Tuesday, June 30, 2009



fave fotoI really don’t have anything to say.  I’ve been too busy and my mind too occupied to sit down and think about anything deep.  So, instead of something interesting I will just leave you with a photo.  He’s cute, no?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Saturday was my first night without Duc since December 19th—over six months! A couple of girlfriends got together for a sleepover in her new dream home. And a dream home it certainly was! It seemed to be a marriage between old style German and English home architecture and it was wonderful! It felt like I was on vacation. It was essentially carved out of a hill so it is really rural. You can see any number of wild animals coming up to the house, plus the horses from her farm. Ahhh, like a free bed ‘n breakfast!IMG_4584_edited-1Getting into daddy’s liquor cabinet. Sound familiar to any of you???IMG_4579_edited-1 Yes, that is exactly what you think it is. A blender and margarita mix. Good food, good drinks and good friends—how does it get more perfect than this?

Oh, yes, breakfast. Biscuits and gravy. I love living south. You can’t find this in the northern part of the state, well, you can’t find any that taste this good.IMG_4600_edited-1

IMG_4593_edited-1And this is what greeted me when I got home:IMG_4609_edited-1 Duc got himself a new “cell” phone. It also works as a TV remote. Thanks to Oma, he talks on it non-stop. The boy is really going to be chatty once he is able to make himself clearly known.IMG_4627_edited-1Duc eats these by the handful and shoves him into his mouth whole, hence, BITE SIZEd. He will cry if he sees the box and I don’t make a move for it.IMG_4644_edited-1IMG_4656_edited-1It became very apparent today that I now have a climber on my hands. Not just up the step stool, but he actually figured out how to climb up on the end tables next to the couch and was standing on one of them. IMG_4666_edited-1It all seems very clear now, doesn’t it?IMG_4702_edited-1”I’m happy, especially when I get exactly what I want.”

Friday Fun

I am so blessed.  Even when things are rough I am almost always aware of how blessed I am.  Even though Duc is getting EIGHT molars at once and is miserable, he is still, generally, a happy little boy.  How is that possible?

I really tried to find photos of crazy looking carnie folk, but I have to admit, I’m a little peeved to learn that the carnival now follows a dress code.  I know…crazy, right?

IMG_4508_edited-1 First, to the park with Uncle MikeIMG_4528_edited-1IMG_4535_edited-1I love this photo.  There is something so endearingly sweet about my son holding hands with a grown man.  Duc is a man’s man.  He loves to hang with the boys and will speed right past a group of girls (well, not entirely, he has to grin and wink first) to do big boy stuff.

IMG_4544_edited-1 Such a big boy.  Sometimes it makes me sad, but most times it just makes me proud. 

IMG_4551_edited-1 Hmmm…fair food.  And, no, we did not try any.  Just smelling it made my gut ache a bit.IMG_4569_edited-1A scene from behind the fair.  I cropped it, but otherwise it has not been altered.  Ahhh, I love a beautiful sunset.  It makes me think, if only for the briefest of minutes, that all is right in the world.IMG_4576Michael and I finished with a root beer float—is there anything better in the world???   

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A day of Pictures

Have you ever taken a photo and when you saw it on the viewfinder afterwards you were completely taken with it?080_edited-1The photo itself isn’t awesome.  It was taken while Duc was lying on my lap (that would be my leg on the lower right of the screen).  It is out of focus and overexposed.  I didn’t even have the camera up to my face to look through the viewfinder.  But I love it.  It makes me happy.  Really happy.  I love that my grumpy, teething little boy (he’s getting his molars!) is happy when he is hugging my leg.064How about the buddha belly and cute little toes! 082_edited-1  The white in his eyes?  it’s the reflection of my white pants.109

Yeah, I love my 50mm lens.  Straight out of camera; no editing.116_edited-1A little birdy hiding among the greens. 


Stay tuned this weekend when my photos should include carnie folk and drunk chics.  Yep, it’s shaping into a fun weekend.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Sometimes your beauty astounds me and catches me off guard. Boys aren’t supposed to be pretty, are they? Well, you are and it takes my breath away sometimes. 059_edited-1

And when I see you do something new I get so excited for you and my eyes well with tears of pride.054_edited-1I’ve always been quite happy to hold his bottle and from day one he has let me. He seemed happy to not have to do hold it—thank God! But now he wants to be a big boy and he seemed so thrilled with himself. One handed no less. Show off!


