Friday, January 30, 2009

Rice Painting

Have you ever tried finger painting with rice? Grace finally ate real food yesterday afternoon and again this morning. This morning her stomach was a little upset when she woke up, but it didn't affect her appetite. She ate a bowl of rice and a piece of toast and "painted" sticky rice all over herself and the table.

She is starting to bond to both of us and sleeping well at night. We are leaving for the airport in about 10 hours. Thank you for your prayers for our return home. We have some more fun pictures to post after we get home.

Do you Blu-o?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coming Home

We are coming home early!!!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. We leave BKK tomorrow night, a little over 24 hours from now. I was so nervous about going to the Delta Thai office to change our tickets. We had one of those moments when, as Amye and I would say, we thought we had been bamboozled. The rude Delta lady last night had given me an address that was for an office on the 22nd floor of a building a little ways from here. We found the building with no problem but it only had five floors. I could feel my blood pressure rising when my calm husband noticed that there was an office tower connected to the building we were in. We found Delta Thai and got our tickets changed. It only took about an hour. The new tickets we got are almost as good as what we had in terms of flight time, especially compared to some of the deals we were "offered" last night.

We will fly from Bangkok to Seoul, then to Chicago. We have an eight hour layover in Chicago but my brother and sister-in-law live there. Those of you with young children are probably thinking we are crazy but our other options were to spend the night in Seoul, have a 12 hour layover in Vegas or come home as scheduled on the 3rd. Compared to our other options Chicago sounds great! It is kind of funny though...when Nathan and I were talking about it this morning we realized that because we have been in a tropical climate we only have warm clothes. We called Chad and he is going to meet us at the airport with coats for Nathan and I and a blanket for Grace. Grace has lived in 90 degree weather all of her life, won't she be suprised. If all goes well we will get to see Steph before she has to be at work (she works at Argo Tea in the airport) and get to have lunch with Chad and see their apartment in Chicago. This is a huge blessing because otherwise they would not even get to see Grace until May.

About has been much better. She still has cried a lot of the time we have been in the hotel but it is more of a wimper instead of a constant raging scream. She did great in the Delta office and has taken a good nap this afternoon. She actually ate an egg at breakfast this morning which is HUGE since she has barely eaten anything since she was placed with us.

Okay, I should probably log off. I have been on the web for two long and need to let Nathan check some things. We will try to post tomorrow but if not will once we are settled back in Memphis.

Just a side note about Nathan...he has done an amazing job of navigating us around the city. For all the times that I have joked about his sense of direction (seminary friends you know what I mean) I repent. He has been my greatest blessing on this trip. My OCD has been out of control and he has been WONDERFUL.

Please pray for our flights, that we don't have any ticket problems at the airport and for Grace on the flight. I am nervous that I will have to hold her for 36 hours straight.

On a lighter side

These last couple of days have been really intense for Kim and I. We have been fortunate to receive a couple of emails from Caleb with the help of his grandparents. We were very glad to here from him. His emails helped to lighten and enliven our spirits.

From today...


Thank you for my life. Thank you for my heart and for all of my body.

This is what Caleb wanted to tell you today. I asked him if he was e-mailing Mommy and Daddy or God. He said all of them.

From 1/24/09...

Dear Mommy and Daddy,

Thanks for mommy and daddy, thank you for getting all kinds of goodies, and two thank yous. I played basketball at Kirk's house. Thank you, Kirk for the transformer. We went to Picadilly's because I like jello. We had fishy for dinNEr. Thank God for angels, and thank you for H and other letters all the way to the end. Georgy is good after his test. Good bye. Caleb Thank you for my name.

