Thursday, May 31, 2012

Daddy's Phone Dump: The Month of May

We enjoyed looking over Brett's phone pictures last month, so I thought I'd do it again this month.

Here's a look through Brett's phone...with a few descriptions.

Cinqo de Mayo...

Saggy diaper, because he hates to waist valuable play time getting it changed...

First carnival ride...

Playing in the Subway station with Daddy...

Watching cartoons...

Park near Brett's office, with a great view of the trains...

Mothers Day lunch, Venezuelan style...

Ikea meatballs, with a view of Lady Liberty...

At the airport, waiting patiently for Uncle Adam and the family to come through Customs...

Napping in the stroller...

Waiting for hot tacos from a tortilla factory in Brooklyn...

Brett's trip to London...

On his way back to the States, First Class style...

The first really, really, hot day at the park (he's officially shirtless from now on)...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Thoughts When A Social Worker Doesn't Call

As I mentioned in my last adoption post, we spent the last month gathering documents and signing contracts. Since day one of feeling the assurance that adoption was in our future, I have known that I would drop everything to get our little girl home.
So when I get an email or a phone call from our agency with a task, everything stops. I'm overjoyed at the ability to do something. So much of this process relies on other people to get her home. We wait on emails, phone calls, Fedex, Social Workers, secretaries, doctors, notaries, Government Holidays to be over, etc.
So much of this process relies on other people doing their job well and doing it efficiently.
During this last month when I had an enormous amount of paperwork to complete, I stayed up late, I checked and checked, and rechecked our list of needed documents, I read, and read, and re-read email instructions. When the documents were all collected we waisted no time in sending them off (over-nighted  of course.) And when Fedex asked us if we wanted our package to arrive at 8:30 am or 2:30 pm, we paid 3 more dollars to get it there a few hours early.

So here I am. Paperwork sent off. The next step in this Home Study is having a Social Worker come out to our house for interviews. We were assigned a Social Worker 8 days ago and still haven't heard from her.

Now I'm waiting on a Social Worker to do her job well and to do it efficiently.
I realize it's not her daughter in an orphanage. I realize she's not going to bed each night hoping and praying that someone else kisses her daughter,...holds her, her, ...changes her soiled diapers. I know she's not worried that someone at least gives her daughter some eye contact today. I realize that as she prepares dinner, tickles her toddler, sweeps her kitchen, drives to the grocery store, washes dishes, she's not constantly thinking of her little girl.
I know she doesn't feel the urgency I feel.
The sooner she calls, the sooner my little girl comes home.

Not having a task is agonizing.
My phone is turned up to it's max, it sits in the middle of train tracks, and our Tonka truck, it sits next to the stove, it lays next to the cutting board, and it sits on the bathroom sink during showers.

Lord, bring our little girl home QUICKLY.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Brett was doing some traveling in London for work this last week, so Jude and I headed to Oklahoma for some more family time.

Every Friday all the cousins spend the night with Pops and Grammy. Since we were there on a Friday, Jude was able to partake in all the wild cousin shenanigans.

After getting little sleep at Pops and Grammy's, we headed to the lake to spend some time on Grandpa and Grandma's boat. It was a hot day, and Jude loved jumping in the water and splashing. We found out quickly this week that Jude is fearless when it comes to jumping in the water, whether that's at the pool or the lake!

The boat is the very best place for naps...

This is the fake, cheeeesy smile...

Oh yes. Strawberries are good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Family Fun in NYC

I was having a bit too much fun during my brother's visit to mess with the camera. I didn't get many pics of our sightseeing adventures...but the trip also consisted of recovering from jetlag, a big time zone change for the little ones, and allowing the cousins to trample Jude (all in the name of good ol' crazy boy fun.)

