Sunday, June 24, 2007
Anyway, our computer likes me today! It's letting me post the entire video we made for Jack to document his homecoming!(The one that includes scenes from the 'delivery room'-ha! ha!)See the top of the right sidebar.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
We started this blog because we wanted family and friends to understand what it’s like to adopt. Once we decided we were adopting, we found that there were people who were curious and asked us all kinds of questions. Then there were also people who wanted to ask about it, but were afraid to or didn’t know where to start or what to ask and so they just said nothing. They seemed uneasy around us all of a sudden. We also didn’t want to bombard uninterested people with our story and so we wanted a place where people could go check out what was going on if they wanted to.
Adopting is such a weird way to become a parent. Everyone understands the pregnant way, but the adopted way….well that’s just strange for some people. Throughout our travels today we had two different sets of people tell me how much Jack looked like me. I just smiled – I mean I guess he does, we have the same coloring. But it was the next comment that made me uneasy. After they said he looked like me, they added “You’d never know he was adopted.” I had to bite my lip so I didn’t respond with, “Why? Is that such a bad thing?” Another conversation happened tonight when a woman, whom I just met tonight btw, asked how old Jack was and then some questions that I couldn't answer. I explained that we've only been together for a short time, that we just brought him home from Russia. The lady proceeded to tell me about other people being infertile. Why is it always assumed that adoption is second best or what people resort to only after they can't have their own? Even with regard to work, technically if it wasn't summer vacation, I would've had to go back this past Monday. My time would be up. If I actually gave birth, I'd have an additional 2-4 weeks paid to spend with Jack. How can this be seen as fair?
I’m finding that adoption has a stigma. Maybe people automatically think about the poor baby whose mother gave him up and feel sorry for him. So many people have told us how lucky he is to have us. He is. But we just as lucky, if not luckier to have him. Adoptive parents have the same feelings towards their children as biological parents. I remember the first time I saw him like it was yesterday. I was in my classroom, the class was gone, and myself and another teacher were leaning over my computer. I remember moving the mouse to click on the picture. But once I saw it, I knew. Erik says he did too. Just like biological parents know the moment they first see their child that their child belongs to them.
The biggest difference, I think, is in the bonding process. When you’re pregnant I think you feel your baby moving and start to attach to that little thing inside. It causes you to stay out of harms way, make better choices, stay safe, and eat healthier when you are pregnant. When the baby comes out, you might even recognize some of his or her movements and remember when he or she did that inside of you. I could be wrong, but I think that the bonding process for biological mothers begins during pregnancy. After birth, you are all the baby knows and he looks to you to continue to supply him food, etc. She recognizes you voice, your smell.
With adoptive children, especially those who have lived in an orphanage, they have been fed by many people. Jack had an entire 11 months of life experiences before joining us. Because of this, there are special measures that have to be taken to assure bonding and attachment takes place. These children have been cared for by so many different caregivers, that many of them have trouble forming attachments and this can lead to many behavior issues later in life.
That’s why we’ve been venturing out slowly. The pediatrition yesterday stressed to me again that's it's most important grandparents stay away because they will want the baby to bond with them. They’ll do things like try to feed him and want to walk around holding him. Jack needs to see us as his sole providers. This has been hard for our parents, but we are so happy they are respecting this need that we have. It makes it harder on us too, because unlike biological parents, we cannot have help from our parents. Not now, anyway. Not yet.
I can see Jack is starting to bond with me. He looks for me when I leave the room and just wants to be held or even just lay down together. He’s different than many other kids his age in this way. He can spend an hour just sitting and having Erik or I rub his back. After our day yesterday, he didn’t want to have anything to do with Erik once he came home from work. I know that Erik felt bad, but this was actually a very good thing. His screaming and crying when Erik picked him up and walked away showed he is attaching to me. It shows that Jack IS ABLE to attach. This is important.
I like our little routine we have going. The past two days Erik has fed him breakfast and played with him while I got a little extra sleep. Jack goes back down around 7:30 for his morning nap, so I get up at 8:30 and can relax and have some coffee, get ready for the day, before waking him up at 9:30. Then we eat and play and go to the gym.
I didn’t plan on going to the gym and using the daycare this early, but I think it’s important for both Jack and I. I need a way to deal with the stress of this adjustment and Jack needs to be around other children. He so misses other kids. The moment I walked in there, he saw the kids, the toys and had a big smile on his face. He also needs to know that I can leave for 45 minutes and that I will always come back. He’s only playing with kids, and not bonding with adults during this time. I don’t leave them any bottles or food for them to feed him. We eat before the gym and after the gym. Anyway, it went so well yesterday, that we went back today. He was more than excited to see the other babies – there can be up to three others in his little room. He was equally as excited 45 minutes later when he saw me walk in. I think it worked out well for both of us. Erik and I watched the old video - the one when we first met him tonight. Both of us commented on how that baby - the baby in the video- Alexander (Jack) in the ophanage - the one that we thought was SO happy even at the orphanage looks sad in comparison to how he looks now. We must be doing something right.
So anyway, we do welcome visitors. It makes the adjustment easier to talk to other people. Grandparents, we’re not ready yet. Sorry. We need him to attach to Erik and be sure he’s attached to me for a little while before he can attach to you. You guys will in time be very important in his life, but for now, well you know.
Once we’ve established our routine a few more days, we’re looking to venture out to other people’s houses/different places with others. Let us know when we can come visit or when you can come visit! We ARE looking forward to seeing you!
Also, I haven’t forgotten about getting that other video up. It shows how we started to become a family in a hotel room.
So I just put little Jack to sleep. Things are going well today. Yesterday, well, it started out a little rough. It was my first day ALONE with him!
Poor Jack woke up teething and with a rash on his butt! The same rash I had on my inner elbow. Right where he sits when I pull him up out of the bath. Who gave it to whom??? Who knows? But I freaked a little thinking it was poison ivy (where he’d get it, who knows…who still thinks grass is creepy!). Anyway, I started to run the bath, set him on the floor, and looked over at this little person with a big smile and puddle surrounding him that was getting bigger and bigger as I starred at him. I guess now we had two reasons for that bath!
The afternoon went much better and I we both made it through. Went to the doctor and Kinkos, the gym and Kroger. Which also made me wonder, will I forever be this nerd who sings as she drives because her baby is crabby? We sang, “Let’s Go Krogering!” the entire time at that the grocery store and then I even made up some song about Kinkos. All I cared about is the baby in the back seat didn’t cry when I sang. So I did! He’s the only person in the world that enjoys my singing!
The doctor’s office went fine. The purpose of the visit was to see if Jack is up to par for his age developmentally. He is for the most part, but as expected, he is small for his age. He’s in the 5th percentile for weight, 55th for height. This is common for children who have spent a significant time in an orphanage.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
We had quite a scare yesterday. We set up his room and introduced Jack to his new crib. He sat in it for a while while we put some clothes away. Then we took him downstairs for lunch and when we went back up for his first nap time in the crib, we found out that the ceiling fixture had come smashing down on the crib and there was glass everywhere. Boy, were we lucky! We were shaken up and at the same time so happy no one was hurt.
We've started establishing our new routine now that the jet lag has worn off. Jack is such a happy, easy baby - however, because this is our first, this has still been a big adjustment - for us. It's been a good adjustment though and it's fun to see the signs of Jack bonding. He now looks for us when we leave the room and leave him with someone new for a minute, he lays his head on us and likes to be held, reaches up to be picked up by us, etc. We can really tell that he enjoys being the focus of attention. He eats up any attention either us give him. Vistors are welcome - we're just not quite ready to venture too far away from home just yet.
Also, Archie and Leroy have finally come to realize Jack is staying and are starting to at least be in the same room as him. :) Jack loves to watch the cats and if he gets to touch one of them, he thinks it's hilarious!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
(Movie moved to top of sidebar)
Also, visitors are welcome if anybody wants to come and meet him!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Some of you guys have asked what the heck happened in Moscow. Why couldn't we leave? We couldn't leave because Jack did not have the proper visa to allow him to travel through Dusseldorf, Germany. Dusseldorf has a small airport and no transit area. Other airports in Germany such as Munich and Frankfurt allow Russian citizens to fly through them without a visa. The adoption agency did not inform us of this rule and did not get him the proper visa. They had our flight arrangements well before we left and they said we wre fine. Dimitry said our arrangements were fine. This is why we are fighting to get the $3300 we had to spend last minute to get a second set of tickets home. There was no reason we should've needed TWO SETS of tickets for the SAME DAY to get home.
