Friday, April 30, 2010

Waiting Parents Meeting

Last night I attended an International Waiting Parents Meeting at our adoption agency. There was an International Adoption (IA) pediatrician (who also adopted her son from Korea) who spoke and had some good information. Most of it I had heard in the things I've read online but it was nice to meet her since we may send our referral to her for her medical opinion (we have 2 possible names right now).
We broke into groups by country so we could learn more about the individual countries and any updates. There's not much. I did here over and over how frustrating the USCIS process is and that it is taking about 10 weeks to get I-600a approvals. :( Apparently MD is much quicker but oh well.
I did met a wonderful woman, G (very similar name to my G) last night. It was great to talk with her. It's nice to get a chance to share your thoughts with and listen to other people going through the process.
Update on Korea: 4-8 months for referral, they're still saying 6 months for travel though they've said some have been sooner but they're not changing the average at this point. This is all up to the US and Korean governments processing paperwork so there's no way to know or control how long it will take.
That's about it for now. Hope you're all having a fabulous Friday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

B's exciting news!

B got into a very cool program that he'll start in 1st grade. It's a partial immersion program where he'll spend part of his day fully immersed in German. By the end of 4th grade the kids are close to fluent according to the teachers at the parents' night that I attended.

We weren't sure how B would take it (it requires him to change schools) but he seems hesitantly excited. No protests at least so that's a great sign. I hear that they have a picnic or something this summer so he can get to know some of the other kids in the program and I think that will really help! :) Although he still tells me he'd rather learn Swedish. So I think we're going to start Rosetta Stone Swedish together (that'll mix well with the Korean I'm trying to learn). Yay B!
Oh - the other exciting part (if we're here long enough) is that G also will automatically get into the program if we're still living here when she starts 1st grade (that would be awesome but we're not holding our breath).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Family Fun Friday and UPDATE!

Today G had a dentist appointment. It went well, no cavities. Yay!
Tonight B has Taekwondo again. He's really enjoying it so far. Last week G made a friend at the class so that really helped her pass the time.
This weekend Brian has class. :( I'm glad he's doing this program but the weekends he's gone aren't the most fun. Tomorrow will be busy though. A playdate with B's best friend from school and his little sister is planned! The kids can't wait. It's to Chuck E Cheese - NOT my favorite but the kids are thrilled.
I get to see my friend, M, this weekend! That gives me something to look forward to! Yay! I'll do better Family Fun Friday posts once we're "officially" waiting.

Now for the update! Fingerprints are scheduled for May 10! That means, of course, that we're not getting our approval until July. Grrr. Wouldn't it be nice if they started moving faster over at USCIS? But I have no real illusions of this happening (or should I say delusions). My poor blog friend, Elizabeth, has been waiting for over 9 weeks since her fingerprinting was finished. I really hope they get hers done soon so if you could send up a prayer for USCIS to get their act together, that would be greatly appreciated!

Sharing the News: We're expecting - #3 (yet to be named)

OK, so now I get to share our third opportunity to tell people that we're expecting. The biggest difference this time - I didn't start throwing up before telling most people! Hurray! There is a t-shirt that I like a lot that says "So far no morning sickness....but the papercuts are terrible" :)

We decided while I was pregnant with Ella that if we decided to have any more children, it would be through adoption. We both liked this idea, it wasn't second choice at all, it was preferable to pregnancy and we know that there are a lot of amazing kids out there without homes and we'd love to have a child join our family. We had mentioned this in passing to people but I don't think too many took us seriously. ;) By the time we were serious about it we went to a couple of meetings at different agencies, found Barker and moved forward quickly (well, as quickly as paperwork allows).

My brother and sister-in-law were about the first to know. They were staying with us and they watched the kids while we went to the first couple of meetings that we had at the adoption agency! Thanks J & K! We all miss you!

I think my friend, H, was the least surprised of anyone and she was absolutely thrilled once we started moving forward. According to the timelines we've been given (which are definitely NOT set in stone) her youngest and our youngest will be less than a year apart. B is 11 months older than her B (same name - Thing 1 and Thing 2 - we love them so much!), and G is 11 months older than her C. She also has an older daughter C who was my B's very first friend and he still adores and looks up to her so much. All of our kids play so well together that we're thrilled our last two will be close in age as well.