This is a pic of the family eating donuts before bed time. The best looking person in this pic is sweet little Caroline holding up her strawberry donut. Precious little girl. I think my love overflows for her because she looks like Jude with long hair. :)
Oh, and notice how the boys opened the donut box. It's wripped into as if they haven't had donuts in nearly 2 years.
Jude's wondering what this yummy goodness is, and he's wondering why he's being allowed to sit on the kitchen table like a hoodlum, and why he's eating this minutes before the night-night routine. We do crazy things when the Egyptians come to town.

This next pic is in Central Park. Crazy Cairo started climbing this rocky hill (mountain) and Jude gave no hesitation and started climbing right behind him. We didn't think he'd go very far, and lo and behold crazy Jude climbed the whole thing by himself. One third of the way up, Brett climbed up to follow our little mountain climber in case he lost his balance.
But he never did, and here's a pic of my boys at the top of the mountain.

This pic below is a view of the mountain Jude climbed from a distance. It really shows how how high he climbed...

We had so much fun with the cousins in the place we've begun to call home! Here's hoping we have many more visits from the Pray's!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adoption Update: Home Study Paperwork Complete

One month and 5 days ago (but who's counting?) we received our instructions for beginning our Home Study. After a month of gathering papers and signing documents, we finally mailed every thing off today. Once our information is reviewed we can get a Social Worker out to our house for interviews and get this Home Study done. And sent off to India!! This whole paper chasing and Home Study process is predicted to last approximately 4-6 months.
And so here we are: 
1 month and 5 days into it.

So if you're curious here's what we mailed off today:

Individual 4-page biographies
Adult Physical Exams
Child Physical Exam
Duty of Candor
Accuracy Statement
Guardianship Statement
International Disclaimer
Reference Forms
Residential History
Reading Agreement
Home Study Agreement
Home Study Agency Agreement
Home Study Post-Placement Agreement
Consent to exchange Info for Employer, Doctors, NYS Registar, and References
Financial Statement
Statement of Monthly Expenses
International Adoption Statement
10 hour Online Hague Parent Training
Fingerprint/Criminal Clearance Request
Child Abuse Clearance
Education History of Adoptive Parents
Work History of Adoptive Parents
Sworn Disclosure Statements
Wait Time and International Questionnaire

Photocopies of the following:
Birth Certificates of all household members
Marriage License
Employment Verification Letter
Copy of Driver Licenses
Copy of Medical Insurance Cards
Most Recent Tax Forms
Copy of Social Security Cards
Copy of most 2 recent pay stubs
Copy of Life Insurance Policies
Copy of Lease Agreement

So that's what we've been doing for the last month. My original goal was to do it all at record speed and get it done in 2 weeks. Ha! Then my goal was 3 weeks, then 1 month. And here we are!
It feels incredibly good to have all that on a Fedex truck tonight. Every few minutes today Brett and I turn to each other and give a look like, "I can't believe we sent that this morning."

It. Feels. So. Good.

Egypt Visitors

My brother and the family have been living in Egypt for 3 years and they're in New York for a short visit. We are excited out of our minds to spend 3 days with them and all the kiddoes!!!
Jude and I were the crazy ones standing outside of Customs waving American flags and screaming!!

Welcome back Pray family!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

For Memory's Sake

Just so I won't forget...

Jude said "cool" for the first time today. And of course it was used for the first time when lifting his fire truck up over his head.

Jude makes a monkey sound that is similar to "ah-ah." So when he started saying "ah-ah" at night I thought he was requesting his crazy lookin' stuffed monkey. But no, he was in fact requesting that I sing "Hush little baby don't say a word momma's gonna buy you a Mockingbird..."  Yes, he thinks I'm saying monkey-bird. We now affectionately call it the Monkey song.

Oh and just for the record, he proceeds to put his fingers in his ears halfway through my rendition of the monkey-bird song. I know I'm a terrible singer, but he has to remind me every night.

He loves for me to tell him he's strong. This is so new, and I have no idea where he even learned the word strong. He loves to squeeze his fists so tight until they turn white, holding his breath and seeing my awe as I tell him how strong he is. Precious boy. He's so strong. Really.

