Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ours Forever

December 11, 2009 is always going to be very special to our little family. It was on that day that we went to the courthouse and finalized Henry's adoption! It was an "adoption" day and we were one of about 18 families finalizing our adoptions together. The courtroom was decorated with balloons and lots of stuffed animals, and since we were the last family to go before the judge, we got to witness many happy families. It was very sweet. Henry was amazingly well-behaved for a 16 month old confined to Daddy's lap for well over an hour. He drew quite a crowd of admirers dressed in his dashing little suit and waving his American and S Korean flags around.
Our son is now officially an American citizen and is named Henry Eun-wu Dalton Jesse. "Henry" comes from James' dad and "Dalton" comes from my grandfather. "Eun-wu" was his Korean name given to him by his birthmother. The last 5 1/2 months have brought about so many changes, amazing joy, and challenges. We feel so fortunate to have Henry forever.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So Thankful

I am so thankful this year. I have the baby that I've dreamed about for years and years right here in my arms. It still doesn't seem real to me sometimes, even though on Monday he will have been with us for 5 months. I have a wonderful husband who has been my very best friend for the past 13 years. I have my mother, who has many life-threatening health conditions and has been hospitalized most of the past month. I don't know what I'd do without her. I have my grandpa, who along with my sweet grandma, raised me from the time I was 5 years old. He is in a nursing home now and has a failing body and mind, but it warms my heart to go see him. I have my grandma, who went to be with the Lord recently, but she'll always be in my heart. I have a job doing what I love, and even though I'm dreading going back on Monday and leaving Henry, I know that it's what I must do for our family right now. Things haven't been perfect lately, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all of the stress and recent changes, but I'm so thankful for what I have~~I'm richly blessed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Henry brag!

We have all finally recovered from the flu, though our house hasn't. I'm still trying to catch up on the housework that I fell very behind on during that time. I don't know what's going to happen when I go back to work in a couple of weeks! Speaking of that, I am so grateful for the time I've gotten to spend with Henry. By the time I return to work, he will have spent 5 months at home with me. Of course, some of that time was summer, so I didn't have to take those days off work. I know that some don't understand why I chose to take such a long leave from teaching, but honestly, this time was very much necessary for attachment between us. I'm sad that our time together at home is nearly up, but also thrilled that I was able to do this for him. I'm sure there will be future posts about my struggle to leave him everyday in someone else's care.

I think it's time for a Henry brag! There hasn't been one in awhile and he's been making a lot of progress, so it's time! First of all, I took him to the pediatrician yesterday and found out that he weighs 26 lbs 14 oz and is 32 inches tall. That is 75th percentile for both height and weight! The doctor called him a "big, healthy boy" and remarked at how "busy" Henry was. Henry is absolutely obsessed with eating, so I was worried that he was gaining too much weight, but actually he only put on 1 lb in the last 3 months. No worries.
Our ped. encouraged us to wean Henry cold turkey from all bottles. We kept him on the bottle a bit longer for bonding, but I agree it's time. He has gone a day and a half so far without one. He's doing well so far! I expected a much bigger fight from him about this, but he's surprising us. We are also switching him from 2 naps a day to one afternoon nap. He's also doing well with this. My baby boy isn't really a "baby" anymore (sniff, sniff).

Here are the words Henry can say:
Mom "mooomm"
Daddy "dad-gee"
bottle "bah-mmm"
*He repeats lots of things we say but doesn't frequently use those words on his own (such as fan, snack, ball)

Here are the words Henry can sign:
thank you
brush teeth
dog (for this sign you snap your fingers as if calling a dog---Henry can't snap his fingers but he makes a motion with his hand and clicks his tongue for the "snapping" noise. So cute!!

So between speaking and sign language Henry has a good vocabulary! He definitely knows how to tell us what he wants! He picks up things so quickly. He's such a smart boy, which is funny because some of his adoption paperwork from Korea called him "clever looking." Being a teacher, I am thrilled that he loves books as much as he does. I read to him every night before bed, which is my favorite sweet-time during the day. Our house is overrun with his toys but I think if he had only a couple of books he'd be pretty happy. Oh, and the dog's toys---he loves those most of all.