Blessings and Challenges

To explain the day in one word I would say it has been LONG. We woke up this morning and Grace started having diarrhea. She had two dirty diapers before we went downstairs to get breakfast. Nathan and I had an argument about what to do for her. We had our visa interview at 8:30 AM so we had to leave our hotel for the Embassy by 8:00. We called the social worker to let her know that Grace was sick but that we would be at the interview on time. She suggested that we take her to the "hospital" (which was fortunately just a doctors office) after our interview. I would have not worried too much about her upset stomach except she has had a bad cough for two weeks and kept pulling on her ears. Anyways, our visa interview went very well. We were called quickly and had the NICEST man who processed our visa. For all who were praying for her visa approval today we have her visa and passport! Thank you for praying. More about picking up the visa below. So where was I? Oh, so after the visa interview our sweet social worker (and new Facebook friend) went with us to see the doctor. The doctors office was very nice. The doctor gave us new cough medicine, some Kaopectate and a prescription for her cough/ears. I was SO glad we went to the doctor. I would have hated to get on the plane to come home with her ears bothering her. Especially since we cannot explain her ears popping to her. After the doctor's office we came back to the hotel and ate lunch. Grace slept with her head in my lap in the booth seat that we had. (She has done that for the past two days every time we eat.) She took a short nap before we headed to see if her visa was ready. We found out today that she actually becomes a US Citizen when we enter the US. It sounds like we should have already known that but both of our social workers told us differently. After we had the visa in hand we headed back to the hotel to try to change our plane tickets. This was an unbelievable experience. It took us 45 minutes on the Internet and 2 hours on the phone to even come up with an option. We almost had tickets for 1:35 AM Friday (just a few hours after we were on the phone). Just as we were about to book them, call our parents and pack so we could head to the airport the lady on the phone told me that she did not realize that Grace and I have paper tickets. She said that there was nothing she could do to help us change a paper ticket but to give us the address of where we need to go here in Bangkok to have them changed. You would think we could go to the airport but there is not a Delta counter at the airport here. I actually started crying on the phone with the lady because I was so frustrated. She gave me this random address and told me we would have to go there tomorrow to try to change our tickets. The good news is that we have tickets held (whatever that means) leaving here at 1:35 AM on Sunday (Saturday night). The schedule is not quite as direct as our original tickets are/were but we get home two days earlier and we have a brief layover in CHIGAGO. Chad and Steph be sure you read that. We will forward our itinerary once we have it...if we have it...and maybe we can meet you at Argo Tea. It is only a three hour layover and we pass through customs there but even 30 minutes face to face would be sweet. I'll get Mom and Dad to let you know when we know more.

I did not mention yet that the whole 2 hours I was on the phone with Delta Nathan was on the terrace with Grace SCREAMING. She has attached to me and has been livid with Nathan tries to do anything with her. Fortunately I think that finally she might have bonded with him a little bit tonight. I mean the child has been crying for most of the past 50 plus hours...eventually she has to give up right? I am glad that she has bonded to one of us but am trying to figure out how to respond to her wanting to be held all the time. She does okay when we are out but when we are in the hotel room she pretty much screams all the time. Hence we have been on the go constantly and are all exhausted.

In the event that any of you are still reading here are the things we would love prayer for:
1) Tickets to get home as soon as possible. We know that the Lord knows what is best for her in terms of time here before we leave but it kind of feels like we are just going from shopping center to shopping center letting her walk around. I am ready to have more than one room to live in. (That statement just made me miss the Snaders!)
2) Praise the Lord that we got her visa and passport! She has about 25 pages in her passport making it thicker than Nathan's and mine.
3) For health for Grace. Her stomach seems to be better tonight but we have had trouble knowing whether to give her formula or not. She still has not eaten any solid food with us (since Tuesday). The social workers told us that she has not eaten on any of their outings but would "binge" once she got back to the foster home. Because she is not getting any other food we decided to still give her formula and just dilute it.
4) For Grace to bond with Nathan. We have been praying through out the day today that she would "give up". She has so much fight in her!
5) Praise/prayer in regard to finding the Delta office here. After I got the address from the Delta lady today I just sat wondering how in the world we were going to find this random place. I got out the map we have been using and just asked the Lord to help us if it was his will for us to get home early. I looked down and noticed in tiny print the exact building I was looking for. Turns out it is on the Air Train line and should be easy for us to get to.

So to bring this to a close it has been a long and tiring day but we are very grateful for the Lord's provision for us in the midst of these challenges. Despite the screaming we are attaching to this little girl and just loving the way God has grown our family. We are missing Caleb like crazy and are so excited that we are a little closer to getting home!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tears of Tiredness

As I write this entry Grace is asleep in the hotel room with Nathan. Today has been again very tearful for her yet it seems she is not as angry. She seems more tired than anything else today. She slept through the night which we did not expect because the foster family has still been giving her at bottle at 1 AM every night. She woke up about 5:30 and cried again for the first couple of hours of the day. She seems to be attaching to me more than Nathan which is a little hard for both of us. It means she wants me to carry her a lot of the time. Heidi, I have been thinking about you because the baby to mommy weight ratio is about the same as it was for you and Dasia at this age. We met our social worker in the lobby this morning at 8:00 AM and were back here from our Department of Children Services meeting by 10:45. It was at this meeting that we signed our agreement to adopt. It is a little confusing but this document is basically what will be used to make our adoption final in the US. The Thai side of the adoption however will not be finalized until about six months after it is in the US. Confusing for those of you reading I am sure because it is a little confusing to us.

