Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Nellie the elephant packed her trunk

Welcome to another action packed day with the Martins.

Tamah did great last night, and this morning we were greeted with her clambering all over us and giving us kisses. She was in great form today, even taking her medicine without spitting it all over the place.

After breakfast, we went down to the pool and Lesa finally got the chance to sun herself. Tamah after her swim promptly fell asleep and Joel & I went for a jacuzzi... it's a tough life here, honest!

The other family that we have been hanging around with from Wales, the Woods, still have not yet received their visa and they are travelling up to Bangkok tomorrow and then home the next day, they really need our prayers that all will work out.

So while Lesa was looking after Tamah, (she won't go on an elephant after her experience 3 years ago)... Joel, Mimi & I went off to the Hua Hin hills to make like Indiana Jones on the back of Natalie, (not Nellie) for an hour of elephant riding... I had promised Joel that when we got back to Hua Hin that we would go on the elephants again. Yet, that wasn't all, check out this elephant, pretty impressive, eh?! 

This same elephant can play football, (Joel saved 3 of her penalties)... she can dance, play basketball, paint... a pretty talented elephant if you ask me.


The sun had gone behind the clouds for a while when we were riding the elephant, which was great, as otherwise we would have fried, (Joel and myself would have, Mimi would have been fine). 

Tomorrow, we hope to do a lot more swimming, and then at night to head off to the night market for some haggling.

Until then, I'll say goodnight...

Monday, 30 March 2009

Hospital in Hua Hin

I started with this title because I knew that it would catch your attention. (To the right - a picture of Tamah practising her skills at tuk tuk driving).

Yes, we had to take Tamah to the hospital today because she was so hot. We tried calpol and nurofen, and they seemed to work for a while, but then after an hour her temp. was up again. So we spoke the the receptionist and the hotel drove us out to the hospital. 

If anyone reading this has anything to do with the NHS, then read on... the hospital was spotlessly clean. The nurses were all over Tamah like a rash, (Lesa loved it when she ran away from them all and back to us). We were seen in about 20 mins, and it cost us £6, (that's right £6) for a private consultation with a paediatrician. There was free coffee, tea and water... and Tamah was very much taken with the fish tank... probably thought it was dinner. We were right to bring her, she had a virus, which the doctor told us would go away in a couple of days. So family, everything is alright! Tamah is well... we were just making sure, and we are to keep giving her the calpol and nurofen... so for once in our lives, we were doing the right thing as parents.

Seriously, I would pay £6 for the doctors if we were treated the way Tamah was today.

Joel was with the Woods at their pool, so he was happy and we were able to look after Tamah without him being bored... we went round after the hospital and we let Tamah have a little dip to cool her down a bit, (apologies for my naked torso). 

Joel also got his wish to go to Subway's for dinner... yum, yum?! After that it was back to the Market Village with the Woods. Joel got some Pokemon cards, and Tamah got her second pair of shoes and a pair of sunglasses, as modelled below. Lesa and I, well we bought the groceries...

Tonight, Tamah was a little bit easier to put to bed, which helped Joel get to bed a little bit earlier, which in turn helped us relax a little bit more. So with 2 sleepy kids and their 2 sleepy parents, we'll pull down the shades, (get it?!), on this post, and speak to you tomorrow.

All the best,

The Martins

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Hot in Hua Hin

Just looked up the weather for Northern Ireland on the BBC, Light Showers and 7 0C... well, here's it's 37 oC and desert dry. Yesterday, we got a little bit too much sun, so we took it easy this morning with a little trip to Hua Hin Market Village, (sounds like a Thai market, but in reality it's like a huge shopping mall).

We took a Tuk tuk out to the shop as it was too roasty to walk. Tamah could have done it but us whiteys would have fried. So off on the tuk tuk we went, and unlike Bangkok, in Hua Hin you don't take your life in your hands or get ripped off if you travel this way.

So, yes, I know it's a Sunday but we went shopping... we did have a service together in our hotel room, and I can already tell that Tamah is going to love the Kids' Praise Songs. 

We spent the good part of the morning and mid afternoon at the Market Village and then we went back to the room. We got a chance to skype Lesa's Mum, so both of them were happy, and Tamah and I just played around in the background.

