This is my blog in which I talk about everything. But if you are interested in just the adoption story click here on "Ethan's Story" or see below under "other blogs" and you can see his blog. This blog contains the same information (my side of the story) but the other one is in a simple form and easier to follow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm back...

I'm so sorry for not updating while we were gone. It was a relief to me that Tyler took it over. There were so many details I would have loved to share with all of you but everything went by so quickly and I was dealing with emotions that were hard to express. I will not attempt to play catch up on all the details of the trip at this point. Once I have a chance to go through our photos I might do a post on a few highlights and thoughts I had.

We are home and finally back to a routine...of sorts. I'm trying to get used to having three kids. It has been interesting with two 2 year old boys who don't always agree that all of Evan's toys should be Ethan's now but do agree that they should be the only one held while mommy is busy. Also, four out of five of us are only just now getting over the jet lag.

Ethan is beginning to warm up to me now. If Tyler manages to sneak away while Ethan is busy we can usually avoid a huge crying session (In Vietnam Ethan used to cry until he intentionally gaged himself and through up. We have learned to keep his fingers away from his mouth!). He now will laugh and play with me if Tyler's not around. He will even come to me with his arms out for a hug or to be's wonderful!

Ethan understands English very well for only being with us about 2 weeks. He also has his first English word! He started saying "bye" and waving to us. :) But I think my favorite thing he says is "cho" (s?). This is his Vietnamese word for aunt. This is what they called the caretakers in the orphanage and now he calls me it all the time (and Tyler which is pretty funny). I love that he has a name for me and I keep thinking "I'm more then your cho...I'm your mommy. I love you and will always be here."

It's been a rough two weeks and often discouraging. I have had to reexamine why we are doing what we are doing. I have had to seek the Lord for strength as I try to reach out to this little child and support Tyler when he is tired. But in the past few days God has blessed me with moments that warm my heart. Just now I went to the other room and Evan came up beside me. I reached down and messed with his hair. Feeling the funny bumps on his head I looked and realized it with Ethan grinning up at me with his sweet smile. Sitting back down at the computer Evan reached up at said "mommy" so I picked him up. Immediately Ethan, who was standing there said "ma" and also reached up. At the moment I am enjoying the warmth of Ethan's little body as he's cuddled up on my lap looking at a is good. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back in the States

Hey everyone, Tyler again. I apologize about not updating for several days. We left for Hanoi on Monday, but when we got there our reservations at the Hanoi Hotel had not been confirmed, so we had an interesting evening of trying to get rooms for everyone in our travelling group. It all worked out, but we had to spend a significantly larger amount on a room that first night than we had originally anticipated (double the amount).

We then had to switch hotels, and the internet at the second hotel wouldn't allow me to access blogger. So, that's why I didn't post.

We received Ethan's visa on Wednesday, flew out Thursday night, and are now back in the states fighting jet lag. Actually, Ethan is fighting it, and therefore so am I. He woke up at 5 this morning and wouldn't go back to sleep so we went to go check e-mail. After 1 1/2 hours he fell back asleep and I am wide awake. Oh well. Time for some coffee.

We'll update with more details about the rest of our trip and some pictures, but I think we're going to try to recuperate a little bit first.

God bless

Friday, November 16, 2007

Details, details...

Tyler here again. Ok, ok, I get the hint. You all want details. Well, let's start from the beginning.

Day 1, Monday: We arrived in Vietnam and were picked up by one of the CHI representatives. We had about 2 1/2 hours to get cleaned up (I believe that is the best shower I have ever had.) and then get to the orphanage. We finally were able to see our son Ethan Loc Scott Larson for the first time. Ellie immediately ran up and gave him a hug. We will get video of this up eventually. Our internet connection was pretty slow yesterday, but I'll get them up! Misty was able to feed him his final meal at the orphanage. We didn't have as much time as we wanted at the orphanage, but were able to meet some of the children in Ethan's room. (Again, pics and video to come!)

