Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dear Madelyn, Ashton, Allison, Harrison, Evelyn, Grandma and Grandpa:

Here is our second update.

Saturday afternoon, we went to the Royal Palace in Bangkok. It is the place where a woman named Anna came from England to teach the children of the King English and about Western culture. What she did was made into a musical called “The King and I.”

Behind the Palace is a Buddhist temple. It was very elaborate and detailed. Here are some pictures from the temple.

The palace itself is also very nice. The King doesn’t live here anymore, but it remains a place the people in Thailand love to visit. Here is what the outside looks like. We didn’t go inside.

On Sunday, we traveled to the very top of Thailand—where Thailand, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Laos come together. Perhaps you can find it on our globe. We visited a village in the mountains where many of the women place metal rings around their necks to stretch them out. It is called the “Village of the Longnecks”. They are not dinosaurs, however; just people with long necks, as you can see from this picture.

They live in a rather primitive village, where they make their money by selling things to people like us who travel from across the world to see their long necks.

You can also see rings around their legs, at their knees. The guide told us that, anciently, they wore those rings to protect against attacks from tigers. There aren’t many tigers in the jungle today, so we didn’t worry too much when we visited the village.

After we left the village, we drove to the Ma Kong river, which separates Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. We rode across the river to Laos, where we visited a very small village. The people in the village had found a little bear in the jungle, and kept it in a fenced in area. They are trying to sell it, but no one has purchased it yet. He was a cute little guy, but we didn’t try to pet him.

Today, we will mainly visit craft shops, as we travel from Chiang Rai to Chaing Mai. I think Mom will have fun—I don’t like shopping that much, so I don’t know how much fun I will have.

We hope you are all doing well. Harrison—keep using the potty! We are proud of you. Also, thanks, kids, for getting all of the thistles out of the yard. Good work!

We love you.

Mom and Dad

June 2, 2007

Dear Madelyn, Ashton, Allison, Harrison, Evelyn, Grandma and Grandpa:

So...here is our first update.

After we left you, we flew and flew and flew and flew, through the night and the next day. We landed at the Tokyo airport, walked around for a bit, then got on another plane and flew to Singapore. We were very tired by the time the flight ended. We each had our own TV that had movies, cartoons and games. Ashton and Madelyn, hopefully it will be like this when we go to Taiwan. I think you will have fun.

Singapore is a very clean city, right by the ocean. We went on a little boat ride on the river that goes through the city, right by this Merlion (half fish/half lion).

We then went to a Tao temple. It was very colorful.

After that, we went to the National Orchid Garden, and saw some "speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" monkeys. Can you tell which are the monkeys?

Finally, we went to a zoo at night and went on a "wild animal safari" ride. It wasn't very wild, and we were very tired. We probably should have just gone to bed.

We got up early the next morning and flew to Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok is not as clean as Singapore, but very interesting. We went out exploring that evening, and went to a dinner where they had some people in costumes, dancing. Allison, you probably would not have liked much of the food we ate. It was very different, and there was no peanut butter. We liked it, however. We have some stories to tell you about Bangkok when we get back. Riding back to our hotel, we rode on an M&M train. We thought Harrison would like to have ridden on the train. Grandma Oaks wanted everyone to know that we didn't get M&Ms on the train--the train just had M&Ms on it. Here is a picture.

Today, we went to a local market (more stories), a coconut plantation, and a floating market (still more stories). Here's one picture from the floating market.

This afternoon we will go to the national palace. It should be interesting. I'll describe that in more detail tomorrow.

Tomorrow we get on another plane and fly to Chiang Rai, in Northern Thailand.

We love you and hope you are doing well. Feel free to type an email to us and let us know how you are doing.

Mom and Dad

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm tired of waiting. I'm not wanting to change anything, as things will happen as they're supposed to, I'm just not going to put anymore energy into adoption for the time being. I do not even want to write an entry but am forcing myself. I no longer check e-mails to see if something has come in from the agency and I'm not wondering when the phone rings if it might be Laura--I just know it's not. When she finally does call, I'll have trouble believing it. I have to shut down emotionally to manage.

Six weeks ago yesterday, the middle of May, our information was sent to St. Lucy's Center in Tiannen, Taiwan. I believe I was told that it usually takes a couple of weeks to match the families--referrals usually come out the first week or two of the following month. We all thought, including our agency, that everyone else in our group (families whose papers went in with ours) would be matched while we were out of the country as we left May 29th. It's unbelievable that we were gone 3 1/2 weeks, while on the verge of receiving a referral, and it didn't even make a difference! I'm so glad that the timing on receiving a referral didn't cause us to do anything crazy like cancelling or shortening our trip. I feel very fortunate that we were able to chew up nearly a month of our "it's-coming-any-day-now" wait by traveling in Asia.

My theory is that our referral won't come until the regular time for a July referral--so we still have a few more weeks. It's also possible that we won't be matched at all in July and will need to wait longer. It's even possible that St. Lucy's won't want to match us with one of their children because we already have a large family by their standards. Because I just don't know, it's not worth lots of energy anymore. I am planning on enjoying the wonderful children that I have right now and being surprised when something actually does happen--I know I won't be looking for it actively.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday, June 2, 2007

I am in the Singapore airport and they have free internet! We leave for Bangkok in about an hour. It is has been an interesting 24 hours or so here. What a clean, beautiful city. We left home on Tuesday and lost Wednesday in the air. Yesterday we took a city tour and enjoyed a magnificent orchid garden, floating along a waterfront in a small boat, and going to an old Chinese temple--we are definitely in Asia. This is the first chance we've had to check e-mail. Still no word on our adoption. I really don't expect anything for awhile since they know we've left the country now. There are so many adorable chinese children everywhere.

