Monday, November 19, 2007

First Steps

No, I don't have pictures of it, but Ilona took her first steps last night! And, I am happy to stay, it was me, her Mum, she was toddling to. She only took a few unassisted steps before falling into my arms laughing and clapping, but they definitely were unassisted.

Just thought I'd share!

Love Tina

Friday, November 2, 2007

Erin, this is for you!

Top Picture =Ilona
Bottom Picture = Maia
I am so sorry that it has been so long since I've posted. It has been busy, between work and home life with the girls. Plus I'm still figuring out some quirks with our camera and getting images loaded up. I have vowed to be better about taking pictures of the girls... mostly because I know that they will want them when they get older.
Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the girls. They already look alot different than this - these were taken in September - but it is better than nothing for now! I'll get some newer pictures up soon.
The girls are doing great. Ilona keeps fooling us into thinking that she'll be walking at any minute and just keeps holding off. Maia, who is physically not ready to walk yet, doesn't know it and keeps doing all sorts of dare devil things which she thinks very funny.

Ilona is a pretty serious, focused girl but when she graces you with a smile it just lights you up. She likes to study things and figure out how they work. When she laughs she has the biggest belly laugh you can imagine. She is very easy and so pleasant to be around.
Maia is a little minx. She laughs and smiles all the time. She is very social. Her new best friends are the dogs. She loves to watch them. She reaches to touch their noses and then throws her head back cracking up.
The dogs are really awesome with both girls. Last thing before bed the dogs patrol around upstairs and push into each of the girls rooms, walk up to the cribs, put their paws up to check inside to make sure everything is ok. Only then, once they check in on the girls, will they settle down for the night.
We are really lucky that the girls are continuing to sleep wonderfully. Last night they went to bed around 7:00 pm. I woke up this morning about 5:15, bathed, dressed, made coffee, looked at catalogs and finally decided to go wake them up around 7:00. That is 12 hours!
We are all very happy and it is just a wonder and a joy to have been blessed enough to be Maia and Ilona's parents.
Love to all,

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Alike and More Apart

Not much new to report, and not much time either. Just a quick note that as Maia is growing she is starting to look more and more like Ilona. We are all starting to make mistakes about who is who!

Also, since Ilona has decided she only wants to sleep at 45 minute intervals, and we are constantly worried she is going to wake up her sister, we've decided to move them into two separate rooms. We tried that last night and had the best night sleep we've had in a while. The girls are so different from each other, aside from their appearances, that it seems that as unique individuals they need to have their unique spaces right now.

Also, to ponder, I find it interested that the girls DNA is exactly the same, and their environment has been exactly the same yet their personalities are so very different. I guess the piece that is different is their souls. It seems like some proof of something other than that which we can define and measure. I love it.

Love Tina

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Finally ... An Update!

Hi everyone,

So sorry for the delay in posting. We've had our hands full. Quickly, here is a summary:

1. The trip home - was hell. There were several delays and door to door was close to 40 hours. We were delayed in Atlanta several hours and when we finally got on the plane we sat on the runway for hours in 104 degree heat. The girls were as good as could be expected but they were just over the whole thing. If they went to sleep they would wake up, look around and whine that they were still in a plane. I can totally understand.

2. The adjustment - the girls are doing great, although their previous 10 hour sleeping per night was reduced to 1 hour when we first got home. We 've been building it up from there trying to get them back on schedule. Both Maia and Ilona have had sleep issues, mostly related to adjustment as would be expected with an institutionalized child. First we went through some issues with Maia, which resolved quickly. We are currently going through some issues with Ilona. This is totally normal and to be expected but knowing that it is normal doesn't make us parents feel more rested and refreshed! They are both extremely mobile, which we weren't counting on before we left. We thought we'd have a little time before they were all over the place but they've hit the ground running, almost literally. Ilona is trying to walk (she couldn't even crawl when we picked her up) and Maia is doing this weird little crawl that propels her across the room faster than can be beleived.

3. Their health - is great. On Wednesday we went to a well known International Adoption Department in one of our major hospitals and spent over 5 hours with a doctor and occupational therapists that specialize in internationally adopted kids. To say they were pleased with Maia and Ilona would be an understatement. Both are bonding extremely well, which they were pleased about most of all as they see alot of bonding issues. Ilona was rated as being above her age in development and Maia right on. The only issue is that Maia isn't even on the height-weight chart and the doctor said that if she hadn't examined her she'd say she was "failure to thrive" however she is clearly thriving. Although we are running a bunch of tests they think she is just small and didn't get the food attention at the orphanage. She should catch up somewhat but may always be on the small side. The only thing is the doctor does not want them in daycare for at least another two months, and doesn't want us to use a nanny either. The doctor wants at least one of us, if not both of us, to be with them for this time. I am definitely not going to be able to comply with that directive however we are hoping to work something out where Al can stay home with them with a helper.

We go out quite a bit, to restaurants and other outings. The girls are really great with other people but are starting to want to make sure that Mom and Dad are around. Whereever we go we create quite a stir. This morning after church we went to our diner where all the waitresses ran up to the girls, grabbed them and took them around to all of the other tables and back into the kitchen. They are known as "the stars" there. Maia just laughs at everyone she sees, Ilona just checks everyone out.

My Mom has been with us since we got home, thank the Lord. I don't know how we'd function without the extra pair of hands but suffice to say we'd probably still have our suitcases piled in the kitchen. I don't know if there are any Mom's of twins out there that have handled both kids by themselves, but God Bless You... I cannot even imagine how it would be possible.

I'm sorry it has been so long since I've posted but between the girls sleep schedules and the issues we've had with our phone lines I just haven't been able to keep up. Also, if you've sent me any emails I probably haven't gotten to them yet, my service is excutiatingly slow and even though we just signed up for the fastest service available we are still struggling.

Thanks for all of your best wishes, thoughts and prayers. I can't tell you how much it means to all of us that you've been there through the journey with us. The girls are just so lucky to have you as a community. What a beautiful thing.

Love from Tina

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

First and Last Post from Hanoi

Hi everyone,

As you've probably figured out by now I do not have easy access to the computer in Hanoi. Plus, if anyone from work is reading this I cannot access my work email. We'll be home Thursday afternoon at 5:00 - hopefully - so we can catch up on all the fun stuff (Holly) on Friday.

A quick briefing:

Sunday - we left HCMC for Hanoi. The girls were great on the flight. Maia slept the whole time except when we were landing and her ears bothered her for a minute. Carolyn had Ilona cracking up in the back of the plane so loudly that the entire cabin was laughing. We got to the Sheraton and settled in for a few days stay. The room is really small. Al and I had to move all the furniture around to try to make room for two cribs. It is a room, not an apartment like we had in Saigon, so it has been a bit harder. Our luggage is in the bathtub, chairs are piled up on each other, etc, but we are making do.

Monday - Went for a walk in the morning, bought some groceries. We'll be glad to have US diapers. The diapers here are like paper. We had our interview with the US Embassy Monday afternoon, which went well. I met a wonderful family (Sarah) who had been following our blog and were at the Embassy at the same time. It was great to meet them and I hope they get all of their paperwork done in time to catch their flight Friday. We'll have our fingers crossed for you!

Tuesday - We took a tour of Hanoi, which was great. We went to the Presidential complex, the tomb of Ho Chi Minh, the one pillar pagoda, the temple of literature and then into old city. Then home for naps for the girls. At 4:30 we picked up their passports with visa entries into the US, so we were free to go at that point. Thank God. We are all just dying to get home. The other families that we are traveling with are leaving after us - we are the first ones out by several days - so it is really hard for them. We are all just wanting to be home and get settled in. Living out of the suitcase for three weeks with the little ones has been a challenge.

Wednesday - we are leaving for the airport at 9:00 pm tonite. We'll fly from Hanoi to Saigon leaving at 1:00 am Thursday. Then we'll catch our 15 hour flight to the states. We are scheduled to land back at home at around 5:00 pm Thursday. I CANNOT WAIT. We just want to be home. I think I've said that enough.

Sorry, no pictures to post, and this will be the last post until we are home.

Thanks to everyone for reading our journey and cheering for us from afar. We can't wait to see you.

Love Tina

PS- Jessica - Ilona is in 3-6 month clothes. We think she weighs about 16 lbs. I'm not sure of her pampers size. We bought huggies with us but they are long since used up. They are using small Korean diapers now. Good luck!

Friday, August 3, 2007


Please note I have uploaded several posts below this one. I've had a dreadful time getting a connection the past couple of days. Lots of error messages, page not availables, etc. There have been blackouts here in Saigon so that might have been part of the problem.
Friday we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This was a from the war when they Vietcong created an underground village of sorts. Not my thing but I knew what I was getting into before I went so enough said on that front.
Attached are a couple of pictures of the girls.
1. Cute sisters, Maia on left. Check out her hair. It is growing straight up the back of her head - which is probably why the orphanage kept their hair cut short. Ilona's is starting to do that too. Sooner or later it will come back down, right?
2. and 3. I'll let you decide which is which.
Wasn't I cruel to put those pants on them? Maia's were so big her Dad had them pulled all the way up to her armpits. I pulled them back down. Obviously we are going to need some fashion intervention.
Michele, thanks for your comments. They are starting to look more and more alike. They are 8 months now.
Love Tina


On Thursday we took a 4 hour tour on cyclos (pronounced sicklow). I was nervous at first, because the traffic here is insane and to be out in the street crossing major intersections, riding on the equivalent of I95 with a baby strapped to your chest seemed a little reckless. However I did relax after we got moving. We went to two different temples which were beautiful. On one of the last legs of the tour I saw a little shack near one of the temples that had a ceremonial outfit on display. I had our guide help me neogtiate the purchase because it was so unbelievably beautiful. Bright red with lots of beads. I really loved the headdress and boots but there was no way we could figure how to bring them on the plane. I did get the robe, which turns out was one that the Buddhist priests wear during some of their ceremonies.

I have a couple of pictures attached.

Oh, one thing about the cyclos... when you are at an intersection you can see the light counting down from green till when it will turn red. 10, 9, 8, 7 etc. As the cyclos do not stop for the lights and just barrel headlong into oncoming traffic this count down is actually quite helpful. It is nice to know the exact moment you are going to die.

1. Al in cyclo with Ilona

2. Cyclos lined up outside of a temple

3. Tina in priest robe

Love Tina