Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Care Package Arrived - New Pictures!!

We got new photos yesterday of Joshua with the care package we recently sent. These were taken at his 14 month well-baby checkup. This care package was the one I debated about sending since I had just put it together the day we found out we had been submitted for EP. I am so glad I decided to send it since as it turned out we are still waiting on EP approval (7 weeks as of today). This was such an answer to prayer; I really wanted him to have the recordable book with our picture in it and be able to hear our voices. However, as you can see Joshua seemed to have a preference for two of the other items :-)

Okay, I know I am totally bias, but he is just the cutest!!!!! I can not wait to meet him!

While we were in the midst of our move, our agency emailed me to tell me they had received a couple of pictures. Thankfully, I had just emailed them to tell them not to send anything to our old address. I had placed our mail on hold, but we had a ton of problems with our mail delivery (glad I did because they didn't hold our mail). Anyway, they were able to mail them to our new address. I actually don't know when they were taken, only that they appear to have been taken prior to the 13 month photos I posted here. These are the more formal photos that they send off to get developed and so they take longer to arrive. I don't think they are from his 1 year checkup because the update we received didn't say anything about photos. My best guess is that he is 11 months old, but I really don't know. Oh well, I am just happy we received them and so so happy he is smiling in them.

I am so in love!!! And so very thankful we have received so many photos recently. In the beginning, we weren't receiving any and now we have received 3 different sets just in the last couple of months. I feel beyond blessed by this. It was so hard when we weren't receiving anything.

I don't have much of an update to report regarding the delay with EPs that I mentioned in my last post. According to our agency, there is no break in EPs. They did say, however, that the Ministry (Korean government) has "recognized that it may be difficult to make all the issuances by the end of June 2011." Our agency has a more conservative estimate for EP approval and passport issuance of 4-8 weeks. Maybe this is why our agency made no announcement about all of this, while other agencies had to call their families to let them know that EP wouldn't happen until July. We were submitted on May 12th, so 8 weeks would be July 7th, though we may not be notified until the following week. Once we get EP approval and passport, we have about 3 weeks until travel call. I am actually grateful we had to move; I think I would be going crazy right now if I hadn't had so much to keep me busy. I am hoping for good news soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Checking in (and some possible adoption news - unfortunately not the good kind)

I am still here. We moved into our house last Thursday and so I was without an internet connection until late Monday night after our household goods were delivered.

All our stuff made it to AZ! Our dining room table has a split in the top of it (barely noticeable), but other than that we had no lost or damaged items. In my book, that is a successful military move!

I am in the midst of unpacking and getting everything set up. John put Joshua's crib together last night :-) I actually have fun setting up and decorating a house, so I am enjoying myself.

I read some potentially devastating news today on the adoption forum. Dillon, who is also partnered with ESWS in Korea, had said that the Ministry has announced that there will be no more EPs issued until July. We have already been waiting 6 weeks for approval. We may now be waiting another month for EP approval, which means we will not travel until at least August and maybe even September. However, there has been no news about this from our agency. I am really hoping it is just a misunderstanding of some sort. I won't believe it until I hear confirmation of it from our agency. I am in shock over the news. I really don't even know what to say about it.

I guess I will just get back to unpacking and hope for the best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Brief Update on Joshua

When we got our most recent pictures, Joshua's height, weight, and head circumference were also included. John had some concern about Joshua's head circumference and emailed our social worker to ask if they could check with his doctor in Korea about it. We got a reply in only a week!

The doctor basically said that his head circumference can't be measured the same way as a full-term baby and since it is increasing in proportion to his weight, he didn't find it concerning.

They also included another little paragraph which said:

JoonSeo is now crawling on his knees and then can move on his own into a sitting position. He sits and plays well with his toys. He holds on and stands up and then moves to the side (cruises). If his birth at 30 weeks is considered, his developmental status is steadily improving. We look forward to JoonSeo growing well with a healthy appearance and hope that he will be able to be in the embrace of his adoptive parents soon.

:-)   :-)  :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our First Week in AZ - Praise and Prayer Requests

It looks like we found a house! We signed the lease today and should move in on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. The Lord was definitely merciful and faithful to provide. Monday evening after we got here, we drove around to get the lay of the land and an idea of which neighborhoods would be most ideal. Tuesday morning we began calling places and quickly realized that with it being the moving season for the military population, houses that had been listed for months were flying off the market if they were newer and in one of the safer, more desirable locations. We decided to narrow our search to the southeast side of Tucson where a lot of other military families live. It is still relatively close to the base and within our price range, but farther away from the heavy crime areas that are right near the base.

Our first choice (based on the pictures on the MLS) was already rented, but we were able to get an appointment that afternoon to see our second choice. In the meantime we went to see one other house, but it backed up to a small shopping center that had a lot of vacancies and was in one of the neighborhoods that is closer to the base. One of my biggest criteria was whether I would feel safe in the house by myself when John is deployed, this house just didn't fit the bill. So we drove around a little more looking at some other neighborhoods and then went back to our hotel to wait for our appointment (no one else had called us back on any other houses). We decided that if the house met our needs we would say yes to it. With the rental market being what it is, we couldn't afford to wait for the "perfect" house and so we set a goal of good enough. Anyone who knows me knows that setting a goal of adequate or good enough is quite an accomplishment for my perfectionist self. The house absolutely was good enough, in truth it is more than adequate.

