Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why Now Lord?

I have to confess a struggle I was having after getting the news about EP submission for Joshua. It may not make sense to a lot of people and at the same time I know there are many people who would trade places with me in a heartbeat (especially after all of the devastating news for ESWS and SWS families that has come recently), but I have always tried to be honest and transparent on this blog. So here goes. The truth is after the initial elation, I struggled with "why now Lord?" Why Lord did you make me wait over 6 years to become a mom, and at the one time where I would have hit the 'pause' button, you hit the 'fast forward' button?

I have said that we will travel in July, but the truth is we could travel in June. We just don't know. And it was the thought of June travel that had me freaking out a bit. I kept envisioning us bringing Joshua home to a hotel room after we get our travel call. And I was struggling with a lot of guilt about that. We are taking him from a stable home where he is loved and cared for, and I just really want us to be settled in when we get the call to travel.

Ultimately, I guess what I was really struggling with was laying down my idea of how things were supposed to go, at least according to my plan.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

But obviously the Lord has a different plan, one that requires me to let go of my perfectionism. You see according to my plan, we are supposed to be moved into our house, everything was supposed to be unpacked, the house was supposed to be decorated, and then I would have plenty of time to research and plan our trip to Korea and learn a bit more of the language. And frankly, this still sounds like the best plan to me.

But I don't know everything. And God does. I may not understand why this is the perfect timing, but God does. And so I have to trust. I have to trust that even if things don't happen according to my idea of perfection (and most likely they won't), it will be okay.

I went back to a post I wrote a little while ago on fear, and found this:

We don't just trust God to let us avoid what we fear most. We determine to trust Him no matter what, even if our worst nightmare befalls us (picking up our son is something I am incredibly excited about and grateful for, so please understand my struggle was with the timing).
"If ____, then God will take care of me."
"If ____, then God has a plan."
"If ____, then God desires to accomplish something monumental in me."
"If ___, then Gods going to demonstrate His sufficiency to me."

If we get our travel call in June, then God will take care of me (and Joshua).

If  we get our travel call in June, then God has a plan.

If  we get our travel call in June, then God desires to accomplish something monumental in me.

If we get our travel call in June,  then Gods going to demonstrate His sufficiency to me.

I also went back to my "statement of trust" that is on the top right of my blog, particularly the part from Isaiah 26:8, "Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

I want the Lord to be glorified through what He brings about in our life. I want things to happen according to His will and timing. And so I pray as Jesus did, "Father, glorify your name!" John 12:28.

What matters is that Joshua will be coming home to us. The rest of it really isn't that important.

Thank you Lord for your perfect timing.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Pictures!/Care Package #3

We got a welcomed surprise - our social worker emailed us new pictures yesterday!!! Eastern has promised to start sending more updates and pictures and I heard they now have a digital camera so they can email pictures to families shortly after they are taken. That appears to be the case because the pictures and height/weight info is from his 13 month well-baby checkup which Joshua would have had only days ago. I am so grateful we received this info and the pictures (even though some of them are a little blurry). Seriously, I am not sure I would have recognized Joshua without these new photos. It will also help me with clothing and diaper sizes. Our boy is now 28.5 inches in height and weighs 26.9 pounds. It said "4/2" for teeth, which I think means 4 on top and 2 teeth on the bottom. Height puts him in the 9-12 month size, but weight puts him at 18 month sizes. Any opinions on diaper size, 3 or 4?

He is pictured with the contents of our second care package (the stuffed bear wasn't part of it). Unfortunately, this means he didn't receive it in time for his birthday :-(  Oh well, at least he got it.

I had just gotten done putting together a third care package for Joshua when we were notified about EP submission. I debated about whether to send it, but in the end I decided to go ahead because it had a recordable story book with a picture of us on the inside cover. We sent a photo album with our first care package, but since we never got a  photo with its contents like the one above I have always worried that he didn't receive it. He probably did, but these photos are such helpful confirmation. Anyway, in case he didn't, I wanted to send the third care package since it has a photo of us and our voices reading the story. Even it he only has it for two weeks before we are there, it still might help in preparing him to recognize us and be familiar with the sound of our voices and my really bad Korean :-). I attempted to say 'hi' and 'I love you' at the beginning on the dedication page. I am praying it reaches him in time.

