Friday, June 29, 2007


One evening while I was trying to get dinner done and Miss Lilah was hanging out in her bumbo and getting a little fussy I handed her a bag of cheese to keep her occupied. As I begin to notice her drooling profusely ALL over the bag, I decided it was time to take it back. The minute I took it back she started screaming like a wild woman. I quickly handed the cheese back and she was happy as a clam. Now in the evenings when I'm trying to get dinner done the cheese is often given out to help soothe my little angel till we're done cooking. Who knew she'd love a bag of cheese so much? We buy all kinds of toys, and my kid loves a bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lilah's First Trip to the Beach

On Wednesday we took Lilah for her very first trip to the beach! We didn't go for an all out day, we just drove over on a whim and wanted to stick her feet in the warm Pacific. She fell asleep en route to the beach, so we had a sleepy baby when we arrived. She didn't mind the sand on her feet as long as you were holding her and not making her sit down in it. I've posted the pictures in the order of her reaction. You can see where Bill is leaning her over closer to the water and she's looking back like, " I don't think I like this," Then when her feet are in the cold sand she says, "Yeah, I don't like it" Then the water hits her toes, and she says, "I definitely don't like it, get me outta here." Although she didn't love the water, she still loved it. I'm hoping over the weekend to take her to the pool for a little dip in her bikini.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


For those of you who don't know me well, I am a very big Georgia Bulldogs Fan! No, I didn't go to the University of Georgia, I'm a Georgia Southern girl, but I have loved the bulldogs since I was a little girl. It was a huge family rivalry since my step dad Jerry loves the Gators, and we have had so much fun teasing each other through the years, and still do. But Thuy has been given her very first Georgia Bulldogs t-shirt by Aunt Kathryn, known as Kat Balou, and Uncle Lance! It is one of my favorite baby gifts. They originally bought it for Quynh, but we know she wouldn't have minded letting her little sister Thuy wear it! Thanks again you two!

Mahalo Aunt Kathryn & Uncle Lance

Aunt Kathryn & Uncle Lance sent Thuy a great big gift box with lots of goodies. She's sporting her Augusta Master's bib and Georgia Bulldog pacifier holder for all of you to ooh and aww over. I think its just adorable. They even sent me a Georgia Bulldog scrub top for work. So Thuy's all ready to root for the Georgia Bulldogs this fall.
Sorry to Aunt Liz and Aunty Melissa & Olivia, but I put all the stuff up from the great goody boxes you sent before Thuy arrived. But Thuy's certainly enjoying Aunt Liz's beautiful quilt and Aunty Melissa's bumbo every single day.


Drumroll please...... yes, we have given her a first name, Lilah. Its the same name we were batting around the entire time, I guess we just needed enough time to make sure we got it right. Thanh Thuy (pronounced like Tan Twee) is the Vietnamese name given by her birth mother. Our family in VN told us that Thanh with the Thuy makes the name extra special. They said it is a VERY nice Vietnamese name and we would be taking away from it if we left Thuy all alone. Plus the nice thing is Thanh is part of Oma's name as well. So that way it gives honor to her birth mother and Oma too, the best of both worlds. I think on legal paper we'll combine Thanh Thuy to Thanhthuy, so that she legally has only 3 names. I just think its way to confusing to have 4 names when it comes to SAT's, legal forms, etc. One of the other families we traveled with was doing this also, and we thought it was a great idea. So thanks Chi & Wim for the idea.

I love this picture of Thuy asleep on her daddy chest on father's day. Thuy got Bill a very nice picture and frame as well as a bag full of his favorite local snacks like smoked squid.

The other picture is how we eat dinner every single night. Thuy sits in her bumbo while we eat. This way she can see us and we can see her, but we can use both our hands to eat, but one person does have drool duty, (wiping her face with a dry cloth when the drool gets heavy). The other day when we finished dinner we noticed she had drool all under her right leg in the bumbo..... daddy had drool duty that night. :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thuy loves pizza

Thuy is a definite slobber box. Yes, I realize all kids slobber, but she slobbers so much we have to carry a rag around with us all the time to wipe up the slobber. Oma bought me 20 rags from VN and i'm beginning to wonder if that's enough. No she's not teething, not a tooth appears to be in sight. She just slobbers and loves to chew on her hands, our hands, her rag, her toys, whatever she can get in her mouth. I was holding her up over my head yesterday playing and a big thing of slobber went right into my eye.

Yesterday we were eating pizza for lunch. I let her suck on the back of the crust and she loves it. If you could have heard all the sucking she was doing on the bread. Yes I know a almost 5 month old should not be eating pizza,.... she was just sucking on the bread and enjoying herself thoroughly.

