Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Meeting with Joshua!!!!!

Our first meeting was fantastic, thank you all so much for your prayers. Joshua let both of us hold him and didn't show any stranger anxiety at all. His foster mom gave us an album of pictures, including the ones from his Dol (1st birthday). This is something I have been praying about for a while! We found out he chose the gavel indicating we may have a future judge or lawyer on our hands!!! We also have a picture of him at his dol with a famous Korean actress. I still have to find out who she is. Those moments of holding Joshua in my arms are among the best in my life. We also learned that his personality is very easy going and he has a gentle nature, though temper tantrums were mentioned. He likes going out in the stroller, but hates the car seat. I am so glad we are flying back into Tucson and not Phoenix. He is not afraid of much. He stops his actions in response to Andae (no), but if he thinks he is being chided for misbehavior, he crawls to another place to avoid being chided. :-) If he is told that he is going to go out, he goes to the hallway and sits and waits. I love him so much already!

He also has a foster sister that is also going home next week. I can't imagine how hard this must be for his foster mother. She was crying when she arrived and I could tell she didn't even want to look at me. Who could blame her, she has taken care of JoonSeo for 14 months and now she has to say good-bye to two babies in a week's time. My heart was literally breaking for her.

And now what you have been waiting for - pictures!

The last 3 were taken before our meeting. We had some time to kill - we arrived 3 hours early. :-)

Tomorrow we are meeting with the head of Eastern for a luncheon. We take custody of Joshua on Friday at 3pm!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Are in Seoul!!!

We made it here with no problems at all. All our flights were on time, no lost luggage, and finding transportation from the airport was very easy. The only little hiccup was the traffic getting from the  airport to our hotel. We were exhausted by that point since it was the middle of the night on AZ time. We checked in to the hotel at 8pm and were in bed by 9 pm. We managed to sleep about 5 or 6 hours before the jet lag got the best of us, so we decided to just get up at 4am.

We meet Joshua in less than 5 hours!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All Packed Up and Ready to Go!

We are leaving very soon!!!! I really can't believe it is finally happening. I will try to blog from Korea as much as possible. Right now I can barely put a sentence together so this is going to be short, but I do have a few prayer requests.

Please keep us in your prayers for safe and smooth travels with no lost luggage. Please also be praying for our meeting with Joshua and his foster mother on Wednesday morning (Tuesday evening in the U.S.). Please pray that I am able to get answers to my questions in order to fill in the blanks of Joshua's life for him when he is older. And lastly, please be praying for our transition, attachment, and bonding.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers throughout this whole process!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Flight and Meeting Time Set! Need Prayers....Updated

We have our flight booked, leaving early next week and returning next weekend. We will meet Joshua for the first time on Wednesday August 31st at 10am!!!! That is August 30th at 9pm on the east coast and 6pm here in AZ, which is exactly one year from the first time we saw his sweet face, how cool is that!!!

We have a hotel for our first 2 nights in Seoul, but are still waiting on our travel agent to find us one for our last 2. Almost everything in Seoul is booked solid right now. Please be praying he finds us a hotel room for our last 2 nights. I am not panicking yet, but I am getting close!

I also just found out that most likely my mom isn't going to be able to come and watch our dog Annie for us; her work won't give her time off. Now we need to find an alternate arrangement that will work for our highly anxious little pup. Could you also pray we find just the right place and/or person. It's also really disappointing for her and for me because now she won't get to come to the airport to at least meet Joshua. For anyone who might be curious as to why she can't come after we are home, it is because it is not recommended that you have other people around when you first bring your child home. It would be entirely too overwhelming and confusing for Joshua. He has no idea who we are or that we are his forever mommy and daddy. All he will know is that he has just lost the only family he has ever known. So until we can establish that bond with him, we won't be allowing others to visit much (if at all) and certainly we won't be allowing anyone else to hold him or meet his needs. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but we have to do what is best for Joshua.

Thank you all for celebrating with us in your comments on my last post! I also really appreciate your prayers.

Update: A doctor at John's work has offered to watch Annie for us. Praise God!!! And we were able to get into the guest house for our last 2 nights! Prior to finding that out we were able to get a reservation at the military MWR hotel (Dragon Hill Lodge), but we are going to cancel it and stay at the guest house.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Travel Call!!!!!!!!!!!

I got the call at 6:12am this morning! I literally started shrieking when I heard the phone ring. Then I heard those words I have waited so long to hear, "It's time to go!" She actually called us last knowing the time difference, but wondered if it was too early. It wasn't! I actually woke up at 4:45 and thought, "It's 6:45 in Minnesota, I bet Jill is almost at work."

We still have to book our flight but I would like to leave on Sunday or Monday if possible.

I have been crying off and on all morning - it's so emotional knowing that this journey is finally coming to a close.

I can't wait to start the next journey as a mom (finally!!!!) to Joshua JoonSeo.

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting Closer!!!

This morning I woke up extra early to call the VISA office in Washington, DC to see if I could find out if Joshua had his VISA interview scheduled soon.

The lady said, "He is very cute!" That means his picture is in their system so he has already made his embassy appearance.

And, his VISA interview is scheduled for August 23rd!!!!! Tomorrow, it will be August 23rd in Korea!

What does this all mean? It means we will probably have our travel call by the end of the week!!!!!!

We will probably wait about 1 week before actually traveling.

Our other good news, which is pretty much overshadowed by this far better news, is that our home study got certified by the court last week, so it is done!!!

Last week was a busy week, hence my lack of blogging. I have been working on final preparations, but I still have more to do so I had better get a move on. :-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We Have EP!!!!!!!

After an unprecedented 13 weeks of waiting to receive EP (emigration permission), we finally have it!!!!

