Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Attachment Cycle

Well things continue to get better everyday. I wanted to take some time to talk about the attachment cycle.  I get lots of questions about how Hudson's adjusting.  He appears to be adjusting very well.  However, it is super important that Mike and I don't assume all is well and he is bonded.  You see, Hudson has suffered extreme loss in his 22 months.  At birth, he lost his birthfamily.  He spent his first 2 months in a hospital.  As attentive as the staff was, there was no mom and dad visiting to hold him every chance they could get.  No grandparents prayed for him to grow healthy.  He was born 2 months premature.  No family stood at his isolette stroking his tiny skin and whispering cheers for him to beat any preemie problems.  He didn't get to experience skin on skin contact--the treatment of choice for preemies.  Then, at 2months of age, he went to live with a wonderful foster family.  No doubt they made it their mission to beef him up and keep him healthy.  He thought they were his family for the next 19months.  One day, we swoop in acting all excited to meet him and take him away from the only home, language, culture, country that he had ever known.  It has been 3 weeks now.  He seems to know I'm his new mommy.  But, there are signs that we have a long way to go in forming a healthy attachment.  Hudson runs up to women he doesn't know like they are his best friend. You see that is not appropriate attachment behavior.  He wakes up during sleep and panics--running into the living room wild eyed.  This tells me he is unsure of his security, that in his little mind, he could be uprooted--yet again to a new home!  Psychologists and adoption experts say it is super important to walk the child back through infant stages of attachment.  Therefore, at night I bottle feed my 22months old by like a 4month old.  I hold him in a cradling fashion, insist on holding the bottle--even though he pushes my hand off, and try to force eye contact.  I sing, tell him how he joined our family and such.  I also have been "wearing" him in my Hip Hammock(a sturdy sling I highly recommend for anyone adopting a heavy/older infant or toddler) when we are in a crowd or loud place.  Yes, I realize I look like a ridiculous crunchy granola earth momma!  Before you go saying "He is lucky to have a wonderful family" spill, let me be honest--sometimes I don't want to do this.  By 8pm I'm flat exhausted and I'd like to spend some time with the other kids or Mike, heck, I'd LOVE to sit in the quiet and watch HGTV with nobody around!.  Sometimes his crying when he wakes up(why can't he wake up cooing happily?) feels like nails on a chalkboard.  Establishing a pattern of trust and attachment is not easy!!  But, we must do this, hard work now will reap sweet rewards later.  Mary Hopkins Best wrote in Toddler Adoption
    Always assume that a request for parental contact and comforting represents a need for a toddle struggling to develop attachment and meet that need on demand, day or night. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Great Day

Hudson said "Uh-oh", his first English word! He was really happy today, except when he woke up from his nap and I wasn't lying next to him. I got a shower, finally read a little bit in my "Read the Bible In A Year". I haven't been able to run or have my quiet times since Korea; my thighs have turned to mush and I miss time with the Lord. It will come. Right now I'm so thankful that the little cutey is adjusting better and better. Oh, funny thing I discovered this morning. We were on the front porch when the sprinkler system came on. If you've ever been to Seoul, this won't surprise you(huge concrete city of 12million people living in highrise apartments), but Hudson obviously has never seen or heard sprinklers before. He shook out of his shoes and screamed in terror!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How adoption changed our family??

Here is one cute and short way international adoption has changed our family(of course there are many!). Carter is so multicultural. Last week our church had us come up front to introduce the new little family member. On the way home Mike asked Carter if he sometimes feels left out because he wasn't adopted. Carter replied "No, sometimes I forget that I'm not Korean!"
Yesterday Mike and Carter went to Dallas for a game. They stopped at one of our favorite places, Ko-Mart(like a big Korean Walmart). They ate some yummy Korean food and sampled things like fried octupus. Mike was telling me about a couple standing at the counter that apparently was having an adventure in Ko-Mart and ordering Korean food for the first time. He said they looked maybe Middle-Eastern. Carter pipes up and says "I think they were Nepalese" No joke, he really said that! It was sooooo funny. Do you know many 13 yr old boys who: 1. know that Nepal is a country 2. know what the general features of Nepalese people are 3. Know that the correct term for people from Nepal is Nepalese?
Yep, I'd say our family is much more aware of the world!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hudson joins the club

The allergy induced, living in Texas, boyz in our home club that is! I took him to our sweet pediatrician this morning. He hacked and wheezed all night, despite the neb treatments. The doctor is sure it is allergy-induced asthma, nothing infective. So, we continue nebs and he will take oral steroids for 3 days--that always helps Dillon get better. The Dr. chuckled and said, "well, if he is gonna have this, at least his family knows how to take care of it!" You see, Mike has asthma and takes meds, Carter had it as a toddler, Dillon has it fairly bad and sees a lung specialist, and now Mr. Hot-tub himself. Abby and I are the only constantly healthy ones in the family--Let's hear it for the GILRZ!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 2, getting n the groove