I called my Mom. We had wanted to wait and tell them in person but we needed her to fill out some paperwork for us and I had such a hard time not telling her that Brian finally caved and told me to call and do it over the phone. My parents are very excited and they've been so supportive all 3 times! My kids adore them and pretty much think that Nonnie and Paika should move in with us (and Grandma and Grandpa too, but we'll get to them in a minute). Now the difficult part for my Mom. She couldn't tell anyone yet. We wanted to wait until after Christmas to spread the news. That was very hard for her - thanks Mom!

Just after Christmas we traveled out to see Brian's parents and brother (Grandma and Grandpa - my kids also think that they should move in with us - we need a big house!). I love to tell this story because my Mother-in-law (who is about the best MIL that ever existed) had the best reaction of anyone! We told her we were adopting and the moment it was out of our mouths she pumped her fist in the air, almost jumped out of her seat and said "YES!" Her excitement still brings tears to my eyes. My Father-in-law and Brother-in-law were also happy and they're all looking forward to meeting this little one.

I called my Grandparents (Grammy and Grandpa) and told them over the phone. They are also very excited. They are proud grandparents to 10 grandchildren (plus spouses...) and this will be their 3rd great-grandchild. My aunts and uncles on both sides of the family are very excited. On my dad's side this little one will be the 7th great-grandchild on that side - there are 14 of us in my generation plus spouses (but they range from just older than me down to my B's age).

One very nice thing that I already have set aside for a baby book/life book is a beautiful card that my cousin sent after she found out about our plans (actually 2 cards b/c after the initial one she found another that she thought had a wonderful saying about families growing that she wanted to send too - thanks S - your support means the world to me).

We've told many more friends since and all have been wonderfully supportive. I also have a few wonderful people out there who adopted (now grown) kids when I was younger and they've been a terrific support as well (thanks N and C).

The only people who don't know yet are our kids. I feel bad but G hears about something and is sure it's happening tomorrow. B could handle it better but he's not good at keeping secrets from his sister so we're waiting until it's a bit closer. So I'll have to post their reactions eventually. As it is right now they ask occasionally for a sibling (B specifically for a brother, G for a sister and a brother). It's very cute. Hopefully they'll be excited when they find out!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sharing the News: We're expecting - G's story

G's story is a bit different. Between B and G I had a miscarriage so I'll start a few days before I found out I was pregnant. My best friend, H, told me she was expecting. I was thrilled for her. Then another friend, S, came over the next day and told me that she was expecting. I was happy for her but as soon as I shut the door I went into the house and yelled "Why is everyone pregnant except me?!?!" A couple of days later, you guessed it, we found out G was on her way.

My only exciting story for poor G is telling Brian. I wasn't able to tell Brian that I was pregnant with B. His commander told him and then he called. Since I found out in the morning that I was pregnant it was a LONG day until Brian came home and I could give him a huge hug and joyously share the news! But since I was so nervous after my miscarriage we didn't tell many people right away. After a couple of weeks I was throwing up so much (again) that I told Brian, just tell people, I don't care. I was pretty sure since I was that sick that the pregnancy was going well (they say it's a good sign - even though it doesn't feel like it). So I didn't get to tell anyone, but Brian spread the news happily. It was nice that he had the opportunity to tell people this time since he missed everything last time. In fact Brian even told B (unfortunately). He (sweetly) told Ben to pray for Mommy and the baby - then B asked if we could get the baby out of there so Mommy could feel better. My poor baby boy - I felt horrible that he had such a sick Mommy. Luckily, he did not connect that with his sister after she was born and loved her from the moment she was born (well, maybe a week or so later but thought she was OK from the moment he met her).

G - I'm sorry I don't have as much to post about sharing the news - it was almost all over the phone and through the grapevine this time - but know that you were anticipated greatly all the same!

Sharing the News: We're expecting - B's story

As I mentioned in starting this blog - I really want it to be a story that our kids can look back on. I have baby books but I haven't been good at journaling in them so this is my journal for them. So I want to share the stories of telling people that we were expecting. The first one is B's story (since he's our first - poor little guinea pig!)

B's story:
We moved to KS, 3 weeks later Brian deploys, 2 days later I found out I was pregnant. I called my Mom crying. She was very calm and told me to put my feet up and relax. She really calmed me down and reminded me that this is a good thing. I calmed down and felt a bit better and was able to call Brian's commander's wife. She was very nice but didn't quite know why I kept bursting into tears. Once she realized that this was our first child and that I had no way to tell my husband and that I was still in a bit of shock, she tried to reassure me and emailed her husband. After I got off the phone with her I called my in-laws who were thrilled and their excitement also helped me to feel better. A few days later one of my best friends in the world came to visit - J was very excited and celebrated with me that weekend. On Saturday afternoon Brian finally called. I was able to talk with him and I was much more excited after that.

