Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The best Christmas Gift

We've had a wonderful time celebrating with both sides of the family. It's always terrific to see family. I guess since we don't live near either side we don't take it for granted at all.

I wanted to share that the most amazing gift this year was how supportive our families are. I was getting to a point where I sometimes felt like people forgot that we were going through this (I know that's not true but there have been times where people have been a bit insensitive and I guarantee you that I'm oversensitive) and we had family members asking questions and our parents being so amazingly supportive, talking about the baby (as well as a generous gift from my in-laws) in a way that made this all start to seem real and not SO far away again. I'm thankful for that.

I am reminded that I should treasure the next few months of waiting. Our lives will change drastically in 6-9 months so I should appreciate this time with my two kids who are, honestly, getting easier. The only diaper I touch in a day is putting one on my daughter before she goes to bed, which she removes and throws away in the morning. They dress themselves, they entertain themselves (or each other) for at least short periods of time. B can entertain himself for long periods of time (when he wants to). They get along (fairly) well (for a 4 and 7 year old). I can do some cleaning or cooking while they're awake. I can work on the budget sometimes while they're awake. We can play games, go to the park, take trips, enjoy family outings together and it's a LOT LESS working than it used to be. For the first time ever we went on a road trip and we only brought regular water bottles in the car - no sippy cups. These things seem small but slowly my kids are getting to be so much easier and they're becoming so much fun. It's a blessing. I think I'm in for some shock when youngest comes home (we call him/her "youngest" most of the time to be discreet and because we don't know what else to say). It's a wonderful, welcome shock that I am anticipating greatly and waiting very impatiently for. I can't wait to have our youngest child home in our arms. To see our family complete (unless God has other plans). But I'm trying to enjoy my older kids while it's just the two of them. Trying to enjoy God's blessings to our family in the moment and not live my life always looking forward.

Sorry this is long and rambling but that's where my head is right now. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Yesterday we were at W@lm@rt and we gave the kids a little bit of money to put in the Salvation Army bucket. There was a very kind man ringing the bell who asked my children their favorite song.

E immediately responded "I love Jesus" (which is completely a made up song that she created, but she's sure the whole world knows it).

The ringer was a bit confused but then suggested Jingle Bells (which we were whispering to the kids from the side) and he let them hold the bell, ring it, and sang "Jingle Bells" with them! So cute! Afterwards I took a picture of the 3 of them (which is currently on my camera - things probably won't get uploaded until after Christmas).

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Enough Grumbling - Merry Christmas!!!

E's last day of preshool was today and B is done tomorrow. It's almost Christmas VACATION! :) Hurray! I have to say I'm about as excited as the kids. It's taken me longer to get excited, but I'm there.

I can't wait to see family. It's always so much fun to see everyone and it's so festive.

I can't wait to sleep in once or twice. We don't do that much while traveling, but usually each of us gives the other a morning to sleep in! :)

I can't wait to celebrate - it's so much fun to see the joy that everyone has while celebrating Christmas. Especially children. I'm so excited.

But most important -
I can't wait to sing Happy Birthday Jesus with my children. To remind them of the greatest gift of all and to remember why we celebrate. Thank you God for this amazing gift!

My defensiveness and why we chose International Adoption

WARNING: Long and rambling post ahead!

Thank you to Pixie over at Cheese Curds and Kimchi for sharing a funny and insightful story over here about a couple doing an "adoption maternity photo shoot".

I wanted to share one thing on here that the article made me think of. Here is the paragraph in the article:

"I don’t know a single biological parent who’s had the very choice to give birth to their children questioned so constantly, and throughout her child’s life; you just don’t see pregnant ladies having to face an inquisition squad in line at the grocery checkout, full of people wondering why they didn’t choose to adopt? Couldn’t have they investigated foster care? Don’t they realize that there are already so many children already out there who need homes?"

