Friday, September 21, 2012

Picture Post

Thank heavens for Lola and Lolo! Mommy is coming down with a nasty cold and Daddy is over-tired from not sleeping, so they kept our energizer bunny busy for a few hours while we got a nap and I could post some pictures. So far so good today. We went to the pool and Lolo and Lola taught Francis to swim in no time! He had fun going underwater with mommy and floating his boat. We watched the video of the pool and had lunch. Later, we're going to the mall for a few things and to see his friend the Jolibee for dinner. Some pictures for you...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Little Genius, The Energizer Bunny

I'm not quite sure how much more blogging I'm going to get done on this trip.  It seems that Gregg and I have adopted the Energizer Bunny.  (He keeps going, and going, and going....). Francis is up by 5:30 am, and though we have quiet afternoon activities like coloring and books for him, he won't do a nap.  Fortunately he is in bed at his regular time, 8:00 pm, because that's when we're ready to crash.  Gregg and I also have wicked cases of sunburn right now from taking him to the pool on Tuesday for a little over an hour, so we're not feeling the greatest.

Francis truly is a little genius, though.  He colors beautifully, and when he got a hold of Daddy's phone and the tablet, he typed out his full first and last name with middle initial.  He also showed Lolo where every letter of the alphabet was.  Then he got my phone and started pushing numbers and us he was "Texting Boots," our cat, who he seems to remember from the video of the house we made for him.  After he "texted Boots" a few times, he "texted Lola." Gregg tried to Face.Time with him yesterday to prepare him for Skyping with his great-grandma today, but when he finally let the call go through, he grabbed the tablet, laughed hysterically and ran into the next room calling "Daddy! Daddy!". He knew where Daddy was and thought it was so funny that daddy was in his computer, too!

Some other things:  this boy is a GREAT eater.  He loves his food.  We typically eat at a buffet and he will show us just what he wants and then eats all of it.  He loves his fruit, as well!  Too bad watermelon is going out of season back home, because he loves that and mangoes (which we are not getting a lot of, to my chagrin).  Fortunately, he loves apples and oranges, too, so we'll have plenty of those back home.

Unfortunately, we also have at least one meltdown every day, usually around the same time, when the grief starts to come out.  He is quite a fighter for us to hold onto him, but we are working on it and I think he does realize we're not going anywhere.  More than anything, I think he misses the good people who took care of him and all of his friends.  He wont tell us.  We have been playing Jim Brickman's version of "I See the Moon" over and over to him and it really seems to calm him.

More than anything, we adore this funny, smart, happy and loving little boy.  I have wonderful stories, but they may have to wait until it's not 3 am and I'm not hiding in the bathroom to tell them.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from the first day, until I get more from mr parents camera.


Monday, September 17, 2012

And Then There Were Three

If there is one thing I have learned about Francis over the past three days, it is that he will try to figure out absolutely anything electronic that he can get his hands on.  We have been trying to hide the iPad until the last possible minute, hoping it would be fresh for the plane.

And so that is why I'm here now, in the dark, listening to my husband and my son both snoring softly after a long, exciting day.  Francis took the blanket I sewed for him and tucked in his stuffed Pooh Bear tight, then draped the rest of the blanket over himself. He listened to two stories, one of which, Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, had me teared up and crying buckets by the end of page one.

But you are here to hear how his entrustment ceremony went today, right?  

Today was the first day my parents met Francis.  The four of us and Rolly, our agency liaison, were picked up by a driver, who came with the director of the RSCC.  When we arrived at the center, Francis was outside waiting for us and would have opened the van door himself, if he could have! For the second day in a row, Daddy got ambushed with a huge hug, while Mommy had to wait for him to warm up a bit.  He recognized Lolo and Lola right away, and even they got hugs.  

