Monday, December 8, 2014

Welcome Home Leo

I think the family is finally over our jet lag. Today I felt like a normal person. It was the first day home alone with Leo while Nash and daddy were off to work and school. I have a feeling my blog posts might turn into a once a month thing (nap time is currently being monopolized by catching up on my shows! Priorities people). I'm sure people are wondering how the trip home was. As you can guess, it was exhausting. We were exhausted before we even set foot in the airport. More emotionally than physically. Leo and Nash were both troopers for the 10 hour flight to San Fransciso. Each slept a handful of hours and the rest is a blur. The hardest part proved to be chasing Leo throughout the various security and custom lines.  Leo has really attached to me.  As you might remember Nash attached to Bret first. So, part of me is happy that Leo has let me comfort him, but part of me would like to call In a bedtime reliever (a/k/a daddy). It will happen, it just takes time. Leo's transition into our family has been nothing short than amazing. To date, we have seen very little grief from him. I find this weird and complete different than our experience with Nash. So it makes our life a little easier right now but still wonder when we will see it. 

Leo is sleeping really well. We have him set up with a crib mattress on his room floor and either Bret or I will sleep in his bed. He only wakes up a couple times but just wants to check to see if we are there. He's not eating a ton. Mostly noodle soups, rice, scrambled eggs and milk. He loves milk! Refuses to eat any fruits and has some toddler undesirable behaviors that included spitting out and throwing any foods he does not like. And speaking of throwing......enjoys throwing toys at Nash's head. Like huge toys that hurt. Poor Nash. So many adjustments but I never thought fear of his little brother would be one of them. Let's hope we can quickly figure out a way to curb this behavior so the boys can start bonding. But when Leo is not demonstrating his javelin arm, he is so sweet. Loves to play with his toy cars, giving hugs and snuggle. Every day we learn something new about him. We feel so blessed to be safely home and finally just able to be a family of four. 

Special shout out to Des, Steve, and Simon. Who greeted us at the airport to capture our first moments home! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nash--Journey Back

Bret and I were totally on the fence about whether or not we would bring Nash with on either of our two trips. I seriously mulled over this decision for a year. We ultimately decided that we would bring him back on the second trip when we brought Leo home. I'm actually writing this post on our last leg of our journey home. Leo is sleeping beside me and Nash is complaining that Leo is using his stuffed duck as a pillow. Common theme over the past week. However, Nash has really been amazing (and I can say this when I'm completely exhausted and sleep deprived). Would bring Nash with again in a heart beat. Having him with has defiantly comforted Leo. Nash is slowly warming up to his big bro role. He is being so patient while Leo steals all the toys from his hand, or reaches in for what looks like a hug and ends up being a right hook. All of the sudden Nash went from being my baby to being the older brother. Life is hard for any older sibling when's new brother or sister comes into the mix. I might be biased but I think it's even more difficult in situations like ours. Nash has literally been thrown into the sibbling trenches and Leo has declared war. Into everything that was his, add a language barrier, and pining for all our attention, and not to mention Leo's current "free pass" on unruly behavior.  I'm just so proud of him (bah! I need to stop crying this guy who is sitting next to me on our flight is seriously going to regret giving me his free in-flight wi-if). 

Nash's journey back to Korea was special for so many reasons but the highlight had to be meeting with his foster mom and dad. They were over joyed to see him and it was wonderful to be able to have a meaningful dialog exchange (thru translator of course). We shared videos, pictures, and stories. Nash even let them hug him (gasp!). Nash's foster mom only ever fostered him. I wanted to ask her why this was. Was it too painful to raise a child then have to say goodbye? Or was it that Nash was such a handful that it proved to be too much? I guess we will never know but I think it was the first. The love they had for him is so special. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Introducing Leo Richard MinSoo Larson

We are officially a family of four! We are all in Korea and Leo officially joined our family on December 1st. I've been super lazy with updating this blog. Due to other means of social media the blog has takes the most time and time to sit and focus is not something I'm finding a lot of time of! Leo is doing really well. We have not seen a lot of tears or grieving yet. Let's call it the "honeymoon period". Leo is enjoying having a big brother. Will follow Nash around and try to hug him all the time. For those of you that know Nash... He does not dole the hugs out to just anyone. So far my observations about Leo and Nash is they couldn't be more different. Our entire experience with adopting Leo couldn't be more different from Nash. I love this actually. Each experience has been amazing and wonderful and each have different stories. (Well there is one thing that was the same... Both Leo and Nash fell out of bed the first night while sleeping with us, oops hence why we don't typically let our kids sleep with us.  Nash loves to hear this story so hopefully Leo will too). 

