Friday, January 25, 2013

One week home!!

It's hard to believe we've been home for a full week already.  But at the same time it feels much longer!!  James is doing beautifully.  He is attaching to all of us (I forgot to mention in my last post that he had become quite affectionate with me, seeking me out for hugs frequently.) and yesterday he met his Pappy Joe and Aunt Cloda for the first time.  He played with Pappy and let Aunt Cloda cut his hair.  My little man is even more handsome now, if that's possible :)
Yesterday was a big day all around, starting out with a visit to the dentist.  He'd been to the dentist in Camiguin, and had a few fillings and extractions, so he did not fuss at all about having his teeth checked and cleaned.  His teeth are a bit of a mess, most of them have at least a small cavity.  The dentist is most concerned with his canines on top, and the one remaining top molar.  We go back in two weeks to start work on the worst ones.
After the dentist we stopped by the Y where I work.   I needed to pick up my W2, and I wanted James to see the room and meet the ladies I work with, as I am planning to go back to work at the beginning of February.  The children are able to come with me to work; I work in the Child Watch room, basically babysitting while parents work out.  He saw the weight room when we went to the bathroom and signed that people were lifting weights.  He liked all the toys in the room, too, and didn't seem at all bothered by a new place or people.  I will have to watch him closely, though, when we get busy.  He's not used to being around a lot of kids and still will just push someone out of the way if he wants to get by, and will grab a toy he wants.  The grabbing is getting less, though. 
After the Y we stopped at Aldi to get some milk, and cheese for pizza.  He wanted to help carry a package of cheese.  And look at everything on the way through the store.  Then we made one more stop at the library for some new books.  I got him some board books.  He likes to look at books, but just quickly flips through the pages without really looking or letting me read or even point things out.  Aedan and Liana love to be read to, and get really upset with him because he's always trying to turn the page or covering the pictures.  Tonight I sat him on my lap with one of his books and held the book I was reading to them behind him and that worked well.  And thankfully our library has a large selection of board books, and we generally go about once a week or so for new ones.
After the library we came home, had lunch, and James had a nap.  Then later, as I mentioned, we went to Jason's dad's house so he could meet James.  I made pizza and took it with us.  He ate two pieces, so I guess he likes it after all!  And James liked his other Pappy right away.  It helped that Pappy had some flashlights that also have laser pointers on them! All three kids played with their flashlights before and after dinner.  They ran around and around the living room-kitchen-dining room circle.  I took pictures but they are still on my camera. 
Today was another busy day.  First we had to return the rental car Jason has been driving (long story).  While we sat and waited for him to come back out, James had fun watching all the cars on the highway.  Then Jason dropped me off at church for my moms' Bible study I go to every other Friday, and he took James and Aedan to Dick's to look around while they waited for me.  He said James loved seeing all the sports stuff, and of course wanted to touch everything.  Then they came back to church and played in the gym, saw the sanctuary, and met two of the pastors and the other ladies at Bible study.  He fell asleep on the way home, so nap time didn't quite happen, but he did just fine all day.  Our very good friends came over for dinner with their 5 children, and to say it was chaotic would be putting it mildly.  But they all loved James, and he took to them too.  He just likes being around kids, I think!  He did have some power struggles with the youngest (who is only 1) over Liana's stroller, but for the most part he did well playing with all the big kids.  After they left is when we read some books to give everyone a chance to unwind a bit before bed.  And I think he went to sleep the fastest he has yet, and for Jason no less.  Usually I sit with him until he falls asleep, but he needs to get used to Dad too, since I do work two evenings, and I generally don't take the kids at night unless Jason has somewhere to be. 
Tomorrow we'll just be hanging out at home, probably going out to play in the snow since it's supposed to be a bit warmer.  James hasn't really seemed to care much about the snow yet, but we got several inches today, so we'll see what he thinks when he's out in it!  And Sunday I plan to take him to church, although I don't know how long he'll actually sit.  It will be a while before he's ready for Sunday School, so he'll just be sitting with me for now.
Oh, we are seeing some improvement in communication!  He is learning that he has to ask for things if he is hungry or thirsty, he can't just pull me to the kitchen and make a bunch of noise.  Sometimes he still tries, but I think he's getting the idea that it doesn't work, and he'll get something much faster if he just asks.  And he's starting to copy more new signs, which is good too.  And I can't remember if I mentioned this, but he is sleeping through the night consistently now, which is wonderful :))

