Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Gotcha!

Jaunary 15th was the fourth anniversary of Keenan's Gotcha Day! We celebrated it a couple of days early while Colin was still home. Keenan loved his chocolate cake that Sophia helped make.

After his belly was full, we sat down to watch our gotcha day videos. Keenan's was up first. I couldn't get over how tiny he was when he was placed in my arms. And this time, I noticed something I had long much he smiled at me that first day. He would study me with a serious expression and then he would suddenly flash this amazing smile before returning to his contemplative state. He did this several times in the first minutes of our meeting and I can't believe I had forgotten it.

Actually, now that I think of it, given all that happened on that trip to Vietnam, it's incredible I remember anything at all. For those who may not remember, Sophia, Colin and I all got very ill two days after Gotcha Day. Colin and I became so sick, that we landed in the SOS hospital. Meanwhile, local nannies took over the care of Sophia and Keenan until we were healthy enough to care for them. Sophia's wrenching scream when they took her away from us to the room one floor down was something I'll never forget. The two days away from the kids were torture and we were so happy when we were all reunited. As the days went by, it became glaringly apparent that Keenan health issues were not just a result of a virus. We were desperate to get back to the States to have him seen by a pediatric specialist. Of course, that couldn't happen until his Visa was in hand. It took almost two more weeks to get his passport and visa. Finally we were able to go home. Of course, that meant a pretty circuitous route. We flew first to Saigon and then Beijing, and finally, Beijing to Chicago.

Our flight was delayed out of Saigon, so we very nearly missed our connection in China. Which would have caused a major problem since we didn't have Chinese Visas. When we landed in Chicago, I remember thinking how good it felt to be back on U.S. soil.

As we waited over an hour for or bags and made our way through immigration, there were a few more bumps in the road. Keenan had an episode of explosive diarrhea, much of which wound up on my hands (while we were waiting by the baggage carousel I might add). When we finally did get our bags, Colin nearly got into some hot water when, in his mounting frustration, (the baggage delay caused us to be in the immigration line for a really long time), he threw a bag onto a customs conveyor belt with more force than necessary and the bag nearly hit a custom's officer. Thankfully the custom's officer seemed unphased and we finally were able to go pick up our car. We still faced a three hour drive, it was bitterly cold and starting to snow furiously, kicking up a horrible mixture of mud and snow, to make matters worse, our window shield wipe fluid was frozen solid, but at least we were on our way home.

At the time, Keenan was such a sick baby and he slept so little that a lot of that first year was a blur. So I am really grateful we have that first meeting on video. It's so much like who he is now. He tends to wear a serious expression as he thinks about things or asks questions (something he does a lot), but then he will smile all of the sudden and he lights up the whole room.

Keenan loves to laugh, play, and use his imagination. He is constantly questioning the world around him and has been doing remarkably well in pre-school. He is naturally inquisitive and sweet, so far, his biggest challenge has been his selective hearing.

So much has happened in the past four years, but one thing is certain, Keenan is an amazing kid who often makes me laugh and reminds me not to take life quite so seriously.


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