Tomorrow is Bill's first father's day and i'm very excited! Since we just got back I didn't have much time to plan. I got him a cute frame with a picture of Thuy as well as a card from Thuy that says something about "though we've just started, I love you so much already." It's a perfect card. I also got the makings for his favorite mexican breakfast in the morning as a surprise. I'll be using your recipe Liz.

So let me say Happy Father's Day to Opa, Papa, Daddy Jack, & Daddy Jerry. Wish I could be there to celebrate with you all. As a new parent myself I can all the more appreciate all the love and work you've given me and Bill our entire lives. Thank you, we love you!

Thuy meets Bynx & Barabus

We are a few days into being at home now and things are going well. Its been difficult to adjust to the time zones, but Thuy now seems to be doing better than us. The first day we felt a little like, "what do we do now." Its hard to go back to your "regular/old" life with a new baby. How do I find time to do all the things I normally do and take good care of her, especially when she likes to be held so much?

Well we are starting to find a new "regular" life and its quite wonderful. We just started trying today to write down when she eats and sleeps to figure out some sort of schedule. I am now able to predict the morning nap, so we're making some progress. And Tuesday we have our first visit with our pediatrician.

The first day at home Thuy hated every single chair or toy I put her in. She wouldn't stay in anything longer than a minute or two. But i've learned she's usually happiest in the mornings. So I try to put her in things like her bouncy chair first thing in the morning, and every day she seems to like it just a little bit more.

The biggest hit thus far is her Bumbo seat. Thank you very much Melissa, Scott, Maddox, & Olivia! I love the way she looks in it with her little feet sticking out. She stays in the bumbo longer than she'll stay in anything else. If she's happy before I put her in it, i'll be able to get breakfast made and almost finish eating before she's ready to get out. This is quite an improvement.

Here's 2 pictures of Thuy meeting her 2 rabbit ts Bynx & Barabus. We sat her in the bumbo outside near them while we fed them. At first she found them quite interesting and then they got a little too close and she wasn't so crazy that. Her favorite way to view them is from our arms. I guess I can understand her apprehension, they're almost the same size as her.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Aunty Andrea & Uncle Abel

Yesterday we were picked up from the airport by our dear friends Abel & Andrea, they both work in the Neuro ICU with me at Queen's. They greeted all 3 of us with lots of leis. And Thuy was very excited to get her very first lei's. She had very cute little baby leis and they all smelled delicious. She couldn't quite figure them out and tried to eat them, but she really liked them.
Here in Hawaii one of the things I love the most is kids call everyone Aunty or Uncle, even if they are not your aunt or uncle. I'm from GA originally and little kids would call me Mrs. Amanda, but here in Hawaii little kids call us Aunty Amanda and Uncle Bill, its so nice, I really love it. So here's shots of Thuy's first meeting with Aunty Andrea & Uncle Abel. Usually she's pretty serious with new people but she loved them both immediately and gave lots of smiles and coos to both of them.
We had a little trouble with the car seat. We couldn't figure out how to extend the straps to get her arms in. Bill had to get out the manual, but don't worry we got it figured out.... what new parents we are, right? I thought she'd hate the whole ride home in the seat but she actually did quite well. When we got home to our suprise Andrea along with 2 other co-workers, Juliet & KJ, had came in and cleaned our home. So much had been left in a mess due to the construction. And Mama Wong had dinner in the fridge for us. It was all so nice and thoughtful of them, i'm lucky to know such wonderful special people. Thank you to you all.
Thuy is having a little trouble changing time zones. She didn't go to bed till 0500 am. And them Marcus our friend working on our home was here around 0800, not much sleep for us. But hopefully it'll only take us a few days to get her on Hawaii time. She seems to be doing very well at home. She's relaxed and seems to understand this is a comfortable safe place to be. And she slept in her crib very well. Her crib mattress will vibrate for 15 minutes and she really seems to like that. It gives her that little something she needs to go to sleep. We are starting to transition her to Similac today from her VN formula Dielac, so hopefully all will go well.
In short, we're happy to be home. Just wish I could blink my eyes and be unpacked!

