Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Science Center

St Louis has an amazing Science Center. Sadly it took us 4 years to visit. I guess that's par for the course. We left many things "on the table" when we left Denver.

Benny loved the dinosaurs (life sized and moving) as well as the aircraft/space exhibits. Everlie loved to sleep.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Everlie's foster family gave us a traditional Korean dress for her first birthday. They were kind enough to film her while trying it on. They also sent us a video on how to tie the belt. She is quite beautiful in it...don't you think?

This morning Geri made breakfast and propped up the kiddos to look at the snow, squirrels and trees.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Benny's riveting phone conversation

A nice thing about another baby is that old, forgotten toys come out of retirement. Benny is finally reunited with his old phone.

Can this girl eat! Formula, rice cereal, Cheerios, Gerber jars of assorted food. Day and night. Yes, even a strand of her Mama's not ask specifics. Only know this was confirmed.

This first week, we are simply observing her mannerisms and personality. She is very observant and likes to know what is going on around her. She smiles and laughs when you make sounds. She is ticklish on her ribs and tummy. She loves dangling from Geri in the Baby Bjorn. She still closes her eyes and cringes when I try to give her a smack on the lips (that's ok. I'm used to that dramatic reaction). Evidently she likes to tinkle when we take off her diapers. This has happened twice at night during diaper changes (2 different beds), and last night all over my jeans and shirt as I was about to put her in the bath with Geri.

Today is extremely icy, and I am thankful we are all "buttoned up" at home. Cold outside and warm inside always makes for a good combination. Don't you think?
For some perspective, I wanted to post this picture of Benny. He was Everlie's age when this was taken. We certainly have beautiful children. People might quickly realize that our kids are adopted (at least when I walk in the room, and they put 2 and 2 together), but my heart makes no distinction as to their genetics. I look at them and love them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Monday, February 18, 2008

First Bath With Benny

Ahhh...these were the good times. Daddy and daughter finally "home". Home being room 1506 at the Seokyo Hotel. She was having a blast and smiling (ie: this picture), until she started looking around for (am am sure) Mrs. Go. She looked at me and started mother like daughter (that was a joke). Everlie finally got settled, and we both slumbered off until morning. The plane ride wasn't exactly a breeze, but she did exceptionally well. Many thanks to the KAL flight attendents and crew. At one point, she had 5 hovering around competing for her attention.


These pictures were of when I was leaving Holt with Everlie. Everlie's foster family was gracious enough to offer me a ride back to the hotel. The first picture is of Ms. Lee watching as we were leaving. She did much legwork during the adoption process. The last pictures are of her foster family (mother, father, daughter), along with a friend who translated for us.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Home At Last

Thank you Kelly, Aaron, Grace and Jonah! We landed safe and sound yesterday afternoon, and Kelly did a wonderful job taking these pictures. After a somewhat sleepless night for Everlie...consequently everyone else, we finally went to sleep at 3 a.m.

Everlie is adjusting wonderfully, and seems to love the plentiful attention from Benny...who keeps showing her how the siren works on his new Korean toy car.

Through it all, we must thank Mr. Shin and Mrs. Go who took care of Everlie from July 3rd until Valentines Day. They are wonderful Christians, who attend a small (22 member) Baptist church in Seoul. Their main prayers were that Everlie was healthy and her family was Christian. Those prayers are answered.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Seeing the city

Here are April and Jasmine. They were my Holt volunteer guides, and are some of Seoul's best ambassadors. We are at the gates of the Korean Folk Village. At the village there were traditional games you could play. One such game involved throwing 3 multi-sided sticks, with writing on them. Depending on how they landed, a wall chart would reveal your fortune for the year. Based on my throw, I would be in trouble, a good friend would help me solve my trouble, and I would have a wonderful year after that. We then tried the Korean version of washers. It is played with blunt arrows that you try to throw into rings elevated off the ground. Needless to say, we were all bad shots.

Here are some of my favorite pics of Everlie that her foster family provided.
Care to know what Everlie sounds like? Evidently she only cries when she absolutely needs something (change her diaper, hungry), otherwise she is extremely good natured and reportedly laid-back. I would have to agree. In this video she was a bit hungry.

I have tried to upload a video and more pictures, but the wireless networks I am trying to piggyback off of are not strong enough. I'll keep trying.

Today Holt provided 2 volunteer tour guides, April and Jasmine, to take me throughout the city. It was nice to have extended conversations in English. Both were sweet girls and helped explain alot about the sights and places we visited. Pictures to follow.

The highlight was meeting back at Holt for Everlie's final medical examination. She is in great shape. It seemed that everyone there wanted to get her attention and hold her. What can I say, she is beautiful! This must have been the official check-up day, as there were other foster mothers/kiddos waiting for their checkups. If it weren't illegal, I would grab the other kids and make a break for it.

