Sunday, September 30, 2007

First Sunday at Church

Sunday, September 30, 8:15 p.m.! (a little earlier tonight!)

Well, since I didn't post yesterday, I thought I'd mention our activities on Saturday first. We started off with sleeping in, well, Mommy and the kids, that is. Daddy was up early to head to Game Day and the UO Ducks game. After Daddy got up, Beth and Jack crawled into bed with Mommy and slept another 3 hours.

We had a leisurely morning getting breakfast and then headed over to Grandma Louise's house to pick tomatoes and apples and corn. Beth and Jack are becoming more familiar with her yard and did a great job entertaining themselves while Mommy was in the garden. They piled into the wagon to help pick corn and squash and we sampled the apples straight from the tree! They had to try both red and yellow delicious. They ate half of each so I don't know which is the favorite. Grandma fed us lunch so when we got home, Jack laid down for his nap and Mommy and Beth had quiet time in the living room.

After Jack woke up, we headed out again, this time for the Stephensons' house. When we arrived, Melanie greeted us at the door in her new angel costume and played the perfect hostess. She had all kinds of ideas for things to play with Beth (since she already has two brothers, she didn't seem to worry too much about Jack :)). The kids were shy at first as usual, but after a while, the toys warmed them up. Soon Beth was following Melanie back to her bedroom and playing with her stuffed animals. Later, I turned around to see that Beth had the angel wings and halo on and was happily following Melanie around. Jack seemed content to play with the cars and play guitar and of course was very interested in his snack--Doritos. We stayed for a couple of hours and it seemed they had a really good time. By that time, Daddy had come home from the football game and called to say that someone had left a dinner for us on the front doorstep. Time to head home.

Today, Sunday, we awoke to the alarm clock. Mommy hurried to get herself ready for church before the kids woke up. I got most of it done. :) Anyway, we headed out for Sunday School, thinking that the attendance would be lower and it would be easier for them to adjust to a new situation. They were very quiet and watched everything from the sidelines. Both Mommy and Daddy stayed with them and helped them know what to do. Since it was fifth Sunday, there was no children's class during the service, so they came into the sanctuary with us. We were pleasantly surprised by how well-mannered they were. They were fairly quiet and colored on the church bulletins to keep themselves occupied. After church, we had many friends come over to greet us and congratulate us. Jack and Beth seemed oblivious, for the most part, which was good. That way, they played more naturally and didn't hang their heads down. When they saw some of the other kids playing on the pews, they caught on pretty fast and enjoyed a game of peek-a-boo with Taylor W, a middle school student who helps in the preschool class. Out in the foyer, Miss Dee, their SS teacher came to find them and give them their take-home bags. When she got down on her knees and played peek-a-boo with Jack it really broke the ice and he started giggling. Hopefully they will remember next week and not feel quite so shy.

After church, we decided to try out Mexican food. So, we headed for Don Juan's, one of our favorite restaurants. At first neither one wanted to try the chips and salsa, but as soon as they did, they didn't want to stop! Jack had to guzzle some water when his mouth felt hot, but he still kept on eating it.

Back home, Mommy and Jack took a nap together. (Being up in the middle of the night really wears you down!) Then, Uncle Shawn and Aunt Jocelyn came down for a visit. We had a really fun afternoon playing, and the kids seemed very comfortable with them. They asked to be lifted up and held and of course they got tickled! There was lots of laughter and cuteness! When it was time for them to go, both of the kids spontaneously did the "wai" (the polite greeting with your hands folded together in front of you and a slight bow). We haven't seen them do that without prompting to very many people.

Well, tonight Daddy did bedtime, hence my earlier post. They knew it was coming so they started to protest and cry, but he read a couple of books with them. We are hoping to be able to eventually read a Bible story with them. When he laid them down and left, however, they went into hysterics. After a minute or so, Daddy went back to check, and discovered Calvin, the cat, sitting on the bed staring at them. I guess they're a little uncomfortable with that! With Calvin out of the picture, their cries slowly became whimpers and eventually they could be heard just having a quiet conversation. Mitch said when he peeked in, Beth was patting Jack's head to console him. And now I don't hear a peep. Whew! Hopefully they'll sleep the night through.

More about the language...we are doing fairly well communicating the basics with them, like "Does it hurt?" "Do you want some water/food?" "Come here." "Do you have to go to the toilet?" "I love you." If all else fails, we look up words in the dictionary to tell them something. Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way so we often don't know what they are saying. But, they are also pretty good at pointing and showing us what they want or need. We try to communicate our love and acceptance of them through hugs and kisses and a positive tone of voice, and they seem to just soak it up.

What treasures they are! God has such an amazing plan for each of their lives! As I prayed for them last night, I realized that right now, the only Jesus they know is what we show them. I long for the day when we can introduce them to Him. I hope and pray that when we do, they will recognize Him. It is much like the photo album that we sent to them with pictures of us and our home. When they finally met us for the first time, the social worker said that they really did recognize us! So for now, they get snapshots of Jesus. And someday soon they will meet Him!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Recovery Day

Compared to yesterday, today was very laid-back. We took our time getting up and around and stayed home all day. At around 11:00, Grandma Pat came over to hang out and play with Jack and Beth. She brought counting books and a new coloring book. Both kids enjoyed coloring with Grandma and looking at the books. She was amazed by how well Jack can color in the lines already! As they looked at the books, they repeated the words after her. The word of the day was "sock." Later, when we were putting socks on after bathtime, Beth pointed and asked what the word for sock was. She's really picking up a lot!

Both of them learn so fast! Beth was singing "A-B-C-D" today, all on her own! And this afternoon she dragged me to the refrigerator and pointed to the picture of Hannah and Sarah, the friends who had the birthday party. I only caught the word for house, but obviously yesterday was memorable! Then we looked at the Gant boys' picture and she wanted to know their names. She even had me repeat them to her brother!

Well, the rest of the day looked more like a routine. Play--Dinner--Bath--Cuddletime--Bedtime. Dinner tonight was all-American--tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Jack ate his sandwich and half of his soup no problem. Beth was much more hesitant (perhaps stubborn would be the better word?) We ended up motivating her to try it with the promise of dessert. She miserably watched Daddy, Mommy and brother devour our cupcakes before she reached for her bowl again. As soon as the required 5 bites were swallowed, she was all smiles again as she happily licked the frosting off.

Both of them fell asleep while cuddling with Mommy in the living room so we had no tears at bedtime. Woohoo! Now if we can just make it through the night...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Big Day!

