Actually it's from Ohio to Ukraine, back to Ohio, then to China

Saturday, December 27, 2008

post-Christmas update and adoption #2

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of family, friends, and togetherness. We had a great Christmas - hard to believe that it is already over!! Wesley was too young to really "get" Christmas, Santa, and presents. I am sure by next year he'll be excited. My parents got us a Flip video recorder, so I'll be able to post more videos in 2009!! (I am having trouble right now though because the computer is working too slow, so I'll upload later)
We've been home for three and a half months now, and attachment is going well. One thing that we were told before traveling had to do with us attaching to the child. So much time and effort is spent on the child attaching to the parents, but you also have to think about yourself attaching to the child. Now before our adoption classes at Cincinnati Children's, I figured that I would just meet this child and fall in love and we'd live happily ever after (you know the fairy tale). Now I knew that is not what the books all said would happen, but I thought it would for me. But at the class, therapist Deborah Joy told us to think about how we make close friends. Do we get close to friends as soon as we meet them, or does it take time to form close friendships? Personally, it takes me quite a while to become close with someone and to share personal information. So I realized that when we met our son, I may not fall in love instantly. It was sad to think that, but I had to be honest with myself. (Note to adopting families: do not beat yourself up if it's not love at first sight! I don't even think love at first sight is even love - unless it's a cute pair of shoes or a great purse because that can be love!! But seriously, a child is something entirely different)
I am so happy to have been prepared for my attachment to Wesley taking a while. Now when we were visiting him at the orphanage, I knew he was meant to be our child, but I didn't get a rush of love for him or anything. I loved him because he was a sweet, innocent child, but I hadn't fallen in love with him. Now I don't mean for this to sound cruel or mean, but it was tough to like a child who didn't want anything to do with me! When we picked him up in late August, I began to like him more each day. And now that we're home, I love him. I feel that we are now securely attached. He looks to me (or Damon) for comfort when he's upset, and he calms down when I hold his hand or hold him.
Wesley seemed pretty attached to us when we picked him up form the orphanage, but I can tell that he is even more attached to us now. He is more spontaneous with his affection, sometimes I cannot get him to stop hugging and kissing me. (I know - what a tough problem to have :) He is even starting to say "love you" when we tell him we love him.

We are currently also looking into countries for our second adoption. I know people will say it is too soon after the first adoption and with Wesley's medical condition we should wait, but I really just feel like we are being called to start right now. The process will take at least a year, so Wesley will have had his esophagus repair surgery long before we add another child into our family. We are not sure at this point what country from which we will adopt, but several countries are being considered. A couple that are forefront in my mind right now are Nepal and India.

Prayer requests
- Wesley as he has his "man surgery" on Monday. It is outpatient, but the doctor said it could last four to six hours...I'll update as soon as I can once it is over
- Damon and I as we try to narrow down our choices for our second adoption (I forgot how overwhelming the process can be at the start)
- we are hoping to stay "illness free" this winter, especially with the upcoming surgery

Have a Happy New Year!!!

smiling in the bathtub (I can hardly get him out of the bath now! It's a big change from the first bath we gave him where he screamed like we were trying to murder him)

Duke was thinking about joining Wesley in the bath (thankfully he didn't)

Wes was unsure about his new horse on Christmas morning. He now pets it every time he walks by it in the house.

tearing open a gift from Uncle Scott and Emily (I love the tongue sticking out)

This is Wesley taunting my brother's dog Marlow with a plastic string from a toy. Finally Marlow gets tired of it and pulls Wesley down by the arm of his sweater - too funny!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

