Sunday, February 28, 2010

Its in the water...

To all you adoptive families, either with children home or still waiting, don't you wish people would jokingly advise others to not drink the water or they may suddenly end up adopting??  Wouldn't it be awesome if instead of being the only person at work going through the adoption process, several coworkers were all adopting at the same time?  What if you could compare paperchases, timelines, weight gained from major stressed out eating, fingerprinting woes, homestudy tales, and all the like with your friends in Sunday School?  How much fun would it be if you walked into Babies R Us to register for a shower for your soon to arrive child and the computer didn't ask for your due date, but your "expected travel date"?  What if people could see the look on your face and say "My you are just glowing little momma, how  is  your dossier collection going" and then they'd lovingly pat the huge 3 ring binder you keep all your adoption paperwork in?  Ahhhh, I can dream of the world being something like that, can't I? 


Here is a picture of the shirt I'm going to order.  It is a really cute long-sleeve, brown shirt.  Would it be considered tacky if I wore it to Hudson's finalization in a few weeks????  What do you guys think?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forced industry

Mike and Carter are in DC all week on a school trip.  I'm used to Mike being gone on trips every spring.  That is part of his job.  This week I've been forced to be home and industrious.  For the first time in several years, I have a toddler at home.  And, I really don't have money to spend.  So, no fun Target trips to look for cute spring clothes.  I've been able to check off a lot of my "to do's" though.  Since Tuesday, I've done Pilates dvd with Wendy, mopped my kitchen/dining, cleaned the oven(gross!), washed the minivan and made space in the garage for it--yet again(wont last long), played ball with Hudson, wrote out a new budget reflecting some changes and the fact that we will have NO carpayment as of May, took recyclables to the center and walked briskly around the neighborhood swinging 3pound hand weights like a total dork!  This evening the kids and I walked around Lowe's getting paint sample cards and I taped them up in our living room.  For almost 3 years we've lived in total beigeland and I'm so ready for a splash of color!

I'm ready for Mike to come home so the kids can talk to him and let me have a second of quiet.  Today I did an experiment.  You see Hudson says "momma" incessantly.  I mean, over and over. I really don't think he is calling for me, he just likes to say it.  Now, before anyone gets their undies in a wad, I totally realize how much a treasure he is and Yes, we chose to adopt him!  I adore him and am thrilled that he talks so much.  But, people, it gets a bit old.  At 7:20am I began making tally marks every time he says "momma."  Wanna guess how many for the day? 

149 mommas, and that is with a 2 hour nap!!!!  My ears hurt sometimes :)

The good thing about being at home this week is that I'm trying to learn what Paul meant when he advised the young women
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind   Titus 2:5a

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dangerous media

This is totally off my usual topics, but has been really on my mind to post about.  Mike taught a class at church on the need for parents to be aware of how dangerous the media can be.  Friends, don't bury your head in the sand.  Parents, don't be fooled into thinking your child is safe or immune from the enemy!  Please educate yourself, as disgusting as it can be, and take steps to protect your kids.  Children are being exposed to pornography via the internet and cell phones at alarming rates.  Have you heard of "sexting"?  Mike taught the students at his school about the dangers of this a few weeks ago.  I just want you all to be on your guard and ready with a  plan for your family.
1.  NEVER EVER EVER have a computer with internet access in your kids room.
2.  Install a very good filter.  We use Safe Eyes, a program designed by Triple X church in Las Vegas(a church dedicated to minister to those with sexual addictions).  Safe Eyes makes the internet password protected and keeps accountability reports for Mike and I to review.
3. Begin talking with your child at an early age!  You never know what your child is exposed to at a friends home.  I remember being in 4th grade, spending the night at a friends home and seeing an awful awful show. If your child doesn't feel comfortable talking to you about these kinds of things, you will miss all teachable moments.
4.  Read your child's text messages.  I'm sorry, but privacy has no place when you are keeping your child safe.  People can send pornographic pictures and sexual text messages to your child and you may never know it. 
5.  Keep your computer in a very open area of the home.  We keep ours in the kitchen.
6.  Myspace is NOT private.  Neither is Facebook.  Did you know that I can view pictures of people who are friends of  my "friends" on Facebook without ever being that persons "friend"?  Teach your kids to never give personal info or let people take suggestive pictures of them.  Many times these pictures find their way being sent to everyone at school's cell phone.
7.  Have your teen sign a family internet and cell phone use policy.  This won't keep them from stepping into trouble, but they will know your expectations up front.
8.  Pray!
some resources for you

Carter has this verse pasted in his room and on his bathroom mirror:   I will set before my eyes  no vile thing.  The deeds of faithless men I hate;  they will not cling to me   Psalm 101:3

Monday, February 22, 2010

They got the piece of paper....