WOW, what a difference another week makes! Every day gets better and better. I think that if Hudson wasn't so congested and could breathe, we'd be sleeping through the night. Over the past few days he has started using the "more" sign when he wants more bites instead of "eh, eh, eh, eh, eh" whine. He knows how to give high five. He ran up to daddy for a hug, but doesn't want him to hold him, he is grinning at me and thinks I'm hilarious(well, I am!). Hudson is a great errand-runner(I know, not a real word). He actually sits in the basket at Walmart and looks around. He is eating everything under the sun-stuffing pieces into his cheeks as fast as you put them on the tray! Really, he is a jolly little guy as long as he gets his way :) Dillon keeps sitting on the couch saying "I want hold baby". He just doesn't get the fact that Hudson is almost as big as he is and doesn't want to be held like a baby! I think they will be big buds in a few months.

Someone asked me what the hardest part was of adding a toddler to our family. I think it is that I was so out of the baby/toddler groove. Everyone was potty-trained, went to school all day, my house was clean and organized, I was running a few times a week, everybody fed themselves, we didn't need a diaperbag. I'm relearning how to plan our day around naptime(I'm a nap fanatic with little ones!), to pack for every possible need while away from home, to think of toddler type food, and so forth. That part is coming back to me. The hardest part is feeling like I'm never enough. When everyone is home at night, how do I help an 8th grader with pre-algebra, a 3rd grader with a history project, a kindergartner with learning difficulties to learn letters, while carrying around a 21months old who doesn't know where he is and who we are? I feel badly for Mike as I can't have a conversation without stopping to answer the little people around. I struggle with wondering if our kids will suffer because mom is spread so thin(and I haven't even returned to work yet!). Can I be an attentive mom to 4 kids? Can I be a good wife? Can I be a good nurse? Whew, it is all very overwhelming!!

What is the best part? Watching the little personality come out, holding a pudgy and soft little hand, watching Hudson's eyes begin to look at me like "Ahh, you are mommy and I like you!" I remember the day Dillon started all day school last year. I felt so sad, so alone, and like the best chapter of my life was over. Now, please please don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying that raising little ones is a woman's only purpose, or that I didn't really enjoy some days of quiet freedom and hanging out with my friends! I realize that God has called us to this ministry of adoption, but at the same time, I realize God has given us a gift! Many years ago, we were grieving and thinking we'd never have more than one child. I'd always wanted a big family. What a privelage to see how He has brought us this far. I'm thankful for this great blessing that is wrapped up in a short, pudgy little boy body whom we lovingly call "Hot tub"(that is because that is what it sounds like when Dillon says Hudson!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hudson could use some prayers

For healing. His lungs sound like an 85 yr old emphysema patient. He was welcomed to Texas by full force allergy issues several days ago. Now he is hacking and congested. The good news is that he isn't running fever and still eating and drinking fine(or else I'd take him to the dr. asap). Dillon has chronic pulmonary problems so we have the nebulizer and meds so I'm giving him treatments. Please join me in praying for his lungs to clear up. I'm headed to the HR dept of my job this morning to add him to our insurance so I can not afford a big medical bill at this point! Don't worry, money would never keep me from seeking appropriate treatment ;) Good thing I'm a nurse. With my 3 boys, I sometimes feel like I'm running a mini ward!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Want to say Thanks!

Thanks so much to all our dear friends who have prayed for us over the last several months! Thanks for the encouragement, interest, gifts, cards, meals and calls to check on us in the last week and a half. I know most people don't realize it, but many adoptive families get jipped when it comes to people caring about their new addition. Many in society keep perpetuating the idea that giving birth to a child is the best way to add to your family, and adoption is second rate--thus they often times get no showers, no cards, no meals and such. Not our family and friends! You guys are the best. Truly, and you guys know I'm always honest here, when we arrived home with Hudson and the following 5 days, were the most exhausting and hardest days of my life! Without your sweet visits, meals, and prayers I would have lost it. Thanks again!! And, to my internet friends who keep leaving sweet comments and prays on the Dillon forums, you guys rock!! I can't thank you enough.
Hudson is really settling and showing us his personality! We have learned several things about him: he isn't afraid of anything-except the garage door opener :) He lays down in the bath and whirls around to get the water all over him. Our other 3 kids were such weenies about getting their heads wet when they were little. He is all boy! He does summersaults and crashes into whatever is near him and doesn't cry. He loves cheesy tuna helper, he loves music, he is very very curious. He is starting to like Mike and that is such a huge relief(for me and Mike!). We are really starting to gel and I'm so thankful.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Good Report

