Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Belated Birthday

Happy Belated Birthday to my Kaleb! He turned 8 on the 27th. Better late than never, right?!
I tried to put a post together but with Christmas and his party and all of us having a cold, today is the day it made it's way to the blog. :) Happy Birthday K!
Kaleb is a very special guy. He's very sensitive and caring. If I am having a bad day, he will ask me what's wrong and try to make it better. If I cry, he cries. He has such a special tenderness to him that I absolutely love. (His wife will too, someday.)

He is a VERY good big brother. He cares for Abram deeply. He shows him things, helps him when he needs it and Abram ADORES him. He calls him "bubba." Abram LOVES his Bubba. Don't get me wrong, they have their typical sibling tendancies, but I pray that they will be just as tight as they get older.

He also loves his baby sister. He whoops and hollers (sp?) right along with us in each step of the adoption process. He's not too crazy about anything "girl-y" so this will do him some major good. It's been a boy's world around here for way. too. long.

Kaleb loves Baseball, playing Wii and is a Wolf in Cub Scouts. Of the three, I think Scouts wins hands-down. It has been THE BEST program for him. He's met some real great boys and has learned so much. He tells me how much he wants to be an Eagle Scout, at least once a month. He's very smart. His favorite subject is Arithmetic. His least favorite is Health.
Typical boy. ;)

(Clorox! Where?!)
He loves to be near all of us and is a big family boy. The more family around, the happier he is.

Going camping this past year, was a big thing for him. He learned how to cast and caught his first fish by himself. I don't think a day goes by without him telling me how much he misses fishing. He can't wait to go next year. I HOPE Joye is a camper! If not, it's a good reason for the "girls" to stay home once in a while!

Happy Birthday sweet Kaleb, and may the LORD bless you in each step you take in this journey of life. I love you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cultural Exchange

I remember in High School having Foreign Exchange students in my classes. I always thought it was kinda cool. A student traveling half-way across the world to my little town to learn the American culture. I thought alot of the people that made it possible.

I received an email from a lady from the Face the World Foundation, that happend upon my blog while researching interesting facts about S. Korea. She is looking for Host Families that would be interested in taking in a student from Korea . . . eleven students to be exact. I was very interested, to say the least. She just simply asked me to forward on her information to families that I knew that *might* be interested. So I did. Then she sent me seven profiles of seven High Schoolers from South Korea that were interested in the exchange. In the profiles are their pictures, family information, hopes and dreams for the future, grades and letters to their prospective Host Families. I have one handsome fella already picked out. However, I have to remember that we *might* be traveling to Korea this late spring/summer. That's cool, he can come with us, spend time with his family while we pick up baby sister. How cool would it be to have a guy that can show us the "real" side of Korea! He'll miss a big chunk of school - but maybe it will be during Spring Break! Then I started thinking about the living arrangements. He'll have to occupy baby sister's room. A teenager needs his space, ya know!

Many of the profiles say "active," meaning they want to be in every program imaginable. Well . . .wouldn't you want to be in every program offered at that age, exprience that culture first hand? You! Bet! Then, I began to think "can I offer this young man everything that he wants to exprience while catering and bonding to my daughter?" Sadly, no. My heart says "absolutely!" but unfortunately my logic says "definately in the future." I'm sure there are many of you out there with the same reservations. BUT if there are some of you out there that would LOVE the opportunity right now, I have the contact information that will get you started.

Meanwhile, let me leave you with a letter from one of the students that is waiting for an exchange. It is intended for his prospective host family and the letter is in his words.

"Dear Host Family,

This is (name omitted) who is really looking forward to metting you very soon.

I am going to introduce my family members : father, mother, younger brother and myself. We have two cats and they are also our family members. All of my family member is very kind and love to enjoy sense of humor.

I love to play soccer and I have many friends who can play games with me. We usually meet at playground in school. If possible, I would like to participate in school soccer team. I can make many friends and lessen stress through playing soccer.

I have a dream to travel all around the world. I do not want to live just in my country. If possible, I want to experience many other cultures and learn their strong point. I am sure it will make me more responsible and mature. Eventually, I want to be a world citizen. I am sure being an exchange student is my first step to make my dream come true. I really want to experience as much as possible with my host family and new friends. I am sure I am well prepared and will do my best.

I really appreciate to you for inviting me into your family. I will do my best to be your family member so please do not hesitate to ask me anything that I am supposed to do as your family member. I will respect your family rule and keep trying to good relationship with all of your family member. I deeply understand it is not easy decision to host foreign student for one year. I really thanks again and I am sure we can make wonderful memories together.

God bless you and your family and take care!

See you soon~

Sincerely yours,

(name omitted)"

I read this, and everything in me wanted to start the process. Isn't it the cutest letter?! They all study English for 4+ years and I think he did a pretty awesome job! I will moderate the comments, to keep it more private for those that want information. Leave your email and let me know! You can also get information on the website if you'd rather.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I just checked my mail, and there was a pretty-little-nilla-envelope in there waiting for me! The letter was dated December 10, so that's the date I'm going with. "What are 'legals' exactly?" you might ask? They pretty much state that our agency will be the guardian of little Joye until we finalize (~ six months after she's home). Nothing can get the ball rolling without these. Next step is State Approval and I600 submission.

State Approval is when our beloved Homestudy and legal paperwork are submitted to the State for an approval to adopt. Sometimes they can ask for clerification on certain things and that could delay the process. I have two friends from our agency that had a hiccup with State Approval. Hoping to sail on through with no delays. Normal time-frame for this step is 2-3 weeks.

