Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ceremony Tomorrow!!!

Finally, Toan will officially become our son tomorrow, in Vung Tau at 14h30. I think a lot of people worked in this case to speed things up and it worked. We will take the hydrofoil at 12h30 and it takes 1h30 minutes to get there. We took the road back from Vung Tau, 3 hours long, 2 days ago. I'd rather stick to the boat, let me tell you. The road conditions are not very good. On our way back, we got to see another orphanage, Vung Tau 3. we did not go in though.
Our representative came over today and we prepared all the paperwork. After that, she took us out on a tour and I am so happy she did. What I saw was beautiful, and sort of reconciled me with what I had seen so far. It's the first time in my life I really see the face of poverty. But people don't look miserable. They are happy with very little. Vietnamese people are good to their young ones. They always come to see Toan to touch him and they take great pride in the fact that he is Vietnamese. She took us out shopping and I was able to buy some dvds for him in Vietnamese, some books with Vietnamese physionomies, and a cd of Vietnamese lullabyes.
I am sorry for my silence of the last couple days, it's been hard for me. I have not slept a lot since I left Canada and I sort of got myself spinning in circle with my worries. To my friend K who is coming soon, bring sleeping pills, they might come in handy. I wish I had brought some.
Toan is doing well, he is crawling all over the place, he is blooming! Not a big drinker though, we have to force him to do so. He likes his cereals, green stuff we decided to call Shrek cereals: very gross looking and smelling, and above all, gross tasting. But I guess when you are 1 and never have been exposed to anything alse, they are the cat's ass! He tasted bananas this morning and liked it.
The hotel here is super! Claudia just found a lizard in the bathroom and I called room service: I think they might still be making fun of us downstairs, in Vietnamese of course! The apartment is so clean and the sheets are so comfy, if I could only sleep! Which is what I will try to do now. So after the ceremony, I will be able to post pics, hopefully tomorrow evening.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaving Vung Tau

We decided that we will leave from Vung Tau tomorrow and go back to the Hotel in HCMC to wait for the ceremony which will take place later on this week. We will then do a round trip back to VT.
My dossier arrived today from the DA in Hanoi to the Dept of Justice in Vung Tau.
We just went back to the orphanage to say goodbye and to see the nurse, a very nice gentleman. He drained Toan's nose and treated his mouth which broke out with a fungus this morning. I left with some glycerine to help him produce a nice big poop: I have yet to see a poop come out of this little guy! We weighed him and he is 6.85 KG, a little format for sure for 12 months. I was looking around at all the older little kids and they seem to be happy, not the typical mental image we have of orphanages. The nannies are really attached to the kids and it's easy to see. There is a joie de vivre in there.
I think we have seen what we needed to see of Vung Tau, I am anxious to move on towards a little bit more comfort let's say...
So, let's all hope for a ceremony as soon as possible so I can get back to Canada with my little treasure pronto.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

News from Vung Tau

Sorry for my silence. The wifi signal at the Residence where we are in Vung Tau is very weak and somewhat unreliable. I am taking a chance here, hoping to be able to finish the post before I lose the signal.
This is a very overwhelming experience. I arrived one week too early in Vietnam before the procedures were ready for the ceremony of adoption. Last I heard, the DA in Hanoi has approved the dossier. It only needs to be stamped. The agency employee who works in Hanoi will bring the dossier in Vung Tau on Monday to the Dept of Justice. Ceremony should take place next week. Apparently, it goes faster with a special needs baby. As soon as this happens, we will go back to HCMC where we will apply for Toan's Vietnamese and Canadian passports, as well as for his citizenship. But I understand why I am here. Toan needed me here now. Last I heard about his weight was in January, 12 pounds. He now weighs 14 pounds. We discovered quickly that he has absolutely no succion reflex, so we feed him with a cup, pouring the milk in his mouth. He is very small, and I wonder if he was not prematurely born. We will never know. He has poor muscle tone. But can I say that he is a wonderful little guy? He is starting to climb on me and when he smiles, it is all worth it! He is sick now with a cold and a small fever. Poor little fighter. He loves to sleep between the 2 French ladies, a real guy!
I can't post pictures until the Giving and Receiving ceremony. My dear husband posted a pic on Facebook but will remove it, he just didn't know. SO, people, YOU HAVE NOT seen pics yet (wink, wink).
I am looking forward to going back to HCMC, at the hotel. They have a beautiful pool and a gym with treadmills. The apartment is really nice and comfy. I think I might take Toan to see the doctor in HCMC if his cold persists. As I said, he is a very weak little boy and that worries me.
I REALLY miss Michael and the children, being away from them is hard. But I try to focus on the job being done, it will be wonderful when we are all together, the 9 of us.
We walked a lot in Vung Tau and we are planning on going back to the orphanage later today, after Toan's nap. It got really warm so we came back to our room for a bit of rest. Well, that's it for today, looks like I was lucky this time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I met my son!

