Thursday, November 9, 2017

2nd Visit with Hudson

Matt and I were picked up at the hotel around 2:00 for our afternoon visit.  We met Hudson (who was wearing a new outfit!) again in the visiting room but then went on a tour of the orphanage.  We got to see the other two main rooms where he has lived his life.  We met one of the nannies from when he was an infant.  When he would get upset and cry, others would rush up and give him some food which would make him stop crying almost immediately.  Matt noted that treats seem to be the way to this boy's heart (at least for now).  Hudson let us carry him around most of the time.  There were still tears, but we also had some special moments of connection.

After walking around the campus a little bit, Matt got the reward of being the first to make Hudson giggle.  He was tickling him while walking, and I turned around to see the sweetest smile and hear the most precious giggle.  It was music to my ears, and Matt was just beaming.  Hudson, your Daddy is definitely the funny one, and you learned this very early on.  

The rest of our afternoon visit was spent in the outside play area.  We played with a Thai alphabet toy and got to hear him saying some characters.  We pushed him around on a bike (and played with a lot of other little ones who wanted some attention).  As the afternoon went on, he definitely got more comfortable with us.  We did more tickles and kisses and hugs and got to hear his sweet giggle more and more.  His favorite nanny "Ma Kru" also spent a good bit of time with us, and we got some videos of her singing songs to him and talking with him.  I hope these will be special to him one day so he can see how much he was cared for by her and many others.  

When it was time to go, he rode in the van with us to the hotel.  I think they are trying to get him used to being out and about more.  Needless to say, we didn't want to say goodbye, but we were thrilled that the visit went so well.  Loved seeing his eyes light up, and we loved seeing him more comfortable in the surroundings that he's used to.  I loved watching his nanny with him and seeing her obvious care for him (and his for her!).  The second visit was soooooooo much more encouraging than the first. It made us really look forward to Tyndall getting to meet him. :) 

P.S. No pictures because we only have ones with his face from this visit. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

First Visit with Hudson

Nico (a volunteer from Germany) and Phil (one of the social workers) picked us up in the orphanage's van and drove us over to the Boys' Home.  When we pulled up and got out, there was a group of people (and a couple of little boys) outside.  I scanned the faces and didn't think any of them were Hudson.  They walked us into a small room, and there he was!  He was sitting on a blanket with a few toys, playing by himself.  He barely looked up when we entered.  Matt immediately got down on the floor and started playing with him.  I think I was a little in shock.  I took some pictures, but it took me a minute to process it.  This was our boy!  In real life! 


Immediately, I noticed some sores on his head.  There was a place on his head that seemed swollen.  I was concerned.  The "momma bear" in me was a little angry honestly.  Within a few minutes, the main social worker came in and visited with us.  She addressed the spot on his head and said that they are much better and that he had been under a doctor's care.  I felt better pretty quickly because they addressed it directly.  She also asked what we wanted to know about him, and we said everything that she could tell us. So, within minutes of meeting our boy, we were hearing parts of his story.  I was desperately trying to memorize every detail, knowing that these pieces of information will be precious to our son one day.  But I was also heartbroken learning about his story.  Truly sad that he ever had to leave his first family and experience such loss and trauma.  

I was with this precious boy, this precious life who will soon be placed in our hands, and I was heartbroken about his first 2 years and 8 months of life.  I also was given the impression that his coming into our family will not be an easy adjustment for him.  I prayed.  My eyes filled with tears.  Deep in my soul, I cried out to the "Father of the fatherless", the one who "sets the lonely in families".  I feel so unworthy, so inadequate to enter into his life.  Yet there is a deep, rising LOVE for this precious boy that was instant, the moment I found out about him.  It's overshadowed my feelings of concern.  Matt and I shared a couple of glances.  We wondered if we are "cut out" for this.  If we are strong enough.  If he would ever acknowledge our presence.  ;) 

As all of these conversations are going on verbally, all of these internal shifts happening, little Hudson has barely looked at us.  He hasn't spoken.  Has barely moved.  

