Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun at the pool

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.

While we are all having lots of fun, our sweet little boy is definitely starting to miss his old home.  He's been fighting going to sleep (which he didn't do at first) and has woken up a few times very, very sad.  We suspect he's dreaming about the home he loved for the last eleven months and missing his family there.  It's so sad, but we know it's part of the process and better for him to cry and grieve the loss than not to.  You can pray for him that he'll get through the grief and that we'll know how to help him and comfort him.  All in due time, we know.  (And yes Mom, we know this too shall pass.)  : )

Friday, August 29, 2008

Kamin's Video

Here's a super short video from our hotel room... : )
If you watch it several times, it will seem longer. : )

Thursday, August 28, 2008


So here we go.  First attempt for pics.  And, yes, he is smiling a lot more these days....

Lowell's Post

I promise... pictures are coming today... (exclamation points) : )
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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Bye, Bye Bangkok

Hi there everyone. (Hmmm... this is going to be a challenge... I'm using the Owen family laptop and the exclamation point key doesn't seem to work. How do I write this without being able to end my sentences with multiple exclamation points??? Well, you'll just have to believe me that they're there in my head.) I thought I was going to write a really long post tonight, but it turns out that I'm tired (surprise, surprise) and need to go to bed. I should have more time tomorrow so I'm hoping to write more soon. But here's a little info for you while you wait... It's been a really good week. Kamin (or O or whatever you'd like to call him... we haven't settled on a forever name yet...) was placed in our hands for good on Tuesday and Wednesday we were approved by the Thai board to keep him. Monday we got to go visit his foster family and it was so incredibly special. Lowell actually tried to post something here that afternoon and we didn't discover until a little while ago that it didn't work. sorry... If we can find it in his yahoo sent box we'll still post it... but we can't get in until we get on the other computer that has a functioning "one" key. : ) Our meeting with the Thai board on Wed. almost got cancelled because there is some serious political unrest occuring currently on the streets of Bangkok -- some not too far away from where our meeting was. The night before our social worker called us and said we might not have it but in the morning said we were good... The meeting was short and sweet (thanks in part to kamin's stranger anxiety... he didn't want me to sit anywhere close to the board members) and ended with the head lady asking Toby and Mikaela if they wanted to keep Kamin and saying that if we wanted to, we could keep him. : ) Today we were supposed to have our visa interview at the US embassy, but they called us last night and said they don't have all of our paperwork yet (but we've been told it's on its way) so we got to skip that meeting and checked out of our hotel in Bangkok. (We'll have to make a day trip back next week for the visa.) we are so glad to be out of there and to be in a place where we have space for nice walks and the kids can play with their cousins. We're staying in the house right next door to Lowell's sister. Their neighbors are out of town and very happy to let us use their place so here we are. It's been great and feels a bit like a honeymoon for us all, though Kamin is a bit unsettled with the change and the new people. But hopefully it won't be too bad. I still think it's going to be really good for us all to be together here for a while before going home--if for no other reason that he and lowell can bond more, since that's been a slower process (understandably), before Lowell goes back to work when we get home. Kamin is an amazing little boy. He's definitely going to keep me on my toes more than either of my other kids did... He's a lot of fun and we're all loving each other more every day. He has amazed me with how well he's done through all this. I think it's very largely due to Mikaela and Toby being here. He was used to being around other kids so it's been good. I'm definitely feeling the stretch of having a new one and not getting to pay as much attention to the older kids, but I know it won't be like this forever and we'll make it. Well, that ended up being longer than I expected... though there's still much more I'd love to tell you about and hope to soon. I'm too tired to try to post pictures right now but Lowell probably will tomorrow. Maybe I'll even include a picture of the mysterious bite i got on my knee this afternoon that made an artery or vein on my knee swell up and turn into a big bruise. Very strange. I guess it's all part of saying goodbye to Bangkok and hello to Bang Saen. : ) Goodnight everyone... ; ) ~Melissa

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"The Best Day Ever"

