Monday, June 29, 2009

Ready To Kick It BD Style!

HUH? Yeah time to kick it BD (Binh Duong) style with our VN travel buddies Rich, Jackie and Mya! We are looking forward to re-uniting the girls and spending time with the three of them! We also will be making an appearance to Hank's sister's family since they are so close and a first time meeting Sophie for Uncle Chris, and the rest of Team Hognon! WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO IT EVERYONE!

Ah......the Vine in Ha Noi on our last night :-(

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Palmettos & Gardens

Sophie and Poppa invaded the Palmetto State the other weekend to visit with Moots and Big Top and help celebrate Moots' birthday. We had a wonderful time and I know we were both tired when we got home. Sophie did very well on the flights.
In SC we enjoying the zoo, swimming, riding in the golf cart around the neighborhood and just having lots of fun! Thanks Moots and Big Top! We had a great time.

Riding in the air-mane


FREAKY LOOKIN CAT ANIMAL, THING.. LOL

Drawing with Big Top out at dinner.

Moots and SLNB!

Smiles and laughs.

Party time!


Birthday wishes!


Riding the horse at the zoo.

Feeding the Lorikeets...

and the giraffe...Sophie was freaked out...


Water fun in the fountain

Swimming with Moots

Loving life..


Um yeah, that is a TON of newspapers and underneath it, the same amount of cardboard to what is the start to Sophie's flower garden. Hank had to dumpster dive at the recylce center to grab enough newspapers. We were just looking for the coupon to Lowe's :-). Anywho, beginning this fall we will begin planting as soon as everything is composted. We hope our girl will enjoy it for years to come.
Anyone find the Sports section?

Tons of peat moss later, we are composting!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Being a Father

Being a father....Never thought I would be able to actually experience it. With all that Tricia and I went through, my first Father's Day was very special. Not only was it awesome it had some very special moments. I was able to watch my daughter with my own eyes. Watch her laugh, play, cry, sing, dance all in one day. One year ago she was half way around the world, not knowing how much her Poppa loved her and missed her, even after just seeing her picture 48 hours before.
As we sat at dinner tonight, she looked over at me, held out her arms wide and said, "Poppa...hug....Poppa hug". WOW! Sophie is a loving little girl, but never had she said that to me. She will give a kiss when asked to, but she really has not just reached out like that to me. That was something I will never forget.
We really had a nice day. No bouncing around from place to place, just enjoying the family and the wonderful humidty here in St. Louis on the first day of summer. I began work yesterday on what will be "Sophie's Garden". A special place with beautiful flowers and that "Rock" we had in our garden last year.
I am very fortunate to be a father to such a wonderful little girl. I thank God each and every day for her. As we put her to bed tonight, I picked her up so she can turn out the "big light", we said night night to "cat that waves", night night to Mr. Binh and night night to Spicy like we always do. She gave me a big squeeze and I thanked her for making me a father. I now know what all the other father's feel like. And for that, I am forever grateful.


Poppa's Angel in the Moon...I love you Sophie!

A good word to live by.....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Legal Fun

Right now we are eyes deep in legal papers to have the state of Missouri legally recognize Sophie's adoption. Since she was adopted in Viet Nam, Missouri does not formally accept that when it comes to Sophie being an heir. So, in lieu of going through re-adopting her, there was a new law that allows internationally adopted children to be recognized by the state and serves the same purpose as a re-adoption..HMMM!! Yes there are some smart things our government here in Missouri does!

There is, yes you guessed it, more paperwork to complete, filing a petition with the family court, supplying them with proof of adoption, her birth certificate, proof of immigration and citizenship, and expenses, yaada, yaada. Amongst all of the recognition of adoption papers is the section in there to legally change her name to Sophie Lee-Nguyen Belz. Everything we do when it involves doctors, school papers, etc uses her birth name, since technically and legally that IS here name, but to everyone else she is Sophie.
All of this recognition of adoption/name change stuff CAN be done without an attorney, but we have one helping us out pro bono which is nice. If anyone is in Missouri who would like info please let us know. So we have to have a few notarisations and then our attorney will file the petition on our behalf next week sometime at the court house. He is going to try and push up our court date. Right now we are looking at 6-8 weeks to get in front of the judge. With the waiting that we had to do, that really is not much but we want to get everything all wrapped up and out of the way.

Look this weekend for pix and more from Sophie's trip to South Carolina! But to hold you over, here is one...