I finally ask the social worker, "can he walk?  does he talk?" and she says "oh yeah!" and starts talking with him in Thai.  He starts identifying different animal toys and answering her prompts to pick up different things.  He got up and walked across the room to get a book, and we saw the first glimpse of his personality.  (Or maybe the withdrawn, reserved Hudson is his personality too.  We will know eventually.)  I try to get him to sit in my lap while I read him a book, but he wasn't interested.  It's okay.  I know these things will take time.  I don't want to scare him or overwhelm him.  I'm a stranger to him.  He has no idea I am his mom.  At one point, P'Nan walked out of the room, and he cried.  An intense cry that was honestly a relief to hear and see.  More evidence of "life" within him.  



After a little longer in this small room (which we found out he had never been in before), we went outside to go to his area of the orphanage.  He took Matt's hands walking down a few stairs, and he let Matt carry him across the grounds.  Matt was gracious and passed him off to me after a little while, and I was thrilled when he let me carry him the rest of the way to his lunch area.  Then I got to sit with him and feed him lunch.  He is a good eater and definitely seemed more comfortable surrounded by his friends and nanny.  His nanny asked him to tell us the names of all his friends, and he did.  There were 5 other kids with him that day.  There are usually 10 in his group.  We had already been told that he loved this nanny very much, but seeing it was a different experience.  I felt a strange mix of feeling thankful that he has this close attachment but also sorrow to know I will take him away from her in the coming weeks.  

Matt had some sweet moments of connection with him after lunch.  We stayed in his area of the orphanage for a little while until it was time for his nap.  They took us to the van and said they would come back to get us in a couple of hours.  



We went back to the hotel and found Tyndall and P'Nui.  We were anxious to tell Tyndall about his brother and show them pictures.  We also started majorly coaching Tyndall about Hudson being pretty reserved and how he needed to be reserved at our visit the next day. 

We all went to the area mall for lunch together.  Even though it was just a local mall, I noticed some differences in Southern Thai culture compared to what we're used to.  I was trying to soak it all in but also trying to process the last couple of hours.  Such an intense and powerful and wonderful morning. And we knew we would get to see Hudson again in just a couple of hours! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

First trip to Nakorn
















On October 23, our family of three flew down to Nakorn Si Thammarat with excited trepidation about the next couple of days.  We would finally be with our newest family member who we had "met" via Line messages less than a week before.  One who had been in our hearts and minds for many years.  


When we arrived into town, we checked into our hotel and then ate dinner at the hotel restaurant.  Tyndall was way excited and quite energetic, but after a bath (in a real bathtub!) in our room, he fell asleep pretty quickly.  It left Matt and I to have a quiet evening to ourselves, with lots on our minds.  

So many questions.  So much unknown.   Yet so much faith.  And joy.  It's all so surreal.  I tried not to have expectations.  But I've followed so many adoption journeys over the years that I certainly had thoughts about how things might go.   I was in awe of how it was turning out to be much more of an "international adoption" experience than I thought.  I was worried about who could hold the camera to capture the moment we first saw our son.  I wondered if he would cry or be cuddly.  I remember coaching myself as I prepared gifts for his nannies and the social worker.  I was telling myself not to have expectations, to not even worry about pictures, just to enjoy the moment.

As I prepared gifts and a photo album for Hudson, I was messaging with friends who could write and speak Thai for help with labeling the photo album.  I'm thankful for Faye and Moo and their help with writing "mom" and "dad" and "Tyndall" and "Hudson" in Thai so Hudson (and his nannies) can have help with getting to know our names.  And I'm thankful for my Thai tutors Dah and Aing who helped Matt and I learn most of the characters and sounds so things didn't seem quite so foreign.  


I thought it would be hard to sleep, but we all actually slept a decent amount.  Our friend P'Nui flew in early in the morning to be with Tyndall and met us at our hotel for breakfast at 8:30am.  We ate breakfast all together and then waited for the orphanage social worker to pick us up.  The main social worker I had been in touch with (Nan) sent me a photo of Hudson waiting for our arrival.  He looked so different from the other photos we had seen... I couldn't wait to see him in real life! 

