Sunday, April 10, 2016

Day 1 & 2 (April 9th & 10th)

We really feel that we have been blessed with a very very special baby.

Ben has slept, fed, and pooped really well :).  Seems like a weird thing to say, but we had no idea how this was going to work since we were told that he enjoyed party-ing all night, and slept during the day.  So far it seems to be the opposite.

It was wonderful to have Sheldon's brother Blaine here as well.  We had to say our goodbyes today, as we rode with him on the train to the airport.  Thanks for making the little detour to spend some time with us Blaine.  We all loved having you here!  Eli loved riding on the train today.



Yesterday (Saturday), Eli, Blaine and Sheldon went to a Florida Panthers game.  We had a great time, and it gave Hilary some alone time with Ben.  The Panther's game was fun, and we had a blast, eating popcorn, chatting, and ultimately watching a Florida Panther's win.

We also went to a swap shop.  Hilary and I thought it looked very similar to something that we would have seen in Ethiopia.  Obviously not as many people, but still a crazy crazy market to be a part of.  Just about everything you've ever needed is in that market.  Usually not very good quality, but it still has it's benefit.

Today Ben had his moments of frustration with us, but as we type this at 8:30 pm, he is peacefully sleeping in his bed.  We are learning what positions he likes, and what things just make him mad.  Funny how such a little guy, can command so much of us :)

We are still waiting for one piece of paperwork to get home, and we hope to see this by Monday or Tuesday.  We have booked our flights back to Minneapolis for Tuesday night (arriving early early Wednesday morning), and then we are hoping to be able to get into Winnipeg on Wednesday evening.  Please pray for quick document processing, and safe travels all the way home.

And a little teaser for seeing this brotherly love for realz!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Introducing Benjamin Jeremy Dueck

We would like you all to meet our new son, Benjamin Jeremy.  He was born on March 23rd, and has stolen all of our hearts already.

In what has been a very busy and stressful week, we were able to leave Winnipeg on Thursday around noon, and arrive at our hotel in the wee morning of Friday, April 8th.  We met up with my brother, Blaine, who had coincidentally been in Florida for a conference.  We all tried to sleep, although not well, and were ready and itching to get to the adoption agency for our 11:30 meeting.  We had some meetings, met lots of wonderful people and had to sign lots of paperwork, but around 4:00 pm local time, we were leaving with Benjamin in our arms.

We went out for a celebratory meal (we were all famished from a long day without lunch), and returned to the hotel.  We will have more to post later, but here's the main gist of the day :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The trip that didn't quite go as planned...

We're back.  Remember us?
We wish this post was of a more positive variety, but sadly, our adoption plans for the end of January fell through at the last minute.  The birth mother changed her mind at the very last minute, and we did not become a family of 4.

We thank everyone for their prayers and support as we traveled to Florida, and then had our hearts broken, and traveled back home.  As we've dealt with the aftermath of this trip, we received quite a few questions about the process.  

Why haven't we shared this publicly on Facebook, and this blog, like we did with Elijah's story.
In Elijah's story, it was easier to share the story since he was already born, and by the time we found about him, there were not a lot of things that were up for discussion.  Elijah was already born (he was 1.5 or so when we got the referral), and it was basically up to the judge to make a declaration that he was our son (or not).  In this scenario we were are not supposed to share about the details of the "referral.".  Obviously there were a few people who were aware of it, and when we began travelling to Florida, it was pretty obvious why we were doing so.

Why did we travel to Florida before the baby was born?
First of all, for those who are considering Florida as an adoption option, please know that it is totally not recommended that we travel.  The province is not in favor of it, and the agency here is opposed to travel.  So then, why would we have gone?  Long story short, the birth mother expressed that she would like us down there.  We made the decision to travel against agency recommendations.  Of course, we all know now that this trip ended up not being a fruitful trip, however, we have also been asked whether we regret making this trip.  We do not.  If we had not traveled, we would have always wondered whether us not travelling was the reason she made the decision that she did.  We will always know that we made our best attempt at adopting this child.  Ultimately it failed, but we did everything we could.  Another reason we do not regret this trip is because we were able to meet our agency representatives down in Florida.  What delightful people they are.  We had great chats with them, and we see that they really do care.  We also were able to have very frank discussions about the process, and where we go from here.  Awesome connections we were able to make there.  Also, we had a great time having Melissa all to ourselves.  We didn't have Blaine or the kids to distract her, we got to spend good quality time with our sister in law (Blaine, we love you and the kids as well, we hope you understand :) ).

Why DID she change her mind?
We do not know the reasons for her to change her, but she has that option.  The baby is her baby, not ours until she signs consent which she can only sign after 48 hours.  We wish that she would have made the other decision, but we understand that this is the process, and it is her decision.

