In light of National Adoption Awareness Month, I felt led to share how adoption has touched our lives and correct some misconceptions. I really don't know how many "truth's" I plan to do this month, but this one has been lain (very heavily) upon my heart and I would like to get rid of it, so to speak.
I don't believe that everyone is called to adopt. There are some that are meant to adopt, and some that are meant to pray for those who adopt and some are meant to financially support or help those that are called to adopt. All are beautiful.
I feel many are called to adopt, but discount that calling. Many things can pop up and steal the faith that it takes to start the process. One of those things is . . . the money. Everyone needs money. You have to have it to survive. Some people have a lot of it and some don't have enough. One lie that most believe is that only those who have a lot of money can adopt. NOT TRUE. Does it take a lot of money to adopt? It can. Depends on where you adopt from.
Now, I know nothing about people's circumstances. All I know is our circumstances went against the "only the rich can adopt" theory. We are self employed and live a VERY simple life. We didn't have the money laying around to start Joye's adoption. In fact, we put the first fees on our credit card. Which was about $4,000. Was that smart? Not entirely. Our CC company hiked the fees and made it really hard to pay back. However, I can say with certainty that we no longer have that Credit Card and that it was paid off. Not sure how though, I don't remember. (I am not advocating going into debt to pay for an adoption - just stating our journey and how it all worked out.) We then opened up a savings account and got to work praying daily for God's Mighty provision. We did a few fundraisers. Raised about $4,000 and were touched so deeply by our community who helped out A LOT. Where did the rest come from? I have no idea. Our savings account just kept growing and growing and growing. When we received the phone call that changed our lives forever, all the money was in there to accept Joye's referral. Actually, we had a whopping $.69 left over.
Then we were wondering if we could afford to go to Korea. All we had was $.69! Again, by the time we were ready to travel, we had saved enough to go and pick up our baby girl. To recall, I really don't know where the money came from. I know we saved here and there, used a tax return or two, but does it make ANY sense that we (we didn't; HE did) had accumulated $20,000+ in a little over a year? Not one iota.
He knew, right down to the nickels and dimes.
I know that if you step out in faith and trust Him, he will provide. I know it!
So that is my Truth for today. If God calls you to adopt, trust that He will provide EVERYTHING you need to get you through. Because He will. I promise. If you read any of the Gospels you will see how enamored Jesus is with the act faith. It's the only thing that shocks him! The Bible says "you cannot serve two masters . . . you cannot love both God and money." (Matt. 6:24) Who are you going to believe and love more? I LOVE the verse that is just a few above, which I think is eloquently placed together with the money verse, "store up your treasures in heaven" Matt. 6:20. You can't take money with you to heaven, it's no good there. But you can take some beautiful children. Amen?
In case you blow up the picture, yes, my neck is red. I was really nervous with the third-degree questioning I received about being Joye's forever mom. (Not really, but he did ask some really weird questions, none that I expected, but legit.) My neck gets red when I get nervous and I HATE it! Just so you know. :)
Chad "swearing" to take good care of Joye.
"Our Day" in court.
The three Amigos.
Kaleb and Tootsie.
We were scheduled for Finalization on Friday. I got a call yesterday that there was a "conflict" and that they had an opening for today at 4:30 or we could possibly reschedule for next week. Since they had an opening, we took the 4:30! Sooooo, it's official! She's ours! Forever!
Today, she also turns 18 months AND it was this day a year ago that we formally accepted!!! How cool is THAT!?
Speaking of official, she has officially started walking and chooses that mode of transportation about 85% of the time. It's really cute to see her walk. The last two days she just decided that it was time!
See the pic of her and I? Cute, right? Well, she and I didn't get along today. At. All. It took me THREE HOURS to feed her breakfast. It was oatmeal, for crying out LOUD! I have fed her oatmeal for the past 2-3 weeks. Loves oatmeal. Never a problem. She woke up yesterday morning ready to rumble in the eating department. And rumble we did. Same thing for lunch. She sits with a mouth full of food and won't swallow! She will, when she darn-well feels like it! Seriously! She's sat up to 30 minutes with a bite STILL in her mouth. One thing that she knows only SHE can control, I guess. Highly frustrating - to say the least. Like I have time to sit around in the kitchen for three hours! I think her appetite has shrunk, so for the meantime, I think I will feed her when she shows signs of being hungry. I honestly do NOT have the slightest idea of what is going on in her little noggin. It's a battle, that's all I know. One of many in the career of parenting, I'm afraid. So we look like buds for the camera, but it's a facade. Hate to say it, but oh-so-true.
Love her to death, my little Tootsie, but the terrible two's have came earlier than expected. Oy.
It's been one whole year since I saw this sweet face for the first time. Can you believe it?!! I sure can't. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was surprised and shocked, and totally ready to begin the wait to bring her home. We studied her picture for countless hours. (she still, to this day, does the confused eye brow look when you bust out a camera!) That's my baby! Seeing her face for the first time in my email was intoxicating! The sad part was is that I couldn't wait for Chad to open it up with me! I told him that I would wait but, he told me to go ahead. I tried sending it to his phone but no avail. I was the first to see her. Then the boys. They were excited and proud to finally be big brothers.
We went over her file with a fine-toothed comb when Chad came home from work that night. We fell in love with her immediately. Hook. Line. And Sinker.
There was a little part to her background that made us worry a bit. Nothing big. Nothing alarming, but we did wonder. What if? We talked about that 'blip' many times over the night and throughout the weekend. Satan really dug in his heals and made us fear. He tried to make us give up on her. But we couldn't. We couldn't let her go. She was ours.
So we took a leap of faith, and accepted Monday morning. It was done, she was ours and we prayed endlessly that the 'blip' would be non-existent. So far, we have yet to see any implications of the 'blip.' Not one.
It helped us to realize how faithful God is, and how grateful we are that we took that leap. She was meant to be in our family. From the beginning, she was meant to be ours. May the glory be to God, because He is the only one who is responsible.
WOW. It has been a looonnnggg time since I posted. I wish I could say that something MAJOR has kept me from blogging, but truthfully, nothing really has. Time has just flown by, as usual.
First things first, we got our Finalization date! Almost a year to the day that we sent our acceptance to AAC! It's Friday, November 5th! YAY! I really didn't look at this date, in the beginning of the process, as something special. I guess I just had my 'eye on the prize' of just getting her home. Now, I really view it differently. It's the end and a beginning. It's the end of the process, paperwork and the end of waiting. It's the beginning of her life with us. Her name will legally change, and she is all ours! She's been ours and has been with us for four months, but it will be legal and final. We will still need to get her a passport, and Certificate of Citizenship, but the 'adoption' part is pretty much over, come November 5th. Yipeeeeee!
In the last two Progress Reports, I have put that Joye is teething, but no physical evidence has erupted yet. (I wonder if they actually believe me that she is actually teething) Well, I am happy to report that those nasty molars have finally made their way to the top. Although we haven't seen the white's of their pearly being, they are almost through the gum. However, we have three more to go. Just the lower right has made it's way home. I am so looking forward to more fevers and clingy-ness for the next three. Not really.
We also celebrated Joye turning 17 months old (on the 2nd of October) in my blogging absence, AND being home for 16 weeks. Our four-month mark will be on the 16th of October. Can't believe it.
I have also been working on our "Journey to Joye" video and taking recent pictures for that. It's been fun to see the pictures of us first together and the pictures of us now. I will *hopefully* have that done soon, but no promises.
We've had progress in the walking department! Joye has taken 11 steps to date, and is getting stronger and more stable. She still has days where she crawls the majority of the day, and walks a few steps. But then there are days when she tries and tries and tries and gets herself all worn out. LOVE IT! She's sleeps better on those days. :)
She's getting more verbal and expressive with her words and we see the 'wheels turning' all the time. Her progress is more visible each day.
There are days when she thinks that she's in charge and that we are all here to serve her. Those are the fun days. Then there are days when she is just sweet as pie. I seemed to have forgotten the wonderful seasons of Toddler-hood. Or maybe I just blocked them out. I can't recall what happened to those blessed memories. :)
Otherwise we have just been hanging out, doing school and enjoying the nice fall weather. Buckling down for the ever-present existence of winter approaching. Yuck.
This past week we celebrated being home for three months. YAY! We also sent in our second Progress Report and our $$ to begin the Finalization process. In the County we live in you don't have to have all three Progress Reports in to finalize, in case some were wondering. We should get a call with our Finalization date soon. Yay for THAT! It's just a piece of paper, which says what we already know - Joye is ours forever.
There is also something that I have been wanting to share for a while now, but haven't had the time. We are making BIG progress with the sleeping issue. Let me give you a little background first:
When we first brought Joye home, I was planning to parent just like I parented the boys. Same rules, same expectations. Although I had read MANY books on adoption and what to expect, I still had it in my mind that it all was the same. Relatively. I mean, I didn't expect her to be left with a stranger and be ok. I knew and planned for adoption-related issues and was planning on dealing with them as they arrived.
