Tucker Adoption Journey Weblog

Our Colombian Adoption Journey

Our Colombian Adoption Journey November 5, 2008

Filed under: Adoption Process,Craft Fair,Misc Fun Stuff — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 7:00 pm

Lilypie Waiting to Adopt tickers

This is our adoption journey from start through homecoming to current (or hopefully somewhat current)  for our daughter Alyssa.  We had a lot of bumps, confusion and sometimes tears along the way but we would do it 100x over again knowing Alyssa was waiting for us.  Please do not use this as your guide for adoption but as an example of how the process worked in once case.  Each adoption experience is completely unique.  

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Alyssa is growing up fast! January 17, 2016

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 4:19 am

Alyssa is nearing 7 years old. She is a very happy child who makes friends easily. She recently had an issue and was hospitized for 2.5 days as it appears she was having some asthma issues that had never happened or been diagnosed before. She is fine now and has an asthma action plan. She is growing up so fast and has yet to get a cold that needed antibotics, which amazes me. It is funny that our daughter who does not share my horrid medical history has many of the minor medical issues I do. I wouldn’t wish her to have anything but asthma, allergies, eczema are all things I am very familiar with which is comforting at least as not knowing your child’s medical history can be a uncomfortable. I feel so lucky everyday that they honored us with choosing us to be her parents. Alyssa is a funny spunky little girl that is almost 7 but thinks she is 15. Little boys are always similing at her and holding doors for her. We may be in trouble when she gets older. 🙂 Alyssa is in speech at school FINALLY! I brought it up continually since Pre K. It is amazing how as a parent it is no joke what an advocate you have to be for your child and how not to accept an answer you don’t agree with. When they finally assessed her speech formally the speech teacher profusely apologized the school didn’t assess her earlier. You can understand Alyssa well but she by no means has the clear speech like other kids her age. I think this is a big part of why she struggles with reading. How do yu expect child to learn to read when they have trouble making lots of sounds correctly to begin with? She is young, excited to learn and progressing so I am not worried that she will be fine. We still talk adoption and Alyssa enjoys hearing her child friendly adoption story. I alway say she was born in the beautiful country of Colombia to help try to build her some pride and fondness for her birth country. Life is very busy but good. We are overjoyed.

 

Alyssa update November 14, 2012

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 6:08 pm

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Alyssa is a happy and smart 3 1/2 year old. Her speech has caught up and we love having great long conversations. She asks such interesting questions I know she is absorbing everything she hears and sees.  She is a delight who loves My Little Ponies, Counting, singing, dancing and spinning in circles.  She is really tall at 3 foot 4 inches and weights 35 pounds.  She is very girly and insists on wearing tutu’s to bed at night. She loves books and the adoption stories of A mother for Choco and Moon baby. We talk adoption every day, she knows she has a birth mommy that loves her and has asked a couple of the hard questions.  I don’t think she necessarily understands it yet as she is so young, but we feel we are on the right path for her to understand we are a family and her forever Mommy and Daddy.

 

Alyssa pictures December 9, 2011

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 9:48 pm

Just a few quick pictures.. Happy Holidays Everyone! 🙂

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**Quick Alyssa update – as fall begins** October 3, 2011

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 4:14 pm

Alyssa is doing very well.  Her speech has exploded in the last month.  We were slightly concerned as she was just slightly delayed before but not really anymore.  She isn’t perfectly clear yet and some words sound very much alike, but I have no worries about her speech.  It is amazing to be able to have an actual two-way conversation with her now. 

I’ve been wanting to talk to her about so much but finally she is just starting to be able to ask questions…  Very simple questions but awesome all the same.   We talk often about her belly button and how that’s where she was connected to her Birth Mommy.   It’s very cute.  So the conversations about life and how she got here begin.  

One day two weeks ago she decided she was going to use the potty every day.  “Mommy, I got to go Pee Pee” (or Poo Poo)  she told me about 10 times that first day.  Except for sleeping she has been NEAR  accident free the last two weeks.  She is very excited, as are we.

She has a “Princess Potty” that plays music when she uses it.  She also gets stickers and she has been given a few larger My Little Pony prizes too.  She was scared of anything but her potty chairs the first week, but is now happy to use an adult toilet also (with help of course).   She also got to call family to announce she went Pee Pee/Poo Poo every time for the first week.  It was probably the prize she was most exited about. 