073_edited-1He actually stole the fork right out of my hand. It was ok—he managed pretty well and he didn’t poke himself in the eye.

One of the great things about my job is that there is no place in our organization that I can’t go nor is there any place that I don’t work. Today I had to go to the newborn nursery and I saw a newborn baby boy that I KNEW looked exactly like my son did at birth. He had the same black, spiky hair. The similar eyes and nose shape. Only his mouth looked different. I couldn’t take my eyes from him. I felt so sad that I never got to see or hold my son when he was that small. And once again I was struck by the horrible decision his first mom was faced with. I just can’t even imagine leaving a child that small and innocent and hoping that the unknown was somehow better than my known. Sometimes I feel cheated that I didn’t have that time with him. My sister assures me it is boring (and I know it is because after a few minutes of holding my niece I’m ready to have fun with my son. She just doesn’t do anything!) and that she would have preferred to take the 12 week FMLA after her baby was 6 months when they are more interactive. I don’t disagree with her, but I wish I had some sort of witness to his early weeks and months. Someone that could share those memories with us. I wasn’t there to witness the first smile or giggle and the women that did can’t share that with me.

I do realize that I am blessed to have the next 17 years of smiles and giggles of which there are many. It is never far from my mind how close we came to never meeting. As my mom said just last week, I wouldn’t have known what I missed, but wow, I would have missed something and someone incredible.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

  Does anyone else find odd things in the laundry hamper?  Today I found a clean diaper and Duc’s favorite pacifier.  It certainly explains why he was a little whiney at bedtime tonight…

Duc in bath

Saturday, June 20, 2009

13/6 months—Memories

Duc in DaNang

This is probably my favorite image of us. I am so thankful we had Chennie and Grandma Chow with us. Chennie is a wonderful photographer (I think she does the photos for her friend’s weddings) and she has an awesome eye. This photos was taken during our very first breakfast together on December 20th. I love the way he is looking at me while I feed him congee. He was so small then, but still so mighty! He kept grabbing my bowl of pho so Grandma Chow took over feeding. I loved having her there and she kept me smiling. Although my mother was there, Grandma Chow kept telling me what to do. Go walk. Go eat. Go, go, go! She would pick him up and just walk off with him—sometimes through the hotel, sometimes to the beach. Although she doesn’t even weigh 80 lbs, she held him not like the 18 lb infant that he was, but as if he weighed nothing at all. He loved her and she loved him and I loved to watch the way they looked at each other. Even now, Duc is attracted to Asian women. Young Asian women he will flash a smile with twinkling eyes (oh, I am such a sucker for those twinkling eyes!). But older Asian women, well, they respond to each other in a way that I can’t understand. It’s amazing to watch. Even perfect strangers are drawn to him and he to them. There is something that is familiar to both of them that I will never fully understand. I did not noticed too many older nannies, at least none that were particularly drawn to Duc. Whatever it is, I enjoy watching it play out.

After meeting Duc on December 18th, our group proceeded to the grocery store in the mall. What an experience! It reminded me so much of being in Hong Kong—the strong smell of fresh (and not so fresh) fish, foreign spices and a co-mingling of various foods and household goods. I guess I am not much of a shopper. Diapers are diapers so I picked out ones that fit his kg size and picked up the formula and gao that the nannies told me he drank and ate. While the rest of our travel group debated on what kind of cereal, mom and I wandered over to the Vietnamese version of Starbucks. For the life of me I can not remember the name—can anyone help me out?

The others drifted in once they completed their purchase. Bits of conversation washed over me while I sat there enjoying my first Coke Lite since arrival. As you can imagine, it focused on our kids, our first meeting and the excitement of the day. I just sat there contended. Mom finally asked, “Aren’t you anxious? Don’t you wish you had him right now?” I was able to answer that for the first time in months (maybe years) I was content and at peace. I had met my son. We were going to be just fine. Of that I finally knew. I can’t even tell you how nervous and edgy I was before I met him. When Mom was doing the interview piece that the Today Show had requested, I spoke with tears in my eyes. Each time. I managed to get through the morning, but the closer we got to meeting Duc the more snappy with Mom I became. I was really nervous. This was it.