That backs up what we've all known in our hearts for the last 15months!  Today Aspen became a legally adopted family member.  Congrats to Brad and Melody.  Aspen is worth the wait, yes???

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today: a Memory and met new friends

First off, it is amazing how your life can change with one email!!!!!!  Exactly one year ago today we got "the" email.  You know, the one that changed our family.  Sitting there in our inbox was an email from our adoption agency looking for a home in Texas for a sweet toddler boy in Korea.  Seong Cheol, you are crazy!  You are hilarious, gregarious, out-going, rough and tough, a bull in a China shop, super duper smart and the most beautiful 2yr old we've seen.  We love you.

Today we had a big time living an Outward Focused Life(have you read the book yet?). We met up at a tiny Hispanic mission church with our friend Max, who teaches Spanish at Mike's school and his friend who is the pastor of the little church were we gathered. The pastor can't afford housing and lives in the tiny church. Mike, my mom and sisters and I(minus Emily who was at an art fair with her high school students) wanted to visit some people Max had on his heart. Oh, we also had lots of children with us: our 4, my 10yr old neice Maddie, and Melody's 2 toddlers.  The first home we went to was a stunningly gorgeous young mom of 3 little boys whose husband is being deported to Mexico Monday!  We began walking around the mobile home park and knocking on doors. The pastor came with us and handed out invitations for his church and we prayed for the people.  Dillon had a ball!  It was really funny how many times we could hear people inside and yet they didn't answer the door.

Two families really touched us. One had a 4 year old little boy with pretty severe Cerebral Palsy. The mom was holding him, naked. A tiny wheelchair was parked outside. It had the name Billy monogramed on the head rest in blue. Billy had 2 brothers.  Another sweet family had 3 little girls. The 7yr old, Elizabeth, has a brain tumor and checks into our children's hospital in 6 days. Would you join me in praying for a healing miracle for little Elizabeth??

All in all, it was a sweet time. As I've said before, I don't think anyone's life was forever changed by a group of white folks showing up with baby items and free diapers. But, hopefully we can show them that Jesus loves them and so does someone else. I know I needed it. I was having a pity party yesterday. Since Dec. 27th, every week one of the kids has been sick. Yesterday I took Hudson back to the doctor for fever, coughing and wheezing and congestion. He is on an antibiotic and steroids--which make him completely psycho!! And, I'm sick with a sinus infection. Hallelujah for our sweet doctor friend who made a house call since my doc wasn't in the office. Add the drama with Hudson's tax and SSN issues and I'm totally done in. Today showed me that my life is great! I cannot complain and I need to "always rejoice, unceasingly praise, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, for you!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Toddlers are crazy, and a word to encourage you

Last night we were eating dinner.  I noticed Hudson's nose was boogery(is that a word?).  This is nothing out of the ordinary as our whole family, Hudson the worst, has been hacking, sneezing, and suffering from allergies for about a month.  As dinner went on, I noticed him touching his nose a lot.  I finally got a close look.  It wasn't boogers!
Each nostril had an elbow macaroni noodle perfectly shoved up in them!!!!  Now, fortunately for my husband, I'm a nurse.  And, I worked in an ER for several years.  I've dug things out of kid's noses and ears before.  Another fortunate thing is the fact that Hudson has a tiny pug nose.  I was able to pull the nose back and grab the noodles with tweezers
So, there ya go!  Another fun episode of life in our family :)

Now, on a not so disgusting note, I'd like to encourage you all.  God spoke to me when I was doing my morning Bible reaading today.  I think somebody out there will be uplifted by what He revealed to me.  I read a Daily Bible and it is several Old Testament chapters, a New Testament passage, and a Psalm.  This way you read the Bible through in  year.  This morning was 2 Chronicles chapter 13.  Basically the people of Judah were trying to obey God.  The kingdom of Isreal were following idols.  The 2 kings came to battle and Judah had 400,000 warriors, but Isreal had 800,000 warriors.  I'd say 2:1 are pretty daunting odds!  BUT, odds don't matter when the God of the universe is on your side! 

Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets  and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.  The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands.

Here is the way cool part.  The people of Judah had to raise the battle cry and blow the trumpet FIRST.  They had to be willing to take a risk, against all odds.  God didn't step in and deliver before they took the risk.  God wants us to be willing to go to battle for him, to be faced with 2:1 odds, to take that step of faith.  That is what faith is.  You see, we would never need faith if He delivered us before the battle started.  Take heart, be encouraged!  Raise your battle cry, blow your trumpet, step out into the unknown, stand up for God,take a risk, go on a mission trip, teach a Bible Study, move to Africa, adopt a child, foster children, give sacrifically to someone who is really needy, witness to that obnoxious person at work, live below your means so you can give away a larger portion of your income, go against the 2:1 odds, and trust your God to deliver you. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's the next step?

Hudson has been home 5 months now.  If  you aren't familiar to adoption, you may think that is it right?  We did all the paperwork, FBI and local fingerprints, applied with Immigration and Citizenship, passed our homestudy and voila---he is our son.  If only it were that simple(HA, like that was simple!).  We currently are in our post placement phase.  This means that we have a visit with our social worker every month.  Thankfully she is an old friend and we like seeing her monthly!  After he has been in our home 6 months we can finalize, which involves yet another set of fingerprints that costs 50.00.  We already have our lawyer finishing up the paperwork and we have a court date for March 19th(by the way, the most experienced adoption lawyer in Texas is in our city if anyone needs a name of a great one).  After the finalization, Hudson's  name will be officially changed.  Then we will get a new birth certificate with our names on it.  About 9 years ago, a new law went into effect saying that children adopted by US citizens would be considered citizens when they landed on US soil.  The big problem is that all the govt agencies haven't figured out how to honor this.  SO, our kids have no proof they are US citizens until we get a Certificate of Citizenship for them.  This is applied for through the Immigration and Citizenship office and cost 460.00!!   If  you want to make me feel nauseated, remind me that Dillon and Hudson both need these papers.  UGH.  I think it is a crime that the govt that Mike and I pay taxes to every year, charges this much for a piece of paper to prove my kids are US citizens!  Here is the really fun part.  The Social Security Adminstration denied our app for Hudson a SSN since our adoption isn't finalized.  So, at the advice of our CPA, I applied for a Tax Id Number for him so we can claim his as a dependant on our taxes.  Guess what????  Yep, they denied it too stating he didn't meet the residency requirements.    Now what??  We can't file our taxes til the adoption is finalized.  It will take a month to get the new birth cert which will allow us to apply for a SSN.  Then, we must wait a few weeks for that too come.  It looks like we are going to have to get an extension.  The kicker, a huge payment is due on our adoption loan in April(we only pay interest monthly) and we must have our refund to  pay it.  I guess I'll go the bank and explain our dilemna!  I swear, people can give birth to 6 babies and Medicaid pays for it, but we adoptive families jump through hoop after hoop!!!!!! 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Great things going on

Happy day late Valentines to my sweet man!  Mike spoke at a church Valentine's Banquet last night.  He was amazing.  He was so talented, eloquent, funny and yet meaningful.  You know, Mike isn't exactly romantic, but he is steady, dependable and loves us.  He stays home with sick kids so I don't miss work.  Mike drives an old Honda with 180.000 miles on it(works like a dream still), he doesn't have an expensive hobby, faithfully goes to work, loves the Lord and being with his family.  We got back together, after a short break 17 years ago this weekend and you know what, I'd Choose You all over again :)))

Great news!  My sister's foster baby will be legally their daughter next week.  I can't show you her face yet, but OH, she is cute.  Just wait til next week!  Yippppeee