Monday, October 23, 2017

His Name ~ Hudson Arthit

The very first thing we learned about our son was his name.  His name "Arthit" in Thai, means "Sun", and that is his current "play name" which most Thai kids have, like a nickname.  

We did not know if we would give him a new name or not, but after learning he is so young, we decided we will.  We have had some possible names in the mix for the past couple of years, so we revisited those first.  And after learning his play name is "Sun", we definitely wanted to incorporate that.  But we also love names ending with "s-o-n" because we want his name to be a reminder of his identity.  (And it sounds the same at the end so hopefully will be an easier adjustment for him.) 

We all loved "Hudson" the best and thought it fit him the most compared to others we like.  We also like the meaning and immediately thought of Hudson Taylor, a pioneering missionary to China.  And because it is the name his first mother gave him, we will keep his Thai name as his middle name.
So, he will be Hudson Arthit Flagler.  


Meaning of HudsonThe name Hudson is the transferred use of an Anglo-Scottish surname originating from a medieval personal name “Hudde” which itself has three possible origins. One, it’s widely thought to be a pet form of the Old Saxon name Hugh which comes from a Germanic word “hug” meaning ‘heart, mind, spirit.’ Secondly, Hudde is also thought to have formed as a nickname for Richard which also has Germanic origins meaning ‘power, strong, hardy.’ Lastly, it could be derived from the Olde English personal name “H┼źda” with uncertain origin but which gave its name to places like Huddington in Worcestershire. The surname dates back to the 13th century in Scotland and England. 

Tyndall's name is also an Anglo-Scottish surname.
And Hudson Taylor's name is actually James Hudson Taylor, so there's another brotherly connection with the name.
On other websites, we read that Hudson can mean "power" which is a strong family connection with Matt's "Powers" family--and middle name.  

Tyndall James's name reminds us of William Tyndale who translated the Bible into English, and Hudson Taylor translated most of the New Testament into Chinese.  

So, it all seemed to fit, and as we decided throughout the rest of the day, it stuck. 

A verse we are associating with his name is 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

Funny side note:  As I was researching multiple websites about the meaning of names, I read that Hudson was mostly used as a surname.  It took me a minute to make the connection that my best friend Ginger married a Hudson in 2015, so it's now the last name of my dearest friend.  So, even though it was not the reason we chose the name, it definitely was not a deterrent.  And she promised me it wasn't too weird.  

Hudson Arthit, you are loved! 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It's A Boy!

14 hours.  I waited 14 hours from our social worker's Line message about being matched.  At 8:40 am the next day (I simply could NOT wait any longer!), I sent her a "good morning" sticker.  She immediately wrote back that she was not at the office and had to go to a meeting so couldn't tell me anything more until the afternoon.  Okay, I understood.  I resolved that I would be distracted by teaching for the morning and could wait a few more hours. 

But 25 minutes later, I noticed my phone started dinging like crazy.  It was during a weekly prayer time that I have with some friends, so I waited.  When we were done, I checked my phone and saw that they were messages from her.  So I went upstairs to Matt's classroom (it was almost time for morning break), and waited for his kids to leave.  There were a couple kids who needed help with math, so I helped for a minute but then told Matt that we had messages from K. A and asked if the kids could do the math later... :) 

We read the messages together and learned that we had been matched with a BOY! And that he was born in February 2015.  Matt said, "2015?! So he's 2?"  We were truly shocked by this as we were open to kids ages 2-8 and even sibling groups.  Our understanding was that most adoptive families preferred younger children, so we just expected we would be matched with older.  So, shocked, but very happily.  

She asked if we accepted the referral, and we wrote back, "yes, of course" and then immediately started receiving pictures of our handsome son!  His face, y'all.  The sweetest.  I mean, he is just.so.adorable.  (But we will not be posting any pictures publicly until the adoption is finalized, per the understood guidelines of adoptions in Thailand.) 

