Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Settling In

So it was a rough start - double ear infection + cold for Ryan and throwing up / lingering colds for Kari and I. Probably the hardest 72 hour period any of us ever had to deal with. Good news is, the screaming, crying, back-arching little boy has transformed into a smiling, babbling, laughing, and seemingly very happy little boy! He is such a cute and charismatic little guy! He has met a lot of our family members and has taken very well to everyone (a lot of the adoption books advise against introductions during the first month ... we've been easing him into it, and he seems to be attaching to us just fine).

A few updates on his progress so far:

Sleeping: While in Korea, Ryan slept with his foster mother in her bed, and typically went to bed at midnight. We have been putting him in his crib from day one, and he's taken very well to it. We rock him to sleep and gently place him in there before quietly tiptoeing out of his room. He has been able to sleep soundly from ~8 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. - this has been a great and unexpected success (especially considering we've been sick). He cries at around 3:30 a.m. when we bring him a bottle and rock him back to sleep, where he usually stays until about 6:30 a.m. That's earlier than we would like, but he is still adjusting to the time change (amongst a million other things). So, sleeping = good.

Eating: Ryan doesn't eat much, and he's little (17 pounds) - we're told by our pediatrician that this is normal for an Asian baby. We've been giving him ~4 ounces of formula 5 or 6 times daily, along with baby food and table food. It was interesting that our pediatrician strongly advised feeding him table food - she says kids at his age (9 months) have a narrow window to form their eating habits. If you miss the window it's tough to get them to enjoy foods they should be eating as they get older. He seems to love it - table food is his favorite! We cut it into small pieces and place it on his high chair tray. With thumb and forefinger pinchers he shovels it in, and laughs as Cooper tries to get his share.

Bathing: He hated his baths for the first two nights. His way of telling us was to stand up in the bath screaming. So, thanks to Kari's cousin Jenny we've implemented a very effective trick - I go in the bath with him in my swim trunks, and he sits between my legs. This has worked wonders, and he now seems to really enjoy it - all smiles and splashing.

Walks: We take him on 2 walks a day in his Bob Revolution stroller (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way) - he loves it - just relaxes and takes in the scenery before falling asleep.

Car rides: He fusses when being buckled into his car seat, and when the car is stopped, but as soon as the car starts moving, he falls right to sleep. This is another win as he is used to riding on somebody's lap while in a car from his time in Korea.

Playing: He enjoys his toys - a particular favorite is an activity table that he can pull himself up into a standing position next to. He can keep himself entertained for ~15 minutes at a time before moving on. He crawls all over the place looking for new stuff and things to pull himself up with. He babbles a lot and has started imitating "Dada" and "Mama" sounds. Really cute.

So, a complete transformation has taken place and we couldn't be more pleased. A special thanks to my Mother and Father-in-law who have been a HUGE help while Kari and I recover. They have stepped in several times to provide food and help while we rest and carry on our household chores. Our neighbors have been incredible (dropping off food and gifts every day) - very nice, and very unexpected, but very much appreciated.

Finally, a special thanks to my wife Kari. If you could have seen her on the plane, you would be amazed. She held on to our crying, screaming son for 15 hours, patiently rocking him to sleep and consoling him as best she could. I knew she had it in her, but to see it firsthand was incredible. In short, she was absolutely amazing. They say fathers develop new and deeper feelings for their spouse in the early days of parenthood - this is definitely true for me. I am a very lucky guy on all fronts. She is an incredible wife, and an even better mother.

Some new photos below.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Home

We are finally home. After a long 15 hour flight with a very unhappy baby who screamed and cried almost the whole time, we are finally home. It feels so good to be home but we are all sick. Last night my husband woke up throwing up and has been in bed all day and I have a cold and feel so achy. On top of us being sick, Ryan is too. He already had to go to the doctor's today. His nose was continuously runny and it turned a nasty green. Gross! So I called my pediatrician and she told me to take him to an after hours pediatrician. Thankfully my mom came over and came with me and helped me out. Turns out he has an ear infection in both ears. Ugh...poor thing. He is on antibiotics now so hopefully he will feel better tomorrow. So today I haven't had a break being that my husband is in bed sick. I have been playing mommy and nurse and it's really taking a toll on me. I had a few melt downs today because I am feeling so overwhelmed and it doesn't help that I am sick and jet lagged. I know it will get better. I will update as soon as we are all feeling better and have more energy to write. Welcome to being a mommy ;)

Don't get me wrong, I am so glad to be home and to finally have my baby. He is adorable and is such a brave little guy. For never sleeping in a crib before he has taken 3 naps in it and slept in it last night...even though he woke up every 1 and a half. It's a start.

