Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The end is only a new beginning

So I started this blog (Bringing Home Baby Brown) to document our journey to get our sweet little boy from South Korea. I started the blog for him, as a way to tell his story. I wanted to turn this blog into a book for him. But oh, how it grew into much much more than that. I have more people than I ever dreamed of reading this blog. So many people have supported us and prayed our sweet boy home and we are forever grateful for that.

This journey began to a child who face and name we didn't yet know. I look back over these posts and am amazed at the unfolding of the story that brought us to Bates Martin Choe Brown, the son God had ordained for us. I still look at him and can't believe the journey that brought us together. I am so thankful that God placed this call in our lives. This journey has been the biggest blessing, most challenging, most rewarding, hardest, life changing, emotional, strengthening thing I have ever done. God stretched us as a family, He challenged us, He upheld us, and we learned to lean on Him.

This journey has changed us. Nick and I aren't the same two people we were a year ago. We are changed. We are a stronger team- there is no better partner to have traveled this road with than Nick. He was (and is) the calm to my whirlwind, he is the methodical to my fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, he is the rock when I come undone, he is the bag carrier when I just want to hold my son (see the airport pictures)! We have met some amazing new friends on this journey. I can't believe some of these people were not a part of our lives a year ago and now we can't imagine raising Bates without their families in our and his lives. We are a changed family and we won't ever be the same.

But all good things must come to an end... and so is this blog.

This blog was our journey to our son but that journey was over on April 16th when we held in our arms and became his mom and dad.

Bringing home baby brown has been accomplished! Baby Brown has a face and a name and a home! Baby Brown is Bates - and Bates is ours FOREVER!

So come on over and watch Bates' many antics and the fun we have at our new blog: www.someshadesofbrown.blogspot.com

Sweet son,
Your story of coming home to your forever family is over. You are here. You are home. You are ours and we are yours. I love you more each and every day and just when I think I can't possibly love you anymore you crinkle up that little nose of yours and somehow my heart just gets bigger. I am thankful for the journey that brought us to you, I am thankful that God called us (and I'm thankful your daddy finally listened!), and I am thankful I get to call you mine forever! As you grow, never ever ever doubt my love for you. I know there will be times I fail as a parent, but I pray I never fail in pointing you to the Father. May you always run hard after Him and do great for Him. Your father and I love you unconditionally, no matter the time, the place, or the season, we love you. You are our chosen son. I would fly across the ocean a million times for you! I love you, Bates Martin Choe, we love you!

But you, man of God... pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
-I Timothy 6:11

Thursday, May 13, 2010

1st post placement visit

This morning I took Bates to the doctor for a weight check. He's a bit of a shrimp, so she wanted to monitor his weight and I needed his current measurements for our first post placement visit. Well, bad news... little B has lost weight! He lost the 10 oz he gained the first week home and is back to the weight he weighed when he first got home - 19 lbs 15 oz. He's back to his "fighting" weight. I told the doctor he is a good eater- I have NO idea where it's going! So we are putting him on a high calorie diet and trying to bulk him up. We have to go back for another weight check in a month and if he hasn't gained enough weight, he'll be in big trouble with Dr. Butler!

By the way, he doesn't get the weight loss from me!

Kim, our social worker, came over this afternoon for our first post placement visit (1 month). Don't even get me started about I can't believe he's been home a month and we are already having post placement visits.

Bates was on good behavior. He showed Kim all his tricks. He really wanted to help Kim write her notes! Kim was so glad we were doing so well. His transition really has been so smooth and we are SO thankful. We have to send some pictures to Holt and Kim writes up a report (on how great we are doing) and then we see her again at 3 mths home. I know it will fly by and I'll be saying "how can he have been home for 3 mths already!?!".

The sleeping gig is improving. For the past two nights we can lay him in his bed awake and lay beside the crib and reach our hand through the bars and hold his hand and he will go to sleep. It really is the cutest thing. He holds my hands and rubs them. He will take my hand and hold it to his face. He is such a sweet and cuddly little boy.

As I'm laying there, with my hand through his crib bars, holding his hands, I try to memorize what his soft little innocent hand feels like in mine. I try to remember the way it feels when he places my hand on his warm cheek. It's a surreal moment, one I want to remember for the rest of my life.

