Friday, January 29

Eden's Favorite Toy

Let me show you around my new pad Gianna. Check out my cool new chair!


Oh, Hi Mommy... I sure love these play date thingies you have been setting up! Meanwhile.... Gianna has her eye on the chair.


Heeeey wait a minute! That's my chair!


You better move it sister!


Every queen needs a throne!

One More Christmas Pic

She wasn't there Christmas morning... but she is still the....

Monday, January 25

Our Social Butterfly


We have a pretty happy girl. She has her moments... but overall she is smiling and now will belly laugh. She is incredibly social and has a smile for everyone. I have been real careful that she is not "mommy shopping" because she seriously has to have everyone that she sees stop and smile at her. Sometimes this behavior happens with adopted children. Here are two stories from a wonderful website called A4everFamily.org

While every child is different, here is our experience. Our son came off the plane happy, smiling, and laughing. He was a beautiful and happy sixth-month-old. We planned on not letting anyone hold the baby until we felt he adjusted. Well, he looked very well-adjusted from the get-go. Everything made him happy and he took to everything so easily. Carseat, stroller, crib, new bottles, new formula, sleeping through the night…everything was so easy to introduce to him. What a happy, easy baby! And boy did he love people! It even said so in his pre-flight report. He seemed so happy and so willing to go to his grandparents, aunts, and uncles...a lot of people were waiting anxiously for this baby along with us. He seemed to adjust so well that we threw away the no holding policy and let close family members hold him earlier than we expected. He was not passed around nor held for long periods of time, but he was very loving and seemingly unaffected by the exposure to multiple family members.
As time went on our son distanced himself more and more from me, his mother, but still went happily to everyone else. I was his primary caretaker and doing a lot to promote bonding, but he avoided me more and more in ways that seemed innocent but didn't feel right to me. By the time he was home four months, he was not happy when I fed him, changed him, held him, gave him a bottle or anything that required me caring for him. By this time he completely ignored my existence and became a full-time mommy shopper. He learned lots of interesting tricks to get the attention of other women. This child would have willingly left with a complete stranger from the grocery store and never would have looked back. Meanwhile, everyone else continued to see a baby who was so easy and sweet and good and loving...I did not see that child because when it was just the two of us, he avoided me and pushed me away. It was very painful and I thought at first it had something to do with me not being a good mother...I know that is not the case now.
We had our son evaluated by an attachment therapist at ten months old. We learned that he was sensitive to the attachment process. Basically, he had the opinion of been there, done that...mommies are not trustworthy, mommies leave, I will pick my own mommy...I am safe when I control who takes care of me.


and this one...

A few months after my son came home, it was clear that he was waiting for his next mommy to come and take him away. He even began to do a lot of "mommy shopping" and would make cute noises for other women and reach out to strange and random women no matter where we were. During playdates he made it his mission to sit in another mother's lap and not mine. To the rest of the world he looked very social, happy, and personable. Our friends and family were thrilled, each thinking they had a special relationship with our son, but little did they know he would have just as happily gone to a complete stranger. Allowing this behavior to continue was allowing my son to continue to avoid me, his forever mommy, reinforcing that mommies are replaceable. I needed to prove otherwise.

We have been careful not to have people hold her, feed her, change her and she seems to show signs of good attachment so far. It is just something to look out for. Even when things seem to be going so very well... you still need to be careful.


Thursday, January 21

Two Weeks

It's been two weeks since we arrived home. Yesterday was the first day that we had no tears! Notta one!!!! She didn't cry through her diaper changes. She didn't cry when we changed her clothes. She didn't even whimper when I put her down to sleep.She didn't even cry during her bath! In fact... she not only sat in the sink... but she laughed and played and smiled! What a sweet little girl. I am telling you... she is amazing. As I rocked her to sleep last night she lay there so relaxed in my arms. Instead of having one hand clenched onto my shirt, both arms lay down limp. She would open her eyes and just stare at my face then slowly close them. When I stood up, instead of instantly waking and clinging onto me... she stayed relaxed and spread her little arms out when I put her in her crib like she was content and comfortable.

I am at work today and will be at work tomorrow too. I am off again next week though. Ron is home with her both days and I will be going home at lunch to see her. I miss her so much it's crazy. When I have to return to work full time it is totally going to stink. I am already counting down the days till summer vacation!!!!

This is the day we received Eden. We are just leaving SWS.

Monday, January 18

More Progress

Friday we met with our social worker for our first of three post placement visits. Everything went really well. I really like our social worker. She agreed that Eden is adjusting great so far and had some suggestions on other ideas to help her. We meet again in February.



