Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't Be Tricked

Don't Be Tricked from PaulAnn on Vimeo.

Happy Halloween! I can't wait to dress Joshua up and go trick or treating!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

6 Months Old

Joshua turns six months old today.

I never realized how hard it would be to miss out on parenting him from birth, especially since I have always had more of an affinity for toddlers than babies. But now that it is no longer the idea of missing out on a child's first year, but the actuality of missing out on our son's first year, it is hard. Sometimes I look at this picture and think about the fact that I am never going to get to hold him while he is still a little baby as he is here with his foster mother. I cropped out her face not to diminish her role in his life in any way, but to respect her privacy in case she would not want her picture on my blog. And since I can't ask her if it would be okay until I meet her when we go to Korea, I decided to crop the picture for the purpose of posting it here.

Joshua has already taken his place in our hearts and we can't wait to have him home with us. This wait is definitely not going to be easy.

What really helped ease the pain of today was meeting up with Jen (I met her through our adoption agency). We met up at Panera Bread and then walked around the mall. What a blessing to meet another sister in Christ traveling the same road and to be able to support, encourage, and pray for one another. She also blessed me with the book "A Mother for Choco" to celebrate our referral. I can't wait to read it to Joshua!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Referral Acceptance Paperwork Sent to Korea

I am a little behind on posting this, but our referral acceptance paperwork was sent to Korea on October 5th! She said everything looked great, so as usual I had nothing to worry about.

That same day I got to go to a Korea Program Support Meeting at our adoption agency. The highlight of which was definitely getting to talk with Jen and her husband John whom I met at the last meeting, and getting to meet Grace and Peter. It was wonderful to have a chance to talk to others who understand all the emotions we are experiencing right now.

We also got to learn a bit more about the increase in wait time for travel. Basically, there is an Emigration Permission quota that is set for each year, which is usually reduced each year as S.Korea continues to work toward its goal of ending international adoption. The quota is divided up among the 4 agencies in Korea based on their success with domestic adoptions in Korea. Basically, the more success the agency has with domestic adoption (which is still stigmatized in Korea), the more emigration permissions the agency will be given for that upcoming year. The agency in Korea that our agency is partnered with has been less successful in their efforts with domestic adoption and therefore reached their quota for 2010 at the end of March. So any family that received a referral after April 1st would not be able to travel in 2010. This has the effect of pushing everyone's travel time back and increasing the wait until we can travel. They are still telling us up to 11 months at this point.

The good news is that our agency is pushing for more updates about our children and is allowing us to send more that one care package. They have said we can send two, but at the meeting they said they aren't really counting at this point. I got some ideas of things to include in our care package so that is something I will start working on soon.

We also learned a little bit about what our child's life is like with their foster family (Elaine, I am thinking of you because this is definitely not Babywise!):
  •  For several hours a day Joshua is most likely held by his foster mother (his umma 엄마, which means mom), he is carried around on her back while she cooks, cleans, etc., it is the tightness/compactness of the carrier that is comforting as it is very similar to swaddling
  • Joshua most likely co-sleeps with his umma on a futon cushion, with patting/soothing while sleeping
  • Sleep and nap times may be irregular if at all, no pattern
  • His needs are met immediately, she would not ever want him to cry, and she wants everything to be easy for him
  • Opportunities for self-soothing are pretty much non-existent
  • All his food will most likely be mashed up and therefore he won't be challenged to chew (as an example she will scrape a pear or an apple with a spoon and then feed it to him)
  • Jook (죽) which is a rice porridge will most likely be the first food he is given
  • No set time for meals
  • Opportunities for socialization are abundant - S. Korea is a very child friendly society so there will be lots of people touching and talking to Joshua
  • Lots of outdoor time
  • He will be dressed in many layers of clothing 
I loved learning about what Joshua's life is like with his foster family. While much of the above is different (not wrong, just different) than what I think I would have done, I believe it will be best for Joshua if we replicate much of this at least initially until he attaches and bonds to us. I am a big believer that kids thrive on routines so I hope we will be able to establish a routine for our days, but I think that can wait until after he is feeling comfortable with us.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trip to Florida

Sorry for my blogging absence. I was hoping to have a few posts finished that I could schedule to post while I was gone, but the week leading up to my trip to Florida was pretty busy. I am trying to be a little more cautious regarding posting information about times when we will be gone. That may be silly or unnecessary, but it doesn't seem wise to me to announce to the world that I will be gone for a week, considering this blog is not anonymous. Anyway, I spent last week in Florida!!! It was a wonderful trip and I had such a great time. I went down to Eglin AFB which is located on the panhandle of Florida near Destin, an area I affectionately call "southern Alabama" because in truth it is more like Alabama than Florida. This is where we lived prior to moving to DC and we still have many friends in the area. In many ways, being there felt like going home. I love the warmth of the people there.