Good news: either Dillon's first xray was poor technique or God healed his spine curve a full 11 degrees. The first xray showed an 18% curve. The one today showed only 7%. You have to have 10% to consider it scoliosis! Yippee!!! The doctor thinks one hip may be a tiny bit higher than the other, but that is not a big deal. We go back in March for a recheck. Like Mike said, it is sure a blessing for Dillon to leave a specialty visit with no new diagnosis! Praise the Lord!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Week Down

Wow, in some ways it seems like forever ago that we landed with Hudson. Yet, it was only a week. He has done amazingly well. Last night he slept really hard and only cried out 3 times. When he cries out, I just reach over and let him know I'm there. We are sleeping on floor together, like they do in Korea(I took advice and got a nice camping mattress to sleep on). It is absolutely paramount to his attachment that every time he cries out and looks around, I'm there. We have also made great strides in the eating department. I don't think that he'd used a spoon much. But, with fingers, he is eating watermelon, little pieces of pasta, loves yogurt, tiny pieces of pears, loves Cheerios, rice, and little cut up carrots. He stuffs every bit of food in his cheecks and pockets them like a squirrel. So, I've learned to only give him a few pieces of food at a time on his tray. He is only taking a bottle before bedtime. Hudson loves music and sways his little body when he hears it. He loves to play Peek-a-boo and covers his eyes wanting you to say "Where's Seong Cheol?" He is learning basics of our family life like: no throwing the food bowl on the floor when you are done, using baby signs to tell what you want, holding mommy's hand when walking in the street and such important lessons. He is strong as an ox and tough as nails. In the evening, I've been wearing him out by walking a few blocks. He is so stinkin stubborn that he will run(while grinning and chubby cheeks jiggling) the whole time. Dillon ends up sitting in the umbrella stroller, not Hudson!!! It works, cause he's been sleeping much better--that and prayers of MANY friends and family!!
As for Dillon, we were worried about how he'd react to being dethroned as baby. Really, the only times he has a hard time is when people are visiting. My parents and sister were here a few days ago and he needed rocking, couldn't walk, and was soooooo whiney!!
I'm already stressing out about going to work. My sweet neighbor is interested in babysitting Hudson 2 days a week. She has an almost 1 year old. I just don't know how traumatic it will be for him to be left at yet another strange home!! Please pray for him and his attachment to us. I plan on working late October.
Speaking of Dillon, we go see the Orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow. He seems to have been born with scoliosis. This may require nothing by every 6 month check ups--all the way to bracing or surgery. Will let you know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I washed my hair today for the first time in 4 days! And, when he didn't want the meat that was in his mouth, he handed it to me nicely, instead of throwing!! I'd say those are big steps :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cute or What??

Hudson is so cute. We are having a quite, laid back rainy day. He loves this little Pororo book(sitting behind him)we bought inSeoul. Pororo is the Korean equivalent of Barney. Wish we had it here. He is a stinker too. I'll tell him "no, don't touch" and he will watch me and move his hand very slowly to continue touching whatever the forbidden fruit of the moment is(usually the Wii buttons). After about 4 times, he will move on to the next item. I remember Abby being the same way. Of course, she is a complete angel now so maybe there is a great hope for him?!! :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spoke Too Soon

Today the little cutie was flat miserable. He cried and grieved last night from midnight to 3:30am, then fell asleep until 9. Today he has cried and whined non-stop. I take that back, he was happy when we walked in the light rain fall barefoot this afternoon. He did finally eat some food(mashed potatoes from Chicken Express-Thanks Susie!). He flat out is ticked off at us and lets it be known--dont' even think of letting Mike care for him(he wails and closes his eyes!). I know this is totally normal. Heck, if I was whisked away from my family, flown to a strange country with a houseful of people who I don't know, I'd be mad and crancky too. It is hard though, as a mommy and daddy trying to form an attachment to a miserble little boy. It will pass and get better every day. Bless his little heart!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Big Breakthrough!

Hudson just sat in Mike's lap and let him put socks on his feet! This evening he has been really playful and even smiling at Mike. Praise the Lord. I'll post a pic of them playing later. Last night Hudson grieved from 1-4am. I just laid there with him and tried to be patient and pray for his peace. He fell back asleep and slept until 8:45. I think it is getting better!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Leaving Korea and adjusting(Long!)

Sorry this took so long. Let's just say the last 3 days have kicked my patootie!!