Thursday, September 27, 11:00 p.m.
Sorry no post last night--thought I'd try to get to bed early. It didn't make any difference though because at 1:30 a.m., Beth fell out of the bottom bunk, landed on a cushion, and woke up scared and crying. Well, that awakened Jack, who also started to cry. Beth was consoled fairly quickly and fell asleep on her cushion on the floor. But Jack refused to close his eyes and go back to sleep, kept getting out of bed and wandering around, and cried some more when I put him back in bed--for 2 hours! It's hard to know if he is afraid or just stubborn. Finally, I just stood in the doorway until he drifted off. But it made for a tired Mommy this morning.
We had a big day planned, so as soon as everybody woke up, we were moving to get ready and eat breakfast. Our first stop was the coffee shop so Mommy could get her mocha--definitely needed it today! We were surprised to see Mike Gaffney when we went in! But it was fun to catch up for a few minutes. Then, we headed to the store to purchase a birthday gift for their new friend, Hannah, whose birthday party was today. As soon as we walked into the store we spotted a kids' "car cart," you know, the ones where the kids pretend they are driving around while it's really Mommy pushing. They were excited to get in and spin the "steering wheels!" Meanwhile, I was breathing a sigh of relief that getting them into a cart had not been an issue!
So, we headed to the toy aisle, with Mommy praying all the while that there wouldn't be any tears when they realized that the toys we were buying weren't for them. My Thai language is very limited, VERY limited, so explaining that we were going to Hannah's house and that it was her birthday was about as much as I could do, much less explain that we were going to pick out some exciting new toys but they didn't get to have them. And I don't even know if I said that right! Well, I bought some balloons to use as a distraction and it actually worked pretty well.
Anyway, we drove to Hannah's house and went in to discover that all of the kids were outside playing. Beth and Jack, being naturally very curious, wanted to try out some of the great toys and did very well playing together (as opposed to hanging on Mommy or trying to hide behind her.) They still are hesitant to interact with the other kids, though. I imagine it must be frustrating to not understand what the other children are saying. They were very interested in the trampoline, but didn't try it out until all of the other kids went inside to open presents. They ended up having so much fun jumping and flopping around. Then they wanted Mommy to jump too, so we had a fun time laughing and jumping. All in all, it seems they did very well with their first American birthday party. We actually stayed for over 2 hours!
Back home, it was obviously nap time for Jack, so Beth did some coloring and Mommy folded and sorted clothes. At around 3:30, the Brown family stopped by to visit. Jack was still sleeping so the rest of us went out to the backyard. Beth was quite shy again with new people, but we just chatted and let the kids play independently. We finally woke up Jack and brought him outside too to have a snack. After a while, we got up to check out the garden and while Mommy was picking tomatoes, Steve started to engage the children in a game of chase. Soon Beth, Jack and their friend, Eric, were laughing together and running around the yard. After Steve sat down, the three kids continued to chase each other--the best interaction with kids their own age we've seen! We thought that was definitely a positive step!
When Daddy got home, he had some good play time with them while Mommy got dinner ready. They got to "drive" Daddy's remote controlled Hummer! Beth was a wild woman--crashing into the curb and trying to run her brother over! Jack was quite a bit more cautious!
After dinner, we all got in the car again and headed over to the Cornelius' house for a visit. We wanted to help Beth and Jack get used to going over there since we usually have a Bible Study there every Thursday evening. 6-year-old Hannah, had set up some toys especially for Jack and Beth to play with when we arrived! What a great little hostess! Even though they had already met so many new people today, they seemed to warm up to our friends a little quicker than before. By the time we left, Steve was getting high-fives from Beth and playing peek-a-boo around the kitchen island.
Whew! What a day! By the time we got home, brushed teeth, got pajamas on and got them into bed, they didn't have much protest in them. Only 20 minutes or so--way better than 2 hours!
So many of you have asked about their language acquisition that I thought I'd include a few updates and a funny story. Beth can count to 5 in English, and she really emphasizes the "FIVE". She also like to play the letter "I" on the fridge phonics over and over. I wonder why she likes that sound so much? They both say "thank you" and with prompting will say "please." Most of our communication from them depends on us understanding their Thai. We do our best to say things in both Thai and English, but often rely on pointing and demonstrating to indicate what we want them to do. So anyway, last night at the dinner table Daddy quite obviously passed gas. I reminded him that he should say "excuse me" so that Beth and Jack would learn to say it in such a situation, too. So, he dutifully said "excuse me" to which Beth responded with a strong "AMEN." Yes, we find a lot of amusement at the Wofford house now!
P.S. So sorry no pictures today--I thought Beth had absconded with the camera, but found it safely hidden behind the tool turnabout on the kitchen counter after all the day's events had passed by. (She is a bit of a packrat :) )

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More New Experiences for Jack and Beth

Tuesday, September 25, 10:30 p.m.
Today started off with our earliest rising yet--7:30 a.m.! Mommy had a meeting this morning, so Daddy stayed home and fixed breakfast and played with Beth and Jack. They got to try cereal--Daddy's usual breakfast. Let's just say it might take some getting used to.

After Mommy returned home, we packed some snacks and headed to Lone Pine Farm--where the kids played on the playground--they really like slides!, watched Mommy feed the goats--still too scary to let some strange animal eat out of their hands, "mined" for precious stones in the new sluice--they love playing in water!, and helped me shop for some fresh vegetables. Grandma Mitchell went with us and Beth let her push her on the swing and hold hands when we walked across the parking lot. It's great to see the kids begin to warm up to their new family!

Back home, we ate lunch and Jack took a nap (much-needed I might add!) Beth and Mommy went outside and hung up laundry and colored. After Jack woke up, they decided to help Mommy water the plants. Maybe they'll be little gardeners some day? Actually, they just liked to play in the water.

For dinner, we tried pizza--brought over by some of our wonderful church friends. Jack and Beth didn't want to try it until we showed them the meat on the pizza. Then, they just picked it off and left the cheese and crust. Good thing Mommy had a pot of rice on standby! Mitch and I thought the pizza was great, by the way!

After dinner, Mommy stubbed her toe almost-swearing bad--yes, it was even bleeding. Beth was very concerned and followed me into the bathroom. She grabbed a bandaid and unwrapped it for me while I washed off my toe. So, maybe she'll be a nurse? What a little sweetheart!

They learned "thank you" today, and even said it a few times unprompted. And, at lunch, they repeated after Mommy when we prayed. They love the "amen" and usually shout it out!

They met a few new friends today--the Gildays and the Shelleys--still very shy, but that's okay, they've only been here a week, and we think they are doing amazingly well!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Visit to Holt Office

Monday, September 24, 9:20 p.m.

Today, we made plans to meet Margaret's cousin, Faith, who happens to work at the Holt office, and go out to lunch. Beth and Jack did very well in their carseats, even when we made a couple of stops on the way.

When we arrived, Lisa and Marissa (the Thai program coordinators), as well as a few others from the office were waiting to meet us. But they had been warned to "ignore" the kids so that they wouldn't become like little turtles and crawl into their shells. It really worked! They didn't seem to realize they were truly the main attraction. We let them play with the toys while several of us sat and chatted about our trip and how they are doing now that we are home.