Later on, when the sun was a little bit cooler, we went down to the beach for a while so that Lesa and Tamah could dip their feet, and the boys could do a spot of rock climbing. We then went to another pool in the hotel... had a dip, jacuzzi, messed about, came back to the room... Tamah slept, which allowed us to get ready, and then we all went out.

The food is so good here... seriously if you haven't tried Thai food, go for it, you don't know what you're missing.

Well, as I was saying, we all went out, some of us in our new clothes... posers!

We pottered round for a bit, and then went back to the room to see if young miss Martin would go to sleep.

Presently, I'm sitting way down the hall, Joel is sitting in the toilet and Lesa is with Tamah trying to settle her. I think they have both fallen asleep.

It's amazing to think that this time next week, we will be making our journey home. Part of me can't wait and the other part says, "You know Bryan, Thailand really is a beautiful country, stay a while longer"

We're now on the homeward leg, but this time when we don't have to think about visas or panels is great for us as a family. It's great fun being the 4 of us... don't get me wrong, it was great when it was only 3, but now we have our little girl and our big boy... God is good.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A week with us

I was just about to go to bed when I remembered something rather important - this is a week since Tamah came home, (or at least to Bandara Suites), with us. I couldn't let this day pass without putting something up on the blog.

She is a precious jewel... and Lesa, Joel & I love her to bits.

And as our day ends here and is just half way through at home, I just wanted to say to my new daughter - welcome to the family.

I've got my new shoes on and suddenly everything is alright

I am writing this a day late as:
1) I didn't get the wifi set up until now
2) Sleeping in one room with a 7 year old and a 1 year old and keeping them asleep while you're doing the blog is rather hard.

So 2 days... what can I remember? Well the most important thing is that WE HAVE THE VISA. Sitting having breakfast yesterday I got a call to the mobile. I thought it was some problem, but it was them telling me to pick it up anytime. Anant was dutifully dispatched before we headed down to Hua Hin.

Next, Tamah's new shoes - they are pink, (Megan would love them)... they have Minnie Mouse on them. They squeak when Tamah walks and they smell, (no, not like Joel's cheesy feet)... they smell of strawberries - yum, yum! Here's a little video of Tamah in her precious new shoes.

We arrived down in Hua Hin safely, but had a little bit of bother over our room... that was sorted out after 1/2 hour and we now have a lovely room overlooking the sea. The hotel is palatial, but it isn't half pricey. Joel is standing beside a fish pond just in front of our hotel above, and just to make you really sick and jealous, here's another photo.

The place is gorgeous, with plenty to do, but having one room is a bit of a problem putting the kids to sleep. Tamah is playing up a bit when we're putting her to bed, and poor Joel has to deal with a woman screaming - the only positive way to look at it is that it may sort him out for later life.

Well, Tamah has been busy and she is certainly not afraid of the water. We went over to the Woods' hotel so that Joel could play with Mimi. They have a shaded pool which was great for the kids, so we thought we would give her ladyship a splash... and splash she did. Ducking her head in the pool, jumping off the side. We'll see what's she's like with the Atlantic & the Irish sea soon.

I'm doing the blog with Joel tonight in the lobby listening to a French accordian, (which is a bit weird when you're in Thailand). Joel is just across from me, playing his DS, and Lesa & Tamah are having a battle of the wits over sleep time.

Well, now that we're up and running I'll be back with the daily blog. Until then, I'll leave you with this ticklefest with Tamah.

Night, night from a very hot Hua Hin, (with mosquitoes!)

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Messing about on the water

After thinking that we were up the creek without a paddle with the visa, (yesterday we were told that her visa would take 90 days to complete), we taught Tamah row, row your boat, just in case she had to, all the way back to Northern Ireland. But fear not, for I bring you good news.

This morning, when you were all fast asleep, I phoned the Embassy - not knowing at first that I was dialing the wrong number, (that would account for the fact no one answered me). 

I then phoned again, using the right number, and got no further, so I thought... we're not so far from the Embassy, I'll get a taxi and head round there.

When I arrived, I was met with a security bunker - how I miss them round Belfast, not! Well to cut a long story short, I didn't get in... but I was able to speak to a "Pat" in the Visa Office who told me that the visa would take about 5 working days maximum... (so dad, chill out).

Yesterday, it took me over 51/2 hours to be told that my visa would take 90 days... today, it took me 45 mins. there and back to find out it's only 5 working days - go figure!