We're Back

We made it back!!! Our total commute time 28 hours counting our super long 13 hour layover in Korea. We left our hotel on Tuesday at 14:00 in VN and went around Hanoi with Mom visiting some relatives we hadn't had a chance to visit yet. We had to buy an extra suitcase in order to accommodate all the gifts we bought. We then went to our Aunty's and had dinner and relaxed until time for our flight. We got to the Hanoi airport around 22:30. Thuy woke up just as we were going onto the flight. You could just see in her little face that she was scared and couldn't quite figure out what exactly was going on. All the beeps of the cabin like the seat belt sign and the overhead speaker really confused her. She was looking all around trying to figure it out. And then the crying began. She cried for a good little bit, but Korean airlines gave us our bassinet and as soon as we put her in it she went to sleep.
At the airport in Seoul they have a hotel in the airport. We rented a room for the 12 hours and were able to take naps, watch a movie, and the time really passed quickly. Bill and I even got to take a shower and refresh a little bit. Thuy did much better on her second flight. She was still really nervous when we first got on, but not as bad. I've found she can get very overwhelmed when situations change and there's lots of new people especially when they are packed in close around us on a flight. Whenever we go anywhere new she typically doesn't smile much and gets very quite, she has to take it all in and figure it out before she'll start being her regular happy baby self.
We arrived back in Honolulu around 10:30. It took a while to get through customs. They go over all your paperwork, but we met 2 other families who had just arrived from China with their new babies. Which was very nice. It was so exciting to bring Thuy home to the states. I whispered in her ear how much she was going to love it here and how we'd support her in all her dreams to help make them come true!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I do have a serious side

Sometimes its hard to take a picture of a baby smiling, as soon as I put the camera down she's laughing again, so here's a few shots of her more serious side.

A Rose By Any Other Name is Still a Rose

Everyone has been asking me what have we decided to name Thuy. Everyone thinks we've been keeping it a big secret. But the big secret is we still can't decide I'm very sad to say. Bill and I just can't come to an agreement. If you know both of us personally you could see how this could happen. We both want to choose a name we both like and so far no names fit the Bill.

In my defense, we had a beautiful name for our first baby, Elizabeth Quynh, and we were going to call her Quynh, but we lost her and her name when she passed away. So we had to start over. So although our entire adoption has taken 9 months, we have only had the news of Thuy's arrival in the last few months. So we haven't had the time to really say a name enough times to make sure we like it. A name is forever and we want to get it right.

I really really wanted the beautiful adoption announcements they have here in Vietnam, but we decided the perfect name is more important than perfect announcements. So she will be arriving in Hawaii as Thuy (Twee) and hopefully her ridiculous parents will get their act together soon and come up with a name as beautiful as she is.

Ha Long Bay

No post in last few days due to Internet problems again. But when I last left you we were headed to Ha Long Bay. If you are a WC family and would like to go during your time in VN, let the staff know and they can coordinate for you for about $35/person. Our Mom got our cousin who lives here to rent a 12 passenger van for us and he took us up to Ha Long Bay. Our trip was around $25/person. 3 World Child Families went including us and Mom.

We had a great time. We rented a boat that had 2 decks for a 6 hour boat tour. The tour started with a stop at a cave aka grotto. It's a short climb up some steps for a nice cool walk through the grotto. It was great and the cool air was what we enjoyed the most. Then we were off for more touring. We stopped at a floating dock that had seafood you could buy fresh (still alive), you just choose what you want and your boat crew cooks it up for you. At the start of your ship you can let the crew know you'd like them to prepare lunch. They make fish, squid, shrimp, crab, and some good vegetables.

Then they took us to the beach, oh how great it was to get in the water. I didn't pack my swimsuit since our hotel didn't have a pool, but I bought one at the beach for $8. It wasn't that cute but oh so worth it to cool off a little in the water. The beach was my favorite part of the entire trip. 4 of us had to buy swimsuits, but it was so worth it.

It was such a hot day. I stripped down Thuy on the boat to her bloomers and nothing else. It was just so hot. The VN on the boat probably thought I was an awful mother for letting her go without being all covered up, but I didn't care it was just so hot. Oma got cold rags and we'd put them on her head to cool her off. Everyone else stripped down their babies too.

Overall it was a great day and highly suggested if you have the time. There was a big storm here on Sunday night and ever since then the weather has been so much better.

Big news in adoption land is we got Thuy's Visa yesterday, so she's all ours!!! We are leaving Tuesday night for Hawaii. It will take us around 26 hours to get home. That's counting the 13 hour lay over in Korea, yuck. But flights on leave for Hawaii late at night and only arrive in Korea from VN very early, hence our problem. They airline told me so many people honeymoon in Hawaii that's why all the flights leave late.

I'm a little anxious about the long plane ride. And Thuy's had a lot of gas lately making her cry, (sure she'd love that I shared that), so I hope all goes well. But in the wise words of our pediatrician Brian Tanabe, "Just remember on a plane, when your baby's crying & crying, you'll never see those people again."

