Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Haircuts!!!!!

The boys asked their Mom for Halloween haircuts.  I want to say right away these haircuts were not my choice in any way.  My guess is they will be asking for a full head shave tonight after Trick or Treating.  In case it is not clear on your PC, Jacari has a checkered pattern on his cranium.  Nigel chose a dragon for his skull.

Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

October Snow Cancels Visit

Emarion was supposed to visit today and tomorrow, but the now-normal extremes of weather cancelled the visit.  Snow from Virginia to Boston meant the long drive today and tomorrow were out of the question.  We hope to see Emarion next weekend.  My wife is speaking at Penn State and hopes to swing by Eamrion's foster home and bring him to our home overnight.  I have an Army drill that weekend so it will be a scheduling feat for Annalisa or me to make the long return trip.

Most of last week I was in Texas on business.  My current job has me out of town regularly.  Annalisa and I have been talking a lot about what I can do to be home more if and when we have one or two more boys moving in.  

Those same weather extremes that are more and more the normal of life make my business trips longer and longer.  I woke at 345 am in Texas to take a 6 am flight and be sure I was back for a 4pm meeting.  The first flight was on time.  Rain along the east coast delayed the second flight and I was an hour late for the meeting--canceling it and rescheduling for next week.  I went to dinner.  The trains were delayed and I got home just after midnight.

My daily commute to Philadelphia is also getting longer.  Amtrak upgraded their equipment, but snow, floods, and someone committing suicide by train every other month has me regularly hours late getting home.  

I am complaining, no doubt about that.  But I am also thinking out loud about what it means to be unreliably home with boys who need their parents reliably present.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Talking About Driving

Each month when I got to drill weekend, I leave a half-hour earlier and drop Jacari off with his former Foster Mom Melissa.  She raised Jacari for more than three years and as it happens, she lives just six miles from the base where I train.  So when I go for my Army weekend, Jacari spends the weekend with Melissa and her family.

Melissa is well connected in the Foster Mom network and gets free passes to Hershey Park and discounts at many fairs and festivals.  Jacari always gets some kind of special event during a weekend at his former home.

During the drive in the dark from Lancaster to Fredericksburg we talked about driving.  I told him when he could get his Learner's Permit and how his sisters did on the test--both the written test for the permit and the road test for the license.

In just three years, Jacari will be eligible for a permit.  That should be interesting!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Emarion Loves to Ride

Emarion will be a teenager boy in February, so no big surprise he can eat.  What was a pleasant surprise is how much he likes to ride bicycles.  When we got to the house he asked if he could ride.  I set him up to ride Nigel's mountain bike which meant raising the seat about six inches.  He rode that bike about five miles till first Jacari then Nigel decided to go home--we were riding on a one-mile loop near the house.  Emarion and I rode five more miles together then went home to get a drink.

Then at my wife's suggestion, I took Emarion for a ride on the tandem.  We rode five miles to the east side of Lancaster, ate pizza and rode back.  I decided at that point Emarion needed a good helmet, not the one we got him from the garage.  I was going to drive to Bike Line, but Emarion wanted to ride.  We bought the helmet. Emarion rode 26 miles with me on Saturday afternoon.  He pedals steadily and is strong.  

On Sunday we only had a half hour after Church before he had to go back to his foster home.  We rode seven more miles.  He was proud to know he had ridden 33 miles this weekend.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Emarion Visits for the Weekend

This morning I drove to Mifflintown PA to pick up Emarion for his first visit to our home.  Mifflintown is roughly halfway between Emarion's foster home and our home, so we picked up Emarion at a Burger King  in the middle of Pennsylvania.

On the two-hour ride home it was quickly clear that Emarion has very sharp eyes.  The boys started playing Punch Buggy No Punch Backs (identifying VWs on the road) and Emarion beat Nigel and Jacari about 10 to 1.  He really knows cars.

Halfway home we stopped at Fort Indiantown Gap.

When we got there, a unit was firing on the rifle range at pop-up targets.  Emarion was fascinated as we watched the targets drop as the shooters went through their prone and kneeling firing positions.  We then drove along the ranges to see if anyone else was shooting.  Not today.

Next we went to the hangar and the boys got to see Apache, Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters.

More later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Race Bad: Boys Awesome!

The Army Ten Miler was a mess--but the boys were awesome on the whole trip to DC, VA and back.
Here's a report on my other blog.

This makes three weekends in a row that the boys have spent at least 8 hours in trains and cars to cheer at races and meet their new brother.

This coming weekend, Emarion is coming to visit us, but it will be a 5-hour round trip to drop him off on Sunday.  

Nigel and Jacari are awesome travelers.  

Here they are trying on Halloween costumes after we got back from the race:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

With the Boys in DC

Today we drove to Washington DC so I could pick up my number for the Army Ten Miler.  This makes three weekends in a row the boys will travel a long way in cars and trains to go to races.  Last weekend my wife and I ran a half marathon in Lancaster then drove to State College and back to meet Emarion.  The weekend before, the boys went with me to a half marathon in the Hamptons.

This weekend we will stay at Grandpa's house in Silver Spring MD before driving to the Pentagon for the Army race.  The boys will have a little less time to wait than the last two races because this one is shorter.  These trips are a lot of driving, but the boys love eating junk food and every trip with Dad leads to junk food at some point, so they trade boredom for grease.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Talking with Another Couple Adopting from Haiti

My wife got an email yesterday from another couple adopting a child from Haiti through the same agency we are using.  She will be talking with them tonight about their experience to date and what we should be careful of as the adoption process goes forward.  She does not expect to learn anything earthshaking from the call, but adoption with two sovereign governments involved has to get complicated and so we should learn some good tips on how to keep the paperwork going and keep all the officials happy.

More when I know more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

German perspective on American Adoption

At my day job are visiting scholars from many countries.  Today I mentioned our adoption plans to a young woman who is working at our library for a year on a post-doctorate fellowship.  I mentioned something about our family possibly adopting two more boys.

"More," she said.  "How many do you have?"

"Two," I said showing her a picture of Nigel and Jacari with Emarion.  She said, "I hope I am not being to intrusive but could you tell me. . ."

she asked where the boys came from, why we were and are adopting, how many children we wanted, how our families (parents, siblings) felt about our adoption, how the boys felt about being adopted, and maybe 20 more questions.  She said she is at an age when many of her friends are having kids and was curious about the whole idea of adoption.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

First Visit with Emarion

Today we drove to meet our new son Emarion.  He lives in the Phillipsburg area so we drove to State College and met Eamrion and Josi his social worker at a local restaurant.

In all of the photos, Emarion is on the left, Jacari is on the right in the top two and in the middle in the bottom photo.  Nigel has a Juniata Soccer sweatshirt.

Both Nigel and Jacari liked Emarion a lot and hope he can come to live with us soon.  The next step will be a visit to our house in two weeks.

In the top photo we all smiled for the camera.  In the other two, I was showing the boys army pictures.  Boys don't seem to get tired of looking at Chinooks, Blackhawks and guns!!