So, our last day in Korea. We went to tour the DMZ that morning. We booked through I Love Seoul tours(the flyer is in the foyer of EAstern for you Dillon families coming). They picked us up at 8:20 and we drove about 50minutes out of Seoul. It was great to get out of the huge concrete city and see the beautiful country. We went to the train station built several years ago that was supposed to connect S. and N. Korea, but hasn't. Then we went to the Third Tunnel that was built by the N. Koreans. We walked down a steep slope about 250 meters, it was tough! The end of the tunnel was just amazing. It was so small, Mike had to walk stooped over and we all wore yellow hard hats. No pictures were allowed inside--darn. Then we drove to the Dorasan observatory. Unbelieable! From a high deck, we could look through binaculours to North Korea. We saw the propaganda village--where noboy really lives. You couldn't take a picture past a certain yellow line. Mike's height finally had an advantage. He held our camera way up and got a photo. The flag pole in the picture above is the N. Korean flag. Seriously, it was crazy knowing that we were so close to the most closed and fanatic Communist country in the world. After that we went to pack. We met with Hudson and his foster mom(and her daughter) at 4pm. We thought we were to have a short play outing, but they decided we needed to leave for the airport at 4:40. So, we sat in the playroom for a while and talked through our translator. The foster mom showed me all his favorite snacks for the plane ride and how to make his bottles(yes, he takes lots of bottles, which I'll address later). At 4:40 we all went downstairs and Dr. Kim, the president of Eastern Social Welfare Society came to pray. Hudson had no idea what all the fuss was about and played. His foster mom, however, sobbed quietly(me too!!). Then it was a blur of activity, they whisked us to the van, placed him in my lap and we drove off. I turned to look at the foster mom and she fell to her knees crying--No Lie! I was crushed for her. Hudson handled things really well as long as Abby was near him. At the airport, our first wave of grief hit. He had a complete panic attack. He walked in circles scanning the crowds and screaming. We could do nothing to comfort him. But, the Lord answered everyone's prayers!! A miracle on the plane happened. He was so busy playing with all the buttons on the remotes in the seats, he wasn't sad. Then he listened to the headphones with music and swayed his body. It was really cute. About 2 hours into the 11 hour flight, he fell asleep. On Asiana Airlines they have a bassinet that snaps into the wall in the bulkhead, in front of the seats. He was way too big, but he fell asleep. That child slept until 1 hour before we landed!!!! He was so big that he kept flopping his legs over the sides and couldn't roll over, but he stayed asleep. I kept praying "Thank you Jesus, now please don't let him wake up." At LA, he was a wild man in the airport--running around pulling Abby by the hand. On the next plane, same story, as above. I couldn't believe it. When we landed, we were met with a shock. A small group of family and friends were waiting. We had no idea they were coming since we landed at 11:35 and hadn't invited anyone. I started crying and Mike did too when we saw them. Oh, how I missed Carter and Dillon! Hudson was calm and walked over to Dillon and hugged him. That night he thought it was day time! I told God that since he'd answered our prayers for the flights, I couldn't complain about never going to bed Wednesday night. I'll be honest here folks, this has been really hard. Hudson is doing better than I expected, but still hard. He is terrified of Mike and so I'm the one man show right now. This saddens Mike because he is very much a loving, hands on daddy. He told Hudson "but all babies love me!" If he can't see me, he screams. I'm fighting a sinus infection and have some sort of Korean revenge stomach issue and can't eat more than a few bites at a sitting. Our social worker warned us long ago that adopting a toddler was really tough because you don't get that snuggly baby time. Babies stay put for a while. Not this kid. He is a very very curiuos and smart little boy. He pulls the blinds, opens all the cabinets, unrolls the toilet paper, puts everything he finds on the floor in his mouth and so on. I feel so guilty because it seems like all I'm ever saying is "No, don't touch that!" He just wants to explore his environment. As for his attachement, it will take time. I can't pull out his shoes because he gets all excited and starts looking around for his foster mom. He grieved for a long time last night--laying on the pallet with me moaning and crying. I couldn't comfort him--he'd push my hand away if I touched him. Finally he fell asleep. We are just praying for peace and for his fears to melt. We know it will take time and get better and better each day. He is so cute with cheeks that jiggle when he takes a steps and he jabbers a lot(not sure if it is Korean words or what). This morning we had a quick check with our pediatrician to make sure nothing major was going on. He weighed 28 pounds(my arm muscles would swear at least 35!) and was 32 inches tall. We have to get him off the bottle ASAP as he has severe baby bottle rot of his top 4 teeth that need capping. I have to find the balance between him needing comfort and time to attach and transitioning him off bottles of formula. It seems he likes bottles of water so I think I'll do that more often. Our family and friends have all been so sweet to give us some space. My house is a total disaster. I'm the type who normally would have had everything unpacked, the laundry washed,and the mail sorted. But, I'm trying to practice what I preach to new adoptive moms--sleep when the baby sleeps!!! As for the big kids, they are wonderful. If Abby is around Hudson is at her feet. She is being very patient with him. Carter keeps practicing his few Korean words with him! Dillon loves to be the big boy and is "helping" me tell Hudson what he can and can't touch ;)

Thanks for the sweet well wishes and I hope to post a family pic in the next few days!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Home--thank heaven!