I decided to spend a couple of months with family since I didn't know anyone in KS and started to get very sick during the drive back to NY. I thank God that I decided to visit then because that was the start of my hyperemesis which had me in and out of the hospital a couple of times.

I called my grandparents in Florida and they were very excited to hear the news (they even flew out to see him several months later about a week before his due date and arrived the day he was born - don't they have the best timing!). I also called a couple of my aunts and my one cousin whom I grew up very close with.

Telling my brother-in-law was funny. He got on the phone and I said "Hi Uncle M" and he said hi, what? huh? I said it again and he said "Uncle? Who's pregnant?" He was completely confused. I said "Brian, it's a medical miracle" and that just increased his confusion (btw - my BIL was 15 when this happened). When I finally told him I was pregnant he said congrats but seemed a bit weirded out. I think he was just finally getting used to having a sister. To his credit he is an AMAZING uncle! The kids adore him.

I told my brother in a similar way - but he caught on a lot faster (he was 22 so that probably helped). He and my sister-in-law (who joined our family when Ben was 1 1/2) are absolutely wonderful to our kids. Unfortunately they live across the country but the kids love seeing them when we can.

I felt a little better on Easter and I was able to celebrate with family. It was so much fun to tell my aunts that I was expecting. Their jaws dropped and then they got very excited! I have such a wonderful supportive family. Then I told my grandfather who was also very happy for us.

We are so thankful for our family and friends who really surrounded us with support during my pregnancy. Fortunately all of their reactions were much more excited than my own initial reaction. By the time Ben was born I couldn't have loved him more and despite the horrible pregnancy was willing to do it again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting Wednesday

Below is a link to a blog that I follow. She's doing a giveaway because her sister has also decided to add to her family through adoption - specifically adopting from South Korea. What a great thing for these two cousins!
this family squish: brace yourselves. i know i am.
Along with this I'm posting a FAMILY FAVORITE recipe:
Aunt April's Chicken Wing Dip:
16 oz cream cheese
3/4 C Franks Red Hot Sauce (I mix the regular red hot with the Buffalo Wing sauce)
1 C shredded cheddar
8 oz Ranch dressing
chicken cubed - somehow I got this recipe from my aunt w/o the amount of chicken but if you grill a couple of chicken breasts and cut it up, that's plenty. I've also used canned chicken for a very quick and easy appetizer (not quite as good but still really great!).


Monday, April 19, 2010

Home study approval and.......

it's sent to USCIS!!! Yay! We're moving forward. So happy to have an approved home study. It seems like a big step! Just wanted to share our exciting news! Now we wait for a letter telling us to report to be fingerprinted, again!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Funny B Story

Before our exciting visitors get here I'm going to share a funny story. I got my hair cut last night (shorter than I've had it since Freshman year of college so it's been fairly long for a while). When I walked in the door B came into the room, looked at me, grinned a goofy grin and said "You don't even look like Mommy!" :) He said he likes it though (he doesn't care - the important thing is that Brian still liked it!). :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Family Fun Friday

Today we got to go to the Commissary and get groceries for our exciting weekend! My Mom, Aunt, Cousin, and Cousin's 2 boys are all coming to visit! I am very excited. I'm sure they'll be excited too - once they survive the drive out! :) They are due to arrive tomorrow around dinnertime. We're thrilled. G asks daily if R (my cousin's oldest) will be here after her nap. Finally I can say that he'll be here tomorrow but she still has to wait all day!

Tonight Ben has Taekwon Do which he started last week. So far he loves it! Tonight he gets to wear his new uniform for the first time and I can't wait to take pictures!