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Foster Home, Day 3

Jason and I were both awake by 3:30am.  Monday night it got really windy, like scary windy, and then sometime in the night it started to rain.  And I mean R.A.I.N.  It rained all night, and ALL day Tuesday.  Diane had wanted to take us to visit friends of hers who own a resort on the island so they could see James one more time, but as the jeep was all open, that was not really an option.  So basically we were stuck in the house all day.  Every so often I would go out on the porch and watch the waves pounding.  It made me a little nervous, how rough the waves were getting, since we were leaving in the morning and leaving included a ferry ride.  I did NOT want to get stuck there!!  But Diane called and confirmed that the ferry was still running, and said that often the water was much rougher there than at the ferry port.
James and I painted, the three of us took turns playing catch, and we packed some of his stuff and gave him his shark pillow pet that the kids picked out for him.  He seemed to like it, but Diane told him to leave it in our room.  She told him that tomorrow is boat and plane day, and he was very excited.  I was not sure if he understood that she wasn't coming too, but he was very excited anyway.  I was expecting tears from him when he realized she was staying home.  He's still not interested in any physical affection from me, but when the social workers came at lunchtime, he did hide behind me.  I'm not really sure why they came.  They didn't bring any papers to sign or anything.  They just came, had lunch with us, and left.  For lunch Diane ordered a pizza, which James really liked.  But I have to tell you, it was pretty...non-American pizza-ish.  The sauce they use is very sweet, and they don't have real cheese, just this Velveeta type stuff.  I'm interested to see what he thinks of my homemade pizza!  She also made pancit, or a very Americanized version of it anyway.  He gobbled that up too, and so did I!  It was basically ramen noodles with carrots, chinese cabbage, and this other vegetable, I think it's called cayote.  (I've actually bought it at Bottom Dollar before, but I didn't see any when I was there the other day.) 

Later after nap time, James was watching tv.  I sat in the chair next to him and he got up and moved to another chair.  A minute later Jason came in and James patted the chair next to him for Jason to sit on.  He also wanted Jason to pick up him often.  By this point I was really getting frustrated, even though I had prepared myself for the possibility of it happening that way.  Being prepared didn't make it any easier to deal with!  It was still raining when we went to bed that night, and the waves were crashing away.  It would have been so relaxing had I not been so stressed about leaving the next day!!
These pictures really don't do justice to how strong the waves were.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 4 at home

