Thursday, June 30, 2011

Recap of our last couple of days in Arkansas

It's hard to believe that it's been a week since we left Arkansas! The time seems to be flying by very quickly and Maddie is growing and changing daily.

I held off posting the last couple of days we were in Arkansas so that I didn't ruin the surprise of coming home early but want to go back and make a couple of notes so that I don't forget as time goes by.

Our last two days were bittersweet to say the least. Our birthmom was feeling much better and was able to spend a good amount of time with us those last couple of days. We knew at that point when we were leaving and had communicated that to her and we were working to finalize rental cars, etc. At that point, it was almost like a countdown in which no one really wanted to talk about.

When she was in the hospital, we had talked about going to visit the Marshallese stores in Springdale so that I could find some guams (Marshallese dresses) for the girls and some handicrafts (specifically the handwoven baskets). Wednesday evening we all got in the car and she took us to several stores and then as we were driving thru Springdale, she showed us where she worked and some of the places/things that she and the kids like to do.

Even though I was crazy homesick missing my girls, I really wanted to spend some more time with her and her kids. Our last night, we went to dinner at the OK Chinese Buffet and she gave us some gifts. Earlier in the week, I had given her a locket engraved with Maddie's name and birthdate and a small engraved box to keep it in. She gave us the most beautiful handmade picture frames with pictures of Maddie and us in them. What made the gift more meaningful was that these were things that belonged to her that she was now gifting to us--being the strong, silent type that I am (hahaha)I was in tears when she handed them to me. I'm hoping you can see the detail in the close-up picture of just how intricate the frames are. We were in the Marshall Islands for a month and I didn't see anything like these the whole time we were there.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Surprise! We're home!

Actually, we've been home for a couple of days but I've been just basking in the time alone with all my girls! We left Arkansas on Friday a.m. with the intent of getting home and surprising everyone--two days later and lots of catch up errands, we still had our surprise but we had to bring Grammy, D-daddy, and Aunt Mary in on the secret.

They told the girls that they were coming over to the house to decorate in anticipation of us getting home and you can imagine their surprise when they walked up to the front door and there was a "Welcome Home G and K" sign. I had hoped to get pictures of their surprised looks but everyone was so anxious to meet Maddie that the camera was laid aside momentarily.

Still have lots to fill in from our last couple of days in Arkansas but here are just a few of our first day home pics.

Friday, June 24, 2011

To Binky or Not to Binky

To binky or not to binky? That is the question..... The nurses gave Maddie a pacifier at the hospital and we've used it a little bit-at this point she doesn't seem particularly attached to it and I'm thinking that is a good thing. Neither G nor K took a pacifier when they were babies. At about 18 months, G had a small blanket and a favorite doll that she used to be particularly attached to and K has just started showing an interest in a Gloworm doll. It will be interesting to see if Maddie bonds with any one particular thing.

To Binky or Not to Binky?

Yesterday Alicia came over and spent some time with us and then showed us around Springdale. She took us to some of the Marshallese stores--I bought some guams--and showed us where she worked and some of the places that she and her family like to go. It was a nice treat to have the "insider's tour".

She also shared some of the Marshallese customs with us--one concerning the baby's umbilical cord. She said that in the Marshall Islands when the cord drys and falls off that it is given to someone that has a skill that you would like the child to grow to have. For example, if you want them to be a good fisherman, then you would give it to someone in the family who fishes or if you wanted them to be a good farmer/gardener then you would give it to the family member who gardens.

Alicia and Maddie

We finished our evening up with a great dinner at the OK China Buffet. It has a hibachi grill area and also a regular buffet--a great selection of really good food. I'm going to miss it when we go home!

Before we parted for the evening, Alicia gave us some beautiful handicraft gifts that I will take some pics of to share in the coming days. She gave R a handmade bolo (sp?) and myself a wut (sp?. She also gave us the most beautiful handmade picture frames with pics of us and Maddie in them. She still has family in Majuro that make the traditional handicrafts and I'm hoping she can help me coordinate getting some more of the traditional Marshallese baskets.

Our Arkansas Family

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's time for the hair accessories

A girl can not have too many hair accessories, nor can she start wearing them too early! I had gotten this particular hair band for K when she was a baby and it was almost too tight, on Maddie, it was sliding down over her eyes :-)

We went on our first shopping trip to the mall today and my littlest girl was a real trooper! I was going to put her in my Baby Bjorn until I realized that she needed to be a minimum of 8 lbs and 21 inches, so that will have to wait awhile. It was a bit "bulky" carrying her around in the infant carrier--actually R carried her and I shopped :-) I was doing our part to support the local economy!

She looks like such a little person in this picture with the little pants and long-sleeved shirt on. You can't see it but the pants are rolled down at the waist to keep them up-both are newborn sized and still a little big.

More later, gotta get ready for my late night party :-)

She's growing!

I think the late nights are starting to catch up with me--I feel my resolve to post every day slipping a little :-) Must take a nap, must take a nap,.......

Yesterday Maddie had her post-discharge follow-up with the pediatrician. The pediatrician said that they like to see newborns back up to their birth weight by two weeks. Our little over-achiever has regained and surpassed her birth weight by 1/4 ounce. She has also grown 1/4"--all this at the one week mark.

R and I are also amazed at how much more active she is becoming. She's definitely getting more alert and staying awake a little longer between feedings. She's trying to lift her head and if laid on your lap, will kick and try to push off with her legs.

We had a great dinner with Alicia and family on Sunday night. She had suggested a local chinese buffet and it was really good---more authentic food than what we find on the buffets at home. I definitely overate and am hoping we can hit it one more time before we leave AR.

Still have to finish up some paperwork with the attorney and am hoping that happens today so that we can start our countdown to coming home. The "open-endedness" of this trip has been and continues to be a challenge. Even though we were on an open-ended trip to the Marshall Islands in 2009 this definitely seems harder and I know it's because the girls are not here with us.

More later and will try to post some new pics!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

1 week down and not sure how many left to go

We arrived in Arkansas one week ago today. In some respects the time has flown by and in others it has crawled. Getting to know Alicia and her family, witnessing Maddie's birth, bringing Maddie home--those things seem to have flown by. The paperwork on the other hand seems to be moving at a snail's pace.

We Skyped home today and I miss the girls so much! They look like they have changed so much in only a week! I'm also amazed at how much Maddie has changed in a week's time--she's more alert and for longer periods of time, she's eating better and eating more, and her little personality is starting to shine thru. She likes to have her legs rubbed, doesn't mind being burped, but doesn't like the car seat!

Tomorrow our lawyer will file the initial papers at the courthouse. Say a prayer that the paperwork is adequate and no other documents are needed. If all is in order we could be coming home in 7 days but if there are additional requirements, then it could be 2 more weeks.

More tomorrow and hopefully some pics!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Maddie's First Bath

Maddie had her first official bath today. It was a sponge bath since we are still waiting for her cord to dry up, but since she was completely bare we'll consider it the first official bath:-)

Have I mentioned lately how cute she is? Once her hair was washed and dried it was soft and fluffy and she smelled like baby soap. Now she'll be all ready for her late night party---the one that she and I have been attending the past couple of nights.

Wanted to post this pic of my girls back home--thanks Miss Rhonda for sending it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day or Night?

We have just passed the first 24 hours of having Maddie with us. We spent the day at the hotel just getting to know her and cuddling with her. I'm not positive but I think she may have her days and nights a little mixed up. (My friends at Toddlin' Time are probably laughing about this.) She got up at 2:30am this morning and was awake for at least two and half hours. I loved watching all her little facial expressions and movements but I think I could like it a lot more if it was during the daylight hours:-)

At the hospital, they were feeding Maddie every three hours. Over the last 24 hours, she has eaten sometimes every three hours and sometimes every 2 hours. We were initially concerned because she didn't seem too be latching very well at the hospital but she's doing great now--she's so cute when she's hungry, turning her little head from side to side and putting her hands up to her mouth.