Where do we go from here?
We will re-enter the process, and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for a referral/match.  We have a new appreciation for the process, and we have a few tasks to complete before we get another match.  We learned that we have an awesome support system in place.  The phone calls, texts, emails, and FB messages we received provided us with some much needed support while we were stuck there all alone.  We learned just how bad the US/Cdn rate is, and how expensive everything is in Florida during "the season".  We know how much we dislike the Miami airport and getting to it :).

What positives did we take from this trip?
We had a great time at Sea World.  We really enjoyed our hotel.  It was great to meet up with some church friends in Orlando.  Here are some pictures of our trip.

Enjoying supper at the Texas Roadhouse on the way down.
Eli enjoyed the flight, but luckily he did get some sleep.
Melissa was a godsend... Cooking, washing dishes....
...Reading and playing with Eli.
Eli and Hilary enjoyed swimming at our hotel.....
.... a lot.  I think they averaged almost twice a day.
We were lucky to meet up with some church friends before heading off to Sea World.
Thank you guys for everything in Orlando!
On the way in.  We weren't grumpy yet :)
Eli enjoyed the animals....
... but really enjoyed all the rides.
Especially the train!
We need to work on his smiling (for pictures), but we needed a pose in front of the killer whales.

Even Sheldon went on a ride or two.  Only the kiddo rides though.

These 3 were still smiling at the end of the SeaWorld trip.

Eli was fascinated with the emergency instructions on the plane.
Lots of questions about why and how people would maneuver on the water.

We were incredibly blessed by friends and family who left some encouragement
when we returned home.
Thank you for all the prayers and support from all over.  We felt the support and still feel the support as we begin to process what happened.  We have returned back to our regular routine.  We can't wait to share any news that receive and are allowed to share, with all of you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

We're Back!

For all those who are still following this blog and apparently there are still a few hits each day.  Interestingly, we had 34 hits from The Netherlands last week.  Great that we have an audience so far away.

It's been over a year since we posted anything here, and we think it's time to resurrect the old blog.  And we're going to re-start with a bang.

We're adopting again!  After a few months of paperwork, we've finally submitted our application, and from what our friends at the agency tell us, it is now on it's way to Florida!

Some may ask why we are not heading back to Ethiopia, and the answer is not always this simple, but the short answer is that there seems to be more and more uncertainties there.  We have been extremely blessed to have adopted Elijah, and all the trials and tribulations that got us to Eli were necessary for us to be able to find each other.  But going forward, we made the decision to adopt from Florida.

If anyone has any questions about it, we'd love to answer them.  We will try and keep you all updated as we move forward.

We also felt that there were a few people (especially those family and friends that are so far away, and not on Facebook), who might appreciate an update, and pictures.  Eli is doing great.  The bonding process has been great, and Eli is very much looking forward to a brother or sister (or both if he had his way).

Friday, September 13, 2013

We're Live!

Our file is live!

What does this mean for us?  It means we are once again in a bit of a state of limbo.  Many of our plans we make for the next year may have contingencies attached.  Yes, we will commit to being involved, unless......  So be prepared for this.

When we say that our file is live, it means that our file will start being shown to birth mothers who match the profile we completed back when we were applying.  If you think about this, it also means that timelines are not necessarily relevant as it just takes one birth mother to make that decision.  However, the basic timelines that we have been given is 9 - 18 months.  We could theoretically be chosen at any point in the pregnancy cycle, so we could need to be ready to jump on a weeks notice or we may have a few months notice that something is going to happen.

Please continue to pray for our little family and that we would be able to have patience and not spend too much time worrying and wishing things would move faster.  Please also pray for the birth mothers in Florida who have to make such decisions, and finally for the little one who will eventually join our family.

So the next number of months will be spent trying to make sure we are ready for another child, preparing Eli for the responsibility of being a big brother, and just enjoying the not so hectic life as a family of 3, before another little one adds their schedule to ours :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

First Month at Home

Wow, how time flies... It has been 3 weeks since we last posted.  We have been home for almost a month now.

Eli is settling in very well.  Other than a recurring ear infection, he is healthy.  We have been seriously lagging behind in finding him a doctor, but hope to remedy that shortly.  He has visited 3 doctors already, and has been great for them.

Sleeping has been a bit difficult as he seems to feel that we have gone away when he wakes up and we are not in his room.  One of us has slept in his room virtually every night so far, and it seems to calm him a bit when he wakes up and looks around.

Eli loves his grandparents.  He has spent lots of time (relative, I suppose, to how much time he really has spent with anyone other than us) with his grandparents.  He loves to play Duplo/Mega Blocks at Grandma and Grandpa Dycks.  He loves to play with a wide variety of toys at Grandma and Grandma Dueck's (especially the little monkeys in a barrel - who knew that could be so much fun).

