Sunday, 21 February 2010

Fun in the Sun

Tommy and I are still hanging out in Southern California. Jeff got his own "sun time" this week with a trip to Florida for work-related conference, so the boy and I decided to spend a little more time at Jjajja and Poppa's house. We are showing Tommy the glories of a Californian winter.

On Monday we went to Disneyland with my mom and dad and Emily. Note our shorts in the pictures. It was awfully warm.

Now, when you live a half hour from Disneyland you tend to approach it a little differently than if you are going there on an extended vacation (unless you have a pass, of course). First, in my family the tradition was to go right before a child turned two, because after two you have to pay. Second, when we go we are hardcore. We get there when the park opens and leave when it closes. Yes, we know we could go back. But why pay all that money twice when, if you plan carefully, you can do everything you want to do in one day? The secret: prioritize, get fast passes, NEVER stand in line for character's autographs/pictures, and avoid parades and shows (time wasters, except the electrical parade).

Now, having Tommy has changed our Disneyland priorities, and we didn't do quite as good of a job scheduling his rides as I would have liked. I also apparently have no concept of what freaks kids out and accidentally scared the living daylights out of my child on Pirates of the Caribbean and Snow White. Who would have guessed that the boy who spends all of his time seeking out dangerous situations wouldn't like a few sharp drops in a boat and a bunch of creepy fake pirates shooting each other and singing about booze? Also, I am horrified to discover (and admit to you) that Tommy likes parades. Even lame parades. I am thankful that I have years to mold him and that one day his tastes may improve.

However, other than a slight parade detour, we had a great day. We even got to see some of our family- my Aunt Sandy, cousin Keri, cousin Drew and his wife Kim and son Aiden were at Disneyland on Monday too, so we met up and rode a ride together mid-day. Tommy defintely thought some of the rides were weird, like the Tiki Room, Nemo, and Pinocchio. He ended up sleeping through Winnie the Pooh, which was too bad, because that is the strangest ride ever. Happily he enjoyed quite a few rides, including Dumbo, Storybook boats, Jungle Cruise, Tarzan Tree House, Small World, Astro Blasters, Mr. Toad's, Casey Jr., and the carasel. His number one absolute favorite was Autopia. The rest of us got to our favorite rides too, so it was a successful day, even if a certain person is losing his edge and forced us to leave an hour early due to his advanced age. Breaking the rules, dad, breaking the rules.

On Tuesday we recovered by hitting the beach. It was warm and the dolphins were swimming close to the shore, but the water was icy. We spent most of our time playing in the sand instead of swimming. It worked. Wednesday we thought about going back to the beach, but decided to go to my grandma and grandpa's apartment for swimming instead. Again, the water was icy. Tommy ended up swimming Ugandan style in little tubs that we filled with warm water from the Jacuzzi.

Saturday we headed back to the Disney resort to use up our "2fer" at California Adventure. That trip was much more relaxed because there isn't nearly as much to do there. I was pretty dissapointed by the lack of kid's rides, and we ended up having to go to both a show and a parade to find things for Tommy to do. The park has some great rides for adults though (love that Tower of Terror), so the grown-ups all had a good time.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Good news: Tommy both made it down the aisle AND sat quietly through my sister's entire wedding ceremony!

I am so relieved.

Originally I had high hopes for Tommy completing his ring-bearer duties without a hitch. Then, he started to get closer to two, and, well, act a little more "two." He has developed decided opinions on most subjects, and uses the word "no" with great frequency. Did I mention he runs?

Friday at the rehearsal my worst fears were confirmed. We lined Tommy up with Jeremy's nephew (Jeremy= groom) a very well-behaved six year old and instructed them to hold hands and walk slowly. They proceeded down the aisle, making it about five or six steps before Tommy's face lit up with a huge grin. He realized he was walking down a slight incline. He loves inclines. He began yelling "ahhhhhhh" and took off at top speed, making it maybe five more steps before faceplanting. He found the entire episode thrilling.

We got the two boys together again and had them make another attempt. Repeat above story, only slightly further down the aisle.

That's when I really got nervous.

I never expected that Tommy would do particularly well, after all, kids are wildly unpredictable when pinned into a tux and faced with a crowd of staring adults. However, I had hoped that he would not cause a scene. Or, at least, that his scene would be brief and then Jeff could quietly pull him out the side exit. Faceplanting never crossed my mind.

