Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day 26 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

Days like today are the least fun for me. I haven't seen you yet today because I went to school after I got off work. I will probably get home some time after 10:30 tonight. I wish I could just spend time with you. Last night we had fun. Mommy left for a few hours to get ready for your "Surprise" birthday party this weekend. We played a little bit. You absolutely refused to let me leave your sight. You also wouldn't eat your "Mac and Cheese" baby food, but I don't blame you. It didn't smell good. We caught a little bit of the "biggest loser" finale. Then I gave you a bath (which you love) and put your PJs on (which you hate). Finally, you were out like a light, and not a moment too soon because mommy came home soon after. Then we both cleaned a bit. Mommy has been telling me for some time I needed to figure out how to make balloon animals. Well last night she refused to let me go to bed until I made at least one. So I made a dog with a neck like a giraffe. To test the design I let Chester carry it around the house. It survived until Mya got jealous and took it and popped it in the meantime. Anyway, then mommy gave me a diagram with a lion and the 15 steps involved in making it. Thats a big leap from giraffe neck dogs, but tomorrow I will practice and figure it out.

This weekend is going to be fun. Your first birthday party ever is taking place at Calvary Baptist Church. Its going to be a great event. I'll let you know how it goes.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 15 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

I got a good sample this past week of how dads have to be daddy at home and still go to work everyday. Mommy has not gone back to work yet, but soon she will and then we will both be thinking about you all day. Next week I will be back to my normal routine. Back to work and school. Last night I realized how difficult that may be. Not just for you and me, but for mommy too. That will leave a lot of responsibility on her. After an episode yesterday, we took you to your doctor. He agreed that your breathing was not sounding good. In fact he said you were in respritory distress. Basically, you are showing sings of asthma and we think it is onset by a slight cold you had. Everything is ok now, but no one slept more than a few hours last night. We now have something new to add to your routine as well... A nebulizer! The mask portion looks like a fish, but you were not fooled. I think you thought that silly fish mask that sounded like a motor scooter was going to vaporize you. Really, its to open up your airway so its not so hard for you to breath. My guess is this is not the first episode you have had. I'm pretty sure when it happened in Taiwan they took just as good of care of you there.

My mind constantly wanders back to caring for orphans. How many other orphans are in need of the same type of care as you. What about those that need more extensive care? That is really a God size challenge. It is encouraging to hear of people like Phoebe and Peter Sozi. They will be speaking at an event this coming week. Mother to 900 is next Wednesday at 10:30am. I will be at work, but you can read more about the Sozi's story here.

I promise not to wait too long before I post again.

I love you son,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 10 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

Well if we thought having you home was not blessing enough, we got some great news at your very first Dr. checkup today. We went all the way to the opposite side of Nashville to see our favorite pediatrician. He has experience with internationally adopted babies, and we were connected to him thru our friends Jim and Adrienne. He also read the limited medical information we had back in April when we first got your referral.

Anyway, mommy and I had a few concerns and we also had a ton of medicine that the Dr's in Taiwan sent us home with.
We decided not to use any of them with the exception of an inhaler that we gave you twice a day. Below is a list of things we were concerned about:

Possible ear infection - (because you would grab for them like they hurt)
Flat spot on your head- (From laying in one spot for so long)
Recent diagnosis in Taiwan of Bronchitis- (hence the inhaler)
Additional diagnosis in Taiwan of Congenital Artial Septum Defect- (google it)
The fact that you have been sleeping so much- (12hrs plus at night and long naps)
Your overall health
and Attachment

The Dr. responded with the following instructions:

The ears look clear, don't give him anything- (possible dry skin he is reaching to scratch)
The flat spot will correct itself with time
The lungs are clear so stop using any medication for this including the inhaler
The heart sounds good, but you should see a specialists eventually to get an echo
The sleeping sounds normal as long as you have plenty of energy when awake
Overall you have NO acute symptoms to treat- (Which he said is very rare)
Your development is up to par
and your attachment looks great

He said throw away all the medicine they gave us in Taiwan and don't give you anything because you are a very healthy baby. He did recommend some vitamins to add nourishment you probably did not get enough of over there. We will do a complete physical and full vaccinations in one month.

Wow! Is that great or what? God definitely was looking out for you my man.

On an unrelated note, I want to share with you the following:

Somewhere between seeing you in your refferal paperwork and traveling to pick you up, I decided I wanted to do more for orphans. Now I know what your thinking.... Daddy, can't you just adopt them all? Well son, even if I could, I could never fit all of them in our car to go to church. So I have really been mindful of how I can make my life meaniful to as many orphans as possible. Mommy and I have tried to educate ourselves as much as possible. I pray God gives us oportunities to serve orphans more.