Friday, June 8, 2007


Just wanted to say I love my sling. I researched these forever before I bought one. I just wasn't sure if i'd like it or really use it. Some moms like them, some hate them, some moms told me she'd be too big to like it by the time I got her. Bill even said I'd never use it. And one friend said it was way too much of a hippy look.

But I just loved the way they look and wanted to try. There are so many slings to choose from. Many that are more and less expensive than mine. I went with sprout pouch because I loved the fabric and its reversible and i can return it after 30-60 days if I don't like it and its still in good condition with only a $4 reshelving fee. That's much more reasonable than other sling return policies.

But Thuy and I really like it. Of course it gets hot if we wear it more then 2-3 hours in the Hanoi heat, but so does the Bjorn. And when she's asleep and we've got to go somewhere this is an easy way to let her finish her nap when I don't have a car seat or anything. And I find people don't bug her quite as much when she's in the sling.

I do like having the Bjorn and the sling. Both are very useful. Of course Bill wouldn't want to wear the sling. But its easy to fold up in my baby bag for whenever I need it.

Just wanted to share. I was always glad to hear what people liked and disliked with their baby products. This picture here is of us today at the embassy. We just got our approval. Thuy slept right through all the good news!

Thuy's out on the town

Today's lovely outfit was brought to you by Olivia, 9 months old adopted from Vietnam in February, and her wonderfully sweet Mommy Melissa. Thank you so much. Thuy was a hit all day in her tennis dress and we added a leopard print bow to the top of her head!
We headed off this morning to the Museum of Ethnology with 2 other World Child families. Our cousin took all of us in his car, it was tight but cozy. The museum was really great. Lots of information on the 54 minorities of Vietnam. My favorite was seeing the cultural outfits of the different groups and learning about the musical instruments and ancestral shrines in their homes.
Thuy is Nung as I've mentioned before. Nung people are known to wear dark indigo clothing. Not as colorful as the Dao people who wear red, but still very beautiful. Where I am confused is that Thuy's birth mom wore a bright red/green almost plaid type of blouse with matching head wrap to the G&R. I can't seem to find any picture of Nung people wearing this type of attire. I don't know if maybe her dress was for special occasions or something. I also learned there are several type of Nung, and I'm not sure which one Thuy is, I'll ask Thuy's birth mother when I write to her in the future. Tonight we did buy Thuy a beautiful velvet piece of clothing in the same Indigo color the Nung wear, our inspiration was the colorful pieces of clothing we saw today.
The museum was hot although we got up early to get started as soon as possible in order to beat the heat. The babies were a little cranky but so was I. Thuy is definitely an A/C princess now. Outside at the museum they had housing that represented different groups that you could walk through. It was really neat and a definite must see in Hanoi.
And while at the Museum we got our call from Martin.....WE GOT OUR APPROVAL FROM THE US EMBASSY TODAY!!!!! Yeah, so that means the US agrees for us to bring Thuy back to the states. So we had our second interview with the embassy today at 1400 and all went quite well. We got our yellow card and all we need now is our Visa and we're ready to go home! Four of the 6 families have gotten their approval. 2 more are still waiting, but hopefully Monday for them. Thuy's Visa should be ready at 16:00 on monday. So we'll be leaving hopefully late Tuesday night and getting back to Hawaii wednesday. I can't believe we're almost done. But I'm staying flexible and not getting my heart set on any return dates till I have that visa in my hand.
When we got back from the embassy Mom took one of the other families out shopping for jade and Bill went to change our airline tickets and buy one for Thuy. Yes, you have to buy a ticket for the baby on an international flight. Its 10% of our ticket cost. But they do give you a bassinet for the baby to sleep in which is quite nice. And Thuy and I spent time together at the hotel just us girls. It was nice. I love trying to find new ways to make her smile. Today I found pressing the left side of her belly makes her laugh.
We then went to Aunty's for dinner as usual and then Mom walked us around the neighborhood to say hello to some people she knows and to show off Thuy of course. Thuy was pretty hot and grumpy by the end but a very good sport. Mom had some very nice friends that gave Thuy a gold bracelet and another friend who gave her a silver bangle for the ankle.
Then we left for the water puppet show. If you ever go to VN you must see the water puppets. Its an ancient cultural activity. Of course very touristy now, but a must see and tickets are only $1.50- $2.50. We were bragging how good Thuy had been through all the running around all day, then about 1 minute before the show started she began to cry. We had bad seats in the middle of the room in the middle of a very long isle. She was crying so loudly an attendant came to get us. Everyone was very nice, and smiled, but I'm sure they thought "get that crying baby outta here." She said we could sit on an isle, but we just decided to leave. Bill and i had quite a good giggle over the whole ordeal. She had just had too big of a day. We went ahead and bought tickets again for sunday afternoon, but this time in the front row. So we can slip out if we need to, and Thuy won't feel so overwhelmed and crowded by so many people in front of her. The seats were so small our knees were hitting the seats in front of us.. and we're not all that tall.
So tomorrow, our cousin rented a car for us and he's driving us up to Halong Bay tomorrow with the same 2 families we went with to the Museum today. It is should be very beautiful and quite a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I weigh 12 lbs, 5 lbs are my cheeks!!!