Made it to Vung Tau by boat this morning, what an adventure... The boat was fine, it's getting on and off the boat that was tricky with our luggage, having to walk over the open water on basically 2 planks of wood...

Then we went to the orphanage just before noon. I can't describe how I felt. It was weird to finally see the first home of 2 of my sons. We went to meet with the director and I gave her 2 big bags of meds purchased with money I collected, along with other miscellaneous stuff brought from Canada such as over the counter meds and school supplies.

And then came the big moment. We went upstairs and walked towards his ward. I took my shoes off before entering the room, scanning all the little faces and little cribs and recognized him right away, sleeping in his crib. He is so beautiful and so very tiny. He looks more like a 6 months old than a 1 year old. He is very fragile and will need us so much. Then he woke up and looked at me before giving me a big grin. What a gift! I picked him up and he nestled in my neck. The director allowed us to take him with us at the hotel, even though I don't have the legal custody yet. He is not drinking a lot, he is lacking a lot of tonus. I really can see where the suspicion of cerebral palsy comes from and that's ok, everything will be just fine. I already love him.

My file will be released from the DA tomorrow and brought in person to Vung Tau at the dept of Justice. Looking good for ceremony next week. Until then, will be staying in VT.

I need to go try to sleep, I am so tired.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


We made it to our destination. I am having a hard time sleeping, too much going on in my poor little head and my heart is racing. Found out today that my file is still at DA and that the ceremony could take place as late as July 4. Very depressing. We will be leaving the hotel here tomorrow and we will be going to Vung Tau where I will get to see my little Toan. We will be staying in Vung Tau until ceremony of adoption is completed. Please, dear readers, cross your fingers for us. It all seems to look like we showed up one week too early. But what can we do now.
The arrival here was a little bit of a shock, a big one I should say. I have to keep my focus on my little one whose life is about to change drastically let's say. A big part of me is in Kingston with Michael and the children, I miss them so very much. I am so very fortunate to have Claudia with me.
The hotel here is very nice and comfy. I was able to go for a quick run on the treadmill and for a refreshing swim in the pool after. The pool is so nice!
I will try to post tomorrow after the big meeting with my son.
I am unable to get on Facebook from here, maybe one of you can post this fact on my wall?
Also, to K who will be coming soon, EVA airline was fantastic and the route very convenient! You might want to take this into consideration when comes the time to book - keep me posted please.

Please think of me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Taipei, Taiwan

Fifteen hours on a plane is long! We arrived about an hour ago and will be boarding soon on the plane to HCMC. I took a few minutes to Skype with Michael and the kids: it's nice to see them all!
We had a little scare last night in Toronto, a few minutes before boarding the plane. I received a phone call from the director of the adoption agency, to inform me that the Vietnamese authorities did not want to accept my police check from the Kingston police dept, and that what was explaining why my file was not released yet by the DA. A panic in the air! Somehow, we managed to get a hold of someone at the Kingston police dept (in the middle of the night) and that someone produced a letter for the Vietnamese authorites to give some clarification on the format they use. No need to say I panicked. Thanks to my friend who is with me, she was frantically looking for a fax we might need to use while I was on the phone. Looks like it worked, according to the employee from the agency in Vietnam. She will most likely get my file today from the DA and be able to bring it to Vung Tau to have a ceremony scheduled.
I will be at ease when I am on the flight back from Vietnam, with my son in my arms.

In Taipei

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Toronto

I arrived in Toronto by bus around 3:15 pm and I have to wait for my flight to Taipei until 1:30 am....that's a long time. My friend will be meeting me here at the airport aroung 8:30. I like the WI-FI so I can kill a bit of time.

The departure this morning was harder than I had anticipated. I knew I would react but didn't think the kids would be upset. It is kind of bittersweet: you are excited to go get a little baby but you are sad to leave everyone behind.

I don't know yet when the ceremony will be, found out prior to leaving from Kingston that my papers are still at the DA in Hanoi... Let's hope for a ceremony on either Friday or Saturday. All I know is that I will get to meet Toan on Thursday, in Vung Tau. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Countdown and Packing

Time is flying by so fast!  Today is a busy day with packing and last minute stuff to do around the house.  Leaving a husband and 6 children behind with all of the end of the school year activities is stressful, especially when you are a control freak like me.  But they are in good hands anf I have to be confident that everything will be just fine.  However, my husband keeps threatening me he will grow the largest dust bunny ever seen, and also that the kids will be in the same clothes they were in when I left.  Please feel free to call Social Services if this is the case...!

I am allowed to bring 2 pieces of luggage with a max of 50 pounds each.  I am happy I decided to buy the bulk of the donation over there because weight is starting to be an issue.  Most of it will not come back with me (gifts for the people working at the orphanage, diapers, baby wipes, donations) which will leave me room to bring back Vietnamese formula (to ensure a smooth transition in his feedings) and souvenirs.  I will leave behind for the orphanage the clothes I brought for Toan, as I still have a lot for him here in Canada.  You think, the little boy has 2 older siblings the same age: there will always be too many clothes for him!