I am anxious to be home and be together as a family. Tomorrow night is my first night with Everlie. Only 1 night, then we wake up to head to Incheon Airport Friday morning.

Highlights of the day:

Holding Everlie.

Having a great tour, and meeting 2 wonderful people in the process.

Going to the top of Seoul Tower to see the city unfold beneath me.

"Going" at the top of Seoul Tower. ie: using the proclaimed highest bathroom in Seoul.

Kissing Everlie.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It was a long, painful walk to Holt yesterday afternoon. The biting cold was penetrating through my face and hands, but my heart was warm. I don't like to be late for anything, so it seemed natural to get to the offices 1/2 hour early. After all, Benny arrived at the hotel WAY earlier than what we had anticipated. Not the case yesterday. The family was prompt.

Everlie is small, cute and has crazy hair. Like her brother, she has a funny personality. The foster family said she was "laid back". Perfect. Just what Geri had been praying for. She doesn't cry, unless she is wet or is hungry. She sleeps until 8am. The catch is that she goes to bed @ 11pm.

The foster family is wonderful. He is a meterologist with the state. They were nervous before the meeting, because they feared Everlie was not going into a Christian home. Now they are happy. Their faith is very important, as he preaches at a small (22 people) Baptist Church. They love Everlie and prayed fervently she would be healed from her heart murmur. She was their 2nd foster child. According to the interpreter (the girl at the far right in the picture), they cried a week, and mourned when the first girl left for Michigan. It will be the same this time around. Everlie was truly part of their immediate family and Church family. They had a going away party and requested Geri and I send back video for them to show at church. This is a small price. They presented me with several pictures and videos documenting her life. Tomorrow they are supposed to give me a huge photo album

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seoul Man

Greetings from Seoul. Just about the only "plus" to being a light sleeper is that travel across the globe is a snap. I took a 20 minute nap somewhere over Russia before making our final Westerly turn across the Korean peninsula.

Everyone on the plane wanted to try and sleep. They even committed the travel sin (at least in my book)..closing the window shades. I eventually relented, but had to peek out occasionally depending on where the onboard GPS had us flying over. When over Alaska, I had to look at the beautiful mountains. When North of the Bearing Sea, I had to try and spot the water. When over Russia, I had to take a picture ot it's vastness. When we were flying West of Japan, I took a peak outside at the ocean and wondered if this was appx the place where Jimmy Doolittle led his bomber boys into China, after bombing Japan for the first time since Pearl Harbor. Not to disappoint my wife, I had to get a little WWII spin on this trip.

Here in Seoul, the city is bursting at the terms of tall buildings, as well as people. This morning I took a brisk stroll to the Holt offices, in order to get my bearings. After that, I was on my way to the subway. Seoul's subway is a bit complicated, but no more difficult than NYC, London or Paris. There's plenty of English on the signs. As I say, the city is bursting with people, but I do not feel alone, nervous or otherwise. I like to explore. There are 10-12 million people in the metro area, but I only have eyes for one. I meet her tomorrow at 2:30pm Seoul time.

We'll, off to do a bit of shopping and sightseeing. Did I mention the toilets have heated seats, and (I presume from the drawings on the unit) a built-in drying fan for your posterior?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

With a NY Giants win, the underdogs rule the NFL roost tonight. The speculation of a "tainted" year for the Patriots was underdoggedly (if that is a word) put to rest by the Giants.

If the Broncos can't be there, why not an underdog sweeping the legs out of the favorites. I didn't have a vested interest in the game tonight, but have a slight interest in the sidebar stories to come. I like the story of the Manning's. I like the fact that Michael Strahan has a big gap between his front, middle teeth...sometimes I catch myself thinking that Randy Moss needs a Super Bowl ring (he probably is a nice guy, despite his past), I even somehow wish that Jr. Seau could have tasted victory (even though he was a Bronco divisional opponent for years). Whatever team won tonight, there are some great human interest stories from either team to come. Each player and support staff from both teams undoubtedly has a good story.

With the Giant's win, there is a dimished case of the mindless wonk discussions on sports radio, debating why the Patriots deserve to be the "best" over the '72 Dolphins. Despite a tightly-contested game within the moments of Super Bowl 42, my absolute joy was seeing Benny run around downstairs making speeches on top of his blocks, dancing to Tom Petty, rocking on his zebra-horsie, turning on and off the TV (to his Daddy's dismay), climbing and laughing through the blue play tunnel, and sitting on Daddy's lap watching a great 4th quarter comeback touchdown. Benny doesn't get NFL football, but one thing he does "get" is our absolute love for him. Of course another thing he will get is his Daddy's insistence that he becomes a Bronco fan. There's always next year, right?

If Everlie is like her mother, she won't care. That is what makes life fun. We're not all the same.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

As John Denver said, "I'm leaving on a jet plane". The difference between that song and the next few weeks is that I know when I'll be back again. We got the call yesterday afternoon.