One thing I did NOT plan on was sleeping issues. I don't know why, I just never thought much about it. (I must have skipped that chapter in the books ;) I expected sleeping problems for the first month, when we were getting used to her and to allow for Jetlag. By month two, I was stumped and frustrated. "Sleeping and getting tired are an INSTINCT, like hunger and the ability to fill a diaper!" I told myself and others. What is the big deal?! I was expecting her to be independent, fall asleep on her own, and be able to be secure when I wasn't in the room. Just like the boys were at 15-16 months of age. The boys didn't go through the loss that Joye has, and I began to realize other specific things that helped me be more compassionate.
I bought a book while we were waiting, "Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child" by Patty Cogen. I briefed through it and read a chapter here and there. I found it incredibly depressing at times. I put it down and decided that it wasn't positive enough, and my daughter was going to different than the child/children that she describes in the book. (To some point I still believe this, some of the material is pretty bleak, but the majority of it is very helpful)
After I fought Joye to sleep for an hour-and-a-half one night, I decided to crack it open. Turned right to the chapter about sleep. My eyes were opened. The reason why she cried 15 minutes after I put her down, was because she wanted to be near me and was getting attached to me. Never thought about that.
It's apparent that she had sleep issues in Korea, as well. She had NO nap and went to bed at 11pm and woke at 8am. FM said that she didn't like to go to sleep. I also think that she dreams about FM and Korea too. This is where she grieved.
"She needs to self-soothe!" I would tell myself. Then I read the chapter on self-soothing. After reading, I found that Joye didn't know how to self-soothe. She needed help to know what were good pre-bedtime habits and what were not. Pulling hair - NOT a good habit. Pinching herself - NOT a good habit. I was told that Joye DID NOT accept "fake nipples" or pacifiers. However, I have picture from Korea with one in her mouth. ???? I never got a pacifier from FM. If it was vital, I KNOW FM would have given it to us. I think maybe she had one, and then weaned herself off and then maybe regressed a little when she came home. I don't know, just guessin'.
After she fell asleep (which took a while), she had the suckle thing going on. Well, she fell asleep with bottles in Korea, which I eliminated shortly after arriving home. Because once they were gone and out of her mouth, she would wake, FLIP OUT and scream because it was gone. It was making the sleep thing WAY WORSE.
I took all these pieces of the sleep puzzle and started putting them together.
For the record, I was adamantly opposed to introducing a pacifier at 16 months of age (before I read Cogen's chapter on self-soothing, and realized that she *might* have had one in Korea). I would have NEVER introduced a paci to the boys at 16 months! Neither of the boys had paci's past 12 months. Because they didn't NEED them. Joye needed something to help comfort her and put a different spin on falling to sleep.
So I relented, and busted a puggy out of the archives. Let's see what happens?
I *showed* her the pacifier and she pointed to it and went "uh, uh, uh!" She knew exactly what it was and wanted it REALLY bad. Ever since, we have absolutely NO problems going to sleep. I followed Cogen's advice and give it to her when we start the pre-sleep process. No fighting, no crying, just peaceful drift into restful sleep. !!!!!
She wakes up fewer times in the night (hardly ever). Rarely wakes from her naps and is sleeping 1.5 hours almost everyday! It's like a magic button! When she wakes, she hands it to me as if to say "here, take it, I'm done, for now."
The purpose of this post was to remind myself that sometimes I have to be more open-minded as a parent and as a person. I want to do what is best for Joye. If she needs a pacifier, then she needs one. Right now she needs A LOT. And I am totally ok with that. My expectations are more aligned with what is best for Joye and what she needs right now. I'm finding that parenting her is pretty different from when the boys were her age. But then the boys were (and still are) very different from each other and parenting them is still different.
Having Joye has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned SO much from her. She's made me a better mom (not meant to be a compliment to myself, just that I have had to think outside 'the box' and it's been good for me).
Another thing is that we have been home for only 3 months! A lot of progress has been made in this short time! Our Heavenly Father has taught me a lot about finding the good in the trials. As hard as it is to look past the bad, it's really encouraging to see the good.
- - - - - - - - In other news . . .
Tootsie started standing, from a squat in the middle of the room, for the first time today! She will be walking VERY soon. Yikes! I'm not sure I'm ready for this! Batten down the hatch!
She caught her first cold, and the poor little thing is a trooper. Not much seems to get her down. That and she has the tiniest little nose on the planet! Where does all the green gooey stuff come from? (Probably TMI)
She can say "poo poo" which is our nickname for the dog.
She says "ow" for when she gets hurt, but says it when she's not.