I got 2 sets of the car pajamas at my shower, so I decided to include the 18 month sized ones, and keep the 24 month sized ones my mom gave me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let the Adventure Begin!

Things have been pretty crazy over the past week.

First, my hubby graduated on Saturday and is now a Family Nurse Practitioner! I am so proud of him. These past 2 years have involved a tremendous amount of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication. During the first year, all John did was go to class and study, and the second year was only a little better. Needless to say, I am so happy to finally have my husband back.

 My dad, John and I at dinner that evening

The last of the family members that were in town for John's graduation left today. John and I have been working all day long on packing, sorting, and getting everything ready for the movers who are coming tomorrow. I have been working on getting things cleaned out and organized over the last few weeks since I knew with family in town for the graduation we weren't going to have much time to get ready. They will take two days to pack us and then one day to load everything on the truck, so as of Friday our stuff will be one its way to Arizona. Saturday and Sunday are cleaning days, and we'll have dinner with friends in the evenings. Monday will be a day off to spend with friends and Tuesday after the carpet cleaners finish up, we will hit the road. I am also hoping that somewhere in here we can shop for gifts for Joshua's foster family. It is hard to believe we are leaving in a week. It will take about 40 hours of driving to reach Tucson. We plan on taking a pit stop in Austin over the weekend to give us a break and then we will arrive in Tucson by June 6th. I am so sad to leave our friends here, but I am also beginning to feel excited. I am not sure what the next 3 or 4 years in Arizona will bring, but I am looking forward to finding out because I have a definite sense that the Lord wants us there. Over and over, He confirmed that Tucson was the place He was calling us to.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Let the adventure begin!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In a sun-scorched land...

As I find myself tempted to worry and fret over whether we will find a  house in time, especially with yesterday's great news creating an additional sense of urgency, I realized that I needed to arm myself with the Truth. So I began searching out Bible verses about God's provision and was led to this verse:

"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Isaiah 58:11

Hmmm, a "sun-scorched land," that sounds like Arizona to me :-) .

So I decided that this will be my verse to return to every time I am tempted to worry and be fearful. My Heavenly Father knows all my needs and has promised to meet them "according to His  glorious riches in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:19.

"Day by day, and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here; Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment, I've no cause for worry or for fear." 
Lyrics by Lina Sandell

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


That's right, we were submitted for emigration permission at the end of last week!!!!! I just got the news this afternoon. I was on the phone with one of my sisters when I heard another call. I figured I would just call the person back. Little did I know it was my social worker calling me. I had my email open while I was on the phone and since our social worker didn't reach me she emailed. I started exclaiming, "Oh, my God, Oh my God..." so my sister got to hear the first hand reaction to the news. I was literally  shaking. I immediately got off the phone to call John to tell him the good news. I am in total shock. I can't think straight. I really didn't expect this at all. They submitted 17 families to the ministry for EP approval, which was all the September and beginning of October families.

This means we should travel in July to Korea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please be praying we find a house quickly in Arizona or immediately get offered base housing. We will be on the road by the 31st of May.

We Got an Update

We requested an update on Joshua just before his first birthday in April, specifically asking for developmental information to be included because of his prematurity. We received it last week and I guess I have been mulling it over not sure what to think. We have only received the 2 updates we are allowed to request and one other email informing us our son had been hospitalized at the end of January for bronchiolitis. I know that some people haven't received any updates, so I am trying to be grateful that we received something, but honestly I was a little disappointed that more information wasn't given. Yes, we asked for developmental info to be included, but I wasn't expecting it to be the only info included. There was nothing about likes or dislikes, no info about his personality, no height and weight, and no pictures. It was a translated word document attached to an email from my social worker. Anyway here is what they sent us:

He eats boiled rice with ground vegetables and meat twice a day, cookies/crackers, fruit, pumpkin, sweet potato.

He falls asleep at 10 p.m., wakes at 5:00 a.m. for a feeding of milk, and wakes up for the day at 8:00 a.m.

