Thursday, July 30, 2009

UGH, big time frustrated!!

So, I've been totally unrealistic about our travel clearance!! Our caseworker just called and talked me through all the steps of red-tape left. Let's just say, good ole Texas has added one more step to this maze of paperwork! Yep, more papers keeping me from holding my precious angel. My cheeks are quivering and hot, but I'm not gonna cry, I'm tough and I know God has a plan. But, honestly, my nerves are shot. At least we are gonna get school started and then we'll go. Pray please for the quickest timeframe possible. My angel is barreling towards 2 years old and still doesn't know his momma and dadda.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cold Water

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land Proverbs 25:25

Good news came today and truly felt like cold water to my weary soul. Our 171 paper came in the mail from Dallas!! It is super sweet to hold that paper in our hands. Now, it has to be sent to the National Visa Center and then to the embassy in Seoul! Please pray super hard that we get travel clearance on Friday. We are about to lose our window of opportunity and will have to wait until after school begins. I'm choosing to remain positive and pray that we WILL get the blessed phone call Friday. Then, we'd buy plane tickets to leave Tuesday.

More cold water came today! Some wonderful friends, also an adoptive family, gave a precious generous donation to us today! It came with a beautiful letter and just floored us! The Lord has totally overwhelmed us with generosity of his people! May God repay them ten-fold for their generosity. AND, the great news is that we have enough to pay for all our plane tickets without debt!!!! WHOOOHOOO.

Monday, July 27, 2009

20 Months today

Happy 20months today sweet Hudson Lee. Mommy, Daddy, Sister,and Brothers love you! Everyday we pray that God will bring you home soon. May we not have to post a happy 21month milestone without you in our arms!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eat your heart out ladies!

Cause my man is the best one around!! I got home from work tonight(I work 7a-7p) and Mike had walked the kids through cooking dinner, taken them swimming, and allowed friends to come over and play, AND didn't spend any money! He told me the sweetest thing. He said "I sat down to dinner with the kids and for the first time, I really felt like we were missing somebody, we are missing Hudson."!! Yea, I know, what kind of precious man is that??? God gave him a love for children, especially children needing a daddy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

She's done lost it!!

Yep, that's me, the crazy lady beating her head against the wall! I can't take it anymore, gonna lose it. I've heard from several other Korean adoptive families that this last step took 3 weeks. When we were in process for Abby, it was excrutiating and everything took forever. It was so hard emotionally that one particularly rough day, Mike chopped down a little tree in our backyard while I cried and beat my pillow!! Dillon's process was super fast. It was so fast that we joke Korea was really ready to send him over here :) I've been great this whole process---until about 5 days ago! I can't plan anything(and let's just say next to my husband, my calender spends the most time with me). The start of school is looming ahead. Abby's 9th birthday is the end of August. Do we plan a party or plan on being in Korea? Do we have it early, like in 2 weeks, just in case we are traveling quicker? We skipped Korean Heritage Camp in Tulsa because we just knew we'd have a brand new family member and staying away from home in a hotel with a 20months old wasn't a good idea. So, this week our precious Dillon Korea friends are living it up at camp--without us! AAAHHHH. Really, this is making me nuts. I know I know, we knew all this when we signed up for this rollercoaster and it will all be so worth it and a distant memory soon. And, to be completely honest, it hasn't been all that long. We first read about Hudson and God planted our love for him in our hearts only 5 months and 4 days ago. In the adoption world, that isn't very long! I think the hardest part is his age. Since he was a waiting child, we didn't find out about him until he was 15months old. Now, with 20month milestone in 3 more days, it is soooooo hard! He isn't a little baby. He is a little boy who needs to come home and learn who his real family is.
Okay, enough whining. Just having a little pity party. I feel better.

Almost there....