Today we had our visit to the SOS clinic. The taxis were late picking us up, over 30 min late, so our coordinator Kim had us flag down 2 cabs from the street. She went in one cab with a family, while we and another family shared a different cab. We got dropped off at the clinic and we waited, waited, and waited, and the group with our coordinator never showed up. And it was so hot and we didn't see the words SOS anywhere. We looked like we were at the health clinic for the general VN population. So we used the very useful cell phone from Ed & Peggy to call the coordinators to find out what the problem was. And yes we were in the wrong place. So we flagged another cab and off we went to the SOS. We were only an hour behind. Come to find out we were only 1 block away from where we should have been. We could have walked, but we didn't know where we were going. Our coordinator reprimanded the cab driver for his poor performance. But all went well and it wasn't a big deal. The clinic was very nice and the doctor and nurse were very pleasant. Thuy got a good bill of health. She weighs 12 lbs which we were suprised at. We were both guessing around 10 lbs. And she was around 59 inches along. And she was so good through all the measuring and the exam. She didn't cry at all. What a good girl!
This is another cute outfit from her Oma. Doesn't she look sweet. Oma bought 2 outfits for $3.40. They're nice and thin for the VN weather. ( Hope you like it Liz, Lauren has one too). And this is a picture of Enlaya, a fellow crib mate from Lang Son. She had her medical today too. Her parents are from Germany.
Tomorrow morning we hope to go to the ethnology museum. But we're going to go early to try to avoid the heat. We did a good bit of shopping today and had a lot of fun. 2 Families already got their CIS approval, but we weren't one of them. We're crossing our fingers for tomorrow. Although I do hope to have a bowl of Pho with Donna & Phoebe Jade if they arrive before we leave!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

How Cute Am I?

Oma got Thuy a new cute embroidered outfit. Oma and Aunty are really talented hagglers. Liz I hope you like it because Lauren has one too. So now not only do you and I always get matching gifts, now Thuy & Lauren will too. I know Cindy and I got matching gifts our whole lives. Lauren's looks just like this minus the stain.

After all the boy or girl questions I got when she was sporting her dog t-shirt, it reminded me of the little hair bows I had brought for Thuy (although I don't have red one). But this morning we thought we'd try it out and I thought it looked adorable. The only problem was it was really hard trying to keep it in!

And I know from our pictures she looks so chubby, her face really is or the cheeks at least, but she's now 4.5 months old and the 3-6 month outfits I brought are a little big. The 3 month outfits fit her best. Most of the other babies are even slimmer than Thuy. So keep that in mind for those of you packing. I had always thought from her cheeks she'd be pretty chubby, but she's still pretty small, just well proportioned and so lovable of course!

Two Clowns

If Thuy could have a voice of her own, I hope she would say, these two clowns (Mom & Dad) are starting to get the hang of it. We are starting to learn what makes her laugh. She loves raspberries on her chubby neck and on her belly and she likes the funny thing we do with our hands to grab her. And she loves when you talk to her in certain ways. Making her laugh is so much fun.

And we're starting to understand some of the cries. I now can recognize the I'm very tired cry. And last night she slept in the crib again. She woke up several times, I picked her up, snuggled for just a few minutes, then she was right back to sleep. And I now know the cry with tears in it means somethings really wrong, like hungry, wet, scared, etc. The no tears, means I just want to be held or you're not holding me the way I want to be held.

This morning Bill went and picked up her Vietnamese passport. Tomorrow morning we're getting picked up from the hotel at 07:45 to take her for her medical exam. I'm excited to find out how much she weighs.