Okay. Need to lay down. Thanks for all the support and comments everyone. It really means a lot.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So far so good...




Would you believe me if I told you that we've had Ryan for 7 hours and hasn't cried once. He has been SO good. Every once in a while he fusses a bit but if we walk with him and pat his back he calms. We'll see what happens tonight and on the 13 hour flight home. He hates the baby carrier and yells when we tried to put it on. Either way we feel lucky that he has been so content for this long.

He loves puffs...so glad I brought some. He goes AhhhhhhAhhhhhhhh....when he wants another one. He will look at Joey and I and just smile. He sure is making up from the lack of smiling he did in his pictures. I also found that when you tickle his tummy he laughs and he LOVES to play peek-a-boo. His foster father always played that with him.

He hardly eats. He actually had a physical this morning before we got him and he weighs a whopping 18 pounds! He is so tiny. He is just a little peanut but has a big personality. He is very curious about every noise catches his attention.

He napped twice today. The first nap was 2 hours long and the second nap was about 40 minutes. We are about to go and grab dinner with him. It will be our first meal as a family. After that he will get a bath. Trying to stick to his schedule as much as possible. I sat him in the tub just to see what he would do and he just sat in there and play with his toys. It was so cute. We were told that he loves bath time.

I'm sure now that I wrote this all hell will break loose. I'm just waiting for this happy content baby to start crying and screaming. We love him and are so excited to get back home.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We Are a Forever Family!

The day has finally come when we can finally look our sweet little boy in the eyes and know that he is ours forever. He is so precious. We met the foster family at 10:30am at the SWS office. We were both so nervous. I was actually shaking. When we walked into the office we saw his foster family sitting there. The foster father was holding Ryan in his arms. I already wanted to cry at this point. It just made me so sad knowing what they must of been feeling. They handed Ryan over to my husband and took a few pictures of us holding him. He then got a little fussy and his foster mom took him and calmed him down. He then was handed to his foster dad and the foster dad comforted him and got him to smile. Ryan truly loves his foster family and they truly love him. I kept trying not to cry. Our social worker showed us all of the gifts they had for Ryan...clothes, socks, bibs, Hanbok, a Korean flag, Korean tapes, Korean Cd's, and a card to him with a message they wrote. We then gave them the gifts we brought for them and they were really appreciative. Our caseworker then went over all of the documents and his schedule. She also showed me how to prepare his bottles. The director of SWS came in the room and handed us a gift as well. It was a little keepsake box. She was so nice and I'm glad we had the chance to meet her as well. Ryan began to cry so the director escorted us all out to the elevator. This is the point where I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. His foster family started to say their final good-byes and when the little brother kissed him on his foot I lost it. Then I looked up and the foster mother handed him to me and she and the foster father were both crying, so was the son. I couldn't stop crying. Joey and I got on the elevator with Ryan in our arms and as the doors closed his foster family was crying and so was I. I gave Ryan a big hug and kissed him on the forehead. It was so emotional and still brings tears to my eyes.

Ryan is being such a good boy so far. We got back to the room and I laid a blanket on the floors with some toys. We sat and played for a while and skyped with my sister and my mom. He started to get a little fussy being that it was past his nap time. I grabbed this blanket I brought for him and he grabbed it out of my hands and put his head on it, stuck his thumb in his mouth, and within two minutes fell asleep. I held him for a while and just watched him sleep. I just kept thinking about this whole experience and I couldn't stop crying. I am so happy right now and so sad for his foster family and for what Ryan will go through as well. It's so over-whelming and emotionally draining. Once he was in a deep sleep I laid him on the bed next to me. He has been sleeping for over an hour. So far so good!

Once he wakes up we are going to have lunch and Ryan will get his bottle. Joey just ran out and grabbed some sandwiches. After that we will go outside to take a few pictures of Ryan in front of the agency and guesthouse. After that, not sure what we will do. All that matters now is that we have our son and we are finally a family. There aren't enough words in any language to describe our happiness. He is so beautiful and precious. Joey is laying next to him on the bed right now just watching him sleep. It's so cute. What a day.

Next time I update my blog we will finally be back home starting our new life together. We're coming home Cooper!!!







