Welcome - ยินดีต้อนรับ

Hello all family and friends!

With great excitement, we started our adoption journey in August 2008. We are now first time parents through adoption of an 8-year-old son from Thailand. We have chosen to build our family through the adoption of a son from Thailand because this is where we feel God is leading us right now.

It took 1 year and 9 months to bring Ray home and it was totally worth it!

We appreciate all of your love and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Ann & Bryan

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Registering at Chicago Thai Consulate

We're excited to be attending THE FINAL step of the Thailand adoption process this Friday (March 23). We have our appointment in the afternoon at the Royal Thai Consulate in Chicago. Yipee!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Months Home

It is truly amazing how fast young children adapt to their surroundings.  Ray understands almost everything we say to him and can respond to most things in simple yet understandable English.  He is also very good with directions and knows exactly which roads take him home, to grandparent's houses, to swimming, to shopping, to school, to friend's houses, and more.  I am sure this gives him a sense of comfort in knowing where he is so he can feel safe.  And, as long as we give him enough timely reminders of the day's schedule, he flows through the day without too much complaint.  He has gotten closer to his grandparents and cousins enough to spend a few nights away from us even.  Plus, his eating habits are getting less picky and more open to trying different tastes.  Foods that he wouldn't touch weeks ago he now asks for (tomatoes, oatmeal, beans, etc.) and things that he ate all the time (bologna) he no longer wants.  Perhaps his favorite nighttime book "Green Eggs and Ham" has had something to do with that!

We are finally getting on a regular sleep/wake schedule and discipline is starting to pay off.  Thanks to SuperNanny's advice, the "Naughty Spot" has helped Ray understand that we're only disciplining the behavior and not telling him that he's a bad boy in general.  It gives him time to think about what was done wrong (and hopefully try not to do it again) and sincerely apologize.  Of course, we still have to set him on the spot 10-15 times before he stays put...but we are told that will lessen the more he understands that we will not give in.

Parenting is not getting any easier but is at least a little more predictable.  The hardest thing is to blend different family traditions into one and create our own family dynamic and a unified team.  All our free time and energy seems to be reading every parenting and adoption bonding book out there and discussing what is going right and what is not working and needs improvement.  Too often emotions get in the way of constructive discussions.  Then again, we have to remind ourselves that we're new parents and most people with new babies certainly don't have it all figured out in only three months nor do they have to deal with 8-year-old issues right away.  So we try to move forward on a positive path.

One prayer constantly running through our heads is: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

Ray starts 3rd grade on September 7th along with trying Tae Kwon Do at the YMCA.  Scheduling and homework are going to be our next challenges.  Stay tuned!

Ann and Bryan

Friday, July 9, 2010

First ER Visit

Daddy learned a quick lesson today that we shouldn't bike with sandals but rather with shoes!  Ray now has 11 stitches in his right foot.  He wanted to see where Mommy goes to exercise and he jumped on a stationary bike and started to pedal fast.  I took a quick call on my phone and then a few seconds later heard a big scream as Ray's foot was caught in the pedal and there was blood everywhere. His sandal fell off and took off a big chunk of skin right down to the tendons. Good thing the emergency room was just around the corner and the folks at the YMCA did a quick job of bandaging up Ray's foot. Our little trooper is doing well and even the doctor was amazed at how interested Ray was in the process without too much crying. We're all doing fine tonight; in fact, we're laughing because we explained to Ray "no soccer, no swimming" and so then, of course, Ray said, "no school!" Now he thinks he can get out of everything. Overall, I think Daddy was more nervous about this one then Ray.
Thanks for thinking of us!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Six Weeks Home

Wow!  Is it really the end of June already?!?  Time sure does fly!

Ray had fun the week of June 14th going to Vacation Bible School (which he called Cross School) learning about God's word and making new friends.  He enjoyed singing some songs for us at home that he learned but then froze on stage when the children sang for the World Mission Festival on Sunday.  He did do some of the hand gestures for the last song so he must have just been warming up when they were finished. Oh, well...he did enjoy the food from around the world...especially the sushi from Japan and fruit from Thailand!  And Daddy was beaming with pride as he shared in the love of God with his son on Father's Day.  Ray bought Daddy a new helmet for riding bicycle with him and we all enjoyed "Toy Story 3" at the movie theater.

The next week he started summer school at the public school.  He was shy and nervous the first day but the next morning he woke up an hour and a half before we needed to leave and was ready to go to school "fast"!  He loves the word fast thanks to Aunt Sara teaching him how fast she can go in the convertible!  Being in a classroom has helped his English develop and introduced him to how schools are organized in America.  He has also made some more new friends which we are hoping will help him feel more comfortable in September when he starts full time school.

Yesterday Ray decided he was ready to take the training wheels off of his bike and ride like a big boy...he is doing great!  This weekend will be exciting since Ray will be introduced to lots more extended family and close friends all arriving for Independence Day celebrations.  We already know that he loves fireworks since we took him to see the ones in Ephraim for FyrBal Festival so he's super excited that we'll get two and maybe even three days of fireworks this weekend.

