And Then All the Dominoes Fell

September 28, 2014

  I cried in the Seattle passport office on Friday morning when they told me that I would be able to pick up Water's passport today at 11.  I was in shock that everything had happened just the way it needed to so that we could go home- and not just go home, but go home on the same flight as D and the kids.  All the stress just fell away from me and I was so overcome with relief.  I cried again in the car when I looked at his passport with it's silly baby picture, real proof that Water is ours and we can go back to our lives on Kwaj with him.  This whole process had been blessed from the beginning and that passport to me is a physical manifestation of every one of those blessings.

Water and I with the judge after our adoption hearing.  It went so quickly that I didn't have time to take my sweater off!  I didn't know this before hand but our lawyer was able to arrange for a special session just for us- thank you so much Judge Weiss!

A Great Day in Seattle

September 26, 2014

  I have a weekened full of time to fill here in Seattle.  The weather has been awful lately (well, awful for me, probably perfectly normal for Seattle) but when I saw the blue sky out my window this morning, I decided to take full advantage of it and play tourist.  I found my way down to the Pike Place market and spent over an hour wandering the stalls.  I was so jealous of everyone who gets the opportunity to shop there regularly.  One of the things I miss most here on Kwaj is being able to buy fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables at a farmers market.  I did buy some delicious pepper jelly for D and was able share Water's adoption story with the ladies who ran the stall- seriously, if you know me, I will talk about adoption with anyone who ask (don't worry for Water or the others, I keep the details of their individual stories private).  I had a smoothie and scone while I wandered and when I wasn't ogling fresh produce, I occupied myself trying to guess who was a local and who was a tourist.

  From the market, I walked about two miles over to the Space Needle.  My dad took myself and my brother there when we were young but I hadn't been back in years.  In retrospect, I spent too more than I should have to see a view.  I'm glad I did it but I think it would have been more fun if I'd had someone to share it with. 

Looking west towards home

My sightseeing buddy

  Nutella gelato, yum!

Like a Line of Dominos

September 24, 2014

  Everything that needs to happen for us to be able to bring Water home feels like a big line of dominos.  Each one needs to fall just right for the next one to fall and if any one of them is delayed, everything after it is delayed as well.  I'm so nervous but praying hard that we will be able fly home as a family next week.

Here are our dominoes:
-Unchallenged termination of paternal parental rights
-Unchallenged adoption hearing
-Obtain copies of adoption decree
-Obtain copies of new birth certificate
(here's where the domino run divides and we have to have everything down two paths go smoothly)
-Obtain a passport within two days of applying      -Obtain command sponsorship from Kwaj
 It feels like asking so much to have everything go our way.  There's so much that could go wrong.  What if Water's birth father comes forward?  What if I can't make it all the way from Everett, north of Seattle where the adoption hearing will be, to the state offices in Olympia in time to get Water's new birth certificate on the same day as the hearing?  I have an appoinment at the Seattle passport office for 8AM the next morning but without a new birth certificate, there's no point.  If I do get the the new birth certificate I still have to get his passport and that's asking a lot since I'll be applying on a Friday morning and will need to pick it up by Wednesday morning at the latest.  There are so many things that could go wrong but I am hopeful and prayerful that they will all go right.  

And Then The Kids Were Done With Vacation

September 22, 2014

  Put a fork in them.  Sky and Fire are done with being on vacation.  I'm surprised they made it as long as they did.  One week to go before we head back to Kwaj.

Kansas Wedding

  Things worked out so amazingly well on this trip!  We were in the States for not one but two weddings.  Two chances to catch up with family, some of whom had never met the kids.  This  one in Abilene, Kansas was D's cousin's wedding.  It was beautiful but hot and the wedding was simple but very well done.  It was great to have Water with us- as you can see from the pictures below, he was very popular.

The bride and groom

D's mother and grandmother with Water
(he's the ninth great grandchild!)

Uncle Randy and Water

Nana Jo with her new grandbaby

Cousin Rick

Uncle Gene and his girlfriend

Uncle Terry goofing off

Great Grandma Velma

D's cousin's daughter Raychel
She and Sky have so much fun together!


D's cousin Derek
There were giant bubble wands and lots of bubble mix for the kids to play with after the wedding

OKC and A Bit More Sleep

September 20, 2014

  After the wedding in Amarillo and a great time visiting with all our family there, we loaded back up and started the drive back to Kansas.  Because Sky and Fire don't do well on long car drives, D found us an RV park on the edge of Oklahoma City, close to the science museum and the zoo. 
  Both kids were sad at having to leave their cousins and Sky kept asking where her friends were.  She was really disappointed that they didn't meet us in Oklahoma City and acted out because of it.  But we still managed have a great time at the science museum and the zoo with them. 