So we basically found our house our first full day in Tucson! It was actually hard to understand why it was still available, it was like the Lord had it waiting for us. The homeowners are upside down (as most everyone is in AZ), so that was concerning, but they have been successfully renting the house for many years. We were also able to get the homeowners to agree to a foreclosure clause requiring them to notify us within 5 days if they are in any stage of foreclosure and allowing us to break the lease without penalty in that case.

Since we found our house so quickly, I was able to begin working on my autobiography for our application for our new home study with Dillon Southwest. Since Joshua isn't yet home with us, we basically have to do a whole new home study in Arizona and then finalize the adoption here. Arizona law requires that the home study be certified by the court so we have to do almost everything all over again. The good news is that it costs 1/3 of what it costs in Maryland and you don't have to hire a lawyer to finalize the adoption; the county lawyer can represent us. I am hoping to have the application complete this week, so that I am free to focus on the house once we get our household goods delivered.

John is taking his certification exam to become a Family Nurse Practitioner as I write this, please be praying for his success. Update - he passed!!!! So proud of my hubby!

I have also been dealing with a very painful back injury and would love prayer for healing. I actually don't know when I injured it, maybe it was just a combination of all the bending and lifting with the move followed by the drive here. By our final day of driving I was in agony and it has only mildly improved since then. It hurts to bend over, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit down, and frequently spasms. I have 27 pound little boy to start picking up! I really want to be feeling better very soon!

No news to report on the adoption front. We are going on week 5 of waiting for EP approval, average is 4-6 weeks, so it could be any day now. After that it is another 1-3 weeks until travel call, though I am thinking 3 weeks is more likely based on the fact that the last group took at least 3 weeks and with an October ATK date, we are one of the last families in that group. I am feeling more ready everyday to meet our boy!!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

We Are "Home"

2,400 miles later.... and we are "home," or at least at our temporary one at Davis Monthan AFB temporary lodging. It is actually super nice, much nicer than the temporary lodging facility at Eglin AFB (for my friends there who suffered through them)! John checked in at the housing office and unfortunately there is no availability for company grade officers (5 people ahead of us and no one moving out for 30-60 days). So it looks like it will be off-base housing for us. Please be praying we find a place quickly, specifically one in which the homeowner isn't in danger of foreclosure - there is a lot of that out here.

First impressions of AZ: 1) Love the mountains and the desert landscape - just beautiful, 2) A dry heat really does make a difference in how hot it feels (I really dislike humidity), 3) However, the sun is still blazing hot.

What I have learned already: 1) A dirt devil is not just a vacuum cleaner brand, 2) Out here sunglasses aren't just a fashionable accessory, 3) Driving through the crosswinds on the mountain roads should count as exercise, 4) Re-fuel whenever you can because it could be miles before you come across another gas station (thankfully I didn't have to learn this the hard way).

And the house hunt starts........NOW.

Friday, June 3, 2011

On our way to Arizona

We are on our way to Arizona. All our stuff was put on the truck last Friday and should be on its way to AZ. It may even get there before we do. Since we don't have a house yet, it will be put in storage until we can take delivery of everything. Overall the whole process went well. The only snafu was when the driver showed up with a huge 18-wheeler instead of the small shuttle truck that had been requested. Anyone who has been to our house will immediately understand the problem. Our street has a good  amount of traffic and a 30 mph speed limit. It is also a bus route and an emergency route. The truck was blocking one whole lane of traffic and so it was only a matter of time before the police came (thankfully he was able to move it before that happened). Unfortunately, the driver's company had no more trucks available that day and so he had to go rent a small Uhaul and shuttle our stuff in two truckloads to his truck which he left parked in a not so great neighborhood in DC. We will see how it all turns out :-)

When the packers are packing all the stuff, they usually label the box with the contents and whatever room it came from. Most of Joshua's stuff was located in an empty spot in our living room, so I expected the guy to just label it "living room" and I would sort through it later. But once I told him about Joshua he decided to label things differently:

Made me so happy :-))

After everything was loaded on the truck we spent the weekend cleaning. We also got to spend a little time with a few friends. I wish it could have been more. It just all happened so fast. Next thing I knew it was Tuesday and we were in our cars and on our way. We got to my brother's house in Austin, TX last night. We are going to take a break from our 3 days of driving and then get back on the road to arrive in Tucson by Monday in time to go to the military housing office before it closes for the day. I wish we could spend more time in Texas. We have friends and other family here we would love to meet up with (including a few friends I have come to know through blogging) if time permitted. However, we want to get to Tucson as quickly as possible so that we can start getting everything ready for Joshua's homecoming.

It still hasn't hit me that I no longer live in Maryland, that we are really moving - probably a coping mechanism :-).