When he says "two" with his fingers he uses all ten fingers. So cute.

His new favorite word is "sad." Don't ask me why. I have no idea. But whatever the case, his little puppy dog toy has been "sad" for days now.

He loves to stand in the door way of his room and wait for me to say, "ready, set, GO!" He then runs the length of the house until he crashes into the window in our bedroom. Then he comes up to me and says, "Jude fast." He loves it when I tell him he's fast. He could do this forever, as long as I continue to tell him how fast he his.

Buzz Lightyear is his best friend in all the world.

And speaking of Buzz, we also act out the opening scene to Toy Story 3. Yes we act out the Dinosaur roaring, the monkeys attacking, the pig pushing the torpedo button...all of it. It's a riot in our house.

He just learned the phrase, "upside down." That means that everything gets turned upside down, all day long.

Jude has started taking showers instead of baths. It's just easier for me to stand him in the shower while I fix my hair and put on my makeup. It's a win-win.

Jude still says only one syllable of most words in his vocabulary.
For instance:
truck ....truh
book.... oock

And he still says the animal sound in reference to most animal names.

He says "roar" for milk. Still haven't figured that one out yet.

His favorite books recently have been Freight Train, The Little Red Caboose, and ABC NYC.

At night he's started to say bye-bye and night-night before getting into bed. He's says bye-bye to nearly everything in his room. Bye-bye Mickey Mouse, bye-bye Buzz, bye-bye frog, bye-bye book. It's so, so, so, cute. Please, please, please, don't let me ever forget the little inflection in his voice as he says bye-bye to all his toys.

Sometimes words come out of his mouth that make him sound like a grown up and it completely takes me off guard. Mostly it's when I'm explaining something and he responds with "oh." The "oh" sounds like it's  coming out of a 10 year old.

Every time he sees a Subway pass us in the car he about has a heart attack. He LOVES choo-choo's.

He's been trying to put two words together recently, like "up Momma." It's so cute because I can see the little neuro-pathways in his brain working so hard. When he tries to piece together two words, he has a small pause between words. I can see him trying so hard and I treasure it.

He's recently become a lover of salsa. He can dip his chips in the salsa like a champ, and I think he'd prefer a spoon.

We've especially noticed in the last month that he has this innate need to be wrestled. He's always been a bit of a tough guy, hence his nickname bulldog in the early days. However, it's become obvious that each and every day he needs to be thrown around for a bit. He needs it. And it seems he needs it more and more everyday. (All the more reason for Daddy to come home earlier from work if I don't say so myself!)

Jude absolutely refuses to say "sorry."It doesn't matter what we take away, he WILL. NOT. SAY. SORRY. This is so fascinating to me because I feel with each of our little behavioral milestones he has complied after much resistance. But with "sorry" he has never relented. In reality, it makes my heart hurt to see his little inward struggle with repentance. So we're working on it, giving him grace, and showing that we give forgiveness even if he doesn't ask for it.

And to leave you on a light note, he loves to brush his teeth. It helps that he likes the grown up toothpaste and that he has a toothbrush that lights up! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Street Fair

The busy street just a block away from our house was having a little Fair this afternoon. It consisted mostly of vendors selling used CD's, 99 cent toys, and every civic group selling raffle tickets. But they also had a small section of free kiddie rides. So we let Jude go crazy for a bit to burn off some energy just before nap time.

We were so proud of Jude for climbing up into the truck all by himself, choosing a chair to get in, and holding on for dear life...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What else are we supposed to do when it's cold and rainy outside?
We're bored people.
So we played with PhotoBooth.
I was laughing so incredibly hard because, well just look at me. But I was laughing even harder because Jude was scared of the whole thing. He kept looking from the screen to my face and would then swat at my face or try to rip my nose off.
The only time he semi-smiled was when he was able to see Buzz in the camera too.

Halfway through he said, "Jude, sad."
And then he closed the computer lid.
And we were done.