Eli has also done a bunch of activities, in our first month home.  He has visited the Zoo, the park (a couple of times), swimming at the Y, attended a cousins baseball game and going out to my parents country yard.  He has also visited our workplaces, and our church.  Eli has also had an outing with a dear friend and her 3 children (2 adopted from Ethiopia), and who have been anxiously awaiting his arrival for quite a while now.

Getting up close with the animals

Eli was enthralled with the Caimans (in the alligator family)

The obligatory picture with the polar bear bank at the zoo.

Taking a break from gardening at Grandma and Grandpa Dueck's

First visit to St. Vital Park

The playground at the park.

The first time Eli enjoyed the swing.

Eli has learned that Daddy isn't always home, as I've had a few days where I've been gone for most of the day to take care of some items, including this week when I was in a 4 day golf tournament just north of the city.  He is very excited when one of us has been gone for a period of time, and returns.  He runs to us, and always wants to hug us, and be held for a period of time afterwards.

Eli is making the most of the sign language which Hilary has been teaching him.  He can sign "Please", "More", "Water", "Thank You", "Eat", "Garbage" and a few more.  He can say many words, albeit pronouncing them incorrectly on occasion.  Some of the words that he now says are: Mama, Daddy, Namna (Grandma), and Nampta (Grandpa), Pease (Please), Deet (Zeke), Come (usually used together with Deet, "Deet Come"), Poop, A Dam (Down - working on getting this almost 4 letter word converted to Down, but it is a long process :)), Up, Bekest (Breakfast) and a few more.

Eli and Zeke are getting along quite well.  Although, I'm not sure whether Zeke is all that thrilled that he has lost the priority attention position, he probably does like the fact that he gets a few more walks out of the deal.  If the either of the 2 are a bit cranky, or antsy, one of us will usually take them both for a walk, and this sometimes happens 3 or 4 times a day.  Zeke will often come up into Eli's room when we are getting ready to put him to bed, and will lie at the foot of the bed.  I think these two will be very good friends in the future.
Getting comfortable with each other

Zeke and Eli snuggling in for nap time.
As we move into August, we are hoping to take a little vacation to visit some more cousins, and try a couple of camping trips.  We can't wait to experience all of these things as a family of 3 (4 if you include our dear Zeke in the mix).

It has been a whirlwind month, but we are feeling more and more comfortable daily with our new roles and responsibilities.

Thank you everyone who has been supporting us, and praying for us as we make this transition.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

June 29 - July 6, 2013 - The First Week at Home

So you're all probably wondering where we're staying...  I'm not that ambitious to actually keep this updated on daily basis, so we'll work on trying to keep it updated on a weekly basis from now on.

We had a great first week at home.  We were incredibly blessed by a group of our friends here, who had arranged to keep us fed as we transitioned home.

We had rotisserie chicken, KFC chicken, Hamburgers, pizza, chicken burgers, soup and buns, pulled pork, ethiopian food, Lasagna, and more.  It was an awesome week of food, and we thank all of you once again who contributed.

Even though we are in a process of cocooning, and ensuring that Eli is attaching well to us, we felt that we needed to get out and spend some time outside the home.  As a result, we had a busy week of connecting with some family and some friends, and introducing Eli.  Eli has been showing some real good signs of attaching to us here.  He loves both sets of grandparents already, and really enjoyed spending some time in the pool with Grandpa Dueck.

He met most of the friends that showed up with food, and learned that he may have to start sharing with friends when certain little friends closer to his age showed up to have a look at his stash of toys.  Speaking of toys, we were happily surprised when another adoptive momma and her dear daughter showed up during the week with some toys for Eli to play with. He has really enjoyed those toys, R, and I'm sure you'll see many a picture in the future with familiar toys :).

We went on a little excursion to visit our dear dog, Zeke, who is still being looked after by our friends R&P and their 4 boys.  Eli was a little unsure of Zeke, but as we played and visited with P and the boys, it seems that he warmed up to him just a little bit.  It will take some adjustment, but we think that it is almost time to introduce Zeke and Eli in our house.  This will happen this week.

On Friday morning, the 3 of us went strawberry picking.  We met many friends and even a family member who had been unable to meet Eli until now.  Eli got his first golf cart ride.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself and it was great to show him off again to others, and we got lots of freshly picked strawberry's.

Finally, this afternoon, we went to watch our nephew Z in a baseball tournament.  Eli was happy, and content most of the day, and was able to meet his cousins again, and get to know them a bit more.  It was an exciting baseball game, and he was tuckered out by the time we went to bed this evening.

We learned this week, just how positive our transition has been for Eli.  He has been so very happy, and has traveled so well.  We are blessed to have Eli in our lives.

One of the rare times Eli has fallen asleep in his car seat.

Thanks ASI.  We appreciate our "family" of co-workers

Exploring a new toy from Grandma and Grandpa

Mom and Dad, this water is coooooold!

Thanks to all of our friends who contributed to our meals.
They were all delicious!  Thanks everyone!