I'm going to try to figure out how to even begin to describe the last couple of days... I'm sure it will take some time to process it all... but it's been so very good! I actually wrote something to try and post this morning but we never got that far. But what happened after is what you all want to hear about anyway! : ) This morning at around 11:00 we finally got to meet Kamin! It turns out his nickname is "O". : ) Very cute... When they first brought him in to us (with 2 other children being adopted by families from Norway) he was hesitant and a bit unsure of us, but when he started to fuss, the social worker (a young lady) asked if I wanted to hold him and he came right to me! He wasn't exactly happy, but he held on pretty tightly. for the next couple of hours he was in my arms almost the whole time and preferred it if I was standing and walking with him. He ate some lunch with us and let me feed him his bottle and toward the end in our hotel room actually wanted to get down and crawl around on the floor. We could tell that he hadn't gotten a long enough nap in the morning and he almost fell asleep several times, but he was pretty determined not to give in. I am so incredibly grateful that he let me hold him (Lowell was a bit jealous - but he did get him to smile the first time) and I'm also glad I have the baby carrier since another day like today might just make my arm fall off. : ) It turns out the two granddaughters of his foster parents who live with him are 5 and 7, which explains why he was so comfortable with Mikaela. : ) there were several times she came to give him a hug and he very obviously hugged her back. she said after he was gone that today was the best day ever. : ) I'm on a deadline here if I don't want to pay much more for the computer and I want to try to post a picture... Tomorrow we go visit the foster family after another outing. So far so good!!! Thanks for all your prayers and thanks God for answering to wonderfully. : )

Friday, August 22, 2008

We're here!

I have to hurry because we are getting ready to leave the guesthouse where we stayed last night and I need to pack up our stuff, but wanted to let you all know we arrived with all our stuff Friday afternoon (praise God we got on the earlier flight to Bangkok so had a much shorter layover in Taipei.)  and are having a wonderful time with family here...  Lowell's sister and her husband and kids (the Owen's) met us at the airport in Bangkok with bouquets of orchids and we all piled in their SUV, loaded our luggage on top (which caused andy to get a ticket) and headed for lunch and to the OMF guesthouse where we stayed last night.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time enjoying much of anything yesterday since I got really sick on the second flight and it lingered through the streets of Bangkok & most of the evening.  I've never been sick on a plane before but there was a lot of turbulence.  Hours of it!  Definitely getting some Dramamine before our trip home.  I was SO SO SO glad it was our trip there and not back.  It would have been much harder to feel so awful and have to take care of Kamin too.  But today I feel so incredibly much better!  8 1/2 hours of sleep and ready to go!
We're going this morning to visit the hospital where Kamin was born and then on to the Amari hotel where we'll meet Kamin tomorrow morning!  It's finally starting to sink it and I'm very excited - though wondering how it will go and hoping he's not too traumatized by his new loud family!  
It has been so fabulous to be here with the Owen family.  The kids have all been playing together and we feel so spoiled and BLESSED!!!    
Well, I had better go.  Hopefully we'll figure out how to post from the hotel and you'll hear from us again soon.  
Thanks everyone for all your prayers and emails and comments.  It's nice to know people are thinking about us.  : )
Love, Melissa

Saturday, August 16, 2008

99 Hours left... (But who's counting?)

That’s how much time I have between now and when we pick up Mikaela from school Wednesday on our way up to San Francisco where we’ll catch our plane to Thailand! Wow!!! We still have a lot to do, but God has helped us get lots and lots done already and I’m feeling shockingly calm at this point. (That could change at any time, though!) J Here are some highlights of the last week and a peek at what’s coming in the next few days:

Last weekend we had a yard sale! Got rid of some stuff and made a little money. The kids sold lemonade and it was a nice way to pass the morning.

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

This is a test...

First of all this is a test to see if I can post something on my blog without too much pain and frustration using my husband's fancy wi-fi phone. If I want to keep you all updated about our journey in Thailand, this might be the only way (part of the time) since we don't think we're taking a laptop. But you certainly aren't going to get long detailed stories this way b/c I'm not so fast typing with my thumbs.

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Well, I tried to post something!

I used my husband's phone today to try to write something for my blog - for practice in case we end up travelling without a laptop and want to post something via wi-fi on his phone - but for some reason it won't connect with some network or something. So it's stuck in his phone's outbox instead of being here for you to read on my blog. I'm so very sorry. In the meantime, can I entertain you with the fact that in 10 days we will have said goodbye to our dogs and our home and be on our way to the airport in San Francisco? We went shopping for presents for Kamin's foster family today and I'm starting to get excited about packing. (I can't believe I just wrote that.) But I'm working hard at convincing myself that it really isn't too early to start packing. Because part of my brain thinks there's lots and lots of time still. But I have learned that listening to that part of my brain is dangerous and leads to procrastination and chaos and unnecessary stress and frustration. Of course, I still normally believe the non-packing part of my brain. But hopefully not this time!!!!! And hopefully you'll get to read what I wrote earlier sometime soon. Because it will give you much greater insight into how I've really been doing... : ) (Not to mention that I worked really, really hard typing on that tiny little keypad!!!!!) : ) Melissa