To continue on the nautical theme, Joel and I took to the briny sea
 today... well, the lake in Lumphini Park to be honest. This happy photo was taken just before Joel had the clever idea of dropping his hat in the lake.

It was a good afternoon's fun, just what we needed after yesterday - a bit of relaxation. The lake was teeming with terrapins and catfish... all very exciting.

Tamah was great today, although she did bump her head and scream the place down... but that is actually good, (no, not that she hurt herself), that she is able to cry.
Usually when she fell, she wouldn't say a peep... we can see that she is relaxing and trusting us a bit more, which is really positive.

Well, I'm going to say goodbye, as I've got an early start tomorrow... we set sail, (see what I did there?) for Hua Hin at 10a.m., you'll all be in your beds, or at least you should be at 3 in the morning.

All the best from the Martins, and sweet dreams.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Panel and Patience

Today was a good and bad day... it was great to travel out with Anant, back to DSDW for our panel - that's the moment when we adopt Tamah.

We went with some trepidation, but in reality it was a really positive experience. They talked to Joel most of the time and he was able to tell them how much he loved his new sister and what Northern Ireland was like. I don't think he took it to well when they suggested that we took Tamah back to Dromore and left Joel in Thailand.

As I said, the panel was great... hot but great, and Khun Chintana had bought everyone a present... she is such an amazing lady in so many ways. She loves her job and it shows.

Well that was the positive bit of the day; we then went to the UK Visa Application Office. I should have noticed that it was called Regent House, (the name of my old school), and run away at that moment.

I had to wait, and get this, 51/2 hours before I started the application process - talk about losing the will to live. Then they told me that it would take 90 days for the application to be processed... yes, you read that right, 90 days.

So I'm just off the phone with Michael in Belfast, (Senior Social Worker), who has phoned Stormont... I have written an email to Khun Chintana, and some folks at the British Embassy to try and clear up this mess.

The girl doing the application, didn't have a clue, and I spent most of the time pointing out forms to her, (folks, that doesn't give you much confidence in the system).

So on the upside, Tamah is now officially part of the Martin clan... downside, I might have to stay in Thailand for another 3 months, (no I'm joking... this will all get solved quickly and we will get the visa soon). However, what I want you folks to do is pray... pray that it will get all sorted out and we will have Tamah's visa and her passport back soon.

I have to laugh at this, it's just part of the joy of going through the process. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The first week

It's surreal as we read through the blog and as we look over our photos how much we as a family have been through in just under a week.

It has been a real rollercoaster of emotions and to be honest when it comes to going out, you get to the point where you just want to stay round the apartment most of the day... and that's exactly what we did. We hung around with another family from Wales who are adopting as well... Tomorrow, we go to panel, which means that as far as the Thais are concerned, we have adopted Tamah. We then go to the British Embassy for her visa so that she can come home with us.

It's a bit of a nerve wracking day, and we hope we have all the right papers... we have checked and checked and checked again. Please pray that it all goes smoothly.

On a brighter note, today as we said we stayed by the pool, and guess who got her first swimming lesson? She loved it! 

Joel was able to play with his new Welsh friend, he was in the pool most of the day, so tonight he's wrecked.

Well, it's a busy day tomorrow, so I'm going to bed... hope you enjoy the video and the pictures, (sorry for the video of me looking like a goofball, can't be helped, I am one).

Monday, 23 March 2009

Tamah makes her presence known

Hi from an extremely balmy Bangkok.

Today was absolutely roasting, so like mad dogs and Englishmen, (no offence), we went out in the hot sun to Lumphini Park, which is just at the end of our road.

It's a huge public park where you can go for a boat ride, play in the play park and for the adults, there's all these exercise machines.. really cool. As you can see below, Joel was the only one who tried to build up his muscles.

Forgot to tell that the park also has these monsters... monitor lizards... huge ones.

Tamah made her presence known today after not sleeping that well. She turned into a bit of a monster and threw an absolute paddy when we were out eating tonight... but there again she didn't have her full sleep. We think she is starting to understand in her own way that things are changing for her.

She is such a character, we can't wait for you to meet her... may be will be a while after we get back to Northern Ireland, but she is hilarious. She has such an infectious little laugh, and a really mischievious personality... you can't help falling in love with her.

Here is her ladyship throughout today; these photos do little justice to both the stubborness and the angel that is Tamah Martin.