I'm really missing my girls back home! G had her last day of cheer camp today and they did a special presentation. One of our friends sent me some pictures but I can't figure how to get them from the phone over to the computer---times like these that I really don't like technology! One of the pics was of G, K, and G's best friend--it's only been a week but somehow K looks like she has grown in my absence.

I leave you with these pics as we continue to trudge thru the paperwork here-

This was at 9:00am this morning-note that both of them are sleeping :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

We're Home (or at least at the hotel)

We made it here late this afternoon. It was amazing how long it took the hospital to go thru the discharge process---the good thing is that they were very thorough in going over the discharge orders with mom and baby, the bad thing is that there were 7 discharges on the maternity floor, so it just took awhile.

It was an emotional and exhausting day for all of us. Sweet baby Maddie is sleeping like an angel at this point. R went down to the Manager's Reception and we had sliders, salad and cupcakes for dinner. They offered beer, wine and soda to drink which is so interesting to us because it's illegal to give away beer/wine in Virginia. Just in case you're wondering----we had soda.

We already had a clothes changing incident because I didn't get the diaper on just right. I was being so careful not to get it on her belly button/cord and it wound up just sliding down her backside and now we have laundry to wash:-)

Going to try and get some sleep since I'll be back up in a couple of hours for the next feeding! More tomorrow.

Discharge today

Today is the day--baby and mom will be discharged from the hospital. It's sure to be an emotional day for everyone so please say a prayer for all of us!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Getting the hang of this eating thing......

Just a small note to show another pic of this beautiful girl. The nurses are saying she's a "quirky eater"--sometimes eating well and sometimes just kind of showing no interest. They haven't expressed any concern over weight loss but I'm getting the feeling that she may require more frequent feedings than other newborns (Anna, are you smiling as you're reading this?)

Will try to post more later today--gotta meet with the lawyer and get some more of the paperwork underway.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Gift

Today was a gift! A day that I will look back on and remember, despite all the stress, turmoil and complete frustration that I've had in the past few weeks moving towards this day, that they have all been worth it. It's all been moving towards this one perfect moment--the entrance into the world of a tiny, new life.

I feel honored and completely blessed to have shared this moment with our birthmom. It would have been easy for her to have left us in the waiting room but instead she opened her heart and let us be part of this moment in time.

Introducing Madelyn Alicia

Arriving 6/13/11, weighing 6lbs 6oz, 19" long. She entered this world with her eyes open and letting us all know that she had arrived.

Here I am!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We Made it to Arkansas and What a Ride It's Been Getting Here

For anyone just joining in, this is my journal on our trip to Baby Jones #3. Our first adoption from start to finish took 14 months, the second took 3 years, and this one is right at the 1 month mark.

Baby Jones is due by C-section tomorrow at 7:30am so hopefully there will be some pictures to post.

Getting here has been a challenge to say the least and I'm not sure that getting all the paperwork completed here is going to be any easier. We are still waiting on our VA background clearances to come thru so that our homestudy can be finalized and fedexed to us. Our attorney here in AR has handled adoption cases but mostly family cases--does anyone besides me see a huge margin for error here?

Physically getting here was a challenge-our flight out of Richmond was delayed 2 hours because of weather, causing us to miss the connecting flight in Dallas, forcing us to stay overnight at the only hotel that American Airlines could line up at 10:30am on a Saturday night-the Super 8. The discounted rate for "distressed passenger" was $49.99. That's a pretty high rate to pay for what I would consider, "roughin' it". I was spraying everything in the room with Sleep-tite (bed bug spray-many thanks to my friend K!) and was scared to let my bare feet touch the floor.

R and I had a great meeting this evening with the adoption coordinator, the birthmom, and her children. We all met for dinner and had time to sit and converse about families, work, and then she invited me to be part of the birth. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to be part of something so personal but have to admit that I'm a bit terrified. I've already told R that his job is going to be snapping pics when they wheel that wee little one to the nursery so you will all have to let him know how his photographer skills add up :-)

More tomorrow and hopefully good pics!