After Kamin woke up from his nap this morning, Lowell took him down to the community pool where Mikaela and Toby were swimming with their aunt and cousins. (I stayed home and did the dishes and laundry in a quiet house all by myself. Ahhh...) As you can see, Kamin and his daddy are getting along very well. : ) In case you don't know them... in this first pic in the background from left to right is Toby, cousin Connor, the back of Mikaela's head and Lowell's sister Carmen. Andy is taking the pictures.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here's Lowell's post about the visit on Monday... written Tuesday morning:
This may be one of the very few times I (Lowell) ever post to Melissa's blog, but she graciously allowed it today! Yesterday, August 25, 2008 (Thai time), we got to visit Kamin's foster family and home. Quite an experience! The day started with Kamin coming to the hotel with the social workers, then us, them, and the other two adopting families from Norway went to a "western" mall, many stories high, and lunch there in the food court. Much like Macy's I would say...
After returning to the hotel, we brought Kamin up to our room for a bit, and enjoyed playing again. He was very tired by this point, and struggling to not let sleep keep him from monitoring these strange people that had dragged him around all over the place! We left soon after with the social workers in a van for the foster family's home, and Kamin finally fell asleep in Mel's arms. Toby joined him soon after, but Mikaela seemed to enjoy the 1+ hour van trip to the house, east of Bangkok just outside the city.
We drove down a very narrow street, and stopped in front of a small cement path leading down between two houses. As we got further, we saw Kamin's foster mom standing there, and he saw her too. He was quite eager to jump into her arms, and we let him go from us for the last time. He was handed around to different family members while we met with the family, and we enjoyed the time, although with some sadness since we knew big changes would be taking place very soon in his life. We sat down together in their living room, and the foster dad joined us, along with one of the granddaughters, then the other a bit later. We asked a bunch of questions, they asked some of us, and the foster mom was asked if she had any concerns about Kamin leaving with us. She said no, since she could see how we were with Toby and Mik - a very gracious comment since she had just met us. Guessing after having 11 foster kids, she can size people up quickly! We gave out our gifts, then walked around a bit to see the property. The family has a rice farm, raises rabbits, and seemed to love our little guy a whole bunch. Tears were shed by us all, yes, including me, and we said goodbye way too quickly. In the van on the way home both Mel and I stated that it seemed like a blurr, and that not enough time was to be had there, but in thinking about it further, realized there probably would never be enough time.
The ride home seemed quick, and we celebrated our last night together as a family of 4 with Burger King, but with high anticipation of today, when Kamin joins us for good. Not sure I am ready to be the daddy of 3, but guessing God is pushing me that direction, so I figure I will just do the faith fall into His hands on this one. Kamin joins us at 11 am this morning, or so, and we will spend the day together for the first time as the NNnnn's family. More soon!
(Sorry, but have been unable to upload pics from the hotel - hopefully will get some on the blog in a few days from Chonburi.)
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Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday was a very good day! We FINALLY met with a real, live, helpful immigration officer at USCIS! He had our file on his desk and said he thought he could get it approved by Friday morning. We were amazed and so grateful! And he did it! I knew all along God was going to work it out somehow and was so grateful that He did it before we left. J Our physical file now has to travel to New Jersey to the National Visa Center and then on to Bangkok, but it should be okay. At the worst, we’ll have to make a second trip to the embassy there (I think.) We’re SO GLAD that saga appears to be over!
And when I got home from running around that day, my new Ergo baby carrier was waiting for me! Here’s a picture of Mikaela modeling it. She’s had a lot of fun playing with it. It’s so easy to use! (Especially with stuffed animals.) Hopefully Kamin will like it. But we bought it (huge thanks to some very generous friends!) from a site with a money-back guarantee so if we don’t like it or he doesn’t like it, we can send it back.
This weekend we’re hoping to finish shopping (for munchies to get us through our 7+ hour layover in Taipei, Pepsi for our house-sitter and stuff like that) and start packing clothes and all the other stuff we’re dragging along with us. Tomorrow morning will be our last morning at church as a family of four and I’m sure it will be an emotional one for me. Our church family has been so supportive of us through the last 2 ½ years and is so excited to meet our little guy!
