Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday and an FAQ

1. extra 6 hours at work today and was home to pick up the kids
2. Mike's last class for the spring semester is tomorrow and Saturday, then he'll have a short break(working on a doctorate and we are all super proud of him!)
3. waffles, bacon, and eggs for dinner(oh- Mel, Kate, Em--YES, we had grapes with it!!!!!)
4. my George Foreman grill that our friends J. and A. gave us--love it!
5. our 1998 Honda Accord with 172,000 miles on it works great, except for the A/C
6. we moved Abby and Dillon's bedrooms around tonight--we are getting things ready for Hudson.
7. toothbrushes and toothpaste(I have a clean teeth fettish)

I began answering some questions that people ask me all the time. If you want to see the first 2, scroll down--they are titled FAQ 1, FAQ 2
How do you know there won't be something wrong with him? Hmmm, this is a tough one. With our first adoption, we were naive. I really don't think we ever considered, or we didn't talk about it if we did consider it, that the children might end up with medical or developmental problems. When you are pregnant with a birthchild, you have no garauntee, no insight into the future about what may or may not happen. Why do people only ask that of adoptive parents? I find it to be personal and offensive. Pardon me for sounding harsh. I never ever respond ugly to questions about our children. But, since internet is faceless, I feel more free. When a person is engaged, all they see is love and hope. Does anyone ask that person "how do you know he/she might not get an illness or difficulty learning how to do a job?" No, you'd never say that. Since we do have a child with special needs, this is a bit more stabbing to my heart. Our new son was a waiting child for a few little reasons. My son Dillon, is special needs, and he belongs in our family. His special needs sometimes make our lives more complicated. We've moved for him to get better access to educational services. We are so fortunate to live close to a great children's hospital and lots of specialist, but those services are very expensive. Every childhood task you take for granted with your typically developing children is and has been a challenge for us and our sweet son. Small illnesses are much scarier with him. I'm not gonna lie and say it is always easy. BUT, it is always worth it!!! Do you think that when your Heavenly Father looks at you and sees the areas you need improvement and "modification" in,that he sighs and thinks "man, if only I'd known what that person was going to be like when he/she got older!" Of course not. I'm being silly here, as you know. But, I'm driving my point home. A child with special needs is a wonderful, miraculous blessings that is worth it and deserves a loving home. Mike and I have grown more as whole people in the last 5 years than over our whole lives. Dillon is super fun! We learned to enjoy every little milestone and celebrate the good times, and not sweat the tough times so much. We've had our eyes opened to all the precious children out there waiting for a family, but aren't considered desirable because of a diagnosis or background issue. I'm going to take it a step furthur here. Warning---stop reading if you don't want your toes stepped on, shame on the millions of wealthy American Christians who turn a blind eye to the needs of children. Shame on the not wealthy American Christians who use lack of money as an excuse. If people weren't so in debt from buying what they don't need and can't afford, they could help. God doesn't call everyone to adopt, but he does demand that we care. If you aren't called to adopt, you can support those who are. Donate to Shaohannah's Hope or Life Song for Orphans, foster children in your area, become a respite caregiver for other foster parents, give encouragement to those are doing just that, give to Dillon International's Building FAmilies Fund(that is who has blessed us hugely and made the fees to adopt Hudson more managable), pray for special needs children to find families, volunteer with Special Olympics, don't stare with judgement at an Autistic child who is overstimulated in WalMart. Okay, enough, sorry to rant on and on. Good thing you don't live with me huh? My poor husband is so patient and loving and has to hear me on my soapbox all the time. I promise the next FAQ will be more light-hearted.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Happy 17months today to my sweet boy! We got an update from our social worker and he sounds perfect!! He is walking, saying some words in Korean, follows his foster father around and sleeps next to him(hope he likes Mike as much). He weighes 26.4 pounds. Nana bought him and Dillon new matching Thomas the Tank sheets. I got him the cutest 2T outfit, complete with plaid shorts! I painted what has been Dillon's room lavender and we will move Abby into that room. Since we bought our home almost 2 years ago, it has remained Beigeland. We decided that since Abby will be the girl surrounded by boys, she deserves a room fit for a princess. So, lavender walls, white and pink heart accents and white furniture. She helped paint until I noticed the lavender stripes in her hair. The little boys will bunk up in the bigger bedroom with the large closet. We got some bunk beds at our friends garage sale and Dillon says he is going to sleep on top! Hudson will sleep with us for a while. We have to be very deliberate about promoting his attachment. Rocking, limiting other people holding and feeding him, and not leaving him for a long time are all things we are planning to do to help him realize that we are his forever family and will never leave him! Just like our Heavenly Father! In Psalms, David describes our Father God hiding us under his wings. That is just what I plan to do with my new blessing, hide him under my wing and make sure he feels protected, unconditionally loved, and accepted!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Garage Sale Praise