However, with a little more practice both Friday and Saturday and many many reminders to hold hands and walk slowly, I am happy to report that Tommy made it down the aisle without yelling, running, or falling. In fact, he did quite a good job. He looked a bit nervous when he saw the crowd, but he walked slowly and carefully and held hands the entire way. When he reached the end of the aisle he experienced a bit of confusion- he wanted to follow the other little boy to the groom's side, but, sensing this, my mom started softly calling his name. So, he stood in the middle for a second, then looked up and waved at everyone before going over to Jeff and my mom. He said "Poppa" (grandpa) at one point, but was otherwise very quiet. Amazing.

Apparently, he put on a show after the ceremony, insisting on stopping to pick up the heart confetti from the aisle while my mom and dad were attempting to get him to the back of the church. I heard it was quite cute.

That's my boy.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

File this under: "Things that did not go so well"

So, we took Tommy to a barber for a haircut. Jeff cut his hair down to bald once using clippers, and it went fine. However, my sister is getting married this weekend and a certain someone is a ring bearer, so we wanted to keep some hair but make it even and we weren't sure if we were up to the task.

First we had to find someone that we could trust. We had a place picked out but the barber wasn't in today so we went on something of a wild goose chase to find another place.

Mum got a bit of a talking-to from the barber about the state of Tommy's hair. The adjective nappy may have been used- and here I thought I was doing such a good job. Anyway, Tommy did not care for having his hair picked out, nor did he particularly enjoy the clipping. But you can see for yourself:

The final product and a very patient barber:

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The Situation in Uganda

I have not been blogging about this, because, quite frankly, there is so much information out there that it has been difficult to sort through all of the reports, and I would rather post no information than misinformation, but I think I have it sorted out.

The situation, briefly, is this: It is not legal for non-citizens to adopt in Uganda unless they are willing to live in country with the child for three years. Families like us were able to avoid this because Judges have the ability to waive this requirement and award legal guardianship if they deem it in the best interest of the child. Then, with the Judge's permission, parents (now the legal guardians) got visas to the US, where they went through an official adoption process.

Apparently, there is some discomfort about the process working this way among Ugandan officials. Increasing numbers of families attempting to gain legal guardianships means more attention to the process. In the last few weeks officials have been openly questioning it.

A family applied for a visa this week and was denied by the embassy because the ruling (the permission for legal guardianship) contained wording that indicated the child in question was not free to be adopted in the US. The embassy met with officials and discussed the legal guardianship process with them. They discussed the wording of ruling, and what the US has to see in the rulings in order to allow a child home on an IR-4 visa. Whether or not these changes can be made is under discussion. Those who support the continuation of this system are hard at work.

With God all things are possible. There is still hope for the American and Ugandan governments to find resolution on these issues, or for Ugandan laws to be clarified or changed in a way that allows more orphaned children to come to loving homes in the US (and elsewhere). At this point, all we can do is pray.

Jeff and I want Tommy to have Ugandan siblings. We love Uganda. We hoped we would return. Also, a little boy from Tommy's babies home has just been put in the custody of American parents, and these developments threaten their ability to bring him home. Thus, we feel very invested in all this, and it has been an emotionally turbulent week.

Everyone knows adoption is high-risk. International adoption frequently has stops and starts, and often those stops turn into complete shut downs. We knew when we began in Uganda that because guardianship worked the way it did that it was inherently more risky than building our family through a country that has pro-(international) adoption laws. But we fell in love with the country, the people, and especially, a little boy. Our boy. This news breaks our hearts.

The next few weeks will be critical for the children in need of families, the families waiting in Uganda for resolution, and for all those waiting in the US. Please pray for a speedy and positive resolution.

If you would like more information on the situation in Uganda, Lifeline Children's Services has posted a detailed statement from the Vice Consul at the the US Embassy in Kampala.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Let's Rock

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Luca John Foundation

This is the new video for the Luca John Foundation. The parents who run Luca John were amazingly helpful to us, connecting us with other SRPS families and getting us the medical information we needed. They also help families in need with burial expenses, so it is all around a wonderful resource for families grieving a lost infant. Check it out, you might catch a glimpse of a familiar face...