Tonight, he kept sitting up and I would say "Bates, lay down" and he would. I'm not sure if he understood me or not, but he did it like 10 times. He would just sit up and look over the side at me. Seriously, melt my heart. I think bedtime is my favorite time with him. He isn't fussy, he is so quiet and just a cuddly little guy.

Every night when I am up with him in the middle of the night, I pick something specific to pray for about Bates. I've prayed for lots of things: his future friends, his wife, his education, his faith, everything. It's a special time. Just me, holding my boy, in the darkness of the moonlight and spending time with the Lord. I make sure to spend part of that time thanking God for my son and the journey that brought us together. I will sure miss our midnight prayer sessions, but I sure am looking forward to sleeping through the night again!

And what's a post without a picture or two. Bates enjoyed an Oreo after dinner last night! I think he liked it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today was a special day- my first Mother's Day!
A year ago, we hadn't even started our adoption journey, so being a mom on Mother's Day was still a dream. I'd never imagine that just 365 days later I'd be celebrating my first Mothers Day with my son! How cool is God?!

My MawMaw and PawPaw came up yesterday to see number one great grandbaby and spend the night with us. We went to dinner last night with Nick's mom and dad and Granny (who hadn't met Bates yet) to celebrate Mothers Day.

Today we went to church this morning and Bates braved the nursery. We didn't get paged out of service, but he was crying when we picked him up. The nice nursery workers said he just kinda whined the whole time and would cry when they wiped his nose. He has what I thought was allergies, but now I'm thinking might be a cold so his nose has been super runny and the boy HATES for you to wipe it!

Today we dedicated our new sanctuary, Three Crosses, at church and man what a great service! Charlie Daniels was a special musical guest and that man ROCKED it!

After church we headed to my sisters house. She hosted a backyard bbq for all our family and her inlaws. It was nice to have my mom, dad, brothers, sister, and all my grandparents in from Memphis. Bates was the center of attention, of course! He hammed it up! He likes attention, for sure!

Tonight after dinner and bath time, we did a little mother's day project. Every year on Mothers Day, we will release two balloons in honor of Bates' birth mom and foster mom. Bates and I traced his hands on two cards and wrote "Happy Mothers Day! Love, Bates". Years down the road I will let Bates write whatever he wants. We went in the backyard and attached his notes and away the balloons went. I'm hoping that those balloons float all the way to Korea and those two specials moms know that we were thinking of them.

All day today, Bates birth mom and his foster mom were on my mind. I look at this boy so happy and fun and my heart breaks that they won't experience this joy of raising him. I know God's hand ordained this, but it's still heartbreaking that my first Mothers Day came at the cost of such a heartbreaking and brave decision 16 mths ago. These two women, his birth mom and foster mom, gave me the ultimate gift, my son. They both loved him enough to do what was best for him, no matter how painful. I pray that Bates will know these two women love him and never doubt their love for him. He is a lucky little boy that has three mothers and I'm so grateful that I'm his forever mom. Today at church someone said to Bates, you sure are a lucky little boy, but they are wrong- I'm the lucky one!

I know some moms want a break on Mother's Day. They enjoy a "day off" from being mom, but that's not my style. I wanted all day with my son! Why would I want a day off from one of the greatest blessing in my life? I waited years to be a mom and that is not a "job" I want a day off from. And to boot, I have a kickin' hubby who really steps up on a daily basis to make my "mom" job so much easier.Today might be Mother's Day on the calendar but every day when I look into those almond shaped eyes, I'm so grateful to be Bates' mom- everyday- even when we are awake at 4 am!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Babysitting and a haircut

Yesterday we kept Bates' best buddy Silas for the day. It was a blast! The boys played so well together. I liked "having" two kids!And then I hosted a United Nations Luncheon. Countries in attendance- Ethopia, South Korea, and the United States. We got lots of business covered- we are working on world peace! These two had some great ideas! Silas is only a couple of months older than Bates. I pray these two grow up together, run hard after the Lord, encourage each other, hold each other accountable, and do great things for the Lord! Silas, sweet boy, you are welcome at our house anytime!
My friend Carmen stopped by to play with Bates. I think he knew she looked like him!
Today, Bates had his first American haircut. He did great. It might have been the Sonic Grape Slush, again, I'm a cool mom like that. My haircutter, Annie, is fantastic! I love her and she just so happens to be a Korean Adoptee too! I told her not to cut it too short, I didn't want him to look like a big boy just yet! I think he looks pretty dang handsome!Annie is due in about 4 weeks (although I think sooner!) with baby Lacie. Lacie is in the running for Bates' future wife!