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***Alyssa’s Grandpa Lost but Remembered August 15, 2011

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 10:28 pm

We lost Alyssa’s grandpa (Amy’s  father) to Lung Cancer on 8/3/11.  Even though they didn’t have a ton of time together Alyssa and her Grandpa bonded.   He lovingly referred to her as “Lil  Bit” and he repeatedly told me to “Love the *#%$%  outta her.”    He did puppet shows for her using her stuffed animals  from his hospice bed and she would giggle wildly. 

She would hold his hands and try to dance with him too.  He was a very happy and proud Grandpa. Alyssa was his first and only grandchild.  He spoiled her and they both loved every moment together.  

He will be greatly missed.

 

Alyssa Pictures (24-26 months) June 10, 2011

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 9:09 pm

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~~Our First Gotcha Day Anniversary~~ February 8, 2011

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 10:22 pm

A year ago today… we had a rollercoaster of emotions. I had hoped and dreamed our daughter would come to love and accept us as her family. I was never afraid I wouldn’t bond with her; I knew that would be easy for me. I hoped she would be happy, healthy and hoped for a bright future for our little girl before I ever held her.

A year ago today… we met our daughter for the first time. She had the same huge dark beautiful brave eyes we had been staring at for months in her referral photo. She let us hold her and paid us little attention at first, but then she realized something changed.

A year ago today… she looked at us and wondered who we were. She was hesitant but brave and didn’t shed a tear as we hugged, kissed and played with her.

A year ago today… she kicked a yellow little plastic ducky on wheels across the floor in the orphanage as we held her hands and we all laughed together for the first time.

A year ago today… her new Daddy kissed her head as she slept in his lap and snored like a little purring kitten as we left the orphanage. She started bonding with her new Mommy and didn’t want to be set down.

Today… She woke up with a big stretch and pulled her blanket over her head in protest. She snuggled up and hugged me in a coma type sleep as I got her out of bed. She smiled and giggled as she awoke blinking and stretching.

Today… she ran up and gave me a big hug after her Daddy got her dressed for daycare. She squealed and pointed to the kitty as we walked in the bathroom to finish getting her ready.

 Today… we played Salon, as we do every day when I do her hair, and she smiled and sang incoherent little tunes she made up in her head. She helped brush her teeth and gave me a big hug then yelled DADDY to let him know she was ready to go downstairs.

Today… she smiled, giggled and we were amazed at how lucky a mom and dad we are. She gave me a quick kiss and hug as she ate cheerios while watching Handy Manny.

Tonight we are celebrating our 1st gotcha day anniverary with Spaghetti and cake and probably lots of legos and books. Perfect Family Evening. What a great year it’s been! 🙂

 

**Winter begins… what we have been upto.*** December 31, 2010

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 6:31 pm

The last few months have been very bumpy in the Tucker Household. Alyssa is doing great and her speech is growing at light speed.  She sleeps in her crib by her self all night and easily goes to sleep at night now which is a delight!  She is 21 months old and really interested in Dancing and books.  She loves to sit in her toddler rocking chair and look at books. 

My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer a in September so we have been spending as much time with him as possible and having Alyssa play with him as much as possible.   We have been really busy and are doing what we can to make the most of the time we have together.  

We had a huge scare on November 30th.  Know before I say it that everyone is okay.  It was an icy day and Alyssa and Jason were in a massive car accidently.  Black ice, fishtailing, flying into oncoming traffic and a 180% spin then they got re-ended by a large jeep.   It was a miracle that the car spun just right so they didn’t get hurt.  The trunk was completely demolished and the impact stopped  just a few inches from Alyssa’s car seat.  The back seat got pushed a bit and of course the back window imploded, but amazingly everyone was okay.  The police and EMT’s all commented several times on how her car seat did it’s job and how it kept her safe because it was extremely tightly secured.    I was about a mile away and got there before the police.  I wanted to be that woman you see in the movies that runs up screaming… “My BABY!  MY BABY!”  but I took a few deep breaths and did my best to stay clam.    Alyssa was sitting on Jason’s lap with her big eyes looking a little started and Jason had about the same look on his face.  Jason’s seat was broken a little farther back and sideways.   Jason had immediately pulled her out of her car seat (probably not the best idea after an accident – but a parents reaction to save their child from danger) right after the crash as she was sitting in a pile of glass from the back window.