Things are going better than I expected!  We've had issues with sleeping the last few nights.  James goes to sleep with little trouble, but wakes up after an hour or two and doesn't want to go back to sleep.  But tonight he went to sleep easily, and two hours later, he's still asleep as far as I know.  He's so happy during the day.  Today he got bonked in the head on accident and that was the first he really cried other than during the night.  He completely loves his brother and sister and wants to hug them all the time, especially when one of them is crying.  He wants to make them feel better!  He also loves the dog, and we spent the first few days trying to get him to leave poor Swiper alone.  But thankfully Swiper is pretty tolerant of little boy affection, especially when said little boy also loves to share his food!  We've started putting Swiper in the basement during dinner because James wants to share everything with the dog.  As far as eating goes, James is eating really well, much better than we saw him eat in the FH.  And given how skinny he is, I don't think that was just because we were there and he was too excited.  They never made him stay at the table during meals, but would let him get up after one or two bites and try to coax him into more bites here and there.  We decided after the first day to get out the booster seat we used with the other two and see how he did.  We thought he would fight us on being strapped in, but he doesn't mind at all, and actually sits and eats a whole meal.  He does have trouble eating meat, and he has a bad habit of shoving too much food into his mouth and not really chewing it.  We are always telling him to chew and swallow, and sometimes I have to move his plate away until his mouth is empty.  But he has liked most things so far, including green beans and broccoli, and he's eating some fruit even though we were told he didn't like it or juice.  I bought some pear juice yesterday and he loves it.  And it's thick too, like a pear puree, not a straight juice.  He has serious constipation issues (I know you really want to know this!) and takes a laxative everyday.  That doesn't really seem to help though, so I'm trying some other things too.  I'm not giving him as much milk, trying to get more fiber into him, and the juice.  So we shall see. 
I brought out the wooden peg puzzles yesterday, and while he struggled to get some of the pieces in the right way, he knew where they went.  Today he and Liana did them again while I did school with Aedan.  I don't know how much he did and how much Liana did for him!  But I do think that he'll get the hang of them pretty quick and be able to move up to simple jigsaws soon.  He hasn't really asked to watch tv, and doesn't complain when we turn it off after only 30 minutes.  Speaking of asking, that is one of the main things I'm working on. He never asks for things, just tries to pull me into the kitchen and makes a lot of noise at me.  But he is saying please when we remind him, and I'm trying to get whole sentences out of him when he wants something.  By whole sentences I mean PLEASE HAVE MILK, not just PLEASE.  Sometimes I can see he's not pleased when he gets water instead, but he doesn't complain. 
He had his first real bath tonight and loved it!  In the FH they didn't have a tub, just a shower head and a faucet below, which was what they used to shower him.  And until today, I just did the same thing.  But the other two wanted a play bath, so in they went.  He didn't want to sit at first, and mostly squatted the whole time, but he copied Aedan putting his face in the water and thought it was great fun to splash around.  He does get cold super fast though, which is funny because they did not have nay hot water in the FH.  But, it was also really hot, they didn't have air conditioning either!  But poor guy shivers like crazy until after he's fully dressed in some nice warm footies. :)


Day 4 (day 2 in the foster home)

We started the morning with hot cakes for breakfast.  James loves to help in the kitchen and helped Diane make the batter.  He was still very uninterested in me, but he did play some hide and seek with me, which included him throwing a little rubber lizard at me from across the room.  He thought this was hilarious.  When he wants to play a trick on someone he will put his finger over his mouth like he is sshhh-ing.  Even though he's not at all quiet with all his giggling!  He also let me play cars with him with his matchbox cars.  Later on he came into our room again and I tried to show him pictures but he was much more interested in the big magnifying glass and this eagle toy that was in the room.  We took him outside and he and Jason played baseball and I took some pictures.  Then Diane took us in the former army jeep into town for a tour.  Jason sat in the front seat and I sat in the back with James.  Diane wanted him to sit on my lap for safety and I was more than happy to oblige.  He actually let me hold him on my lap with no fuss.  Whenever we got in the jeep he would collect all our water bottles and put them in the basket that was evidently for that purpose.  Then when we stopped he had to get them and hand them out again.  He knew whose was whose too!  Diane took us to this little park-like place that was at the edge of town by the water, an old church, and then the market.  The market was quite an experience.  Tents were lined up selling clothes and other random things.  The clothing tents reminded me of Goodwill, just piles and piles of clothes.  James wanted to Jason to carry him, and I felt much safer with this, since he does not like to hold anyone's hand.  We went in the official open market where we saw everything you would expect - meat hanging or piled up on trays with flies everywhere, tables of fish and a lady butchering some big sea creature, lots of fruits and vegetables, roasted meat on skewers that I really wanted to try but was too scared of its safety (or lack thereof), and even bags of cooked noodles for pancit.  The place was crowded and smelly, and outside all along the edge of the road was nasty water in a ditch.  I can't imagine what happens when it rains and it overflows.  Before we left Diane bought James a popsicle in one of the stores that was like a pharmacy of sorts, like Walgreens or Rite Aid.  He split it with me, which was good because he couldn't even eat his half fast enough before it melted all over him.  Did I mention it was really hot and humid??  On the way back we stopped at a little souvenir store and Diane bought t-shirts for James to give Aedan and Liana.  I bought a few things too, and James wanted to be in charge of holding the bag and making sure it arrived safely.  He loves to help!!  He fell asleep on my lap on the way back but woke up as soon as we got home.  After lunch I took him to play in  the water, which was colder than I expected but not bad.  I think he would have stayed in there all day if I let him.  We had a really good time playing together, but for the rest of the day he wanted nothing to do with me.  While he took a nap Diane went over all his medical records and paperwork with us.  No surprises there, we had seen pretty much everything already. 
By this point Jason and I were both ready to just take James and go!  Besides just wanting to go home in general, it was very hard having to just sit there and watch other people do my job as mom.  They didn't give us the opportunity to establish ourselves as his parents and caregivers.  I kept reminding myself that they only had another day with him and I would have the rest of his life.  And I was grateful for the opportunity to see him in his environment and learn about his habits and personality, and hear stories about him.  But it was hard to watch them spoil him, knowing it was going to make the transition that much harder.  We are pretty stuctured and strict in our home, and this was not the case there.  I have to say, looking at it now, a week later, it hasn't yet been as bad as I anticipated.  I'm sure the time will come when he challenges us, but for now he's really easy going.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Travel, continued