Seoul is Beautiful!

Seoul is awesome! I am so lucky that I've had a chance to see a part of the world that I never would have imagined visiting. It is SO beautiful here and there are so many things that I love about this place. Today we spent the entire day touring around Seoul. We walked over 5 miles at least and did lots of shopping and saw a few beautiful palaces! Joey and I were blown away at outdoor shopping malls. It's insane. It seems to go on for miles and no matter which way you turn there are tons of people and yet another alley filled with shops. We bought a few things for Ryan for when he is older and a few things for ourselves. We tried a couple different desserts as well. We had green tea ice cream, rice cakes, mo-chi, and some other honey/peanut treat. They were all very good. Different, but good! A few highs school kids approached us and told us that they love USA and want to go there. They were so cute. Then a bunch of high school girls yelled from across the street Hiiiiii!!! They were so excited and were laughing and waving! We felt famous for a brief moment! We had a great time today and we are so glad that we were able to see almost the entire city. I can't really explain this place, it's different in so many ways from home yet in some ways it's the same.
Here's a few things about Korea....
-The women are very beautiful and dress very trendy. Almost all of them wear leggings or tights with boots or high heels!
-The men are also dress trendy or wear suits and are much taller than I expected.
-The subway system is very easy to use.
-The food is really good.
-It is very modern here and high tech.
-Everyone is always on a cell phone.
-People try their best to speak English and crack a smile when they are struggling.
-It is very clean here. The streets have ZERO trash on them.
-It smells different than home here but Joey and I both agree that we really like the smell...hard to explain but if you've been here you probably know what I am talking about.
-People do not say excuse me or sorry if they bump into you...you just have to go with the flow.
That's all I can think of. We really like it here and are so glad to have experienced this.

We are both so exhausted right now. We hardly slept last night after meeting with Ryan and I know we won't get much sleep tonight knowing we are getting him tomorrow morning. I am already getting choked up just thinking about him and his foster family. I keep wondering how they are spending their last day with him and how sad they must be feeling knowing that after tonight he won't be sleeping next to them in their bed. I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about all this and started crying. The tears wouldn't stop. Believe me, I am so unbelievably happy and excited, but I am also so sad for what Ryan will be going through and what his foster family will be going through as well. Not to mention, tomorrow I am becoming a first time mommy and that too makes me very nervous and scared.

I just want to thank everyone for the comments, love, and support. You guys are all awesome! Ryan has no idea that there are already so many people that love him and can't wait to meet him. Joey and I both consider ourselves lucky knowing we have so many people at home waiting and watching as we begin a new journey. Thanks everyone. I will post a few pics. They really don't do a justice just to how beautiful and unique South Korea really is.














Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Day

video

Best Day Ever....We met our son!

We met our little Ryan-Kaon!!! I know you want pictures first so here you go.....



















Our meeting with Ryan at his foster family's home couldn't have gone better. We first met our social worker at the SWS office. She was adorable and very sweet. The first thing she handed me was a stack of updated photos of Ryan. I couldn't believe how adorable he was and believe it or not...he has hair! Way more hair then I was expecting. Next we took a cab ride to the foster family's home. It was about a 45 minute drive and felt longer because of the anticipation. When we arrived it was nothing like I pictured. The home is in a very tall apartment building on the 13th floor. When Ryan's foster mom opened the door she was holding him and I couldn't believe just how beautiful he was in person. The pictures DO NOT do a justice. He is so tiny...only 20 pounds! We walked into their sitting room and he sat with his foster mom who he is VERY attached too. He then warmed up to Joey and crawled right to him. Yup! He crawls and pulls himself up. He is a busy little boy. You could just see and feel the love from his foster mom. She really took such great care of him and loved him as if he were her biological child. She told us that she feels so happy now that she sees us in person and knows that we will be good parents to Ryan. She asked if we would send her updated pictures. I was so glad that she wants us to!
The foster father and oldest brother were not there. The younger foster brother was there and you could see just how much he LOVES Ryan and how much Ryan loved him too. His foster brother told us that he wants to be a MLB player in the US and when he is he wants to come and visit Ryan...my heart ache at that point!
Here are some things about Ryan...
-When they say his name it sounds like this..Kah-Own-A
-He loves to eat and is not picky but only eats a little bit at a time.
-He is very curious
-He is stubborn
-He takes 3 naps a day and goes to bed at mid-night and wakes up between 7-8am.
-He still wakes up in the middle of the night for a bottle
-He sleeps in bed with his foster family
-He wakes to ANY noise he hears....great!!! Cooper doesn't bark ALL the time so no worries there.
-He baths once a day before bed.
-He has 4 teeth on top and 2 on the bottom.
-He loves to drink water.
-He loves to play with balls...someone please buy some because that's one of the only things we don't have at home for him. Thanks :)
-He is rarely fussy.
-He loves his foster dad and calls his foster mom Oma, which means mom in Korean.
-Ryan is his foster family's 3rd foster baby.