Tomorrow morning we go to apply for Grace's visa and if all goes well we should be able to pick it up in the afternoon. Please pray we will get it tomorrow. The next hurdle will be to get our tickets changed. We have been told that after we pay the change fee ($100 per ticket) it should be no problem. That is as long as there are sky miles tickets available. The planes here were much emptier than any other time I have traveled so I am hopeful.

We have been watching the weather in Memphis and are sad we might miss the snow. It is 102 here today! Feels like Memphis in August.

I should run just in case Grace is awake and screaming. We will try to post again tomorrow. I'll try to include a couple of pictures as well. Thanks for following our journey. As Caleb told my mom yesterday our family is now 4!

Monday, January 26, 2009


It is actually Tuesday AM here in Bangkok. I have about five minutes to post before Grace gets here with the social worker. This is the only picture I am posting from yesterday because they all look the same. We met Grace at 10:30 AM and spent the morning with her and the social workers at the department store down the street. She warmed up to us after a little while at the department store. When we returned to our hotel we were supposed to take her up to our room for about an hour and a half. This picture was taken in our room. She screamed the whole time with the exception of about two minutes. She is very smart and understands (as best we can tell) what is about to happen. She did reach for us a couple of times yesterday. Once she actually came to give him her shoes and her bag. It was obvious she wanted to go home. Laurie D, THANK YOU for preparing us for this.

Yesterday was extremely hard but we expected for it to be. She will be placed with us in just a few minutes permanently. There are several things we would like to have people pray for. Obviously for her adjustment. She is so mad and is fighting as hard as she can. I told Nathan this AM that at least we know if anyone ever tries to kidnap her she will fight them like crazy. Please also pray for my headaches. Several friends have been praying for me about this for a few weeks. I think I had a migraine yesterday afternoon. After a lot of sleep last night it was still lingering this morning. I really want to be attentive to Grace's needs and it is going to be incredibly difficult if I feel like I did last night. Nathan is much better. Thanks for praying for him as well. Finally we have been told that we should have our Visa by Thursday afternoon. If so we are going to try to come home early. Please pray we get the Visa and an earlier flight out. I think it will be easier for Nathan and I to meet her needs once we are back in our "element".

A couple of other things I did not mention. We finally got to talk to Caleb last night. After three different phone cards and multiple tries we found a way to contact him. I am so grateful for that. We miss you like crazy Caleb! (Mom, I will try to call you tonight. I heard that you and Betty met on Monday to make the switch with C.) The Lord answered our prayers for Grace to be loved and showed favor and attention. She has been so doted on that she is spoiled rotten. I don't think anyone has ever let her cry. That makes me a little nervous!!! At least she has been loved. The last random thing is about her eyelashes...again random. They are literally an inch long. I have never seen eyelashes so long!

Okay, I feel like this post is random and quick. It probably expresses my anxiety! We will try to post more tomorrow and will let people know if we are headed home early.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Red Baby

So we found out today that Nuu Dang does not mean "petite and loud" as we thought. Instead it means "red baby". Not really sure that that means and after today petite and loud sounds a little more fitting. I am not sure how to sum up the events of the day and the way that we feel. I will start with what happened and then try to explain how we feel. We met the two social workers for our agency this morning in the lobby just before 10:00 AM. We fell asleep last night at 8:30 and both woke up around 3:30. We stayed in bed until 7:00 trying to go back to sleep, praying and thinking about the day. Just before we met the social workers we both felt sick. After waiting for two years to meet this child we were both incredibly anxious. We went to a meeting room and heard more from the social workers about the agency here and got a detailed update on Grace. She came in about 10:45 with her social worker. We found out very quickly that she was very bonded to this social worker. We spent about an hour with her and the three social workers trying to win her over. It was difficult because it felt like there were four moms in the of which spoke no Thai and was the most different from her. This was all during her normal nap time so she was a little cranky from that. After almost falling asleep in the meeting room the social workers accompanied us upstairs to our room to try to make her comfortable with it. Her social worker explained several times to her what was going to happen and her response every time was to scream. She does not really talk yet but seems to understand everything. The social workers tried to get her to take a nap in our room. Have you ever tried to put a child to sleep with five adults standing over them. As you can imagine it did not work. Next we went to eat lunch in the restaurant in our hotel. Grace ate very well and warmed up to Nathan and I some. After lunch she actually let me carry her with the social workers across the street to the store. Nathan and I took her upstairs with us to get our gifts before going to the foster family's home and it was at that point she started screaming again. Loud. She walked to the door of our hotel room and just stared at it screaming. I guess it is good that she seems to understand what is about to take place...even if she does not like it. When we got in the van to ride to the foster home she sat in my lap and slept all the way there. When we got to the foster home the foster mother grabbed her from me as soon as we got out of the van. It was obvious that the foster family loves her. We got to spend some time with them, ask questions and take pictures. I think it was there that we got to see more of Grace's personality and our family will be glad to know that she smiled. After about an hour long visit we said good-bye to the family and to her for the night. We will meet her for another outing in the morning and she will be placed with us on Wednesday (Tuesday night in Mem).

What we learned about her today...she is very smart, she likes to dance, she is strong willed (Lord help us...four strong willed Cooks!), she can throw a mean temper tantrum, she sweats like her brother, she is playful, she likes helping with laundry and playing dress up, she is big (my back is killing me) and most of her weight is in her legs (Carrie, she is a little bigger that Emma Sanders I think...24.2 lbs), she naps three hours a day and still drinks formula. She also uses a bottle like it is a pacifier.

My feelings on the day...
I, Kim, felt like it was hard to find my role with Grace. It was like experiencing separation anxiety with a child yet the one they did not want to be separated from (in this case the social worker) still being present so there is no way to calm the child. I have been sad tonight because I know that she is about to be stripped from all that she knows. Being with her today made me excited to bring her home and made me really miss Caleb. I am a little anxious about the next few days most of all because we are not at home and I am completely out of my element. I am excited as well and really grateful the time has come to bring her home.

Okay, Nathan is sitting next to me in the lobby of the hotel and looks like he is ready for bed. Below are our favorite pictures of the day. Thanks for all who are following our trip and praying for us.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Weekend Market

Kim wants to make sure that you know that this is me (Nathan) posting this blog and NOT her.

Have you ever been shopping with 10,000,000 people? I have. And you know how I love to shop. It is one of my favorite things to do. Our shopping experience today was fabulous. The weather was perfect, 95 degrees and humid. There were actually two or three shops that I could stand straight up in, too. I think the average Thai person is about 4 feet tall. The street vendor umbrellas max out at 5 feet 5 inches, so even walking down the side walk was somewhat of an adventure. (Kim is laughing because she didn't even notice). I decided to brave the street with the 1.5 million cars and scooters rather than hunching over for 2 hours straight.

My only regret of the day is not buying the catfish head on a stick that we saw at the "weekend market". Kim made me promise not to be too adventuresome with my diet today. I understand her concern, but am not sure when I am going to get another chance to eat a catfish head on a stick. It is really one of those once in a life time chances (I think.)

Tomorrow we meet Grace for the first time. Kim and I are both excited and a little nervous. We will try to post pictures soon to give you a better idea of our experience here, and of course so that you can see Grace. Until then, kop kum kop (I think I just thanked you, or said good bye, I don't know which. People say it too me every day. I just nod. So, just nod.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birth Pains in the form of Achy Legs

After our long plane ride we are in Bangkok and have been getting acclimated to the city. I think we must be getting older because we both felt the plane rides were more taxing that what we have experienced in the past...hence the achy legs. It was great to get here at 2:00 AM however because we both took some Ambien and slept. I wish I could explain what this city is like. Nathan and I were talking at dinner about how to describe it. Neither of us had a good description. I guess I can just give some short facts from our experiences today. When we arrived last night at 2 AM we were shocked by how many people were on the streets. Our hotel is the nicest place we have ever stayed so it is hard to remember to use bottled water to brush your teeth. They upgraded us to a room with a terrace and it is fabulous. The terrace is rather large and overlooks the city. The city is very western. We went to a department store (actually a couple) today and found places that you would never see in Memphis because they are much more upscale than what our shopping malls carry. We saw a baby elephant going to the door of a restaurant by our hotel to be fed cucumber strips. We have taken the AirTrain several times. Chad and Steph, Nathan described it as being like the L but cleaner and nicer. It was packed tonight when we went to dinner. It smells a little like India here and is still very crowded but does not feel at all like India. People are very gentle and not pushy at all. It feels as humid as Memphis in August and I am loving wearing flip flops in January. The most amusing thing we saw today was while eating dinner at Hard Rock. We were watching out the window overlooking the parking lot. Traffic/parking wise I would say it is probably like New York (although I have never been there.) We watched as these two men that were working in the parking lot would move parked cars by rolling them forward or backward to let others into and out of parking spaces. We wish we had the video camera because there is no way to describe how funny looking it was. The common thoughts we both shared throughout the day were in regard to Grace. As we walked around the streets of Bangkok we both wondered about what she would look like as she gets older...actually we are still anxious to see what she looks like now! We meet her on Sunday AM and will go to her foster family's home that day. We cannot wait to meet her but are so grateful we came a couple of days early to get adjusted to the city. It has been a really good day. For those who have been praying for us, you can pray for health for Nathan. He left home with a cold/sinus infection and actually started taking a round of Cipro yesterday. He is much better. He has had some stomach issues today as well but seems to be feeling much better tonight. I have been battling irrational fears since we left Memphis. We both have been missing Caleb. C, there was a little boy your age that sat near us on the plane and Daddy and I both thought about how much you would have liked to play with him. You would have had to sit still for a very long time was even long for Daddy and he does not have nearly the amount of energy that you and I do! We love you sweet boy and can't wait to bring your sister home to you! We are headed to the weekend market tomorrow and will try to post some pictures after our first day with Grace on Sunday. Thanks to all who helped to get us here and to all who are praying for us during this trip.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finally...a blog name!