Soon, it became obvious that they were getting hungry, so we made a quick trip to the bathroom and then headed across the street with Faith to the Chinese restaurant--fried rice is always a hit! Jack insisted on sitting on my lap to eat, but he definitely had a good appetite--almost two full cups of egg flower soup plus mar far chicken and fried rice! He could stand to put a little meat on his bones though.

Back at home, we played outside for a little bit and then had some quiet time on Mommy's bed--it really wasn't as quiet as I would have hoped, but at least they stayed there long enough for me to hang up the sheets from Jack's bed to dry (Yes, we've now had our first official bed-wetting episode.) When we finally let them get up, they played outside with Daddy for a while so Mommy could try to get some housework done (TRY is the operative word--seems like everything takes soooo much longer to do now!)

Bedtime is still teary, but it seems to be taking less time for them to calm down each night. Singing over them seems to help, and of course praying. Jack likes to hold my hand and Beth likes her back to be rubbed.

Well, I wanted to mention the status of Miles Baur since so many of you prayed for him and asked how he was doing. We checked the Baurs' blog and they are home safe and sound which means that Miles improved enough to be released from the hospital and fly home. It sounds like he is adjusting well to his new brother and sister, but not to his carseat. No surprise there! Thanks so much for praying for him and for the Baurs! I let them know that you were praying and they appreciate it so much.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Most Surprising Things

Sunday, September 23, 10:30 p.m.

Today was a pretty good day, although it didn't go as planned. We had set the alarm intending to go to Sunday School, but since the night was so broken up, we just turned it off and slept in.

The kids got to spend some time with Grandpa and Grandma Wofford today, as well as with Aunt Lisa and Catlin again. Beth and Grandpa had a little conversation about some cat pictures he had brought with him. Beth did most of the talking and Grandpa didn't have a clue what she was saying! But they sure had a good time! Beth's most common English word is "kitty" (sounds more like "kittle-ey" though) or "Calvin" ("Cow-bin"). But she really likes to look at books with Mommy and hear the English words.

By the time Aunt Lisa left she had them rolling across the lawn and sucking on candy that turned their tongues blue. Of course, they had to show us! It's so good to see them relax with family and really enjoy being with everyone.

We look at them often and thank God for entrusting such treasures to us! Wow! We are so undeserving! But somehow God chose us. It makes us lean even harder on Him for the strength and wisdom to be the parents Beth and Jack need.

Well, after almost 2 weeks of parenting, I thought I'd end this post with my top ten most surprising things about being a parent...

10. How proud I feel when they remember little rules like "Eat only in the hard-floor room" or "Take your dish to the sink."

9. How they manage to get so many outfits so dirty!

8. How much louder mealtimes are now.

7. How unskilled I am at little girls' hair-do's!

6. How quickly kisses really do take away the little "owies."

5. How soon after a temper tantrum the smiles and giggles can reappear.

4. How unrestful it is to sleep in a twin-size bed with a squirmy two-year-old!

3. How long they can fight sleep when they are so exhausted!

2. How many trips to the bathroom a mother of two preschoolers makes in one day!

1. How incredible it feels to hear your own child say "I love you, Mommy" while hugging your legs. (Of course in Thai it sounds like "rak meh.")

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun with Playdoh and cousin Catlin

Saturday, September 22, 9:45 p.m.

Today was a busy day for the Wofford family! We ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and rice (of course!) and then had a playful morning. We tried out the PlayDoh today and they both really had fun! Jack stayed with it for at least half an hour and then played with his Matchbox cars. But Beth and Mommy played for almost an hour! And of course all of the colors are now mixed together, which drives Mommy nuts, but oh well. (Thanks to some wonderful friends, we have PlayDoh to spare!)

Soon after lunch, Aunt Lisa and cousin Catlin arrived to visit. While Jack had his nap, the rest of us went outside and talked and played, trying not to focus too much on Beth so she would feel more comfortable. She stayed close to Mommy and Daddy most of the time but watched our visitors curiously.

After Jack woke up, we all got in the car and drove over to Grandma Mitchell's house again to pick tomatoes. They enjoyed riding around on tricycles and being pulled around the farm in the wagon. Beth helped us pick tomatoes for Aunt Lisa and Jack helped Grandma pick pears.

When we got home, another wonderful friend from church was waiting for us with another wonderful meal! (Thank you so much to all of you who are taking such good care of us! We feel so blessed and loved! That's what church family is truly all about. I hope that we can reciprocate some day!)

Aunt Lisa and Catlin stayed for dinner and after dinner, Catlin (a 15-year-old high school freshman) got down on his hands and knees and started to crawl around following Jack. Soon Jack was giggling and playing peek-a-boo with him. Well, Beth was not about to be left out, but being a little more cautious, she watched for a few minutes. Within a few minutes, however, all three were out in the backyard chasing each other and laughing like crazy! What a great step for them! They were able to interact positively and freely with someone besides Mommy and Daddy!

The rest of the evening went as usual--bath, pjs, relax in the living room, tears in the bedroom and crash, they're asleep. Beth sounds like a toy with a battery running out as she finally nods off. Please continue to pray that they will adjust to the new routine for bedtime. We're not even sure what the old routine was, so we just try to reassure them that we are here. And Mommy gets a good half hour of prayer time in as she rubs their backs and waits for them to fall asleep. So it's not for naught! We know prayer works so we just keep praying for them.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Positive Progress

Friday, September 21, 11:00 p.m.

Well, here it is blog time again and for the second night in a row, Jack is joining me.
Of course he is asleep on my lap and I am typing one-handed. Anyway, we had another great day. I guess to make up for the rough night?

Both of the kids are repeating more and more words in English. And we are hearing them say "mommeeeee" and "daddeeeee" more often. Jack actually took an hour-long nap today! And Beth and Mommy had some quiet time coloring--almost 45 minutes! Both of them like to be wherever Mommy is, so while they watched a dvd, I folded laundry (I'm actually caught up!!) and while they played outside, I weeded the flower bed.

Beth saw Daddy pull into the driveway in his pickup and ran to the window to see. Then she ran to the door to go outside. When we got close enough, she ran to him and gave him a big hug. You should have seen the smile on Mitch's face!

We had more visitors today--the Foster family! They brought flowers and friendship so we invited them out to the backyard to see if the kids would play together. Beth and Jack were still somewhat shy, but didn't totally ignore their new friends. It was a good step and we hope to have more opportunities to play with all of their new friends!

I thought I'd end this post with a couple of cute pictures of bathtime...they love their bunny and bear towels!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Playdate

Here we are at the end of our third full day home with Beth and Jack! Seems like we are on more of a normal schedule--woke up at 8:30 this morning instead of 11:00. The kids slept better last night too. No nightmares and no tears in the middle of the night. Beth still cries at bedtime, but falls asleep fairly quickly.

Our morning was leisurely with lots of playtime and a little Sesame Street. They seem to prefer to watch tv with us rather than by themselves though.