Also, our I600 is now to be submitted for approval. This is the immigration stuff that I mentioned in a previous post. I won't bore you with the details, it's just the state-side stuff that needs to be done to get our baby home! We will get a letter (I171) in the mail stating that we are approved. I believe that with this letter we (Chad and I) get the okey-dokey to get fingerprinted. We then head to a local USCIS office to do that.

The "word" in the adoption community is that all of the I600 cases are headed to Dallas for approval. I'm not sure if this will be quicker than before, or longer. Either way, normal time-frame for this step is 6 weeks to 90 days. I, again, knew MANY people that waited the full 90+ days and it was excrutiating - to say the least. That puts us at March, at the latest, just to get the US stuff done. I know alot of people are asking "how long, how long?" so I thought that I would just put that out there. Baby Joye could EASILY be spending her first birthday with her Foster Family. I'm ok with that. Chad says I have to be optimistic and have faith. I do. I'm optimistic that she will be home, eventually, and I have faith that it will be at the perfect time. :)

Our agency also sent us some updated pictures of Joye and THE most adorable video I have ever seen. It shows her opening our care package that we sent and looking at our pictures in the photo album we made for her. She really studies them. It is SO cute. We sent a little doll with a rattle in it and she is so enamoured by that doll, that they can't get her to look up. They placed it out of her reach and she gave a little cry. Melted. my. heart. At the end, Foster Mom sat her up and then she looked up and then smiled and rocked from side to side while sitting. Too cute. Here are some of my favorite pics that they took while filming her.
Let me just say that I am forever indebted to the care that our little one is receiving while in Korea. Foster Mom is SO attentive to her and you can tell that she loves her as her own. My heart breaks for the seperation that she will have to endure. Someday I hope I will be able to give as she gave.
Here is FM with our baby and that is the Photo album we sent. At the beginning of the video she is telling her "omma, oppa." Which is Mommy and Daddy in Korean.

This face is what we saw in her referral photo. Eyebrows scrrrrrunched together. Every time they wanted to take a picture this is what she would do. She looks really confused, worried. But while watching the video, I understand why she makes this face. I think she's trying to figure out what they are doing. She made this face while she was studying our pictures, when they gave her the doll. It's the cutest expression, but I was glad to see the many other expressions she had.

Come on now - it's she just precious?!

We are totally in love, by the way - just in case you didn't know.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Month

Today, my little peanut turns 7 months old. It's been one whole month since we said "she's OURS!" No legals - yet. Our agency went to Korea the week before Thanksgiving and 'word on the street' is that they took pictures and should be mailing them out soon. I'm a rather-be-surprized-kind-of-a-gal, so I haven't emailed/called our agency to see if they have recent pictures of our little darling. I'm hoping they do, but no guarentees. I'm also hoping that our legals are in that picture package. :)

I really thought that the wait to bring her home would be cake. But one month in, I can't wait to hold her, see her, listen to her sleep and just be with her. It's alot harder than I thought, but I will survive, and there IS an end in sight, now. I have literally tons of compassion for waiting mom's that have had to wait beyond the time they were orginally told. I feel for them, really feel for them. One things for sure, this adoption road isn't for the faint of heart.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray for the families that are waiting to bring thier children home. I pray that you will personally see to each piece of paper, each stage, each process that will get their babies home sooner. Please cover ALL adoptions with your loving provision. Please cover ALL of Your children and protect them as they wait for their forever families. Please give these families the strength to get through these times. Thank you for everything, in advance.
In Jesus' precious name,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Abram!!!

My little Abram turns five today! He's actually not very "little" anymore. In fact, if he heard me say that he was "little" he would correct me by saying "I'm not little, I'M BIG!" So now that he is a BIG brother now, he's content with no longer being the baby of the family. As much as I want for time to fly, so that we can be united with our youngest child in Korea, I have a hard time with my babies getting older each year. I CANNOT believe that my little snuggler is five today. :(

Abram is a lively, witty and happy little boy (I keep saying little - I just can't help it!) He makes us laugh ALOT! But when he's grumpy - WOW - you can't change his mind! He's not the biggest eater, but he loves Spaghetti (only from a local restaurant here in town), pizza, candy (of any kind) and gum. This kid LOVES gum. He would chew it all. day. long. if I let him.

He is one of THE most loveable little guys I have ever been around. Hugs all around at every family gathering. He is known for making quick friends and for entertaining.

He LOVES his brother, but also loves time away from him. ;) Typical siblings. He likes what Bubba likes and looks up to him alot.

Many people have asked me how Abram will adjust to having a baby sister. If he will react to not being the baby anymore. I really don't think it will bother him much. He is VERY easy going. I think he will be a great big brother.
He loves school, he's really good at writing and can tend to be perfectionist. He's left handed, like me, so he does have the "right brain" artistic-ness. He loves to color and draw.

He was born with blue eyes (I know literally ALL babies are born with blue eyes - but his stayed blue until he was about 4.) and curly hair. LOVE the curly hair. It's just like Chad's and like Chad - he hates it. I comb it up and gel it, and he mashes it down. It's really a big bummer! Flat won't let me touch it! I think he just does it because I want it curly so darn bad! Did I mention that under this curly cuteness is a little bit of stubborness? Ohhhhhh yeah. He has quite the temper . . . let me tell 'ya.

He is very imaginative and loves building things. Lego's, boxes, strings, you name it - it is all fair game when it comes to his little inventions. Who knows what he is going to be when he grows up!?

I absolutely LOVE this boy and I am so very thankful for him. God made him SOOOO special and I am so glad that I get to be his mother.

Happy Fifth Birthday Abram! We love you so much!

I wish for you on this day, that all your dreams will come true, that your Heavenly Father will give you the desires of your heart and that HE will bless you immensely in the years to come. I love you, Wooda!