She says "uh-oh" when something falls or drops.
"da da" for belly button.
When I hand her the prune juice bottle every morning she says "deet, deet" for thank you. Doesn't say it again until the next morning when I give her the same bottle.
When I look at her picture that we got from Korea, before we went to get her, I see a different baby. Even the pictures of us together as a family for the first time. She has changed SO much. Some good, some bad. The good is that she's growing like a weed and doing more things. The bad is that I feel her culture, language and a part of her is leaving. As she adapts to America, I feel less of Korea. It breaks my heart. It's inevitable, I guess. But it still makes me sad.
Would you believe me if I told you that our baby girl will be 18 months is just another two months?
Where did the time go?I see more and more of her sweet personality every day. We're coming up on being home for three months, soon, and I can't believe it's been that long. Like I said in her 15-month-old-post, sometimes it seems like she's been here longer than just three months.
Things that are new; well relatively new as we go into her 16th month of life.
- The sippy is her new friend. We had a hard time adjusting her to the sippy and now she LOVES it. She still has a small bottle of formula at night and then a bottle full of prune juice/water in the morning. She just needs that bottle time still. It soothes her soul.
- I saw her putting big lego's together and so I busted out a block bin (that I put away when the boys got tired of them) and she plays with those blocks all. day. long. She can already stack them!
- Sleep is getting better. She sleeps harder at night and doesn't wake up as often during her nap. It's just getting her to sleep that's hard. Working on that still. That's a whole 'nother post. -She can say "dog" and now knows the difference between the dog and the cats. In her defense, Sadie is a Yorkie and does kinda resemble that of a cat. KINDA.
-She's not as needy, but still has needy moments.
-She goes to family members easier.
-She knows what a snake says. (Working on other animals because snakes are creepy) When you say "what does the snake say?" She will put her little tongue against her front teeth and make THE CUTEST "sssssssssss" sound. It's extremely adorable. Picked that up in about a minute. (So why doesn't she get the sleep thing, you ask? GREAT question!)
-She and Abram play really well together. Every morning when Kaleb and I are getting his heavy-duty 4th grade stuff done, Joye and Abram play. It's really cute. He has grown to love his little sister SO much. He loves on her and kisses her and tells her he loves her the whole time. My heart just melts. -She cuddles more. She gets more satisfaction from me and I see her settling "into" me more. She's always been lovable and snuggly, but I see more of that as time goes on.
-She still isn't walking, but I am confident that she won't be 5 and not walking. She'll learn it and do it in her own time and we are not forcing it right now. (For the record, she totally could walk, she just doesn't know it yet. She's very stable, has her balance, she just doesn't have the whole mobile balance yet.)
-She's a pleaser. She listens VERY well and knows what she's allowed to touch/do and not allowed to touch/do. She's a really good girl. (it took time to get here, but she realizes who's boss now. YAY for that!)
-She giggles more. It's really cute*. (*I'm pretty sure I have used that phrase many times)
-She loves to play, explore, find new things, pretend to cook, put lids on things, wrestle, dance to music, throw the ball for the boys, laugh at herself, EAT and mimic the dog and everyone else.
Her name fits her. She brings so much joy to everyone she's around.
I guess it might be time for a post. Since it's been forever.
Last time I left you, our loving Social Worker was coming over for our first visit. It was GREAT. She is an awesome person to talk to and I feel like she totally understood everything. Our main topic of conversation was getting Joye to NOT scream before naps and bedtime. What could it possibly be? Why is she doing this? I then explained our troubles and she said that what I was doing, was the best fit for the situation. Whew! Big relief! I felt like an Angel flew into my living room right at that moment.
I had doubt, guilt and low confidence and she restored all of that in one brief hour of talking.
So what am I doing, you ask? Joye is happy about 99% of the time. The 1% is when you are trying to get her to fall asleep. Once she's asleep, she's good. It's getting her there. I've mentioned this before, and it's not new to many of you.
I have found that holding her tight, while rocking her, helps a lot. She fights it, but she fights sleep anyway. I brought this up with SW, and she said that it's exactly what Joye needs. She needs to feel safe and that I am never going away, no matter how much she screams and fights.
To me, it's better than putting her in her crib and letting her scream by herself. Some kids need that, Joye wouldn't do very well. I have tried to let her 'put herself to sleep' or self-soothe and she doesn't do it. THREE HOURS goes by before I have to finally go in and hold her to get her to sleep. She doesn't cry the whole time, she just does EVERYTHING she can to keep herself awake. It's painful - on ME! I would rather hold her and inadvertently 'teach' her to fall asleep. Something I felt was true, but SW confirmed it. I feel horrible sometimes because she fights it SO bad and gets herself worked up, but after she's calm, she wants kisses and drifts off to sleep.