We got an email yesterday afternoon from the Dallas Citizenship and Immigration Services office that they have finished our paperwork(after a little prodding from us and our advocate at Dillon Int!). Hmmm, I almost get the feeling that they had just finished it yesterday--not bad, only 2.5months! Anyway, who cares now? We are truly on the home stretch. I guess you could compare it to my water breaking after 2months of contractions! What's next you ask? When our notice of approval clears the National Visa Center, it will then go to the embassy in Seoul. Then, Eastern Social Welfare Society in Seoul will get the word that Hudson can travel. Dillon Int will call us and tell us the great news! We will call the travel agent and buy tickets to fly out 3 days later. Here is the deal, because of school starting we have a very small window. Mike is the secondary principal of Abby and Carter's school. They start Aug 19. Dillon's school starts Aug.24. So, we must travel and be home by Aug.17 OR we wait and leave Aug 25th! Of course, I'm praying that we miraculously get travel clearance next week and leave around Aug.3rd! That would be crazy if it happened, but hey, God does some crazy things :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Prayers are working!!!!

We just found out that the Korean government issued Hudson's passport! This is HUGE. Usually, Eastern Social Welfare Society in Seoul, Korea waits until the US sends immigration clearance to the Embassy before applying for the child's passport(makes sense, no need to get a passport for the child if the family doesn't get clearance). But, they did Hudson's and another sweet baby who was a waiting child too, passport ahead of the game. So, this is many weeks of waiting taken out of the equation. If we can just get the dumb US immigration office to do their job, we will be off to get our sweet little man!! Thank you Lord for working behind the scenes when it seems like nothing is happening. Thank you all for praying! Keep em comin'.

Oh, at Central Market today I saw the cutest, chubby, bald Asain baby girl!! Yikes she was gorgeous and looked sooooo much like our Abigail when we brought her home. Honestly, if it weren't for many surrounding circumstances that I don't feel like getting into, I'd sign up to do this again in a heartbeat(a sister for Abby would be awesome!)--as soon as Hudson is attached properly!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reflecting and Rejoicing

Five months ago today our inbox held an email from Dillon International titled "Waiting Little Boy." We'd been feeling the Holy Spirit preparing us for something big for about 8 months or so. Really, we thought it would be missions in Africa. Adopting again was a slight possibility in our minds. Then, we read that email. The little boy needing a family sounded like he was meant for ours! We casually sent an email back that Friday night, mentioning that we "might" be interested in reviewing his file. One week later, we informed our case worker that yes indeed, we wanted this little boy as our son! It has been a long 5 months in some ways, and yet a blur in others! Make sense?? Our last picture and update, including weight and development on Hudson are dated March 16. Four months have passed without any word regarding how he is doing. It is torture to wait and wait and trust that our little boy is healthy, happy, growing, and basically really exists!!! I have a good feeling about the next few days. Our immigration approval surely will come.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

I'd like to say how wonderful our day at church was yesterday. I should clarify, we tried to find a new church home close to our house instead of a 25 minute drive into the city, but we've decided the drive is worth it. You see, our family is different. We are not a typical white middle class family. The adoption of our Korean children has made us a Korean-American family. Never ever do we want our Korean children to feel like we ignore the racial differences or that Mike, Carter, and I can imagine what it is like to be the only Asian in your class. So, exposing our children to racial diversity is very important. Our amazing little church is a one of a kind. We took Dillon to Sunday School and in a class of about 7 kids were 2 African-American children, Dillon, and an autistic child. Abby's best buddy at church is Brazilian. Carter's youth group is made up of several different ethnicities. Looking out in the crowd during worship yesterday was a picture of Heaven. There were several Hispanics, several transracially adoptive families, a few biracial couples, Asians, African-Americans and other nationalities represented. Behind us was a precious young woman with special needs. We feel this is paramount to our kids' emotional health. I'm so thankful to be with a body of Christ followers who love each other and accept others.