Leo is so smart. Already saying English words and mimicking us. Loves to say "tunnel, chicka chicka boom boom, bumble bee, mommy, daddy". He loves playing with his toy cars and insists on loading up his arms with as many as possible when heading out the door or to bed. He talks all the time in Korean. We are learning some catch phrases to say to him but mostly doing know what he is trying to say. He is being very patient with us so far. Not getting too frustrated by the lack of communication. Leo loves playing with other kids and freely engages with them and shares his toys. He is going to be a little social butterfly and feel so lucky we have 2 boys in our neighborhood who are exactly the same age. 

We are all tired. Nash's sleeping schedule is as follows, 3-midnight. Thanks goodness for Grandma Sandy who has been getting up with him. Nash has been such a trooper. Really adjusting well. We had the amazing experience of visiting with Nash's foster mom and dad. The people that raised him from birth to 21 months. I'll dedicate a post just to this. 

Finally we can post pictures of Leo!!!! We are over joyed to be together with Leo and our family is complete (yes.....complete). 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Saying Goodbye... For now

Today we are leaving Seoul. It's a complete mixed bag of emotions. We are crazy excited to see Nash but sad to be leaving Leo. Friday was an extremely eventful day. We had our court hearing and then our second meeting with Leo. Our court hearing lasted approximately 10 minutes and we think it was uneventful (which is what you want!). Our agency prepared us. We were given a list of possible questions we might be asked.  The judge was very pleasant. She asked us where Nash was, how do we incorporate the Korean culture in our family, and some logistical questions about how long I would spend with Leo before returning to work. We were there with other families. Some of which were first timers. I didn't envy them. They seemed much more nervous than us.  

After court we had our second meeting with Leo. I'm not sure how it could have been better than the first but it was. Leo was so engaging. Giggling and playing around with Bret. He loooooves Bret. It's exactly what happened when we met Nash for the first time. Nash took an immediate liking to Bret and only warmed up to me weeks later. Last time I felt really bad about this...but my attitude this time around is completely different. It might take a little time, but everything in the end balances out. I think Leo is going to be really social. I keep comparing the meetings in my mind to when we had Nash's and Nash was much more serious. Still can be at times. I told Bret that it was a long time before we could make Nash giggle. During the course of the meeting we got lots of giggles from Leo. Before long it was time to say goodbye. It was tough. This part of the process really sucks. I know it's not for long though. We are hoping to travel back by mid-November.  

My final thoughts. Overall, this trip I felt more relaxed and less anxious (accept when we were almost at the airport for our return flight home and I couldn't find our passports. They should have been in my backpack. Instead, Bret must have placed them in the luggage because that's where I found them and it's the only logical explanation). Anyhow, when we traveled for Nash, I was much more like the couples we saw in court. Nervous, serious, forgetting that the end was near and to really just enjoy every moment. Leo's foster family is really amazing. You can just feel how loved he is and how they have tried to prepare Leo the best they can. He is obviously is good hands and that helped ease my mind as we said our goodbyes. At the end of the meeting I asked them if they had any questions for me. They had two. One was what we named Leo and the second was if we were bringing Nash back when we took custody. I took that as a sign that we should. I mean, how hard can that be traveling with two toddlers, half way around the world.....ok, let's change the subject before I change my mind again.  

A gift from Leo and his foster family. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

First Trip to Meet Leo

We arrived in Seoul on Tuesday night. I've just now gotten the chance to write so applogies for that. The time change is much more difficult than the first trip for some reason. Last might we feel asleep at 6:30 pm (thought we would catch a little cat nap) and woke up at 9:30 to decide that sleep trumped dinner. Well it's now 4:00 am as I'm writing this and my stomach is regretting that decision. Ok, enough small talk!!!! Yesterday at 10:00 a.m., we had our first meeting with Leo and his foster mother.  I was really nervous. Even though this part of the process was exactly the same you can just never prepare for all the wave of emotions you feel. My tears were a ticking time bomb.  I just told my self (and was reminded by Bret) that we need to make sure we keep our emotions in check for the sake of Leo. We are staying in a guest house at the adoption agency. We were to report to the first floor at 10:00 a.m.  We decided to take the elevator. Why does this matter? Well, it was a strategic decision. Last time, we took the stairs and ran into Nash and his foster family before the meeting.  It's not ideal because you are so caught off guard and there is no one to do the translations. Frankly, it's just awkward. So, wanted to avoid that. So we loaded the elevator and for some reason accidentally pushed the wrong floor 2nd instead of 1. The elevator doors open and the first person I see is Leo. Standing there holding his foster mothers hand. We literally just starred at each other for a few seconds before I said something like "oh my god" covered my mouth with my hands and 3..2...1... Que the tears. He looked exactly like his photos. Only his hair is a little shorter and he was wearing an outfit we sent to him.  I swear this moment only lasted about 20 seconds but it's just one I will never forget. Don't worry, we only had about 10 minutes of paperwork to fill out before we were together again. This time in a proper setting. They have these meeting rooms set up with toys. It greatly helps the initial interaction. During the meeting we got to pepper foster mom with questions. We learned all about Leo's habits. What he does and doesn't like, how he sleeps, what sooths him (thankfully not a bottle), and what types of toys he enjoys (trucks!!! We have plenty of those). 

