Friday, October 28, 2011

I-600a approval - Paper Ready AGAIN! :)

We got our updated I171H in the mail yesterday. It doesn't expire until 2013 so it's time to bring home our child and not have to do this end of the paperwork again! :)

Just thought I'd share this bit of happiness! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 week until November

1 week until the possibility of referrals returns. I am so excited for that possibility to return, but trying to prepare myself and tell myself not to spend energy and time "waiting" even once it does return. It will happen in God's perfect timing, and that may not mean November (can you tell I kind of have my heart set on November? Really trying to change that....really unsuccessful so far).

I figure (this is my own supposition, not based on anything anyone has said to me) that referrals really won't start rolling in for 2 weeks at this point. Since our agency has told us that referrals usually come on Mondays and Tuesdays, I figure that it will be the following Monday and Tuesday when they finally start to arrive in the US.

Please pray for the families waiting, but most importantly for the children who need to be in families that are waiting all over the world.

Our next set of visitors!

My best friend, H, and her 4 kids: CJ, BE, CG, EM - came to visit. I have to use middle initials to clarify b/c our B's have the same name and 2 of her kids have C as their first initial, so this works. :) CJ is B's very first friend. When he was 13 months old (I know this b/c it was before Brian deployed) he could say her full name, and it's not an easy name to say. We then lived together for a few weeks - H, CJ, BE, B, and me - it was hard b/c our husbands were gone, but it was wonderful to have that kind of support. Anyway, now our boys are best friends, plus B considers CJ still one of his best friends, and our girls (CG and E) are the best of friends. You have never seen 2 kids of this age play so angelically for so long. :)

Anyway, we loved having them all here for the week. Unfortunately B had school all week so we were a little limited with the school calendar, but my B is a bit of a home body so he was happy that he got to be here to play at home most of the time. While they visited we were able to get into Tucson to do some shopping (we did birthday and Christmas shopping for each other's kids so we didn't have to send packages this year - did I mention that 5 of our six kids plus H and her husband M have their birthdays in just over a 2 month time span right around Christmas?).
We also went to Tombstone (we did that after school b/c B really enjoys it) and walked around. We didn't go to the OK Corral (we did with my parents) b/c it's a bit long for some of the younger kids, but we did enjoy the early part of it where they do the fighting in the streets. Plus there was fudge and sasparilla in Tombstone, so lots of fun was had by all. We went to Bisbee later in the week and walked all around. Such a cute area. Not entirely kid friendly to be honest, but we had fun all the same.

On Friday we went back to Tucson to pick up M from the airport. We were so happy to have the opportunity to see him, but we wish it was for longer. It was also nice that he was able to drive back with H b/c it's a long drive by yourself with 4 kids. :) Our husbands get along really well, but they often don't get to join us for visits. :(

We wish that we could live near them, and see them on a regular basis. It is really hard to see them go and get back into routine after 3 weeks of visitors. But I think it feels a little more like home to us after having everyone here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nonni and Paika

We had my parents here visiting for almost 2 weeks. It was wonderful to see them. We got to go to Phoenix for the weekend. It was extremely hot while we were there so we tried to stay somewhat indoors. We went to the Musical Instrumental Museum which was pretty fun. We were a bit surprised by how much the kids enjoyed it. I should preface that with the fact that I really should know my son better - if it's a museum, it's for him. He loves museums, could spend weeks exploring the Smithsonian over and over, and he is wonderfully behaved there. Considering the fact that sometimes taking my kids to the grocery store has me pulling my hair out, I don't quite understand this phenomenon, but he just loves to learn new things in an interesting way, he loves to learn about different parts of the world, different periods in time, and different cultures. So I should not have been surprised that he really enjoyed this museum, a LOT! E liked it quite a bit and at first was very engaged and interested. After about 30-45 minutes she was pretty done but she did pretty well hanging in there a little while longer so we could see most of it.

On Sunday the guys (Brian, my Dad, and B) went to see the Giants play against the Cardinals. Brian and B are big Giants fans so this was extremely exciting! It was the first time B went to a pro game, and the first time for both of them to see the Giants (it's pretty much impossible to get tickets to the Meadowlands so he hadn't seen them before).

The girls went to Tucson to do some shopping and have lunch together. It was a fun time for all involved, though Mom and I were both kind of happy to make it home earlier than the guys. :) E was sound asleep by the time they got to our house and since Mom and Dad were still on Eastern Time, that was quite an adjustment.