And it is SOOOOOO HOT! Today Bill and Thuy stayed indoors while me, Oma, and Aunty went to do a little shopping. I was dripping sweat in a matter of seconds. (For those of you about to travel, be sure to bring light weight clothing. And don't over pack. We only packed enough clothes for a week and we do laundry at a place just outside the hotel. Its usually $1-2 per kilo). On our outing today we found the VN version of subway. So we ordered some sandwiches with Vietnamese bologna, a lot like Bale sandwich shop in Hawaii, and they were quite delicious. At times I'm starting to find myself noodled out and ready for a coke with ice and maybe some french fries.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Year of the Dog

My sister Liz sent Thuy this cute little t-shirt that says Year of the Dog. Thuy is a Dog for the chineese/Vietnamese calender. On the back if you can't read it, it says, "Loves attention, very loving and cuddley, but sometimes can be a cry baby, very loyal, especially to Mom." I think its so adorable. She got it from Red Envelope I believe. The only problem was when she was wearing it everyone kept asking if she was a boy or a girl. I guess the red confused them. I should have put a bow in her hair.
She was such a good baby all day today. We ran her all over town doing errands with Oma and our family here in VN then met up with the group this afternoon to go to the embassy for our first interview. They informed us the paperwork will now go to Ho Chi Min City to be approved and if no problems, it comes back, then we will schedule the second embassy interview. The second interview should be fairly short and simple with just some paperwork to sign. Then we'll apply for our visas which should take approximately 24 hours. So after the second interview we should be on our way home in 24-48 hours. But they did tell us today it may take 10 to 14 days till the paperwork returns from Saigon. Good news is that will give us plenty of time to do some things like possibly go to HaLong Bay, Sa Pa, museums, etc. The bad news is we may be getting home a little later than we thought. We're flying Korean airlines and had our return for next wednesday, but we'll just change them. We have tickets that allow us to change dates with no charge. We checked on this specifically before we left. We booked straight through the airlines and didn't use a travel agent because when we talked to several travel agents they all told us once we were in VN and needed to change dates we'd just call the airline directly anyway, so we cut out the middle man to save some hassle.
I now have caught Thuy's cold. And so has one of the other Mom, not Thuy's cold, but her own baby's cold. I feel rather lousy, so I now know why Thuy was so fussy these last few days. I'd be more fussy if I thought it would help. But Thuy's nasal drainage and cough is getting much better. Another thing not to forget is a bulb suction and nasal spray for your baby. Lots of the kids have a cold. So a few drops in each nostril to loosen up the yuck then use the bulb sxn.
Several of the families asked Bill come to check their kids. So he's been the doctor on call. All the kids look great, except for the cold of course. I will say Thuy looks so healthy, I'm so happy with the love and care she received at the Lang Son orphanage. She doesn't have any scabies, diaper rash, bug bites, or anything. She looks perfect minus the scratch she got on her nose with us and a little forhead acne. She takes after me with the breakouts I guess.
This afternoon after the interviews we stopped by the Trang Tien book store and purchased a book on ethnic minorities of VN with some great pictures. And a few blocks away in another book store I found quite a few VN books with English and VN. I bought ones that covered colors, alphabet, numbers, and shapes. They are cute and Oma read through the vegetable book with me to help me with the pronounciations.
Tomorrow we are meeting with Martin at 10:00 am to go to pick up Thuy's Vietnamese passport that we had expedited. Then hopefully we'll be able to get squeezed in this week for her medical exam at the SOS clinic. And we're possibly thinking of renting a van this weekend for our cousin to drive us and some of the other families up to Ha Long Bay.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yesterday Was Hard

Yesterday we awoke to a grumpy baby. one minute she was smiling and happy and the next minute she was crying and angry. She even cut her nose somehow in her sleep. We think it was her bracelet when she was rubbing her face. Her cold has gotten worse, tons of junk in her nose, she's coughing a lot, and Bill looked in one of her ears and it looks like there's some fluid and a little angry. So our baby was not happy yesterday at all. Nothing would please her and there was lots of crying. At one point I put her in the Bjorn and just starting straightening up the room and eventually she passed out. He's the picture of her sacked out in the Bjorn. But through all the tears, we made it.

We did a little shopping and she was a great shopper. Very content to look at everything around here. And the walk back to the hotel knocks her out like a light. I told Bill next time we can't get her to sleep we should just walk her around the streets of Hanoi.

Initially I have been trying to dress her in long pants and shirts to follow what everyone has told me about the local culture liking the baby to be covered. But its been so hot and she gets so sweaty in the sling or when we're holding her while we're out and about. So yesterday I just ran her around town in her Hawaiian onesie. I only had only one person tell me to cover her up. But in my opinion she was much happier in her cooler duds. But I have found keeping her in something a little warm in the room has helped her adjust to the air conditioned living. But I can tell she's already acclimating well to the posh live of A/C. When we're out and about and she's sweating she can get quite grumpy like her Mama!