In the meantime, I have been working on a few things you're probably really excited to hear about. Right before we left to come get you we had an orphan awareness sunday at church. We served coffee for the congregation. This was really great just because the smell alone had people asking questions. Additionally, our children's ministry that mommy works with sponsor two children thru The final thing I hope to do this month is the have a list of the 430 children in Tennessee State Custody available for adoption thru the foster system. Our friend Tracy from church has offered to make bookmarks to be able to give to church members to pray for these children over the holidays. Tracy recently started a site at which has available the neat necklaces you saw mommy wearing.

OK, just wanted to give you an update of what is going on. Thanksgiving is this week, and we have a lot to be thankful for.

I love you son,


Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 7 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

You might have noticed that there was no day 6 posting. That's because after traveling 24 hours awake I needed a 24 hour sleep marathon to catch up. Never fear, I will tell you everything. Mainly how the past 48 hours has taught me so many new things. Things like:

Traveling is stressful

God places certain people in our paths for a reason

Certain places are meant for babies, and certain places aren't

You travel very well

Airplane bathrooms are stupid (but you can't use that word)

You have a lot of fans

You pretty much are cool with just about anything

People really shop for groceries at 2:30am

Baby stuff is made to be slightly cool so dads stay tuned in

Feeding you helps the whole family

You have a lot of fans

And your mom is the best!

Ok here we go.

Traveling is stressful. We never made it to Daan Park even though it was a nice day. Why did we not make it? Because we were packing and getting ready to travel. Why was it so hard? Because it is stressful traveling. Airlines have baggage restrictions and we didn't want to carry on much. We were trying to pack everything in three checked bags so we would only have two smaller carry-on bags. The game was to get all the things we needed into the carry-ons and everything else in the checked bags, but we had to make sure we didn't go over the weight limit. All the time we were also figuring out what supplies we were low on for the upcoming 24 hrs of traveling. Well we made, but our driver showed up 20 mins early (and can't speak any english) so we didn't have enough diapers to make it the whole trip, nor did we get any breakfast.

No worries, I was more concerned because we didn't have a ticket for you to get on the plane. When we originally booked ours, they took your information and just said to get a lap ticket at the front desk and that it would cost around $250 US. They being American Airlines, a company that does not have a counter in Taiwan. Our first flight was on Japan Air Lines. The ticket girl was no help. She said a lap ticket was over $500, and if we wanted to talk to American Airline we would have to call them from the pay phone. No prob, except the pay phone was Chinese.

Enter people that God places in our paths for a reason. My very persuasive wife went back and asked for a manager. We got Michael Huang (chief supervisor for Japan Air Lines). We told him what we were doing and why we didn't have a ticket yet. He immediately jumped into action. He pulled out his personal cell phone and called the manager of American Airlines. She gave us a deal at $175 after tax. He said "Please, have a seat, I'll be back in a few mins." He came back and asked a few questions about Harrison and then said, I want you to know I got you the a third seat on the bulk head row. Also, an attendant will bring you some diapers and baby food, OH AND I DON'T WANT YOU TO PAY FOR THIS TICKET. The man paid for our ticket out of his own pocket. He then made our luggage priority and gave us access to the business lounges with free food and drinks for me and April. While our bags were being checked he said, He believes God is very busy and thinks He sends people like us to take care of His business for Him. Wow, I was at the point of tears. I mutter insignificant things back to him, but later I realized God sends people like him our way to help us through life. Praise God for people like Michael Huang. Somehow I would like to thank him.

So at this point in our trip everything I was worrying about was taken care of. Now we could just sit back and enjoy the moment. The first thing we did was take advantage of that lounge with free food. How awesome was that. Mommy nearly threw up the dumpling, but she at least got some good ham and cheese sandwiches.

