What can brown do for you?

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Don’t worry…I vacuumed off the fuzz

You know the old-ish adage that when you go on a trip, you’ll always forget at least one thing? Well, compound that by the power of ten when that trip is bumped up a few weeks. As we’ve been prepping for Dev’s arrival this week, I realized a couple of days too late that I still hadn’t ordered a camcorder, among other things.

What? A new baby arriving at an airport and no camcorder?

So I spent some time researching and comparing and came up with my choice. (Yes, mine. My husband lets me choose the photo-related items in the household.) B&H provided three-day delivery through UPS, which seemed plenty quick enough. I pushed the Submit Order button and was done with it.

On Friday I tracked the package and saw that it was almost here. And Saturday at 1:15 AM it was mere miles from my house. Yet there was one variable I didn’t figure: they don’t deliver on Saturday. Or at least they chose not to this Saturday.

No problem, I thought. I’ll get it on Monday with plenty of time to get a handle on the controls and such. Wrong again. I drove up to the house this afternoon to see one of those “First Attempt” stickies and uttered my last, “Damnit!” before there’s a kid in the car. The note kindly said that the delivery required a signature and that they’d try again tomorrow.

Tomorrow? That’s the day my whole freakin’ life changes. That’s the day we (grandma and aunt along for the ride) pile into the car, baby seat firmly strapped in (hopefully) and head our butts to Detroit Metro. Tomorrow is the day I’m going to burst into tears when they place a groggy jet-lagged baby in my arms and hand us our walking papers. Tomorrow, sticky note, is too darn late.

I frantically dialed the 800 number to request a pick-up. The operator assured me someone from my local UPS warehouse would call within the hour. I stuck my tushy to the chair and waited.

Jennifer called 40 minutes later and explained that I could pick up the package at the warehouse after the trucks came in at 7:00. Well, OK. Whatever I have to do. Then she mentioned that the driver has a pick-up at Breton Village between 4 and 4:30. I could catch him there. Yay! That’s just eight blocks from my house. I hopped in my car headed for the mall.

But where he’d be at the mall Jennifer couldn’t tell me. “Just look for the big brown truck.” Duh. No truck in sight so I walked into Pooh’s Corner, a place I’ll be frequenting for its cute books and toys, and asked the woman where the UPS guy hangs out. She directed me to a postal store down the mall. The lady there told me he usually shows up around 4:20. “His name is Tom,” she said. “He’s really nice.” So I staked out a place to stalk Tom and waited.

Darn if he didn’t show up right at 4:20. Big brown truck and all. I hustled outside and waited for him. When he walked back to his truck, I said hello and explained my situation. Tom was indeed really nice. He knew my address and grabbed my package for me. He even mentioned that he was planning to swing by the house one more time. Then I signed for my precious camcorder and was on my way. Whew!

42 hours and counting

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Juliette gives her approval of Devin’s room

When given a very tight deadline, on top of the reality of becoming the mother of a seven-month-old who’s going to look to me to protect him, care for him, and have my shit together, I can accomplish amazing things. Like hanging valances and re-caulking tubs (no way was his cute little bottom going anywhere near that nasty old caulk).

In doing so, I also noticed how our house has transformed over the weekend. It’s the same (yet now filled with baby gear), but very different. With parenthood kicking in, our level of cleanness just doesn’t seem clean enough. And now every little thing seems like it could be a potential hazard. I can’t call in a hazmat team and I’m not going to put all of our possessions in a closet until he’s 18, but it’s funny how my perspective has changed.

Well, there’s some vacuuming and such still to be done, but I think we’re about as ready as we’re ever going to be. I hope!

I guess I’m not so good at math

Based on the timeframes from my agency, I ballparked Devin’s arrival for early November. Well, I was off. Good for us — Devin’s coming home eight days from now. He’ll be jetting from Seoul to Tokyo to Detroit on October 19th! So now we’re scrambling around the house, trying to cover our butts in the baby-needs department.