We made plans to try an outing--in the car again. We decided to drive out to Grandma Mitchell's house, which was only 2 miles away. Mommy thought for sure Jack would fight the carseat, but surprisingly, he only protested for a few seconds before relaxing quietly. Woohoo! At Grandma's house, they dug into the huge sandbox and were soon joined by the Gant boys. We wanted to see how they would do around other kids. They didn't interact very much, but they were definitely more animated than we've seen them meeting adults. When it was time to go they even waved "bye-bye" to Grandma.

Back home, it wasn't long before Daddy came home and we all played in the backyard. Another wonderful family from church brought us dinner, which we all enjoyed! Baths after dinner and then bedtime, which seems to be the hardest thing for them to adjust to. They are used to sleeping in the same room as the rest of the family on mats on the floor. So it's no wonder they are afraid to sleep in another room by themselves. We usually end up just holding them until they fall sound asleep or laying down beside them and rubbing their backs. They are so precious to us and it breaks our hearts to see them struggle. Hopefully it will be the strengthening of the butterfly for them. We know that God has incredible plans for their lives!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Counting our Blessings!

Well, our day started with seriously sleeping 11:00! After a rough night of nightmares, fevers, and plain old homesickness (at least those are our best guesses at the reason for all the waking up and tears), we needed a little extra time to wake up! Daddy was back to work today so Mommy and the kids got the day started with breakfast for lunch. Would you believe between the two of them they ate 5 extra large eggs?! For now, we just want to make sure they eat so we look for things that are familiar to them.
Mommy spent the day trying to clean up, do laundry, catch up with a few folks on the phone and finish unpacking in between the times when Jack and Beth played independently. They actually do very well playing together! They wouldn't play outside without one of us though, so Mommy hung out the laundry while they got a little fresh air.
The kids got to meet their Uncle Rod (Margaret's brother) and Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathy (Mitch's brother and sister-in-law) along with new cousin Matthew. They are both very shy when they are introduced to new people, so it might take a little time to get to know them. We wish you could have seen us at the dinner table though! Beth and Jack seemed to have their own little jokes and just laughed like crazy. Mitch and I decided to tell our own little "jokes" and laugh like crazy, too! They hesitated for a moment and then laughed even harder. We got some of it on video in case no one believes us that they really are talkative.
After dinner, they had some Daddy-play-time and watched themselves on the video before baths and bedtime. Beth cried again, but maybe out of exhaustion more than anything. Jack just flopped down on his pillow and was out like a light!
I guess being home is not quite as exciting for all of you as when we were clear across the world, but we are still celebrating the little moments as much as the big ones--like when they understand to close the door, or they repeat what we say, when they are delighted with blowing bubbles or they discover the raspberries on the vines. It's wonderful to be where we are right now and we thank God for his blessings!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Day at Home

Tuesday, September 18, 9:00 p.m., Home
Our first full day home went very well, all things considered. Beth slept 14 hours, most of them on the floor. I guess she just feels more comfortable with the familiar right now. Jack woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't find his sister. But as soon as we figured out what he wanted and he saw her, he just flopped down on the floor right beside her and went back to sleep.
We spent most of the day just playing and trying to unpack, do laundry, take naps and teach Beth and Jack what's okay to play with and what's not. I'm finally in the "mountains of laundry club!" They love to play with their LeapFrog fridge phonics and so we've heard the alphabet song already more times than we could count. But, Beth is starting to sing it on her own when she's playing so it's been worth it. Jack will repeat almost any words we try to teach him, but Beth plays the shy card. She still calls us by the Thai words for Daddy and Mommy, "Por" and "Mae", so we try to get her to call for us in English. It ends up sounding like a combination "Mom-mae." Beth likes her baby doll and calls her "babeeeee." And they have started to call the cats "kitty kitty."
We all walked down to the local school playground this afternoon so they could get some energy out. Beth picked up swinging super fast! We didn't even have to teach her to pump her legs. Jack went straight to the tall slide and enjoyed both sliding down and crawling up it. He doesn't seem to have much fear.
Soon after we returned home, a good friend from church stopped by with dinner for us. What a blessing that was! Margaret had been fighting a migraine ever since we arrived home, so it really helped to not have to worry about cooking. It was their first American meal (well, unless you count McDonald's in Bangkok) and we were anxious to see how they would like it. They loved the meat and au jus--Jack just slurped it like soup! We decided from now on to let Jack try new foods first, because if Beth doesn't like something then he thinks he doesn't either.
We started off the meal by holding hands and closing eyes and praying. They didn't really know what was going on, but halfway through dinner, Beth wanted to "hold hands" again. So we did and Mitch prayed again. At the end, after he said "amen," Mommy said "amen" and then Jack piped in with "ahmen," and with a little prompting Beth wasn't about to be left out! We ended up playing that game a few more times before we decided dinner was over.
Daddy and the kids had some playtime and took baths while Mommy went grocery shopping. They weren't too sure what was going on when Mommy left, but soon got distracted by bathtime. They were still pretty exhausted and trying to overcome jet lag, so they went right to sleep.
We just have to say that we are having so much fun! Yes, there are frustrating moments, but it is such a joy to hear them laugh and squeal when we tickle them, or giggle and squirm when we kiss their necks. Their hugs are so priceless! We feel so blessed!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The long trip back home