The center had a beautiful entrustment ceremony, with the director, social worker, nurse, and Francis' primary caregiver each speaking for a bit.  We were then presented with Francis' lifebook, preschool diploma, photographs, and a beautiful 8x10 of his referral photo with the poem "Legacy of an Adopted Child" imprinted on it.  We were asked to read the poem aloud, which Gregg had to do, because as soon as I saw the first two lines I was a sobbing mess.  We were then asked to say a few words, and again Gregg had to start (still sobbing!). We could not thank them enough.  Finally my parents and Rolly were asked to say something, and we took some pictures.

And then we had cake!  Today was Francis' 7th birthday, and what a day to celebrate!  When we found out we would be in time for his birthday (at the time not realizing the entrustment would be ON his birthday), we asked to have a party for Francis - whatever he wanted.  He picked out his favorite foods:  Jolibees spaghetti, pancit, spicy chicken, ├╝be ice cream, and best of all, a Spiderman cake!  The room was decorated with balloons that said "Happy 7th Birthday, Francis, September 17th, 2012" and "Love, Mommy and Daddy"

When it was time to leave, Francis was ready to go.  He was out the door before the rest of us could say goodbye and get our shoes on.  I looked outside in the rain and said "Where's Francis?!" in the van, ready to go already.  He sat quietly on the way to the hotel, first on Gregg's lap, then mine.  When we got to the hotel, he was ready to go.  We have a connecting room to my parents, so he had cartoons (the same one) on both tvs, playing with a ball, checking out the digital camera, and discovering that he LOVES to be tickled.  My son has the most contagious laugh you will ever hear, and his smile lights a room.  After a day or two of just wanting daddy, he is coming to me more and looking to sit on my lap and cuddle and be picked up.

At one point this afternoon, we went to call Rolly to discuss dinner plans but there was a problem with the phone.  Gregg was just going to go down to his room, but Francis refused to let him leave.  I tried to go instead, but the same thing happened.  In the end, all three of us had to go.

By the time dinner rolled around, Francis was practically falling asleep on the table, but he ate some spaghetti and lit up like a Christmas tree when his second birthday cake came out.  Here we are now, all cuddled up, and I'm the last one to go to bed.  I'm thinking I might want to do that now, though, because apparently he gets up at 4 am.  

I'll have pictures from today when we can get them off the camera tomorrow, but here are just a few for now.




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Meeting Francis - Day One

After an eternity of waiting, today was finally the day Gregg and I met our son for the first time.  We had an early wake up call - 2:00 a.m., to be exact (Gregg was sleeping, but I can't say I was!).  Back through Manila traffic to the airport for a 6:30 flight to Legazpi City.  It seemed almost as quickly as the flight took off it landed, and we met a hotel transfer to the Hotel Venezia, which is very nice.

We started to unpack, and within 30 to 40 minutes, we got a call from the desk saying that our visitor from the RSCC had arrived.  We met Francis' caregiver and our agency's liaison in the hotel lobby and were off to meet our son.  That 30 minute drive was the longest 30 minutes of my entire life!  The trip through Legazpi to Ligao City was both a sobering look at the poverty of the area and a breathtaking display of beauty.

On the way to the RSCC, we were told that Francis didn't sleep the night before because he was so excited to see us in the morning.  (Join the club, Francis!). We walked into the center, removed our shoes, got our bearings, and suddenly, there he was.  And he was Just. So. Shy!  The caregivers and social workers kept encouraging him to talk to mommy and daddy, but  got nothin'.  Gregg and I reassured everyone that it was ok and he would warm up in time.  Gregg brought out the Transformer, and from then in the boys were pretty much on solid ground as they worked on how to adjust Bumblebee.  

Later on, the staff brought out the items we sent in his care package, and it was evident that everything was very well loved.  The recordable storybook was a HUGE hit, and even today he listened to it several times.   We also found out he's a technology nut, like his daddy.  We showed him a picture of Lakota on the phone, and he was flipping pictures like a pro all on his own!  Then, we were going to show him a video of the house, but he decided it was much more fun to take the camera and shoot video himself.  I think he took about 70, 2-second videos.  But he loved it and had a great time - until the battery ran out and he got cracking with the digital camera.  And after all that, his favorite things to do were bat a balloon around and play on the playground.