Then we found out that there are certain places meant for babies, and the business lounge was not one of them. There is one place on airplanes designed for babies. That was the awesome bassinets you slept in. Which you pretty much stayed in the whole time when not in our arms, making you a pleasure to travel with. Another thing on planes that is perfect for babies are the individual monitors you can put right up in your face. You tried for the 3D effect by almost putting your eyeball directly on the screen.But pretty much everything else on an airplane are not even designed for people to fit in much less a daddy and a baby. The worst is the bathroom. Which brings me to the next place on my list of places not meant for babies. When they originally designed a bathroom, they took the largest person on the design team and drew a circle 2 inches wider. Of course none of the engineers were dads either, or they would know that the silly fold out table is a joke. Just after mommy changed your first diaper, you made another more sinister one for daddy. Upon entering the bathroom, and tightly wrapping the door around me like one of those Ziplocs that doesn't want to close right, I unfolded the 2x4 labeled baby changing table (ha!). I removed the sinister diaper and found that you defied the laws of physics by depositing more material in the diaper than could fit inside your body. I'm not one to back down from a challenge, but let me just stop the story here and say, I was scared. I saw no happy endings or easy outs. First priority, get that dirty diaper wrapped up and out of they way, did I mention I was in an airplane bathroom. OK next, lets get you clean. Half a pack of wet wipes later and no place to put anything I started cramming everything into a disposable bag I found at my seat (we had handy plastic bags but didn't think it was that necessary, boy was I wrong.) Just when I thought I had everything clean, I look around and see where the diaper had not been able to contain everything while being jostled around in the ever smaller airplane bathroom. It was on the walls, the 2x4 changing table, the bag... and who knows where else. I just didn't want it on me or you. So I cleaned everything up and fought you the whole time because I couldn't reach the floor to pick up the stuff you kicked down there with the table down. So with one arm gently pressing you against one side of the sink counter, I was able to regain my ground. I had everything dirty in the barf bag that doesn't seal (that really doesn't make sense), I had a clean diaper on you and your onesie buttoned up. We lost one sock in the fray and your pants were still not on, but I retreated while I still had some dignity. I emerged from the sardine can and threw the barf bag in a trash can at the attendant's station. Now with you in one arm and your sock, pants, wipes, and changing blanket in the other I sought reinforcements. Alas I found mommy and briefly informed her of the ambush and advised her I couldn't fully inspect the You or your clothes to see if I got everything. Then I handed you over to her as she looked at me confused and laughing. Then I realized you lost your last bottle all on the two of us. How did you fit it inside you before dirtying your diaper I will never know? But there it was bonding us like glue and forming a nice string as mommy pulled you away. From there two things were clear. One I could finally wash my hands, two mommy was changing all the diapers for the rest of the plane rides.

*on a side note*
One really cool thing about flying with you is that we got better treatment than first class passengers. We were the first on every plane, and we didn't have to wait in security lines. We did however have to unpack all the baby formula and meds for TSA in Chicago. Other than that we were ushered thru like royalty.

After all the fun of flying for so long we finally made it back to Nashville and found that you have quite a fan club. Thank you to all those that came to see Harrison. Also, this picture of everyone turned out really blurry, so if anyone has a good one let me know.

From there you just needed to ride home in your new car seat. In Taiwan, they don't even know what a car seat is. We saw a family of 6 on a moped.

Nevertheless, you are pretty much cool with anything because you had no problem in the seat. You also had no problem with anything else. Like new toys, new foods, new surrounding, new people, new formula.... Ooops

Well, at 2:30 we realized we were most certainly out of Taiwanese baby formula so I went to Kroger to get some. This is when I saw perfectly normal looking people dressed in perfectly normal dress shopping for groceries. Huh? Here I am looking like I walked over from Taiwan and need sleep worse than Mommy needed American food and I figured I would be the normal looking one. OK, So upon returning home with the goods, we figured we would just have a JetLag party and eat some of the food a very nice and thoughtful friend brought over.

At this party I opened a few presents. That's when I realized baby stuff is designed just slightly cool enough to get the attention of daddies. We hooked up this monitor that you cousins sent you and we can totally see you on a little camera and tell what the temperature in your crib is at the same time. Also you have this frog humidifier that I played with for a good thirty minutes. And finally on my list of products to endorse you have this little sound machine that is a night light, lullaby player, and sound machine. It will make everything sound like your underwater (Or as mommy says "in the womb"), It will also play music from an ipod which I will try out tomorrow.

I also found out that feeding you also feed Mya and Chester, because eventually you will drop stuff and they love to clean up dropped food.

Your fan club has been forming a single file line to come meet you at your new home. We expect this to continue for some time.