As the van pulled up in front of the orphanage I turned to Mom and said, “This is it. The time has finally arrived.”

She looked at me and said, “This moment will pass before you know it. It will pass in a second and this moment will be the past. Before you know it, months and years have passed. Enjoy this moment.”

And I did. It was magical and not the way I ever expected our first meeting to be like. I was so prepared for a scared child. For a clingy child or one that pushed me away and yet from the beginning I think we both felt familiar to each other. Even a few people in our travel group kept asking if I had other children. I was relaxed, he was relaxed. According to my sister I act as if I just had my fourth child, not my first. I just don’t get worked up over most things and neither did he. Some of the locals we encountered would ask if his father was Chinese (that’s a post for another time, but it has to do with most VN’ese thinking he is NOT Vietnamese and most Chinese think he is Chinese).

Our G&R was the next day, on Friday. We woke up early and we rode the bumpy road back to the orphanage. The babies were all sitting on the floor while the nannies finished getting them ready. Before I even crossed the threshold into the orphanage Duc had picked me out of the crowd of parents and began clapping and tried to crawl over to me. The nanny was still getting him ready so we waited—his eyes never left my face and mine didn’t wander either. I couldn’t wait to feel the weight of him again, the way he felt heavy in my arms, the way he rested all his weight against my chest. After a quick hug and kiss I turned him over to the nannies to say goodbye. It was hard, so hard to watch. One of them caught us as we were walking out and I let her hold him and cry. They had pressed a piping hot bottle into my hand the heat scorched even my fingers so I handed it off to my mom to save for later. We climbed into the van and he settled deep in my arms. He chilled from from his first experience with air conditioning and I wrapped in the sweater I had no intention of wearing. Within minutes he was asleep and he stayed asleep through most of his G&R.

IMG_0968-2 This set the precedent for the rest of our visit—every official visit he slept through! Afterwards I opted to return to the hotel and not return to the grocery store. Mom went off to exercise and left Duc to get to know each other.IMG_0979_edited-2I love this picture. He was hiding a smile behind his hands. Following naps for all—well, naps for Duc and Oma—I just journaled and stared at my son. We walked the grounds and talked with some of the locals. We sat on the beach and waiting for Chennie and Grandma C.’s arrival. IMG_1020-2

It was a beautiful day and my days since then have been filled with an immeasurable amount of beauty and joy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

December 18th—Day of Duc

At 2:45 pm my life was forever changed. It was quite the experience. We are staying at a really nice resort and less than a mile turned off the road onto some rickety looking lane. We turned once or twice more and drove up to his orphanage. The road leading to his orphanage was very narrow and the road had lots of broken bricks and was very rough. The level of poverty here is unimaginable. It is truly heartbreaking, but that is a post for another time.100_0882_edited-1

We arrived at the orphanage and the very first room we entered is the baby room and his crib was just a few down from the door. When I first found him he was kind of crying and looking upset. As soon as I picked him up everything changed. He put his hands on both sides of my face, patted my cheeks and began smiling and laughing. The moment could not have been more perfect. He is very bright, very alert. He LOVES to be held, loves to cuddle, loves to be tickled. He sits up really well and the nanny attempted to show off his crawling skills by taking the toy I had brought and tossing it 18-24 feet away. The little guy hustled right over to it and picked up his book again! He can push his butt in the air with his feet and hands on the ground. The nanny would show off his balance by standing him up, letting go, and catching him as he began to fall. He will be a little dare baby! He loves to be fake dropped–like a roller coaster. He is very quiet, but if you really get him tickled he will laugh. When the nannies would take him from me or when Quoc took him for his passport photo he would reach for me and try to find me. Even when Oma was holding him he seemed to know that I was mama. I’d heard that they know that somehow and always thought it sounded silly, but I am beginning to think that they do indeed know. 100_0848_edited-1

One of the nannies showed off his chubby thigh and patted his thigh to indicate how chunky he was. She then patted my thigh–yeah, message received. Chunky baby, chunky mama.

He is beautiful! Very black hair that sticks straight up from his head. He has a natural mowhawk. Even when he is quiet he always has a hint of a smile on his lips. I’ve never seen any baby look like that before.

It was a beautiful moment, a beautiful day. As I told my mom, he is heaven on earth.