Only one caregiver-mandated goodbye hug so far and he is definitely partial to daddy, but he will warm up.  We go back in the morning for round two, and the entrustment ceremony is Monday, his birthday.  

For all who have asked, his English is soooo much better than we could have hoped for.  He is also out of speech therapy and speaking perfectly clearly.  Thank God - miracles happen every day and he is one of them!

Hopefully another update tomorrow ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pictures - Getting To Manila

                                         Heading into JFK Airport - No driving, less stress!

On the way to the Philippines.  Leaving as a family of two, to return as a family of three!

Very appropriate advertisement in the airport.
Tomorrow will be nothing like today, and thank God for that.  Thank God for little boys!

Jeepneys outside our window in Quezon City, Manila.





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Manila!

Quick family update:  Mom is doing just fine.  The doctor gave her an antihistamine shot and some medications and she and my dad made it to the gate just as the plane was boarding.  Phew!

We made it to Manila in perfect time, and our agency liaison, Rolly, was there to meet us.  Traffic was actually "not so bad" at midnight!  We got a decent nights sleep, has some breakfast, and will be meeting Rolly in about 20 minutes to go over our schedule.  This afternoon...massages! And best of all...24 hours from now we will be meeting our son.  Amen!

Hopefully another post later, with some of the pictures we've taken along the way.

Hong Kong Update

We're almost to the Philippines!  We have a two hour layover in Hong Kong and then it's straight to Manila!  

Getting a driver to take us to the airport was definitely one of the best decisions we've made so far, because dealing with NYC traffic prior to even setting foot in JFK airport - well, let's just say its not for the faint of heart.  Cathay Pacific has been just awesome so far, though.  We made it through check in and security in record time.  There was a bit of a 30-minute delay boarding the plane because of a cleaning issue, but the service has been stellar.

Gregg and I had a really tough time this morning saying goodbye to Lakota and the kitties, but our truly awesome pet sitter came to be with them when we left, and I think that took a lot of the sting of it for Lakota, who had followed us all around the house Tuesday night and Wednesday.  Seeing her comfortable made it easier for us to leave.

And as soon as the plane took off...it was suddenly so real!  Saturday this paper chase ends with a face I can love forever.  And then the real adventure begins.

***family update:  after I typed this post, mom was stung by a yellow jacket on the plane, about 3/4 of the way through the flight.  Flight crew was great and Benadryl helped, but they insisted she go through immigration and see the doctor in Hong Kong.  Gregg and I are waiting at the gate to make the connecting flight, and they have two hours to do it.  Please know, she is FINE and we will update from Manila!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Before One More Moment Gets By"



Suitcases packed.  Bills paid.  Wonderful pet sitter ready to take care of Lakota and the kitties.  A list a mile long checked off and then double checked for good measure. 

A few months ago I thought I would be getting on the plane kicking and screaming because not everything got done.  Almost everything got done, and I realize now that the few things that didn’t get done just have to wait.  They’re not that important.

What is important is that in 12 hours, we’ll be getting ready to leave for the airport for a flight to the Philippines that at one point I never thought would happen.  We’ve received an outpouring of love and support through our journey, and especially through the last few months and weeks as we have waited to travel to bring Francis home.  The time has finally come, and we are so ready, and so eternally grateful for all of you who have been there for us.  Tonight as I write this, I’m also thinking about all of my blogging friends who still wait for their referrals, or who deal with painful adoption loss.  You are in my heart and my prayers.

I do plan on blogging while we’re in the Philippines, so please check in every once in a while!


Time Is love, gotta run,
Love to hang longer,
But I got someone who waits,
Waits for me and right now
[He]'s where I need to be,
Time is love, gotta run.

Gotta fly
Fly
Before one more moment
Gets by...
-“Time is Love,” Josh Turner