We are gearing up for a big give-away on Saturday:  diapers, wipes, baby clothes, gloves, soap and Valentines.  We are taking them to a low income mobile home park in the city.  I can't wait.  Pray for the people to be touched and see Jesus' love okay?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

cheering for 2 countries

We love the Olympics!!  I grew up aspiring to be Nadia Comenci(sp??) and vividly remember watching Mary Lou Retton stick her perfect 10 vaults.  I was a gymnast wanna-be who took gymnastics for many years.  I stunk, but I thought "If only my parents would send me to train in Houston with Bela Karoli--I'd be an Olympian!"  Anyway, now I just love the competition.  At our house, we are torn between cheering for USA and S. Korea.  As I've mentioned before, Mike and I consider our family a Korean-American family.  So, when  the opening ceremonies are on, we hoot and holler when S. Korea walks in and when USA comes in.  We are watching speed skating right now and Abby just yelled out "Momma, Korea is in front!"  That is what we want.  A deep pride in being Korean AND American!
PS.  My good friends are adopting from Nepal and when the tiny Nepali delegation walked in, I was cheering for them too :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day Take 2

Day 2 of insane snow!  I stuck a ruler in our snow out front and it measured almost 8 inches.  Crazy!  We donned all our warm gear and had a great time burying each other and making a snow man that is eccentric.  We were excited to have several friends over for a Lunar New Year party, but alas, we had to cancel it.

Then, we started getting a bit bored and cold.  We did Yoga!

You all know our budget is tight and I'm a cheap anyways, so here is my attempt at a free Valentine expression for my sweetie, using what God gave us!

It is a big tall heart made of snow and then I used food color to write on it :)

And here is poor Hudson suffering with terrible allergies and coughing.  Ahh, if only I had stock in Mucomyst Minimelts!!

SO, who's ready for warmth and SUN??????

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Did I move and not know it???

Seriously, am I in Texas still??   We are having a winter wonderland here.  As of 1:40pm, we have about 5-6 inches and it is coming down constantly.  For this neck of the woods, that is crazy!  We get excited to see 1 inch of powder. Hey, the ski bibs I bought at the resale shop have sure been worth the 6 bucks I paid for them

Hudson was NOT impressed with the snow!

Here is round 2 of playing in the snow.  As you can see, Dillon got himself ready.  Yes, he is wearing black leather church shoes, no socks, thermal long johns and a jacket over a coat.  Ahhh, to be blissfully unaware of social "norms"!!

The kids have eaten everything in the house, played outside a few times, watched 2 movies, and did my new Pilates dvd with me.  I don't see how homeschool moms do it--I like having my kids in school during the day ;))

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One month ago today!

I was spending my last few hours in Haiti!!!  It almost doesn't seem real.  Know what I mean???  In some ways, it seems like a fuzzy dream that is far away.  But, my heart and brain are forver changed.  I'll never ever be the same after that crazy, fun, exhausting,scary, funny, super hard week!!!!!!!!  Thank you Jesus for working that surprise miracle that allowed me to go.  Thank you Haiti for breaking my heart, encouraging me, teaching me, and changing my "eyes" to see the world in a new light.  Everyone, GO somewhere.  Don't sit in your comfy  home thinking "oh, that is for other people."  You can do it!!  You will never be the same.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fun at the stock show

My 10yr old neice, Alyssa, showed her steer at the stock show Thursday.  Now, I'm clueless when it comes to livestock.  Apparently, it wasn't a plain ole cow, something made it qualified to be called a steer!  I don't know what!!  We went to watch Alyssa show.  It was very interesting to see about 60 kids walk out with their steer and the judge quickly decide which one met his specifications.  Even though Woody(the steer) was certainly the most beautiful and well-behaved steer, that silly judge didn't pick him.  Oh well, Alyssa was happy spending the day with her daddy and steer, AND missing school :))
Hudson had fun with Nana as you can see in the above picture.
I'm a total city girl with no experience living in the country or having animals.  I feel kind of bad that our kids will never do anything with animals or such.  I can see that it would teach great responsibility and patience.  Mike used to raise and show hogs when he was in high school.  Let's face it, I don't even like to touch dogs or cats--much less cows and hogs!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Five Oaks Church - Haiti Ribbon Cutting

This is the ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the new orphanage/church/school building that I was at in Haiti. A precious church in Minnesota worked for years to get this built. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The interesting times of being a conspicous family

I thought I might take a few posts in the next weeks to address adoptive family issues.  Since we are a conspicous family, we get lots of inquiries.  One of the purposes of this blog is to educate on adoption and such so I'll be addressing common questions and misconceptions. 
People like to ask us questions about our family being transracial.  Some questions are generally curious, some are sweet
just uneducated, and some are downright rude and intrusive.  I like the ones that children ask.  Children don't dance around the issue, they just ask what is on their mind.  
One really stupid question that adults use to ask us after Abby came home was "So, do you plan on telling her she's adopted??" 
HUH?  I mean seriously, she will be looking at herself in the mirror and notice that hey, something's different here!  Abby noticed very early, like age 2.  She use to rub my fair skinned freckled arm and then rub her mocha colored arm. 