During our return trip to the hotel Ethan sat on my lap. He has yet to desire to leave this location. He threw up on me as we were about to get his picture for the visa. That night we put in a video for Ellie and ordered room service. Oh how adventurous we were... hamburgers and fries. :-)

Day 2 Tuesday: We took the picture for the visa at a place across from the Rex Hotel. First time crossing a Vietnamese street... wow. That afternoon we had our G&R or Giving and Receiving Ceremony. It is at this point that Doan Phuc Loc officially became our son. Truly an exciting time, but short. We had to sign and print our names on 4 documents and that was it.

We have found an incredible coffee shop in the area. Actually there are three of them in this chain within a few blocks of the hotel. It's called Highland's Coffee. Those of you who know me know that I really like coffee. Misty has become addicted to it as well. We were very pleased to find out about these places. My new favorite drink is called Ca Phe Sua Da. It's an iced coffee that is very strong, but is sweetened with sweetened condensed milk. If you like it hot it is called Ca Phe Sua Nong, which is also very good. If you enjoy a STRONG cup of coffee try a Vietnamese style of drip coffee. Very strong, but the flavor is wonderful! If you ever come to visit us back in Kansas I'll try to make some up for you. I'm going to pick up the cups for it this evening.

Day 3 Wednesday: That morning I kept the kids while Misty went to apply for a Vietnamese passport for Ethan. She also had a short meeting. That afternoon we went to a Vietnamese hospital for a medical checkup. That was an interesting experience. The lobby of this hospital was under construction. This means that there was dust and debris everywhere. Combine this with it being an open room with no glass in the windows created a very, um, interesting hospital atmosphere. The doctor did a pretty quick examination. He told us that it was "unlikely" that Ethan has hydrocephalus. He gave us some reasons for this, but couldn't give us a reason for his larger than normal cranium; and then jokingly said that he will be "The next big scientist of our day!" Joking about his large skull and brain. ;-) We won't know for sure about the hydrocephalus diagnosis until he has an MRI, so that is still one of our major prayer requests.

That evening we ate at a restaurant along one of the rivers here in Ho Chi Minh City. This was very good. We ordered roast duck that had excellent flavor especially if you dipped it in the accompanying sauce. Difficult for the kids to eat though.

Day 4 Thursday: We took a quick tour of Ho Chi Minh City, specifically to "China Town". During this trip we visited a Buddhist temple. Interesting, but I will expound on my thoughts on the temple from the perspective of a pastor on my blog.

We took the kids swimming that morning and Ethan surprised me with how much he loved it. He really enjoyed the pool. I was also able to visit with an Australian who has been living here for 6 years. He came to Vietnam after 9/11 for a three month contract, but has stayed for 6 years because he just enjoys the people and area. We ate in one of the hotel restaurants. They were a little more pricey than other places around here, so we'll eat elsewhere from now on.

We had more coffee at Highland's that afternoon and Ellie ate a really good banana cake. Because of the time and Ellie eating, we forgot to have supper. We began to regret that at about 9:30 that night. Note, Ratatouille is not a good movie to watch if you're hungry. Too much food involved. It's a good thing there's a free breakfast buffet in the hotel each morning.

Day 5 Friday: We had our CIS interview this morning. It was a long wait to get in, but the lady conducting the interview was very nice. After asking Ellie if she was the big sister, Misty jokingly replied, "She's just some kid we found on the street." Mary Ann, the lady doing the interview said, "That's the wrong thing to say in this office. It's what we're trying to get away from." I'm glad she said that with a smile on her face. :-) Misty also said that she's really enjoying Ho Chi Minh City and would like to stay here longer before we travel to Hanoi. Mary Ann said, "I can arrange that. You'd be amazed at what I can arrange." I, however, would like to stay by choice rather than being forced to.

We ate our lunch today at, you guessed it, Highland's Coffee. I took a break from coffee and had a smoothie. All smoothies and juices in the restaurants around here are made with freshly juiced fruit. I also had the Singapore Style Fried Noodles. This was very good, even the squid tentacles. Mmm, tasty. Actually, it was really good. The beef had a great taste and the squid tasted like bacon. I actually thought it was bacon until I took a closer look. We did some shopping after that and now the kids are sleeping while I type a really long blog post.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Busy, Busy

Hello again, Tyler here. We apologize about not updating but we have been very busy lately. By the time we get back to our room we just fall into bed. It's been a lot of fun.

For those who are adopting and haven't travelled yet, be warned that your child will most likely bond with only one parent at a time. This has happened in our case. Little Ethan has bonded quite well with myself, but will have little to nothing to do with Misty. We knew that this was a possibility so she is fine with it. We're both glad that he has bonded to at least one of us. No bonding at all would be a very difficult prospect for our future with him.

We are doing really well though overall. I'm dealing with some kind of allergic reaction to something. I don't know from what or where, but a swollen lip isn't really a fun activity. :-)

Misty and I are both enjoying the traffic in Vietnam. It is just crazy. Much different than our home in Kansas where there is very, VERY little traffic.

***I'm working on a video which I will post here once it has finished uploading.***

We'll also try to post a video of what it is like to cross the busier streets. It's a lot of fun, but can be quite scary as well.

We were able to go swimming before lunch today. We weren't sure how Ethan would like the pool because he had never had a bath while living in the orphange. He loved it! As long as I'm carrying him, it seems like he'll try about anything.

Ellie is really enjoying the trip, but I'll let Misty post more about her later on.

I'm going to get going and take a nap while the kids are asleep. Misty went to the store down the street and should be back soon. Hopefully it won't be so long between posts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jet Lag and Ellie

Good morning from Vietnam, Tyler here again. The time is currently 4 am and unfortunately we're all awake due to Ellie's body thinking that it is now 3 pm and time to a.) wake up from her nap and b.) it's the middle of the afternoon at home, time to do some playing. (Well, coloring actually.)

For now, we'll let Mommy sleep while Ellie colors, and Daddy and Ethan work on the computer. He was trying to copy what I was doing on the computer last night while checking e-mail. Right after I published the blog last night Ethan fell asleep on the couch beside me. Not the greatest picture, but it gets the point across.

With that as my last thought for now I'm going to try to get Ellie back to bed. Good night. I hope.

Welcome to Vietnam

We FINALLY MADE IT!!! ***By the way, this is Misty's husband Tyler posting tonight, I'll be posting with Misty while we're in Vietnam.***

Sitting beside me on the couch in our hotel room is a little boy we have prayed for for a long time. What a great privilege it is to be this young boys new daddy.

Misty and I learned early on in this process from others who have adopted that the children typically bond to one parent first and then later the other parent. We both naturally assumed that he would bond with Misty first... not so! Ethan sat on my lap the whole way back to the hotel from the orphanage. After returning to the Rex Hotel we were preparing to walk to where they were going to take his picture for his visa. He decided it was time to give me an initiation... my pants and shirt still smell like vomit. But he's so cute...

I realize that I'm starting to ramble here, this is mainly due to getting roughly 4 hours of sleep in the last 48. With that in mind I will post one picture as proof of our new family member. We'll post more pictures and video tomorrow, once I'm awake... or at least not in a walking coma.

Much more to come. I promise.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

travel...birthdays...and such

We are getting closer! Three more days till we leave. We are going to my parents house (8 hours away) on Friday. We will then spend the night and leave from Denver Saturday evening. My mind is so occupied with the trip that I can hardly concentrate on anything else! I've been packing and cleaning house so we can come home to a fresh start.

I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about everything. I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea of bringing home a toddler. Don't get me wrong, I'm not having second thoughts and I feel ready! However, unlike a newborn, he is coming to us with a developed personality, habits (both good and bad), Independence, and everything else a two year old has. Baby problems are so easy to deal with, you feed them when they are hungry, you put them to sleep when they are tired, and you change them when they are dirty...that's it! But as they get older you deal with sharing, hitting, biting, rebellion (yes, even 2 year olds have it but many people call it Independence), and a whole array of other more difficult problems. But then you add the challenges that come with adoption such as bonding issues and grieving and you get a whole new dimensions to the situation. I think what is causing me to be nervous is that fact that in some ways I'm viewing him as something that needs to be "fixed" and all these things I need to do to help him. I know that's not true and I need to just relax and remember he's just a little boy, MY boy, who needs love. I know that when he's finally in my arms I won't be thinking of all the things I need to do but I will be thinking of how happy I am and how natural it is to just love and be mommy to my son!