Last night we got her to sleep in her crib!!! Yeah!!!! We let her put herself to sleep which took about 4 minutes of crying. But she did great. And she slept through the entire night. I of course woke up a million times to make sure she wasn't suffocating or something like that and she did need the blanket put back on a few times, but she woke up a new baby today! Much Much happier than yesterday! I had a tough time letting her settle herself for those 4 minutes. Even cried a little myself, but while we waited Bill had me read a book about letting babies settle themselves. So we made a deal, if she was upset for more than 5 minutes than I could go get her. And our little one got herself to sleep in 4 minutes. We'll see how tonight goes. Early this morning when she started to wake up, I picked her up and we got to share our special snuggle time. So everybody wins!

For those about to travel soon, a few thoughts from us: Things to pack, she is a big drooler. A lot of the packing list said bring 2 bibs, which I'm sure is plenty for lots of babies, but for our little slober box I wish I had brought 10. But we did buy some more here in Hanoi. I've found the velcro or snap type are better than the one that tie, they don't strangle her as much. And as for the Advent Tempo bottles we're using with liners has proved very useful. We brought 2. We brought the nipples for a 1 month old and 3 month old. The 3 month nipple is defiantly too fast for her and makes her choke. Anytype of little vibrating portable chair would be nice too. We have a travel lounger but it doesn't vibrate and she hates it. But i think if it vibrated she'd really like it. The Bjorn has been great and a brought a sling too. I used it yesterday for the first time and she seemed to really like it until she got too hot. But the bjorn gets hot too, but they'r all quite useful.

That's all for now. We applied for our passport yesterday and they should be ready next monday. And we have our embassy interview today at 13:30. Sometimes I have as much trouble deciding what Thuy should wear as what I should wear. I think today something cute for her interview!

Thuy says hello to everyone or chao, not sure if she's babbling VN or English! :-)

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Thuy likes to blog

Through this adoption process I have become addicted to my computer. Bill says I used to tell him to turn off the sports and let's talk more, but ever since all the Yahoo groups and blog came into my life he gets a lot more sports time. I've had several friends asking if I'd keep up with the blog when our adoption was complete. I told them I'd play it by ear and see how things went. I was sure I'll be quite busy with Thuy. But as you can see she is a good blogging pal.

She does still hate to take a bath. The entire process brings her to tears. I hope this will improve, bath time is something that should always be fun. My nieces Norah & Katie love bath time and I hope eventually Thuy will too.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


See our little Thuy asleep with her ugly baby. Oma (grandma) gets all these toys for the grand kids from the local thrift store that she works at. She's been trying to get dolls that look asian especially for Thuy. But this one she brought for Thuy, is quite ugly. But Thuy doesn't seem to mind. Here she is cuddled up with her ugly baby. See her cute little fingers on the baby's shoulders? And here is a picture of her and her crib mate catching up at the Hong Ngoc Hotel.


I told you how our first night, Friday night, was pretty rough with lots of crying and walking and singing and not much sleep. Saturday she was a happy baby all day, as long as you were holding her. Although the minute you put her down she would cry and cry with big tears, but the minute you pick her up she was all better.

But today was a new day!!! Last night the sleeping front was much improved. She still wouldn't sleep in her crib but I was able to let her sleep next to me, and when she woke up she only needed a little patting to calm her. While I still didn't get much sleep with waking so often to pat her back, it was much improved from the screaming and pacing the floor we had to do the night before. We were all so excited this morning on such a big improvement with sleeping. Even today she'll now lay on her back or sit in her baby lounger and play for a little while without needed to be held every second. I really feel she just needed to get used to us. Friday was a really big day with so many changes for her, but I think she's accepting us well and starting to think we're all pretty funny.

Today, Mom's brother who lives in South Vietnam came over to visit with his family and then we all went out to lunch. And last night Thuy went over to her Aunt Nhon & Uncle Phuoc's for dinner and she did great. All the family here in VN are over joyed that Thuy has joined the family. Makes me feel so good that she's got so much love in so many places. Her Aunt Nhon, who I just learned is a fortune teller ,told us that Thuy was a good strong baby, a perfect head and good hears, all adding up to a good life.

Thuy also had a crib mate from the orphanage come over and play today. They had a nice time catching up on all the excitement in their lives. Thuy still has a little bit of a cold, but she still managed to smile and have a good time. And Thuy wanted to be sure I told her good friend Olivia, and Olivia's mommy Melissa, thank you so much for the beautiful silver bracelet. She loves it. And she's proud to wear it for Quynh.