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Tamah, the dancing queen

As we were up so early, tonight's blog is a short one.

We went to Christ Church, and it was great... really friendly people. Joel loved the kids' club and came out of church with red food dye all over his hands. I have to say about him, he too has been a star - really good with his little sister... I am so proud of him.

Today, we just stayed around the apartment, slept, swam, and then went out to Jim Thompson's... (Thanks Mark & Gillian for the tip!)

Joel, Lesa and Tamah are safely tucked up and I am the only fool who is awake. Before I go to bed, I thought I would leave you the cutest little video ever. It's Tamah dancing, as she often does, to the tune of her glowbug.

Night, night.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A happy Mother's Day to you all, especially to Lesa.

As expected an early morning was had by all. The young lady woke us at 4.30am, and then came into our bed for a while, before starting to play around a bit. At the time we were loving it, but now we're wrecked.

In a little while we're heading to Christ Church, Bangkok, and we hope she sleeps through most of it.

Today will be an relaxed day, as we probably can't cope with anything else. Down to the pool and then out for some food. 

It has been funny to watch people's expressions as we walked down to breakfast, I don't know what they made of us... But what's so amazing is that Tamah is doing well - eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, laughing, crying, even getting a bath with Lesa this morning, (although she did pee in the bath... that is Tamah peed in the bath, we taught Lesa to stop that before she came out to Thailand).

This is Tamah as of now, sleeping in her buggy... here's hoping it's a long one.

All the best.

The Martins

Our first day with Tamah

Today has just been getting better and better.

Tamah has been exploring the room more, having a dip in the pool, and then having a big long sleep... well she  deserved it. 

So after a big sleep, I had to wake her up, (felt incredibly guilty, but if I didn't do it, I would pay for it tonight). 

We went for a little walk tonight down to Silom Road; a lot of noise and we have found out that Tamah does not like motorbikes and Tuktuks... she just squeezed into us so tight when she heard the noises.  I am just amazed how good she's been today, a real star. 

Here's hoping it lasts through the night. (Sorry the photograph below is at a strange angle, can't work this new fangled blog stuff)

Friday, 20 March 2009

Our baby girl

Hi folks,

We all slept quite well, Lesa was awake for a while. We all went down to breakfast with a spring in our step...

We met Anant, our driver, at 9.30a.m. and went out to Pakkred. It took a little while to find her, but we found her in her room, (room no.4) with some volunters.

We didn't spend that long at Pakkred, which took me by surprise... but it was great to meet another family that have been part of Tamah's life, the Busan family.

Coming home, Tamah was a star... she took part of her bottle on Lesa's knee, looked at everything out the window, and then she fell asleep. We got back to Bandara Suites about 40 mins later and again she was all eyes... 

At the minute, she is walking all round the apartment, looking at everything, and I mean everything. Like most girls, she is quite vain - she loves looking at herself in the mirror. She loves her milk and her baby biscuits.

It is so amazing to think that we have her now... at the minute, (and we aware it could change so quickly), she couldn't be better. Laughing, walking, bashing things, kissing Joel, holding out her hands to Lesa and I. It's perfect!!!

This is Joel's video of Tamah.

We cannot express how happy we are... Joel is just after telling his mum that he could cry he's so happy. I think he's just put into words how we feel.

Thank you again for all your support, and your emails, texts and messages.


Bryan, Lesa, Joel & Tamah

Pakkred, Take 2

First of all, last night we got an email with our 17C attached... That means we can look after Tamah officially, as of now.

We were able to take things a little bit easier this morning, as we weren't expected at Pakkred until 2p.m. We met the Woods family from Wales, who are here for the same reason. Mimi, their eldest daughter, and Joel get along really well and they had great fun in the pool together.

We couldn't wait to get up to the Babies Home to meet Tamah again... I have to say it again, she is amazingly beautiful. How can you resist those eyes?! And do you see the cute blue & pink dress?

It was a little bit different today; I think we got to know the real Tamah... She was a little bit more comfortable with me, but then wanted to go to Joel and Lesa.Which Lesa was really happy about. Tamah was particularly fond of Lesa's bracelet... a girl with taste.

We got to feed her, play with her, walk about with her... and guess what folks?

As of tomorrow she's with us 24/7... that's right, she's coming home with us!!!