Sorry to take so long posting. I'm feeling like a 90yr old woman this morning. Exhausted! I'll post more about the DMZ(amazing!) and our trip home later. Thank you all for prayers, they sure worked a miracle! Hudson slept during both flights. We are adjusting slowly.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wednesday morning(last day)

I've been up a while! How am I supposed to sleep when in 13 hours I'll be boarding a plane with my new son. I mean, one minute you're a family of 5--busy, happy, and doing things that families of 5 do. The next minute you are a family of 6. Funny, that status instantly catapults us into the "large family" classification. I read a book about it. Apparently 3 kids is the border of norm, and 4 kids is flat out big! One Korean university student was ever so blunt as to ask us "Why do you want a big family?" Cute in a rude sort of way ;) Anyway, I've semi packed and rechecked the paperwork several time, had my quite time in the Word, listened to the symphony of probably 30 newborns crying for their morning bottle in the Babies Home next door, made breakfast, checked Facebook 3 times, and basically paced the floor. We have loved our trip but are really really ready for home! We leave for the DMZ in a few minutes. We will post an update from the WiFi spot at the airport this evening.

I wonder what Hudson and his foster family are doing today? How do you say goodbye after keeping a child for almost 2 years? How do you impart to that child how much you love him? UGH, I'm glad I'm the one saying Hello for the rest of our lives, not goodby!


This morning we laid around for a while. We strolled some of the back streets to kill time and get out. At 11:00 we met with Mrs. Kim, Abby's foster mother. She looked just like she did back when we picked up Abby in 2001, only a little older. She was grinning ear to ear and was happy to see JooMee(Abby's Korean name). She said that JooMee looked happy and healthy and that her eyebrows were beautiful. Our social worker explained that the older generations of Koreans put a lot of stock in the way a person's eyebrows were shaped!! She admonished her to study hard and grow into a good adult and to come back to Korea again someday. We learned that her husband died several years ago. We were sad to hear this. When we visited her home and took Abby with us to the airport, he came running up the stairs, huffing and puffing, just to make sure he was there to say goodbye to her. Abby was her 42nd foster baby. She retired from fostering around the number 45!!! Talk about a life well lived!! Thank you Mrs.Kim for your sweet and selfless acts. We can certainly testify to the good job you did for babies.

After that we ate lunch in the guesthouse. We then decided to take the subway to Children's Grand Play Park. It is a huge free park with small zoo, fountains, and supposedly amusement park, which we never saw. The zoo exhibits were run down and fairly sad, but it was a nice change to be around lots of trees and flowers, not crowded and noisy sidewalks. There was even a polar bear in the zoo! Abby played in the shallow fountains and Mike and I were happy to have cold water to stick our feet in and watch the adorable little kids. For my Dillon friends, it is about a 45minute easy subway ride. I recommend coming if you are bringing young children with you.
More travel tips: stoplights and street rules are more a suggestion than law! When the pedestrian light turns green, do NOT step into the street. Wait a few seconds before crossing :)

Tomorrow morning we go to the DMZ tour(we are doing the small, tame one, not the one where we stare into the binoculars of the North Koreans at Pamunjeon). At 4 we have a playtime with Hudson and then off we go to the airport!

In some ways, it seems we've been here forever and yet in some ways, we can't believe it is over! This is my 3rd trip to Korea in 8.5years. I feel pretty much an expert now :) We thank you Dillon International and Eastern Social Welfare Society for being gracious and professional, as always. What a blessing to work with you guys to build our family. The Lord has used you all to bless many many people!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday afternoon update

We got word this morning that Abby's foster mother couldn't come today. We will meet with her tomorrow. That bumped our DMZ tour that we had scheduled for tomorrow. No worries, flexible is our middle name :) So, we basically had nothing to do until our meeting with Hudson at 2pm. We went to Namdaemun again for gifts. It was misting so we bought umbrellas--you know how frugal(Okay super cheap) I am, I'm calling my umbrella a souvenir!!! We ate lunch in the Kyobo bookstore food court again. I had my same Bulgogi with rice, Abby branched out and ate another hamburger! Mike went crazy and got a big bowl of soup with noodles and mushy pink rimmed tofu with no taste. He said the soup and fried dumplings were really good. We were lazy and took a taxi back to Eastern. I'm all about the subway, but sometimes your feet are begging for a taxi ride.

I'd like to say that my little man is quite the fashionable dude! I kid you not. He was wearing Thomas the Tank socks with little bright yellow plastic shoes. I'm not talking Crocs here folks. I'm talking fake wooden shoes from Holland!!!!!! I couldn't concentrate on how adorable his fat cheeks are cause of the shoes!! Mel and Kate, I immediately thought of how you 2 would get a huge kick out of it. And, to top it all off--she is sending us a brand new pair of these with him!!

