He's getting better each day.
Our Thanksgiving went well. I actually baked two pies (one apple and one pumpkin)...and I really don't bake...
Andrew was a bit scared at first, but warmed up to her quickly. The mommy could not keep her eyes off Andrew and she loved playing with him. We are going to meet up again in January, once we return from our trip to the Philippines. We went out for lunch and took some pictures.
Well here it is. This is Andrew's first plane ride. We went to Chicago for his Uncle Manny's 32nd birthday. It was a 4 hour flight. This is the perfect test run before we go to the Philippines in December.
I can not express to everyone who comments on our blog and even the "passer by'ers" that come and visit our site, Thank you for your interest and positive comments.
Since my partner and I have been blessed to have Andrew, our lives have changed dramatically. It's not easy by far, as a matter of fact, it's HARD! My partner and I would not have it any other way. The happiness that Andrew has given us is indescribable. Every day we look at this little being with amazement. The excitement in his eyes when he discovers something new is so contagious. He is constantly learning new things. I'm so excited to get home from work to see what new behaviors or sounds he's learned.
We have two trips planned for Andrew already. The first trip is to Chicago in October. He will be visiting Uncles, Aunts and Cousins!!!! This is my partner's side of the family (filipino) so you can be sure this kid's feet will never touch the ground because he will go from one pair of arms to another... Pamilya ay pinaka-importante sa pinoy community (my sorry attempt at tagalog). I (as the non-filipino partner) have been embraced by their community and truly love the pinoy way of life. Nagaaral ako ng tagalog dahil bumili na kami ng bahay sa antipolo city). (i'm studying tagalog because we bought a home in antipolo city, philippines).
Which leads to our next trip in December. PHILIPPINES.
Andrew will be an international travelor even before he is one year old. We are having his 1st Birthday there with about 300 of my partner's relatives (OK..i'm exaggerating a little..maybe 250). We already received our son's passport and are ready to go. We have a huge birthday bash planned near the province that my partner grew up (Nueve Ecija). We will be staying until after the new year. I'm excited to be in the philippines during Christmas and New Years. The filipinos know how to party and it's such a festive time to go.
I will be videoing Andrew's birthday so be sure to check out his youtube site "mytwodaddies". You will also find other videos that are not on this blog.
Our adoption is finally finalized. The below video is our day in court where the judge made her offical ruling. It was the best day of our lives
Wow...he's moving faster every day. I finally spoke to his birth mother...I was able to reach her at the motel she is working at in exchange for room and board. She told me she lost her cell phone and got a new one with a new number. She gave me the new cell number. I mailed new pics of Andrew and told her we will come up to visit in two weeks.
Here's our son's improved crawl:
OK, so this is strange...We are reading the book "What to Expect The First Year"...at 6 months it states your baby should be making WET RAZZ sounds....Check out the below video...How the heck do they know this stuff:
Andrew is now 26 1/2 inches long and weighs 17.3 lbs. He has really caught up. The doctor told us we can begin to feed him baby food...but not as a replacement to the bottle. We should still continue to feed him the same amount of formula. He is drinking about 8oz per feeding and still eating about every 3 1/2 to 4 hours. He received more immunization shots (4) two in each leg. Andrew hated it, but got over it quickly.
The doctor suggested we change the formula (currently using Enfamil with Iron). He wants us to now use Earth's Best Organic. So we decided to finish up the Enfamil we have left and will begin using the organic formula.
I went and bought a bunch of baby food..I can't wait to start spoon feeding Andrew. I really love these milestones.
Andrew had his first fever last night. We believe it's due to his teething and also reaction to his immunizations shots. He is doing ok...but still a little warm.
What a busy weekend. Andrew was particularly fussy on saturday morning. My partner had a bunch of errands to run so I had some one on one with my son Andrew. I am always so excited to have alone time with him.
He was a bit fussy this a.m. and wanted to be held constantly. I had to use the restroom and I took him upstairs with me. I set him down in is crib and told him "Daddy will be right back".
When I got back I saw Andrew on his tummy and he was looking up at me with a smile. I could not believe it, I was almost certain I laid him on his back. So I picked him up and put him on his back again....and right there in front of me...my little boy rolled to his tummy (with some effort).
These little developments are just as new to me as they are to my son which is why I even got teary eyed watching this wonderful milestone.