Monday is Mikaela’s first day of second grade! I’m glad I’ll have a few days at home with Toby before we go and that she’ll have a few (meaning 3) days to reconnect with her friends and her new teacher before we leave.
I also have to mention I am SO grateful for how God worked the timing of our trip. It’s perfect for us in so many ways. It’s the best time for Lowell to be away from work. We were able to enjoy most of the summer without panicking about getting ready. We didn’t have to try to adjust to a new schedule with school and then start all over again after the trip. That’s huge for me – because transitions like that are ALWAYS hard for me. So to really only have to transition from summer to life after the trip instead of summer to school to life after the trip is a HUGE blessing! It also made the decision to keep Toby out of school for one more year easier than it would have been otherwise. And lastly, to only have 4 weeks to obsess about things (when we already had lots to do so I couldn’t obsess about it exclusively) instead of 2 months has really been so much better for our family. I think it would have been really hard on the kids to have had me so distracted for even longer (because I know I would have been!) I see so much of God’s grace in this. Even in the I-600 thing. God took care of it and stretched and strengthened our faith in the process. It’s no wonder He let it happen that way.
In case you’re wondering, we drive to SF Wednesday, fly out at 1:35am Thursday morning, stop in Taipei after 13 hours in the air and wait there for almost 8 hrs (unless we get on standby for the earlier flight) and after another short (less than 4 hrs) flight arrive in Bangkok Friday afternoon (about 24 hrs after leaving San Francisco.) Sunday is the day we meet Kamin and Tuesday he comes to stay with us for good! Wow!
Well, I walked away from the computer a couple of times since I started this and now have 98 ½ hours left so I think I’ll say goodbye for the moment. Hopefully next time I post we’ll be just about packed and ready to go! Keep praying for us!!!!! J
Monday, August 11, 2008
Beyond that, though, this time of preparing to go meet our son and bring him home has also been a test for me. We are having trouble with our local immigration office and haven't been able to get any information at all about the status of our I-600 application. It is quite frustrating. I also tend to get overwhelmed about the amount of things I want to accomplish before we go (like getting packed!) But it's not so much a test of my abilities as it is a test of my faith. Will I believe God will do everything I always say I believe He will do? Will I believe that He is faithful and will take care of everything as I trust Him and let Him lead me? I have been depending on and finding new strength from so many promises in the Bible this week and will continue to in the weeks to come. God has been so good and even though He's not making it easy, I know my faith is growing because of it.
So this is also a test for God. Will He once again prove to me that I can trust Him with everything? Will He prove to me again that He is more than enough for me? Will His grace be enough? Just a few days before we got the call about our travel date, I started an online Bible study by Beth Moore entitled Believing God. I thought I would finish it before our trip and that it would be encouraging while we waited to go to Thailand. I had no idea that in a few days we would find out we were going much earlier than we had anticipated. But God knew and He knew how much this Bible study would encourage me now and when we get home. And I absolutely believe He is going to pass this test and will once again prove that He has been answering our prayers and preparing all of us for this adventure in ways we couldn't ever imagine.
We leave for Bangkok in 10 days. I actually just figured that out. I've been saying "a week and a half" but somehow 10 days seems like even less! YIKES! We haven't started packing and still have to buy presents to take and figure out the immigration thing, but God reminded me the other day that when I trust in Him with all my heart and don't depend on my own understanding and wisdomer and I acknowledge Him in it all, He promises to lead me and help me. And I know He will.
I just have to mention a couple more things because I don't know when I'll be posting again... I've been getting emotional a lot lately. Like when I bought milk at Costco and the date on the carton was Aug 21... The morning our flight leaves. And watching the Olympics opening ceremonies! I am loving watching the incredible beauty of that Asain country and it seems extra special because of our family's now permanent connection with Thailand
Well, I guess writing here wasn't so bad after all. : ) Maybe you will get long drawn out descriptions of our days... If I'm awake and the kids are busy. Keep praying for us! It's going to be quite a week...
: ) Melissa