121_edited-1 (and a picture from now. I can’t resist:)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

December 18th

I had every intention of continuing on with Dance all Night II, but what can I say, I got distracted:) Since this week actually marks SIX months since we became a family, I thought I would instead share some of my reflections of those first few days. It does not seem possible to me that Friday marks SIX months together. I remember back to Vietnam and with every little waking moment I would whisper to my self “Remember this. Hold on to this. Don’t forget this.” It wasn’t just the moment he was placed in my arms for the first time or those first few private moments in the hotel together. It was driving down the road in a van of people of every nationality listening to the soccer game in Vietnamese on the radio. It was watching a grown man kiss my son on the lips upon meeting us. It was the sound of the rough sea as it pounded China Beach. It was watching Mama Chow (now known as Grandma Chow) love my son quite literally as her own grandchild. Favorite family photo

At this very moment six months ago I had been in Vietnam less than twelve hours. Our flight arrived that Wednesday night. We were delayed by a couple of hours in S. Korea while Korean Air held the flight for another couple that was also adopting through my agency. I honestly don’t remember much of the flight. In the last two years prior to referral it was rare for me to sleep more than five or six hours at a time. I don’t know why, but my body and mind were always keyed up. I anticipated the same thing occurring with the twenty-four flight to VN (that’s twenty-four hours of flight time—that doesn’t include the layovers!) so I had requested a couple of sleeping pills from my doctor. To be honest, I never touched them. As soon as we boarded from LAX I was down for the count. I think I slept about eighteen or twenty consecutive hours.

When we arrived in the airport in Saigon, it was late. And hot. After clearing customs we exited the airport and I got to briefly experience what it must be to be a celebrity at a movie premiere. People were lined up from the doors all the way to the road—the people barriers were pushed forward. For what? I never did figure out. It didn’t look like that during daylight. We got to the hotel, made the obligatory calls home, showered, and looked at each other. We couldn’t believe we were finally here and I think Mom said something to that effect. 095_edited-2 copy

Six months ago from this very moment I awoke in Saigon and was en route to see my son for the first time. By 11 am we were on a plane on our way to Da Nang and I was just hours away from the Sandy Beach Resort. Hours away from the broken brick road that lead to my son. Six months.

~To Be Continued~

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dance all night

Yesterday we had a big day. Evidently at the first hint of improvement I am out there wearing myself out again. What am I thinking?

Anyway, we had fun. First there was a visit to Oma and Opa’s house and look what we found!047_edited-1It’s been years since I lived as a country girl so some of my farm animal knowledge has been replaced by how to survive among urban sprawl. Anyway, there are horses, mules and donkeys. Although to be honest I had trouble discerning which was horse and which was mule. Despite my confusion I loved this shot.

045_edited-1 I shot the day entirely in manual—quite a leap of faith for me, but I really enjoyed it! I was really able to play with lights and darks in a way that I am not able to do with some of the other more automatic camera settings.064_edited-1Yes, that is my itsy bitsy niece next to the mule. Did I mention I was a country girl? Duc has no fear of horses/mules and neither do any of the other littles in the family. 086_edited-1100_edited-1 Not sure what this is? Oma couldn’t figure out if it was a weed or a flower. Kind of pretty either way.102 Straight out of camera image. I love the light (and lack of it) in this image.154_edited-1 Yeah, I know it looks like my son is getting french kissed by Opa’s dog, but let me assure you he started it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The One where I yacked in a co-workers car

007_edited-1 Last weekend I wasn’t feeling great—sore throat, tired and I would start sweating for no apparent reason. Contrary to what one of my co-workers tried to convince me it was NOT the change. It was a sinus infection. It quickly mutated into some evil mess which required me to miss two days of work, go to the doctor where I required THREE medications to treat the mess that had caused a bad bronchitis with a GI bug (both north and south ends were affected and that’s all I am going to say about that). Even after the GI bug cleared my system, I was coughing so hard I was yacking every where. Seriously. I couldn’t even hold down water for two days. It was that bad. It feels like I have the whooping cough. Not that I know what that feels like, but this is pretty much as bad as I had imagined whooping cough feeling like. All I can say is THANK GOD I have never had a child’s head tear through my nether regions because I am pretty sure yacking would not be the worst of my humiliations.