The reason I bring this up is that I was asked recently why we decided to adopt and why South Korea. These are not unusual questions and most people (including this person) are very interested in hear and encouraging. But I wanted to post a bit about my response. I immediately tensed up. I tried not to show it to these caring people (that I do know well enough that they should feel comfortable asking) but my initial reaction has become a bit of defensiveness because I've had these questions and responses before:

- I thought only rich/famous people adopted internationally (REALLY?!? nope, that's not us!)
-Don't you know there are a lot of kids here who need homes?
- Why aren't you going through foster care?
- My husband and I had one person go on and on for at least 15 minutes telling us that we should have gone through foster care and giving us the how's and the why's (hello - you've never adopted and I barely know you, leave me alone!) of it because she knows one person who successfully did this (one person - yes, that means it's a fact that it would be easy for us).

I think foster care adoption is wonderful. We briefly explored it. The goal of foster care is to bring families back together, not adoption. Adoption is the point once parental rights have been terminated. This doesn't happen quickly and easily usually (I'm sure it can but I don't believe that's the majority of cases). A majority of kids currently available for adoption through foster care (parental rights already terminated) are 6 and older. Not all, but a lot who already have the parental rights terminated are definitely older than 3 and we think it is important for our kids to keep birth order, at least at this point in time). Also, I'm not currently comfortable having a child come into our house, have my children fall in love with this child, and then have that child go to another home where we aren't allowed contact anymore. I can hardly imagine how I would deal with this emotionally and I don't think it's the best choice for our family right now.

Domestic adoption - another wonderful way to adopt, but this is not cheaper nor easier than international and it completely depends on a birth Mom choosing you and the timeline is completely unknown. Plus there are times that the birth mom decides to parent. This is WONDERFUL but emotionally I would struggle with that.

So we landed with South Korea. I said in a much earlier post why we specifically chose South Korea. I'll find that and link to it rather than repost. But one reason (out of many) is time since we are a military family and we can only be sure to be here for 2 years. We wanted to have our child with us before we had to move. It's also a country that we have respect for and could share the culture with our children and over time I've grown to love Korea and I can't wait to visit!!!

If you've stuck with me this far, don't worry I'm almost done. Thanks so much for listening! Hope we're still friends!
Anyway, this is more a chance to get things off my chest. Sorry for griping. I am happy to educate about adoption, I do get frustrated when people judge me without really understanding.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Chance for Minus 1 Giveaway

The Minus 1 Project is doing a great giveaway to raise money for their adoption. Check it out. Happy Friday! We're enjoying our 2 hour delay (though Ella is sad that preschool is canceled because her party was supposed to be today). :) Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I get to share now!

My friend, Jenny, and her husband successfully adopted a baby girl (domestic)! What a Christmas miracle! Check out her blog. It's been a twisty road for them with a few speed bumps but I am so happy to hear the good news. Can't wait to meet her baby girl!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Cool is This Week?!? (Updated)

Grace is in Korea and met her son today at LONG last!
Min is on her way to Korea at LONG last!
and now...
Sonia is headed to China to get those two precious boys!

Praise God! So excited for these boys to all come home!!!

Sitting here in tears because I just heard more AMAZING news but I can't share it until she does! Thank you God!!! What an amazing week!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We had the amazing privilege of getting together with Sandra and Ben from Three Continents - One Family today. It was a wonderful time. We walked around the mall, the kids got wet in the fountain (the mall has a very open fountain that kids can't resist sticking their hands in, not necessarily the best set up - but Ben and E loved it!) and had lunch. It was wonderful to sit and talk with Sandra. She has been through this process before and has a good deal of insight to share. Plus she just understands my low-level insanity (that will turn into intense insanity once we have a referral, I'm sure).

During lunch Ben started to smile and "talk" quite a bit and after lunch we really saw his personality emerge. He is such a fun boy! E had a great time running around with him. Can't wait to do it again!

The sad part of our day was that we missed seeing Kelly and her girls today. E and Karis have become good friends and Kelly and I have become good friends (and my sanity at times) so we look forward to seeing them soon!

Thanks Sandra and Ben for a great time!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Happenings

OK, the blog picture is better, though not great. I may change it, but I really liked that photo.