We are looking forward to our first Christmas as a family. It's hard to believe that we've been home from Ukraine for over three months! In some ways I feel like I was just there, and in others, it feels like years ago. Wesley has gained 8 pounds (almost 50% of his body weight) and had grown about 2"! From what I can figure, he's in about the 15th percentile now - much more than the 2nd percentile a few months ago. He is talking almost constantly, and I am starting to understand words here and there in the babble so I know what he is talking about. He is much more affectionate with us than when we first brought him home. He also loves to give our friend's children hugs as well. That is fine, but I am sure the other kids get annoyed because he wants to hug them a lot!
I cannot get over how much his personality has changed. When we visited Wesley in the orphanage, he was a quiet boy who played most by himself in one spot. I can assure you - he is no longer that child!! He is definitely a boy who loves to be loud and run around. Sometimes he just yells out to hear himself. We're working on that, but I think it's just the age. I am so happy to see that he is a typical tw0 year-old!!
Please pray that we can all stay well through this Christmas and New Year's as Wesley has "man surgery" on January 5th, and this has been scheduled for months. Once that surgery is over, we can schedule the bigger surgery for his esophagus repair (YAY!!). I don't have the words to tell you how ready I am for that surgery. I can handle the tube feedings just fine, it's the neck fistula that is wearing on me. The poor child is constantly wet because all his saliva and drainage comes out the hole in his neck. And this may be TMI (too much information), but Wesley has sinus issues, so it is not exactly a pleasant odor. We change the wrap on his neck often, but as soon as you change it, he is wet again. But anyway...
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! We are spending this year as the thankful parents of two year-old!!
I'll leave you with a few recent pictures

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ukrainian birth family search complete

We received a letter and pictures today from our searcher Gene Sagin. Before I tell you some of what we found out, let me just put a little plug in for Gene. He did a great job and completed the search in just days!! His price was reasonable (our search in Kharkiv cost $400). If you would like to contact Gene, his email address is You can also contact me if you have questions for me that I don't answer in this blog (my email address is
And what you have been waiting for...When Gene called Wesley's birth mother, so was surprised (obviously), but sounded interesting in meeting him. They met and he read the letter I wrote to her and showed her the pictures of us and Wesley. She cried tears of joy and said that she was so happy that her son had found a family because she didn't know if he would live after he was born. Obviously this touched me because I can only imagine how she feels about the whole "situation," for lack of a better word. I can also see that she cried because her eyes are a little red in the pictures Gene sent of her.
We found out that she gave Wesley the name Kirill, so I am really glad that we kept that as his middle name. I was afraid that a hospital worker had given him that name, but the fact that his birth mother gave him that name will mean something to him. (As a side note, Kirill means "Lord.") She also said that she feels that God directed Wesley to be in our family, and I cannot agree more!!
I gave her our blog address so she could see pictures of Wesley, even if she couldn't read English. She told Gene that she wanted to send us a letter, and I was looking forward to that. I checked my gmail account this afternoon, and she had already written me an email!! I was so excited!! It was mostly in Russian, so I had to use an online translation website. It was only a few lines, but the gist of it was that she wanted us to let Wesley know that she loved him. That alone is worth the cost of the search!! How amazing to know that his birth mother thinks of him and cares for him!
Wesley's birth mother also told Gene that she stopped smoking as soon as she found out she was pregnant, and she did not use any drugs or alcohol (I didn't figure that she did, but I wanted to know what she would say). Gene said that he felt she was telling the truth, and I think he's probably done enough searches to know when people might be lying.
Right now I just feel so blessed! We have a wonderful son from a relatively smooth adoption, a productive birth family search, healthy attachment with him, he is healthy (except for that no esophagus thing), and right now things are going well for us. I am trying to focus on all that we have been given by God because so many times when things are going well, we start to think that we have done something to deserve favor or that we are "owed" something. I can assure you - I have done nothing to earn favor and I do not deserve anything that I have been given (Damon, Wesley, my parents, family, friends, dogs, job, house, clothes, groceries, etc.). I am not trying to sound preach-y, but please take a minute and think about the blessings in your life and give thanks.
I am posting another video of Wes dancing at his Grandparent's house (per my mother's request). It's a cute video of him, and you can see how much he likes to dance! He also loves to whistle like his Grandpa!! This one's for you, Mom :)
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