And, another sweet adoptive family sent us a donation this weekend! What amazing people there are out there! We have been overwhelmed by generosity.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Celebration

Our daughter Abby got baptized this evening. It was a wonderful family and friend celebration. In fact, it was a dual party. My sister's foster angel had her first birthday party! Mike baptized Abby in my aunt's pool. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and even 3 great-grandparents were there. We had such a sweet time and made great memories. I was baptized in a swimming pool at a house about 2 miles from the house where Abby was baptized. How precious is that!? Abby knows that Jesus is her savior and that being baptized is the symbol to show the world that she is now a Christ-follower. We told her it was like Mike and I wearing wedding rings. The rings don't make us married, they are just a symbol of the commitment.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How my heart was broken today

Did you read my link to another person's blog post last night? Scroll down and read it if you haven't. Well, it really touched me. I was thinking about it this morning. Then, something very like the story happened to us today. We had a waterpark day planned all week long with dinner tonight at a restaurant with a long time friend we havent seen in a while. We packed a cooler with picnic foods, drinks, and snacks. We set out, the whole fam in the minivan. We got to the city(we live in the suburb) and needed gas. There was really nowhere to stop except right off the freeway. As we pulled up to the gas pump, we noticed a young boy, looked about age 10 digging through the trash can. He was pulling aluminum cans out and placing them in a sack. We watched as he walked from trash can to trash can and began digging. He wasn't dressed nicely. He was wearing an old tshirt, pants that were at least 6inches too short, and very worn out, no-brand shoes, the kind my 13yr old would die before wearing. I couldn't just sit there! I got out while Mike pumped the gas and pretended to care about washing the windows. I watched and finally said "You sure are working hard out here." The boy was shy and looked uncomfortable. Mike asked if he was saving for something. Then he spoke. He had an obvious speech disorder. He stated he was "probably saving for something." We talked a few minutes and found out he was about to be 13 and starting 8th grade. My oldest son is starting 8th grade. There was a huge difference between these 2 boys. The little boy had such a speech disorder that it was hard to understand what he was telling us. Amazingly enough, our 6 yr old son has a severe speech disorder and we are used to decoding! We ended up giving him a gatorade(he refused a sandwich) and a few encouraging words and drove off as he walked to the next trash can. I got in the car and they fell--the tears! I sobbed! It was too much. I had read the link below and then a similar senario slapped me in the face. Here was my family: well fed, going to the waterpark, gonna easily blow 75 to 100 bucks in a day of entertainment and food. This sweet kid was digging in the trash to make a few cents, alone in the city along the freeway. He was "that" type of kid. You know the kind, the one who is invisible at school. The kid nobody talks to, the kid with the old hand-me down clothes with the speech disorder who gets made fun of or called "retarded".
Yep, my heart was and is broken. My little boy has special needs and a speech disorder. What if he was the one digging in the trash? OUCH!! What a reminder for me and my family to be grateful and satisfied with what we have AND to share our blessings!!!

The world is not impressed when Christians get rich and say thanks to God. They are impressed when God is so satisfying that we give our riches away for Christ's sake and count it gain.
"Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nothing new on our progress