Andrew had his last visit with the doctor regarding the shape of his head. He had been wearing a helmet for 23 hours per day for the last month and a half. The doctor told us, he no longer needs to wear the helmet. We were so excited.
Andrew is now 16lbs and 27 inches long. He is really showing a lot of personality. He can laugh histerically which is extremely contagious.
We are taking Andrew on his first plane trip. We are going to visit his grandma in San Diego. I'm a bit nervous about taking him and I am hoping he is an easy travel companion. ANY SUGGESTIONS would be extremely welcomed!!!!!! This trip is a test run for our REAL trip. We are going to Asia in December and that's a 15 hour flight.
I tried calling Andrew's mommy a couple of times but she has not returned my call. I will keep trying and hopefully she will call back. I want to set another time for us to get together.
We received Andrew's birth certifcate and we are almost done with our post placement meetings with the social worker (of the agency we adopted Andrew). After the last meeting, we will go to court to finalize the adoption. Ed and I are soo excited about that moment.
We are saying "Mommy". My partner and I have decided it will be hard enough for Andrew to explain to his peers that he has two daddies. We do not want to take away the title of MOMMY from him. He does have a birth-mother and although she is not (in the typical sense) a full-time mom to Andrew, she in our eyes is still his Mommy. My partner and I are very determined to keep very close to the birth-mother mainly for Andrew's sake.
Her involvment in Andrew's life is mostly up to her. If she is in a place in her life where the environment is safe for Andrew, we may even consider sleep overs. We want Andrew to know that his mommy loves him and that she loves him so much she had let us take him home to give him a happy, healthy life.
Well, I recorded Andrew's appointment to get his helmet resized. Our doctor suggest this because Andrew's head is a little flat in the back. He looks so cute with his helmet on. He has to wear it for 23 hours a day for 3 to 4 months. He is already used to it. This should help his head to grow more round. Luckily it is covered by my insurance or it would have cost approximately $3-4 thousand.
Here's a video clip of his appointment...a bit long..
Well the doctor said Andrew is really making some progress. Andrew's head is still flat, however we had a helmet made for him. He has to wear this helmet for 3 to 4 months for 23 hours per day.
Andrew is now 24 1/2 inches long and weighs close to 13lbs 10 oz. He is making many noises now. His voice is inflecting as though he is copying sounds that he's heard before.
The doctor gave Andrew 4 shots for immunization. Two shots per leg. He hated it and cried so loud.
Our baby is doing GREAT. He's eating 5-6ozs per feeding..and still eating about every 3 hours. Every day he is more and more alert.
As promised, I sent Jennifer (birth-mother) pictures each month of Andrew. I've called her numerous times but she never responded. Finally one day I received a phone call. It was Jennifer. She called to thank me for the pictures and said he has really grown. I said, "I'm so happy that you called us." I asked if she would like to meet Andrew she said yes. We set up a time to pick her up for Saturday April 16th 2008 at 12 noon.
It's Saturday and Ed and I are getting Andrew ready to meet Andrew's birth-mother. We were excited. Excited because I am able to record this moment with pictures so that Andrew can always go back to this moment and also because it's potentially the beginning of building a healthy relationship with her and Andrew.
We drove up to her place. She was staying in an old buiding where she said she worked. It was a motel and she operated the elevators and helped people check in. They did not pay her but allowed her to stay in one of the rooms. Jennifer was standing there with a friend of hers. Jennifer was skinny and had long dirty blond curly hair. We got out of the car and hugged her, she introduced us to her friend (a woman probably in her late 40s). Jennifer wanted to show her friend Andrew. Since Andrew was in the car seat, we opened the back door so her friend could take a peak. Her friend said, "wow Jennifer, he is soo cute". We left for lunch.
Jennifer sat in the back with Andrew looking at him so endearingly. I tried to keep the communication going by asking her questions about how she is. I had mentioned to her that she lost the weight so quickly and she said one of her biggest issues is gaining weight. She was happy to be thin again. I was observing her behavior and she was very fidgety, not being able to sit still. We arrived at the restaurant. We learned so much about Jennifer. She had taught herself Spanish and was able to speak fluently. She was in the process of learning Tagalog (my partner is filipino). She said a couple of sentences in Tagalog. I was really impressed with that. We talked about Andrew's birth father. His birth-father is mexican and she did not know him very well. He was about 5'7" and was chubby. That was all she said to us. We could not get any more information from her.
