course ER got one too, a Stamp (his Korean name is carved into the bottom of a stone), Artwork/ scrolls, Traditional Calligraphy brushes with the ink powder and pan, metal Chopsticks, a Korean King and Queen figurines, and more. Whew. And none of the above came cheap. We tried to "bargain" with them like we did in China- but it did not work. Ugh. Insadong was great. There were traditional Korean music groups performing so we stopped and rested and enjoyed the shows. We found a Mcdonalds so ER ate a Happy Meal again. WE walked up most every street and alley. We ended up in a bookstore below the city where I tried to find a English/Korean book. By this time we were sooo tired and just had to leave. It has been a great but tiring day. ER is very tired of shopping. Tomorrow we may find her something fun to do.
Friday, June 3, 2011
We are both amazed at the fancy commode we now have. It is called a Bidet (sp.?).... Hmmmmm. How to describe?
Well, Koreans believe that cleanliness is VERY important and find the use of toilet paper nasty. Thankfully they do provide a minimal amount of TP here at the hotel. I better not go into detail, but it has provided us all with a lot of interesting conversation. Hehehe. Look it up.
Day 3 of our Korea trip-
Today we decided to venture out into the city. Now remember we have no guide, no case worker, no one to help us navigate. So we were on our own! We decided to go see one of the 5 palaces here in Seoul.. Gyeongbokgung Palace. It was the largest of the 5 palaces and seemed to be an obvious choice. So off we went.
We found the hotel manager and showed him a map of where we wanted to go. He wrote it down on a card for us to show the taxi driver. The bellman got us a taxi and we took off. We got there safe and sound. The palace was gorgeous and grand. The pictures do not do it justice at all. We toured the King's residence, the Queen's residence, the Concubine rooms, and more. I loved it. ER was not so impressed. Attached to it was a Children's museum that ER thought was much more entertaining. Therefore, we spent another hour there. While watching ER play- we realized it was only 2:00 so we were not ready to go home. Using our map- we figured out that the Dongdaemun Market was close to our location. (This was one of the suggested places we visit for shopping). We found a nice Korean girl who spoke a little English and had her write down where we wanted to go. But we had LOTS of trouble finding a taxi. You know Scottsville folk really just don't use taxi's very much. We walked a long ways through the downtown streets of Seoul trying to find one. We admitted later that we both got pretty nervous at this point. ER was whining that her legs were tired and she was thirsty. (I felt the same). Finally we hailed one down- and off we went. The Market was not what we expected. It was very much like an upscale system of malls. Very trendy and very young. Pretty things but pretty expensive as well. Similar things to what our malls would have just lots more shops. We did find a few things to buy but nothing big. We enjoyed walking the streets and managed to have our picture taken more than once by curious Koreans. Many tried out their broken English on us by saying "hello, how are you today?" We of course were very polite. After a couple of hours of more walking we all 3 were done for the day. WE caught another taxi back to our hotel and now are in for the night. ER is at her limit and is ready to crash now. I may not be far behind. Tomorrow- we plan on shopping at a more traditional place and hopefully find Benjamin some nice Korean gifts.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Today- Thursday June 2nd
We woke up at about 7 am here after a much needed rest. Snacked for breakfast in the room. Showered and dressed. Then caught a taxi to the SWS building. We found where we were to meet our case worker and then asked for directions to any eating places. They directed us to the basement of a large building and - there it was- Mcdonalds. We all 3 ate well.!!! Then we found a Starbucks on the walk back. Heaven for me!!!! Now- we were ready........................
We took about an hour van ride out of the city to a rural part of Seoul. We walked up an alley and up some steep steps and was met by the Foster Mother. She hugged us and invited us into her home. It was small but well kept. A picture of the Lord's supper hung above the couch. And there- on the floor was Benjamin. ER went straight to him and he immediately started reaching for her. She got a little shy but handled it all well. I tried to talk and play with him but he cried when I got too close. He couldn't quit staring at "the giant"/ Vanous. The foster mother served us OJ and snacks. I recognized watermelon. We tried other things but have no idea what they were. I was not hungry at all but we did not want to be rude. All we could do was look at Benjamin. He is obviously VERY attached to both FM and Foster Father. They are both very loving people and the house was full of happiness. You can tell they were not rich and probably struggle for money but were sooooo nice to us. We stayed for about an hour. Our case worker asked FM several questions for us about his schedule/ comfort items/ etc.
We are scheduled to "get him" next Tuesday at 11:00 am.
We are both very overwhelmed right now and I struggle to find the words to describe the experience. Maybe later. What a day.
Jennifer and Vanous and ER
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Whew! What a long plane ride. Korean Air was wonderful and made us as comfortable as possible. But there is just no way to make 14 hours on a plane enjoyable. (This picture was made when we just got on the plane.) I did not allow any pictures of me afterwards! None of us slept much at all. Emma did great. Did not whine or cry even though she was exhausted. She is such a little trooper. Me on the other hand- did whine and cry. Ugh. We made it to the airport, found our luggage, and caught a bus to our hotel. (the Seoul Palace) It is very very very nice but really not family friendly. Lots of businessmen here dressed perfectly. My cargo pants, T-shirt, and crocs stuck out like a sore thumb. Or maybe we stood out because we are the ONLY Americans in sight. Who know? At that moment I could have cared less. Just want a bed- NOW. Our room is small but incredibly elegant. They brought a crib which ER has now claimed as her own personal space. We all slept from 730 pm to 700 am. Now I am in search of coffee. We brought instant but there is no microwave or means of hot water. UGH. I am fixing to get really ILL!!!! UGH!!
Today is very important. At about 1:30 pm we meet our case worker to go meet Benjamin. Am nervous but so ready. We are now trying to figure out what to do for breakfast. ER is playing and watching her DVD player eating Cheerios. Things are as great as they can be right now- except for the COFFEE!