Anyway, we've been busy bees here. After G, J, and H left to go back to Uganda :( I had a day of not really knowing what to do with myself. Then I found out that my best friend, her husband and her 4 kids were coming to visit. Hurray! We didn't think we'd get to see them until summer so this was a huge blessing.

They were here to celebrate birthdays:

My children wanted a Christmas theme for their birthday party. So we have red and green per B's request and the snowman ice cream cake per E's request. My cake decorating abilities are not one of my top skills but it's made with love.

Our friends stayed and celebrated Christmas with us before they had to go. It was wonderful to actually be together to celebrate this year. We miss living near them. :(

We've done a lot of Christmas shopping, starting to wrap, decorating the house, baking cookies and this weekend we put up our tree. Thursday night E had her pre-school pageant. It was adorable! Friday B had Gingerbread House Day at school so I went in to help him make and decorate his Gingerbread house. It's apparently a German tradition and they did it the week of St. Nicholas Day and it was a lot of fun. I don't often get to spend time one on one with my oldest so that was such a blessing.

We had 2 birthday parties this weekend among other things and I have to say that I am thoroughly excited about this upcoming weekend when it's a bit more relaxing. Tomorrow I really need to get some packages put together and mailed out! But that will wait until after our fun playdate.... :) More on that tomorrow!

Technical Difficulties

Trying to make my blog a bit festive. I can not for the life of me remember how to make pictures fit better. Hopefully the huge picture will not be there much longer. If anyone can talk me through it, it would be greatly appreciated! ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Music and Perspective

I was listening to "Hey Santa" on the radio with tears streaming down my face today. There are several songs, including some Christmas songs, that really bring me back to the years that Brian was deployed (we're not discussing the fact that it's a very real possibility in our future as well). As I was listening and crying it reminded me of how hard it was celebrating Christmas without him. The first time he was deployed my MIL left the Christmas tree up until he got home and we could celebrate together - he got home in April.

I started thinking about all of this waiting (because it would be great if Santa wanted to bring my a picture of my baby for Christmas) and reminded me that I may be waiting for a child, but that child isn't waiting for me. That there are children all over this country, right in this city who are waiting for their parents to come home and who will have to celebrate without their parent(s) this year. I'll gladly take this waiting over waiting for my husband to come home from war (again). God granted me a bit of perspective. My husband and our 2 kids are here and healthy and safe. Our third child will join our family in time, but I can wait on God's timing and be thankful this year.

Please send up a prayer for our soldiers overseas and their families missing them here at home.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

5 months

We've reached 5 months since HSTK. I still want to think we're close, but I haven't been given any reason to think that. Praying we get a referral in God's perfect timing, but if there's any way His perfect timing could be EARLY 2011 (or even 2010 but I don't dare dream that big), that'd be great! :)

If any of you read last night's post - Ben only threw up the one time last night! Hurray - healthy boy. He's home though so we're having a Christmas movie marathon day. It's been insane around here for a couple of months and all 3 of us could use a day off. Have a good one!

PS. Still letting you know you should check out Kelly's Great Gift Raffle at the Minus 1 Project.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Well, I was just about to get into bed and E comes running into my room to tell me that B threw up (on the top bunk, lovely). I really hate cleaning up puke. :( Here's praying that it's a quick bug. (We have fun plans on Thursday and I don't want to cancel them) I really want my child to be healthy again. I feel so bad for him (anyone know how to strike through on the blog?). He asked if he could go to school tomorrow if he felt better, I said no (of course) but it was cute that he actually wanted to go to school!

Anyway, I'm waiting for laundry to finish so I can put it into the dryer so I'm writing a quick update on our lives.

Last week we got our Army 10 miler info in the mail. I was pretty happy to see my time. I actually finished in the top half of all runners, as well as the top half of females in my age group. For me, this is very exciting. I also shaved over 8 minutes off of my time from last year. I went from just under 11 minute miles to almost exactly 10 minute miles (yes, I'm slow, but I kept running and I've improved over a year). I was very happy!