After the first time we said we accepted this match, we learned about his current orphanage and a little more about his birth family.  After we said we accepted again, we learned a little more.  

We stayed in Matt's classroom for a minute soaking everything in and reading the messages over and looking at the pictures.  Then we said we wanted to go tell Tyndall.  But as soon as we got downstairs and saw Krissy and Abby & Bryn standing right there, we had to tell them.  Krissy saw our faces and said, "you know?!"  And we ran toward them and did a big group hug and I said, "WE HAVE A SON!  AND HE'S 2!!!"  And we burst into happy tears and jumped up and down.  And took pictures.  Because we want our son to know that this moment...  This moment that we found out about him and "met" him through pictures was the very moment God placed him into our family.  Just like it was with Tyndall.  It is indescribably precious.  Even with students crowding around "why are you crying, Mrs. Tricia?" and other teacher-friends sharing in our joy, at that very moment, God sunk this son of ours in our hearts.  


Before we realized it, break was over and students were going into both of our classrooms.  We realized we had to do real life for a little while.  As my students came in and got settled, I did call my mom and send her a picture of her new grandson.  :) I then told my first graders that I had just found out I have a new son.  They didn't really understand, but it will be fun teaching them more about adoption this year.  That was the hardest English lesson I've ever taught, and Matt would probably say the same.  

Right after English is lunch time, so we went to find Tyndall in the lunch room.  We wanted to tell him he has a new YOUNGER BROTHER!  We told him and showed him a picture.  Right away, he grabbed my phone and gave it the biggest hug and then started showing his friends "This is my brother".   We spent a lot of time hugging and processing this news together (in the cafeteria filled with 1/2 of the school).  Other teachers were hearing our news, and we were able to tell people who have been praying with us for these last 2 years that God has given us a SON!  


Needless to say, Tyndall didn't go back to class.  He probably would have been too distracted and distracting to others.  Matt and I went to Chapel after lunch, and I could barely keep it together singing worship songs like, "My God is Powerful" and "By Faith".  I took the rest of the afternoon off, and Matt came home during his planning periods.  We tossed around a few names and then settled on a name we all liked as a family.  That will be another post.  

We learned more about him through the day (all through Line messaging) and just couldn't believe the way that God had given us another perfect boy to join our family.  

Little boy, you are so very loved already! 

Will you be praying for our boy?  Will you pray for his little heart to be prepared to meet his forever family soon?  Will you pray for us the next few weeks as our files go before the adoption board in Thailand for final approval?  It's possible that he will be home with us before Christmas.  It's a lot of change to happen in the next few weeks.  Please pray with us during this time.  


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Matched!

It was a normal evening in our home.  Monday, October 16, 2017.  

School was finished, and I had just dropped off dinner for our friends who have a new baby.  Then I cooked/heated up dinner for us.  Kraft mac and cheese, edamame, and leftover meat from Beirut (a yummy Lebanese restaurant).  Super gourmet!  P'Nui, Tyndall and I had eaten and Matt came home after he finished his parent conferences.  We were talking like normal, and then I glanced at my phone.  I hadn't heard the notification.  

Here's what I saw.  A Line message from our social worker:

I gasped and put my hand over my mouth and screamed with joy.  The rest of the family started saying, "what? what?!"  And I said, "We were matched!" Then screamed again (sorry, neighbors).  And we told Tyndall, "you're getting a brother or a sister soon!" We started dreaming out loud.  Boy? Girl? Both?  "Tyndall, do you think it's a brother or a sister?" Tyndall was running in circles and dancing around the house.


Talk about shocked!  We did NOT expect to be told about a match through a message, nor did we even know that the matching board was meeting.  Shock!  Excitement!  Nervousness! 


Later in the evening, we were talking with Tyndall.  "Remember, T, your brother or sister probably won't speak English.  They will be nervous, and they might be scared to come into our home.  We are going to have to be very patient."  T says: "That's okay.  'Member when we were Thai and someone learned us how to speak English?"  I posted that statement on Facebook, but it's even better knowing the context.  He's practicing empathy for his future brother/sister.  