We got a ton of stuff at the shower on Saturday (thanks to everyone — it was so much fun). Yet there’s still a lot more left. Thermometers, formula, diapers, sheets, blankets, feeding miscellany…you get the picture. Scott had to shop his little heart out tonight. Not an easy task for him at all. We do have one more shower this week. This one will feature at least a glass of wine so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

As for the time between now and next Tuesday, friends and family can enjoy the idea of Lori and Scott racing crazily around the house trying to get it all in order. It’s a pretty funny spectacle, I can assure you!

He’s approved!

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Snapped in Rochester Hills

Sorting through the mail today, I spied an official-looking letter from Citizenship & Immigration. Finally! We’d been waiting for Devin’s visa approval. That’s the big step when the U.S. clears him for travel into the country and then forwards the approval to Korea. So, we’re hoping, the longest part of this wait is over. But I’m not going to be too hopeful since the Korean ministry has to review the paperwork — according to their schedule. They might look at it this week, or next month.

If I were an eternal optimist, which I’m not, I’d look at the timeframes that we have left to endure and realize that this kid could be hitting Detroit Metro by early next month. Wow! As impatient as I am (and I really am!), we still have a few things to do. I guess this gives us some impetus to get them done. Look out trim, here I come.

In other Devin news, my friend Patty is hosting a baby shower for me on Saturday. When we started talking about it, it seemed such a long way off. Now, in just two days, I’ll be sitting in her living room opening boxes of baby paraphenalia and such. I so hate being the center of attention. That’s why I really enjoyed our book club shower last month. I got to share the spotlight with Molly, who’d just had her second baby, Christopher. On Saturday, it’ll be just me. Surrounded. Heh.

Care package

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Winging his way to Korea

During this excruciatingly long waiting period of our adoption, there are things that provide a bright spot. Such as decorating rooms, picking out teeny-tiny outfits, and watching your mother go ga-ga over the kid before he even arrives home.

There’s also the opportunity to send some gifts over to him. The FAC staff will be jetting off to Korea on 9/14 so we had time to select a few things for Devin and his foster mom, Mrs. Park.

Biggest item: disposable camera. I wanted to send two, but I thought that might be a bit demanding. I’m just hungry for more photos of him. The longer we go without the little guy, the fewer pics we’ll have of his babyhood. Drives me crazy.

We also included an overall/shirt outfit chosen by Daddy and this happy little turtle, both of which, we were informed, we’re not likely to get back. Makes sense. So many babies, so little stuff. I assume, based on other people’s experiences, that we’ll at least have pics of him in the outfit, playing with the toy, etc.

For Mrs. Park, I found a lovely little necklace with a heart dangling from the end. It’s hard to know what to choose for someone you’ve never met. With some suggestions from the agency, we also included some lotions, lipstick (has to be red, so they say), and tea. But how to you boil down your gratitude to those things? Knowing that she’s looking after him, keeping him safe for us, is so important. My hope is that we’ll be able to meet her someday and tell her in person how much we appreciate her.

A little overboard

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Just a portion of the take

Today was “Shopping with Grandma” day. That meant cruising Kalamazoo for baby stores. We started at the Tot to Teen Village, which kinda blew my mind. Mom used to shop for me there when I was an itty bitty…and nothing has changed. The fairy castle is still there, the slide, the works. A bit tacky when you consider I was small in the early 70s. The building hasn’t seen a lick of renovation since then. Still, they had several cribs and racks of on-sale merchandise. So what’s to complain about?

From there, we hit Babies R Us, Marshall Field’s, Gap Kids, Children’s Place, and Gymboree. Most of which I’d never visited before. The kid is going to arrive to a full closet, that’s for sure. Mom was driving me slightly batty with her calculations about what size to buy for which season. I still haven’t figured out her logic, but as a result we have everything from 12 months to 24 months. And we paid pretty small prices for the items we nabbed.

She seems pretty excited about her impending Grandma-dom. That makes me happy. I had a very close relationship with my grandma, so I’m hoping Mom and Devin bond too. With all the stuff she’s stocking up on for him, I have no doubt he’ll at least appreciate the material side of things!

Updates and anxiousness

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A flicker in the darkness

It’s been a frustrating couple of days. A process that involves stacks of forms, the government (in two different countries no less), and two people who are very eager to be parents is bound to have a few hiccups. We’ve experienced our first and it’s been a bit rough for me. Things are being delayed (slightly) due to some forms that need to be resubmitted. This happens all the time. I was just hoping it wouldn’t happen to us. Ah, well. The few tears I shed last night are out of my system. For now.

