Friday, December 31, 2010
So, we had submitted our I-600 on Dec 10th. I followed up the next week just to see if they had received it and was so bummed to hear we were not even in their system. I was so worried something had happened. Of course, I go out to the mailbox and what is there? Notice of action! What was I so anxious for? They had received it! Not sure what happened with that, but I was just so thankful they got it! I emailed the next week to follow up and see if it had been assigned with an officer yet. I knew the holidays would slow us up quite a bit, but I could hope right? So the same lady emailed back saying that indeed the holidays would slow us up and it would be at least another week before it would be assigned to be reviewed. I was sad, but figured that would happened. I continued to pray however. I've been praying the entire time for an approval before December. Even when our agency told us it wouldn't happen.
So, we went out of town for Christmas and got back on Thursday. I started going through my emails and had received one from the same lady I had spoken to before. Curious I opened it and guess what?? She processed it for us! Wow! Unbelievable! So our I-600 should be received in Korea Embassy next week! What a wonderful way to end 2010! And what a blessing! I tried, but I just could not put in words how grateful I was to this officer. She didn't have to do that and we are forever grateful to her!
So now, we wait to see what happens with the EP situation. For those not in the middle of this right now, Asher needs his Emigration Permit to be able to travel. All adoption agencies in Korea ran out of these before 2010 was up. Some ran out as early as April, so there are folks that have had their referrals and just been waiting since April. I cannot imagine the heartache they must feel. Our agency ran out in the middle of November, so I am waiting to hear back on how this will affect us. Pretty much there is a very large waiting line of families that received their referrals in 2010 and all they need are these EP's. Can you imagine how crazy Monday is going to be in the Korean Embassy?!
So our agency feels good that Asher will be submitted in the first batch since he is a special needs child, but we don't have a clear idea of how long these take to get approval. Our agency still feels we are looking at March at best, but I am praying for before March (if you are reading and have any insight on how long EP approvals take for Korea, please! leave me a comment~). So right now, we have done everything we can. We seriously just sit and wait for our travel call. We have 10 business days to leave for Korea after that to go get him.
There is just so much to do! I feel like even though they are telling me possibly March, that I need to be getting ready. We switched all of the rooms this week and put the crib up. I still need to wash everything and there are several things I still need to get in preparation for our trip....we did buy our luggage tonight though!
So, we humbly ask that you keep us in your prayers. Please pray that we are able to bring Asher home before March. He has been sick and in the hospital already this winter with lung issues, so we are certainly eager to get him here. We've seen the power of prayer in action this last month and are praying to have him home by his birthday (Feb 21st)!
Hope you all have a wonderful New Year and cannot wait to follow along and hear how awesome 2011 treats you!!!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
So, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I just left my job this past April. I was not one of those moms that always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I thought to be a stay at home mom you had to have the following traits...
*Patience never ending
*A craft closet constantly full
*Home baked cookies ALWAYS made and ready
*The cleanest house, ever, no matter what
*The knowledge to handle any kid situation
Phew. That seemed like quite a tall order and I don't know about you, but as hard as I might try I fail miserably at trying to be super woman. So anyway, I worked. I enjoyed working and our kids were in a great daycare. Then we moved. Had to change departments to keep my job and let's just say our daycare was not anything to be excited about. The longer and longer my hours got, the more and more time I missed from my family, the more I started to feel like this just wasn't me. I wasn't happy at all. I felt like I was failing at my job because I couldn't work 20 hours a day and failing as a mom because I couldn't be with them 24 hours a day. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I just started thinking more and more about being a stay at home mom (SAHM). I reached out to a few I knew and asked them tons of questions. These were women I had know for years...how the heck did they do it? Did they have perfectly decorated and cleaned houses, picture perfect kids, dinner on the table by 6 every night with a smile on their faces?
Uh, not exactly. I learned that being a SAHM is not at all what I thought I was like. I thought I had long hours with my job! I thought on it some more and finally brought it up to my husband. Much to his (and mine) delight, he was completely on board! We would make the change once our little man came home. As you can guess, we jumped the gun.
Months before we had a referral, we changed our plan and I put in my notice. I was scared to death. How would this work out financially? How will our kids react? What will I do all day (yes, I really thought this for awhile)? Will I miss the challenge of my job? Will I miss seeing grown folks?
Well, I'm not going to lie and say the first couple of months were gravy. They were hard. We learned a lot about some things that we just failed at as parents and certainly had "parenting bootcamp" with mommy home 24-7. I won't go into details, but I wore out every parenting book I owed and even bought more. Every week seemed to get better....we were finally settling in.
Looking back over the last few months, I can honestly say I feel for the first time in my life I'm doing what I should be doing. I went from a career obsessed mom to family centered mom. Our faith and our family have never been stronger. Of course there are still tough days and certainly will be to come, but it's so nice to finally find where I belong.
Being on both sides (working and staying at home), I have to say that being a mom in general is one of the most hard and rewarding things you can do. I always hate to read about folks that hear that one side is "better" than the other or get questioned for their choices. No matter where you are in life, I say that if you are loving your children with all you have and providing for them a loving home and support, you are being a great parent!!!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
I've been speaking with several folks lately that are in just the beginning stages of thinking about adoption...and they are currently thinking of everything they can that would prevent them from doing it. They are thinking about their savings account, their retirement plans, their homes, their current family. Don't get me wrong, these things absolutely have to be thought about, and thoroughly before stepping into an adoption. However, if we allowed our "plans for our lives" to dictate this adoption, it simply would not have happened.
I was not one of those folks that always knew I would adopt. It's not like I had anything against it at all, I just didn't know a lot about it and really had never spoken to anyone or knew anyone that had done it, until my friend adopted from Ethiopia. We had planned to have 3 children, but after Reece's scary delivery, decided we were blessed to have two and moved on..continuing to plan every step of the way. We had plans for every cent in our account, plans for the girls, plans for our vacations, next homes we were going to buy, work plans...you know that American dream...we had it down pat! We did not plan, however, to be completely overwhelmed and to have our eyes opened like we did.
I said to myself over and over again while I was looking at adoption initially (of course telling myself I was helping my friend by researching..but everyday growing more and more curious myself) that this was not a calling for us. How would we afford it? That's not exactly where we planned for our money to go. Looking back now I cannot believe how incredibly selfish we were, but I am just being honest here. Financial fear is a real roadblock to adoption, not only the cost but also just affording another baby in the family. I would try and fit it into my neatly planned box, but it just never quite fit. I would try and move on, but I just never could.
And now, I cannot imagine our lives without Asher..and he's not even here yet! Just getting organized to move the rooms around has me filled with excitement! Oh my the joys and blessings our family would have missed out on by not taking that leap...by letting go of what we thought our lives could be and letting go to what God knew our lives *should* be. I laugh now when we used to sit around and think of how things would be 5 years from now. It's awesome to let it go and trust God. I would have never thought our life would look like this 5 years ago and I cannot imagine how it will be 5 years from now. All we know is we are not going to let our idea of how much money we should have in the account, how big a house we should have, how many children we should have, how much our 401K should be, what cars we should own or what the rest of the world is thinking dictate our lives again. Seems that real life has put all of our dreams to shame!!!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
It's been awhile since I've been able to say that. Not anxious. Not angry. Not scared. Just good.
We've been hard at work trying to get things together for Asher. We do have two girls, but kept absolutely nothing, so it's been starting over for us...but so much fun! It's been fun to look at bedding, pick out a crib and all of that all over again! I am trying to pace myself and only buy things that may take a while to ship in so I don't run out of things to keep me busy. I'm hoping if I stay busy getting prepared that the wait will maybe not be too unbearable :-)
I'm a planner, so I'm trying to go ahead and make a list of must have's for travel. Our agency says they will send a travel packet, but we haven't received it yet and maybe they don't send until we get travel call....which will make me insane because we leave like that next week after that and that doesn't give me ANY time to make sure I have things together! So, while I feel good about prepping the house for baby, travel is a whole other issue. Bobby and I have neither been out of the country...in fact, we have never traveled on a plane together. I'm thinking if we hired a camera crew to follow us through this journey to Seoul we might make some money putting together a comedy!
So, advice needed for this planning mama. What do you suggest for traveling with baby? Traveling with husband? Surviving the planning phase? What is a must have in Korea? What to leave special for our two sweet girls that will be waiting for us back home? Something special to give to the foster family?
So, pretty much unless I have it staged out and ready to go I will feel in over my head (and will probably feel that way anyway! And this makes me feel like I'm doing SOMETHING during a wait when nothing is happening.) I am all ears for any advice anyone has!!!!!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This last month has definitely been the hardest through this whole adoption....harder than making the decision to adopt. Harder than waiting 3 months through the home study process. Even harder than waiting nearly 14 months for a referral. But, my friends I am happy to report the last wait referral wise was completed today, a month after asking to move forward with Asher :-)
The state FINALLY got off their tails and faxed over that last page. Yes folks, one last page that someone *forgot* to send along and then never responded back for almost 2 weeks over. It's done. I met my social worker today, got our updated home study and proudly paid an insane amount to over night it to WA to my agency tomorrow. And the best news? They felt like they could also turn around getting out the I-600 tomorrow as well. Sweet. We are on our way now!!
So, this I-600 approval (where the US gov. says we are approved to adopt this specific child) takes anywhere from 1 month to 3 1/2 months...with no rhyme or reason why it can be shorter or longer. Ugh. There is no way to expedite it either I'm told. I know several other adoptive moms have told me you can call the office and check your status, and depending upon your officer, you may be able to find something out. I'm going to give it some time of course, but I'd much rather follow up with them every couple of weeks just for my sanity and peace of mind to know at least it's getting some sort of attention and not sitting in some one's inbox! This is our son we are talking about here!!
After this I-600 approval is received (hopefully in January!), then it will be sent to Korea and everything on that side can start. If we can get included in the EP (emmigrant permits) batch and not have to wait on those (fat chance since there is already a 2 month back up), there's a chance we will be able to travel maybe a month or two after the I-600 approval. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my prayers lifted high, but also keeping an understanding of how things can get delayed...especially with the holidays coming up too.
I celebrated today by getting some things for Asher's care package. We are able to send whatever we can shove into a gallon sized bag over for him. That's not a lot of room! I bought way too much stuff and we are now trying to figure out what to include....I'll post a picture once we make the final decision :-)
I got a few outfits, but it's so hard to figure out sizes. His weight and length do not match up nicely with the sizing charts here in the US....and who knows how he will grow in the next few months. I have to admit after years of shopping for girl clothes, the boys really do get the raw end of the bargain...there is so much more for girls!
Anyway, he has the beginnings of a room and we are gradually picking things up. We have the crib, bedding set, stroller, pack and play, high chair and some clothes. We, however, have no toddler boy toys, so this is something we definately need to get busy with or else he will be playing with barbies :-)
Kyleigh wants to move into our bonus room, so we are pretty much switching everyone around...Kyleigh to the bonus room, Reece to Kyleigh's room, Asher to Reece's room...round and round we go! I want to go ahead and move everyone around after Christmas. I would love to say because we would be getting Asher soon then, but more for Reece's adjustment. She will use any excuse not to sleep and I can only imagine the ones she will come up with during all of this!
So, YAY! Happy week for us! I just wanted to say thanks again to all of the encouraging words everyone from this blog and FB has left. It has truly meant so much! To top it off, another adoptive mommy friend is in Korea right now and it's been so awesome to follow along her journey along with another one expecting her travel call any day this week/next week. I'm so happy for all of them and it just gets me so excited!!!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
We contacted our agency to move forward with Asher on the 10th of November. Our agency said they would send the referral paperwork. A week went by and we didn't get anything. I followed up and she said she changed her mind because she didn't know if she could send them because we were in the middle of updating our homestudy (started this back in October because of the move and also had to make changes specific to Asher since he was a waiting child). So, then they said they would send it out again. Again nothing. An assistant didn't send when she was supposed to. We tried again. This time it was lost in the Seattle snowstorm. That following Monday our social worker contacted us and told us she got the clearances in, but the state left off the last page of my husband's, which of course is the most important page. She contacted them again and asked to send it ASAP. They have yet to contact her back or send anything in the mail. Our agency sent our paperwork again after we repeated emailed and called saying we never received the other one and they mailed it to the wrong address.
We finally got our paperwork at our home yesterday. We had to contact the agency to re-do some of the documents because they still had our old address on several of them, but we got it worked out. We just finished up notarizing everything today. I made copies of it all. It's ready to go. I called our social worker to see if they had heard anything else about that page from the clearances and our social worker's mother has passed away, which is why she wasn't answering emails. Her assistance says they still haven't received anything and there is nothing to do but wait. They are closed tomorrow, so the earliest anything can go out is next week. Next week marks a full month since we notified to move with Asher and have yet to be able to "officially" accept the referral.
So, that's the back story to this post. If you have been on Facebook with me, I'm sure you are sick of hearing about it. To say these last 3 weeks have tested my patience and faith is an understatement. I KNOW God is in this. I know this is part of His timing. I've been trying to get past the discouragement and found myself doing nothing but venting in the process. Yuck. A nasty negative mess. Are we not supposed to be thankful and rejoice in the Lord even when times are tough? I'm pretty in the bible it doesn't point us to Facebook to rant and rave.
I've been spending some extra time in my mornings in prayer....just praying for patience and understanding and peace. Everyday I pray that things will all come together and we can finally get this moving. I'm trying not to feel like we've lost an entire month. I know that there is much preparation with Asher and his foster family too. It's not all about me, but I sure have forgotten that. It's been poor pitiful Brandi these last few weeks. And my poor husband. Let's just say that man has the patience of Job to have dealt with me. I have been incredibly emotional and he has been my rock. I do not know how I would have faced this without him.
So, in my own little world there has been the party of the year going on...bigger than anything P. Diddy or whatever he is called now could even put together. It's been a pity party that has done nothing but completely leave me exhausted, bitter and sad. I do not want to feel defeated anymore, because the truth is, I'm not. Outside of my world in my head, there is nothing to be sad about at all.
Even though I cannot share his picture publicly, there is a completely adorable baby boy just waiting for us. That is a blessing. He has made it through so many adversities already that do not even compare to my last 3 weeks. That is a blessing. There is a wonderful foster family taking care of him for us right now. That is a blessing. Next year, I will get to celebrate almost all of the holidays as a family of 5. That is a blessing. This adoption has brought me even closer to my husband. That is a blessing. This adoption has taught my children to care for orphans. That is a blessing. I have made a wonderful group of friends through adoption groups and blogs. That is a blessing. I mean come on, Asher's name means BLESSING!
So, I humbly apologize to any and all who have had to listen to me these last 3 weeks mumble and moan...cry and pout. I'm not sending anything out this week like I had hoped and prayed but I am concentrating on the glorious moment when I do get to. I will appreciate it. I will be humbled by it. Because that means my baby boy is coming home sooner...and that is the biggest blessing of all.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Ok, now that the mama bragging is out of the way, I promised this post would be on Korean adoptions. When we started our research Korea was in a large list of countries we looked at. There were several reasons that led us there:
*Older babies mostly for adoption
-In Korea, they are really pushing for domestic adoption to be more accepted. In the last few years, they have changed their program to have the children put into an adoption plan available for domestic adoption for the first 5 months. If they are not adopted after that time, then they are eligible for international adoption. So, most folks adopting healthy babies receive referrals that are around 5-6 months old. We knew we did not want an infant, but still wanted a smaller child, so this was a perfect age range for us.
*Foster families in place for adoptive children
-After these babies have been in an orphanage for those 5 months, they are then put into a foster family where they will stay until they are adopted. While it's difficult to imagine these babies going from 3, 4 or 5 different caregivers in their first year or two of life, it's comforting to know they are under the care of a family.
*Good medical care/records
-Korea's medical system takes very good care of these babies. They go to monthly check ups with a physician and any follow ups/hospital stays are all documented and held to be supplied to the adoptive family. We received a ton of information on Asher's medical background along with all of his monthly checkups, specialist visits and hospital reports. While we couldn't understand some of it, our adoption specialist (physician) could easily explain these reports to us.
*Good potential of knowing family history
-While poverty and other reasons may lead a birth mom to put together an adoption plan for her baby, still today unwed mothers are quite a stigma in Korea. Although progress is being made, there were not a lot of options for these mothers. Many of them were disowned from their families, couldn't find jobs to support them and sometimes even the child was punished along with his mother with prejudice actions from society. Family blood lines are very important in Korea, which is why the domestic adoption program is very slow to pick up pace. There are different homes set up in Korea where these birth moms can go and receive prenatal care their last few months of pregnancy along with counseling and job training. They work hand and hand with social workers and care givers to put together an adoption plan for their baby. Many times information about the birth mom and father can be released, which is invaluable. We do not know Asher's birth mother and father's names, but we do know their backgrounds and the situation that led to his adoption plan.
*Long standing international adoption program
-Korean adoptions starting occurring in 1955 as a result of the Korean war. Many of these children were orphaned due to the war or were multi-racial (Korean mothers, US fathers) and were not accepted in Korean society. The reasons for the international adoption program to continue on have changed over the years, but the stigma of illegitimacy, unstable economic conditions, limited interest in adoption in Korean couples and internal government challenges in dealing with a large number of abandoned or orphaned children have led to a continued need for these adoptions. S. Korea is the oldest organized international adoption program in the US. There are 4 agencies in Korea that work with international adoptions: Holt, Eastern Social Welfare Society, Korea Social Services and Social Welfare Society. Depending upon the local agency you choose here in the US will depend on the agency you work with in Korea. We chose Holt because they had over 50 years of experience and felt they had probably seen and heard it all!
* You can travel over or choose to escort
-When we were initially looking at this adoption, we felt sure we would choose the escort route and loved that the Korean program offered this, however, we have since changed our minds and are thrilled to go to Korea to meet our son and his foster family in person. I think this is a great choice though to have depending upon your family dynamic and needs.
We just felt drawn to S. Korea in our hearts to adopt. These are just some of the reasons we chose to adopt there, but I could have gone on all day. Below are some factors to consider to see if Korea works for your family. All countries have guidelines for adoptive families to meet. As well as a list of the process, agencies that work with Korean adoptions and some blogs/websites to check out!
~Who are the children? Korean boys and girls ages 5-12 months are available for adoption. Because there are many more boys than girls available, many agencies will quote longer time lines or put restrictions (no girls already in family for example) if you want to adopt a girl. There are also many waiting children from all ages available.
~Who can adopt from Korea?
-Couples married at least 3 years with no more than 2 divorces between them
-Ages 25-42 when initiating the adoption process
-Must meet Korean health requirements (they have certain BMI requirements)
-No more than 4 children already in the family
-Meet financial guidelines (for example, make minimum of $30K per year)
~Adoption Process- After you do your research on which agency you want to go with, you will need to contact them and complete their initial application. Once this is done, you will either be referred to a social worker or chose one yourself to complete your homestudy along with receiving a list of adoption education classes you must complete as well. A homestudy is a 1-2 month process where a social worker assess pretty much everything from your background, home, family, job, finances, etc. to ensure you are fit to adopt. Once your homestudy is complete, they will send to your agency and you can officially start your wait! Once you have been matched and receive your referral, the time to travel over (or escort) depends greatly on the agency. I've seen some travel in 9 weeks..I've seen some travel 9 months later. It all depends on how fast the paperwork gets processed on both the US and Korea side of things. I would say a range of 4-6 months though. Korea also requires 3 follow ups with your social worker after the child is placed in your home at 2 month intervals. Once these have been completed, you can officially finalize your adoption!
If you would like more information on Korean adoptions, please feel free to check out the following links!
http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/search/agency-list.php - A list of all agencies in the states that do Korean adoptions
http://www.youtube.com/user/loswhit#p/c/D25616FB0EB7F706 - this is from Carlos Whitaker. Awesome blogger (Ragamuffin Soul). He records pretty much every moment of going to get their son Losiah in S. Korea in the videos in the right. Get out your tissues for this ride...especially #14!
There are just too many blogs to list that are so good for this! Here are a few that I found early in our journey and followed through on the ones they followed and found so many more great ones!
Next post....domestic adoptions in US!
Sunday, November 28, 2010
If you've got the heart and resources to adopt waiting children, you are certainly giving that child opportunities they may never have in their current situation. Many times medical conditions in other countries are easily treatable here in the US. Most of these situations here in the states center around older children waiting for homes or sibling groups. There is much stigmata around each scenario that I will talk about below. I want to also note again that these are strictly for informational purposes and in no way reflect or push my opinions or feelings about each issue.
**"I don't want to adopt an older child because they already have so many emotional issues from being in institutionalized care."
**"We want to adopt internationally and they do not speak English."
**"I'm scared to adopt a child that has had a history of abuse and neglect."
When a family sits down to consider adoption and older children come to mind, these questions are some that may pop up. It's good to be honest with yourselves on why you want to adopt the child you do and if it's an older child, some of the issues that MAY occur. All of us have seen those 20/20 specials with the out of control older kids that do not bond with anyone and the adoptive parents cannot handle. I'm not saying situations like that do not happen, but they most certainly do not happen with the majority of older children adoptions.
Yes, most children that are older in government ran care are there because of some traumatic event. Maybe it happened as a baby and they grew up there or maybe it was something recent. Every child is different along with every situation. It is important to understand what occurred in their past to be able to understand how to give them to support they need and help them to bond into your family. While babies require patience in learning routines and sleep issues, older adoptees need patience as they try and mold into your family. This may be the first family they have been apart of or maybe they have been passed from family to family. Either way, it takes time to build trust, just like it does with anything else. Try to see things through their eyes.
Language issues may occur initially, but most schools now have wonderful ESL programs that have been very successful as well as parents learning some basics in the foreign language to help communications.
The main thing needed is the same with any adoption (or birth for that matter) and that is a strong support group of friends and professionals. These are other families that have adopted older children, psychologists, physicians, etc. These folks have seen it all and can be an invaluable asset, especially finding a counseling professional that specializes in adoption. Also check your expectations at the door. This I think also goes along with any adoption or birth as well. I think all of us as parents have discovered our expectations at some point or another have been greatly exceeded or underestimated. Don't expect them to naturally bond to you. It takes time. Don't expect them to feel at ease immediately in your home for a while or to let their guard down all of the time. Take time to form the relationship and the trust will follow.
Here are a few links about older adoption:
Sibling groups are much the same way. Many times these consist of an older sibling among one or several younger ones. Sometimes the oldest feels responsible and there is a loss of childhood for them. They have become the parent..even at 8 years old. Once again, this is where your support system comes into play and can help both you and your child come to understand what it means to be a child. Also it is just a wonderful thing when you can keep all of the siblings together and make a scary situation more comfortable!
Children with certain medical conditions or backgrounds are also categorized as waiting children. Depending upon the country, these medical conditions may be severe or quite minor by US standards. For instance, I'm sure everyone has seen information on cleft palate surgeries that have been performed here in the states for adoptive children. Medical conditions can range from HIV, heart disorders, down syndrome, respiratory issues, pre-term birth, neuro problems to limb differences or skin disorders or simply having an extra finger or toe. Backgrounds also vary from country to country. You know when you adopt from Africa you will have a greater chance of your child being affected by HIV than say from Russia. Or if you are adopting from Russia your child has a greater chance of being affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome than Africa. This is where your research of different countries is key. It's also important to sit down as a family and take in the resources in your community (hospitals, therapies, counseling, etc.) to see what you are equipped with locally.
It's a hard conversation to have. I remember how hard it was for Bobby and I to go through a list and try and decide what we felt like we could handle and couldn't. It was awkward and I don't think either of us walked away feeling especially good about ourselves, but honesty was needed for the child's sake. There is a list of potential conditions on the Rainbow Kids website that I will post a link to below. The hardest part of the waiting child process is concentrating on the facts...what needs are you able to accept and care for? It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of a child in need, but if your nearest resource is 100 miles away and that child will need constant care, is that really in their best interest? I do believe there is a family for every child. Pray on it. Sleep on it. But be realistic of your efforts and the long term of the child. Sit down with an adoption physician and discuss their file...any questions you may have for their long term future as well as just understanding the medical information given to you. Sometimes depending upon the country or situation, you may not receive any information at all. Adoption is a loving, beautiful thing and you are jumping in to be a forever family. As hard as it may be to say no, sometimes it's for the best and then another family better equipped will have the opportunity.
With that said, below is a link for those interested in waiting children with medical issues/backgrounds internationally (most domestic sites do not distinguish between children with medical issues or older children). I have listed Rainbow Kids, which is where our Asher was listed. No matter where you are in reading this, I invite you all to make a profile (it's anonymous, no one will contact you) and check these kids out. You can even choose to be alerted when a child is posted that meets your profile (certain country, age, medical conditions, etc.). If nothing else, please pray for these children that they may soon be matched with families. Rainbow kids includes children with medical issues as well as older children and sibling groups needing homes all around the world. I also include a couple of links for adoption physicians. The first is country wide, but the second is locally here in NC and who we used to review Asher's information. Dr. Douglass was very throughout and talked us through page by page!
This is really a very basic layout of waiting children, but I hope it's enough to get you thinking. These kids no matter their age, family situation, background or medical condition all deserve homes.
Next I will touch on Korean adoptions, which are close to my heart :-)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here are some astronomical statistics....
**It is estimated there are between 143 million to 210 million orphans worldwide (recent UNICEF report)
**The current population of the US is just a little over 300 million to give you an idea of how huge these numbers are
**Everyday 5,760 more children become orphans
**2,102,400 children become orphans in Africa alone
**Every 15 seconds another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan
**Each year 14,505,000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age 16
**Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
**In Russia and the Ukraine, studies have shown that 10%-15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age 18
**These studies also show that 60% of girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
Can you just take a second and read those statistics again. Think on them.
Our family has two biological girls. My first pregnancy went like clockwork. My second ended up being quite different with both of us in very real danger. It was not recommended for us to have anymore children. At first I was ok with all of this. I mean, I always wanted more kids...a house full, but I was just thankful and blessed that we were all healthy and safe. I was so grateful that God had given us two healthy children. I figured it was meant to be that we just had our two. We got rid of all of our baby stuff and moved on. That was 2005.
Flash forward January 2009. One of my very best friends told me they were adopting from Ethiopia. I didn't know much about adoption at all. I decided to get online and start researching...to be able to follow along with her, to be a support and understand all of the acronyms and language she was using! The more I researched, the more my eyes and heart were opened. I just couldn't believe the stuff I was finding. It was unbelievable. I held onto it for a few months and just thought on it, prayed on it. We were doing fine financially with our two kids, we were out of diapers, out of it taking 2 hours of packing to leave the house, sleeping through the night. What the heck was I thinking?
But, I could not think of one reason alone to not adopt that wasn't selfish. Yes, finances are tough for everyone, but could we give up some of those materials things for some extra money? Yes. We have plenty of room in our home, plenty of food in our pantry, plenty of love to go around. Could we do this too? Could we move beyond our own American dream to give a child a home? Maybe God had a different dream for us beyond what we had planned out ourselves.
When I first went to my husband with all of this, I knew in my heart we were called to adopt. I could not turn my heart away from everything I knew now. He was reluctant at first. How would we afford another child? How would we afford an adoption? Did we have enough time and energy for another baby in the house? At first I was very hurt by his response....didn't he understand and feel the way I did about this? I finally just let it go and prayed. A few weeks later completely out of the blue he came up to me and said yes. I couldn't believe it! We were going to really go forward with this and adopt! I was so excited and thrilled, but honestly scared at the same time. It's like that "Oh CRAP" moment you have when you look to that positive pregnancy test the first time and then look at your husband and he has the same look. Scared joy!
The next steps involved much much research. Domestic or international? If international, what country? What about waiting children? Which agency? How will we pay for it all? How long will it take? How will our family handle all of this since no one else has ever adopted? How will our kids feel about it? My next blog will take on waiting children since these are the kids worldwide with the greatest need of adoption. I will also cover domestic and several other countries as well in subsequent posts.
Although not everyone is called to adopt, I hope that those reading will open your hearts and minds. Maybe your family can do it. Maybe you've just never thought about it and don't know where to begin. Maybe you can help support a family in the process. Maybe you can get involved in an orphan ministry here in the states or oversees. Maybe you can foster. I hope and pray that you find clarity in your mission these next few weeks and fill compelled to do something.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" James 1:27
Friday, November 19, 2010
Before I even roll out of bed in the morning, I lay there and go through all of the things I need to get done/am supposed to do that day. My days vary widely, but I do have set things I do every week like volunteering in my daughter's classrooms and girl scouts. I am definitely a Type A person..I like to have a plan, well ahead. I've certainly gotten better about going with the flow of the moment, but the entire time I cannot enjoy the "flow" because guess what I'm doing in my head..yup, trying to figure out what's next.
So I'm trying to plan the next few months of our lives. Ugh. I've found myself wrapped back up into the stress of looking at time lines and trying to ride a fine line between being anxious for answers/follow up or pestering my adoption agency and/or social worker. In my head, I feel like we are losing time...no one is moving fast enough...what's taking so long just to mail paperwork for goodness sakes!
But then I remember the wait. The molding and everything I learned. And I know this wait will produce something completely different if I let it. I found myself watching Adoption Story today (whoo, bad choice of programing for my emotional state by the way!). I watched as a first time foster mom handed over this completely adorable 6 month old little boy. My heart broke for her. While those parents in the US were praying for time to pass, she was praying for time to stop. I've been so focused on MY wait, MY impatience, MY adoption story, that I am completely leaving out an entire other side to this. And anyway, it's not about ME.
I'm still working this all out and I'm sure before it's all over with God will make it clear. I love how He hesitates to see if I can get it on my own...giving me time to figure out the reality of things outside of myself. On the other side of that blue sky are two families....a birth family and foster family. My inconvenient wait is in no comparison to the choices and decisions they have had to make these last 9 months. My patience needs to be with God working through their lives. Because they have all made the decision to put our son first.
So, now I am stressing on how I'm being about this wait. And let's call it what it is, selfishness. I want him home...yesterday. Yes, the selfishness is due to my love for him and wanting to care for him and have him finally join our family because I am incredibly excited, but selfishness nonetheless. I'm taking a day just to myself tomorrow. It's long overdue and I'm hoping some time of reflection and peace will make things better. Just some deep honesty on this Friday afternoon :-)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I do not know why God chose now for our family. I wasn't expecting it at all. After the absolute excitement of everything comes down, I think about many other people. I think about his birth mom, his foster family and my other friends I have made over the past 1.5 years on this adoption journey. I know folks in every aspect of the wait....some are still being moved in their hearts and trying to find the courage to move forward to talk to their spouses, some are just starting on the mountain of paperwork, some are at the beginning or end of their wait and some are waiting to travel. Every story is different, but the desire is the same. It brings us together and it's beautiful.
I remember reading posts of friends who received their referral and I was incredibly happy for them, but I could not help but feel sad at the same time wondering where our little one was. For everyone that has given their kind words, wishes and prayers, we thank you so much! And, we also ask that you do the same for those still "in the wait". I want to say a special prayer for the strength and peace to continue to hang on.
I want to send positive thoughts your way...even though the wait is hard, God's plan is so worth it. I did not want to hear it when I was in the middle of mine, especially while having a particular tough day, but it's true. God was waiting until everyone was in the right place physically, mentally and spiritually before making this happen. I think back to the last 1.5 years and there are so many times that I am truly thankful God did not answer my prayers then!
And if he would have, we wouldn't have our son. He was worth every tear I cried, every bad day I had, ever irritated day I spent explaining again why we hadn't heard anything. I am in awe and amazed by the whole thing and my heart and prayers go out to those families still waiting. I cannot wait to share in your good news and I pray for peace for you everyday.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
THAT'S RIGHT, WE HAVE A SON!!!
Adoption as a whole is certainly not for the weak at heart. There have been good days and bad, but it all melts away once you look at that picture. We have been on the waiting list for a "healthy" child for some time now, but open from day one to certain medical conditions. In a crazy twist of fate, our eyes were brought to the most precious baby boy and we just knew he was our son.
He was born quite premature and had some issues in connection with that, but is making great progress. We just want to throw a party for everyone! It still feels so surreal. I cannot believe I was praying so hard and the whole time this was being worked out. I would love to share a picture just to prove his cuteness, but our agency doesn't suggest we post pictures on social websites until he is in our care. But, take it from me, this Korean cutie is just that.....beautiful dark almond eyes, spiky hair and the sweetest cheeks! So now we are finalizing all of our referral paperwork and getting ready for probably the hardest wait...4-6 months to travel. I already have his picture memorized, so I hope we get new ones soon!
Tonight we surprised our family at dinner. They were not expecting anything at all and thought I was handing them Kyleigh and Reece's school pictures and opened up the package to find baby brother! It was so great to see the joy and excitement on their faces! Of course one of the first questions we get asked is his name. It is kind of a hard thing right now. Bobby and I cannot seem to decide on a name, so I guess we are really taking our time with it. His Korean name means "strong" and "abundant/generous", so I would love to find a name to fit just with that and continue to honor his birth mother with that. We know we will be keeping his Korean name as his middle name for sure.
So, needless to say it's been an absolutely crazy week full of every emotion imaginable! We are THRILLED and BLESSED to be mama and daddy to this sweet baby and just cannot wait to hold him in our arms! I'm sure if you look hard enough you can probably see my perma-grin from where ever you are in the country!
Friday, November 5, 2010
On a separate topic, do I have any Private Practice watchers here? Last night's episode was so emotional. I couldn't even sleep afterwards. My heart goes out to any woman who has been sexually assaulted. I do unfortunately understand to a certain extent, but the violence of last night left me speechless. Kudos to this show for bringing awareness to this and providing support opportunities for these women. If you missed it, I hope you will check it out.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Here she is after getting her award:
All week we had been working on the "Parade of Pumpkins". Each class designs a pumpkin for the contest. In Reece's class, we went with "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom". For those of you that have read the book (numerous times!) you will really appreciate it! We had some other great parent volunteers that really pulled it all together, and were much more creative than I was!
Bobby and another parent volunteer are using power tools to suspend the "coconut pumpkins" from the tree.
And Reece as the leopard. For every bit Kyleigh doesn't like to dress up, Reece LOVES it!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Reece, her BFF "A" and myself at her school's fundraiser
Sisters at the state fair
Friday, October 15, 2010
I was just talking to my soon to be eight year old about her constant need to question everything and know and understand what is going on always. To anyone else, it seems disrespectful that she is constantly asking, but we know it's just Kyleigh's way. She HAS to know when, where, why, how what or is gets mad, frustrated, irritated, sad, etc. You get the point. I get irritated myself with it and always find myself saying "Kyleigh, can't you just go along with the flow? Just trust that it will be something good for you and you will enjoy. Just enjoy the ride. You are making the journey much more difficult than it truly has to be".
HELLO! Isn't that exactly what I had been doing? OK, I get it. Lesson learned :-)
So, I let it go....truly this time. And guess what happened? Referral drought over! Just when I wasn't expecting it. Just when I wasn't stalking it out or trying to plan it out.
WE ARE NOW #6!!!!!!!!!!!
It's getting close...it's getting real. One of my very best friends came last week with her absolutely beautiful Ethiopian boy and stayed with us a couple of days. It was refreshing to have a baby in the house again. I was starting to remember...and really get excited!
I don't want to get too excited. We could sit at six and not move again for another 2 months like it happened before, but we have to be able to get a little excited right?! And seeing a couple of blogger moms I follow finally be able to hold their babies in their arms this week has just been a wonderful thing. I've been catching up today and mostly through tears reading their stories and seeing their pictures. This could be us soon....this will be us soon. It's a wonderful realization to something that we know we've been moving towards, but just hasn't felt this real until now.
While I'm still brokenhearted for his birth parents and the situation he is in now, I am rejoicing knowing everyday whether I see it in writing or now, we are being pulled closer together as a family. And that is something to celebrate!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The girls started school this past week. Under the circumstances of such a quick move, they did awesome! Kyleigh has already made some friends and seems to really enjoy her class. And Reece, I just cannot believe my baby started kindergarten. I did ok dropping her off that morning, but when I went to pick them up, seeing both of them standing there together with their book bags just tore me up! I am class parent for both of their classes and between that, the school volunteering and girl scouts, I think I'm going to have quite a busy year. I've been so busy these last few days, it's been ok to be home, but I'm sure next week I will be missing them terribly. Reece was so funny this morning...she found out Bobby was off and her face lit up "Mommy, now you don't have to be by yourself, you have someone!" It was so sweet :-)
Another thing I need to start on is making connections in the Raleigh/Durham area for stuffed animal collections/donations. I've actually been able to personally meet a couple of folks that have donated and I've collected enough in the past couple of months to do a sizable donation. I'm excited to be in a new area with such an opportunity to make a difference!
On another note, in the past few weeks I've had a friend I used to work with go through some pretty traumatic weeks. Details aside, she was pregnant with twins boys and had a pretty severe complication. She was rushed to the ER, almost died herself, and then the boys were air lifted to Duke. Sadly, one little man didn't make it. It's just heartbreaking to imagine. The other twin is doing better and has been transferred back to their hometown NICU. He is still being monitored due to the lack of oxygen because of the complication, but otherwise is doing well. This is just one of those times where it is so easy to be overwhelmed and let your mind wonder..."where is God" "why would He let something like this happen". I just ask all of you that are reading to please pray for Shannon and Jaren. She needs prayers for understanding, for healing physically and emotionally and Jaren needs prayers for healing. This family needs to feel an uplifting spirit and not to be overwhelmed by all of the "what ifs" that are out there!
Hope you all are having a good September so far and looking forward to the cooler weather! We get our weekly email for the adoption updates tomorrow, so I'm really hoping for any movement at all!!!!
Friday, August 13, 2010
However, it wears on my faith when you sit and look at timelines. I'm human here, I do it. I wish I didn't. When you've been waiting well over a year with many more months to go before your referral and someone who has only been waiting for a referral a few months gets theres. Once again, COMPLETELY HAPPY for these folks! But it's heartbreaking. I have faith that God's timing is so much more perfect than mine. I know that when it is meant to happen, it will. I really do. My brain knows these things, but my heart just aches and wonders how much longer. We've moved into this house. We are settled. Plenty of room....we have baby brother's stuff in the closet just waiting for him. Oh I hope we hear something soon! I know life has been coming fast for us lately and we've been incredibly busy, but it doesn't mean I don't think of him every single day. I pray for him every night. I wonder about him every morning when I wake up. I know these feelings will all feel like a lifetime ago soon and will just fade the moment that referral call comes in. Fall seemed to be the busiest time last year, so we are really hoping that things pick up in the next few months so we might still have him home next Spring.
Just crazy emotions from a waiting mama tonight! Hope you all are doing well!!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
The last move was hell. I really have no other way to describe it. I felt like I was being ripped away from everything. I was sad and frustrated and determined to find something to complain about during it or to be sad over. Even when things were going good, I would still find something! Talk about being a Negative Nancy as my friend Meredith would say.
I caught myself doing it a couple of times with this move. It's not so much not having a positive attitude this time as it's just being plain stressed out and letting it completely take me over. I get so wrapped up I lose sight in the important things. When I sit back later and think about those things, they are by and large very minor in the big scheme of things....and I'm disappointed in myself for letting it get to me.
Truth is, we have been very blessed so far in this move. We found a house that worked for our family amazingly quick. The moving company moved up their packing time two weeks for us so we could start the kids at the new school. The girls are taking the move incredibly well. Bobby is seriously glowing from the challenge of this new store. And I still get to be a stay at home mom with my girls. Seriously. So I didn't get all of my to do list done one day. Breathe. It's OK!
It's so very easy to fall back into that trap of pity me. It's probably been the hardest change I've had to make if I am being honest. It's an automatic easy fix to sit back and let your mind just take over with all of the **junk** that it can come up with to make you feel overwhelmed, out of control and at the mercy of the world. I'm not called to live that way anymore, but I have to purposely work at it, but that's ok. I think if that part was ever easy, I'm obviously doing something wrong!
So, this is probably the last post until we get into the new house on Friday. And the best news for last???