Sorry, blogger is giving me fits about putting pictures in. 
Long story shorter... we flew to Cagayan de Oro City, about an hour and a half flight.  A lady named Leah met us at the airport, with a taxi to take us to the ferry.  Leah is a nurse who works for Diane.  She was super sweet and told us stories about James.  I was so glad she was there to help us.  We drove about 2 or 2 and a half hours to the ferry port.  It should have been an hour and a half, but it's an election year, so the incumbent party is doing road work to win votes.  Also, the dividing line on the road is more of a suggestion.  With regular vehicles, motorcycles, jeepneys, the motorcycle cab things, and logging trucks all sharing the road, the faster vehicles just go around the slower ones, sometimes in a very small stretch of road.  It's very nerve wracking!  The road is lined with houses and shops that are nothing more than shacks.  People tether their cows and pigs and goats along the road too.  So much poverty everywhere.
We made it to the ferry alive, but we had to wait a little while for the next one to leave.  Again, a small, hot, stuffy, crowded room.  The ferry ride was nice though, very beautiful scenery.  That took another hour and a half.  When we reached Camiguin two men from the FH were waiting for us with a truck.  Jason and I rode in the cab with Jesse (I think he's like the handyman), while Leah and Loloy (the night watchman) rode in the back with our luggage.  There is one main road that goes around the island, right along the shore.  It was also very beautiful, but just as much poverty.  The next thing I knew we were turning down this dirt/mud road.  At the end was the FH.  James and Diane were waiting for us out in the yard.  They said he had been very excited all day. (It was about 3pm when we arrived.)  He waved hi to us but that was about it.  We went in the house and Diane had him get us glasses of water.  Then he showed us the pictures we had sent of us and then he went and played.  We talked with Diane and got settled in our room.  Later on he came in and hung out with us, exploring the room and showing us things.  He and Jason played catch out in the yard.  He did not seem interested in me at all.  If I would come near him he would walk away.  But he took to Jason pretty quickly.
My first impressions of James: he is very happy, almost always smiling or giggling.  He makes the best faces.  He's like a little cartoon character!  And speaking of cartoons, he watches entirely too much tv.  The only time he really fussed was when they would turn the tv off.  And then he would tantrum pretty good.  But he is easy to redirect.  His attention span isn't very long, unless he is watching tv.  And that concerns me a bit.  But he likes to help, and wants everything in its place.  He doesn't have as much language as the report made it out to be.  And Diane didn't sign to him a whole lot, she just talked to him as if he could hear her.  No one really expected anything from him, and they weren't consistent with him - telling him not to do something or that he couldn't have something, then turning around and letting him do/have it.  He never had to say please or thank you for things.  They let him hit them and bite them and never told him to stop. He grabs whatever he wants.  He was allowed to eat two bites and then leave the table, and then have cookies or ice cream.  He doesn't color or draw like a child his age should, just makes little marks on the paper.  That also concerns me.  He doesn't turn his head, but his whole body.  But he is very active and can run and throw and he tries to catch.  He loves to be tickled and wrestled around.  He babbles a lot, mostly he makes an mmm sound or says mam.  I think he can definitely learn speech with some therapy, and definitely with some hearing aids or CIs.
He still naps and they had him sleeping in a crib, mostly to keep him contained and to keep the mosquito net on him easier.  He's very easy-going, and rarely fusses.  He plays with toys appropriately, and loves cars.  All in all, I think he's going to do very well.  I have a lot to work on with him, and he will probably need some OT, and speech.  He's delayed in some areas, but I think he will be able to catch up in time.