Then we started calling (and waking up) family in the States.  P'Nui told the Wattanabanjonkuls when she was leaving, so they came over to share in our excitement.  We called friends and cried tears of joy.  So much unknown, but soooooooooo much joy!  

Had a hard time going to sleep that night, and I found this picture on Pinterest.  The words were absolutely perfect.  


You are loved, little one, and we can't wait to meet you!  

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Day at the Barn

Today was a special day. I didn't know how much it would mean to me to share a barn with my son. It was unexpectedly awesome.

I spent a lot of time at barns when I was young. 4th grade is when I got the horse bug, and I was pretty obsessed for a few years. Outside of school, it was pretty much horses and volleyball.  This carried through college when I spent a couple of years on our school's equestrian team competing at other universities. For our school, it was a club sport but the competitions were funded by the school, and we got to travel to huge universities and spend days at their awe-inspiring barns and equestrian training centers. One year, I was the team manager which my brother-in-law branded as equestrian team cheerleader to irk me. It's still a thing. 

Anyway, today was so cool. I got to spend a few hours at a stable with some students and their families--and Tyndall. 

The smells. The dirt. The manure. The hay. The leather. The tack. It was so very familiar yet not. Because we are in Thailand, and everything is different on this side of the world. Yet not. Because the horses/ponies/dogs of the barn were so very familiar. 

You know what else? My dad often made the trips to be at my horse shows. I have several special memories of him watching me ride. And today I got to watch Tyndall ride, and it made me feel close to my dad. I'm tearing up even as I post this. It was so unexpected but delightful. A day I will treasure for a long time. 

Tyndall? He was okay. He was proud that he was brave to ride the pony. He liked the cool stuff he got to wear, especially the gloves. He was nervous and wanted me to walk beside him. I did for awhile but then let him go by himself. Then he was bored and wanted to go faster. Or get off. He tried to get off, but then it was his turn to go into the trotting area, so he decided to give that a try. When the instructors and leads had the pony trot, he liked it but his hat was too big and flopped around a lot. He was ready to be done after that, so I let him be done. He was more excited about petting the horses and the hedgehog that my student Nut brought to the barn and the barn dogs. Tyndall is definitely a lover of animals. I'm so very thankful for that! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Tyndall James is 4 Years Old!

Tyndall James is 4 Years Old! 

Nicknames:  T, T-man, T-baby,  Bubba, "Su-Tin", Ty, "Kendo", "Tindon"

Swinging with Eddie at school
Favorite things to do:  play with Friends, play outside, watch shows, go on adventures, dress as a superhero, take "baths", play on mommy's phone, dig for bugs, "help" in the kitchen, play in mommy's classroom, try to catch animals, ride his tricycle, go to play places like Kidzooona
Finding worms with Mommy

Favorite books:  Go, Dogs, Go!, Miss Nelson is Back, Bernstein Bears & the Spooky Old Tree, "How Do Dinosaurs...", Goose Goofs Off, Where's the Dragon, Dinosaur Police, other dinosaur books, the UsBorne "Shine-a-Light" books that we have, and many, many more!


Favorite toys:  CinnaBear! (might even be his best friend), dress up clothes, any containers to collect bugs and flowers and leaves, other stuffed animals, matching game, Go Ape game, cars, Play Doh, train set, play kitchen, dinosaurs, the rocket tent he got for Christmas

Favorite TV Shows/Movies:  Bo on the Go, Paw Patrol (lately he's saying it's boring), Peppa Pig, Home Alone movies, Lion King movies, Aladdin, Frozen, Despicable Me 1 & 2, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,
Spongebob, Grinch