We are having a wonderful time and it's still too early to miss anything about home. I can't wait to get to Bangkok. I've always wanted to go back after spending a day there in high school--it just wasn't enough time.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's now 10:30 pm and we've been working hard all day trying to get ready to go--there has been so much to do! We finished packing around 4:30 and have been cleaning and organizing ever since. I'm thrilled I won't be up until 2:00 am this time stuffing things into the suitcase, too tired to care anymore. We haven't heard a thing from Laura so it looks like we'll get a referral when we get back. Fortunately it's been a very busy day. I was a little curious each time the phone rang this evening, but I really didn't think it would happen before we left. All is well. It will happen when it's supposed to. I need to make sure I pack a family picture right now. . .I'll want to look at our sweet little kids while we're gone. I know it will be fun and very interesting, but knowing me, I'll probably be ready to come home after 2 weeks--a week before we're scheduled to return. I'm the one who pushed to do the 7-day Thailand and Singapore extension, so I have only myself to blame. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have this kind of experience with my parents so it will be well worth it. I'll be glad we went for it!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I couldn't help trying to be prepared. I realized that if the referral happened to come in (even though the chance is remote), and I didn't have a contingency plan for Memorial Day, (when banks will be closed) we'd lose the baby. I sent the e-mail below to our agency director 2 days ago when I thought about it and knew, that even though I was feeling peaceful, we still needed to be prepared. What if I'm just peaceful because it's going to work out. . .BEFORE we go??!! I am truly fine with whichever way it works. . .as long as we don't lose the baby we're given. THAT would be hard to see a photo and read about her, know she could have been ours, and then lose her because we're getting on a plane too soon leaving us short on time to do the needed paperwork.


Even though it's a REALLY slim chance that a referral will come in before we go, I've gone ahead and called our neighbor who happens to be a notary at the Bank of American Fork. She will bring her stuff home over the weekend in case we have a "notary emergency" on Memorial Day or the following morning. Even if a referral comes in in the middle of the night, like 3:00 am on Tues. the 29th, will you please call us right then--we're used to the crazy hours of labor. She said to call anytime and she'd get us taken care of before we step on the plane. We don't have to be at the airport until 9:00 am that morning for our 11:00 am flight.

Just trying to be prepared for the 1% chance :)



I called my "notary neighbor," Barb, while she was at work on Friday. She hadn't heard anything about a baby, just that we were leaving for China on Tuesday. She was so surprised and very excited for us. She said she'd love to help us, whatever the hour. . . huge relief!

I had forgotten after fixing our notary issue, that we want a pediatrician to look at the medical information before we accept--just to be safe. What doctor's office is open for regular business on Memorial Day? I called our regular doctor 2 weeks ago to see what they would do if we did happen to call on this holiday--he told the nurse we could speak with whomever is on call. I would hate to have a doctor that we don't even know pulled away from a family party on Memorial Day to look over our papers. Then I remembered that Howard's uncle is a fantastic pediatrician! Why hadn't I thought of him before? I guess because he has just moved to our state in the last couple of years and isn't our doctor due to proximity. Of course we could call him on Memorial Day, no problem! I would prefer to have him look at our papers anyway--he will be more interested in helping since this baby will be joining HIS family! I'm glad inconvenience forced me into remembering him. If it's not this month, I'll call him the next!

I received this e-mail back from Laura last night:

This plan should work fine if we receive referral information and contracts before the 29th. We've notified St. Lucy's of your plans and hoped that they might move along a little more quickly.

Have a great weekend,

I appreciate Laura's extra efforts to do all she can in helping this referral to happen. If they can't get our referral before we go, at least I know we've done everything possible. It would be so nice if they decide it would just be easier to finalize our match a few days earlier than they would have! (Laura thinks it will be coming this week, anyway, but probably not until later.) Fortunately for us, tomorrow we'll be crazy busy trying to clean the house and finish packing. I really don't think it will come. But now I can sit back and relax if it doesn't come in, knowing that next month will be just as exciting. I've been saying for a few weeks, "Boy, it sure would be nice to spread out a little of this excitement rather than having it all at once." I guess I'll just get my wish by having something to look forward to after returning from a wonderful vacation.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Since the initial disappointment of Tuesday evening's phone call, I have felt nothing but great peace since waking up the next morning. The peace is so calming and confirming that I feel it is being given from a higher source. He is in control. I am no longer worried about the timing or perhaps getting a different child now than we would have. He is the only one who has all the answers and I just need to trust that He is taking care of things the way they are meant to work out. We step on a plane in 4 days so this is a great blessing to be able to focus on getting ready to go! After having this trip on the calendar for 9 months, it is amazing how quickly it has come. Going to pick up our child in Taiwan will come in the same way. It seems like forever away now, but one day soon we will find ourselves getting packed to go to Asia again. . .this time to bring home our 6th child!