Finally, I have to give your mommy a ton of credit. She is the best mom I have ever seen. She knows exactly how to meet all of your needs. She takes very good care of you. You are such a perfect baby, and a lot of that is because you have a perfect mommy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 5 as a Daddy

Hey buddy,

Today was fun. We all slept in and had fun trying to make you laugh. It doesn't take much, we just like doing it. You are a very happy baby. (what a blessing) That should help on the long trip home tomorrow. The first thing I did this morning was go pickup your passport and visa from the AIT office. You are finally approved to come home. As soon as our airplane touches down in Chicago you will become a US citizen for life. That was the highlight of my day. We attempted to go see a few sight, but the rain kept getting worse and we had to come back to the hotel. We were able to got to the Shillin Night Market last night. That was an experience.

Tomorrow (which is in about 6 hours) we will leave Taiwan for the last time. I am a little sad about leaving. This has really been an amazing trip. There is more I would like to do, but the rain limits us. I think we will walk around Daan Park in the morning one more time. It was the first place your mommy and I went when we got here. In a little over 24 hours we will be in a totally new place for you. You're going to love it there. Mommy and daddy will know where to get things like prune baby food for you and Mexican food for mommy. Alright, you're starting to wake up now so I need to go play with you.

Love you son,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Comments about Adoption

*Warning I will get a tad preachy in this post*

Many people have asked us why we choose to adopt. Even here in Taiwan people are very curious. The man that took our photo hanging off Taipei 101 was just so curious why we would come half way around the world to adopt a baby. He said, can you not have children of your own, your government seems to promote it, and it is popular in America. If only he knew that we probably could have our own (we have not tried to get pregnant). If only he knew how much work and effort it takes to adopt a child. If only he knew how much devotion and patience this process takes. We always seem to brush off the comments by throwing softball answers back at them. We typically say, we feel called to adopt and care for those that can't, or toss a statistic at them. The truth is... God has given us this blessing of adoption just as He gives birth mothers the blessing of having a child. There are few things in life you can use to irrefutably claim the power of God, but adoption is one of those. No wonder James said pure and faultless religion is to look after orphans in their distress. Every time I look at my son I praise God. What a blessing we have to be able to share that with others. For the rest of my life he will be a reminder of what God did for me. My Heavenly Father adopted me, and His price was much greater. He had to sacrifice His only Son just to complete my adoption. Praise God for adoption, if it were not for adoption how hopeless would we all be?

We were given this opportunity to bless God. We don't have the ability to do it on our own. When we started with Harrison's referral we knew the only way possible would be for God to "make it happen." I used to pray that God would do something in my life that was some unbelievable and so beyond my means that the only explanation of it would be that God made it happen. That is an answered prayer. I believe God wants glory and praise from us. We have some freedom in defining glory and praise. I hope that Harrison's story will bring glory and praise to Him. We trusted in God more than ever in our lives, and He did things more amazing than I can describe. He takes doubt away when we think it can't be done, He takes fear away when we're scared to follow, and He shows compassion even though we don't deserve it.

Praise God!

Day 4 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

Today was a big day son. We had to meet with the American Institute in Taiwan (aka American Embassy) to get your visa approved to go home. Although the building is decorated beautifully with plain white walls, direction signs everywhere, and bright florescent lighting ; you seemed perfectly content hanging out for three hours. Just to let you know babies usually don't do that. Once the people got everything they needed, your mommy and I jumped up and down. We figured it was time to finally relax and enjoy Taipei. This is such an incredible city. Its also so huge. Its bigger than New York City one of the largest city back home in America.

We saw the whole thing from atop the highest building in the world, Taipei 101. See:
We also went to a shopping mall located below the tower. This made us feel like we were at home. It is the closest thing to America we have found here. Outside the tower is a famous sculpture we have been very excited about seeing.

After our feet could take no more, we went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap.
After napping your mommy wanted to go to a famous restaurant in Taiwan, Din Tai Fung. I was a little concerned because mommy usually eats Mexican food, but it went very well. Everyone there is also very nice. They offer to take a picture of us.

This is what they are famous for: (steamed dumplings with pork inside)

During dinner mommy became suddenly tired. That has been happening to both of us all week. We had to cut the night short and go back to the hotel for the night.