Feeding the Lorikeets at the Riverbanks Zoo.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Call Of A Lifetime...One Year Later

It was Friday, June 13th. I was home waiting for Trish to return from work. It had been a long week, we were very down and depressed and the day before Trish almost had a nervous breakdown with the looming 9/1 deadline. Her post from 6/12/08 said this,
"Today I wake up as I do every morning wondering if today will be the day. I wake up every morning at 2:15 a.m, 3:33 a.m (make a wish) and lay there for another 30 mins. wondering what will happen today. I know I'll spend an hour and a half getting ready for work, and thoughts will flow through my head. Thoughts about will today be the day, will I have a good day and what can I do to make it the best day. I get into my car drive to work and most days I'm happy to be alive and blessed to have a great job and I know that I will not think about this turmoil if I just keep busy. However, today is a different day. My heart hurts, a hurt like I have never felt before. I feel the pain in my throat. Most days I just go through the motions, day after day after day. On my way home every single night I am very angry and I don't understand WHY NO ONE CALLED TODAY! WHY WHY WHY? What have I done? Why have we been dealt card after card after card. Five years of marriage we have done nothing but fight through life. Why can one person have everything perfect, but others have to climb a huge mountain every single minute. It's not fair. As I try to not "lose the faith" it's very hard to keep that positive attitude. Today I am sad and for once I want the world to know that we are human and we feel pain and today I AM VERY SAD."
And then the next day, it happened. At 4:43pm on 6/13/08, Judy called and asked where Tricia was. I said at work, She said, "well I been trying to reach her, so I wanted to let you know that, we have a little girl for you!". I was numb, excited, anxious, everything all at once. It was like when we drove up on the CWC in Binh Duong and saw her sitting on that bench. I wanted to call Tricia and tell her, but decided to wait until she got home. I just kept looking at the pictures, saying, its you....you are OUR daughter! It took no time at all to fall in love with her. Tricia got home I said, hey come on in here, took her to my man cave, turned on the monitor and up popped Sophie's picture. I said, "What do you think?" Tricia said, "she is so cute!" I said, "That's our daghter" then the tears came. Wow...What a beautiful day. We love you Sophie! Happy Match Day!!! You are our little girl an we just are head over heals about you and the joy you have brought us!

Then.....


Now.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Six Months....

Today marks six months since we became a family. Wow how our little girl has advanced. We had out six month post placement visit on Saturday morning and our social worker was just in awe at how well and advanced Sophie is in relation to other foreign adopted children she has seen in her age range. That was our final visit from Holt in person. We though still have yearly reports to Holt and the Vietnamese government until she turns 18. Sad to say that Sophie though has had a nasty fever and throwing up over the past 36 hours, but needless to say she is so worth it.
We are almost ready to file the recognition of adoption and legal name change with the state. In Missouri, we do not have to re-adopt her. A law that was passed awhile ~1997 back allows recognition of an foreign child, who was legally adopted in another country to just file a petition and go to court..simple and around $165. We have a very nice attorney who is taking care of all the paperwork etc, at no charge! So hopefully in the coming month(s) we will be in court!

It seemed just like yesterday when we signed our names to the ledger. That hot, sweltering DOJ room. We would do it over in a heart beat though!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A BIG GIANT THANK YOU...GRANDAD AND MEMA

What a busy week we have had. Last Saturday we had the 11th annual cancer survivors hip walk! Team Sarcoma had a team of 45 people! We rocked our red shirts and walked for those who have survived cancer, those who are battling cancer and those who have unfortunately lost the battle. This is the 5th year for Team Sarcoma and each year our team grows and grows. I would graciously like to thank everyone who participated in the walk this year. It means so much to me.
Grandma (or Sophie calls her Me Ma) and Grandad have spent the entire week with us. And Sophie has had A BLAST! She has had a lot of one on one time with them and they love to spoil their only grandchild. It is amazing how much she had learned in the past week and we love to see how happy she is with them. They took her to Grant's farm and she could not stop talking about horsey and goat's and ducks. Sophie finally got to use her pool that Uncle Bub bought her for Easter and if it was up to her she would sleep in it. So funny because she used to hate water. Just another milestone to write down. She made pudding, meatloaf and tuna salad this week as well. Sunday we went with Uncle Mike and Kayla (Yeahla) to the carnival. She had her first snow cone, rode the carousel and the motorcycles. I almost feel like I have been on vacation this week (well except for the crazy work we I have had) because everything is Me Ma and Da Da. I mean everything! When it's time to potty, eat or bath she wants me to step aside and let Me Ma and Da Da do it.
Sophie continues to amaze us every single day. She speaks very well and can put together a sentence of 4 words. And potty training... wow, a piece of cake.
Poppa has been gone for a couple of days and this is why I called in my parents to help. It's not like I had to twist their arm or anything :) . I have enjoyed watching my parents with her this week and it makes me so happy to see Sophie so happy with them. The joy on my parents face everyday they are with her is priceless and it touches my heart. They have to leave tomorrow and it will be very hard for Sophie as well as me. The time with them is amazing, but it's always hard to say good bye. So thank you Mom and Dad (or Me Ma and Da Da) for being so amazing and for the help.


3 musketeers!


Belz Family

Nap time!

WEEEEE!


Uncle Bub, Sophie and Mommy

Team Sarcoma


Fritz's!

video
He hasn't done this since I was 2!