After lunch I told Jennifer I wanted to take some pictures of her and Andrew. We walked around town and took some pictures. Jennifer mentioned that she should go back and we packed back in the car to drop her off. We joked around and communication seemed to be a bit easier. We pulled up in front of the motel and got out to give her a hug. I have her some money to help her through this rough patch. She thanked us. She said "keep in touch".
We definately will. It's important for Ed and I to make sure Andrew knows how much his mother loves him. I feel confident that we will go on many more lunches and enjoy many gatherings together.
Andrew was baptised. It was one of the most beautiful days we could ever have asked for. Friends and family came from all over the country to see our son be baptised. Andrew's Christening outfit was an all white tuxedo. This was one of our most important days (only second to the day we took Andrew home from the hospital).
We switched Andrew's formula to Enfamil with Iron. We began to feed Andrew and the change did not effect his appetite. He seemed to have liked it. The only change we noticed was during Andrew's diaper changes. His number two stayed the same consistency (mustard--ie) but now it was starting to smell like it looked. We also noticed after about a week that his appetite has increased and we are now feeding him 4 oz per feeding.
Ed and I both took the day off for Andrew's first pediatrician appointment. We were given a referral from a close friend that this is one of the best pediatrician offices in San Francisco. The doctor looked over Andrew and asked about how he is doing. We explained to the doctor our concerns with his exposure to drugs. He mentioned that Andrew is in the low percentile as far as head size and over-all weight, length etc.
Andrew has had no symptoms of withdrawal from the drugs used during the pregnancy.
Andrew is eating about 2 oz every feeding (every three to four hours). We were feeding him Similac. The doctor suggested we change his formula to Enfamil. He believed that Enfamil will help Andrew to gain weight faster.
He also mentioned that Andrew's head a bit flat. We had said we are keeping him on his back because of the horror stories we heard about SIDS. He said that the baby should definately sleep and nap on his back. He had mentioned that it's also important to put him on his stomach (only for a total of an hour per day..not at one time). He said this will help Andrew use muscles that will help him support his head as well as help round his head.
He told us to take Andrew back in one month for some vaccinations.
My name is Paul and my partner's name is Ed. My partner and I have been together for just over 14 years. For the last 6 years we have been trying to adopt a child. We used a local agency. We have had many close calls and some not so close calls. Ed and I had no preference on the sex, the ethnicity, the medical background or even the possibility of the baby being exposed to drugs or HIV. We were READY to have a child. After the six years had past, Ed and I were now in our 40's and we were beginning to think we were getting to old to raise a child.
On Christmas Eve day 2007, on my way home from a half day at work (approx. 11:30am), I received a call on my cellphone from our adoption agency. "Paul, we have a potential adoption placement situation, a baby boy was born yesterday Dec 23rd" (we have gotten these calls before...), "The birthmother used drugs during pregnancy" (something we were concerned with for the baby's sake, but had no impact on our decision) "would you be interested?"..I replied "yes, we would". The social worker said "Do you first want to speak with your partner?". I replied "no, after the fifth call we recieved like this, there's no reason to check with him, he will say yes".
The social worker told me she will give our birth-mother letter to the birth mom and she will call back if anything develops. I said thank you and the call ended.
The call seemed so "usual" so "normal mode of operation" that I did not call my partner to tell him the news. Once I arrived home, we had a bunch of my partner's family there (they came in town to celebrate christmas with us) and I told them about the call. They got so excited and I could see smiles on all of their faces. I told them we try not to get too excited because so far they have all been disappointing results. My partner Ed got home. I told Ed about the call. He just looked at me and said, "well,....we'll see..." My cell phone rang at approximately 5:15pm. It was our social worker, I was upstairs in the room we use for an office (and a potential baby's room). My partner Ed was upstairs but accross the hall in our bedroom when I answered the call. "Paul?, this is XXXX with the agency, I have great news for you, the birth mother chose you and Ed, you need to come to the hospital now". My eyes swelled with tears...and I could barely talk. I yelled "Ed, Ed, come here quick"...I met Ed in the hall way..."She chose us,...She CHOSE US". I had the social worker on the line and I got the hospital information (it was a local hospital) from her and hung up. Ed and I hugged and then rushed to get ready, we fumbled around the closet....not sure what to wear to such an event. We got dressed and ran downstairs to tell the rest of the family. They all screamed with delight. We apologized to the family for leaving them on Christmas eve...