While they visited we went to Tombstone and we were even able to meet my uncle there and he came and stayed the night with us! :) We went to Bisbee, on the Mine Tour, to Karchner Caverns (we didn't go in the caves, but we hiked around the outside). The Hike was fantastic, beautiful, and B led the way the whole time! He is becoming quite the hiker! It really brings out his confidence, which I love! E was about done by the last 1/2 mile but she really did well for a 4 year old! It was a 2 1/2 mile hike, but the first half was mostly up the mountain, and the second half was winding, and the path was rocky and uneven, lots of ups and downs - it was hard work for all of us, so I was almost finished by the last 1/2 mile! :)

We had lots of fun playing games - this is a normal passtime with my parents and my kids and all 6 of us love it! A new game my parents introduced was Qwirkle! Great fun! B got good at it, E is still figuring it out a bit, but she enjoys it. We all enjoy playing games that are fun for adults as well as kids. I love that it's a rare occasion that I have to play Candyland and Chutes and Ladders (we still own them, and they come out once in a while, probably much more once the baby is old enough, but I am so much happier with other games!). :)

Sadly, Mom and Dad had to return home. But we're excited for Christmas. And we had to get ready for our next set of visitors....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paperwork mailed to USCIS!

Finally got our I-600a extension and new home study with court certification all mailed in to USCIS today! :) Happy to have that done. Now we should be able to just sit back and wait for our referral! 17 days until November and 72 days until Christmas - there's a very good chance we'll see our child's face in that time frame! :)

Wonderful update on JJ - it was looking good for going home yesterday from the hospital! What miraculous healing has been done in his life! :) Hoping to hear confirmation that he's home sweet home soon! :)

Our happy times - we just had my parents here for a week and a half - wonderful time! Miss them already. Today my best friend, H, and her 4 kids are coming into town. I think I'm bouncing off the walls as much as the kids! :) Off to get the house picked up a bit for them. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

15 months and some current events

OK, to start - it's been 15 months since HSTK. Here's hoping by 16 months we'll have a picture. We've been told that referrals will start up again in November. I am so ready for November, yet at the same time dreading it. It's actually been a nice respite being out of the "waiting" mode and I'm not looking forward to being there again. However, I'm really hoping it's not very long that we're in it. It looks as though we've been waiting longest at our agency so November is a very realistic timeline. Our agency is telling us November or December. They're saying travel in March/April - I'm saying travel in April/May. I guess we'll see. :)

I have a couple of friends at our agency (whom I've never met in person) that I've been waiting most of this time with. Kelly and Monica (check out their awesome fundraisers) are numbers 2 and 3 (from what we've figured out, there is always room for error) and we've been waiting together for quite some time. Kelly is about a month behind, and Monica about 2 months so we're all over a year of waiting at this point and it's been such a blessing to have people to email and write to, pray with and for, and have someone who understands to talk to. I'm rambling here, forgive me. I have other awesome friends who have been waiting too, but I thought I'd give a shout out to the two who have been enduring this with me for so long at our agency. We are all ready to see our babies' sweet faces! :)

In other news: B had an awesome soccer game the other day! He was right in there playing hard or cheering hard for his team the entire time AND he even scored! :) He also assisted a goal with his throw-in. But most of all I was just so proud of how attentive he was to the game the entire time - playing or not. :)

My parents are visiting. Nonni and Paika are definitely a huge hit in this house. Every meal starts with figuring out who gets to sit by who. We have played games, read books, gone to the pumpkin patch, went to Tombstone (with Uncle Doug who was also in town!), done some other touring in the area and it's been awesome. B got to go to his first NFL game with Brian and Paika which was awesome for all of them. We went hiking yesterday and B was leading the way the whole time. I love to see him when he's confident and feeling strong. It's a work in progress because he does not always portray that confidence at all. E did very well for a 4 year old. It was a 2 1/2 mile hike, but it was in the mountains therefore it was rocky, rough, and uphill or narrow much of the way. By the last 1/2 mile she was about done but she spent that first 2 miles really doing an awesome job (that portion took us about and hour and a half to give you an idea).
Right now we're off to attempt making pumpkin pie starting with a pumpkin - completely from scratch! :) B is quite excited!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catch up Post #2: NY and NJ

While in NY we were able to see both sides of the family. We spent a good amount of time at Nonni and Paika's and at camp with Grammy and Grandpa, Aunt Robin and Uncle Joe and we got to see Lindsay and Joey too! We got to celebrate Corey's graduation from high school with Uncle Doug and the boys which was fantastic! Amazing how many people we were able to see!

We had a get together with the other side of the family as well. E really enjoyed seeing R, G, K, and D (so did B, but they're closer in age to E). We were also able to go out to N and S's house to play and swim with them. We also hit a lot of our local haunts - walking all over my home town, ice cream at Stewarts, visiting Carousel Mall, eating out at Friendly's (before having to move to an area that doesn't have one - this is my kids' FAVORITE restaurant) and spending lots of time with Nonni and Paika before moving so much further away. :(

After a little over a week (not enough time!) we headed to NJ. Hurray - we got to see Grandma and Grandpa and lots of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins there. E loves babies so she was fascinated still by M and T - our new little cousins. Even B was pretty excited to see them though if E, M, and K were around, they only held his interest temporarily (true with E too, but to a lesser extent, she really loves babies, but she only sees E, M, and K once in a while too, so it was a hard choice). Those girls are so sweet. I know that at times it's hard to have younger cousins always wanting your attention, but they do well at entertaining and including them! :)

We also got to see the other side of the family there too. E and E enjoy each other more and more each time. It's so much fun to see them interact. We were very happy that Uncle Mark and Danielle got to come visit while we were there too! We are so sad to be moving away from them. It was amazing to have them just a couple of hours away! We miss you! I am also so happy that as much as our kids love playing with other kids, they ADORE their Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. The joy they display when they get to see them is amazing. :)

We miss everyone in NY and NJ! Can't wait to see you all at Christmas!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Catch up Post #1 - Leaving Virginia

I'm starting to catch up and I want to keep a bit of a record of our move so I'm going to start at the beginning.