Monday, September 17, 8:15 p.m., Home
Whew! What a DAY ( well, actually it's been a day and a half since our last post)! As you can see from our date entry, we made it safely home. We started our journey home with a 3:30 a.m. wakeup call. The kids woke up by the time we left the hotel at 4:00 and surprisingly stayed awake. At the airport, we discovered that when we changed our tickets to return a day early, only Mitch and Margaret's were rebooked and the kids were still booked to fly on
Tuesday! Well, that wasn't going to work! There were no seats available in economy but there were in business. So yeah, we already started off spoiling our kids! We were so ready to come home that we just decided to go for it.
Next stop was the immigration line to check everyone's passports and adoption documents. It was to be the first of many lines throughout our trip! By the time we got to our gate, we had used up our whole two hours prior to showtime and were some of the last passengers to get on the plane.
Jack and Mitch took the first leg in business class and Margaret and Beth were in the middle of the plane. We had been hoping that they would go back to sleep as soon as we took off, but they were way too wired! Neither one liked to wear a seatbelt and Jack threw a royal fit. Beth finally understood how to watch for the lighted sign to go on/off and had no problems after that. I think she kind of enjoyed snapping it closed and then flipping it open. Jack really got into the buttons on the console, especially the light. Beth got a lot of practice with "yes" and "no" when I had to remind her repeatedly not to push the call attendant button!
Our stop in Tokyo was pretty uneventful. We had just enough time to get off, stretch our legs, go through a security line AGAIN, and board our next plane. This time, the girls got to sit up in business class and the boys had backrow seats--literally! This was the longest leg of the trip and the kids got 3 or 4 hours of much-needed sleep. Both kids did amazingly well for being cramped up for so long (aside from Jack's tantrums over the seatbelt issue that is.)
We were so happy to set foot on U.S. soil! Too bad the kids don't have a clue yet! We knew we had a pretty long lay-over so we didn't hurry too much to customs and immigration. It was still pretty busy by the time we arrived there and we got in the line marked for new immigrants. The officer came to us in line and asked for all of our documents, then he just walked back to his little cubicle and told us to go to the end of another line. Long story short, we ended up being the last family to be served with everyone else cleared out long ago. (Note: this is the same US government department that made us wait in a small lobby with two small children bored out of their minds for 2 1/2 hours last week!)
We collected our luggage, re-checked it for a domestic flight and made a few phone calls to let our families know when to expect us. Then we waited some more. Overall, the kids did very well! No major temper tantrums, praise the Lord! As the journey wore on however, the tears did increase. The last flight from San Francisco was the shortest and the longest at the same time! Everyone was exhausted and of course Jack protested loudly over having to wear the seatbelt again. On our final descent, Beth's ears started to hurt from the pressure and it took a few tries of various "remedies" before Mommy remembered the sippy cups that we had brought. We finally got her to suck water through the straw and she calmed down enough to actually fall asleep right before we landed.
We were greeted with huge smiles from the grandparents! (There might have been a few tears as well?) The kids were shy and quiet (their typical behavior when meeting someone new). We ended up waiting yet again, because one of our suitcases never came through on the belt. Mitch had to wait (yes, again) for everyone else to be checked in to their flights before anyone would help him. They finally found it somewhere--who knows what the story was! By that time, Jack had fallen asleep and we were hoping he would stay out long enough for us to survive the drive home in the new carseat (with a harness!) Oh yeah, in Thailand no one uses seatbelts, much less car seats for kids! But, no such luck. He woke up as we walked to the car and boy did we hear an earful on the way home. Good thing we live so near the airport!
We were greeted by a huge welcome home sign hanging in front of our window when we arrived home, only 30 hours since our wakeup call in Bangkok! So many of our church family had signed it with notes of encouragement and blessing, it brought tears to our eyes when we read it all later. The kids were excited to investigate their new home! We showed them their room and they discovered a few toys, but when we took them out into the backyard, they dug right in to the balls and trikes and other old outdoor toys. It was great to hear them laughing and playing and enjoying themselves. By 7:30, we had wrapped up playtime, taken baths, checked out their new bunk beds and tucked them into bed. We decided to begin the practice of praying for them each night at bedtime and by the time we had finished, Beth was sleeping soundly. Jack was only seconds behind her. Now it's time for Mommy and Daddy to get some sleep too! Thanks again for your prayers for us we know God has answered many prayers on this trip.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Opposite Day!

Sunday, Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m. - Bangkok
Well, today was opposite day-as great as yesterday was, today was the exact opposite! We awoke to an impending thunderstorm and, sure enough, by the time we returned to our room after breakfast the thunder and lightning was in full force. We felt trapped inside by the pouring rain, and had to deal with a storm inside as well! Temper-tantrums extraordinaire! Once the tears subsided a bath refreshed the kids. They are used to taking baths three times a day and boy do they love the (nam) water! You'd take several baths a day too, if you lived in this sauna!

We decided to try another outing on the Skytrain. I must say I'm very impressed with how nice and modern this train is, it's one of the best mass transits I've ridden on. Anyway, this time we tried out the "Siam Center Shopping Mall" - just 3 stops away, and very nice too. The kids enjoy the train ride and especially putting the ticket in the turnstile machine. We had Japanese food for lunch and Beth actually did pretty well slurping up her ramen! We found out where the aquarium was and headed that way with a quick stop at the ice cream shop. They both like chocolate, but Beth does not like whipped cream or cherries. So many things to discover!

The aquarium was a little spendy and the kids we not minding very well either, so we decided to head back to the hotel and swim off some energy instead. The rest of the afternoon left us feeling like we had no more buttons left to push. But we are trusting the Lord to give us patience and understanding beyond the language barrier. Part of the frustration they are experiencing is when they try to tell us something, and we can't understand them. I wonder sometimes if we are learning Thai faster than they are learning English though?! But we know God's grace is more than enough and that bolsters our lagging spirits. We also know that this is God's plan for Beth and Jack and we want to do our best to show them His perfect love as imperfect as we may be.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Zoo

Sunday, Sept. 16, 8:45 a.m., Bangkok

Sorry for the late posting last night we tried to post this but didn't realize the computer room closed at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday was spent as a leisurely morning sleeping in, getting our breakfast and playing. We left for the zoo around 10:00 a.m. First we walked a few blocks to the "Skytrain Station". We took the Skytrain to the Victory Monument which was only 6 stops away. From there, we caught a taxi to the zoo.

At the zoo, Beth and Jack were so excited to see all the animals! Sometimes we would have to drag them away so we could move on to the next exhibit. It seemed that their favorites were the reptiles-especially the turtles.

The zoo was beautiful and well-maintained. It even had a nice playground for the kids. They took to it much easier this time and really enjoyed the slides. Jack seems fearless and Beth is cautious but curious.

As we started to go toward the elephant house, we glanced outside the zoo grounds toward the Parliamint building and noticed a parade was in progress. We were treated to dancers in traditional costume, and 80 elephants bearing honorees, music and drums. It was all very fascinating, and we found out this morning that this was in honor of his majesty the Kings' birthday!

By the time we were ready to head back out the gate, some of the elephants had arrived back at the zoo gate all decked out in their silk finery. They let us take pictures with some of the "babies" and even pet them!

The weather was hot and humid all day long and we felt like we had been in a sauna. Both kids catnapped in the taxi on the way back but woke-up in time to enjoy the Skytrain agian.

Back in our room, we took cool and refreshing baths and rested on our beds. Everone seemed to really perk up then and so we did some quiet play, dinner and into bed. It was another fun day for the Wofford family!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Visa Day

Friday, September 14, 8:40 p.m., Bangkok

We started our day off by inadvertently sleeping in, so when we awoke, we discovered we had only one hour to get everybody dressed, eat breakfast, cross the street (not as easy as one might think when there are cars 8-wide on a 6-lane avenue and motorcycles and scooters zooming in and out between all the cars!), hail a taxi, and get to the US embassy by 8:30 a.m. The good news is that we did it! The better news is that our visa interview went smoothly. And the best news is that the immigration officer told us to wait and they would process the kids' visas before we left. We didn't have to return later to pick them up! Mo says that "never" happens. Prayer is making a difference!! So that means all of our official business is over! Praise the Lord!

We were hoping to be able to change our tickets and come home right away, but it looks like we will be spending the weekend here after all. Tomorrow, we'll take the skytrain to the zoo. And Sunday, we might make a daytrip to the beach. It all depends on how well Beth and Jack are doing. Jack hasn't been getting his usual nap each day, so he is usually pretty exhausted by 7 or 7:30 p.m.