Sunday we took Eden to church for the first time. She was so great! She sat with us and didn't make a fuss. I couldn't believe that she as actually there with us. So many times I would be sitting in church praying for her, praying for the strength to get through the wait.


Eden continues to do well with attachment and bonding. It is defiantly a process. One area will seem to improve while another I feel like we are moving backwards. For example on Monday she was super clingy. She wouldn't play or let me out of her sight. She only wanted to be held and would cry if I set her down. However, that night she took a bath without screaming!!!! This is a first! I have to credit Luca because he sang to her and kept her attention through the whole thing. She wasn't actually sitting in the water I was holding her at the edge of the sink and was pouring water on her... but each time I tried this before she would freak out. Progress!!! Also, yesterday she would not go down for a nap in her crib but went down without crying at bedtime... another first. So it's kind of like two steps forward one step back. Overall though she is doing great. She no longer cries during diaper changes and usually doesn't cry when we change her clothes. She will lay on her back without screaming. She will also play on her own while I fold laundry or do a short task. Tonight is bath night for her so we will see how it goes. I will be sure to have Luca there to sing, "Hush little Sei-in don't say a word... Luca's gonna buy you a mocking bird" which is so adorable.

Thursday, January 14

Home One Week

We have been home one week already! Time is flying by. We are starting to find our groove. I'm not going to lie... it hasn't been easy. The hardest part is that my hands are never free. She needs to be with me at every moment. I have been wearing my Ergo carrier and today tried it so that she rides on my back. That was great because I was home alone with Luca and needed to help him get ready for bed and do our night time routine. She ended up falling asleep while riding on my back. :) I even hold her when I have to go to the bathroom... unless I want to hear her scream bloody murder. Our nights have been wonderful though. She is sleeping through the night in her crib. Last night she slept 13 hours. She will go down without too much fuss too which is nice. She has a sound machine in her room which has helped a lot because she really is a light sleeper (just like her foster mom said.)

She is such a joy. She smiles all the time.. it's crazy! She is a great eater and has liked everything except green beans... but I don't blame her! She loves to feed herself but only has two little bottom teeth so for now she is only feeding herself some poofs and these potato sticks we got in Korea. She pulls her hair when she is tired and she will say, "OOOOOoooooo" when she sees something she likes. She will mimic "mamamama" and "dadada" but I don't think she knows what they mean just yet. She is pulling up on furniture and will walk across the room holding on to her stroller walker toy. She is going to be walking in no time. She still HATES her baths with a passion. She actually hurts my ears when she screams. It is so high pitch and with so much force at first I thought I had burned her with the water or something. She is okay with getting her hands and feet wet but that is about it. I take her out of the sink and wrap her in a towel and then hold her over the sink to wash her hair. She actually kind of likes this and tonight she started to fall asleep while I was doing it. She is getting better with changing her diaper but still does not like for me to change her clothes. She is also better with her high chair, car seat, and didn't mind her stroller at all. She seems to enjoy going to the bus stop and I think she is starting to recognize the bus because she gets excited when she sees it.




Adrian is in total love with this little girl. Everyday off the bus his smile is stretched across his whole face as he runs to the car. He is so proud of her too always asking me to roll the window down so that he can show his sister off to his friends. He is really good with her too. Tonight he fed her a bottle and never complains when I need his help with her. I love the way he talks to her and the way he is always looking out for her. Tonight I was throwing her up in the air (not far.. like inches) and catching her and he didn't like that at all. He told me I don't catch very well and I might drop her.



Luca seems to like his sister so far. He will kiss her and seems to get a kick out of the fact that she gets a kick out of him. He is only 5 so he is not really into playing much with her. He had a bit of a rough adjustment with the whole thing but is getting better. He was seeking out attention of all kinds and was emotional the first few days we were home. So far though, all this change has not caused him to focus any negativity on Eden... which is really good.

We have had lots of visitors, emails, phone calls, etc. Everyone is so excited and has been so wonderful.

It still doesn't seem real that she is actually here. I can't believe that she is upstairs right now! So many years waiting and dreaming and waiting... and now she is here. I can't imagine any other little girl being my daughter. She is perfect. Ron and I just can't believe how lucky we are. It's as if we won the jackpot! I have loved her from before she breathed her first breath... the idea of her. Now I am falling in love with the little person that she is. This wonderful, beautiful little person.