Tomorrow I'm taking both kids to have their pictures taken. We used to do this in December each year and then we moved and it got moved to later in the year and I realized....B doesn't look pale and sickly in the spring and summer! We should do pictures then! :) Poor B inherited my complexion and he always looked tired and pale in pictures taken at Christmastime, this is a much better time of year when he's been outside playing for over a month. :)

No news today so I guess our home study is still sitting in transition. Hopefully early next week it will be sent to USCIS.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The homestudy is completed and we've been given an electronic copy to review! Yay! I've looked it over and it looks good. Brian is going to look it over tonight and then we'll email them back tonight. Hopefully it can be finalized and mailed off to USCIS by the end of the week! That would be exciting. I know I'm usually optimistic with the timing of things so it may be next week but we're getting there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thougths and update

Thoughts on the weekend:
B spent the night in G's room 2 nights in a row! It actually went really well. We set a timer and said that they could talk/giggle/etc until the timer went off then it was time for sleep. B is much better at this than G - part age and maybe part male/female genes, but both nights they were quiet by 8:30, maybe even a bit sooner. The downside - G missed naps Friday and Saturday so by Sunday she was exhausted! We made both kids take a nap/have rest time Sunday between church and Home Group - they were in their rooms at noon and we're pretty sure both fell asleep! :)

Ear Infections:
Blah! G is on her fifth round with an ear infection since November (some of those have been double so it's about 7-8 ear infections if you look at it that way). The doctor is starting to be concerned. The ENT back in November said that her ears were clear so we're not sure where to go from here.

Our Adoption Journey:
Not ours - it's the title of a blog. Her post today was excellent and I wanted to share that. There is a link on the side of my blog to hers and it's excellent. Kala - you're in my prayers! Thanks for your honesty. It helps me confront my demons more head on (not that I feel the need to write about them yet, but we'll see!). :)

Barker Annual Conference:
I attended a conference put on by our Adoption Agency on Saturday and it was excellent. Collins Tuohy (the adoptive sister from the Blind Side) was the opening Speaker and I was very interested in all she had to say. She is a wonderful speaker, seems very down to earth and connects well with her audience.
There were three sessions that I attended, the first one was on transcultural adoption. Rhonda Roorda was an excellent speaker and very friendly, I was able to speak with her briefly later on, and I especially appreciated her input as an adoptee.
The second two were both panels of adoptees. The first was siblings through birth and adoption, obviously one I was very interested in and I was very interested to hear their perspectives. The second was a panel of college students who were all international adoptees. They had a lot of good insight to offer as well. It was very well done.
Scott Simon, from NPR, did the closing and he was funny and engaging. I appreciated his insights.

Our homestudy is officially in the hands of our agency. Our wonderful social worker emailed us this morning! I am excited to move forward! :) Now I need to write the Dear Birthmom letter than I've been struggling with for too long. Please pray for me to know what to say! Thanks!


I'm sure many of you have heard about the incident that happened with the Russian adoption. Brief overview for those of you who haven't (perhaps with a bit of my opinions mixed in so bear with me).

A woman adopted from Russia and brought her son home. She found out that he had more (emotional) difficulties than she was made aware of or able to handle. Up to this point I feel for her. I am sure that she was exhausted, not sleeping, scared, felt alone, and wasn't thinking straight. It's horrible. However, it still doesn't excuse her actions. She put this poor 8 year old little boy who, though difficult, has never been treated fully with love by anyone which has created at least some of the difficulties in the first place, on a plane alone back to Moscow with a note. That's all. She didn't contact anyone or ask for help. I am sure she was out of her mind at the time, but I am also sure that her agency said that if ever there is a problem to come to them. They will help find a new home for the child if she couldn't handle it.

Due to her actions, Russia is not threatening to close down all adoptions with the US. Right now it's not fully shut down but there are likely to be many additional hoops to jump through for those in the process and a halt on anyone coming into the process. My heart aches for all those families who have either met their children or were about to and are having everything delayed and changed. Please pray for these families. On one of the forums I'm on there are a couple of people who are pretty far into the process (one was supposed to travel this week), please keep them in your prayers! And pray for all those children in the Russian orphanages who need good homes. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Waiting Wednesday: Why South Korea?

We are often asked why we chose Korea. There are several answers to this question so I'll do the best I can explaining it.

~ We fit the profile: we are within the age ranges (Brian didn't qualify for some - he was too young :P), we are within the weight ranges (Korea actually has a set BMI that you must be under in order to qualify to adopt from there), and Korea allowed us to have 2 biological children at home and still adopt.

~ The timeline is on the faster end for international adoption. Approximately 18 months from start to finish (give or take a few months) is faster than many countries, even though it seems slow to us. Since we knew we were going to be here for 2 years (we're hoping for longer, but that's all we know for now) this fit within our time restrictions.