The night before we left Virginia (a place I'm still pining for right now) we slept on cushions provided by our wonderful neighbor (thank you M!) and sleeping bags. None of us slept well and we were up at 5 am. We got everything clean and out to the car by 7:30 and we locked up and bid farewell to our townhouse. :( I took the kids to McDonald's for breakfast (a rare treat - I'm not a fan of fast food breakfast) and then took B to his last day of school. E and I spent 3 hours running our last few errands - the housing office (AGAIN), something to do with our car, and my memory has already failed me. But I remember that it was 3 things that I was a bit concerned about being back at school on time since it was a short day (about 2 hours). Then we picked B up and headed to NY. The good news is that the drive to NY went really well. The kids were good despite the fact that at the very beginning of our cross country journey our DVD player didn't seem to be working. I messed with it a bit and got it to work part way to NY. We arrived in better time than anticipated and were able to enjoy a relaxing evening with my parents and some great time in NY.

The emotions of leaving are something very different than my past experiences. Leaving NY the first time was scary but I knew we'd be back to visit a lot because my parents are there. Plus Brian and I had been living apart so it was a joy to be moving in together again!

Leaving Kansas was strange. I loved our time in Kansas. I had fantastic friends and have many wonderful memories. But the end was tough. I was so sick and everyone was moving around the same time so it just seemed to be time to move on. We were excited for our next adventure and to get settled before E was born.

Leaving Indiana had sad moments. Saying goodbye to S, J, C, and M was HARD on all of us. And leaving a church family that we really enjoyed was sad. But we were so excited to move to VA. We were moving so much closer to family and I already had some friends there (R, M, H, and K - I miss you all!) which really helped us settle in a bit faster and feel at home.

Virginia became home faster than anywhere else that we lived. We really were comfortable there. We made amazing friends there. We built a community around us. We had support. We had family that could get there easily. My brother-in-law even moved with in 2ish hours of us and we got to see him and his girlfriend frequently.

The adoption community that surrounded us made me feel like our child would be surrounded by Korean culture and other children who had the same background. What a comfort! We actually had extended family come visit us during the time we lived there. K, S, G and G - we miss you and your kids so much!

The program at school that my son was in was PERFECT for him! He was doing awesome there! He had great friends! He misses L and K a lot! My daughters preschool made me happy just to be there it was such a warm, loving, happy environment and I had friends there. She still tells me that we should move back to VA and not ever move again. Poor baby is struggling with this move.

I could go on and on. Our whole family has never been more at home anywhere. We knew eventually we'd have to move but to find out how soon it would be, and suddenly find out it would be without our child home from Korea, and that the room I'd prepared for him (or her) wouldn't be used, and that we'd not only be moving away from this community but as far away as you could get from the Northeast where we have family was a blow. This is the first move that took me away kicking and screaming (in my head). I have tried hard to have a good attitude. I am so thankful for my husband's job, I am so thankful that we're together as a family, I am so thankful for so many things, but this was an emotional blow. It still is to an extent but we're settling in and I know we can enjoy it for a couple of years.

We've had friends who have kept in touch (facebook is such a wonderful thing), we've even had my son's best friend keep in touch and he has amazing parents who are so supportive and helpful! I am so thankful, and I don't think I can express that enough to them!

When I picked B up from school that day and drove away I had tears in my eyes, but it was time to move on. I can't wait to go back, but I'm trying to enjoy the journey. I want to document this trip b/c traveling cross country was an amazing experience with the kids. The trip was also filled with so much emotion that I know I can't fully separate that from the experience. But this was the hardest part. Leaving. Next I'll share more about NY and NJ visits. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Catch up posts to come and a tiny bit of adoption news!

I have been sadly neglecting this blog since moving. Part of it was hitting a wall with our adoption - having everything slow down significantly this spring really slowed my motivation. Then moving was just busy and somehow it seems once you've neglected your blog for a while - it's hard to get moving again. But this is my commitment to moving again. I have 2 kids who should have some memories preserved, which is one of the reasons for creating this blog. I'm not good at journaling in a book, so I'm using a blog. Well, in order for that to work, I actually need to post! So there will be some major catch up going on here starting with our trip this summer.

On the up side - I've heard that referrals are starting back up in November and it appears as though we actually have been waiting the longest at our agency so we are very hopefully to actually receive a referral in November. As I learn more I will update. Happy October! Enjoy the fall!