Day 1 (and 2 and 3) - Travel, travel and more travel!

We left our house at 2:45am on Friday the 11th.  We had to drop Jason's car off at the shop to be fixed and get gas in the van.  We met our friend at church who kindly drove us to the airport.  Security didn't take long so we had a little wait before our 6:10 flight to Detroit.  Then we had an 8 hour layover.  Yes, 8 hours.  Thankfully some wonderful friends who live in that area came and rescued us for two of those hours and took us to breakfast.  Then we hung out in the airport for a loooonngg time.  Finally we got to board, then something wasn't working in the plane for them to show the safety video.  They tried to fix it, then after an hour decided to just do it the old fashioned way with the flight attendants.  Why they didn't just do that in the first place I have no idea!  Anyway, it was about a 13 hour flight to Japan.  We were in the last row of our section, sandwiched between two old ladies.  My lady was nice, and we talked a bit.  Jason's neighbor slept most of the time, keeping him trapped.  I felt really bad because I knew he was hurting, so I tried not to complain about being uncomfortable!  We traveled through all of Friday night and Saturday with the time changes and arrived in Nagoya sometime Saturday evening. They made everyone get off the plane, go through security, and get back on the plane.  The Nagoya airport is so quiet, it's creepy.  We only had about a two hour layover, and since we were late leaving Detroit, we really didn't wait long to reboard after going through security.  (Oh, funny story.  When we got into the airport we stopped at the restroom.  I went in first while Jason stayed with the luggage.  The first stall was the only one open, and when I looked in, what did I behold but a squatty potty!!  I didn't know what to do so I walked back out and told Jason.  He laughed then went in the men's room.  I looked again at the restroom sign and saw it had a key at the bottom, showing different types of toilets and where they were!  So when he was finished I went back in and found a real toilet, praise God!  The bathroom had squatty potties, regular toilets, and bedets.  I wasn't quite brave enough to try those, but when we were on our way home, James was pushing buttons and sprayed himself before I could turn it off.)
Then we had a 3 and a half-ish hour flight to Manila.  It was after midnight when we landed.  Then of course we had to go through security and customs, and then wait forever for our luggage.  Since we were in Detroit so early, our luggage was the first on the plane and therefore the last off.  I was starting to panic by the time it finally showed up at the very end of the luggage parade.  The airport was hot, stuffy, and crowded.  Finally we were able to leave and find our liason, Michelle.  She and another lady and the driver took us to our hotel, which ended up being in a pretty shady part of town.