I am looking forward to seeing where he lives, and by the same token where Logan is from.  Staying in Vung Tau for a few days will enable me to explore around and get a feel of the place.

I guess the next time I write will either be from Toronto airport or from Vietnam.  Please think of me, I am so very nervous!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Official!!!

Well, here we are, with a plane tickets in our hands!  Well I should have it tomorrow as it is being Fedexed as we speak, as long as my passport with the visa stamped in it... let's hope there's no glitch here.  I will be taking off at 1:30 am Tuesday.  I have to leave from Kingston by bus at noon Monday with the last shuttle for Toronto airport.  My friend and I will meet at the airport (she is flying from Montreal) and we will catch the flight to Taipei and then to Saigon.  We should be there at 9:45 am on June 22, disoriented for sure!  An employee of the adoption agency in Vietnam will be there at the airport to welcome us.

I have a big advantage over Michael 2 years ago: I have met those ladies before so I will be looking for one of them!  We will make our way to the hotel and find out what the next day holds for us.  The ceremony has not been scheduled yet, it should take place on either Thursday or Friday.  My guess is that we will make our way to Vung Tau on Thursday to go to the orphanage.  I am hoping I am allowed to take Toan to the local hotel that night, or better, that the ceremony will take place that day so we can apply for his passport on Friday, before the weekend.  It's all up in the air as it is right now.

My week has been busy with errands, worries about the booking of the flight, and a very painful run last night.  I took a tumble down the stairs, in the middle of the night last Friday.  I have had a pain in the back since then and a sore foot until Sunday.  I managed to run 6K on Sunday and then my foot felt great, even though it was still bruised.  So I thought I was ok to run last night... until I hit the 5K mark and could not run anymore.  This morning, I had a hard time getting up from bed.  So I went to see a chiropractor and found out I managed to break a rib!  And it's pinching a nerve and causing a lot of pain lower in the back.  She adjusted me and tried to dislodge the nerve (if I may say...) and I have to admit it is starting to feel a little better.

Well, the wolves are hungry, so I better go feed them.  I wonder if Toan senses his life is about to change?  Poor thing, a lot coming his way, a lot of changes all at once.  But at least my friend and I both get that, he does not have to perform for us, we will be there for him, no matter what.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Garrison Ball

This has nothing to do with the adoption, but actually gives me a chance to try to attach a picture to a post.  We had the Garrison Ball last night, here in Kingston, and Michael and I dressed up for the occasion.  Wow, that was easy to do!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Progress, progress

Well, looks like the request will be made to have my visa entry in Vietnam effective June 17.  If all goes according to plan, the Giving and Receiving ceremony will take place in the week of the 20th.

I have not mentioned yet that a very good friend of mine will be making the trip with me.  She is a lot more travel-smart than I am, which reassures me.  Also, I am very much at ease to share this experience with her as she has already shared with us a significant event in the past, the birth of Noah, at home, 5 years ago.  We share a lot in our respective parenting styles and that is very important to me: I know she will not be there to judge me in the way I will try to connect with Toan.

My estimation is that I might leave from Canada on June 17 or 18 and arrive the following day in Vietnam.  I would then spend a day to situate myself and go purchase goods for the orphanage with the generous donations my fellow runners made.  I will ask the agency employee over there to help me buy what is needed the most at the orphanage.  As adoptive parents, we are also expected to make a donation.  I have yet to find out how it works: will I purchase stuff over there or do we simply give the money to the orphanage?  Details I guess.  I am also bringing a box of goodies we gathered such as school supplies and over-the-counter meds.  The next morning, I might then be able to go to Vung Tau, about 2 hours away from Saigon, to go and meet Aidan Toan at the orphanage.

I guess the trend now is to have parents stay in Vung Tau for a couple days prior to the ceremony, in order to get to know the baby and get to know where he is from.  This will be very interesting, however, it increases my chances to get scabies from the orphanage.  The only solution to this will be to treat baby, myself and my friend once we get back to Saigon for good.  Something else to experiment with!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Technical Question here for the readers...

As you all know, I am a newbie to this blogging thing!  What I am wondering is if you guys are able to post on the blog... I have a feeling that it's not quite working well...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One More Step

Well, Letter of No Objection has been released.  What does that mean exactly?  Not too too sure.  And I can't seem to be able to get in touch with anyone at the Agency, so....  It is a letter issued by the Ontario gvt saying that they have no issues with us adopting a particular child.  One copy goes to the Vietnamese authorities, one goes to the agency, and another one goes to the Canadian High Commission in Singapore. I wish I knew what this means in terms of a travel date.  I yet have to send my passport to obtain the visa.  We basically have to wait until the last minute because the visas are good for 30 days only.

That's where we are now, still no travel date and my son will be 1 year old in 17 days.

It reminds me of all the times I was pregnant, at the end, waiting to give birth: making sure the fridge and freezers are full, making sure the house is clean and so on.  Our family life has been on hold since January. But it will be all worth it in the end!