Loved the Easter Egg Hunt this year--especially the candy!
Favorite Foods:  He still eats a lot at school but not much at home. Rice, noodles, chicken, eggs, cheese, "chocolate milk" aka protein shake, lots of fruits (persimmon is a new favorite), veggies (likes raw peppers).  He also loves sweets.  Candy & cookies & crackers are often requested.  He will eat basically anything we put in front of him, but not much of it in one sitting. 
with Trevor and Landon at Finderland
Friends:  Boyda kids (Keaton, Landon, Trevor, Jillian), GES kids (Bauers, Andreassens, Wattanabanjongkuls, McLatchers, Brights, Gurnetts, and anyone else on the playground). P'Nui, Mr. George, Binda, Jishah & Johnny, K1B friends: Eddie & Ellie, Yuki, Sa, Shita, In-In.  His cousins in America. He makes friends very easily.
With Sadie and Kayte this summer in America
Favorite Sayings:  Can I touch it?  (in reference to any animal that he sees); I LOVE this or I HATE that; that's so pretty; that's BOOOTIFUL; body parts (ugh!); No; That's a Poooooooooor Choice; (lots of questions, conversations about death--probably due to the King of Thailand's recent passing); I DON'T WANNA...; Oh!  That's a good idea.; Right?
Got into Mommy's makeup
Things he doesn't like:  Loud, unexpected noises; anything that's not his idea; being touched by strangers (happens a lot in Asia to a blonde boy); being told he has to do something; hearing no.


Things that happened while he was 3:  Changed from Nursery class to K1B class (did better with more structure and more English); Mommy started working full-time, so T got an after-school nanny "P'Nui" who has become part of our family; First SongKran celebration; Had first visitors from America (Emmy and Sheila); Stephy & Bubba came to visit, and we explored SE Asia together (went to Cambodia & Malaysia); saw Angkor Wat and held & swam with sea turtles; spent the summer in America (lots of playdates, family time, pools with friends, and playing with dogs); back to GES and K1B for a full year; went on a beach trip with friends; first sleepover at Boydas'; performed in Christmas program without crying and running off stage; had a big birthday party with friends.
Holding a turtle hatchling before releasing it in Malaysia
Silly faces in his Thai outfit 
This past year definitely held less changes than his previous year but still some adjustments.  He is pretty resilient with all the new things with school and our home life.  For this first time in his life, mommy has a full-time job "away" from home, but he has handled it super well.  It probably helps that we see each other throughout the day and my classroom is only 143 steps from our house.  He knows where to find both mommy and daddy when he wants us.  But, he's usually pretty content to play after school with his friends on the playground or at home once he has checked in.  

Riding the golf cart in America this summer
He has been described this year as a "ring leader" and "life of the party".  He still gets lots of energy from being around people, but is becoming more self-aware about needing some down time too.  At his birthday party, he took some time away so he could "chill".  In our first parent-teacher conference with Mr. Jaspher, we learned a lot about how he has grown in the last year, but we also learned about how that day he had "led an uprising" at naptime.  So, we are aware of some ways to trust God with his strong personality! :) 
On a boat in Thailand with Uncle Steven and Aunt Stephy
Bedtime has become more structured and are some of my favorite times with him.  He thinks of amazing questions or lets us in on what's he's thinking about.  Of course, sometimes bedtime is a nightmare, too, and we wish we could understand what made it different.  He keeps us on our toes, for sure!  
He loves dress-up!
One other meaningful thing about this year is that his birthmother contacted us over the summer.  It was the first we had heard from her in over 3 years, and it has been wonderful to be back in touch with her.  We are enjoying getting to know more about her and her family and trust that Tyndall will treasure these contacts as he gets older when/if he wants to know her better.  
 
with Sadie and Sawyer on July 4th

He is kind.  He is loving.  He is fearless and brave.  Thais often describe him as naughty and busy.  We are thankful to the Lord that he is healthy and has gained a whole pound this year!  He keeps us laughing, busy, tired, but full of joy.  And we remain incredibly grateful to the Lord for creating and sustaining his life and choosing us to be his parents. 
Holding a python at GES Christmas program.  Zero fear. 


Happy 4th Birthday, Tyndall James!
Christmas Day 2016