Friday, April 28, 2006

Learning about each other

Fortunately, the sleep schedule seems to be working itself out. Thankgoodness! And, we are slowly figuring out his like & dislikes. Mostly dislikes. He love Cheerios, bathtime, his walker, being held and music. He does not like, his carseat, diaper changes, the dogs, getting dressed,laying on his back or grass. I sat him down in the thick grass to take a picture and he started crying and holding up his feet up in the air so they didn't touch the grass. ??? Odd but hilarious.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A long night

Sydney couldn’t wait to get to school this morning and show off her new brother. Mrs. Tawnya had Sydney teach the class the Korean word for big sister. I cannot type out the character but it is pronounced “Noon na”.

Unlike everyone else in the family Sydney was well rested for school today. Andrew kept us up from 2:00 – 5:00 am. We tried the bottle and changing his pants but that didn’t work. It wasn’t that type of cry either; it was an “I’m scared” cry. Andrew does not like to be left alone or put down. I think he fears we will leave him, since everyone else he knows has, first his birth mom, then his foster mom, then his escorts. I tried rocking and back rubs just so he knew I was still there, but after a few minutes the panic cry started up again. I put him in bed with us but it didn’t make much difference. So, it was a long night. But as morning broke the happy, smiling baby returned. I’m sure it’s nothing that time and trust won’t fix.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Another great day

Thanks to everyone who has emailed and called. Well, so far everything is going great!

This morning he ate Cheerios, bananas and most of a jar of squash. I was told he would not eat jarred baby food but he doesn't seem to have a problem with it. But the Cheerios are his favorite. When he runs out he starts banging on the highchair tray. Then I grab the box and he squeals with excitement :)

After breakfast we got dressed and played. I think he had a walker in Korea because the moment I set him in it he took off across the kitchen. Thank goodness he like it because that is the only time you can put him down. He loves being held and cries when you put him down or walk out of sight. Right now I am not complaining but hopefully it gets better over time.

He is okay with the dogs when he is in the high chair but not on the floor. I guess he likes being above them. I'm sure he will get used to them over time.

We opened the gift the foster mom sent home. Inside was his Hanbok which he wore to his first birthday party, a disposable camera, one of the toys we sent to him and a letter.

We had the camera developed and sure enough he was in a walker. That explains his liking to it. There were also pictures of his 1st birthday party (Korean Tol Ceremony).

Our neighbors dropped by for a quick visit. Dr. & Mrs. Chae and Susan are Korean so they were eager to meet him. As soon as Andrew made eye contact with them he smiled and happily went to each of them. He defiantly recognized his fellow countrymen. J Dr. Chae took the foster mom letter home and he will translate it for us.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Today's The Day" ~Mel Fisher

What a day to start a new chapter in our lives. We awoke to a beautiful spring morning, the birds were singing and Sydney (not a morning person) happily jumped out of bed and said, “are we going to Atroit?” We departed Canton, Ohio around 8:00 am and arrived at Detroit International Airport shortly before noon.

We made our way down the stairs to the international arrivals area; I felt the butterflies in my stomach as the ”frosted doors” came into view. The time flew by and before we knew it was 2:06 pm and the flight arrivals board changed to LANDED. Ahhhh! Andrew was finally in the same country, in the same building, who knew that simple word could bring such relief and at the same time such anxiety.

We were glued to the railing, raising our cameras, and gasping every time the big door opened. Then finally at 3:05 pm it happened! The door slid open and two escorts appeared pushing and carrying three little ones: Lilly, Andrew & Andrew! I had been so worried that I would not recognize him but I was so wrong. As soon as they appeared before us my eyes locked onto the smiling baby in the backpack. I shouted and pointed, “That’s Andrew”. He laughed and smiled and reached right out for me. Wow! What an incredible moment.

For the next hour Andrew happily reached out for every Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Sister who was looking to hold him. Our escorts Kim & Mary were awesome, despite traveling for over 24 hours they delivered three clean, happy and well rested babies. They described Andrew as “Party Boy” apparently he was ready to socialize with and entertain anyone on board. Kim also said he was a fussy sleeper and steals toys from the other babies. That might sound negative but I just laughed thinking how much that sounds like Sydney. He will fit right in.

Although he did not enjoy the car seat he eventually fell asleep on the ride home. About half way he woke up and started to fuss and cry but a toy truck and Gerber Biscuit quickly quieted him.