The kids' birthday party on Saturday went well. I'm crazy and had a dual birthday part for my kids - basically a 7 year old boy party on one level while a 4 year old girl party took place on the other level. My husband had class - so it was just me. My best friend came with her kids, but couldn't get there until an hour into the part. Fortunately I've become friends with one of Ben's friend's Mom (did I do those contractions correctly?) and she really helped with the boys portion. The good news - the kids were ALL well behaved and my 2 had a blast!

I had a bit of a breakdown Sunday night. I feel like an idiot afterwards but I appreciate the honesty of other AP's who are honest on their blogs and share their tough times. I'm not really there yet, this is supposed to be the easy wait but having the referral pushed so far and a few other unknowns combined with being a bit sleep deprived made me lose it. Doing much better. I'll write a bit more tomorrow.

OK, laundry can be switched. Hoping for some sleep tonight!

Minus 1 Project

Kelly at the Minus 1 Project is having a Great Gift Raffle to raise money for their adoption. Check out her blog - it's wonderful. They also sell Got Love? Adopt t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags, etc. Go take a look! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

4 years ago today....

My baby girl, GEM came into the world (don't you love her initials - she is our little gem - the sad part, my Mom pointed it out, I hadn't realized we'd done that).

I woke up at 4:15 in quite a bit of pain, thought it was braxton hicks (because they were very close together, didn't make sense - it WAS 4 am!), drank water and got back into bed. I didn't go back to sleep. About 5 minutes later I was shaking Brian awake, grabbed B out of bed and called my friend who had offered to watch him. Poor B was not sure what was going on as we pretty much kicked him out of the car (w/o shoes!) and rushed to the hospital. They told me there it was the fastest they'd ever checked anyone in and that my doctor probably wouldn't make it on time (she did, thank you God!). At 5:39 am E was born. Brian got to be there, and cut the cord, it was special since he missed all that with B (he missed EVERYTHING with B - from "I'm pregnant" to his first Christmas, but it may be because of that experience that he is the most attentive, wonderful Daddy to both kids). We had it between two names and we decided pretty quickly which one. Her middle name is the same as mine, my Mom's, and my Grandmother's.

B came that afternoon to meet his baby sister. It took a little warming up but before long he was the happiest big brother ever! A couple of weeks later he asked me if I could have another baby so we'd have 2 (come on kid, don't you remember what we've been through the past 9 months - you don't REALLY want Mommy to have another baby!). So sweet though.

G is now my princess. She's a very sweet (and polite) girly girl who also enjoys trucks, trains, dinosaurs and army guys (she has a big brother, what do you expect?). I can't believe she's 4. I'm a bit sad because I really didn't want quite this big of a gap between E and our baby, but it's all in God's plan. She'll be a wonderful big sister and B will continue to be a terrific big brother.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! I love you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

7 years ago today....

the most wonderful thing happened....a baby was born, and so were a Mommy and Daddy. My baby boy, B, was born at 1 pm December 4 and I immediately fell in love with him. All through my pregnancy I felt very little attachment to this little guy (constant puking will do that) but the moment he was born he was Mommy's boy.

Daddy called at midnight and talked to us on the phone. It took a while to name him and our Mother's were going crazy! I told them he couldn't be named until Brian called. Then we were so happy to talk that we forgot to name him. When the phone card ran out both my Mom and MIL looked at me and simultaneously yelled "A NAME" in complete exasperation! It was lots of fun.

Finally they left the hospital room when Brian called back so we could talk privately and then we named him. BHM. H is after my Grandmother who died the same year B was born. B is a name we both like a lot. It was very hard to name him. We have no idea how we'll ever come up with another boy's name.

But I digress....B is an amazing boy. He's doing well at school. His teachers report that he loves to learn! He will go to the museums here and spend ages at each exhibit, studying it and really learning about it. He really enjoyed football this year though I think there was more fooling around than actual playing, but he had fun. He likes Taekwondo, most of the time. He loves to play with his friends. Currently we're blessed to have some of our best friends staying with us. He has asked every year since we moved away from them if they can come to his birthday party and this year his wish came true.

He's now sleeping. I still can't believe that my baby is 7. How do they keep getting older - I don't think I've gotten that much older. Happy Birthday baby boy! I love you!