Okay we leave for Thailand in a week and a half and I have not sent our blog information out to anyone because our original name "theadventuresoftdubandnundang" was way too complicated and I am not creative when it comes to names and new ideas. Finally this morning I thought of our blog name. Slanky and Company. Sticking with our nicknames I can introduce you to Slanky...aka Nathan. Nathan was given this nickname by our friend Marlon. Several years ago Marlon was teaching at a youth event or church and had just met Nathan. He was referring to him in his talk but could not remember his name. As he fumbled on his words he referred to Nathan as slanky because he is both slim and lanky. He started calling Nathan that and it stuck. So here we are Slanky and Company ready to send our information out to folks now and laughing about the fact that I have been blogging in secret for the past two months!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


So I am getting ready to send our blog address out to family and friends so that anyone who wants to can follow our journey to Thailand and I realized that our title is so goofy you are all going to have to cut and paste it into your browsers to ever remember what it is. So...we are asking for help. We would love to have suggestions for a name for our blog. Naming things really is not a strength for either of us. So if you have an idea that is not as generic as the Cook Family Blogspot let us know. Not that other friends who have their names in their address are generic...but really how many Cooks do we probably all know???

Monday, January 5, 2009

Headed to Thailand

After months of waiting our family recieved our first approval to travel to get Grace on Christmas Eve. Here is the e-mail I sent that day to our family and friends...

We wanted to send a message to let our family and friends know that we got our approval to travel, today Christmas Eve. It was a sweet surprise. This morning I was telling Nathan how thankful I have been for all the people who are praying for us. I was prepared for this Christmas to be hard and I have felt a great sense of peace and joy. I know that is because there are people praying for us. I have been so encouraged by our family. Almost daily we have gotten a phone call or a word of encouragement from our family. This morning my grandmother (some of you know her as "Granny") called me and told me that she prayed for me throughout the day yesterday. At one point in the day she felt the Lord saying "Look up, joy comes in the morning". She called to tell me yesterday but I missed her call. This morning she said that she felt like she just had to tell me this. She did not know what it meant but felt like she had to tell me. I thanked her and told her about my comments to Nathan and the fact that the Lord has really just covered us with his blessing in the past couple of weeks. About half an hour later we were on our way to the Cooks for Christmas and we got a phone call from Holt. I was shocked and started crying on the phone (made our social worker cry too!). It was kind of overwhelming because we had resigned ourselves to the fact it would be mid-January before we heard something about our travel. Anyways I hung up the phone and was sobbing. Caleb kept saying "Oh Mommy please stop crying!" I said but God is just so good…he has been so good to us. We had a great day of celebrating with family and rejoicing over the fact that even though we sometimes feel forgotten by God…he is so good and his gifts are better than what we could even imagine.

So we are traveling to Thailand sometime around January 21st and should be home around February 3rd. We will actually meet Grace on the 25th and get to keep her with us on the 27th!

I think what Granny heard from the Lord is true for all of us this night as we prepare for Christmas tomorrow…look up…joy comes in the morning!

So here we are on January 5th preparing to leave for Thailand in just a little over two weeks. We will be traveling to Bangkok on Wednesday January 21st and will return home as of now on February 3rd. Due to the time it takes to process Grace's visa we may be home a couple days earlier. We will do our best to post pictures and information on our blog while we are in Thailand to keep our family (especially Caleb) and our friends updated. Thanks to those of you who have been a part of praying us through this journey...please continue to pray for us!!!