No, we still don't have our immigration approval. I don't know when we will get to go to Korea. We are taking each day at a time and trusting our sovereign God to take care of the details. By now Hudson is likely too big for the diapers I bought(size 4). I'll exchange them. I know he is soaking up precious time with his foster family, learning more and more Korean, exploring Seoul riding on his foster mother's back and eating delicious bulgogi, kimchee, rice, mandoo, and lots of hot bean paste!! Hmmm, he is likely a chop sticks pro by now :)
As for us, we are working, doing some clean up and to do lists. Mike stained our back fence, and fixed Abby's ceiling fan. Yesterday he cooked strawberry cupcakes with Abby and Dillon. Dillon was convinced it was my birthday and announced Happy Birthday when I got home last night! Carter is gearing up for junior high football practices to start. We cleaned out his closet and under his bed today--scary!! Dillon is hyper-man and keeps us laughing. He got a new silver cap on a tooth and thinks it is super pretty!!
We have almost all our gifts to take to Korea. I had a silver locket engraved with Hudson's Korean name and birthday on it for his foster mother. Abby is making a scrapbook for her foster mother. She wrote her a letter and our friend translated it into Korean. It is so sweet. It says "I miss you so much. I've been waiting to visit for a long time. I love school cause in the summer I get bored. I like to play with my friends and jump rope. Love JooMee(her given Korean name)." I just love it and I know her foster mother will shed some tears when she sees the big almost 9 year old. When we left Korea with Abby, her foster mother handed her to me and we got in the cab to drive away. We watched her foster mother and father cry as they waved goodbye to their 42nd foster baby! What a memory and now, 8.5yrs later, we will see them again. UGH, come on stupid US immigration--you are making me crazy!!!!!!!!!!
On the great financial newsfront, we have 4000.00 raised towards our trip! What a wonderful blessing. We just need a little bit more and we will be able to pay for our tickets completely with no debt. THANK YOU everyone for prayers, encouragement, and gifts. We are super amazed at God's faithful provision.
One more thing, my sister's foster baby(truly the most gorgeous baby girl in the world--I can't show you her pic since she is still in the foster system) turns 1 very soon!! I can't imagine our family without her. Since day one in my sister's home, baby J has been "our baby" to everyone in my family. If you've ever wondered about fostering the approx 200,000 children in US foster system, please go for it!! Fostering isn't for YOU it is for the wonderful children who are innocent and never ever deserved to have their lives turned upside down and taken to a stranger's home. My sis and her husband give a glimpse of what a loving family should be to these children.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Garage Sale Fun

Well, a huge thank you to the wonderful people who hosted a garage sale to help raise money for our trip this morning!! We not only had a good time together, but we sold a lot of "interesting" items :)) We made just a few dollars under $600!! Whoohooo. Thanks to everybody who contributed stuff, helped set up, bought things, and manned the money table. Texas 102 degree heat can't stop us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hit a snag, gonna whine a little now!

Our wonderful caseworker at Dillon International investigated why our immigration clearance is taking so long. It seems they misplaced our paperwork. It has been there a few days shy of 2 months!!!!!!!! I'm not gonna lie and say that I'm handling things super well. My heart is sick. My baby is growing up without me! My husband is a school principal and the timing of this is starting to stink. I spoke with a travel agent today and she said August is the most expensive time to fly from Korea back to the US. So, our flights will be more expensive than if we'd flown in July. The reason is because a huge number of college students come over here from S. Korea and they are all returning to the US after summer break. UGH!!! I know that God's timing is perfect and He sees the big picture, beginning to end! Hudson is in good hands and with a precious foster family. Please pray pray pray for speedy paperwork!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another blessing in the mail(no not our clearance!!)

Praise the Lord! A precious family that has a heart for children waiting for families felt led to be a part of Hudson's adoption and sent us a donation today. I can't thank them enough.

Free adoption education time...