Thank you Annie!! We love his big boy due!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Korean Childrens Day

Yesterday, May 5th, was Cinco de Mayo, but it was also Korean Children's Day. This day is a huge holiday in Korea. Everyone was off work and they spend time with their children going to parks, museums, and just spending quality time with their kids.

Yesterday me and little Bates hung out all day. We went on a walk together and play hard ALL DAY. We ended the day sharing a cupcake!
Can you tell who loved it?
And yes, I fed it to him in the den on the coffee table. I'm a cool mom like that.

Just wanted to share this picture too. Bates took a nap on the couch like a big boy. He fell asleep when I was holding him and I just put him on the couch rather than risk him waking up to get in his bed. Sleeping is still a bit iffy 'round these parts!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pigeon Forge and Rain Rain Rainy Days

Nick had a conference in Pigeon Forge last week for three days, so Bates and I tagged along. He did incredibly well. We have decided he likes to be on the go (like his momma) so that is nice. He napped in his car seat almost the entire way there and back. On the way there we stopped and saw one of my college girlfriends, Whitney, and her two cutie patootie boys.

Here is Bates shopping with his momma.
And luckily my dad was in Gatlinburg for a conference too, so Bates and I went over and hung out with him for the afternoon. We went over to the National Park and took Bates on his first hike, Laurel Falls.We also took Bates to my favorite place to eat. The Apple Barn! He loved him some Apple Fritters. We had a great time and were super glad to be able to spend time with my dad too!

This weekend has been super rainy! I mean serious flooding. We are high and dry and safe, but we have been stuck in the house most of the weekend. Bates, like I said, likes to be on the go, so he has been BORED out of his mind. We are going a little stir crazy! I got out his monster tent and he LOVED it. He loved it for about 15 minutes, then he was over it!Here he is playing in the tent with his daddy.
He would lean over to the vents and "kiss" me through the fabric. This is the first time he has initiated a kiss with us. But it too was short lived, he wouldn't do it again later!

I kept snapping to get his picture, and this is what he started doing. He was trying to snap and it was so funny! Little stinker!And after a nap with dad on the couch, Bates had some awesome bed head!
I told Bates to say hi to his "fans" and this is what I got!

Friday, April 30, 2010

2 weeks. 16 months.

Today Bates has been in our arms (I almost said our son, but he was our son long before we ever knew... ) for two weeks today!

Holy moly, have the two weeks flown by! It seems like just yesterday we were in Seoul and I was sobbing thinking of the heartbreak my son was going through. Seoul was amazing, I can't believe we've been gone two weeks already. Nick and I are already talking about wanting to go back. (I'm saying we go back for Bates a little brother... but Nick isn't there ... yet! (but I'm working on him))

In another breath, it feels like Bates has been with us forever. We are slowly getting into a very comfortable routine, despite the bedtime issue! He just fits with us. It's a very natural thing for all of us. I remember before he was home trying to savor and remember the moments of what it was like before him, and now I can't even imagine them.

And guess who is 16 months old today. Yep, our little shrimp is! 16 mths, whoa! Ahhhh... slow down time, slow down! It's like I blinked and two weeks are gone. The other night we had on Dancing with the Stars and I was holding Bates and dancing with him. I said "Is this how you are gonna dance with your momma on your wedding day". Then I looked at Nick and said "oh my, I can't EVEN think about that yet!" I know before I know it I'll be watching my son watch his bride walk down the aisle. Gasp! But until then, I am savoring every moment, even the sleepless ones, with him!

I'll post more later, with pictures, I promise!