But we only got to stay there for a few hours, long enough to sleep a bit and take a cold shower.  Then it was back to the airport, a different part for domestic flights.
Traffic is always crazy in this city!!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 1 at Home

I know some of you are anxious to hear all the details of our Philippine adventure, and I promise you'll get them soon!  But let me tell you about today first, our first full day at home together as a family.  After being up from about 2:00am until 4:30am, James slept until almost 10:00.  Needless to say, we skipped nap time today.  The other two were watching a movie when he came downstairs.  I got him some Cheerios and he stood and watched it and occasionally ate a Cheerio.
 This boy loves his tv!
We let him open his Christmas presents.  I'm not sure if he understood they were for Christmas, but they were under the tree, so perhaps.  He immediately wanted the Pirate shirt on once Jason told him what it was.  (Sorry, I tried to add pictures, but blogger is being as difficult as facebook!)  He got two shirts, puzzles, a baseball glove, coloring book, and remote control car (which was by far his favorite!).  All three kids have the cars so they played with those for a little while. 
We really just hung out all afternoon and tried to keep James entertained.  He is very busy and goes from one thing to another very quickly.  I'm not sure yet if this is because there are just so many new things that he can't focus, or if it's something else.  He did find a few of Aedan's toys that he kept going back to, like a motorcycle and some knight and horse action figures.  He knows how to play with toys appropriately, which is good.  But he has a harder time playing with other kids.  He hits a lot, not really meanly.  I think that's just his way of getting their attention, or getting someone out of his way.  (His language isn't very good, but I'll talk about that in another post.)  He also grabs whatever he wants out of our hands.  Again, I think this is more a bad habit than a misbehavior.  At the foster home I noticed no one ever made him ask for anything.  He can say please and thank you, and we make him, but it's not an automatic thing for him yet.  He kept going upstairs by himself, too.  And while he's not in any danger in his room, he's not very confident on stairs, and he really needs to be close to us all the time for bonding and attachment to happen.  So I had to get him many times and bring him back to the living room, unless one of the other kids was with him.  They like him, but they're having a hard time, Aedan especially.  He doesn't deal well with change, for starters.  And he really gets upset when people don't follow the rules.  And James doesn't follow the rules!  I keep explaining to him that James doesn't know the rules yet, and he doesn't know he's expected to follow them.  No one ever expected him to before.  Plus he's still getting used to us and to his new life.  But I have to admit, it was hard not get frustrated after about the 10th time of telling him the same thing.  Sometimes he does not seem to be at a 4 year old level developmentally, even though the report has him within the normal range for his age in every area except language.  But again, more on that another time.  It's hard to say if it's just a defense mechanism for him, or if he really just doesn't understand.  I guess we'll know in time.  In the meantime, we try to be as consistent as possible, firm but gentle.  He never fusses at us, at least not yet!  Not even when we strapped him in a booster seat at the dinner table.  Another habit he has is taking two bites and then leaving the table.  He was not made to sit and eat, so we expected a fight.  But he didn't!  And he ATE.  Perhaps it was the super good dinner my sweet friend brought me, but that was definitely the most he's eaten for us.  And he gave it a two thumbs up :)
After dinner Jason did his typical wresting match with the kids.  James joined right in and figured out what to do pretty fast.  He loved it, but didn't complain when we told him wrestling was finished.  Then we gave Aedan and Liana the gifts we bought them in the Philippines and then it was time to get ready for bed.  After everyone pottied and brushed their teeth, we sat in the boys' room for Bible and prayer.  He remembered that we prayed last night, and Jason helped him copy me for his prayer.  He did pretty well!  He looked at the Bible while Jason read.  He doesn't yet have the ability to understand long sentences, so for now he can just look at the pictures.  He needs as few words as possible, otherwise he looks away.  And sometimes with even a few words,  I have to get him to look at me several times before I get all the words across.  I'm sure we will get there in time, though.
After goodnights and hugs for everyone, he climbed in bed, fussed for about ten seconds, and fell asleep.  I did give him melatonin, so hopefully he sleeps all night tonight.  But in the event that he doesn't, I'd better head to bed myself, in case we have another 2am playdate.  :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Silly me!

I guess I thought when James went to bed without any fuss last night that he would actually sleep all night. Nope! About ten minutes to two I hear him wailing so I went in and got him and took him downstairs before he woke anyone else up. He wandered helplessly around the living room for a few minutes crying, and then he found the picture of himself on the entertainment center. He stopped crying and stood and looked at it for several minutes. I wonder what he was thinking about. But it calmed him down enough to discover the remote control cars in the dining room, which he has been playing with for the last twenty minutes. And now he's back to wandering...
I gave him some melatonin, which I guess I should have done in the first place at bedtime. Here's hoping it puts him back to sleep soon!