I went back to work yesterday because

  1. I’m broke
  2. I have no PTO
  3. I’m afraid of how my company will view all my recent absences

Fortunately the Duc man is perfectly healthy, perfectly happy. I feel like a schmuck of a parent which is why I am so THANKFUL that he recently began playing really well on his own. For the longest time he only wanted to play with me or hang on me and whine and I felt strangely sad when he suddenly became Mr. Independent. But to highlight how crappy a parent I have been

  1. I fell asleep on the couch while he was still awake (big mistake). My little smarty pants unzipped my purse, found my hidden stash of Goldfish crackers, OPENED the child proof lid, and lined them up on my leg to eat. I awoke to wet little kissy prints on my leg with some orange residue.
  2. Yesterday I was completely pooped after getting home so I was resting on the couch with my eyes open this time. Duc wandered into the kitchen and came back out EATING A PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH. I kid you not. I had fixed him one the night before and he hadn’t finished so I wrapped it in the paper towel I had served it with and threw it on the top of the trash. That wild turkey got into the trash can and dug his sandwich out. I tried wrestling it away from him, but I was too weak from laughing my butt off to chase him and grab it from him!

Anyway I went back to work yesterday and instead of bringing my anti-coughing medicine with me, I accidentally grabbed the anti-yacking medicine (which works, I think, by making you fall asleep). I didn’t realize it until I was in my co-workers car (after lunch, mind you) and a coughing attack hit me. Thank GOD I had put a Kroger plastic bag in my bag prior to leaving the house because I stuck my head in it and yacked not once, but twice, while my coworker tried to assure me she wasn’t totally grossed out. Now would also be a good time to say that we aren’t friends and unlike me, she is not involved in the medical field at all. Oy, that story is going to get around.

Despite all the ick (thank God I can’t smell anything right now because I’m pretty sure my house smells like a Jersey garbage dump), Duc and I are having a blast. He just loves to play so I rolled myself off the couch the other night and snuck up behind him and whispered “boo!” in his ear. He started squealing and laughing! he took off down the hall with me in slow pursuit and he giggled while I “caught” him. Then it was my turn…I hobbled down the hall on hands and knees while he would “catch” me. I keep telling Duc not to grow any more that I like him just the way he is, but I have to admit, this is an incredibly fun stage to be in even if we are having to navigate around the word “no” and “time-out”. Six months ago I could never have imagined how fun this could be, but wow, he has really rocked my world.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hope and a $1.99

052I love this outfit, but not because Duc looks good in yellow.

I bought this outfit two years ago about this time. In those days only Kristen knew that I harbored a hope that someday I would also have a son. We had begun the China process only the Fall before. She sent her dossier to China a few weeks before I did and our log in dates were within four days of each other. It was crazy that I longed for this son when I had logged into China only a few months before. But I did. And she knew.

In those days we would shop for clothes for our future baby girls. On this particular shopping trip I found myself wandering to the other side of the Children’s Place store. You know, the blue side. On this particular day I found this little onesie/shorts outfit. I wasn’t particular drawn to it other than it was on sale for $1.99 and I could afford a little fantasy for only $2.

When I returned home to Indiana I tucked all my daughter’s clothes away in her closet, but this outfit…I couldn’t part with. I placed it next to my bed. It was the last thing I saw at night and the first thing I saw when I woke up. I often held it up to my face and prayed a silent prayer into it. One day, I hoped, a son would fill it.

Every day months I repeated that same routine. And one day in October I finally tucked it away in one of the drawers in my room. I thought my dream had ended. Not even a month later, on November 4th, I pulled it out again and the journey began. It does my heart good to see him wearing it.

055_edited-1And now a mishmash of photos:008_edited-1I am trying to shoot more in manual on my camera. I usually shoot underexposed, but decided to go the other direction and I actually like how it turned out. This is basically how it came out of the camera. I sharpened the photo slightly, but that was all. 022_edited-1 copyI love this photos of my dad and Sienna.035_edited-1 copyMy son, mom and niece playing among the flowers.071_edited-1 copyRiding horsey. the crazy thing? They actually have horses and mules/donkeys/whatever just past their property line that come up to the fence to interact.095_edited-1

He loves his cousin. As soon as she would stick his pacifier back in his mouth she would turn to do something else. He would toss it and yell after her and the whole thing repeated. It was pretty funny. He loves her and they play so well together despite the age difference.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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