His latest thing is that he is starting to climb up on things. He learned to climb up on our leather ottoman first, then the couch, and now he's trying to climb into the bathtub! YIKES! I've taken him to the playground several times to encourage him to climb there, but he's still pretty unsure about it. At our last visit, I spent a lot of time trying to get him to climb on the equipment, but he spent it picking up leaves and handing them to me. I know I shouldn't rush it because soon enough I'll be chasing him all over the playground, and wishing he'd slow down!

My last brag for now is about how sweet he is. He gives us kisses and hugs all the time. Some are encouraged by us, but many are just of his own accord. The kisses are these great, wet, open-mouthed ones that just melt my heart. He is very strong willed and has been throwing quite a few tantrums lately when we say the awful word "no." Next time he's on the floor screaming I'll just have to remember those sweet little kisses.

Just a few fun pictures:

He loves dumping all the toys out of these bins and sitting in them.

We've had this wooden toy grocery store for years in storage, but we assembled it and put it out when we were suffering from the flu, and Henry was bored from staying indoors so much. It's huge, but...

Henry loves it!! It's almost worth the annoyance of having plastic groceries scattered around our living room all the time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Fun---lots of pictures!

The title of this post is a bit ironic because at the moment fall is anything but fun around here. We have all had the swine flu. Henry had it first, and was horribly sick. Of course just as he began to feel much better James and I came down with it. It is ridiculously difficult for there to be two sick parents and have a little one who is going stir crazy from not leaving the house. Let's just say that our house is a disaster and we are just barely making it. This too shall pass, right?

I want to share some cute fall pictures. The first set is from our trip to Hall's Pumpkin Farm a few weeks ago.

This next set of pictures is from our trip to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. Henry thought it was a blast to just wander around among nature. We definitely need to take another trip there once we are all well. The pictures turned out a bit dark because we were taking them at dusk.

And, finally, the last set of pictures is from Halloween. Henry had been really sick a couple days beforehand, but by that night he was feeling quite a bit better so we decided to take him trick-or-treating at a mall because I couldn't stand for him to miss out on his first Halloween! He really seemed to enjoy it. He didn't seem to mind his ninja costume one bit, and he was fascinated with looking at all of the other kids in costume.

Henry has been home now 4 months and he just turned 15 months old. Things are definitely getting better, but we still have our unexplained rough patches (such as today---he's screamed and tantrumed since he woke up). We plan on taking him to see an international adoption pediatrician just to make sure that everything is ok attachment-wise. Henry is so smart and full of personality. We are constantly amazed by some of the clever things he does. More about that on the next post. Right now, I am a tired, sick mommy who has a little boy who needs me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Off to Grandmother's house we went...

We took our first out of town trip recently to visit James' mom and stepdad (Granny and Big Pa to Henry). It was a 4+ hour car trip with a toddler and two poodles--in the middle of mating season, no less--but it went amazingly well. Henry slept a huge chunk of the trip there and was content the rest of the time. Once there, we had a great visit with Granny and Big Pa. Henry warmed up to them right away and made himself at home in their house. He spent much of his time happily taking groceries off of a shelf in their kitchen and rearranging them throughout the house. He was particularly fond of a small bottle of a canjun concoction called "Shrimp and Crab Boil." We visited and watched Henry carry on this way for hours. It's funny how having a kid can become a sole source of entertainment!

Henry and Granny bonding

Henry checking out Big Pa

Henry and the beloved, infamous Shrimp and Crab Boil

Granny successfully wooed Henry with some of her famous homemade cookies that we've been missing. It was pretty much pure love between them after that! It was so precious to watch them bond. As an adoptive mother, I was initally worried that family members wouldn't love him as much as we would. Of course, everyone is crazy about him! I love nothing more than to see how excited everyone is to spend time with him.
While there, we spent an afternoon outlet shopping and spending time with Henry's great Aunt Iris. Aunt Iris is hearing impaired and has inspired us to teach Henry sign language. He's doing really well with it!