He gets on his knees in order to crawl. If he’s in a hurry, he pushes himself on his stomach. He grabs onto the bed and pulls himself to his knees. If both of his hands are held, he tries to stand up. If he is put in a sitting position, he sits and plays for quite sometime.

Joon Seo is healthy and doing well. His development is slightly delayed for his age, but considering he was born at 30 weeks and at 1.48kg birthweight, prematurely, he is steadily improving. Tomorrow is Joon Seo’s first birthday. The foster family plans to give him a small party. If they prepare photographs, we will send them to you.

I love the part where it says "if he's in a hurry" - hey, my boys got places to go and people to see :-)

I wasn't expecting to hear that he was walking (though I was kinda hoping), so I wasn't completely caught off-guard by this update. However, I am a little concerned about his development and am frankly unsure of how concerned I should be or even if I should be concerned at all. But it seems like he is a little delayed even for his adjusted age.

We have now used up our 2 update requests, but given our son's developmental delays and the lack of height and weight info, I am hoping we have sufficient justification to make the case for another update in a couple months. Of course, I am always hoping we will be on the receiving end of a spontaneous update and/or pictures, though it has yet to happen. But I will keep praying for it anyways.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Devastating News for ESWS Families

On Friday our agency (which is partnered with ESWS in Korea) finally received and announced the news regarding the 2011 quota issued by the Korean government. Here are the highlights of the info we were given:
  • The quota is 10% lower than it was last year.   
  • ESWS has already begun slowing down the number of referrals they distribute to US agencies despite the fact that there are many hundreds of children in care.  This is to ensure, going forward long-term, that eventually the wait to travel will decrease.  This change, however, will not have an effect on families currently with matches or even those matched within the next year.  
  • Accordingly, the new WAIT TO TRAVEL for any ESWS family matched and whose paperwork went to ESWS after December 1, 2010, is now up to 14 months.  ESWS anticipates that if December families cannot travel in 2011, they will be processed through the Ministry right away in January of 2012 along with January 2011 (acceptance paperwork to Korea) families and then be able to travel in February of 2012. 
Up to 14 months waiting for your child to come home - this is AFTER being matched and officially accepting (paperwork is sent to Korea) a referral for a child. It is just devastating news and I have been so sad for all those affected. I remember well when we were on the receiving end of such news. I am not sure how many readers I have that have been affected, but please leave me a comment if I can be praying for you.

I am also incredibly sad for the 100's of children in care who may never have forever families due to the decrease in referrals. It is my hope and prayer that the Church in Korea will rise above the stigma of adoption and begin welcoming these children into their families.

With an October ATK (acceptance to Korea), we will travel this year. However, I am unsure of whether our wait time is going to increase. Last year the cutoff to travel was April 1st; those families accepting in April didn't travel until February of this year. But rather than submitting the maximum number of EPs for approval at a time, ESWS spread out EP submissions throughout the rest of 2010 so that the last travel call occurred in December. We are up to August 2010 ATKs for EP submissions (they are waiting for approval). That only leaves September, October, and November ATKs remaining for travel in 2011. If they try to spread us out throughout the rest of 2011, there is simply no way for there not to be an increase in the projected "up to 11 months" wait time. I am taking a wait and see approach. There were a lot of acceptances in September 2010. If at the next EP submission, ESWS breaks the month up into smaller groups for submission, that will be a pretty good indicator of what they intend to do. I am hoping they break with past patterns and allow us all to travel, even if it means there are no families traveling in November or December.

I know the Lord's timing is perfect and so I am resting in that knowledge. It is all out of my control - we will travel when we travel.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Less Than a Month Until the Big Move (to Tucson, AZ!)

I know I put the news on Facebook, but I don't think I posted it here yet. It is official we are moving to Tucson, AZ. I wonder how long I will live there before I don't have to think about how to spell Tucson ('c' before 's'). Based on how it's pronounced, don't you think it would make sense that the 's' would go before the 'c'? So it appears that 2-4 years of good hair days are in my future.