On a side note I made an observation on the way back to the hotel. Something caught my eye and thoroughly puzzled me. Take a look:

No one in Taiwan looks like they need to shed a few pounds or get exercise. You cannot go anywhere without walking a ton and going up and down stairs. I had to laugh and get a picture. The attendant in the background thought I was taking his picture and looked horrified.
I hope you had fun today. We will look around Taipei more tomorrow, and the the next day fly home.
Goodnight son. Love,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 3 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

Lets get one think straight mister! You are not aloud to use your charming good looks and handsome smile for evil. Your mommy would do just about anything for it, so I don't want to come home and hear about how she robbed a bank or stole an ice cream truck just for you. OK? OK. Well today was the last day we spent in your home town of Taitung. We met all the people that cared for you when you were so small. You are a very loved baby. Don't worry you will continue to be very loved by many people back home. We saw the hospital you stayed at for so long. Just walking through the door people knew who you were. Everyone is so happy, but also sad to see you go. After a quick airplane ride we were back in Taipei. I thought it might be easier to get the things we need in Taipei, but I could be wrong. When we got back to the hotel I had a list of things I needed for you and mommy. Here was the list:

Fried Rice (Mommy has found this to be the only safe local food)
Hot and Sour Soup (she eats this a lot of this in American Chinese restaurants, so she thinks she will like it here)
Cranberry Juice (Mommy craving)
Apple Juice (for your tummy)
Prune Juice (for your tummy)

Now I have to say I had a little trouble at first but I think I did ok in the end. See Taipei doesn't exactly have grocery stores like we are used to. They have a million convenient stores like 7-11. So I first went to the restaurant next door and walked inside. I don't know what time it was, but it must have been too early because everything was still pretty dark. Did I mention no one spoke or understood English. I struggled to say Nee Hway Ing You Ma (Do you understand English). Then I discovered they did know one English word.... No. I never thought to say Ing you tsigh dahn (English menu). And they never thought to offer it. Instead I waited while they served me tea. A younger lady came down some steps, barked some orders, turned the lights on, and came and gave me an English menu. Would you believe they have Hot and Sour soup and something very similar to fried rice (Shanghai rice). I immediately took the spoils of my victory home to the family. I was met with mixed responses though because I didn't yet have the drinks. Never fear because I already knew they only place was 7-11 and they only had convenient store drinks written in Chinese. I had Mommy eat some rice and then we all went down to explore the 7-11. Victory we found blueberry cranberry (Ocean Spray) and a small carton that said Apple Juice.

All in all it was successful. We will see what challenges lay in store for tomorrow.

Good night son. I love you,


P.S I'll get some pics if mommy will stop using all of them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 2 as a Daddy

Hey buddy,

Boy did we have fun today or what? You are such a happy baby. You only woke mommy and daddy up two times last night. The first time we got to play for a while and the second time we all went straight back to sleep. Oh, and thank you for sleeping for about 2 hours after we got up. We were told you were an early riser, but we got a lot done while you slept. It was a little surreal waking up next to you and freakin out for about half a sec. Then I would put my hand on your chest and breath a sigh realizing you were still breathing and ok. I guess that's a good thing because you sleep so peacefully. Anyway, we got up and went to McDonald's before going to church. I had you in the baby ergo and everyone thought we looked funny. All the kids loved coming to you and playing with you. Then I found out that no one at this McDonald's spoke English, and I did know enough mandarin to help us out. Luckily they had pictures so we all got thru it. (on a side note, there are no biscuits?, whats up with that!) English muffin sausage for mommy and me. Oh and I did get a hot apple pie... mmmm Those are better here than in the states. Back home they burn them.

Then the baby home coordinator picked us up for church. The pastor Jeremiah spoke about always knowing God is a part of your life. You will always be my reminder of that. Everyone in the church was so nice. I know you probably enjoyed going there every week. The entire church prayed for you and your new family. We are blessed to have met the church family. They took us to lunch after church and we ate with her family of 6 and one of the workers from the baby home (Alexia sp?) and her two little girls. We all shared one room with a round table and a lazy susan to pass the food around. What fun!

I am so glad you like me. It could have been a little scary, having a man hold you, and feed you, and change you. You took it all in stride my friend. We have tried forever to get a video uploaded. If we can, I'll show you how much fun we had.

Your mommy is so happy I got you to smile for the camera. We did this for an hour or so until the baby home coordinator picked us up for a very special meeting this evening. We got to meet your birth mommy and your birth daddy. We wanted to meet them to express our gratitude. My view is that God chose them to bring our son into this world, then blessed us with the opportunity to follow Him all the way over here to pick you up.

Wow, so much important stuff happened today. Everyone is sleeping now, so I should probably go. Tomorrow is going to be so much fun. We get to meet all the doctors and nurses that have cared for you. Then we get to fly back to Taipei.

Good night son. Love you,


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 1 as a Daddy

Hey Buddy,

We came as soon as we could. Sorry it took so long. I am so glad to finally meet you. There is so much I need to tell you, but that can wait. For now, lets just enjoy the moment. I love you son.