As we pulled in the driveway Sydney instantly transformed into a tour guide. She couldn’t wait to show him his room, toys and most of all the dogs! We put the dogs on the deck and he crawled right over to the door and stared at them. After a few kisses on the hand they were all friends.

During bath time we discovered a few Mongolian Spots (a bruise like birthmark, common in Asian children, most will fade within a few years).

Finally we had Cheerios and an entire jar of Bananas before crashing for the night.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ready to go

Well, we are as ready as we will ever be. We plan to leave the house early tomorrow morning; Detroit is about a three-hour drive. The airport greeter from the adoption agency will meet us outside the US Customs doors about one hour prior to arrival. Hopefully they will make it through customs quickly but I have heard of babies & escorts being held up for hours. One can imagine all the paperwork they must sort through.

On the other side of the doors, Andrew will have quite a welcoming committee….myself, Matt, Sydney, my parents, Matt’s dad and his wife Liz, Angie and her boyfriend David and Matt’s mom, Pam is flying into Detroit from Tampa just long enough to meet her new grandson.

Below is the flight schedule. If you want to track the flight I posted a few links. Although the most accurate info will not be transmitted until the flight reaches Canadian airspace.

Northwest Airlines

April 22, 2006
Depart Seoul on Northwest # 8 at 11:10 am
Arrive in Tokyo at 1:35 pm

April 22, 2006
Depart Tokyo on Northwest #26 at 3:00 pm
Arrive in Detroit at 1:45 pm

Flight Tracking

The meeting point

This is the infamous "frosted door" that many adoptive families speak of. It is the United States Customs doorway which separates the international flight concourse from the general public. I have been hearing stories of it for months now and tomorrow I get to see it in person. I'm sure we will be pressed against that railing, gasping for breath every time the door opens.

The journey has begun....

Andrew’s journey home has officially begun. Right now it is 10:30 pm in Seoul, Korea and Andrew’s foster mom has said her goodbyes and he will spend the night at the KSS Orphanage. After caring for him for nine months I can only imagine the loss they must both feel right now. Mrs. Lee must be a very strong woman to take on such a selfless job. I cannot put into words the gratitude I have for her. Even though he is in a strange place and without his “Oma” hopefully, Andrew will get some sleep. In the morning he will wake up early and head to the airport.

We all understand that foster care is not forever and making this journey is whats best for the child. Unfortunately the babies do not.

I'm sorry to be a downer this morning, I really am happy. I guess I am just trying to imagine what Andrew is going through today. Thank goodness children are resilient.

~Heather Lavelle

P.S.Approximately 10:00 pm tonight (our time) Andrew along with two other babies will board the plane in Seoul.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sydney's Birthday

Big sister Sydney turned 4 years old today.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


8 months and 6 days ago we submitted our adoption application. Then came the paperwork; financial records, reference letters, background checks, social worker visits, we were even fingerprinted by the Dept. of Homeland Security. Then shortly before Thanksgiving we received a picture of our son. A seven month old, baby boy named Lee Min Shik.

We have carried around his picture; purchased gifts and clothes, even celebrated his birthday with a cake. Every day falling more in love with this little boy we have never met.

Until now!!!!! We are thrilled to announce that on April 22, 2006, Lee Min Shik, now named Andrew David Min Lavelle will be coming home. Along with an agency escort, he will take a 16-hour flight from Seoul, South Korea to Detroit, Michigan. Where we will meet him for the very first time.

We are ecstatic! Thanks again for all your support. We cannot wait to show off our new addition! I will try and keep the webpage updated over the next week so you can all enjoy this roller coaster journey with us.

Heather, Matthew & Sydney Lavelle

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Although it is only April 6th here in the US, in Seoul, Korea it is April 7th, and Andrew’s first birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!!!

In Korea a child’s first birthday is cause for great celebration. In the past, the death rate for children was extremely high due to lack of medical information and childhood diseases. In turn, many children died before their first birthday.

To celebrate this milestone a Tol Ceremony is held for the child. This involves wearing a traditional outfit called HanBok and a variety of objects are placed in front of the child. Whatever object they pick up first predicts their future. For example a pencil means he will become a scholar, thread equals long life, money equals wealth, etc.

We had hoped to keep with tradition and have a Tol Ceremony for Andrew here. But, since he is still in Korea, we can only hope that his foster family celebrates for us. The odds are in our favor, when Jamie (Andrew’s foster brother) came home Mrs. Lee sent along his HanBok and pictures of his Tol. I hope she does the same for Andrew.