On my first night there, we had dinner at the Back Porch so we could watch the sunset.

I will never get sick of the beautiful white sandy beaches in Destin or the sunsets.

On Sunday, we got to attend our previous church and then have lunch afterward with some friends from our old small group.

At lunch, we received our first gift for Joshua! This beautiful quilt, done in a pattern called "Take Five" was made by our friends:

Later that evening we got to have dinner at their house and hear all about Tim's trip to the Congo.

On Monday, I got to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with Joia. She gave us this super cute outfit for Joshua. It says "Daddy's #1 Draft Pick." I love that it is the same style pullover that John likes to wear.

Later that evening, John and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary a few weeks early at Fleming's Steakhouse - so good!

The rest of the week involved dinners with friends, Wednesday night dinner at church, and attending the ladies Bible study I use to go to. 

At the ladies Bible study, they are doing a Beth Moore study on Psalms and the discussion ended up being on Psalm 127. I have previously written about my thoughts on that Psalm here and here. It was kind of a difficult discussion for me because Beth Moore makes the point that you can "mother" other children in your life even if you don't have children. Frankly, that whole idea just does not ring true to me and I find the words hollow and of no comfort whatsoever. The whole thing about being a spiritual mother is probably a whole post in itself, but how can anyone really compare the experience of parenting children and ACTUALLY being a mom to some vague notion of "mothering" other children (like in Sunday school class for example). Sorry, they don't even compare. There ended up being somebody who was dealing with secondary infertility in my discussion group and so I am glad I was there because I think it would have been even more difficult for her if there had not been someone else there who understood what she is experiencing.

The day after the discussion, I was actually feeling pretty down, so much so that I chickened out on going to see my friend Joia at the Cash in the Nursery sale. It just felt like it might be too much. I think I might need to get over my fear of the baby section at Target before taking on such an large scale event.

And last, but certainly not least, I got to meet Lisa of While I'm Waiting! We met at Beef 'O' Brady's and I think we must have talked for almost four hours. It was so wonderful to meet her and have a chance to get to know each other better. She has such a beautiful heart and such amazing faith in the Lord. I feel so blessed that through blogging, I would have a chance to come to know her as a friend. I was so excited to meet her though that I think I talked way too much : )


I was definitely sad to leave Florida again and say good-bye once again to our friends there. Good-byes are so hard. I was happy to say hello to our pup when I got back though - I missed her a lot!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"A Permanent Part of our Family"

I have finished getting all our paperwork together and will be shipping it off on Monday! It really wasn't too bad, just a bunch of forms to sign and have notarized, and then getting together copies of our W-2's, taxes, and recent pay stubs. We also both had to get employment letters. I am not sure why I need one since I won't be working, but oh well. I don't bother questioning why we have to do certain things - I think it is best just to do what is asked. Questioning everything can only allow bitterness to creep into your heart in my opinion. The trickiest part for me was getting quality pictures of the rooms in our homes. My camera doesn't take great indoor photos, so that was the first issue. I uploaded the pictures to CVS online to have them printed and first they weren't  ready when they said they would be and then  they came out horribly - dark and they had cropped off way too much from the bottom of each photo. So disappointing! I will never use CVS's online photo service again. I finally managed to retake some photos after playing around with my camera and then I printed them myself on our printer at home with photo paper. Hopefully, they are good enough. Our bank also left out an apostrophe and a "s" at the end of our adoption agencies name when they issued the check. I am just hoping and praying it will be okay and everything else is in order.

Most of the paperwork was pretty basic stuff (at least for adoption), post placement, vaccines, acceptance, etc. But the form below made my heart soar when I read the words "Adoptive parent(s) intend to legally adopt the Child and have him/her become a permanent part of their family."

I actually started crying when I read those words, I was so overcome by them. This is really happening isn't it?! We have a son who will become a permanent part of our family! It is still hard for me to believe sometimes.