Tuesday, May 31, 2016

parenting from 8000 miles away

basically translates to dreamin' and hopin' and wishin' and prayin'

this adoption is different in that we chose our child before the paperwork chase. it many ways, having a face to gaze upon for so much longer has been so much harder. having a face to imagine growing up with nannies and in an orphanage day after non productive day has been downright terrible. some days I let myself feel this but most days I push the feelings of helplessness away. One of the beauties of having a child at home waiting with us makes it easier to push out fears of him lying alone and instead focus on speech or building forts with magna tiles.

updates during this process are like little nuggets of gold and we have been fortunate to receive a couple along the way. Our first update after the referral included a few pictures and vitals. In March, at 19 months, Thomas weighed 11 kg, had 10 teeth, and was 81 cm tall and there is no number for the cuteness:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Because he comes to us from Weiyuan County and is a person who misses his hometown

And thus, was appointed the name for our son: Tong Si Yuan, given in his file with the above explanation. Thomas, the name given to him by American advocacy partners, was found on September 24, 2014, near a bridge in Weiyuan County in Neijiang City, Sichuan China. He was around 1 month old at the time of abandonment and we first saw his face on October 1, 2015:
And now you know why we said yes. I was rather mindlessly scrolling through the Chinese Waiting Children advocacy page as I was drying off from a shower and took exactly 1 minute to read the tiny bit of information, two minutes to show Ben, and the next to email the agency he was assigned to. A flurry of emails exchanged and BAM, we locked his file.

Going back a bit to his finding, his weight at 1 month of age was 4.6 kg, he was 55 cm tall, and 38 cm head circumference. He is blood type O+ . His initial work up included a positive RPR that was negative after treatment when rechecked in May and a "weakly positive" HIV. We were informed that he would be tested again at 18 months of age and were prepared for the recheck to be a firm positive. (spoiler alert: it was negative).
His file included a medical report at age nine months in which he had reached the following milestones: grasping for toys, rolling from back to front, was crawling and sitting well on his own. He could also stand with support and seemed to be eager to walk, per the report. He was also scribbling with a pen. His favorite activity at the time: to be cuddled or teased and his favorite toy was "anything with noise."
The following is a link to the advocacy post on No Hands But Ours. I am forever grateful to them and the China Waiting Child Advocacy Facebook group! Through their work, we found our son.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

and three years later:

They say you can't go home again, but in the wonderful lyrics of Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, "Home is where ever I'm with you." We left our cozy abode on Hague avenue in St Paul, its truly wonderful neighbors, Minnehaha Falls, reliable bike lanes (okay, you get it), for southern warmth and while not perfect, it feels right. It is right and good to be near family and The Fresh Market and the church we were married in. Ben is now Dr Utter and I am Dr Utter in an urgent care which leaves me half of every month completely alone. No pager, no emails, just a few scattered texts and phone calls and it is good. Serena is finishing year one of Montessori learning and it suits her hands on mechanical mind perfectly.

I am reviving this online journal to document the events, travails, and minor details along the way to adding to our family. Ben and I thought through the many options for the future: only child , IVF, domestic adoption, and adopting again internationally. To be honest, I felt complete with our family of three but I was singularly outvoted by both Ben and Serena, the latter of whom asked with the most genuine plea for a little brother. And that is a story for another post. We welcome you back and while the most exciting action won't occur for at least another 3 months, please do follow along.
With always learning and seeking compassionate loving kindness,
B & B & S