Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home 6 months

Reni has been home for six months already. Seems like yesterday that we were in Manila picking him up. Yet, it seems like he's been with us forever. He is soooo happy and has adjusted just fine. He's finally starting to "talk". He's trying to say words and gets so excited when we understand him.

He's a very sweet boy. He loves to be held and loves to give hugs and kisses. He has brought such joy to our family and big brother Tino really loves his little brother "the bulldozer" as he calls him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome Home Reni

This is lengthy but I didn't want to leave anything out.

On Sunday, December 14th, Roland and I said goodbye to Tino to embark on a long long journey to Southeast Asia. It was very difficult leaving him behind as we really wanted this to be a "family" experience...but there is NOOOO Way that he would have made that trip. He was left in good hands, our sister-in-law Anita and niece Alyssa came to the house to stay w/Tino.

We had an over-night layover in LA on Sunday night then on Monday we were off to Tokyo and then on to Manila. After 22 hours of flying time and about 40 hours after we left Tino, we arrived in Manila around 11:00 pm Tuesday, Dec. 16. Our Social Worker Eva picked us up at the airport and she, and our driver Lito took us to the InterContinental Hotel in Makati City, Manila. We arrived there around midnight(ish). Reality was really starting to set in !!

Wednesday morning we were picked up at 8:00 by Lito and taken to Hospicio de San Jose to finally, after more than 2 years, meet our son. Eva met us there and we were taken to the Social Workers' office and within 5 minutes Reni appeared w/a caretaker. He was so so adorable in his little tank top and boots. He was put down and off he ran....we gave him a teddy bear which he took to the trash can and tried to throw away. He really wanted nothing to do with us, why would he??? We were strangers and I am white!! He ran and ran and ran. He finally fell asleep in his social worker's arms and then we passed him around. We stayed there a couple hours and then Lito took us back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day shopping for diapers, formula, bottles, bowls, food, etc..... That evening we had a wonderful Thai dinner with Roland's cousin, Ann. I don't think we got to bed till well after 1:00 a.m. So much for catching up on sleep!!!

Lito was back Thursday morning to take us back to Hospicio, this time to pick up Reni for good. We were very nervous, excited and so happy. Reni was more receptive to us that day. He actually let us hold him. There was a beautiful Mass and Entrustment ceremony for us. Renz was formally "entrusted" to our care and we formally accepted him as our son. There was a little party afterwards and many of his little friends came to eat spaghetti and cake.

We were given a tour of the orphanage. We saw Reni's dorm, Holy Angels Dorm, and saw his little metal crib with rubber slats in place of a mattress. The orphanage was very very clean and the staff was so caring and attentive. We were presented with a Life book of Reni. All the "milestones" we thought would never be documented - were. Pictures of him and his birth mother. Pictures of him at 1 month, 3 months. etc...he had a beautiful cake for his first birthday and a wonderful little party with all his little friends (his family) We were speechless at the kindness and hospitality of the staff. It was very evident that these caretakers and staff truly do love the kids. A few of them were crying, no - sobbing, during the Entrustment ceremony and when we left for the last time with Reni.
He was loved and that made a feel so so good!!!

Lito and Eva took us back to the hotel, Reni fell sound asleep in the car and when he woke up in the hotel he just smiled!! That was when my heart melted. He's pretty much been smiling ever since. He's such a happy little guy which says alot about the wonderful people who took care of him the first 16 months of his life!

Reni is adjusting just fine and we love him more than anything!!!

We plan to return to the Philippines when Reni is old enough to A. want to go B. appreciate his birth place and C. REMEMBER the trip.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Leaving for Southeast Asia on Dec. 14th.

Hello family and friends.

Yahoo !!!! All the visa stuff is done !!! Our I-600 (petition to classify orphan as immediate relative) was approved on Oct. 24 then sent on to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. They "logged" us in and forwarded our file to the Embassy in Manila where they immediately, it seems, scheduled Reni for his medical exam which took place on November 13. On Nov. 20 a "caregiver" will sit for the formal "interview" then all the papaerwork will be completed within 5 days of that. Roland and I leave St. Louis on Sunday evening, Dec. 14, to fly to LA where we will stay the night. Then on Monday morning we leave for Tokyo, then on to Manila. We arrive in Manila on Tuesday evening around 10:00 pm, if all goes well. Manila is now 14 hours ahead of us here in St. Louis. We will meet Reni on Wednesday I presume. Most likely we will take custody of him on that first day....thank God for adrenaline !! Will post more later. It's going to be a great Christmas!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Legal Documents and more pics of Reni

After 5 weeks (it was supposed to be only 3-4) we finally received Renz's legal documents from the Inter-Country Adoption Board in Manila; a Birth Certificate and his birth mothers' Deed of Voluntary Commitment (placing him in the care of the orphanage). We can now file our paperwork with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Office. We're still looking at a possible 6-8 weeks for them to "approve" our petition and then another 6-8 weeks for them to notify the US Embassy in Manila and a bit longer for Renz's medical evaluation....then we should have a Visa for him. Is this Christmas still being a bit naive?? I think it can be done. We received more pictures of him too. The caretakers say he likes to watch Dora and Mickey Mouse on TV. Tino loves Mickey Mouse!!!!! (Not so much Dora) He can fall asleep easily regardless of where he is. Soooooo unlike Tino!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hospicio de San Jose


YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

Click on the above link (in red) and then click on the little boy in red to see a great video from Reni's orphanage.

thanks for watching it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's A Boy!!


The phone call we've been waiting for, for months, finally came today, 8-18-08. We have a beautiful little boy who will celebrate his first birthday on Wednesday, 8-20-08. Yes, we will be celebrating his birthday too and Tino will blow out the candles for him.

His name is Renz and he is healthy and happy and we can't wait to bring him home. We do have quite a bit of paperwork to do now, Visa stuff..... and the US Dept of Citizenship & Immigration is NOT known for their "speed" in getting things we're still hoping to be able to go before Christmas to bring him home. Keep your fingers crossed!

Renz Joseph Nalagan (Reni) will be his name.... as of today anyway. We had to really think about the "Renz" thing....but it's starting to sound unique, do-able, and a tribute to his birth mother who so graciously carried him for 9 months knowing she would not be able to care for him once he was born. She wanted him to have a better life than she could provide considering she makes the equivalent of $70 a month working in a factory. She wanted Renz to have more opportunities and be with a family who could love him and care for him and give him what he deserves. We will always be grateful to her.

Renz is pretty much the same size Tino was at one year... 19.5 pounds. He has been in an orphanage since he was 3 days old, Hospicia de San Jose (St. Joseph) in Manila, so...Joseph as a middle name fits well. That has been his home, the only home he has known, where he has been cared for and nurtured since his birth. It is also a family name among my family, the Naerts. My grandfather, age 96, is named Joseph, my father's middle name is Joseph and my brother's name is Joseph, so... Joseph it is!!

The picture you see was taken 3 months ago and he clearly has more hair than Tino had even at 2 yrs. old. I love the shape of his mouth and his eyes....he is so beautiful isn't he???
Tomorrow Tino and I are going to buy him a birthday present, and a stuffed animal, that we will send to him, via our adoption maybe he'll get it by next month sometime. We are so happy and grateful and thank you all for you prayers!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008

No news and we are getting very very very anxious. Every time the phone rings I run to check the caller ID....I think I'm driving myself crazy. I really really wanted to have our baby home by Christmas but that's not looking too promising as of now. Keep us all in your prayers.