Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cole the Photographer

Since Maria is a teacher, we usually travel somewhere over the Christmas/New Years holiday break, but instead of traveling this year, we stayed on Saipan and my sister came from Germany and spent the two week holiday break with us. Cole loved having his Aunt “T” visit. There was suddenly another person to play board and card games with and read books for him. Also, Aunt T can not resist buying Cole presents.

While Aunt T was here, one of Cole’s favorite things to do was borrow her camera and take about 100 photos at a time. No problem since it is a digital camera and it’s easy to delete undesired snaps. Before Aunt T left Saipan, she told Cole that she would get him his own camera for his birthday, which was about 5 months away. Sure enough a day after his birthday (May 18th) a package from Aunt T arrived with a small digital camera with a 256MB memory card. Cole filled the card up in a couple of days. Most of the photos are of random things around the house or the yard, but a couple of them are surprisingly good or interesting (you just have to remember that they are taken from the perspective of a 52lb six year old that is about 4 feet high).

I have posted some of my favorites to this Picasa web gallery:

Cole says his favorite subject to photograph is his friends. He took a lot of photos of the next door neighbor kids before they moved. This is his favorite photo that he has taken so far.

It is of Amon, one of Cole’s friends. The reason it is his favorite is because he surprised Amon with the camera.

This week Cole discovered the video mode on the camera. He really wanted to get a video of his baby brother crying. I think he succeeded. Check out the videos in the Picasa web album.

He has had the camera a month now, and it is not quite the novelty that is once was, but Cole still loves taking photos, so I’m sure that we’ll have many more to post in the future. ~ Derek

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Secret Origin of Casey

Cole and I have been watching the original 1967 Animated Spider-Man series on DVD lately (via our Netflicks subscription) and the latest episode we watched was titled "The Secret Origin of Spider-Man". Hence the name of this article... Casey's secret origin does not involve radio-active spiders or the planet Krypton, but is still interesting. I thought to tell it because we keep bumping into people on Saipan who ask us whose baby that is, and when we reply that it is ours, they give us a very puzzled look, especially at Maria, and say that they didn't know that she had been pregnant (weren't you playing soccer a few weeks ago?).

Casey's story (for us) started just a couple of months ago. The first week of March, while my college roommate Quinn from Houston was visiting us on Saipan, our housekeeper Mary told us that a friend of hers was pregnant and wanted to know if we wanted to adopt the baby. Maria and I didn't know what to say, but we agreed to meet with the Mary's friend to find out more information (if nothing else, maybe there was something we could do to help out). I was expecting Mary's friend to be a young, immature women, who probably hadn't thought through all the consequences of giving up a child, cutting those relationships, possibly forever. What we found though, when we met her, was a mature women of 40 years old, who had done some very serious thinking about her future and the future of her baby. She is unmarried (with a boyfriend that had recently become unemployed), already has a 16 year old daughter in the Philippenes that she is supporting and sending through school, and cannot start raising another family at this point in her life, especially since she is employed as a housekeeper and is busy raising other peoples' children.

It didn't take much convincing for either Maria or me to decide to pursue the adoption. We had already discussed the possibility of adopting about a year ago and so were somewhat mentally prepared, or a least mentally pre-prepared. We hired a lawyer on Saipan that had done this type of adoption before (with his own kids actually), and we took Mary's friend to her first prenatal doctors's visit. Mary's friend had thought that the baby was probably due sometime in July, but an ultrasound pegged the due date at May 21 (a later ultrasound revised the date to May 29). That wasn't that far off! We had our lawyer draft up all the paperwork, and we continued taking the mother to check-ups every two weeks, then every week once we got closer to the due date.

Over the past three months we have gotten to know the mother much better, and we expect that we will keep in some kind of contact with her, even after the adoption is legally finalized. She is a very intellegent women with a good sense of humor and we can see no harm in Casey meeting his biological mother. Time will tell whether she decides to keep in contact or not.

We still have several steps to go before the adoption is final. We currently have documents signed by the biological parents giving us the "custody agreement and power of attorney" over the baby, and their "consent to the adoption". Next we have to request a court hearing and file a "petition for adoption" with the court.

So that is the story of the Secret Origin of Casey.... ~Derek

For more Casey photos see:

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Casey is 1 week old

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Casey was born on Tuesday May 29, 2007 around 10 pm. That is one week ago from this evening, so we celebrated by going out to eat at Hamilton's Restaurant for Tuesday Buck-a-Taco night. We usually go to Taco night at Hamiliton's every Tuesday. In fact, we were at Hamiliton's last week on Tuesday. We had finished eating, Cole was running around playing tag or some other game with all the other children on loose in the Hamilton's courtyard, and Maria had gone off to "book-group" at someone's house, when my cell phone rang (at 7:20pm).
The cell phone is a new technology for me on Saipan. I've had cell phones when I've lived in other places, but Maria and I had refused to get cell phones for the first three years on this tiny island, opting instead to just drive around and and look for each other's car if we really needed to find one another. But this whole pending adoption, including arranging prenatal check-ups, and coordinating car pooling of other kids home from school neccesitated in giving up the "search and find" method of communication for a more immediate form. We've only had the phones for a couple of weeks, so there are very people that have my number, and I rarely get calls, so I was a little startled when the phone rang.
The caller ID indicated that it was the birth mother! Her boyfriend was on the other end of the line and sounded like he was in a hurry. He just told me, "We are on our way to the hospital, see you there." We had been to a prenatal appointment earlier in the day, and knew that today might be the day, but it was still somewhat of a shock to hear those words: "We are on our way to the hospital." Maria and I had a contingency plan for this event. Maria and Mary, our housekeeper and friend to the birth mother, would go to the hospital for the birth while I stayed home with Cole. I immediately phoned Maria so she could go home and get Mary. The phone rang and rang. No answer. I tried again, figuring that maybe she was still enroute driving to "book-group" and could not pick up the phone. Still no answer. I tried a third time. No answer. What should I do? Luckily, I had overheard her at dinner telling someone where "book-group" was going to be held tonight.
I rounded up Cole, and we got in the Jeep. I phoned Mary to let her know that Cole and I were on our way to pick her up to go to the hospital, so get ready. I also asked Mary to try to call Maria while Cole and I were driving home. Cole and I arrived at home 10 minutes later, loaded up Mary, and headed off in search of Maria. We arrived at the "book-group" hostess's house 10 minutes later. I knocked, walked in and called to Maria. She asked if it was time to go to the hospital and when I said yes, she jumped up from her chair and rushed out of the house without even saying goodbye to the other group members. All four of us went to the hospital, since we were so close anyway.
We arrived by 8pm, which is not bad timing considering we had regressed back to the "search and find" method of communication. (By the way, Maria had left her cell phone in the car). Cole and I stayed for a few minutes to make sure everything was going allright, then we went home and had ice cream and went to bed. Maria called about 10pm that night letting us know that the baby had been born and was healthy and crying. Those are the events from last Tuesday night as I recall them. Maybe Maria will post later her version of our trip to the hospital. ~~Derek
To see some photos of Casey, check out our Google/Picasa website: