Friday, December 31, 2010

Dancing that I-600 approval dance!!!

Oh buddy...we are moving as quickly as we can to get to you!!

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

This is what I am supposed to be doing

Oooo...touchy subject today.

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 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

When I meet you

When the day comes I've been praying for....when I finally meet you.......

All this worry will fade

All this anxiety will be forgotten

I will have you in my arms. Forever.

I will be the one getting up at night (hopefully you will be gracious to this mama!)

Bathing you. Feeding you. Changing you.

Watching you and learning all about you.

I will always wonder and pray for your birth mom and foster family.

I pray blessing for them.

But for now, I dream of you. I wait for you. I pray for you to come home soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This is how my life is going to go....

Pardon my mood to share things that are not really glowing about myself, but I have to say I have a wonderful time planning...seriously, it's a sickness that I love it so much. I love being able to look ahead and know *exactly* what I will be doing, whether that be tomorrow or 5 years from now. It makes me feel "in control" of everything going on. It makes me feel like I am prepared for I really have my stuff together and have this whole life stuff figured out.

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 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 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

We feel good


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 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

Yay for us!!!!!

Sorry, another delay in my adoption overview posts to share some adoption news of my own.

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

In my own little world

OK, so I am taking a quick break from my adoption overview posts to reflect on these last 3 weeks. I'm not sure what is going on, but it seems every bump we can possibly hit along the way, we've hit it.

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.