We got the call this morning. Actually John got it because for some reason our agency said they couldn't get through to me (I think she dialed the wrong number); then he called me with the good news.

This was the last major hurdle to cross; EP is basically the Korean governments permission for Joshua to leave Korea and be adopted internationally. Our agency is telling us 1-3 weeks before travel call!

I am still in shock. I keep asking myself if this is for real. Are we really about to get on a plane and fly to Korea to finally meet our son?!?! It has been almost one year (August 30th) since we first saw Joshua JoonSeo's face. There have been so many times when I have doubted whether he would ever really come home to us.

I can't believe this is actually happening!!!!!!

Thank you Lord!!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good News on the Horizon?!!!

MPAK is reporting that the EP process has started to flow again in Korea!!!!

This EP situation had created a great deal of uncertainty for me, and for many of the other families who are waiting to bring their children home. Many of us began to wonder not WHEN our children would come home, but IF they would ever come home. I think this news has made us all feel more hopeful.

Once we receive EP and Joshua's passport, we only have about 1-4 weeks more before our travel call!

Come on phone ring!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Photos to Ease the Pain

It is hard to believe that as of this past Thursday we have been waiting 12 weeks for EP, and as of Friday it has been 10 months since our referral acceptance paperwork went to Korea. Never would I have imagined that we wouldn't have EP by now. I actually thought we would have our travel call by this point. The wait has been getting harder every day. I was doing fairly well up until recently. When we were back in Maryland I was working, traveling, spending time with friends, going to Bible studies or prayer meetings, or taking Korean language lessons. Then I was busy with the move. But now that things have slowed down and we are settled in, I am feeling the sadness and loneliness of a new place and I am really missing all my friends. But even more so, I am wanting to have Joshua home. My heart literally aches. I am bored, restless, and feeling very alone.

But there was a bright spot last week. After the great update we received (previous post), we got new pictures!!! Not sure how old he is, to me he looks younger than in the photos we were emailed at 14 months, but older than the last official update photos we received (see this post).

I think I may have my photos to embarrass him with by showing them to his friends when he is older :-) Gotta love that elephant outfit! ;-)

Please keep us in prayer regarding this EP situation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Best Update Yet!

After our emotionally exhausting day on Monday having our individual interviews, I received a much needed pick-me-up - an update!

It contained much more information than our previous ones.

Joon Seo was brought in for his 15-month check-up.  Joon Seo drinks 250cc of milk-a mixture with regular milk or soy milk-5-6 times per day.  He eats steamed rice three times a day, but Joon Seo prefers milk to rice.  He also eats steamed potato, sweet potato and pumpkin, etc. and he likes fruit, too.  Anything he is given, he eats well, but he looks for his milk at each [meal] time.  It may be because he eats such large amounts, but he has 3-4 bowel movements per day.  He very much likes being given a bath.  He usually falls asleep at about midnight and sleeps soundly until 7:00 a.m.  He has a short nap in the morning and sleeps longer in the afternoon.  He grab onto furniture or the wall and walks sideways.  These days he’s been trying to take his hands off and stand on his own.  If his hands are held to walk, he walks more than 10 steps.

He sits on his own, holds toys and plays well as he moves toys from one hand to the other.  If there is music, he shakes his body.  He turns pages in the book that the adoptive parents sent him.  He likes to listen to his voice.  If he is shown a pen, he grabs it, but rather than scribble on paper, he puts it in his mouth.  He likes to play with balls; he likes throwing a ball back and forth.  With blocks, rather than stacking them, he likes to hold them in both hands and bang them together.  Joon Seo has no illness/sickness and he is growing well.  He especially likes his foster father and follows him well. 

Joon Seo still appears to have slow development in comparison to his age, but considering that he was born prematurely at 30 weeks, and that we can see slight differences every month, we anticipate continued improvement in his developmental condition.

We also learned he is 29 pounds and 29.9 inches, his head and chest both measure 19.4 inches, and he has 4 upper and 4 lower teeth.

The part about his bowel movements just cracked me up! I am wondering if the mixing milk is because of lactose intolerance. And wow, going to bed at midnight, that's up from 10 PM in our previous update. I love all the details! And loving that he is listening to the recordable book we sent (we also taped a picture inside the front cover). I am wondering about where it says, "he likes to listen to his voice" if they are saying JoonSeo likes to listen to my hubby's voice. If so, I can't blame him, my hubby does have a very nice voice Smile.

I am also wondering a bit about what it might mean for us in terms of attachment that he especially likes his foster father. I have been in contact with someone whose daughter shared the same foster family and know from her that Joshua's foster father is very involved with their foster children and absolutely loves babies.

And 29 lbs and 29.9 in! Whoa! I better spend this remaining wait lifting weights. Shocked

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A New Creation

Thanks to all who prayed for our home visit and individual interviews yesterday. It lasted about three and a half hours and I think everything went fairly well. But man did she dig deep into our backgrounds and family history. Our previous social worker mostly stuck with what was in our autobiographies. To say that John and I had difficult childhoods is an understatement. And she really delved into everything.  The thing is if she had not directly asked the questions, I would not have told her some of these things. But when directly asked about something, I knew I needed to be truthful regardless of the consequences. Our pastor had just preached on integrity and how seriously the Lord takes lying this past Sunday.

"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful." Proverbs 12:22 

It was emotionally exhausting. She even said as she was leaving that I might find myself feeling exhausted the rest of the day because it was a lot of "stuff" to bring out. I really appreciated her sensitivity and her assurance that everything was okay and that nothing we told her would be a problem. Convincing myself to take her at her word has been another matter entirely. For the rest of the day I just felt a heaviness in my heart, and an overall feeling of "yuck." I continually had to remind myself of the Truth:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been washed by the blood of Jesus and in Christ I am a new creation. Praise be to God!