Sunday, April 27, 2008

This is a long one.

A record of my thoughts for Grace

Most of the people who read this blog know about the recent changes in the world of Vietnam adoption. For those of you who are not aware of the changes, here is a quck summary.

The US is supsending Vietnam adoptions because of supsected corruption. The government says that mothers are being paid to give their baby up for adoption, babies are being given up for adoption without the consent of the parents, etc. Parents who do not have a referral by September 1 will receive their dossier back from Vietnam and they will not have a child referred to them. These reports have stirred up so many emotions in me. I thought that blogging about them might be help me sort out my thoughts and to record them so that I can share this with Grace someday.

There are so many wonderful people who are waiting for a referral. People who will be fantastic parents. My prayers are with them. I pray that they will receive referrals in the next four months. I cannot imagine coming so far and not completing an adoption.

If I had stayed with the first agency I signed with, I would most likely still be waiting for a referral. When I signed with them in Dec 2005, I was told their was a 6 month wait for referrals. When I got my 171 in July 2006 I was told it would 18-24 months. I was devestated. Then I found out that a friend who began the adoption journey the same time as I did was up next for a referral. They had switched to a new agency. After researching the agency I made the decision to switch. The agency had recently began to facilitate adoptions. They had previously worked providing humanitarian aid in Vietnam and made the decision to handle adoptions.

As they were new, the waiting list was very short. Within a week I had turned in my dossier and was number four on the list for an infant girl. That was July 28, 2006. I received my referral on October 12. On December 28, one year after beginning the adoption process, we had our G&R and Grace officially became my daughter. Everything happened so quickly. I am a bit embarressed when I think of the many wonderful people have waited for soooo much longer and they are faced with a deadline.

Even though I have the utmost faith in my agency and their ethics, there is no way that they can be certain of exactly how a child came to be in an orphanage. The recent allegations of corruption makes me wonder about Grace's family. Was she willingly given up by her mother? The report says she was abandoned. Grace is from a very tiny village and I truly beleive that the nannies probably knew who Grace's mother was. I can't stand the thought that some mother had her child, my Grace, taken from her without her consent.

I truly believe that God picked me to raise Grace and be her mom. I believe that is true even if she was taken unethically. Taken unethically - that makes me sick to type. I believe that God has power over EVERYTHING. Does God take babies from their mothers? No. Does God give man free will to make decisions which are often bad? Yes. I believe that God often cleans up man's messes. He took babies who had been essentially stolen and placed them in loving homes.

I am going to raise Grace in a God centered home. It is my hope that she will be equipped to make sense of the diffcult things in life. This includes not knowing the truth about how she came to be in an orphanage. Whatever the circumstances, I truly hope that her mother can feel in her heart that Grace is happy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Pictures from the Weekend

Here are more pictures from the zoo. I especially love the last one. We were in the Asian area and Grace walked up to a statue of Buddha and started rubbing his belly! It was hilarious. I love the zoo and had a great time. However it does make me sad to look at some of the animals. Does the cheetah ever get to run at full speed? The bengal tigers were just sort of pacing around. Do they have exercise areas at zoos, places where animals can be taken to run freely? Anybody know? Anyway, I hope the animals don't lead sad lives. We sure enjoyed seeing them. Here in Tennessee there is an elephant sanctuary for female elephants. They have been neglected by their owners and get to retire to the sanctuary. Check it out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It has been a beautiful weekend. The weather has been perfect. We have made the most of it by spending lots of time outdoors. On Saturday we went to the Memphis Zoo with Aunt Terri, Kristan and Kayla. They have a fantastic zoo. Grace loved naming the animals and imitating how they sound. She really loved the sheep ane the ducks.

The Memphis Zoo has a fantastic Asian area. The pandas are the main attraction at the zoo, so they really did a fantastic job with the area. There are beautiful gardens, pagodas, etc. They had this cute, little hollowed out tree with a small panda sculpture where kids could have their picture made. Gracie was so cute. She reached down and petted the little panda.

I have a ton of pictures. Will post more later.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Nicer Bedtime

There have recently been many posts about sleep. Sleep has also been an issue at our house. After we had only been home from Vietnam for a week, Grace began sleeping through the night. Nighttime has never been a problem at house, our problem is bedtime. Our problem is that Grace thinks she should be held while she sleeps. She can feel it as you pull her away from her body to lay her down and she will immediately be on her feet with arms outstretched. When I say immediately, I truly mean immediately. There is no way you can rub this child's back or hum to comfort her back to sleep.

Now this habit doesn't just happen with me, so I have no delusions that it is a "Mommy" thing. She merely wants to be held. Several people have helped facilitate her desire to be held while sleeping, but I must break this habit. I began this process on Monday and I am pleased to report that we are doing well. In hope that she would remain asleep when I put her down, I previously rocked her until she had been asleep until about 20 minutes. We now have a new routine. After her bath I rock Grace until she is almost asleep. I make sure she that her last memory is of her crib. That way she will realize that is where she should sleep.

The first night she yelled for about 20 minutes. She doesn't cry, she yells. This has been steadily decreasing and last night she only yelled for about 5 minutes. As a nice bonus this new bedtime habit has also positively impacted morning. She used to begin calling out "milk" as soon as she woke up. Now she will occupy herself for about 20 minutes! I will hear her talking, singing and jumping. WOW. She has had this same problem at naptime. This week we have been out and about alot. However we will be working on naptime as soon as possible.

I got these tips from a great book that my social worker recommended during my home study. The book, Your Child's Health, has information on rashes, fevers, immunizations, behavior. You name it. It has been so helpful to me as a first time mother. Here are some new pictures of Gracie.

Sneaky Grace

Sweet Grace

Her new thing is to go to the pantry and help herself to raisins. Problem is she gets them everywhere. The first time I stepped on one and saw it on the bottom of my shoe I thought Ellie had an accident in the floor.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Playing with Reilly

On Saturday my best friend Karen came over with her daughter Reilly. Reilly will be one year old the end of next month. It is so much fun having kids around the same age. Grace was very nice and hospitable. She shared with the baby and I was very proud of her. I think she wondered why that baby didn't get up and run around and climb like she does. Here are some photos from the day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Grace is a climber. It all started innocently enough. She began by climbing into things...the laundry basket, drawers, etc. That quickly got boring and she began climbing onto things...everything. If I turn my back, even for a second, I will find her on top of something. Grace has great problem solving skills therefore nothing is safe. She will climb from her Pooh car onto her activity table and try to climb onto the changing table. She will climb onto her little table and try to climb into the baby bed. The only thing that slows her down are jeans. If I put her in jeans it limits her stretch.

Getting caught on one of her favorite climbs - the big chair. She likes to climb onto the arm and ride it like it is a horse. That puts her about three feet in the air and it terrifies me every time I catch her doing that, I can just see her toppling off onto the floor.

Grace trying to charm her way out of trouble.

Pouting in time out.

Yesterday we went to visit Aunt Terri. Grace was wowing everyone with her front flip.

Terri has this great hammock swing in her back yard and Grace had the best time.