As much fun as it was(really, it would have been dreadful if it weren't for Mel, Kate, and babyJ!), the garage sale is done. We made 550.00! Plus, precious friends gave us a sizeable, unexpected donation yesterday. So, with 2 garage sales, the gift, gifts from 2 different sweet family members, and cashing out a little mutual fund, we've raised about 2100.00 towards our trip! God is good all the time. We are believing Him to take care of the next 1500.00 that will complete our plane tickets. THANK YOU to all who donated and bought and gave. We are humbled and grateful. I have a garage full of priced items. Hmmm, maybe one more little sale in about a month? UGH, but I must be a good steward of my resources.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cutest Kid and late Thankful Thursday

We got new pictures today!!!!! The staff from Dillon International saw our little angel last week and sent new pics. Let's just say the kid doesn't want to be still for a second! He's trying to get away in all the pics :) Sounds like the perfect fit for his big brother, Dillon(yes, named after the agency and it means Faithful). His hair looks very thick and pretty. He has perfect rose bud lips like his sister. He is SO BIG now. Everyday that passes is another day we will never spend with him. Very very soon we will be able to file with immigration in Dallas to start the ball rolling for travel clearance. We are still hoping for late June.
So, Thankful Thursday was a day for celebrations.
1. Wednesday night Abby made the decision to be a Jesus follower. She is so wise and mature. Heaven had a big party Wednesday night!
2. Lots of donations for our garage sale to raise money for our trip
3. Extra hours at my job
4. A Christian school where Abby and Carter hear their teachers talk about Jesus everday.
5. Dillon's sweet school where he thinks he is the king! They love him and treat him so well and teach him to keep trying.
6. Medical insurance for my kids
7. My sister and her husband still have their foster baby/angel. Please keep praying for favor for them to adopt her.
8. Mike's grandma made another home-made "bebe" or blanket for our new addition(this is a family tradition)
9. Pilates video workout with my bud Wendi

Monday, April 20, 2009

FAQs 2

I'm addressing some very very common questions that we get asked in order to help people understand us, adoption terminology and such. This will be the second FAQ post. Before the adoptive families out there think I forgot all our education, I wanted to clarify that I'm writing the questions exactly like they are phrased to me.
3. Do you know anything about his real parents? Actually, we do know intimate detail because we are their real parents ;) You see, being real is exactly what we do everyday as a family. We play, read, go to school, do homework, take care of sick kids, pay lots of bills, pray for the children to grow up into mighty warriors for Jesus, and so forth. I know, what you really meant was do we know anything about their birthparents? We've decided that kind of info is personal and for the children to take ownership of when they are ready.
4. Why is it so expensive to adopt? This is a good one. There is so much more to adoption that just taking in a child who needs a home. You must complete very detailed background investigations, including federal and local fingerprinting, a homestudy(which is a family study really), the agencies have very detailed laws to abide by and complete large volumes of paperwork for each family. I've been to Korea twice and can certainly understand the need for funds. The children must be taken care of, and many are never adopted but need care for the rest of their lives. Dillon International's sister agency is Korea does the most amazing job of caring for so many children.
There are free and very inexpensive adoption choices too. Child Protective Services is in great need of loving, committed homes for foster chidren and many older children who are available for adoption now. There is an estimated 200,000 children in the US foster system. The state will pay all adoption expenses for most of these cases.
4. How did you afford to adopt? I'm not going to sugar coat and say it was easy. Basically, we made a decision many years ago that having family was more important than having stuff, a lare retirement account, and money. We try to be good stewards of our resources, we tithe faithfully, we drive old cars, we don't own a lot of expensive possesions. I'm not saying we have it all together, we certainly have our share of struggles with overspending and things like medical bills that we didn't predict. God has blessed us and helped provide exactly what we need. We chose to liquidate some resources, we took out personal loans and paid them back quickly. The federal tax credit for adoption expenses is 11,400. So, with our tax refunds,and scraping by with the monthly payments, we've managed to pay our loans fairly quickly. Sometimes I think how we could have a nicer home, a nicer car, far less bills to pay, and life would be much easier, but I don't want easy! I want a life that really counts.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says(in red, so it must be important!) "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Robert Morris in his book on finances "The Blessed Life" states
"How you handle money reveals volumes about your priorities, loyalties, and affections. In fact, it directly dictates many of the blessings you will(or won't) experience in life."