Tuesday, July 13th is our first of three post-placement visits.  It will be interesting to see how Ray responds to her questioning.  We are not too worried about it though...more curious as to what will be asked/expected.  Ray's test results came back from Children's Hospital showing very little to be overly concerned about (also nothing surprised us...reports from Thailand were very accurate).  In fact, most of his US-born cousins and friends have more allergies and ailments than he does!

Our summer calendar is full of fun and learning.  Summer school ends July 15th.  Hopefully we'll make it to see our nephew's baseball game on July 17th in Burlington.  If schedules work out, we may visit with another adoptive family on July 19th to meet Ray's friend who was adopted from the TRC a year or two ago.  We will have a re-affirmation celebration of Ray's baptism in church on July 25th.  The last soccer game of the summer is on July 27th.  Daddy and Ray will check out Packer Stadium and Hall of Fame on July 29th.  Ray, Mommy, Grandpa and Nana Jeanne plan to visit EAA Airventure in Oshkosh on August 1st.  We're thinking he might like swimming lessons from August 2nd through 13th.  A group of friends will be meeting at Bay Beach in Green Bay on August 8th for fun park adventures.  Ray's got a gift card he can't wait to use to see a musical at American Folklore Theatre sometime in August.  And of course there are many new friends and cousins to have play dates with before the summer is over.  Phew!

How is his English coming along?  This is the most common question asked of us.  Although it is important, it is not the focus of everything we do on a daily basis.  (Yes; we do have reading time and alphabet time each day.)  Attachment and bonding are top priority at the moment.  Without these things, learning can never really happen properly. This sentiment gets grounded into every adoptive parent in required pre-adoption educational classes and books but you really cannot grasp the true importance until the child is in your home.  We find ourselves trying to get close to him each day to let him know he is loved unconditionally, that he is safe, and that this is his forever family.  Recently, Ray has decided to open up and share his past with us by telling us stories from events at the orphanage or his Thailand school.  It is a little hard to understand since it is told in broken English and lots of hand gestures and noises but most of it comes through.  We feel honored that he is comfortable enough already to begin telling us his life story.  This is a milestone that far outweighs language.  He is connecting with us emotionally and that's exciting progress!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Weeks Home

Wow, what a roller coaster ride we're on, otherwise known as parenthood!  Ray is doing amazingly well for a little boy who has just been plunked down into a whole new world.  He likes sleeping with his multiple Mickey Mouses under his rainbow-colored bedspread in his own room.  And he's picking up on Mommy and Daddy's habits of sleeping in...until 9am!  Guess we'll have to change that once he starts summer school in a week and a half.

It's hard to put into words what it's been like adjusting to being parents for the first time and for him adjusting to a family.  It is taking a while to find a "normal" routine of sorts...but it is summer so there's no real set structure each day.  So far we've been to three birthday parties (in the first week home), a volunteer of the year awards banquet (Mommy got a Golden Heart award), went to the Wildlife Sanctuary with Nana Jeanne's Kindergarten class and visited the classroom a few days later for playtime, went to the NEW Zoo with new friends, went to THE Farm with new friends, gone swimming frequently at various locations, went to the Mayfest parade and played baseball with cousins, had a full medical wellness check in Milwaukee (3 hour drive), did lots of shopping for new clothes, toys, a bike and outdoor activities, went on a picnic and hiking with new friends, and joined a soccer team and played in his first of three games this week!  Whew!!!  He is soaking it all in and learning more than we know.  He has already spoken 4-5 full sentences without any prompting.  It is truly amazing how much young minds can absorb in a short amount of time!

Don't get us wrong, it has not been all peaches and roses.  Ray's favorite word is No and it is usually his first response to everything...even if we know he likes it.  Eating has been a struggle as well...not necessarily an aversion to the foods but more defiance in sitting down to eat with us in the first place.  It is getting better though.  We started a sticker chart for helping Mommy and Daddy and one of those marks is for eating meals with us.  I know this will not work for long but it's getting us through for now.  Ray is also into everything...a big time explorer...which is good and bad sometimes depending on the location and situation.  And, unfortunately, he learned to defend himself in the orphanage by pinching and hitting...which he still does when he doesn't get his way or is frustrated.  We are trying to be gentle with him even when we're disciplining so that he understands that he is safe and no longer needs to act out physically.

All-in-all we are a happy threesome and we are all learning from one another day by day.  There is lots of laughter in our home which fills our hearts with gladness and love.
Why are we adopting internationally and not domestically?
While we think adopting domestically is extremely important, our hearts are drawn to the waiting children in other countries. Some of our closest friends and relatives have adopted, are adopted themselves, or are planning to adopt internationally. This has been a wonderful experience for them, as I am confident our adoption will be for us.

Why are we adopting from Thailand?
The number one reason is simply...that's where our son is living right now. Also, the Thai people are extremely laid back and friendly and the adoption process is very straight forward in Thailand and has been around for decades so there should be no surprises or corruption. After researching our other options, the requirements to adopt from Thailand fit our requirements. If we decide to adopt again, we will reevaluate the different countries and domestic programs.