Anyway, we had another chance to spend time with Mai and her sister, Noi. They had accompanied their father to the hospital for his dialysis treatment and since the hospital was within walking distance of our hotel, we met them there for lunch. We got to meet their father, who was gracious and cheerful and seemed delighted to meet our children. (By the way, the hospital is cutting edge, beautiful and huge!)

After we said goodbye to Mai and Noi, we went upstairs to check on the Baurs, who had just today admitted their son, Miles, because he has pneumonia and needs IV antibiotics. They had to check out of the hotel and were camped out in Miles' room. They were supposed to fly home this evening, but now will also be spending the weekend here. Please pray for little Miles--he can't seem to keep anything in his stomach, has a high fever, and has trouble breathing.

We are somewhat concerned for Jack and Beth's health as well. Both have sinus congestion and bad coughs. We've got cold medicine, vitamins and airborne, so hopefully by the time we fly, they will be over their colds. (By the way, Beth only had two sips of my coffee, you guys!)

Both kids are becoming more affectionate toward us. Jack is starting to say "Mommy" and his hugs just melt our hearts. Beth is more hesitant, but still enjoys cuddling when we initiate it. Both have tempers when they don't get their way, and so we just pick our battles and make sure we win. They are just testing the boundaries. The laughter far outweighs the few tears, and we would just about give anything to know what Beth jabbers on and on about! That girl can talk!

We had another good day of swimming and Beth even tried on her swimsuit--although not until we were back in the room and taking baths. Oh well. At least she tried it on without crying! Jack still won't get in the pool, but he sure has fun splashing and kicking the beach ball across it!

Daddy went out for "take-away" again and after dinner everyone just relaxed. It was a good end to a long day!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Good Day...

Thursday, September 13, 8:20 p.m., Bangkok

Well, today was definitely an improvement over yesterday! We let Beth and Jack sleep in this morning, which meant they woke up at 7:00 instead of 6:30. They are definitely early risers! After breakfast, we took a walk around the block and looked at cats and lizards and turtles. Then, we played in our room until Daddy had to leave to take care of our immigration papers. Mommy and kids went across the streets to the supermarket/cafeteria to pick up a few snacks and some "take-away" food for lunch. We went around the corner and had our first Starbucks experience. Jack loved his mango smoothie, but Beth seemed to prefer Mommy's caramel frappucino.

Mitch returned with great news--our visa appointment is tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. at the embassy! Sounds like our prayers are already being answered!

This afternoon, we decided to try the swimming pool again. Daddy wanted to swim so Mommy agreed to stay on the side with toys, just in case they panicked again. We splashed in the fountain and then they started to toss the beach ball to Daddy. Slowly, they moved closer and closer until they finally splashed their hands in the pool. After shoes came off, Beth started to hang on the ladder and gradually worked her way down to submerging everything but her head. Jack discovered the shower and ended up just as wet, but never got in the pool on his own. We felt it was a great step for them!

Back in the room, Beth apparently wasn't feeling well because she suddenly started vomiting. Like we said, they sure are breaking us in quickly! But after that, she was playing and laughing as if nothing had even happened.

We went to the corner restaurant for dinner and both kids had good appetites. The restaurant staff were especially friendly and acted like we needed a lot of help with our two little Thai children. We didn't think we were doing so bad, though. Oh well, they all seemed to enjoy the fussing--even the kids.

Back in our room, their eyes fell closed by 7:30. All in all, it was a very good day and we are starting to get to know their individual personalities better. Beth is sensitive and artistic and often sings little songs while she plays or colors. She laughs easily and loves to be tickled. Jack is rambunctious and confident. He seems to enjoy trying new things--food, toys, and whatever his sister has at the moment. They both demonstrate affection toward each other in their own ways. Jack shares food or brings something to Beth when she seems upset. Beth usually shares toys and talks to Jack or takes his hand to lead him somewhere.

Well, time to sign off for the night. Thank you for continuing to pray for the Wofford family! Our journey home is yet to come!

P.S. Here are a couple of pictures we forgot to post yesterday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hurry up and wait!

Wednesday, Sept. 12, Bangkok
Soon after our last post, Beth and Jack arrived. We went straight up to our room and played for about an hour. They did not seem sad or upset to have just left their foster mother, and we wondered whether they really understood what was happening.
We joined the Baurs for lunch at McDonald's. Thought we'd see how they took to American food... chicken McNuggets and fries were good, but hamburgers were not! Might take some getting used to the taste.
We spent the rest of the afternoon playing in our room. Except for a short trip to the swimming pool. Beth cried when we tried to help her put on her swimming suit. She had never worn one before. So we let her just wear shorts and a t-shirt. When we got to the pool however she really panicked watching us get in first. They had never been in a swimming pool before! So, we packed everyone back to the room and just played some more.
Jack threw a tantrum when we tried to get him to take a nap. We're getting broken-in quite quickly, huh? So anyway, by the time we went out to dinner he was exhausted and fell asleep mid-chew. Back in our room we just watched t.v. and let them fall asleep on their mattresses. They both fell asleep clutching their little flashlights (what a lifesaver, Dani!)

Today was our first big day for official government business. We started with breakfast at 7:00 and met Mo at 8:15 to go meet the Thai Government officials. Our turn finally came at 10:30. It went smoothly and we were done in about 10 minutes. From there, we took a taxi directly to the US immigration office to file our paperwork. When we arrived, it was the lunch hour so we waited until 12:30. But when we went up to the top floor we discovered that they had an extended lunch/meeting until 1:30! We walked (in the HEAT, all dressed-up) to a playground about 7 or 8 blocks away. We discovered this was also a first for them. Mitch had to climb and slide and swing (not to hard for him) to show them what to do! Back at immigration, we still had to wait 2 1/2 hours (in a small gov. waiting room) to be called back for our 8 minute interview. The DMV office is nothing compared to this office! By the that time, we were all worn to a frazzle! It was also discouraging because by then we had missed our window to request an appointment at the Embassy. Finally, the immigration officer informed us that we would have to return tomorrow afternoon to get our papers and then go to the consular office at the Embassy accross the street to make our appointment. Long story short it looks like we need another miracle just to get us out of here on Saturday, and Monday might be ify also!! We are really hoping somehow we could get put on some kind of fast track and pick-up the visa's on Friday and fly home on Saturday! Stay tuned. Please pray that our case will be expidited.

