Monday, April 26

One Year Old

Okay this is a little late but since it isn't May 4th yet... Eden is still 12 months old. :) Here are some of the super cool things she is doing now.....

* Our little sweetie is a full fledged walker. She is walking all over and rarely crawls anymore.

* Eden blows kisses. Totally adorable.

* She has added a new word to her vocabulary. Along with Mama and more (pronounced "eeemmmmm" or "mom") she now says "hi"... and it is totally cute too because she opens her mouth really big at the "hhhhh" part. :)

* She has four teeth... two on top and two on bottom. The teeth on either side of her top teeth are just breaking through.

* We have started some sign language. She hasn't really picked it up yet be I keep trying. One time I think that she was trying to sign "more" by clapping... the actual sign does look similar... either that or she was just clapping because she loves food. :)

* She is giving more hugs than ever. I finally received my first unsolicited hug this past month. She walked up and just hugged me for no reason. Tears!

* She says "Aaaaawwwww" when she hugs.

* She has a love hate relationship with bathing. Sometimes she LOVES it and plays and laughs and splashes... other times she screams like someone is stabbing her. It's always a surprise... I never know which way it's going to go.

* She started drinking from a sippy cup. She usually spits out anything that isn't water... which is really fun.

* She still LOVES LOVES LOVES food like no other child I have known. There are very few things that she won't eat.

* She has a temper.... ooooooh that temper. It's kind of like ying and yang.... she is so happy and smiley and joyful... but can also be fiercely angry and stubborn and short fused. There is VERY little middle ground with her. Either she is super happy or super pissed... like a switch. She really doesn't whine or fuss... she skips that and goes straight for full on tantrum. Good times.

* She seems to like Mickey Mouse Playhouse and dances when the theme song comes on.

* She loves the remote and when she finally gets her hands on it she pushes the buttons and then looks at the TV over and over. She is so smart!

* She still sleeps really well... about 11 hours at night and a 2 hour nap during the day.

* Luca is still her favorite. She is so drawn to him and wants to hug him all the time. He isn't always in the mood for hugging though. :(

* If the dog is barking I will sometimes yell out for him to be quiet. Eden will join right in and yell some gibberish. It is so cute.

* She was 21 pounds at her last doctor visit. She has grown out of most of her 6 - 12 month clothing.

* She will sing! If you sing "laaaaaaaaaa" she will join in. Adorable.

* She still loves loves loves attention. She is a people person for sure! She is just so very social. In reading some information about Eden's biological mother it was noted that she was also very social. I like to think that maybe Eden got that from her.

* She loves her pink car that she got for her birthday! It's the kind they ride in and has a nice handle for someone to push while walking. She will ride in that much longer than her stroller.

* She is NOT a hockey fan. The days of sitting on my lap during games are over. This is bad.

* Her hair is growing like crazy. It is hard to believe that just three months ago it just reached her hairline. Now I'm able to do pigtails and a crazy pony on top that sticks up.

Time seems to be going by so quickly. I can't believe how much she has changed in these last few months. She continues to just amaze me in so many ways... her intelligence, her beauty, her loving nature, her strength, her love of life. I am the luckiest mom in the world.

Pics from her Dol party coming soon!

Tuesday, April 20

Eden's Birthday Party In New York

Ron's parents had a birthday party for Eden while we were visiting in New York. It was so nice to see everyone and finally introduce Eden. She loved all of the attention... and boy did she get it! She had a great time outside finding Easter eggs with her brothers and cousins.

Ron's mom had this beautiful cake made. I had sent thank you cards with this same image when we first arrived home. Ron's mom knew how much I loved it and surprised us with the cake! You can see the card sitting above the cake.

We had such a great time and look forward to another trip this summer.

We drove home the next day which took about 10 hours or so. Eden screamed her eardrum shattering scream a good portion of the way. It was pretty insane.

Friday, April 16

3 Years

Three years ago today we were logged in with the CCAA to adopt a little girl from China. Three years. We started the adoption process about six months prior to that. I can't believe how long ago that was. So much has happened... Luca has doubled in age, we have a dog, we have a new sister in law, we have two new nieces, I have a new job... so much has changed. If we were still waiting for a referral we would still have YEARS of waiting ahead of us. It's insane. The CCAA is currently giving referrals to family's logged in in April 2006. That means they have a full year's worth of dates in line in front of us. Being that the CCAA is only getting through 2-3 months of log in dates per year... well it could be worst case 6 years before we would get a referral. I'm not saying that is what is going to happen... I'm just saying if the current trend of the past two years holds true then it will be about that long. Lots of people are dropping out of the program though so that may speed things up a bit. Whatever the case we would be waiting a very long time after already waiting a very long time. NOT THE 18 - 24 MONTHS WE THOUGHT WE WOULD BE WAITING.

Anyway, this date no longer brings me pain and holds no real significance in my life anymore. I have the light of my life and she was worth all of it. Every tear, every bit of energy, every prayer, everything.

My heart does break though for the thousands of families still waiting. Not all families have the opportunity to switch countries like we did. They are just stuck waiting. All their hopes and dreams on hold. Although my own personal pain of the wait has lifted... I will never forget what it was like. It makes me tear up right now just typing this. The Sadness, the obsessing, the worry, the frustration, the gloom, the anger. It is something that unless you have experienced it, you never really know what it's like.

