photo taken by Angela Speiker

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Calvin

The first moments after meeting you

A picture of you before we even met you

Starting to crawl

I have always loved that smile!

We loved your fangs, when you first got your top teeth

Our little golf ball

*courtesy of Artistic Expressions* One of my favorite photos of my older 2

Just b/c you were so stinkin' cute

Hamming it up with your sis Christmas 2008 (probably the last picture of you as the baby of the family)

Meeting your baby brother for the first time. You weren't so sure about him in his bed.

Your 2nd birthday

I have always loved this picture of you, one of my favorites.

The first time daddy took you fishing
ou love playing in the snow

Calvin, happy Gotcha Day (a day late)! 4 years ago you were placed in our arms and forever etched a place in my heart. They say there is a special bond between moms and sons--they are right!

Your story: We had been contacted by 2 other birthmothers before you came along. One was from KC and chose to parent, the other actually lost their little boy just before he was born. It was a sad story. Then, a week before we got you, we were offered 1 year old triplet girls. Imagine, having your 2 year old sister (2 and about 4 days) and getting 3 more GIRLS all within one year of each other! God knew what He was doing by guiding us to the decision of no, because just one week later Kim (our caseworker) called and told us about you. You were 9 weeks old and had stayed with Miss Debbie that entire time (a Gladney transitional care family). Kim told us you might be a little challenging, as Miss Debbie admitted that you were her most difficult baby she had taken care of out of 56! Even hearing this, we knew we wanted you as part of our family. Miss Debbie had called you Greyson Gladney. While we liked the name, Daddy & I loved the name Calvin and it seemed appropriate for you. Kim called mommy on her way in to pick up tickets at the Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Rangers. I had to step out of an important meeting to take the call, but everyone in their office jumped for joy when I shared the news (they were total strangers). Mommy was so nervous to get a boy--I just didn't know what to do with boys, how would he fit in our family? It all worked out!

When Miss Debbie walked in the room, your smile lit up the room. You were a little curious, but didn't hesitate going to me or Daddy at all. Emerald was so excited to meet you. She had brought a special monkey, BoBo, to placement. In the same room we had received Emerald, we were again given a gift too amazing for words--our 2nd miracle! We had gotten the call on a Monday, and gone to Gladney on a gorgeous March Thursday to pick you up. We got to take you home just in time for Easter. The bluebonnets were blooming along the hill at Gladney, and I will always remember your placement day upon seeing the bluebonnets! It was late by the time we got you home, it had been a long & exciting day.

Calvin, you have taught me so much about being a parent. Before actually having children, I was the best parent on the planet! You have taught me that each child does get their own set of rules, their own standards, and comes pre-programmed with their own likes & dislikes. Not in any way, shape, or form do I want you to take this the wrong way, but you were a difficult baby!! You cried non-stop. You demanded attention. You had more (minor) medical problems than your sister, like RSV at 5 months, your childhood migraines, a minor surgical procedure last year, the expensive forumla for your reflux, and several other things. Some of your difficult first year wasn't your fault. Daddy had a major business trip planned the week after we got you, to play at Bandon Dunes. That was hard on me to be alone with a new baby & your 2 year old sister. We decided to put the house on the market and move back to Kansas just 2 months after getting you, that made things more difficult. You were stuck in the middle of our chaos! We finalized your adoption on October 1st, and moved October 18th, 500 miles away, to a new job, a rental house, and a lot of changes. 3 weeks later the entire family fell sick to the nastiest bug I've ever seen--I was too sick to even take care of my own babies. You had to endure another move, as we moved into our new house on your 1st birthday. We stopped moving boxes to sing you happy birthday with your monkey cake. Through all of this you continue to be a sweet little boy for the most part.

As you got older, your sister loved to push you in the stroller (made for baby dolls), hold your hand as you learned to walk, teach you things, hid in forts, and do so much with you. You have looked up to her with admiration, almost all the time, and have begun to display that same level of love for your little brother. You had a harder transition to becoming an older brother as you lost your mom & dad to 6 long weeks of hospital visits, and 1 1/2 years of doctor appointments that were focused on someone other than yourself (and you weren't even 2 yet). In the midst of it all, you show us every day how intelligent you are, how you can crack us all up with your humor, and how stubborn you can be. I predict you will be a salesman of some sort, or maybe a lawyer, as you will not take NO for an answer.

Calvin I love you with all of my heart and soul. Even through the challenges you keep me smiling, you bring out the mama bear when someone isn't pleasant, you are super compassionate to others, you give the best nose kisses on the planet, and I cannot ever imagine my life without you. I was so proud this year when your preschool teacher called me and asked if you could remain in her class next year as a peer model. She described you as "sweet, sincere, compassionate, and fun loving, and I HAVE to have Calvin in my class next year". This made my heart swell with pride. Though you may be a bull in a china shop at times, you have the heart the size of the moon, and you love people with every ounce of it.

My sweet son, you are the light of my life! My Calvinator, I promise to love you always and forever. Happy Gotcha Day!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Miss Emers

**apparently I am having issues with uploading pictures, sorry!** I will work on it later, sorry!

6 now, getting so big

This was taken on the day you officially became a Pankewich

You can't help loving KState

Our little golf ball, first Halloween

Hanging out with Mommy in the backyard

Looking for "big fish" in Alaska

Mango has been at your side since you were 5 months old!

Trying to walk in Daddy's shoes

Playing in the Gulf on the shore in Texas

How long have you loved horses? Forever!