Well, we finally made it back to our room, but with two exhausted and hungry kids! Beth finally seemed to understand what was happening and burst into tears. Mommy held her until she calmed enough to drink a little milk. Daddy went to get some take-away (take-out) dinner, and we decided to do bath time. They both perked-up amazingly, and by the time dinner was over, they were back to laughing and playing happily with Daddy (Best part of the day says daddy).
Whew! What a couple of days this has been, and it isn't over yet! But everytime we feel frustrated and challenged, we try to think of how difficult this is for the kids! It puts things into perspective.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Tuesday, September 11, 10:15, Bangkok
Yes!!! We finally got the news today that our prayers regarding the paperwork have been answered! We received a phone call from Marissa, at Holt Intl back home, late last night informing us that they were working diligently to locate the missing paperwork and to encourage us to not lose heart. Then, this morning, Mo called to tell us that they felt the best thing would be for us to show up at the immigration office in person to try to get some assistance. She picked us up at 9:00 and we went by taxi to the US Homeland Security office. The officer there did not seem to be able to help us, but we kept asking them to call the US Embassy to check whether it had been sent to the wrong place. The supervisor asked us for some information and then, all of a sudden, they found it! The officer even said that the embassy had just called with our information and she didn't know why. We know however that it was a God-thing!!! We are so relieved and can look forward to the next couple of days of official business without a cloud hanging over our heads. Well, in just about half an hour, Beth and Jack will arrive and we will have full custody! A day of playing, swimming and relaxing seems in order!

Foster Family Visit

Monday, September 10, 8:00 p.m., Bangkok
This morning started off with another long wait for the kids to arrive. Did we tell you that traffic in Bangkok is terrible? When they finally arrived, we all piled into a van and drove to Central Department Store. The children really enjoyed the escalator--good thing, too, since the children's department was on the 6th floor! They were fascinated by the mannequins and even asked Mo what they were. As far as the shopping went, let's just say we definitely do not recommend trying to clothes shop with two very active preschoolers who don't speak your language!!

After lunch, we returned to the hotel and played with the kids for about half an hour. Margaret also called the US Immigration office here in Bangkok to see if the paperwork had been cabled yet. So far--no. Keep praying!

At 2:30, we got back in the van and set out for Bang Sai--the village where the foster family lives, just north of Bangkok. As we sped along the expressway, the city scenery changed gradually until we were definitely in a rural area. The countryside is beautiful with rice fields and tropical fruit trees. We saw many different types of birds. Beth and Jack got their naps in for the day.

After more than an hour, we finally arrived at the foster home. We walked down a dirt path, over a rickety bridge, under a stilt house and into the yard of the foster family. The father was the first to greet us and led us to his home. There, the mother invited us upstairs to visit. We removed our shoes and climbed the steep wooden staircase to a large open room. The house was very sparsely furnished--mostly some cabinets and a few chairs. Sleeping mats were piled by one wall. We sat in the middle of the floor and got to know one another. The foster parents were most concerned that we loved Beth and Jack--especially now that we had met them face-to-face and not just in photos. We could tell that they had truly loved our children and that their home was a happy place.

We said goodbye for the night and left them for the last time--tomorrow they will stay with us for good! Jack blew us kisses as we waved goodbye. We settled in for the long drive back to the hotel and that's when the exhaustion hit us. We'll probably just relax in our room and by the pool after Beth and Jack get here tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
Margaret finally saw an elephant--just a block from the hotel in the middle of the city!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The smiles we've been waiting for...

Sunday, September 9, 3:15 p.m., Bangkok

Our morning started off with breakfast where we were joined by the Baurs. We agreed to gather a few minutes early and pray over our meeting with the children. As we prayed, the peace of God seemed to just flood our hearts.

When Mo, our case worker, arrived, she led us to a large meeting room and explained our schedule, answered questions, and gave us more detailed info about the children's daily routine. As the clock ticked closer and closer to 10:30, we could hardly pay attention to anything besides the door through which Beth and Jack would walk. Then Mo received a phone call telling her that the children would be late due to bad roads. Agh! Another 45 minutes?!

But before we knew it, we could hear little voices outside the door. And once when someone opened it for a moment, Mitch caught a glimpse of Beth peeking around to see us. Finally, they led them in, and we joined them on the floor to play.

They were very shy at first, but when the balls came out, Jack laughed and smiled and played toss with his new daddy. He even called him "dee", which means daddy in Thai! Beth took longer to warm up, but enjoyed coloring in her new coloring book with her mommy. She liked to hand out the crayons.

We all went to lunch in the hotel restaurant and then went to our separate rooms so the kids could explore where they would be staying soon. We made a quick stop to see the swimming pool, but they seemed more impressed with the fountain. As soon as they came in the room they jumped on the bed and the giggles grew. We played peek-a-boo and blew up balloons for each of the kids. Mo left us and told us to bring them back down to the lobby by 2 p.m., so we had about 20 minutes with no one else here. Beth really came out of her shell and talked up a storm! Too bad we couldn't understand what she was saying! We said goodbye for the day and gave them hugs and kisses for the road.

What else can we say but that we feel incredibly overwhelmed to be blessed with these two precious children. They are like precious jewels, handpicked by God to sparkle and shine! Their smiles and laughter today made all the waiting so worthwhile! Can't wait for tomorrow! (Shopping at the department store with Mo and Beth and Jack, followed by our visit to the foster home.)

P.S. Special note to Mitch's sister, Lisa: At lunch, Beth really liked fresh "daang gwah" (cucumbers). It was the first thing she finished on her plate.:)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Day with our Friend, Mai

Sunday, September 9, 9:00 a.m., Bangkok

We just wanted to catch you up on our excursion yesterday before our first meeting with Beth and Jack later this morning (only 90 minutes and counting!)

Our friend, Mai, picked us up in her father's van (he provided a chauffeur, too!) and took us to a place just north of Bangkok, on the Chaow Praya River. We parked in the compound of a Buddhist temple, called a "wat," and walked down to the river. There, Mai hired a longboat taxi (Mitch was impressed by the huge truck motor and looooong prop shaft) to take us to the island of Ko Kret. As we motored along we saw such extremes of luxury and poverty--sometimes right next to each other.

Our first stop was to a muslim community that had been helped by one of the queen's humanitarian projects--they had been taught how to make silk flowers, candles, baskets etc. by hand in order to make a living. Mitch made a friend here, charmed a baby girl who looked to be about 18 months old. She was so cute when she did her little bow with hands clasped! Mai insisted we try some of the local food--some kind of fried fish balls with a sweet sauce, cucumber and fried Thai basil--yumm!

The next stop was like a little restaurant and snack shop. There we tried coconut ice cream and sampled some snacks. We finally got off again at a village and walked along the waterfront past vendors with so many different foods and items to purchase. Mai kept wanting us to try all the traditional Thai foods and beverages, so by the time we were done, we weren't even hungry for lunch.

The weather was HOT the whole day--felt like we were in a sauna! So it was a relief to be back in the air-conditioned van. On the way back to the hotel, we made a stop at a fabric store where Margaret picked out some fabric for the kids' quilts. We said goodbye to Mai and the driver, Monton, with promises to try to contact her again this week.

The heat was so exhausting that we decided a swim in the pool would be refreshing. It looked like rain was in the forecast, so we hustled down and enjoyed a relaxing half hour or so. (It never did rain, though.)

We were finally starting to feel hungry again and decided to try out the Pad Thai at a food court just around the corner. On the way, we left a message for the other Holt family, the Baurs, who were scheduled to arrive sometime Saturday. By the time we returned, they had called and wanted to meet us in the lobby.

Sarah and TJ ended up taking the same elevator with us and we connected right away. They are from Missouri and are also Christians, and they are adopting an 18-month-old boy whom they are naming Miles. We chatted for an hour or so and left them to their computer so they could make contact with their two kids back home.

Well, next time we write it will be about Beth and Jack! We can hardly wait!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Saturday, September 8, 10:15 a.m., Bangkok
Hello (sa wa dee ka)! We know that many of you have said that you would be praying for us and we have a very specific request...There is a very important document, the I-171H, that should have been cabled from the US Immigration office to the US Embassy here in Bangkok. It could have been sent as early as last January, but somehow was not sent. When the adoption agency discovered this a few weeks ago, we quickly sent emails, snail mail, and phone calls to try to expedite it, but we just found out that as of yesterday it still has not been sent. Without this document, our return trip could be delayed. As far as we know, it has been sent to a New Hampshire visa processing office, and it is up to that office to cable it to Bangkok. Please pray that they will send it before September 12, our interview date and the earliest date we can file for the children's visas. Thank you for lifting this up on our behalf and please pass it along to other prayer warriors!

Our Sightseeing Day

Saturday, September 8, 9:10 a.m., Bangkok

Yesterday, after a wonderful buffet breakfast at the hotel, we started our day with a little exploration of the street just outside. Immediately across the street is a "supermarket" (comparable in size to two convenience stores), with anything we should need to purchase plus an ATM. Just down the street are a variety of shops--laundry, tours, massage, pharmacy, restaurants, bars, hair salons etc. as well as street vendors. Right across from the hotel entrance is a fruit stand with so many fruits that we've never even seen before let alone tasted!

We signed up for a private tour of the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha (they say if you haven't seen this you haven't really seen Bangkok) and were met by our tour guide, Lily, and driver, Joy, at 12:45. After about 45 minutes of driving in heavy traffic, we arrived at the palace grounds. The king does not live at this palace, but it is used for coronations and for receiving foreign dignitaries. We were impressed by the beauty and the architecture, but felt saddened by the superstition woven into the art and statuary. Take a look for yourself...

Our guide was very nice, but she insisted on two additional excursions--the tailor shop and the jewelry store. We think she was hoping for a commission on whatever we bought. Oh well, it was fun to experience it.

We made it back to the hotel just about dinner time and decided to walk down the main street to find a little restaurant that our tour guide had recommended. By this time all the street vendors were out in full force along the sidewalks and the nightlife was in full swing. It was interesting to see all the goods for sale, but we didn't take the time to shop. At the restaurant, we each tried a new dish and were not disappointed. Thai food is awesome! The atmosphere was fun too--just a little hole in the wall place with plenty of locals as well as foreigners, open on two sides to the streets, stairs leading up to the owners' residence above, Mitch had a great view of the dishwashing station.
The rest of the evening was relaxing and restful.

Today we have plans to meet our friend Mai, whom we met back home. She is going to take us around Bangkok and show us her favorite hometown places. We are looking forward to seeing her here and feel blessed to have met her!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

We finally made it to Bangkok!

Friday, September 7, 11:30 a.m., Bangkok
Whew! What a trip! After our 9 1/2 hour flight to Tokyo, we had a 5-hour layover before we could board our last flight to Bangkok. We walked through the terminal a couple of times and enjoyed the sushi and ramen for dinner. Mostly we were just anxious to get back on the plane, though. Especially since Japan was expecting to be hit by a tropical storm within 24 hours. Winds and rain had already started picking up as we waited. By the time we boarded, it was 2 a.m. back home (according to our body clocks) so we just slept for most of the last 6-hour flight.

We got through customs without any problems, found all our luggage right away, exchanged some money and found a taxi. Well, actually the driver found us. Ha ha. It's crazy how they hound you for your business over here! We got to our hotel around 12:30 a.m., took showers and crashed for the rest of the night.

So here we are, finally in the same country as our children! Sunday can't come soon enough! But in the meantime, we are going to do some sightseeing...The Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha...this afternoon. Hope to try some good Thai food tonight. We made contact with our friend, Mai, here in Bangkok and she wants to be our guide tomorrow. It will be great to see things firsthand with someone who lives here and knows the best things about Thailand!

We'll try to post again after our afternoon of sightseeing! Thanks again for your prayers for our travel safety

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

San Francisco Side Trip

Everything was going along just fine this morning--we were up early, Margaret's mom picked us up at 8:30 and took us to the airport but when the ticket agent looked at his computer screen and said "uh oh" we knew our day would be different than we had planned! We ended up leaving an hour and a half late, due to air traffic issues in San Francisco, and we arrived at SFO just in time to see the doors close for our connection flight. With no chance of getting on the flight to Tokyo!

At the ticket counter we were told the next available flight would be tomorrow a.m. and we would have to stay overnight in San Francisco. So, we were forced to spend our extra time riding the cable cars, exploring Fisherman's Wharf and enjoying chocolate milkshakes at Ghiradelli Square! Just trying to make the best of the situation, you know! Wink wink.

Anyway, despite the disappointment of the delay, we were reminded of the scripture "a man makes his plans, but the Lord directs his path." (Margaret's paraphrase). We are comforted to know that God knew all along that this would be our itinerary and He is still going before us!

So, we should be arriving in Bangkok Thursday 9/6 around 9:00 p.m. there (7:00 a.m. back home). Stay tuned for more details...

Here we go...

Well, our departure date has finally arrived! We did try to get some sleep last night, by the way. Anyway, several friends have asked to know our schedule when we are actually in Thailand so they could pray for us. Thank you so much for holding us up in prayer!

Sep 4 10:40 a.m. Our flight leaves! We have layovers in San Francisco and Tokyo.
Sep 5 11:10 p.m. (9:10 a.m. back home) We arrive in Bangkok, go to hotel and SLEEP.
Sep 6-8 Sightseeing and hopefully getting over jet lag.
Sep 9 a.m. orientation meeting with Holt Sahathai and WE GET TO MEET THE KIDS FOR
Sep 10 Visit the children at their foster home (possible)
Sep 11 Beth and Jack say goodbye to foster family and come to stay with us in the hotel.
Sep 12 a.m. Formal meeting scheduled with the adoption board, paperwork signed
p.m. US Embassy to file the immigration papers to obtain visas for the children
Please pray that the applications will be approved the same day!
Sep 13 If applications for visas are approved, return to US Embassy for an immigrant visa
From there, we just have to wait for the visas to be completed by Consular Services. We'll keep you posted.

Thank you again for your prayers and excitement!