Let's hope that we don't have get stuck in a 2 hour traffic jam like we were today... the heat and the humidity left us all totally dehydrated... sore heads and really weak. So it was a lazy McDonald's for tea, and loads of drinks tonight, (for those that were complaining about the blog not being up in time, that's the reason).

I'll leave you with a little picture of my 2 girls hugging each other...

Roll on tomorrow

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Nam Tan/Tamah Martin

Hi folks,
Well we have to say thank you for all your prayers and support. Lesa and I didn't sleep that well - no surprise there, but Joel slept like a log.

Down to breakfast and then we met Anant who took us to Khun Chintana's office. Memories of trying to find it 3 years ago came flooding back. Through the doors of DSDW and then up the stairs, turn right, and we were there again with the friendly face of Khun Chintana. We had to wait around a bit, pay a few bills, and then we were off to Pakkred Babies Home.

We passed through the gates and I was feeling sick... we then went into the meeting room and we were given some water, mangoes, luk choop, sugared egg, (sounds gross but really nice)... and then there were presents for Tamah from her volunteer visitors, Ging & Oren... and our stuff was there too. Pakkred had made up a book of pictures from when she came to the home - she has changed so much.
We got to hold her, play with her, feed her and she fell asleep when I was holding her, (and no, I wasn't preaching one of my sermons to her). 

We have all fallen head over heels in love with our daughter... Joel, Lesa and I are besotted.
We are so happy, and cannot thank you all who have supported us enough. 

We go back tomorrow at 2p.m. (7a.m. GMT)... more photos and more hugs.

Well, here's hoping that we have a better night's sleep tonight, and if you want to see our little girl walking, click on the video below.

Lots of love,

the Martins

Siam Ocean World

Well after a good night's sleep for me, but a bit of a broken one for Joel and Lesa, we set off from our lovely apartment towards the MTS Station and to Siam Paragon. 

Joel was in second heaven as we looked at sharks from a glass bottomed boat, crabs, starfish, etc. 

Had to laugh when Lesa and Joel were screaming with fear at the 4D show - Monsters from the Deep!!!

Shopped till we dropped at Siam Paragon and then back on the MTS to Saladaeng and a quick bite at McDonalds. A little bit more shopping for a nappy bag, and then finished our day off with a dip in the pool - it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

Check out the scary video of the shark below...

With lots of love and a very happy nearly 8 year old boy,

The Martins

P.S. Tomorrow's the big day, we meet our little girl.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

We've arrived, safe and with all the bags

Hi folks,

Well we've arrived, undeterred by the new check in system at the George Best City Airport, (computerised ticketing). Heathrow was a bit of a drag, but the Thai flight was so smooth. I thought the lack of entertainment would make the flight seem endless, but it didn't matter.

Joel was as good as gold... And you'll never believe what he saw when he switched on the TV - yes, Ben 10... it was all meant to be.

As I said the flight was perfect, Thai Airways is the way to go - food, hospitality, friendliness - they were amazing.

The newish airport was cool as well, and there was little waiting at the Immigration controls, but again, no problem.

The time here is 6.38 p.m. and so me and the kid are off to the pool. The temperature is about 28 o C and quite sticky. 

A view from our 23rd floor apartment can be seen above.

All the best from the tired but happy Martin family.

Friday, 13 March 2009

40 Years Young!!!!

Monday is the 40th birthday of my big brother, Stephen.

I'm not any way near that age.

Happy birthday Stephen.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

More Calpol please!

It had to happen... but sooner rather than later.

Joel came home early today from school with some sort of virus.  He was complaining of a sore back and was really hot and shivery, but it turns out that it's not anything to be overly concerned about.

"Does this mean I can't go to Thailand?", he said to the doctor.

Plenty of rest and some Calpol should take care of it.

Monday, 9 March 2009

A copy of my life

Having spent the good part of the night photocopying my life - passport, bank accounts, marriage certificate, birth certificate - I think that's finally it. Time to pack the bags... This time next week, we'll be on our way to Thailand!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

A week away

After over 3 years of waiting & waiting, we can't believe that in just over a week we will be meeting our new daughter.

It is frightening, but we have our tickets, our passports, our paperwork, (minus the permission to travel which should land on our doorstep tomorrow).

Now the sleepless nights begin... good practice for when our little girl comes home.