This was the first time Abby drew herself with an eye for skin differences, at age 5.  Before then, she'd always drawn herself with white or peach colored skin.  I scanned the picture and saved it in her memory box.  I think it is so precious!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cheapo, Going gray, and drive by's...

If you've been reading this blog long, you already know I'm quite frugal.  Okay, some call me cheap(my kids especially!).  I like to consider myself a good steward.  Today, it hit me that yes, I'm a cheapo.  Hudson and I stopped in at one of my favorite resale shops near my home.  I needed  a plain sweater to wear with jeans.  I was so proud when I got home with a Gap sweater that looks new for 4.99.  I opened my cupboards to get the ingredients for homemade oatmeal cookies.  Seriously, every single ingredient was off brand.  From vanilla down to the butter and eggs, it was all Wal-Mart's off brand!  Plain white labels stared back at me :)  Then I knew it was true---Yes, I am cheap!

Now, on to the graying.  My gray hairs that are popping out at an alarmingly fast rate are not cute.  You know the pretty, sleek gray hairs some women have?  Mine are like little tiny brillo pad slivers shooting out from my auburn hair.  If you think I'm gonna pay to color it--go back and read the first paragraph.

Drive By's...  Not the kind you are thinking of.  In our family, we have drive by diaper dumping!  It seems that little Hudson has an affinity for pooping in public.  Never fails, we are at a store and it happens.  So, I take him to the minivan, change the diaper and then what??  You can't drive around with a stinky diaper!  So, we drive up to a gas station trash can and leave a friendly deposit!

Ahhh, the fun times of being a middle class mommy of many!  You are all probably wondering why I'm posting on such random topics.  Well, I'm out of books currently.  Oh, I did just start "He Speaks To Me", the Bible Study by Priscilla Shirer.  I want to see her style because in 2.5 months I'll be sitting under her teaching at PINK Impact(ladies conference at Gateway)!!   WHOOOHOO, I'm so excited that I am already planning my outfit :))  I have to look fairly cute while rockin out and worshipping with Miriam Webster from Hillsong and Kari Jobe!!!  Wanna come?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

14....NO WAY!!!!!

In honor of Carter's birtday, here is a throwback picture to when he was 8yrs old!  I dont have any baby pics scanned in on this computer.  Darn, cause he was gorgeous!!  In an effort to not be overly dramatic, I'm just gonna keep this simple.  At 1128am, 14 years ago, Carter was born.  It was an icy night and we slid our way to the hospital.  He was perfect in every way.  I loved being pregnant, loved giving birth, loved having him.  I was a dumb, young mom who made lots of mistakes and didn't enjoy every second with him.  OH, what I'd give to have a do-over and spend one day cradling my newborn again.  But, alas, we don't have do-overs in real life.  Instead, we learn and grow and  hopefully, don't repeat those same mistakes.  Carter, you are a blessing!  All I ever wanted to be was a mommy.  You are funny, smart, handsome, sensitive and a mighty warrior for Jesus.  Our prayer for you is not that you'd be cool, go to a good college and get a "good job", make money and be happy.  Our prayer is that  you'd be a servant, that you'd follow Jesus wherever He leads you and live a life of true significance.  We can't wait to see how God uses your life to change people and the world someday!  Happy Birthday.

A funny on me....
  So, Sunday morning I was preparing to speak to our Adult Bible Fellowship class about my trip to Haiti.  I guess it was heavy on my mind.  Sunday evening I was doing the dishes and got Hudson's sippy cup out of his backpack that he'd taken to church nursery.  I died laughing when I saw it.  We always write his name on the cup before going to nursery.  Guess what I wrote instead of Hudson???  "HAITIAN"  It was hilarious!!