The silver lining in this tiny little cloud was that we received updated photos and a progress report today. Yay!

It’s been only six weeks since the first photos were taken, but he already looks so different. I had to hold the photos up to each other and squint to be sure it was the same baby. I know this isn’t unusual since I just received photos of my friend’s little guy and he looks oh-so different. But it was funny to open the packet and not quite recognize him.

The other funny part would be that he went from an “easygoing baby” on the last report to a “fussy baby” on this one. Oh what a couple of months can do! He’s in foster care now, though, with another baby. That’s what we were really hoping for. Out of the orphanage and in a home where he’ll have more hands-on care and attention. That definitely eases my mind.

Drumroll please…

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Mom’s clematis

I’m sure you’ve been holding your collective breath to discover what we’ve decided to name the little guy. Thelonious was in the running, but we’ve settled on Devin. It’s Celtic and means poet. So teamed with his middle name of Da Hyun, he’ll be poet plenty gentle. Not a bad moniker, I’d say.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and encouragement. Hopefully the next four months don’t drag too much.

A full day

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Big heads: Ann Arbor

Jeesh. I worked an entire eight-hour day today. That’s not something this gal is used to. Since being laid off three years ago (this month, by golly!), I’ve been pretty content with the freelance life. It keeps me busy, but I’ve always been able to work in blocks of time. On the slower days, I’ll have the afternoon to myself. On the busier ones, I can take a break for a couple of hours and get back to things when I’m ready. Today I was in front of the computer or in very long meetings with just a half-hour out for lunch. Quite the challenge.

In baby news, Gail called just minutes ago to tell us we needed to have his new first name to them so they could start the visa application. Whoops! We thought we had a bit of time before that decision was due. Although I’d like to thank all of the kind people who submitted names at Scott’s request, please take no offense if Emmitt or Thelonious doesn’t make the cut. We’ll be sure to keep you posted, though.

Picnics and pictures

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William makes a new friend

It’s been a whirlwind weekend. Friday was spent attending concerts and movies, then tipping a couple of glasses of champagne in celebration with friends. Saturday took us to Farmington Hills for the FAC picnic where we met other expectant parents and many who’ve already brought their children home. Sunday we traveled to Kalamazoo to show the pics of the little guy to grandma and some of our friends. Tired? Yeah. But we’re both also a bit giddy.

It’s a boy!

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Healthy and seemingly happy…hooray!

I can stop biting my nails now. We got our referral yesterday and he’s a beautiful baby boy! Scott came home from work early and surprised me with the news, then we opened the packet together. Seeing the photos just took my breath away. His Korean name is Da Hyun. Da means plenty. Hyun means gentle.

Now the big wait commences, complete with a new stack of paperwork to be tackled. But seeing him and knowing his story makes all the difference. His medical records look great so we’re not going to waste any time in accepting the referral and getting things moving.

Plastic babies

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Scenic lookout at Reeds Lake: East Grand Rapids

Last night was parenting class. Even though we don’t yet know who we’re going to be parenting. Realistically, neither did the pregnant women in our class. Who knows what the kid will be like when he/she emerges into the world?

Hopefully nothing like the scary plastic, rubbery babies they had laid out on the table in front of us.

One baby per couple. With all the requisite parts and pieces. Even a bit of a suspense when you removed the diaper as to what sex the baby would be. I was having fun with the experience — washing the baby, shampooing the hair, swaddling the rubbery bundle of joy in a blanket. That is, until I took a good look at the child’s face.

Staring back at me as I cradled the infant in the crook of my arm was a frightening, half-lidded gaze that really creeped me out. The eyes weren’t open. But they weren’t closed either. They were almost lizard-like. It, really a he from what our diaper defrocking established, seemed almost possessed as it lay motionless while the nurse instructed us on the upcoming joys of parenthood (rectal thermometers, baby wipes, cloth vs. disposable and all the rest). Like it was looking into the depths of my scared little soul.

After that moment, I happily handed the baby over to Scott and let him share the love with the evil demon. I just hope that’s not some creepy precursor to what real life is going to be like.