Ok, with everything else on my mind I have failed to mention Ellie's birthday. I'd love to do a post all about her but I don't think I'm going to have the time so I'll have to do it later. She turned 4 on Monday. We didn't have a cake or a party because we decided to wait until we got to my mom's house. We didn't even have a gift because it hasn't arrived in the mail! However, we took her to her favorite place to eat..."Old McDonald's" (from the song) and she got a happy meal and was able to play at the play place. She was happy!

She is such a sweet little girl and is a true delight to Tyler and I! She often warms my heart with the sweet way she touches me or says "I love you". She is a wonderful big sister and always takes the time to help Evan up the steps at the play place. I can hardly believe how fast she is growing up. I can't imagine life without her...Ok, I can, it would be MUCH quieter but not nearly as much fun! I LOVE YOU ELLIE GIRL!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pumpkins, Birthdays, Costumes and More...

I've been so busy with the adoption that all my post have been on that lately. So much so that my mom suggested I start a blog for family...and she was serious! For those who may not realize this, this IS my family blog! I talk about everything and more often then not I end up talking about the adoption because that's what is on my mind. But, once again I have gotten behind in pictures and thought I'd catch up for the month. My problem is that my camera holds so many pictures I never upload them so they are never ready for blogging...but I know, I should do better.
On October 31st we had a Bible costume night at Awana. Ellie was Mary and brought he doll, Kaylee, dressed up like baby Jesus. Evan was a monkey from Noah's Ark. Since the animals came be two he brought his other monkey with him! Evan LOVES his monkey outfit! :)

We went to a friends house last week and got to pick pumpkins. We had a lot of fun and the kids loved it.

This is Ellie on the way there...sound asleep!

I was very sick that night so my mom made the cake. It wasn't till late in the evening that my fever came down enough for me to join the party...hence the PJ's on the kids!

Evan loved his dinosaur cake and kept pointing and growling at it!

Eating Cake!

Unwrapping gifts with Nannie A (My mom)

Evan signing "Thank you".
When we first taught him this sign he thought we were blowing kisses. So now he blows kisses for thank's so sweet!

This is my grandma jump roping!
She gave Ellie a jump rope as an early birthday present and is demonstrating.


It's tea party in the tent!

Bath Time!I can't believe how much they look alike!

I love this look. This is a very common look on Evan's face. It's the side glance he gives to see what his big sister is doing so he can do it too!

I love the expressions on their faces in this picture as well...the a affectionate big sister and the crazy little brother just wanting to impress her!

This was taken the week Ellie was gone and we had time alone with Evan. Since I pneumonia I couldn't do much, but I sat on the porch with a blanket and watched him kick the ball around. He's growing up so fast!

How sweet! This is Ellie asleep in the car with the neck pillow I made her. I'm hoping this is what she will look like the whole way to Vietnam!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A one way ticket home

We got our tickets today! I was expecting three because that is the number we have going. Then I noticed a fourth and at first thought there was a mistake. Then I remembered we are bringing home a kid!! What a wonderful feeling to see my little guys name written on a plane ticket that will bring him home!

Off the subject, but we will soon be a family of FIVE and I'm barely 26! Wow...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Visas already!?!

Wow! I just had to share. Many families don't receive their visas till just days before travel, sometimes the same day. Our agency told us to order them IMMEDIATELY! So we did. We even had them shipped to my mom's house in case they didn't show up before we left for Cheyenne. We paid for the 4-5 day service and didn't expect them until late next week.

Well...They arrived in Cheyenne today and we just mailed them on Monday! 3 days! That was amazing time for just the mailing sized of thing, let alone the time the embassy took. Wow, I'm wishing we'd saved the money and gone with the 1 week service! :)