Leo is perfect. He is active, smart, independent, engaging, adorable and very loved by his foster family. The foster mother had 2 daughters with and the older one did a lot of talking. Telling us everything he can do and all the things he knows. You can tell they are just very proud of him. He calls us mommy and daddy. He recogized us from the pictures we sent. It's was a perfect meeting. Only one obvious part missing. Nash. We decided (for many reasons) to leave Nash at home with Grandma Sandy. I just keep thinking about the first time those two will meet. A moment to look forward to (man, I'm  crying again). We said our goodbyes, Bret and I each got kisses, hugs, high fives and giggles. We get to see him again Friday after court. 

Until then, Seoul is a beautiful city and we are taking full advantage. Unfortunately I can't post any pics of Leo, but here are some from our adventures. Everything here is just so beautiful. The people, buildings, history. This is a long entry. So if you skimmed that's ok. You see, I forgot my journal. So, this is for Leo to read someday. 
Above is traditional Korean BBQ. I want this is my last meal. #delish

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Court Date--October 24

We got Leo's court date! What does that mean? It means we are going to Korea! As I might have mentioned, we have to take 2 trips. On this first trip we will get to meet Leo and his foster mom and will appear in front of a judge who ultimately grants our "approval" to adopt Leo.

So we are busy figuring out the travel plans for this first trip. Bret and I will be going and Nash will stay home with grandma. The plan is to be gone only about 6 days the week of October 20th.

In a way, I'm less stressed about planning the travel. Maybe it's because we have more time or if it's already the "second kid" syndrome setting in. I will of course be nervous about meeting Leo and how that will feel having to leave for home without him. It will be a mixed bag of emotions for sure.

After we return home we wait for the courts approval and will travel back about 3-4 weeks later. I hope to be able to blog while we are there and of course will keep everyone posted the best we can.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer Family Pics!

In August we got some new family photos taken.  I just looooooove them.  I'm excited to share them with all of you!  The last set of pics as a family of three.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Movement Finally!!

This week we finally received news that Leo's paperwork was approved and now will be sent to the courts for review. This is big news and a huge hurdle in the process is over. We now await the notice of when the court hearing will be. Our best guess is late October or early November. We have to take 2 trips this time. On the first trip, we will appear before the judge and get the chance to meet Leo! We travel home and wait for "final approval" from the judge. When we receive final approval will travel back to bring Leo home forever. We are almost positive this will happen in 2014.

I'm finally letting myself feel excited. We are just so ready to have Leo home and get-on with having our family of 4!

We also received a written update on Leo. To date, although we have received pictures and small developmental updates we have heard little about Leo as a person. It is reported that he loves to play outside, go on trips with his foster family and is independent. Puts on his slippers by himself and likes to brush his teeth. He is smart, says 30-40 words and likes to sing and dance. He kisses the photos of us and says mommy, daddy, and older brother (sniff sniff).

At home, I feel like we have lots to do. Move Nash into his new bedroom and do a little make-over to Leo's space. The transition for Nash will probably be difficult. Having a new brother who is immediately going to play with all this toys and need our attention. But Nash loves playing with kids, and I'm hopeful they will become fast friends and buddies. I also think having an older brother will help Leo's transition.

I promise to keep you all posted when we hear about the hearing date!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Then and Now

One of my favorite things to do is to look through old pictures of Nash and see how much he has changed over the past few years. Depending on the day, this releases a load of emotions. Sometimes a good cry, other times it's laughter and most often it's amazement at how much he really has changed. I've started a few traditions of capturing Nash in the same pose or date year after year. I wanted to share some of my favorites. I always tell Nash to stop growing. I really want to freeze time and keep him little forever.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Nash is four. I can't believe it. So much time has passed since my last post it's hard to know where to start. So moving forward I'm going to stop apologizing for NOT updating and instead just be grateful for when I find the time/motivation to do it.

This month we also celebrated another birthday in our family. Leo turned 2. This birthday was not nearly as much fun. Passing yet another birthday. We still don't know when he might come home. He is growing and developing in his loving foster family. We think of him everyday and can't wait till we finally can be united with him.

Summer is flying by and we are having a blast. Nash is enjoying all the summer fun. Trips to the cabin, bike rides, weekend trips to the farmers market, playing outside till dark, and staying up too late.

Nash is funny, silly, smart, affectionate, social and active. At four years of age he still loves playing with diggers but also loves his rescue bots, pirates, and playing sports. He seems to be enjoying his ice skating lessons and soon will start swimming again. He is fearless. Loves playing with his friends and will make an amazing big brother. We are so proud of the little boy he has become. We can't wait to see what the next year brings. It just keeps getting better.