We requested the EMT look Alyssa over even though 5 minutes after the accident she was smiling and fine and didn’t have a scratch on her.  They said she was fine.   Jason had a bit of whip-lash and has been going to the chiropractor a couple of times a week for his back.

The car was a total loss.  It was his beloved 2000 Honda Accord that was fully loaded.   We bought another Graco – My Ride 65 (I’m giving exact info as it saved my baby). I wrote them a thank you letter but still want to write one to our local police station that helped teach us to install the car seat.

Alyssa’s first Christmas went well.  Santa brought her a play kitchen (which is her new favorite toy), a leaptop (baby laptop), Dora doll, lots of little people toys and a bunch of books.  Alyssa wasn’t interested in opening any other presents once she was the toy kitchen.  It took us 2 hours to convince her to open any others. 🙂   She also got a digital camera from Grandpa, food for her kitchen from Aunty Heather, and a beautiful table and chair set from Grandma. Plus many other wonderful gifts!  She was a very happy little girl.  Until Christmas dinner when she got the flu and lets just say “decorated” my aunt’s and uncles house several times!  Ahh, First Christmas Memories!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and has excellent 2011.  I wish everyone tons of new family bonding, new referrals and gotcha days!

Best Wishes and Happy New YEAR!

 

***Fall*** Fun and Chaos. October 18, 2010

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 1:18 am

I really want to keep this updated but rarely find myself online anymore.  It’s amazing how life changes when those big dark eyes, curly pigtails and toddler giggle capture you.  You’re theirs and there is no place else you would rather be.  It’s been just over 8 months since Alyssa was first put in our arms and it’s hard to imagine or remember life without her.    

We are that goofy Mom and Dad you see at the store and roll your eyes because they are amazed by at every little silly baby/toddler thing she does.   Every new sound and new action is something to celebrate.    It’s amazing how much she understands and how quickly she learns things.  She doesn’t speak much more than gibberish with a random word here or there yet.  A little slow for some children her age but we know she can say the words as we have heard them and she understand practically everything we say to her. We joke that Alyssa is just waiting until she can speak full complete sentences before she decides to speak a lot.  She can still make her wants easily known even without saying the words for them.  Currently she is saying Ohh ooo, nummy/num num, and will chant Mama, or Dada.   

Last week I knelt down to give her a hug and kiss goodbye and usually I say, “Alyssa, can Mommy have a kissie bubye?” and she runs over and puckers up.  Nope, this time I knelt down and she ran over to me, puckered up her lips and yelled “NUM NUM”… yes, kinda strange for her to use her word for what we thought was food to request a kiss goodbye… Maybe Num num to her means mouth or something good?   I gave her a kiss and Jason and I laughed… which made her giggle too.   These are how our days go.  Very happy.

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We have had a couple challenges.  Alyssa was rechecked at the adoption clinic to see if she had been exposed to TB.  (skin test called a Mantoux)  The test was positive.  We did our best not to freak out, as it doesn’t mean she has TB or that she is sick, it just means at some point before she came to the U.S. she was exposed to it.  Which is VERY common in international adoption. They put her on Isonozid, a medication that she will take for 9 months to ensure she won’t get TB for the next 30 years.  At no point in time was she or will she be contagious for TB.  It is my understanding, that it’s more of a dormant TB that if left untreated could possibly turn into TB.  So that’s why the give the medication for it.  I spent a long time speaking with the International Adoption Clinic and my mother, who is a Registered Nurse, so like they say, knowledge is power. I feel better now that I know all the facts.

Here is a short article regarding Mantoux tests.

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-mantoux-test.htm

Alyssa didn’t like taking her 1/2 a pill.  We crushed it and put it in: Applesauce, yogurt, 2 flavors of pudding, marshmallow fluff, chocolate syrup, fig nuttons, rice crispy bars and fruit roll-ups. (fruit roll-ups worked 1/2 the time)  She quickly learned to projectile spit out her food once she realized something yucky was in it.    From what I am told, one of the above items normally works for most kids, but not ours.  So they switched us to the liquid version a couple of days ago, sounds great to start, but massive diarrhea is a common side effect.  So far so good.  We are keeping our fingers crossed that it won’t do that to Alyssa, can’t have her have diarrhea for 9 months.