Tuesday, January 12

Starting to Feel Human Again

Today for the first time I am starting to feel human again. Our 31 hour trip home and jet jag really took a tole... not to mention a new baby! Today my mom and dad came over to help get the boys ready and off to school. Yesterday I tried to do this by myself and failed miserably. They were about 20 minutes late for school and there was lots of screaming (mostly from Eden) and it was very stressful. I felt like such a horrible mommy after they left. Eden won't let me out of her sight and won't let me put her down for a minute.. especially in the morning. Sooo... trying to make breakfast, get Luca dressed, pack backpacks up, help with getting boots on etc. was really hard. Plus, I had to drive the boys which meant getting Eden in her snowsuit and car seat... which she is not thrilled with. Anyway, thankfully things improved throughout the day. Eden will now play a bit on the floor and crawl around as long as I am sitting with her in the room. She also will sit in the high chair if distracted with food and if I am in eyesight. I know I need to be holding her as much a possible for bonding and attachment (and I am) but my back needs a break sometimes and with two other children I sometimes need to put her someplace safe so that I can help them with their needs as well. That has been the toughest... trying to be there and spend time with all of them. I missed them soooo much being gone and now I feel like I still miss them because now they are at school and when they are home I am so busy with Eden. I remember feeling this way when I had Luca and the guilt I felt about not being able to give Adrian my 100%. I know things will get better.

... and they are getting better

Eden slept in her crib last night for the first time. She has been sleeping in my bed with me up until last night. She is a crazy sleeper... all over the bed. I talked to my social worker last night and she agreed that it just isn't safe to have her in my bed with me. She also agreed that transitioning her right to the crib as opposed to to a portable crib in my room or sleeping on the floor would be best... one less change. She must like it because she slept through the night. I had to go in a few times and pat her butt but she went back to sleep and slept from about 9:30 - 8:30 this morning! Wooooo Hooooo! I really needed the sleep too!

Today we had her first well visit with our doctor. She did pretty well. Cried only when she had to lay on her back (which she always does) and when she had to sit in on the scale. The doctor said she looked great... healthy and happy. She is on target with her growth and development. She is now just over 19 pounds and is in the 55% for her weight on the American growth chart. She has met all of the milestones for her age. He said that it looks like she had great care in Korea.

After the doctor my mom and I met Ron for lunch. She sat in the highchair (WOW!) and ate her poofs. She was very happy.

Then we went to Target to get some formula and other essentials. She did great on her first shopping trip!!! No tears!

Also... she is now liking her car seat! She fell asleep in it and is currently still sleeping in it as I type!


Best of all... the biggest change I have seen is that she is so much more relaxed. She isn't as tense or worried. Her arms were not clenching on to me and she didn't have a worried little whine. She is happier and feeling more confident. We are getting there.

Quick thanks to my parents and Ron's parents who have been working so hard helping us with everything. I don't know what I would do without you!!!

A couple of pics...

On the plane.

Getting freshened up at the airport.

Saturday, January 9

We Are Home!

We made it home after a horrible traveling experience. Eden couldn't have been easier on the plane... the only time she cried was once when I had to change her in the bathroom. I still can't get over how well she did. Our flights however were not so great. Korean Air was wonderful but was an hour late leaving Seoul which caused us to miss our next flight from NY to Detroit. There weren't any flights leaving from JFK so we had to take a bus to Laguardia. ?That flight was also delayed by over an hour. Meanwhile, the snow in Detroit prevented our family from coming to the airport. Thirty one hours after leaving Seoul we finally made it home. Ron nor I had slept more than one hour during that time. Our family met at our house and were so excited! We could hear them cheering from outside. Eden was all smiles as usual. She is amazing.

I am typing this with one hand with her asleep in the Ergo carrier so I will have to make this short. She is very clingy and does not like to be changed or bathed but other than that she is a happy little girl. We are the luckiest family!



Wednesday, January 6

Leaving In The Morning

Just a quick post. Eden is now sleeping and I am a zombie. Everything went very well today. Eden had a couple of crying outbursts right before her nap and right before bed. She has some lungs! I am sure it sounds like we are torturing her in here. Other than that she is smiling, eating, playing and will come to both of us. She raises her hands up to us to be held and appears to be attaching well to both of us so far. Could be the honeymoon phase but really her personality is just so happy that I think part of it is just her nature.

We are almost all packed and ready for our 6:45 car ride to the airport. Hoping that the ride home goes well. Eden is such an active baby I am a little nervous... well a lot nervous.


I want to do a better post telling all that happened today but don't have the energy right now.

Can't wait to see all of you at home!!!!
I especially can't wait to see my Adrian and Luca! Look out! I am going to hug you like crazy!!!!!! Love you sooooooo much!!!!!