Hudson---- Well, how do I describe this meeting. It started out terrible but ended up great! He walked into the hall where we were sitting and stopped dead in his tracks, looked at us and closed his eyes!! This kid is hysterical and very smart. He knew something was up. We walked to the park with him, his foster mother and social worker, about 2 blocks away. This created quite the parade. Several ladies walking down the street wanted to know what the fuss was about and they followed us. I kept trying to hold his hand and he yanked it away. Mike couldn't even look his direction. At the park, we desparately tried to find the balance of engaging Hudson and yet giving him space--this was done, to our dismay, under the watchful eyes of 3 grandmothers at the park with their little grandchildren. They all wanted in on the story and I could her Hudson's foster mom saying "omma, appa, nuna" the Korean words for mom, dad, and big sister. It was very unnerving. Hudson eventually started warming up to me and to Abby. His foster mom and the social worker went to hide behind some bushes while we tried to play. He decided Abby was pretty cool(she looks much more normal than Mike and I do!). He took her hand and led her around. It was adorable. After a while, we walked back to Eastern. Hudson let me hold him. He was so tired, it was naptime. He even put his head down on my shoulder for a few minutes. Have I said how BIG this child is. I was a sweaty pig at the this point from carrying him up the slide several times, not to mention the spit up chocolate on the front of my pink shirt that plopped out of his mouth when crying. Then we went into the little play room. He started to take a bottle but wanted to play with Abby instead. The 2 of them played while we looked at the gifts the foster mother brought us. There was a gorgeous hanbok(the colorful silk traditional Korean outfit and hat), 3 photo albums documenting his life from 2 months of age. I started crying and so was the foster mom. Then the social worker translated what was hand written in the photo album "We love you, we hope you grow up to be a strong man." Let the tears flow from Daddy! This baby is a part of the family. The foster mother's 19yr old daughter is in college in Japan. She is flying in tomorrow to say goodbye to Hudson. Tracy W, it gets even worse than this! Her 22 yr old son is in the army. There was a picture of him with Hudson and he's wearing his camos. I had a silver locket engraved with Hudson's name and birthday and put a tiny picture of his face in it. She showed me that she was wearing it and just cried and cried. Okay, enough of the tears--whew--this is hard stuff people!! He is so beautiful and funny and we are amazed at the miracle God was worked this year to bring us together.

Tonight my friend and fellow waiting mom lands here. She will meet her 22months old baby girl tomorrow! I can't wait to meet her. She and I have been waiting together for several months and held each other up when it was so excrutiating.

Wednesday, we tour the DMZ. Mike is super pumped about that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


It is 6:22 Monday here. Our computer connection wouldn't stay put last night, so I'll write about yesterday now. Yesterday started very early. I as up at 3:30am and Abby at 5:30. We layed around until time to hit the subway to find church. Mike stumbled across the website for Seoul International Basptist Church, it had English services, so off we went. We thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very much like our church at home: casual, friendly, multicultural. We sang a song that had the verse from Psalm 103 about how the Lord has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west. Boy, that phrase hit me like a ton of bricks. We had traveled as far as the east is from the west and man, that is FAR! Thank you Jesus! One thing that struck me as amazing was the prayer the deacon offered. He said "We are so thankful for the freedom we have in this country to worship without persecution." He was US military and that just really caught me off gaurd that in a country other than America, people are thankful for their religious freedomes. Hmmmm, I'm so arrogant in thinking the US is the only free country! After church, we stopped to eat insided a hole in the wall Mexican food place. We had fajitas and some style of tacos and Dr. Pepper. It wasn't Texas style Mexican food, but it was good. We then came to our room to rest. My sinuses are killing me(people smoke in public here, if you have allergies and asthma, bring meds!). Last night we went to the Chongdong Theater right by the Seoul Museum of Art. We watched an opera/dance about traditional Korea in ancient times. It was beautiful! Before the show, they have a costume area set up in the foyer for people to try on traditional Korean costuems. Of course, we had to do this :) We provided the pre-show entertainment for everyone waiting for the show to start. All 3 of us put on traditional wedding costumes and took pictures, thus the ridiculous picture you are looking at! As we were walking down the street after the show, there was a huge Christian youth concert on an outdoor stage. It was so sweet watching that crowd of teens jumping up and down singing!

In a few hours Abby meets her foster mother. She is very excited about this. She made her a scrapbook and that has Korean descriptions under the pictures--thanks to our dear friend Paul. Other than that, she is Korea'd out! She is tired and ready to go home. She says Korea is too croweded and loud ;)

At 2pm(11pm Texas time) we have our 2nd meeting with Hudson. Please keep praying for him to not be terrified of us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 3(Ufo's, soapbox,birthmoms)

Getting homesick!! Really, I just want to see my big boys buy now. If any of you guys taking care of them read this, please post to me on Facebook or email me and let me know what they are doing.