I'm this many! 2 years old helping bake your cake

In the bluebonnets near our house, love spring time in Texas

On Calvin's Gotcha Day, showing your skills at being a great big sisterPosted by Picasa

Emerald Rea Pankewich we love you so very much! 6 years ago today we were filled with butterflies in the pit of our stomach as we drove to Gladney to bring you home. We had a great discussion over the final decision on your name, Emerald Rea minutes before we got you. (Emerald is after a grandmother named Ruby, another great-grandmother Pearl, and in honor of your Hispanic heritage, Esmerelda. Rea is after the island we honeymooned on, Moorea, an island of Tahiti, and during our honeymoon we thought of you as we thought that the name Rea would be a beautiful part of a little girl's name).

We got the call on Monday, after work. Kim, our case worker, called to see if we'd be interested in a little girl, 6 days old. My mouth had dropped to the floor in disbelief. We'd waited for 5 years for you. We'd started the adoption process a year before that. We had filled out more paperwork than you will ever imagine. We'd asked for references, written autobiographies, sat through interviews, shared personal information, prayed about you, cried for the idea of you, and finally, finally, we were going to get you for our very own! Kim told us about you, and gave us the phone number of the transitional care family in which you were currently living, Miss Angela.

**side note: She had actually flown to Midland, TX, to pick you up from the airport. You were born in Odessa, and the mayor's wife, upon hearing your story, drove you from the hospital to the airport. Miss Angela traveled to Midland, got off the plane, changed your clothes, and got back on the plane to head back to DFW. She took care of you for 6 days. At the end of those 6 days, she placed you in our arms.

Miss Angela was great with me on the phone, assuring me that you were great, what diaper size you were in, what formula you were on, etc. I only heard about half of it. I still couldn't believe you were ours! We were blessed with an amazing shower at our school on Wednesday, so very pink it was! They offered us so much of what we needed to prepare for your arrival. Thursday morning we drove toward Gladney about to change from being the 2 of us, to a family of 3! We waited patiently in the placement room at Gladney while they put the outfit on you that we had chosen, and then they opened the door. The tears in my eyes kept me from seeing you perfectly that first moment--I was so happy. They placed you in my arms and I just melted. I know that in a family kids aren't supposed to be in charge, but secretly, you could have had the moon at that minute if you had wanted it, because after waiting for 5 long years, I was so in love with you. People ask if it is the same with an adopted child--if you do fall in love with them. The answer is a profound YES! Your sweet eyes looking into mine, I knew that I was forever in trouble!

You have filled our lives with so many smiles. We captured all your 'firsts' on camera. We tried hard to teach you right from wrong as you learned all the newness over the years. We are still in a process of teaching you how to be the best person possible. While you still have my heart, you are so totally a daddy's girl it is unbelievable! You love him and he loves you so much. As we have added to our family, you have happily welcomed your brothers with open arms. Your love for your brothers is amazing. You are beautiful, intelligent, sweet, and an all around good person with such a caring heart. Thank you for making us learn how to be parents and how to love someone so much it hurts. I've heard that being a parent is like having your heart walk around outside your body. This is so true. When you hurt, I hurt, when you laugh, I laugh, when you are happy, I am happy. I love you so much. Happy Gotcha Day my sweet girl!

**As an adoptive parent I have had moments where I feel bad. To be honest, I have forgotten your birth weight, or birth length. There are moments I don't know which city you were born (Midland/Odessa is so close to each other and they are both part of your story). Until we were signing your official papers, we thought you were born March 16, but seeing a paperwork showing your hearing screening said March 15. What parent doesn't know the correct date of their child's birth moments before holding them? However, all of this doesn't matter. The days we didn't have are not what I ever focus on. I now know that your birthdate is March 15. I can tell anyone in the world that the moment you were placed in my arms was in FW, TX, in a lovely placement room at Gladney. There was a beautiful rocking bassinet in the room. The spring sun was shining thru the windows. Your crazy hair was all over the place when I first saw you. You had a little half smile, half happy, half nervous, upon first meeting us. You were taken to the doctor the next day and checked out perfectly, umbilical stump still attached. You were 9 days old when they let us take you home. You looked awesome on bold, bright colors. You were so tiny we had to go and get some smaller clothes for you. Your little neck wasn't strong enough, so the first place we stopped after leaving Gladney was Babies R Us to get a better neck support for you. We took you home, shared you with our family & friends, and were head over heels in love with you. We shocked many at church that Easter weekend with our precious gift, as they had no idea our lives had changed. The cantor was a friend, and in the middle of singing in front of the entire church, she stumbled upon her song b/c she looked at us and saw you. She couldn't even sing b/c she was as happy as we were. Why yes, our lives had changed suddenly, but not really. We had agonized over wanting you for 5 long years. We had sweated over paperwork hoping to get approved to wait for you. I won't feel guilty any longer not faithfully remembering the details of what happened before we met you, because each and every memory created after that moment 6 years ago today, I have forever etched in my heart. I love you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just some fun photos


Posted by Picasa

More snow pics


I love the one of Calvin, walking back to help Z stand up after he fell for the 100th time. It was pretty sweet.
Posted by Picasa

They call this Spring Break?


The kids started Spring Break today, with 3" of snow! It was actually fabulous b/c the weather was warm enough to play, and take a walk in the woods near our house. We bundled up and played for nearly 2 hours outside. Zac is finally getting steady enough to walk for several steps w/o falling down. Laney loves it when we walk in our wooded area between our house and the train track. She has such a great time jumping through the weeds--shows that her breed is a hunting breed for sure. The snow was gorgeous, piled upon each branch, laying along the fence, just showing off every flake. It was funny to see it resting upon Zac's eyelashes.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More pics of our Pop Pop


I couldn't help putting a few more pics of our Pop Pop.
Posted by Picasa