So needless to say we were a little freaked out and my phone would not work in the airport. Thank you to everyone who offered to help us and make calls for us since we only had access to email. We really appreciate that and are so glad that we are home!!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
We will be flying in Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Through Lufthansa. We had to buy all new tickets. The agency better pay for these. Everyone in this airport knows a Russian citizen can't fly through Dusseldorf. Why didn't they? Or Dimitry? We leave at 11:00 a.m. Moscow time. Glad to get out of here. I can't call you anymore because my Russian Russian airport SIM card doesn't work in this airport even though the lady I just bought it from said it would and my U.S. one only works in certain areas. Jen
Monday, June 11, 2007
We’re very glad we decided to stay here for a little while longer and see some of little Jack’s country. He has Russian books and toys to share with his cousins. We have lots of pictures for him and artwork for him to keep when he’s older. For the most part Jack was a trooper. He’s pretty content just riding around anywhere in the stroller. He lasted about 45 minutes at the circus before getting squirmy. Today he had his first taste of cotton candy and had his first balloon. There are many more firsts to come … for all of us!
We are starting to figure things out. For instance the happy baby needs TWO naps or else NO orange juice. We’re unsure which. At the circus, we gave him some juice and we’re thinking that may have given him heartburn. He screamed the whole way back in the street – he was like a horn saying “GET OUT OF MY WAY” to everyone in front of us. Erik and I just looked at each other like “oh sh*t!” People starred at us. Once we got back to the room we gave him some medicine and put him in his crib and he was sleeping within about 10 minutes. He goes down pretty easily (on every other night but tonight)….but he could’ve been tired just the same. He only had one longer nap yesterday…he had two today….who knows!! Hard to tell with babies who can’t just tell you what’s wrong, I guess. P.S. I think he just went to sleep!
We’ve also learned that he stores food in his diaper, which explains the undigested ham and goldfish that we’ve found in there. We’re trying to get him to eat a little slower than in the orphanage. We know that he likes to have goldfish hiding in both of his hands and then tries to eat with his mouth. It’s like he doesn’t want to ever be without food. I think that scares him. He eats REALLY fast. Faster than we can break it up for him.
Dimitry is picking us up at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow. We’re all packed. Jack Alexander Fritz Reis is coming home! Funny thing, by the way, Natalya and Dimitry both thought that “Fritz” was a funny name. They said that during World War II, “Fritzes” was a derogatory name for the Germans that Russians used. . But what do Russians know?? Dimitry also said that there is a five month wait for a Ford Focus here because it’s the hot new car everybody wants! J
So he’s still sleeping! Five hours until we all get up. Hope “somebody” is able to do some sleeping on the plane too!!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.
We are free to leave except the only problem is Northwest wants $500 to change our tickets and Aeroflot wants $100. So we’ll be staying. The hotel we leave for tomorrow is free courtesy of Erik’s dad. (The agency originally told us to stay until Tuesday just in case we couldn’t get an appointment at the embassy today.) We would’ve stayed at the free hotel these past two nights but Dr. Boris wanted to come here so he could see the families together. As it turned out the other one wasn’t even in Moscow yet. Anyway, long story short, if we were staying at a hotel that we were paying for, we’d leave because $600 would be a draw. Now we just think we’ll stay and try and enjoy ourselves. Maybe go to the Moscow Zoo and Gorky Park?
Jack did finally fell off the bed last night. He looks has rug burn on his forehead. He now looks like Gorbachev with a big red blotch. The doctor is still going to let us leave with him. :)
He's still a happy, easy going baby. He didn't like putting on his coat today and started to squirm. I said, "nyet" and he stopped right away. I know he's still figuring out how to work us, but for now that's kinda nice. :)
Jack was great on the plane. He was exhausted but great. He started to get crabby as Natalia and Dimitry drove us to our hotel. Keep in mind the poor kid did not have an opportunity for a diaper change for six hours. (Erik wants me to add that that diaper was a heavy one. J ) The flight was only an hour and 20 minutes and about 15 miles to our hotel. From the airport, it took us TWO and A HALF HOURS to get to our hotel. Traffic was at a standstill. Cars were on the side of the road – broken down. Semis were pulling over. Then about 2 hours into the drive, the lanes started moving. No accident, no construction, no lane closure, no reason – just a “cork” as Dimitry and Natalya call it. A “cork” is what we call a “bottleneck” in traffic. Only thing is their corks happen everywhere and all the time for no reason.
We checked in and immediately went to McDonald’s! So good to eat beef! (Never thought I’d get that excited about it, but seriously it was the best hamburger ever.) And us being new at this had no idea what to order Jack. We know it’s not the most nutritious food, but thought he’d really enjoy a good American meal. Erik asked, “So how many nuggets should I get him?” J Just so you know the baby with four teeth could eat ½ a nugget broken up. We gave him formula when we got back.
Still no crib. We asked for one and they said they would send one up. Some lady knocked on the door with a COT. Yep, that sure helps. Doctor and visa tomorrow!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Luggage? GPS? Comic books?
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