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We received a signed order by the judge acknowledging the adoption in the U.S. a couple of weeks ago and shortly after that her U.S. birth certificate.  Now I just have to get her a social security number.  Another afternoon off to file the paperwork during business hours.  I still have to figure out how to fit that in.  I scheduled her an appointment with an Audiologist to have her hearing checked, we have no concerns about her hearing but the adoption clinic recommends you get hearing and vision checked on all adoptive children since we don’t know about family medical history.  Just to make sure she is hearing and seeing will like we think she is.
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Yesterday we went to a Pumpkin Patch that had a corn maze, petting zoo, food, hayride and lots and lots of pumpkins to choose from.  We spent 2 hours there.  Alyssa LOVED the corn maze.  Initially I wondered if she was too young to enjoy it (almost 19 months) but she walked and ran through it and giggled. We got lost and had to find our way back to the entrance as we later heard no one could actually find the exit!!!  It was a VERY tough maze.  Alyssa was afraid of the goats and didn’t want to feed them, but she was in love with the baby cows and wouldn’t stop staring and pointing at them.   She hugged some huge pumpkins and tried to push them around thinking they were balls.  She was very confused but had a lot of fun.  We took several pictures, but every time we took the camera out she put her serious or unhappy face on.  So we have no photographic proof she had a good time.

Today we went to the park next door and I snapped a few pictures.  She loved it.  Below is a slide show of pictures from this weekend.

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International Adoption Clinic – follow-up appointment September 25, 2010

Filed under: Adoption Process — tuckeradoptionjourney @ 2:24 am

I have to start by saying I really love the U of M International Adoption Clinic.  I have had nothing but wonderfully positive experience and felt everyone there really cared to make sure we are doing wonderfully and are very dedicated to spend all the time you need with you.   The only bad thing is it is on the U of M Campus, and that’s not that bad as they have valet parking right outside the building that they charge you $5 to park your car.  Still pretty easy – I’ve just always hated valet parking.  Maybe I’m a control freak?  🙂

***Alyssa just turned 18 months***

We had our first appointment two weeks after we came home and I was nervous at first when I realized they were watching our every move and interaction with Alyssa.  I didn’t want to be judged but am open to all the help we can get.  I was afraid to be deemed we were doing something horribly wrong and looked down upon even though we are trying so hard to be great parents.  I think that’s a fear of all first time parents – maybe even all parents.   Our second appointment was very similar to our first appointment but just 6 months later.  So I will just talk about the 2nd appointment we had last week (Friday – same day I filed the court paperwork below)…

Expect both appointments to last two full hours.  They do not rush you and really just want to sit, talk, and watch how your child interacts with you and watch how the child moves… so they have a developmental specialist (not sure her official title) joins with the doctor and brings in toys and they play and interact with your child.  They watch for bonding and attachment hints, how children hold toys, stand, sit and play… and I’m sure many more things.  They also give you many suggestions which come across very nicely too and I never felt judged or like it was a negative thing.  It was very informational and we felt wonderful after both appointments.  Alyssa is doing great.  We are watching to correct her when she does the W sit.  Sits on her knees with her feet to the side behind her.  Kinda looks like a W – not sure how else to explain it.  They said it’s hard on children’s hips and we should discourage her from sitting that way… I had no idea!  So it’s something we are watching for and working on.  

They were amazed by how much Alyssa understood, which makes us very proud parents, but Alyssa doesn’t really have an everyday vocabulary.   She has said about 20 words 100% clearly and in the right context, but only says them one or twice and doesn’t say them again for weeks at a time.   But she understands pretty much anything we say to her and when she does speak it is really clear.  So they are not worried and just think it’s because she has been only hearing English for 7 months.  They gave me a couple handouts on helping toddlers speak and communicate which gave us some new ideas to inspire her to speak more.  Again, very helpful…

They redid all her blood work to double-check it and Alyssa laughed, smiled, and waved at everyone.  They did the typical doctor exam too but Alyssa found her time at the clinic to be fun playtime for the most part.

I think it’s definitely worth the time to set-up a couple of appointments with them when you come home with a new family member.   They said Alyssa was doing great and didn’t need to come back unless there was an issue and we wanted to talk about it.