UFO's--this is what Mike lovingly calls the many Unidentified Fried Objects that the street vendors sell :) Some are delicious, some look like whole fish!

About today, we had fun. We got up really early(3:00 am for Mike) thanks to jet lag. We had the wonderful free eggs and toast the guesthouse provides and then at 7 walked to Dunkin Donuts for coffee. For my Dillon International friends coming to Eastern soon, it is 2 blocks to the right. We then saw the Korean War Memorial. The outside is amazing and really intersting and Free! The inside is huge and really cheap(8000 won for the 3 of us). HOnestly, I'd skip the inside and just linger on the outside exhibits. We then went to Itaewon. We all decided that we like Namdaemun Market better because it is more traditional Korean. Itaewon is more commercial and global. We ate American fast food. After our Korean food twice yesterday, we wanted "regular" food. We are sooooo tired this afternoon and plan to go to the grocery store for milk ,cereal, fruit, and something light to cook for supper here in the guesthouse kitchen.

Abby is still amazing us. Nana and Mom, wish you could see her navigate the subway system and the market like an old pro! Oh, the subway--I remember something that was so funny. It was kind of crowded and we were standing, like usual. Abby sat in an available set. Another seat came open, in between 2 elderlymen. One of the motioned for Mike and really wanted him to sit there. So, Mike squeezed his 6 foot 2 frame in between these old men who looked about 5'5 on a small subway seat. I was dying laughing but holding it in to not offend the men. Apparently it cracked them up too cause they were chuckling. Mike looked like the jolly green giant next to them!!

Tomorrow we plan to visit a church and hit Namdaemun Market again for souvenirs.

I've run into groups of birthmothers twice today. On the floor above our room is Sharon's Home for unwed moms. The women get care until the baby is delivered. When I ran into the group this afternoon, there were 4 girls--looked about 17. They were happily chatting and waddling like they would deliver soon. I came around the corner and they froze. Bless their hearts, they looked so shocked to see me. I smiled and said hello. One girl smiled back and tried to say hello. What I wanted to do was hug their necks and tell them thank you for choosing LIFE for their babies. That if their children are anything like ours, then some family would be super duper blessed by their gift! They quickly shuffled past me and were gone.

Just want to say this: the world is sooooooo much bigger than our little white suburban middle class life! Don't be afraid to get out and experience it. Go on a mission trip, take your kids to an inner city food pantry, mingle with other races, sponsor children in Africa, adopt a hard to place orphaned child with special needs! For goodness sakes, when you are on your death bed what will you be looking back at? I don't want to be thinking "God blessed me with so many opportunities, but I was too afraid to experience them!"

Friday, September 4, 2009

closing of day 2

Whew, we are pooped! Never have I walked so much. We lazy Americans, who drive our car 5 minutes to Wal-Mart don't walk like this! We took the Seoul City Tour bus this morning. If you are about to visit Korea, it is a good deal. It was 28000 won(about 25bucks) for the three of us and it lasted about 2 hours. We saw tons of sights from the air conditioned bus. You can get off and on at stops. We then shopped at Kyobo bookstore--HUGE-- and bought a Korean-American children's book for Dillon and a Pororo video for Hudson, which is the Korean version of Barney(a penguin). His omma told us that he loves Pororo. We ate in the food court there. Abby had a hamburger and Mike and I had bulgogi and rice, wonderful! Then we walked 5000 miles following the kindest stranger ever. He went way out of his way to be our personal escort and show us where Namdaemun Market was. I tried to pay him, but he refused. We browsed the market and stared at the odd foods. If you watch Bizarre Foods, you'll recognize items. We did eat dumplings in a tiny mom and pop style Korean cafe. It was a big meal for 6dollars.

Abby is doing amazing! She still gets a bit irritated with all the attention. She has recieved 2 gifts from shop owners and many pats on the head. It is funny, but she is so dark compared to the women here. I guess growing up in suburban Texas lends you to being out in the sun and tan. She is also very tall. The elderly Korean women are near her height. She is very metropolitan and has had to help her pitiful old parents more than once when we didn't understand how to do things :)

Another tip if you are coming here soon: bring a small fan for your room at the guesthouse. You don't need it for air, you need white noise. A city of 12 million people is very loud. Where we live, you don't have much noise at night. Our little fan has been great.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 2 early morning

A few more things I wanted to add, and since I'm up, why not? Hudson is HUGE! I picked him up and he is a ton of bricks. To my friends at work: I'm thinking at least size 2T.