Ed and I drove to the hospital in a stage of shock. I asked Ed, if maybe she confused our birth-mother letter with someone elses and maybe when we get there she will say "I did not chose them". Ed told me no, she meant to pick us.
We finally arrived at the hospital running down the halls to the information booth. We told them the room number and we received our visitor passes. Ed and I rushed to the room. When we arrived, we met Jennifer (the birth mother). She had dirty blonde hair and green eyes. She looked worn out. She gave birth to a baby boy on Dec 23rd (just a day ago). She had deep lines in her face and gave me the impression that she had a hard life. The social worker had told me earlier that she had been using cystal meth and occassionally cocaine throughout her pregnancy. Ed and I greated her with a handshake and we sat down on a chair beside her bed. I said, "Thank you for chosing us Jennifer, you can't imagine how happy you made us". She smiled and said "Do you want to see the baby?", we jumped up and Jennifer led the way.
As we got to NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) we were instructed to wash our hands. We followed Jennifer down a long room. It was dark except for the line of incubators to our right. There was a soft glow of light coming out of each one and I could not help but look at these little, tiny, fragile babies. In my head I was thinking wow..these babies look sooo little and could fit in the palm of my hand. I was a little nervous as to what condition Jennifer's baby was in. We went through a pair of double doors where I found a small basinett and there layed a little baby..not quite as little as the babies we passed earlier...but there he was. Swaddled in a hospital blanket, just lieing there with he eyes closed. Jennifer sat in a chair away from the baby. The nurse picked the baby up and handed him to me. I held him and still to this day can not express the emotion that I could feel running through my body. He was soo light and so small. He weighed 5lbs 4oz. Ed was standing beside me extremely eager to hold the baby as well, so we transfered him like we were moving an explosive that could blow at any moment. I asked Jennifer if she would like to hold him and she just waived her hand in one quick motion and said "no, that's ok". After about 20 minutes Jennifer said, "I'm going to go lie down now, congratulations". We gave her a hug and then hung out with "our son?"...
The nurses at the hospital were so caring and supportive. Ed and I were a little awkward because here we are two guys with limited experience in taking care of an infant (other than the workshops we've attended). They trained us on feeding, burping, swaddling, changing and bathing.
The nurses told us the baby needs to stay the night but that they have 24 hour visiting. Ed and I told the nurse that we have family in town and we are going to mid-night mass (we do this every Christmas Eve). Ed and I said good bye to all the wonderful staff and kissed the baby (by the way, we named him Andrew..my partner Ed chose that name and I loved it.) and left the hospital. Our drive was fairly quiet, we were dazed and still not able to believe what just happened.
We arrived at home and everyone was waiting for us. We told them "We have a son". We shared tears and it was that moment I realized this was real.
After midnight mass, the family all gathered at our home for a meal and opening up gifts. To be honest, I was in a rush to get this part over...I wanted to go back to our son. The family that was visiting from out of town had a flight back at 6am. We left at 2Am to take the entire family to see Andrew. I filmed a couple of our relatives holding Andrew for the first time. You will see how small Andew was.
After dropping off the family at the airport, Ed and I went directly back to the hospital to sit with Andrew. The nurses let us take care of Andrew independently and stayed near incase we needed help or had questions. Edward called a friend who has children and asked if we could borrow their car seat. Our friend drove down to the hospital on Christmas Day to give it to us. (she is one of Andrew's God-parents today).
We spent the entire day with Andrew, eagerly awaiting for the Doctor's OK to check him out. Here is some more video of Ed and then leter myself holding our Andrew. (link to video).
Since it was Christmas day, all the stores were closed..we had nothing. The nurses SET US UP. They gave us diapers, formula, clothes, pasifiers, wipes, diaper rash cream, thermometer, heck they even gave us some toys. We left the hospital feeling overwhelmed with their patience, encouragement and generosity.
Jennifer (Andrew's Birth-Mother) came into the room to say goodbye to us. We gave her a hug and I asked her for her contact information. She said she left it with the social worker, I said great. She asked for pictures once a month of the baby. We said of course. She walked away and turned back and smiled and said "Merry Christmas".
The picture "Christmas Day: Andrew two days old", is when we had just arrived home from the hospital with our new son, Andrew.
This is our story and this blog will begin a documented journal of his life events. He has some challenges ahead and my partner and I want him to look back at his life to always know he is loved by everyone in his life.