I have mixed feelings about the move. Part of me loves the adventure and the chance to explore a new area. I feel I haven't lived where I want to live yet (if that makes any sense). So who knows maybe Arizona is the place where we would want to live, though I am pretty sure that place is Colorado even though I have never been there, or maybe Texas :-)

The other part of me is so sad to say good-bye once again. Since we lived in the DC area before we lived in FL, this is the second time we are saying good-bye to many of our friends here. But what I didn't expect with us being in this area for only 2 years was to have to say good-bye to new friends. But we will have to and though it is hard, I wouldn't want to change a thing because we have met some truly wonderful people. It is especially sad to me to be saying good-bye to the friends I have met recently who have or are adopting from Korea because of the bond we share.

It is scary to think about starting over in a completely new area. I have been to Arizona only once before (a work trip to Phoenix), so I really don't know what it's like there. John grew up in New Mexico so he has a greater familiarity with the southwest and is excited about moving back west - he is not a fan of the east coast at all. Being a bit shy and awkward socially, it is also really intimidating to me to make new friends. I find the first year at a new place is often a very lonely time. What makes this upcoming move a bit more difficult for me is that we will be going through it at such a major transition point in our lives as we become parents for the first time. Since John's last 2 years of school have been absolutely crazy and we really haven't gotten to spend much time with each other, I am really hoping we can just use the time while we don't know many people to reconnect with each other. Plus it will make "cocooning" with Joshua during our transition time much easier with less pressure to see friends and family.

There is one really bright spot for me in all this - a true "God thing." When I first posted about our move, mentioning that Arizona was a possibility, Christy left me a comment that she may also be moving to AZ. Not too long after that Grace organized a group of adoptive families (and adoptive families-to-be) to go to the Lunar New Year celebration at KUMC in Virginia. When I found out Christy was going to be there, I had this feeling that I needed to go, that she was someone I was supposed to get to know. Well fast forward till now, and guess what, Christy and I will be living only an hour from each other in AZ! An hour may sound like a lot, but after living in the DC area, I can tell you it is nothing. It takes me an hour due to traffic to meet up with Christy right now. How amazing is this: 2 women connect through blogging, both love the Lord, both live in the DC area, both are adopting from Korea, both are military spouses, and both end up moving to AZ!!!! How cool is that! To know I will have a friend nearby is such a blessing and is really helping to make this move more bearable. I love that we will be able to go to the airport for each other to celebrate our children's homecoming, set up a weekly play date, and just be there to support one another.

I do have a prayer request. We don't have the time or the finances for a house hunting trip right now, so please be praying we find a house quickly once we get out there. The new base housing is very nice, so we put an application in. We are currently #17 out of 18 on the waitlist. Not sure what are chances are of being offered a house in time so please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Adoption Shower #3

Last weekend I had my final shower, co-hosted by my cousin and one of my friends here in Maryland. These showers have been such a blessing and encouragement to me.

The food was delicious!

My cousin Sarah arranged a scrapbook table and everyone made a page with messages to Joshua. My family also did a scrapbook table at my shower in Florida, but that one is for pictures and is more for me, whereas this one has messages for Joshua. As Joshua meets each person who made a page, I will put a picture of their first meeting on the scrapbook page with the message. Since I still have some pages open, I am going to ask each person in my family to write a message to Joshua to include in the book.

My friends Denise and Elisabeth making their pages

My friend Stephanie (she co-hosted the shower) and I

Elisabeth and I

With my friend Wakettia

Grace, Jen, and I

My former boss and friend Diane

My cousin Sarah and Julie (she is the sister of one of my closest friends - Cindy couldn't be at my shower because she is in India doing anti-human trafficking work)

With my friend Denise

Baby Talk book - thank you Grace!

My Little Man picture frame - thank you Jen!

Wall Hanging - thank you Stephanie!

Aveeno Mommy and Me gift basket and sun shade - thank you Heather!

Cindy purchase this with her sister Julie before she left for India - since she knew we would miss Joshua's first birthday, she wanted us to have a hanbok to celebrate Joshua's next birthday

Isn't it beautiful!!!

I am so grateful for such wonderful family and friends!