At SWS during our final meeting.



Last photo of all of us together.

In elevator going up to our room.


She fell asleep about 1/2 hour after we arrived at our room.

Tuesday, January 5

Getting Ready

After returning from our visit with Eden we were able to see the reception home where she lived for two months before moving to her foster family's home. There is a glass partition where you can view the babies and the caregivers. I was told that there are about 40 babies there and that they try to get all of them placed with foster families before they are three months old. There were several newborns who were being held and I couldn't help but wonder if one of them will one day belong to one of the many online friends I have made who are currently waiting. I gave them a donation of baby clothes and a variety of gifts for the caregivers. I asked if there were anything that they were in need of and they said they really need toys for the babies.


After visiting the reception home Ron and I went up to our room to post some pictures. We then went across the street for dinner. We ordered the Korea barbecue again which is called bulgogi. It was good but not as good at the one we had in Insadong. We decided that we need to find some Korean restaurants close to home that we can go to.


Next, we headed to Namdaemun market. On the subway we met three American Peace Corps workers who have been living here for three years. It is funny that when you see another foreigner you kind of flock to each other! We have spoken with just about every Caucasian person we have seen. They were all teachers and it was so nice to have an easy conversation with a group of people. :) Nothing against the Korean people here at all... they are the most friendly, hard working, gracious people I have ever met. Once we arrived at Namdaemun we again were blown away by the amount of people and shops. Again, we were afraid we were going to get lost! There is a main strip but then alleyways with more vendors and then alleyways coming off alleyways, underground shops, shops with multilevels.... it's crazy! It's one of those places that you just have to experience to really get a feel for what it is like... the sights, sounds... and smells. In Seoul things are not spread out when you visit markets. They tend to clump shops together... all the clothing is together, all the restaurants, all the electronics. You would think it would be harder to stay in business that way, but I guess it works. :) I bought an adorable handmade outfit for Eden and could have bought so much more but the children's clothing vendors were closing. I bought a headpiece for Eden's hanbok and Ron and I both bought hats because it suddenly became incredibly cold again. So cold in fact that we left and went back to the hotel. I was out like a light.



Woke up around 3:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. Not sure if it is because I am a tad excited to be getting my girl today or the time change... probably both. I forgot to mention that our room is great. We opted for the most basic room here at the guest house... rather save our money for shopping... but when we checked in our room was much nicer than described. It has two rooms and a private bathroom. One room has a full kitchen (no oven), TV, computer, couch, and table and chairs. The bedroom has a full bed and a twin bed kind of put together as well as a crib. We did double check with the doorman/check in man to make sure that we were in the right room by showing him a copy of our reservation, but he assured us that we were in the right room. Cool! Anyway, it's now about 9:45 and I sent Ron on a run back to Insadong for some items that I wish I hadn't passed on when we went a few days ago. :) We will be heading over to the office building to meet Eden's case worker at 1:00. Eden will have a required medical physical and then we will have the receiving ceremony. Eden's foster mother will also be there. I am hoping that her foster father comes because we didn't meet hum yesterday and I don't have any pictures of him either. We will have to see. After that, we will bring Eden back to our room and hang out for the rest of the day. I have already cleaned and set up the room for her. It smells like Dreft and baby powder in here and I love it! I am hoping that everything goes smoothly today and I hope that this will not be too hard on Eden or her foster mother. She said the sweetest things to me yesterday that I will keep in my heart forever. She truly loves Eden. I know this will be painful for her and that makes this day very bittersweet for me.

I tried emailing pictures but it keeps bouncing back. Not sure what is up with that. I will just post them here if I can't figure it out.
I know what you really want are more pics of our sweetie so...



Monday, January 4

Our Girl- UPDATED WITH MORE PICTURES

"My life was spent in a holding pattern awaiting the happiest landing ever made…so wonderful I'd do it all over and over again if each flight led to you. But I still wouldn't be able to tell you how much you mean to me. I just want to start each day by opening my eyes and seeing you and end each day seeing you before I close them. In between times, I'll just look in my heart. You are always there."– R. Reagan







More to come! Too emotionally exhausted to write right now. Everything couldn't have gone better. She is amazing!

UPDATED

Right after waking up she wasn't so sure about us being there.


Eden's foster mother helped me bribe her to come to me with a snack.


Eden's foster mother gave us a beautiful hanbok.


She liked Ron right away just smiling at him... it was so cute! She even let him eat some of her snack!



Us with Eden's foster mother.


Eden and I with her foster mother and case worker.


All too soon it was time to go. I can't wait for tomorrow!!!