For those still waiting, I know that there really are no words that will ease your pain. Just want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, April 15

Adoption Mess

The state of international adoptions is (in my opinion) at an all time low. There is such a mess out there right now it makes my head hurt. There are very few countries out there right now with STABLE programs. Some of the largest programs are having major problems.

Someone may ask why families (like mine) would choose an international adoption in the first place with the expense and drama that IA entails. For us, we feel strongly that EVERY child deserves a family... regardless of geography. For us, the Korean program was the best fit.... and yes, domestic adoption as well as foster care were considered.

China- The wait for a non special needs child is likely four years or more although China will not give a specific or even ball park timeline for families applying. In addition, those families waiting for a referral are being asked to keep all paperwork up to date. Several documents have an expiration date. This means spending possibly thousands of dollars on home study updates and refiling paperwork with the US government while waiting for a referral.

Russia- After the horrible events of last week, there is a chance that Russia will suspend adoptions for families in the United States. Although it seems that the program is currently up and running... the future is unknown.

Now requiring families to make two trips which increases the cost significantly. Also, wait times continue to increase for families due to the popularity of the program. In addition... "The Department of State shares families’ concerns about recent media reports alleging direct recruitment of children from birth parents by adoption service providers or their employees." US Department of State

Kazakhstan- Once a very popular program but after hearing several horror stories I wonder how much longer this program will be around. Usually referrals happen in country and families choose their child from several files. Stories of families traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a healthy baby only to be shown a couple of older children with significant needs are now all too common. In addition backlash from the Casey Johnson story has caused several families to hang in limbo waiting for paperwork from Kazakhstan.

Although about a thousand children have come to the US to be adopted since the earthquake, thousands more wait in limbo due to missing required paperwork. Haiti is currently CLOSED to new adoptions by US citizens

Nepal- This was a program we took some interest in before deciding on Korea. Thank goodness we chose Korea. This program looked like it was off to a great start but quickly stalled. I was shocked when I read... "We encourage parents who have filed an application with the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) in Nepal, but have not yet been matched with a child or received an Adoption Decree issued by the Government of Nepal, to consider a change of countries." US Department of State

These are just a few of the changes/current events in international adoptionland. Even if a family thinks they found a country they feel comfortable with, they still have to meet that specific country's criteria to adopt... and medical requirements. It makes me so sad for families. Sad that there are such limited choices/programs right now. Sad that things just keep getting more difficult and more expensive. I have spoken to many families who would love to adopt but either don't meet the requirements for the country or just flat out don't have an extra $30,000.

More than anything though.... my heart breaks for the children... all TWO HUNDRED TEN MILLION of them. Yes, 210 million. One would think that with a number like that, families who want to open their hearts to a child in need of a family could do so without having to wait YEARSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!! Only a fraction of those children will ever be adopted. It's insane. I's mind boggling.
It. Doesn't. Make. Sense.

The system is flawed... so much corruption. It's a mess and 210 million innocent children are paying the price. Now I know that rules and laws need to be in place and families need to be screened and educated and all of that. I totally agree.... but there has to be a better way.... a more efficient way. There has to be a better way to get more children into more families sooner.

Really, is this the best we can do?

Sorry I am on such a rant. I am just so frustrated with the bad news and bad press.

Tuesday, April 13

Our Easter Break- post #2

Easter Egg Hunt

The next morning we drove the rest of the way to New York. Eden didn't get to crazy with her insanely high pitch screaming.... thank goodness. She made up for it on the ride back to Michigan though. More on that later.

We visited with some of Ron's family and had a yummy dinner. The next day we went to an Easter egg hunt at a church near Ron's parents home. It was really cute. They had several activities for the kids to do. The weather was perfect... record breaking highs in the 80's!

Like... make an Easter craft...

... and hold a baby chick and duckling...

... there was also story and snack.... but the best part was the egg hunt!

Silly girl... the candy is INSIDE the egg!

Luca was so excited that he even hugged his brother...

... and then kissed him in the armpit???

Later we colored Easter eggs while Eden did her favorite activity.... eating.

Monday, April 12

Our Easter Break- post #1

I have so much to post! A trip to a water park, trip to New York, Easter, Eden's birthday in New York, Eden's birthday party here in Michigan... like I said... lots to post! I will have to take it one even at a time!

Water Park
Last Friday we took off for our trip to New York. With the exception of Ron's parents, this was the first time his family has seen Eden. We decided not to travel through Canada because our adoption is not final and Eden doesn't have a passport yet. Sooo we took the long way. We decided to surprise the boys with an overnight stop at a water park in Pennsylvania. The boys were so surprised when we pulled into the parking lot!

The boys had a lot of fun. Indoor water parks are one of their favorites and we try to hit one or two each winter. I wasn't sure how Eden would like it being that baths are not her favorite activity. She ended up LOVING it! She wasn't afraid of the water at all! She didn't even mind getting splashed or getting water on her face. Ohhhhh and did she ever look adorable in her ladybug bikini!