They had a great time at the science museum, even though they're a bit young for the science part.  They loved figuring out all the exhibitions and tried everything that was open.  The gymnastics area, the tree house, and the hall of mirrors were the biggest hits.

Riding miniature Segways

The hall of mirrors

Hurricane tunnel

  We don't have any pictures from our day at the zoo but it was a lot of fun too.  They have an amazing elephant area and the kids loved walking through the reptile house.  There's also a working carousel and both Sky and Fire loved riding on it and hated when the ride was over.
  At about this point in the trip we started to notice something wonderful happening: Water was sleeping longer and only waking up once in the night to eat.  D and I split the night into 4 hour shifts so that we can both get some sleep.  Water would either wake up once early in D's shift (10pm-2am) and then sleep until 5:30 or he would sleep from when we put him to bed around 9:30 until 3:30 in the morning.  It's been amazing to get those few extra hours of continuous sleep!  One of the things that's helped is practicing "the pause".  Water is a very active sleeper and will fuss loudly while he's stills sound asleep.  We've been waiting until he really signals us (with ridiculously cute snorts!) that he's hungry to get him out of bed to feed him.  He never fusses for more than a minute or two before he falls back to sleep if he's not ready to eat and it's been wonderful to wake up and realize that you've been sleeping for another hour after hearing the baby fuss.
   Fire didn't sleep through the night and would wake several times each night until he was almost one and I was worried we would have the same battles with Water.  I'm hopeful that this keeps up and that when we get back to Kwaj, we can move him towards sleeping through the night.

The Kansas State Fair, the Alabaster Caves and a Texas Wedding

September 19, 2014

  A few days before we started the RV part of our adventure, my brother and his family arrived in Kansas so that we could spend some time just with each other.  They're kids are really close in age to Sky and Fire and they all get along really well.  Besides just hanging out at the priaire home, we decided to drive up to the Kansas State Fair.  Sky and Fire haven't seen most animals up close so we were excited to show them chickens, cows, and pigs, and introduce them to fair food. 
  Of course, it was baking hot when we were there but all the kids had a great time.  They loved the food and seeing all the animals.  Sky and I rode the sky ride over the fair, they ate corndogs and drank limeade, and saw a demonstration on how to give a chicken a bath (we thought that was going to be a funny show- nope.  Well, now we all know how to wash a chicken!)  They even got to hold some show rabbits and go through a petting zoo.  It was a long day but totally worth it.

Tractors were a big hit for both kids

Normally we don't buy our kids useless thing when they ask for them but since we were on vacation and they weren't ever likely to see these blow-ups again, I went ahead and spent too much money on them

Pig races!

The state fair classic: burlap slide.  Both kids thought this was so much fun and wanted to go over and over

  Sky and Fire just can't sit for long periods of time in car seats so we broke the drive up in to 3 hour sections and the first one took us to the panhandle of Oklahoma and the Alabaster Caverns State Park.  We stayed there for two nights, getting used to the RV and letting the kids play.   Of course, we also toured the Alabaster Cavern.  It was the first time any of the kids had been in a cave and they loved it.  Sky got a little scared when they turned all the lights off and Fire like the the mud a little more than I wish he had but I'm really happy we got to go through.

My sister in law L and I

My brother J shows that he hasn't forgotten how to feed a baby

Down, down, down to the caves

  Next stop, Amarillo.  We stayed at an RV park right across from a huge water park- David picked it just for that reason.  One problem: water parks in America close on Labor Day.  It was freezing cold anyway but Sky would still point it out ever time and say, "we should go there!".  You can't go to Amarillo without going to the Big Texas restaurant, so we did, and got the must have photo of the kids with a giant bull after dinner.

  We were there for my cousin's wedding.  A bunch of my family had come, in part because we said that we would be there.  We had RSVP'd long before we started Water's adoption process and a few steps into it, it became clear that we could never afford to go.  But mountians moved and miracles happened and Water was born at just the right time for all of us to be in the states in time for the wedding.  Some of my family hasn't met any of my kids so I was so happy that things worked out the way they did.  My cousin's wedding was beautiful and everyone had a good time.  It was pretty neat to spend time talking to my aunts and uncles as an adult and a parent- it changes your relationship and give you more to talk about.  I miss them all so much and being able to see our family so rarely is one of the hardest parts of living overseas.

Last minute prep
Sky picked out this outfit all by herself.  It was all about the boots though; she had to have them so everything was bought to match.

Our first picture as a family of five!

The kids table at the reception

There was a funny photo booth at the wedding and we just couldn't keep the kids out of the props! 

Baby love

The beautiful bride (my cousin) and her husband

Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.