That's all I can think of for now. He is so cute and such a little peanut. We need to fatten that boy up. But the important thing is that he is very strong and very healthy. We were there for about an hour and a half but it felt like 10 minutes. I can't wait for everyone to meet this little guy. He is just beautiful and I can't tell you how much we both love him already. We will be getting Ryan FOREVER on Thursday at 10:30am. My heart is overwhelmed with so much joy and happiness it just may burst. Joey and I consider ourselves truly blessed that God has brought us to Ryan. People keep saying how lucky Ryan will be, but it's the other way around. We are the lucky ones. We have a beautiful, healthy little boy that we get to spend the rest of our lives loving.

One other thing...Ryan's foster mom gave me a HUGE stack of photos of their time together. How awesome is that?!!! One of the pictures of him is from the first week she had him in her home. I am thrilled that we have those pictures for Ryan. Okay, that's all for now. I love him and can't wait to see him again. He's awesome! I know it's going to be an adjustment and take time and patience to get through this transition but I know we will get through it and so will Ryan.

Tonight we are going to have a nice dinner and some Soju! Tomorrow we will be touring around South Korea. We have a whole itinerary planned out. It will be the last day as a family of two (well, 3 if you count Cooper).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Today is a BIG day!

Hi Everyone! Just wanted to send a quick update! It's just after 7:00am here and I slept okay. We both fell asleep at 7:30pm and I woke up off and on throughout the night. Every time I would wake up I would think about Ryan and how excited I am that in just HOURS we will be meeting him. Then at around 2am I woke up STARVING so I grabbed a snack. Still not use to this time change.

I still can't believe this! I had dreams about Ryan ALL night last night and would wake up with my heart and mind racing not being able to fall back to sleep. I just can't wait. This is so surreal.

I am going to get Joey up know so we can grab a coffee at the Starbucks down the street. Then I am going to have a bowl of oatmeal that I brought and relax before meeting our social worker. Then it's off to meet our little guy! Yay!!!

Thanks for all the comments everyone! It makes being so far away from home seem not so far :)
Love ya guys!!!!

Update from Seoul

Can you believe that tomorrow we will be meeting our son for the first time?! Wow! I still have a hard time believing that this is actually happening. I still can't believe that we are in South Korea. Even with being surrounded by millions of Korean people I'm having a difficult time believing all of this. This is crazy! Good crazy though :)

We just got back from venturing out into downtown Seoul. It is pretty easy to make your way around here. The subway system was easy and many of the things are in English so we didn't have trouble finding our way. Speaking of subway, that was my first time on a subway system ever!!!! Geez...have I been living under a rock or what!!!! As soon as we got off of the subway it started pouring rain. The first place we saw we stopped to buy umbrellas. Then the rain turned to a slushy, snowy mess causing slippery, messy roads and sidewalks. We went to this crazy out door market in Nandaemum that is filled with TONS of little shops and stores. It was just a bunch of winding roads that veered off in a million directions with tons of people walking around. Kind of hard to explain. We planned to do more shopping than we did but the weather was awful so we left and found a little restaurant to eat at. The food was very good and it was nice to just sit and take in this whole experience.

We just got back to SWS and we are soaking wet and freezing cold. We probably looked like fools walking around with our winter coats, hats, and scarves while everyone else is wearing trendy little coats and no hats!!! Oh well, at least we stayed warm . Just as we were walking to our room we heard a baby screaming it's head off. Must be another family here that just got their little one. Poor baby:( Now we are going to watch a movie on our laptop and relax. It's only 6:00pm here but I'm sure we will fall asleep very soon. We are both exhausted....

The pictures are of our room at SWS and in Nanaemum the outside of the restaurant we ate at. Tomorrow's pictures of be of our little Ryan...I can't wait to meet him.
P.S....our luggage will be delivered tomorrow between 2-5pm...not before going to meet Ryan and his foster family. Bummer.