March 31, 2009

Help support affordable adoption to bring more children home


The federal adoption tax credit has made our adoption much more affordable. The tax credit is set to expire in December 2010 unless Congress votes to continue it.

The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213, would keep the adoption tax credit from being repealed, and may make the tax relief measure permanent.

It only takes a few minutes to email or call your senators and congressmen — it’s important for them to hear from families impacted by the tax credit and from those who believe that adoption of orphans is a crucial priority for our country and our world.

Write your U.S. Representative
Write your U.S. Senator

Another need is to help families with adoption finances BEFORE they complete the adoption process (the above financial credit doesn't occur until the tax year after the adoption is complete).
One way you can help families is by donating to:
Shaohanna's Hope which is a wonderful organization that provides families with financial adoption assistance.

Adoption should be accessible to all that have the heart to adopt.
Help ALL families afford adoption. . .
to provide ALL orphans with loving homes.

March 30, 2009

Happy One Month Home, Liam!


Liam has been home with us for one month. We can't remember life without him.
We visited our pediatrician today, Dr. McMains at Longhorn Pediatrics....(we love him) for Liam's 6 month checkup. Liam is officially in the 25th percentile growth chart of his age group!!!
This is amazing news for us - especially since Liam wasn't even on the growth chart at all, when he started his life in Ethiopia. He was 7 lbs at 4 months. Now, at 6 months he is 16 pounds. He is healthy and all is well. Thank you, Lord!

March 27, 2009

Scaring the wild animals with a roar while exploring the hood

Our new favorite pastime in this (temporary) beautiful Austin weather is going for a walk.
Here's Liam enjoying the sunshine...and making his new favorite expressive noise.
Make sure you push the red "HQ" button on the lower right to view the video in high quality (per techie geek, William) William got this incredibly small (amazing!) video camera for Liam action. Love the convenience and resolution of the camera.

Recommendations from the Present, Past and Future

We've been so blessed from many with all sorts of advice and recommendations on raising baby Chan. It's like this "instant" supportive network right under our nose! We've also been researching and reading all sorts of things in an attempt to qualify ourselves as "fit parents".
(Although, wasn't that what the horrendous adoption bureaucratic process was for?)

I have to say there is an overwhelming amount of baby-raising data for the energetic, ambitious and zealous first time parents. It seems like the first few years are saturated with information....then it tails off.... then by the time they are teenagers...everyone gives up on providing information and pretending to know what the right thing is to do.

But now, we are fresh and in the baby honeymoon stage....so we are going to act like we are on top of things and in control. This is especially easy to do before the walking stage. It's easy to control baby when he can't move without your assistance. I have a feeling that prayers and our dependence on God will increase with every mobile phase that develops with Liam (crawling, walking, running.....uhhh....driving). Right now, we'll just keep pretending that we are in control.

I'm also checking out baby blogs, and found this post that made me laugh at the "big picture" of trying to do the right thing with babies. I've been to Ireland before and remember the Irish saying that Guinness was good for pregnant women...but I honestly thought they were joking...(Apparently, iron is in Guinness...and heck, why not use beer for an iron source for your growing baby? Who in the world really wants to eat liver, kidneys or oat bran?)

This advertisement just cracks me up....wonder what wacky thing we parents are doing in this generation that will look a bit crazy to our children and grandchildren.


P.S.
Send us your best baby tips!!

March 26, 2009

Liam's first class


Liam had his first class, an infant music class provided by the Austin Lyric Opera.
I thought an infant class would be silly...but boy, did he love it. He responded to the music and the unison of the class - and the other babies. I had him sitting on my lap, but he wouldn't have it... he insisted on standing up to dance - he forgot that he didn't know how to walk. That boy wants to dance. He was soooo excited - it was probably more entertaining for me to watch him in all of that excitement of the "live music scene".


From Liam's perspective...checking out the babes. He enjoyed shaking his green mini baby music maker.


It was a bit awkward for me to take pictures since I was an active participant... but what's a new mom to do during her child's first music class? I couldn't resist.

Here is Liam with his bells on.

Some morning elegance

I'm just a simple girl from the Midwest who grew up in the 80s and watched MTV.
Here's another post to fuel the movement towards better quality music videos. Oren Lavie!




Also, I meant to post this months ago...it's another one of my favorite songs (and videos) of this year...from Empire of the Sun

March 25, 2009

CASA

After all that training and process, I was finally sworn in as an official CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) yesterday by the judge...can you find me?
Here I am introducing the judge and the courtroom to our newly adopted son :) It was so nice to have my new family there for the support...our first official family outing. Liam was a bit talkative in the courtroom. He must have been excited.

The latest CASA volunteers for Austin, TX!

March 23, 2009

Liam's first Grandparents visit!

Liam loved meeting his grandparents! And his grandparents loved meeting him :)
His grandparents also got a kick out of seeing us in our new role, especially the faces that we end up making while teaching Liam how to eat solids.
Nothing better than some good ol' grandma time!


Liam enjoys the special entertainment and decided to put on a new outfit for the special occasion.

March 20, 2009

The House is taking shape

When you travel for a few weeks during the framing stage of a housebuilding project, it's exciting to come back and see the big changes. We are finally starting to see the shape of the vision of our project. It's a 1939 colonial style home ....but we have quite some changes planned...with a modern look! It's a fusion project - story of our lives. I'm wondering how many can guess which side of the house is "Shelley's side"...and which side is "William's side". I'm sure those of you who know us can guess :) Although, I have to admit, I'm beginning to really love modern architecture -this has been quite an experience for us and we've both learned how to appreciate design, building, green efficiencies and of course - the art to sticking to a budget!

This is a view of the back of the house.


This is the side of the house...and you can see the structure of the 2 story screened porch.


This is our garage that yields to a tree. We didn't want to cut the branches....so the structure is becoming "artistic"! We have some interesting plans for our garage - more to come. Who would've thought a garage could become so much fun.



We dorked out around the holidays and took our Christmas card photos in front of our big project this year (besides the baby Chan project, of course). Here's our cheeseball posed shots where we pretend to know how to actually use power tools. You'll get an idea of the magnitude of our crazy project.





March 19, 2009

Liam's firsts


Liam has been the light and joy of our life. I know that sounds like a cheezy cliche, but heck it's true. He is all smiles for us...a very happy baby. How I get to experience all this without stretch marks or postpartum depression is beyond me. It's not deserved...but I'll take it!


Liam loves to have us read him books.... William is developing his character voices.
Here's William feeding Liam for the first time. . . rice cereal.
...hmmmm that some call wallpaper paste, but I won't name any names...


Liam's first walk!
Liam's first nail clipping...



Liam's first nature observation.


Liam's first bundle-up....
Liam's first day at the office with Daddy....



Liam's first special moment with Sopapilla, the cat.


Liam's first special moment with Elmo, the mechanical talking puppet...
aka. the red, furry monster.


Liam's first jumping....

Liam's first visit with Dr. Merrick!