Henry, Granny, and Aunt Iris

One of the few pictures of the 3 of us

The rest of the trip was wonderful, and it actually flew by too quickly. The only rough spot we had was on the trip home. Henry was tired and out of his element. He fussed a lot of the way home, so we stopped at a roadside picnic spot to give him a snack. He did well until he fell flat on his face on some rocks. That gave him a giant scratch/bruise on his cheek, which is actually still there 10 days later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When Henry met Zoey

This last weekend we took our first out-of-town trip to visit James' mom and stepfather. (More about that trip in a separate post later). While we were there, we met up with one of my online Holt bulletin board friends, Kim, her husband Danny, and her adorable kids Braedan and Zoey. Sweet little Zoey joined their family last April from S. Korea, and is the same age as Henry. Kim is an adoptee from S Korea as well. They graciously invited us to their home for a homemade Korean dinner and a playdate for the kiddos. The food rocked--Henry was a big fan too! It was wonderful to get together and share info about the adoption experience with each other. I'm blessed to have them as our new friends!
One cute thing that happened as we were leaving was that we encouraged Henry to give his new friend Zoey a kiss. He leaned in to plant one on her, but she blocked him with her hands. Ah, his first kiss rejection from a girl.

This picture was nearly impossible to capture with two tired toddlers.

The babies enjoying their dinner.

I believe Braedan was being a transformer in the background.

There Henry is making that funny squishy face again.

Zoey was hamming it up for the camera!

So cute! I definitely need to remove the price tag from the bottom of his shoe, though.

Please bear with me---I am terribly behind on blogging. I have several things I want to write about, but little time to do so. A few of my upcoming posts will not necessarily be in chronological order.

I just realized that I didn't write about an important event from a couple of weeks ago! We were blessed to be invited to dinner with several more adoptive families with Korean kids who I've been chatting with on the Holt bulletin boards also. It was a wonderful experience to meet with others who have been down that same road we are on. Plus, it was super cute to see all of our adorable kids together. I was a little astonished to discover that Henry was the same size or bigger than the 2 year olds who were there!!
Here is a cute picture of some of us who were there that night:

(from the left)MaryAnn and Rai, Mary and Henry, Melissa and Briana, Marni and Zach

It is very important to me to maintain ties with other Korean adoptive families so that Henry can have friends as he gets older who share his cultural heritage and the adoption experience.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two playground trips

All summer I had been very eager to take Henry to a playground, but with the super hot Texas  heat, we had to wait for cooler temperatures before we could go. We finally made it to a playground recently. I put Henry in a toddler swing and he loved it. Unfortunately, we were only there a few minutes before a mentally ill homeless man started harrassing us. He was yelling at me from a distance away and saying how sexy I was. I turned my back on him and was determined not to let him spoil our outing. Then he yelled at Henry and said he was as sexy as his momma and proceeded to pee on a tree. You can believe that we got out of there quickly at that point, and a phone call to the police was made. Here are the cute pictures I took before the creepy man showed up.

For some reason he was really excited to find this stick on the playground.

After that bummer of a playground trip, I decided that we just had to give it another try. It had been raining a lot recently, but I didn't let that deter my plans. I took Henry to the small playground at our apartment complex. It was muddy and wet, but I helped Henry climb and slide on the equipment. And, contrary to my personal loathing of getting stains on clothes, I allowed Henry to fully get messy. I accidentally left my camera in the apartment, so I only captured a few post-playing messy photos. Honestly, I don't think Henry enjoyed the dirt. He kept trying to wipe it off....a boy after my own heart.

Cute little shoes! This was probably the last time he'll wear them because they are now too small. We just had to buy a new pair of Stride Rite's to replace them--size 6 extra wide!!!