Saturday, 10 July 2010



We spent about 16 hours in the car this past weekend. All the way to Athens, Ohio and back. Tommy's first road trip.

For months Jeff and I had been talking about getting Tommy together with the other kids from his orphanage who are here from the US. Right now there are a grand total of four of them (T included), but up until last month there were only two besides Tommy. They were fairly far- out of driving distance, so finding time for a trip was difficult. Number four came home last month (woohoo!) and he was in a location central enough for us all to meet up, and, after much discussion we found a weekend that worked for everyone.

Jeff has to save up those precious vacation days for adoption number two, so he unfortunately couldn't take Friday off, however, he talked to his boss and he was allowed to go in early and leave early, so we set off for Ohio at about 2:30. We hit nasty traffic just outside of Chicago- the always congested IL/IN border, but after we got through that the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. Tommy did an amazing job. We had lots of music that he liked, a magna-doodle, a color wonder pad, books on tape, and a bunch of books. For part of the time I sat in the back with him and read to him, and that really kept him happy. We stopped for dinner at Chick-Fil-A (glorious!!!) and it helped that he got to run around a bit there. After dinner we did a little more reading, and then he ended up sleeping in the car for the last few hours of the trip.

Now, our friends live out in the country. I suppose for living in the country it isn't terribly rural, but, to suburb folks like us it felt very secluded. As we drove down the lane to get to their house Tommy happened to wake up. He overheard Jeff saying that we were in farm-country, and piped in "old-fashioned, old-fashioned." It was really funny and I have no idea how he made that connection. Thanks to the switch in time zones we arrived very late, so all the other kids were very asleep, which was best because Tommy needed his beauty sleep too.

Saturday morning was incredible. Tommy had the most wonderful time meeting his friends, J, N, and M, and having a little picnic on the porch with them. We were a bit slow getting going, but eventually made our way to the farmer's market and got some things for dinner. After naptime the kids had a blast playing in the backyard and the manly men fired up the grill and cooked up a feast (to our credit, the women shopped for it). It was very low-key, which was perfect for us, and really allowed Tommy and the other kids to have lots of play time in the vast and awesome backyard that homes in the country have.

Sunday was the fourth, so we dressed up in our holiday duds and headed out to church. Afterward we went to lunch in the area of Athens near the college. There was a cute little diner there, and we got a big booth near the window which was fortuitous because there happened to be a 4th of July parade passing by. It was blazing hot out so viewing from the window was perfect. The parade was heavy on tractors, rescue vehicles and back of the truck "floats," so, it was a hit with Tommy. That evening we celebrated the 4th with a welcome-home BBQ for M. As I mentioned previously, he has only been home a month, and not everyone had a chance to meet him yet. There was a slip and slide and a pool happening, and the kids really enjoyed it. The only thing that marred the day was that Tommy stepped on a tack early in the day, and when that happened we noticed he had two splinters on that foot as well, so that evening we had to soak his foot and get them out, with the help of a kind nurse who happened to be M's grandma. It was awful. horrible. heart-wrenching. But it worked, and Tommy's foot is looking great. We ended the day with fireworks. Tommy thoughts on fireworks: "Wow, neat!" I wish it hadn't been so dark so I could have taken a video of his face lighting up every time one exploded.


Reunion of friends

Monday we had to leave, but we had one last lazy morning and great breakfast (we had an excellent breakfast chef), some more slip n slide and backyard time, and a nice lunch before we hit the road. Our plan was to get going right around Tommy's naptime in the hopes that he would sleep for a bit, and it worked. We made excellent time on the ride back, and once again Tommy did well.

Getting to Ohio and back in one weekend was a lot of work, but it was entirely worth it. The look of joy on Tommy's face when he played with his friends was priceless. He spent at least half the weekend attempting to hug and kiss M (they are the same age, so there is a very strong chance they were in the baby bed together), and M is not the touchy-feely sort of guy Tommy is, so he spent the weekend trying to escape from Tommy's expressions of affection. Tommy was un-phased by this and settled for repeatedly kissing M's back. He also made a few passes at N (who is, thankfully, a girl, and according to Tommy, "cute"), much to her father's chagrin. To keep things decent we offered him a betrothal gift, but apparently he isn't into arranged marriages.

N + T

M eventually warmed up to Tommy's hugs

The weekend was a sucess for Jeff and me as well. One of the other moms is the person who walked with us through a large part of our adoption. Without her advice I would have been completely lost when it came time to travel, and she has also been so helpful with suggestions for dealing with Tommy's tummy issues, and I was so excited to meet her after months over a year of talking on the phone. We had both connected with the other mom at the start of her adoption process (which turned out to be a difficult one) and had been praying for her to come home for so long- so it was incredible to meet her as well. Basically, for both Jeff and me, it was great to finally get to meet people that we have talked to and been friends with in an internet sort of way for so long- and to find out they are all interesting people in real life (and not creepy murderers, or something). Jeff even found someone to talk music with, so, you know he was happy.

On the downside, now I am so sad that we live so far apart. Hopefully there will be another road trip in the future!


Anonymous said...

Awe, I live in Columbus, not too far from Athens. Glad the buckeye state treated you well:) How awesome for Tommy to reconnect with his old friends so many thousands of miles away from where they first met. God is AMAZING!

Heather said...

That sounds just wonderful! What a great weekend.

That picture of you and Jeff kissing Tommy is so perfect, I love it!

ktruelove said...

Aw:) Looks like you guys had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to reading following your blog for a long time now I immediately recognized the city mentioned in this story. My heart broke when I read this...

Tom said...

Not only is Tommy brilliant, he is also compassionate,


Haley Ballast said...

so fun to read this! a family that lives less than 2 miles from us is adopting a little girl from the same orphanage as our boy - we are THRILLED! i'm so glad you guys got to do this trip, what a blessing for the whole family. oh and the kissing picture of you 3 is amazing!