Honestly, my nerves are starting to frazzle. A few days ago, our caseworker at Dillon International told me that I'd been really patient and she was impressed. Yeah, actually, I have done great. I haven't cried or thrown anything--Yet! :) Really, this time around has been not too bad as far as the waiting. I'm super busy with work and 3 kids already. I'm really trying to not obsess over our wait. So, I thought I'd spend a post offering some education to our friends and family so you all will be more prepared for our big blessing. Here are things to never say or ask:
1. "You get to have a child the easy way, you don't have to be pregnant and give birth."
Seriously, that is the dumbest statement ever. I mean, would you wish that you'd miss out on the first 20months of your child's life? I'll never ever know what he looked like when he first smiled, what his first word was, how he looked when he slept next to his foster momma as a 3month old. Also, when you are pregnant, that child is with you constantly. You know it exists and you know how it is developing. You feel kicks and see evidence of growing. You have control over what you feed it and such. My angel boy is thousands of miles away. We last got an update late March. What does he eat? What toy does he like the most? How big is he? We are still waiting on immigration approval and could likely not travel for many more weeks!
2. "I'm sure he will adjust quickly, kids respond to love"
I know, in many senses this is true. However, please don't discount the enormous trauma children go through when taken to a new family, new culture, new language, and leave all they've ever known. Yes, moving to a new family is certainly better than the alternative--living your life as an orphan in an institution. But, studies clearly show that children with life altering separations grieve for many many months. Most social workers say that when a child is adopted, he will need the same amount of time with the new family to for strong attachements as he was in his prior home. So, Hudson is 19months old. He has been in a foster family since he was 2.5months old(was in hospital first 2.5months of life). This means that we won't expect him to be strongly attached to us as his mom and dad until he has lived with us 19months. Of course, he may be different and bond very quickly. I hope so!! But, we are being realistic. We've read books and taken classes on helping children move through the grief process. For the above reasons, we will put into place some limitations. We will not let anyone but Mike and I care for Hudson for many months. This means we do all the soothing, diapering, feeding and snuggling. Sure, grandparents and aunts/uncles and such can hold him and play with him. But, when it comes to the roles of parent, Mike and I will jealously gaurd that position. We must make sure Hudson comes to realize we are his forever parents and that new parents won't show up next year to take him away.
3. "When my child was ___ age, he was doing ____"
You don't compare apples to oranges right? So, you can't compare development of a child newly arrived in a home with a child who has securely been attached and cared for by his/her biological parents his whole life. If you see us bottle feed Hudson at age 22months, don't worry about it. If he doesn't put puzzles together, know his ABCs, and act like your child did at his age, don't worry about it. Children going through major trauma and grief usually regress. This is perfectly normal and we will not do anything to make him act older. As far as language goes, for his whole life, he has heard Korean spoken. He already talks in Korean. He will have to have a lot of time to listen to English before he can be expected to start speaking English. Be aware that noisy, crowded and exciting environments may totally over-stimulate him. A trip to Wal-Mart may make him melt down.

Well, that about wraps up the biggies. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH, if the immigration approval doesn't come in the mail today, I'm gonna blow!!! Hmmm, what to do to cope? I'm thinking Blue Bell ice cream, shopping, listening to Kari Jobe cd, hanging out at Susie's house, or jogging(nah, too hot), will all help!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Asking for your prayers

Our 171(immigration approval) from the US immigration dept still hasn't come! I just knew it would be in the mail today. They signed for our application on May 14th. We didn't get our fingerprints done until June 12. So, they've had almost 2months with our application and 1 month with our fingerprints. What is taking so long??? This is our 3rd international adoption so we are much more gracious and understanding. We realize it is a lot of red tape and waiting. But, our little man is getting really old. Mike is a school principal and has 3 weeks off in July. Back when we accepted Hudson's referral in March, we were so hoping we could travel and be home before July was over. It will be very stressful for us to be out of the country and getting used to a new family member when back to school activities start. We trust the Lord and know that He sees the big picture--His timing is always perfect. But, that doesn't make my momma heart ache any less! Please, please join us in praying for our immigration approval in the next few days AND for Hudson to get issued a passport in Korea ASAP. Thank you all for you encouragement and prayers.
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

On a different note, if anyone is intersted in scrapbooking, my sister has a business helping people make beautiful scrapbooks. Her blog is She is having a blowout sale on pre-made sheets. Just add your pics and a gorgeous heirloom!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making a gift to take to Korea

I wanted to make something special to take to Hudson's foster mother. I bought a plain cardboard box with lid at Hobby Lobby and decoupaged it with scrapbook paper and the picture of Hudson with his foster mother. I'm taking it with a letter to her and pictures of our family. A Korean friend of ours is going to translate a letter and captions to the pictures for the foster family to be able to read it. We will promise to send pictures and letters to them throughout the years.