Well, drat, I don't want to be a hypocrite. After my money discourse, I'd feel awfully guilty about going to Old Navy for some cute spring clothes. Think I'll just stay home and mop my dirty floor!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday already

Man, the time flies by huh? We actually missed posting for Thankful Thursday last week. I forgot about it that evening. My kids reminded me later that night. Hmmm, what to say this week?
1. the threat of rain(we here in Texas need it so badly)
2. the new dog that was thrust upon us last Friday is housebroken(he is a darling 5yr old toy poodle that was about to be dropped off at the pound when God thought it would by hysterical to see me add a dog to our home of soon to be 4 kids, a guinea pig, 2 fish, and my other job 24hours a week as a nurse! HA, I give Lord)
3. tomorrow is payday!
4. my great friend Susie's precious mom who cleaned out her house and donated items to our upcoming garage sale to help raise money for our trip to get Hudson
5. iced tea with SweetNLow
6. not having to use the heater or AC for several weeks--I'm saving a ton of cash!
7. our nebulizer to help Dillon out when he has "wheezers" ;)
What are you thankful for today? You know, if your heart is grateful it doesn't have room to be grumbling!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FAQ's 1

Morning all! Since I get asked pretty much the same questions many times over, I thought it would be beneficial to start addressing some of those questions here. Today I'll hit on one or two so check back for updates to the FAQ's.
1. So, can you not have children of your own? Well, 13 yrs ago, God gave us a child by birth. He is our "own". Then, when he was nearing age 4, we discovered we couldn't have more children by birth without major fertility treatments. We were led to adoption and adopted 2 children from Korea(a few years apart) and they are our "own." Now, we are in the paperwork pregnancy for a toddler in Korea who has been waiting for a family of his "own." We will soon be united and will all belong to each other and he will be our "own" too! :) We think we are the luckiest people ever-we have experienced both! You see, blood line and biology do not a family make; but daily love, tears, work, commitment make us the family God planned.
2. Why don't you adopt an American baby, there are plenty who need homes right here? We figure since there are 143 million orphans in the world and about 200,000 children in the US foster system, there are plenty of needy children to go around! God called us to the children of Korea.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Say What?

Life with a child who has special needs is pretty darn funny(gotta laugh or you'll go nuts!). Dillon has an attention span of about 10 seconds. So, yesterday we were driving down a road we drive down fairly frequently. He said "where baby?" I was explaining that Hudson was far away and it would take a long time before he comes home. Then I decided to start preparing him for the adjustment. I told him that when Hudson comes home I'd have to carry the baby, not Dillon(yes, I know he is 6 but he's my current baby--don't judge :)). He was looking out the window with a serious look and said "I can't see ho!"
No, he didn't mean THAT, he meant, we were driving past a field that usually has horses in it(hey, is is Texas!) and he didn't see any!
So much for serious talks huh?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

