Friday, April 29, 2011

Shower #2

My baby shower with my family in Florida was this past Saturday, which was also Joshua's first birthday. I had a wonderful time. What I loved most was that it wasn't just a shower, but a celebration of Joshua. My mom, stepmom, and sisters did the most amazing job!

The decorations were red and blue, inspired by the S. Korean flag. And of course Joshua was prominently featured.

The favors had red or blue tea light candles with Joshua's birth date and a tin on top that had his picture, which was filled with red and blue M&M's.

"Joshua" confetti!

Scrapbook table - we ended up making a bunch of pages after the shower was over. One of my sisters bought me a beautiful scrapbook for the pages we made.

Another one of my sisters really researched Dol traditions and so she set up the Toljabee as decorations on the table. Unbeknownst to her, one of the items she selected has a very special meaning to us based on the information we were given about Joshua's birthmother.

The food was delicious! There are no Korean restaurants where my parents live, so the menu was a fusion of Asian cuisine. Since I love sushi, that worked for me!!! And no, you don't get to keep the boat. My future sister-in-law asked :-)

After we ate, we played a few games. The one below is called "Baby Love Around the World." You have to match "I love you" with the correct language. I didn't win. But I did get the Korean one right ;-)

After the games, it was time to open gifts. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone. Since I traveled to Florida, the big items were shipped straight to my house and I got to open a card or box with a picture of the item. Here are a few of the other items we received:

The last gift was from my mom and sisters - a total surprise, especially since it was in a "happy birthday" bag.

A gold ring, a traditional Korean 1st birthday gift (the pictures not so great because I was about to cry):

It meant so much to me that my family took the time to learn about Korean traditions and incorporate them into our celebration. I can't wait to be able to tell Joshua about this in the future.

And lastly, the cake (it says God Bless Joshua):

I feel so amazingly blessed!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Class B Waiver Request!!!

I can't believe it! We received an email from our social worker today requesting our Class B waiver!!!!

 What does this mean? It means that Joshua had his exit physical in preparation for EP submission! It means that our paperwork is moving! And based on what I have read on the adoption talk forum, it means that we may be submitted for EP (emigration or exit permission) and passport issuance within the next month or so. EP approval can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, but recently approvals have been taking only 3 weeks. After EP approval and passport issuance, Joshua will have his embassy appearance and interview and then be issued his VISA. This part can take anywhere from 3-5 weeks, though it is usually much, much faster. After that comes our travel call!!! Based on the timelines of other CHSFS/Eastern families, travel call has been coming 2-3 months after the Class B waiver request! If this pattern holds, we could be looking at July for travel rather than August or September!!!

I was literally shaking with shock and excitement after receiving this email. Is this really happening?!?!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joshua is One!

It is officially April 23rd in S.Korea, which means our little guy is now one year old.

Happy Birthday Joshua JoonSeo!

We love you so much and can't wait to have you in our arms. We hope you have a wonderful celebration at your dol! We can't wait to see pictures of you in your hanbok. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Heavy Heart

I am at another low point in this wait. Nothing is happening and I have no news to report. We hit the 6 month mark on our wait while I was in Turkey. That news should make me happy, we are now over the half-way mark, assuming the maximum wait time of 11 months that we were told. In some ways it does make me happy, but in other ways in makes me incredibly anxious because I want to know WHEN we will travel, especially with our upcoming move (most likely to Tucson, AZ) hanging over my head. I just want to get there already and get settled in to our new house - of course we have to find one first. I keep reminding myself that the Lord's timing is perfect - we will travel at the time we are meant to. I am just hoping the Lord's perfect timing is August :-)

I think the main reason I am having trouble right now is that we haven't had an update on Joshua since we got the news he was hospitalized in January. I feel depressed every time I log-in to the adoption forum I belong to or read other blogs. It seems everyone is getting spontaneous updates (even video) and we have received nothing, which is just so frustrating. We are allowed to request 2 updates; we requested one in the fall shortly after we accepted the referral and I went ahead and emailed our social worker this morning to request a first birthday update. At the last update, Joshua was on track developmentally for his adjusted age, but was far behind what I have seen others reporting from updates on their kiddos. I keep fearing that Joshua hasn't caught up yet and that is why they aren't telling us anything. I know this fear is most likely completely irrational, but unfortunately these thoughts keep popping in my head. Please pray we receive an update and new pictures soon. I am desperate to hear some news about him. I need to know he is more than a figment of my imagination. I need to know how he is doing.

Joshua will turn one on Saturday. The first birthday, called Dol (), is a really big deal in Korea, so I am happy Joshua will get to celebrate it in Korea with his foster family. You can read more about this celebration here. While I wish we could have known Joshua during his first year of life, we have so many moments to look forward to with him. But my heart is heavy this week as I think about someone who has lost far more than I - his birthmother. I find myself grieving for her frequently. I can't even think of her without crying. I think often of the terrible pain she must have experienced after he was born when she had to let him go and the agony she has experienced since. No, I don't know for sure what she has or is feeling, but personally I am bothered when others minimize the pain I believe the vast majority of women experience when they are compelled to relinquish a child (whether because of societal or their own personal issues). Okay, I am off my soapbox now.

I will spend this Saturday in Florida surrounded by family and friends at my second shower. I can't help but wonder if she will be alone that day or if she has anyone to share her pain with. All I can do right now is pray for her and later honor her as we raise Joshua, keeping a place for her in our lives always.

Please keep her and Joshua in your prayers this week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trip to Turkey - Part 2

Monday was a day to stay closer to home. We went to the Monday market so that Wendi could get some produce.

That afternoon following a rain storm, I got to jump in a puddle with Elijah - there is something about jumping in a puddle with a 2 year old that is just good for the soul. I love that Wendi is the type of mom that lets her kids jump in puddles (with rain boots of course!). That is definitely the kind of mom I want to be.

Monday evening we had dinner with some of Wendi's friends at a Turkish restaurant in the "alley" - what a great group of ladies. Tuesday, Wendi and I went to Tarsus to see the remnants of the Roman Road, St. Paul's church, St. Paul's well, and a beautiful waterfall where we had lunch.

Wednesday we met up with another friend from Eglin and then had a delicious dinner at Wendi's housekeeper Hatice's house. Having a housekeeper and gardener is strongly encouraged when you are stationed in Turkey to help support the local economy. Thursday we did a little shopping in the "alley" - the alley is basically a bunch of shops and restaurants just outside the base that are largely supported by the base population. Turkey is known for beautiful carpets and they are much, much cheaper than here in the U.S. A hand-made rug was still beyond our budget, but I was able to get a beautiful wool machine-made 5 x 7 carpet for our living room. I didn't get a picture of the one I bought (it is being mailed), but here were 2 of the contenders - so beautiful!

Friday, I headed home. What a great trip! I miss Wendi and her boys already. Isaac and Elijah, your "Beck" misses you!