#9!!!!! We are officially #9 on the list! I've been doing the single digits dance all weekend! Hoping and praying movement continues!!!!!!!!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sigh. I am mentally exhausted from it. This has been going on since Sunday night....every minute of my waking since Sunday has been consumed with trying to get this child to clean. If it was just a few things, fine, but she has TRASHED this room. I mean, you cannot even see the floor for all of the toys and clothes on it. I don't think I'm in the wrong to expect her to clean up her mess....especially when I've been doing the ENTIRE rest of the house! I'm trying not to give in....and forgive my rant here :-)
We have our last swim lesson today. I did not let her attend on Tuesday (because of the disobedience around the room) and oh boy...we were definitely the circus side show there. She cried, she screamed, she begged, she tried to go in the pool in her clothes. I don't think it's fair to punish Kyleigh since she cleaned her room like I asked, so I have to go. It's 8:30...we leave in an hour and the room is not even close to being done. She sits in there all day saying she's cleaning and then it's actually worse than what it was earlier! I guess everyone at the aquatic center this morning will get another show. Maybe she will be a famous actress one day with all of this drama. At least one grandma befriended me on Tuesday and patted me on the back for standing my ground and not just giving into my kids all of the time. I really needed that :-)
This holding your ground stuff is tough tough....especially since the girls are SO different. Kyleigh would have given in and just listened within the first hour.....and we are on day 4 with Reece!!!! Lord please give me patience and strength!
Monday, July 26, 2010
While I am **extremely** happy to have a quicker move time than the 4 weeks they initially quoted us, I am looking at the calendar and realizing just how quick that is. I don't have much time at all.
Outside of all of the scheduling with last minute appointments, coordinating real estate agents and everything at the new place, something hit me today. The importance of this house. The memories of this house.
I remember crying pulling out of the driveway at our Wilmington house moving here....that was the house we brought our babies home to...in fact, it happens to be the house pretty much all of the major events of our lives at that time had happened in. But this house, while it holds memories of my kids as well, has a special place in my heart for my dad.
My back porch is the last place I sat with him and just talked...he told me all about my grandfather, who he had never really spoken to me about before. My kitchen table was the last meal I had with him. My driveway was the last place I stood and hugged his neck. My road was the last place I saw him drive away. For these reasons, this move has all of a sudden hit home in a very bittersweet way.
I became a very different person in this house. In the quiet times of working from home away from the noise of the office, I was able to hear God for the first time. I still ran for a while, but being pulled away...this move...was one of the best things to ever happen to me. For the first time in my life, I felt safe with my life in His hands. And that is a wonderful thing.
I know I will cry pulling out of this driveway too, but I am so happy to also remember all of the great times that were spent here. Our family has never been stronger or closer and I cannot wait to see what this adventure has in store for us. Hopefully this next house will also be filled with memories of our Korean cutie soon!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
We were lucky enough to find a house to rent really close to the store.....now we just have to push that pesky moving company to get us moving! They are telling us the move is at least 3-4 weeks out! Don't they know school starts in 3 weeks!!!! At least we have somewhere to go. If we have to sleep on air mattresses in the new house in Cary until the rest of our stuff is able to be moved so the girls can start school there, I guess it will be an adventure! I'm just thankful we were able to find a place so quickly.
I will miss this area though. I take for granted that that ocean is 10 minutes away. I know I will miss it incredibly when we move, although there are so many more opportunities for our kids in the city. So much for Kyleigh and Reece and so much more support for adoptive families for sure!
So, this week has been crazy. We just finished celebrating Reece's 5th birthday and actually got the call while we had family down for her birthday. Now it's a rush to get the house ready to sell. We are so thankful to work for a company that will help us with all of this, but it is still stressful. To add to it, Bobby has to start there on Monday...as in day after tomorrow! So, us girls are left behind to get all of this stuff done and daddy is not really happy about having to live out of a hotel either! But, we know it's all temporary and we will all be back together soon.
As for adoption news, we did confirm we have moved up to #10! Woo hoo! These teen numbers have been so incredibly slow. We REALLY hope and pray the single digits come soon and FAST! It was so awesome to hear my husband looking at houses and speaking to folks making sure that there was a room for our little one :-) He even tried to get him counted as an additional person as part of our move, explaining to the lady helping us coordinate this whole thing that it should be treated just like a pregnancy. Oh this man of mine!
Anyway, sorry for the lack of posting and craziness of this post, but as you can see July has been quite crazy for us and August I think will prove to be even crazier!!!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I've been really good about not buying a lot of stuff, mostly because we don't know how big our child will be, and mostly because I just don't want to stare at it everything and think of it. I got two great coupons in the mail ($10 off purchase of $10) and just couldn't resist. My girls have outgrown shopping at Carter's, but I knew I could get some boy clothes for a real good deal!
And we did....$2.16 for 4 shirts! After I came down from my coupon high, I just pulled them out of the bag and stared at them. I probably just should have given the coupons to a friend.
It's been over a year since we started this process. I knew the waiting would be hard, but for some reason lately it's just been harder. There were no referrals at all in June, and while I'm very grateful our agency sends us weekly emails, it's more and more heartbreaking to get it and see there has been no movement...again.
I've heard so many people talk about the ups and downs of this adoption process and I guess I'm just in a down part. I want so bad to have our baby home...just to know who he is! Everyday I think of him...wondering where he is, is he healthy...what is his birthmom feeling right now....do they know how much we love him already?
I really hope there is more movement in July!!!!
Monday, June 28, 2010
She was doing a 13 hour meet and greet, but you had to win wristbands to meet her. We kept texting every hour, but our names never got called unfortunately. She had stuff from her tour and her buses set up in the middle of the stadium, so it was nice (and air conditioned) to sit there and watch all of these personal videos of hers and watch her meet all of her fans down in the middle. She went back into her bus (we thought for a break) and shortly realized we had walked in just in time to catch her impromptu concert! We were quite a ways back, so we don't have really good pictures of it, but she really did a good job!
We were not the only ones taking in the last night. The way CMA Fest works, you get the option to renew your seats every year, so a lot of the people around us had been coming and sitting together for years! They were catching up and already making plans for the next year. You could definitely tell the hardcore concerts goers!
Here was the lineup for the last night....
Kellie Pickler didn't fair well with the heat and looked like her face was on fire the entire time, but she sang great!
I guess Brad Paisley had a trailer full of guitars in the back because he changed them pretty much every song. He was really talented on them though!