Martin, our coordinator, came over to our room last night. We filled out some paperwork and are scheduled to apply for our passports Monday morning at 0730 and we have our first embassy interview on Tuesday. For those of you not in the adoption circle, we are now 100% Thuy's parents in the eyes of VN, but still have paperwork, a physical at the SOS clinic here, and 2 embassy interviews before we come home in the eyes of the U.S. But we're well on our way.

Friday, June 1, 2007


Gotcha Day went so well, we then came back to the hotel. She took a bottle, took a nap, we put her in the baby lounger and even watched a movie. It all seemed to be going so well. Then about 2300 it all started to change. She started crying and crying and just wouldn't stop. And even when I did get her to sleep by walking, swinging back and forth, singing, patting.... you name it, i'd lay her down and before I even stepped away from her she'd start crying again. She is eating like a newborn, just 1-2 oz every 3 hours. So needless to say we got very little sleep. She wouldn't even go to sleep unless I was holding her. I know that sounds terrible, but it was the only way I could go to sleep by laying her in this one position on top of my chest and then we could both rest a little.

Last night during the night Bill's Mom, (Oma) was up wanting to help, but we really wanted to do it ourselves. We wanted to learn how to soothe her. But about 05:30 this am when she was awake again after such little sleep on my part I was quite happy to have Oma's help. Our cousins then came over at 0700 to take us for VN pancakes. It was so sweet of them to want to see the baby and be so excited and want to take us out to celebrate. We were a little tired so I hope they knew how much we appreciated there kindness. Bill got her in the Bjorn and off we went. Mom's thrift shop bjorn seems to work well. Its old enough that its really soft & comfortable.

We saw some other new families in the hotel and they all said how great their babies slept and what a great night... so much for misery wanting company.

But we awoke to a baby smiling and very happy this morning with no memory of the night. She does already seem to scream the minute we sit her down, but she's had some big life changes in the last 24 hours and I would need lots of snuggling too!




We started our day by meeting in the lobby at 05:30 for our 3 hour bus ride to Lang Son. One more family from New York and New Jersey joined us, so now we were a total 6 families all adopting girls. The hotel packed us a breakfast to go. There was a lot of excitement and anticipation on the bus ride. Bill was nominated by all the parents to make the speech of thanks to the government officials, orphanage officials, birth parents, and caretakers. So he was busy working feverishly to get all his words down, which wasn't easy on the bumpy bus ride.

We arrived to the Justice Department of Lang Son and were taken inside to a large room. Everyone was busy sorting all the packages/gifts we were bringing to give the officials and we noticed some ladies in the room who we all guessed were the birth parents. We were quickly told this was the time we would meet with our birth parents. We would have a few minutes to talk then would be taken to another room for an interview with an official to state it was our wish and the birth mother's wish to continue with this adoption.

At first our birth mother wasn't there, and we were very disappointed, but in just a few minutes she arrived. She was dressed in the local attire of the Nung people and she was quite beautiful and seemed very kind and gracious. We were so thankful to have Mom there to help us translate. They had interpreters for families to use, but it was certainly to our advantage to have our very own interpreter who was personally involved. Thanks to Mom we were able to learn so much more than we would have otherwise. We also were allowed to spend much more time with her than I ever thought we would get to share. We were able to take lots and lots of photos as well as some video, and some very special pictures of her and Thuy. I know in the future Thuy will cherish these photos and all the information we learned. There were some tearful moments in our exchange, but it was wonderful to know Thuy came from a place of love. Her caregiver who had cared for her these last few months was very tearful. It was sad,
but made me feel so good to know Thuy had been loved so well in her early months of life.

We then went in for our interview with the local officials. It was very smooth and relatively simple and Thuy's birth mother attended as well. After all the families finished their interview we had the ceremony. A speech was made by one of the local officials. Each birth family and adopted family stood to be recognized. Bill made the speech via an interpreter. He did very well and I was very proud of him.

We signed the "magic book," that makes everything official in the eyes of Vietnam that we are now officially her parents. We allowed Thuy's birth mom to hold her the majority of the time. It was so important to us to allow her to have as much time as possible with Thuy.

We then loaded up for the hottest 3 hour bus ride ever back to Hanoi. Thuy did great. She napped and barely made a sound. Overall the day could not have been more perfect. I couldn't have asked for it to have gone any better.

So we got her, GOTCHA DAY is over and it was a success. Lots of love to all our families, wish you were here. Happy Birthday Cindy & Jeff, we love you.