God's provision continues

Did you ever doubt?? Well, let's just say I'm a bit like the waves of the sea that is described in the book of James in the Bible, tossed to and fro by the wind!! I entered a contest on our local Christian radio station and KNEW I was going to win 1000.00!! I just really knew that God wanted me to win that contest to put the money towards our plane tickets(3 round trip-we are taking our daughter Abby). Guess who didn't win? ME! UGH. I was bummed and began really stressing about how to pay for plane tickets without paying for months and months on our credit card. I priced 3 round trip tickets from DFW to Seoul with a layover in LA. It was priced at 4400.00 :(( I have flown to Korea before on the non-stop flight from DFW via Korean Air when I escorted a baby for our agency(I've been an Area Rep for Dillon Int for about 5 years). I really thought the nonstop flight would be a lot more than with a layover so I hadn't even considered that possibilty. Yesterday I checked into it. Guess what?? For all 3 of us to fly nonstop from DFW to Seoul via Korean Air was 3400---exactly 1000.00 cheaper than what I was thinking we would pay! Coincidence you say? NO WAY. I know my God, and He orchestrates such little awesome details that I can never chalk it up to happenstance. So, surely with the 2 garage sales we still have planned for fundraising, and cashing our 1000.00 mutual fund that has done nothing over the past year, we shall be getting really close. I really really really do not want to have a big debt over our heads from this trip. I'm quite the frugal(okay, many call me cheapo!) momma and debt is yucky yucky. We can talk budgeting principles later ;) Yes, I do wash and resuse my sandwhich baggies!!
Anybody wanna share about little ways God surprised you with His provision? We'd love to hear it!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gifts for Hudson

Yippee! Someone from our agency, Dillon International, is traveling to Korea soon. We can send gifts for Hudson and his foster mother in a gallon size ziploc bag. We sent a soft photo album with pictures of our family and house, some choochoo train Robeez style shoes(LOVE those knock off at Target for only 13.00), and The Very Hungry Caterpillar(all my kids just loved that book). For the foster mother, we sent a bottle of Estee Lauder perfume, some lotion made in Texas, and some chocolate covered Espresso beans. I cannot wait to get the new picture that the staff person is going to bring us when she gets back!! Oh how he must have changed and grown up!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day

8 years ago today Mike and I landed at DFW with Abigial. She was warmly greeted by about 30 family and friends. What a great blessing and adventure. Our family(extended included) was never the same. We are now Korean-American!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Thankful Thursday again

You know, it is funny, but Abby and Carter love Thankful Thursday. I figured it would be another reason for them to roll their eyes and say "Oh Mom"(believe me, there are many of those reasons like the time we had Africa Day and I only let our family eat rice and drink water the whole day and we talked and prayed for starving children in Africa--don't think we are all holy or something, by 5pm that day, our stomachs were sick to death of rice and water and we bought HAMBURGERS--I'm super ashamed!). Anyway, you who know me well know that I'm almost always a seriuos person. I despise wasting time, silliness, wasting money and such. It is a heavy burden to bear because I always struggle with feeling guilty! Guilty for working too much, guilty for not working enough, guilty for not playing with the children, guilty for not teaching them more of God's truths, guilty for spending money on a new shirt from Target, guilty for not having a date night with my husband--you name it, I'm feeling guilty for it!!!
So, today's Thankful Thursday is guilt free and not going to be deep or spiritual, just fun!
I'm thankful for internet
I'm thankful for the automatic button on my coffee pot that comes on at 5:20 am
I'm thankful that my husband likes to spend time with us, not at sporting events, hunting, or fishing
I'm thankful for Dillon's hysterical British accent
I'm thankful for the way Abby's smile lights up her whole face and that she isn't a prissy girly girl
I'm thankful for Carter's deep desire to do the right thing and that he doesn't always get lost in WalMart anymore(cell phones are so good for that)
I'm thankful for a new month and getting to do my favorite activity: fill out my big wipe-erase family calender with the new month--I love organization and calenders and to do lists!!
I'm thankful for heading out of the rat race next weekend to the country for Easter and watching my kids play with their cousins and hunt for boat loads of candy from Nana and Papa and Grandma.
PS. I'm reading "The Power of Your Words" by Robert Morris--you must must read it!