Abby is treated like a little celebrity here. She gets special favors and strangers pat her head. We took a taxi to the cable car ride and when we paid, I handed him a tip and he refused, pointed at Abby and said "ice cream." An older man kept trying to make Abby sit in the last available seat on the subway(we were standing as were about 14 thousand other people!). She repeatedly shook her head no, she wanted to stand! All this is getting old for her(and it has only been 1 full day). She was very quiet yesterday evening. I think she is processing some very grown up questions in her little head. Seeing all these people in their Korean culture and her feeling totally out of the loop is sure to bring up identity questions. That is okay, we certainly stand with her in searching out how she fits into being Korean, and yet being 100% American at the same time.

About Eastern Social Welfare Society===if you have any heart for children, please make donations to this amazing place. You can go to Orphancare International's website and donate(choose Korea from the countries). They run 7 shelters for unwed mothers, a domestic and international adoption program, a home for disabled children(both physical and mental) who will never be adopted, community centers, senior centers and a small babies hospital for the children being placed into foster care. Unfortunately, Korea is very scared of H1N1 and the babies home and home for disabled children are closed to visitors. We had wanted to visit these with Abby soooooo badly!!! The babies home is right next to our guest room and we can hear many many newborns crying in there. It breaks our heart to realize that there are 3 rooms full of babies right next to me, crying and needed a mom and dad of their own.

A message for my sister M and her husband B who are foster parents to my darling angel neice J(who we sooooo hope they get to adopt): Your selfless gift of your hearts and time humbles me. People are always telling Mike and I "you guys are special" and other blah blahs like that. What you two do is truly amazing! Seeing Hudson with his foster mother yesterday, and watching her wipe her tears as she tried to sneak out of the room so we could be alone with him for a moment, then Hudson wailing and looking for her, and her coming in and rescuing him from us and snuggling him up, showed me what a powerful ministry you guys have!!!! Keep on loving God's little children who need a sweet and safe family, even if it is only for a few months.

First meeting

We met Seong Cheol and his foster mother a little while ago. Hhmmm, didn't go to great. I mean, he is healthy and happy and very very attached to his foster mother. She immediately started crying when she saw us. I think she is one amazing and energetic woman. He smiled and played at the beginning, a little! Then, he began closing his eyes at Mike and refusing to acknowledge that Mike was there. He constantly turned to look for his "omma"(foster mother) and would fall over in her lap. We tried to give him space and not overwhelm him. We sat on the floor and tried to woo him over with toys. He attempted to play with us, but kept closing his eyes at Mike. Poor Dadda! It is going to be very slow going guys. This baby has been doted on by his precious foster mother since he was 2months old. We weren't welcome in his world. I did get to hold him for a while. He began whirling his head around looking for omma and then scrunched his eyes and nose up and made a silent wail! BROKE MY HEART! Please pray hard for him. Monday we get to have an outing at a park with him and his omma. Hopefully that will break the ice. Let's see, some cute things we learned: when he wants food, he pulls on the fridge door--sounds just like Dillon, when he wants to go outside, he says the Korean word for outside and pulls on omma's hands, he still loves his bottle several times a day, he wins the chubby cheeck award hands down ;)

Abby has been such a trooper. We haven't really done anything fun for her yet so we are headed to take a cable car up to Seoul tower.

You know, I really didn't want to stay 6 days, but now I can see we will need it for Hudson and his foster mom to get prepared.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Here safe and sound

We landed in Seoul about 2 hours ago(4:50am Seoul time). Basically, I slept 3.5hours Monday night due to nerves. Then Tuesday evening we flew out to LA, landed there and waited for 4 hours before flying out at what would be 2:20am our time. I took a sleeping pill about an hour into the flight and dozed for short bursts, but no real sleep. Now, it is Thursday morning here(15hours ahead of CST). My body is super confused! Our flights were uneventful. Asiana Airlines is the cadillac of airlines and we were amazed at the service, comfort and food quality. I've been really emotional since yesterday before leaving. It was so hard to leave Carter and Dillon and when we took off for LA, I cried. I also cried reading a new book a friend gave me that my mom and sisters have to read! Then, here in the airport, I cried seeing toddlers with parents. It is crazy to think that at 2pm today we meet Hudson. I really have no idea how big he is, what he likes, how he will react. I'm overwhelmed at the privelage to be adopting again. I've escorted 2 babies for other families who couldn't travel and remember thinking how I'd love to do this again! It is coming true! Of course, after the brutal journey(and admittedly, I don't travel well), I'm pretty well sure this is the last one! I'm really enjoying seeing Abby in her homeland and wishing we'd spent more effort making her go to Korean school that we knew was offered in our city. Adoptive parents: do make your children learn about their heritage, it is a priceless piece of them that shouldn't be ignored!
Okay, so we wait for the driver to pick us up. We landed way to early for him! I'll post later with pics of meeting our new baby boy!