We are finally home! I love home!! All three kids went to bed with no fuss, praise God! I was fully expecting tears from James, but he was good. He slept the whole way home from the airport and then woke up when we got home and checked out his new room. He climbed right into his big bed (he slept in a crib in his foster home), curled up with his pillow pet shark, and said goodnight. Hopefully he sleeps all night after our very long journey home. As for me, I'm going to brush my teeth and put on my pajamas!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

We're alive!

Hi! I have so much to say, but typing on an iPad isn't the easiest, so you'll have to wait until we get home for the detailed report, but suffice it to say, so far so good! We made it to Camiguin without any incident, stayed three nights and now we are waiting for our flight back to Manila.  James is amusing himself with the batman toy he got from McDonald's. (don't judge, it was the only place to stop on the way to the airport.) I'm not sure just yet how much he really understands, but he seems happy enough for the time being. As soon as I know I'm allowed, I'll try and post pictures, but I haven't quite figured out how to do that from the iPad, so no guarantees!
This has been a completely crazy adventure so far, and I am really not a fan of international travel, but God is good and faithful. He even made the pouring rain stop for us this morning so we could travel and not be miserable :). Please pray for us as we still have the long journey home with a very busy 4 year old. Pray for favor with whoever is seated next to me, that they would be willing to give up their aisle seat so we can all sit together. James is definitely favoring Jason right now over me, so things could get interesting! And I promise all the details when I get home!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's GO time!!

I had planned a big long post, but there just wasn't time!  But it's finally here!  In about 6 hours we'll be getting ready to leave the house and begin the LOONNNGGGG journey to Manila, and then get up again Sunday morning and travel to Camiguin, which is also a pretty long trip.  I will try to update as much as possible when we have internet access.  You can also follow me on twitter, @merissayusko.  I made the twitter (I am completely opposed to tweeting in general, but I thought it would be the easiest way to update when we don't have internet access.  Only to find out, twitter doesn't work in the Philppines!!  But I will do my best.  You'll probably have to wait until we get home for pictures, as we are leaving our laptop at home to be able to skype with the kiddos here.  But if I can get a few from the ipad, I'll do that.  Thanks for joining us on this journey, and please pray for us as often as you think of us in the next week.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Almost there!

At this time next week we will be on a plane, somewhere over the Pacific! With many more hours left to go, I might add! In fact, we will be on said plane until about noon our time. Mind you, we leave Pittsburgh at 6:00am next Friday! Once we arrive we will get a few hours sleep, and a shower, then hopefully get back on another plane and start the journey to the little island where James lives. It sounds like quite the adventure, and I've imagined all kinds of scenarios, like falling asleep in a taxi and the driver kidnapping us or stealing our stuff. Yes, I'm weird like that. I just can't believe it's finally going to happen! And I find myself having a very hard time concentrating on much of anything. I just keep thinking about what it's going to be like to finally meet him, to see what his life his like, to meet the people who have cared for him so well and for so long. And I imagine him here, at home, with us - playing with his siblings, going shopping, going to church, meeting so many people. I keep thinking, the next time I ... James will be with me. Or, this is the last time I will ... Until James is home. It's very surreal. And also very thrilling and overwhelming and terrifying all at the same time. The kids are so excited, and keep saying, I wish you were going to get James now, or, I wish James was already here. The other day Aedan randomly said to me, "Mom, we are never going to leave James out, even though he's deaf and can't hear us." It was so precious. And everyday they tell me how many more days until we travel. As if I don't know! Haha! I am going to miss them like crazy, and I'm trying not to think about that part just yet. But I know they will be in good hands!  I still have a ton of stuff I need/want to do, and the weekend is booked, as usual. But at least I won't be sitting around bored and going crazy, right??!