~ The children in Korea are around 1 when parents travel to bring them home. We hoped for a younger child so that there would be a fairly natural transition for B and G into having a younger siblings.

~ Cost and travel! While the cost of international adoption is pretty high no matter what, the fact that we only have to travel for a week definitely helps. Many countries require 2 trips and each trip is anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks in length. With 2 kids at home and Brian's job this wasn't a possibility for us. We also are likely to be able to travel to Korea with our children one day as well.

~ We will have a lot of information. We will have extensive medical information on our child as well as possible contact with the birthmom later on (that's up to her - we will send updates through our agency to the Korean agency once a year). Also, the foster system in Korea is wonderful.

There are many other factors that we discussed at the time but this gives an overview of our decision. I'll discuss domestic vs. international in another post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A website that I enjoy

I'm a big fan of the Creating a Family website. Here is a preview of the show for this week:

This week's Creating a Family show (April 7) will be a panel of adult transracial adoptees. Join us for a frank discussion with the real experts on transracial adoption—adults of color who were adopted by white parents as children. They can tell us much about what worked, what didn't, what they would suggest to this generation of transracial adoptive parents. The panel includes adults who were adopted domestically, from Korea, from China and from Colombia.

You can listen or download the show at http://www.creating radioshow. html
You can send questions in advance to "info at creatingafamily. org". Please pass the news about this show to other forums and groups.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A little bit longer wait....

It looks like I was a bit optimistic that the homestudy would be wrapped up by the end of this week. It sounds like it'll be to our adoption agency for editing at the end of the week so hopefully by early to mid NEXT week it will be ready to be sent to USCIS. I know it's not a huge adjustment it's just that each step has taken just a little longer than anticipated. I know I should expect this but I'm not good at it! I know it'll be fine. It's all in God's hands, not mine.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We were blessed to have Brian's brother and a friend from church join us for dinner today. They were awesome because they both helped cook and/or played with the kids quite a bit while Brian and I were cooking. I'm now stuffed!

Funny moments from dinner:
**I asked Ella if she remembered where we knew S from (he's in our home group at church but the kids pay very little attention to the adults). She said yes - Blue's Clues. Never thought of it but I guess he looks a little like the guy on the show. Oddly we hardly ever watch Blue's Clues.
**Ella trying to lick her plate clean (until we stopped her and sent her to the bathroom to clean up).
**Not much else so I guess I have to say that Ben was awesome during dinner. He told us about his volcano (potatoes with gravy) and ate with no complaints. If you have known my child since he was little you'd know that he used to be a horribly picky eater and meals used to be miserable. This change isn't funny but it's wonderful so I'm sharing it.

No news on the adoption front. We're hoping that our paperwork is sent to USCIS by the end of this week. First our social worker has to finish writing it up (and do one more interview, I think) and then send it to our agency for proof reading, then our SW edits it and it's ready to be sent. I hope that's not optimistic. We'll see.

Have a glorious week!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Excited about a new idea: Crazy Love

A blog that I just heard of and started following has a pretty cool idea about giving to those who need it, whether to help support their adoption, or help because someone lost a job, etc. To learn more about it go to: and look at her post on Crazy Love.

Home again, home again jiggity jig...

with my 2 little pigs. :) We had an amazing time in Florida. When we were leaving G said that Ch (H's youngest daughter) is her best friend and B said that he wishes we were all family and could always be together. Talk about speaking right to my heart! It was so hard to leave but hopefully they'll be visiting us soon! It's too bad I don't post pictures b/c I'm paranoid - but I have some ADORABLE ones from our trip. Too bad H and I never think to get in any until the last morning when we look exhausted and not put together at all. Oh well.

We're still waiting to hear that our homestudy is all written up. Hoping for early this week! Right now I'm letting our eggs sit that I just boiled and I'm going to do some egg coloring with the kids! I love Easter! Such an amazing holiday. It's all about New Life in Christ and takes place in spring which is also filled with lots of new life. It's always been one of my favorite holidays (probably b/c I was born on it!). ;)

I've been following some wonderful blogs and I'm part of a yahoo forum and it seems like I've seen several travel calls and referrals lately. Congratulations to all! So excited to see the creation of these wonderful forever families!

Hopefully my brother in law is headed this way today (car troubles have stalled him) and the kids are very excited to see him! We also told them that we could get their bikes out so they are thrilled. Hope everyone has a wonderful day! Happy Easter!