It's really hard, but I see it getting better. I hold her in a loving, calm manner. I Talk to her and tell her how much I love her. We have had the same routine for over two months now, so she knows what nigh-nigh-time is all about. She's just stubborn and doesn't want to be told when to go to bed. I'm pretty sure she was responsible for when she fell asleep on her own in Korea.
All in all, I am SO thankful for our Social Worker and our meeting.
Then we headed to the Big City for a Rockies game and to partake in our agency's Annual Picnic. We LOVED the game and Joye did amazingly well! The game ended at 11:00 p.m. and since she hates the act of being put to sleep, she stayed up for the ENTIRE thing! But getting her to sleep was that much harder once we got back to the Hotel. :(
The next morning, we headed to Berthoud and met all of our agency/blog friends for the first time. It was AWESOME! So glad we made the trip over! We got to see where AAC HQ was and actually meet the people that I have talked on the phone with for the past two years! Then we headed to Chad's Uncle and Aunt's for the night and then headed home the next morning. Joye did great, but she doesn't get excessively cranky when she's SOOOO tired and we are out and about. (At home it's another story.)
This last week we caught up on sleep :) and settled into our normal school routine.
Well I just thought I would let you know that we are indeed alive and doing pretty well. Just living through the up's and down's and trying to be thankful for ALL the moments! ;)
Today is TWO YEARS since we became an AAC family, officially. Our money (to begin) reached our agency and our formal application was filled out and "approved." The wait began, two years EXACTLY from today. WOW. Crazy, huh?!
August 14th, 2008, we called our agency and was told that we were #25! We were expecting like 50 or 60, but #25 - that was do-able! 8/14/2010 (this Saturday) is when we will attend our first Annual Picnic put on by our agency. With little Tootsie in tow. Amazing how it all fits in and works together, isn't it?! It's been a GREAT two years, full of ups and downs, but all worth it.
Yesterday was exactly 8 WEEKS since we have been home with our sweet Joye. Two months! Can you believe it!? I sure can't! She is adjusting and fitting in more and more each day. Sometimes it feels like we've been together for MORE than two months. And then other times it feels like LESS than two months. It's weird. Either way she fits in perfectly and we are SO glad that she's finally home.
Big celebrations today!
Our Social Worker is also coming today to do our first Post Placement report! What are the odds!?
Well, I just thought I would share our dates-on-the-calendar coincidences! They build my faith and help me to see that everything works out the way HE planned it: PERFECTLY.
Monday, our little princess turned 15 months old. I am *so* glad to have her home and see these mile-markers! Every month, in Korea, she would turn another month older and I would be just so sad. But now she's here and it's neat to see her grow and flourish right before our eyes.
Speaking of flourishing - we have officially taken a step back in the whole sleeping thing. The past three nights she has woke up at midnight and does NOT want to go back to sleep! Eye-yi-YI Tootsie, what is the deal! AND she hates naps, again. Two things that may be the culprit: teething and that she is REALLY close to walking. She has made TONS of progress in just the past week, on walking. So we just push through, and are thankful that this is just a stage and that we WILL see the other side. Sooner, rather than later, I hope.
We start school tomorrow. "What?!" You might say. "On a Thursday?!" Well, I wanted to ease them in slowly, actually - who am I kidding? I want to be eased in slowly. A toddler that has just decided that sleep isn't that important, coupled with a GREAT relaxing summer - we need to phase in the school thing sssllllllooowwwllllllyyyy. Plus I LOVE to start early and get out early - one of the perks of homeschooling. It's way hot outside anyway - taking advantage of the boredom :)
So today was our last day of summer. Boooo. But we all are looking forward to another year of learning new things and juggling life with little Tootsie in tow. It should be FUN! ;)
Well, we've been home six weeks now and the inevitable happened.
The girl's got left.
The boys went camping.
Seriously, they won't have any fun. Because the fun stayed home.
In their defense, we tried to go camping, all of us, about three weeks ago.
There was a certain someone, who shall remain nameless ;) that wasn't very fun to be around.
Maybe it was the countless mosquitoes that swarmed around us. Or maybe the fact that nap times were out of place. Or that the certain someone couldn't get down because she would eat everything on the ground.
I dunno what it was, but they left without us this time. All with big smiles and waves.
Oh well, we will have our own fun here - without them. :)
Wordless Wednesday was my 100th post. I just had to put that in to remember it. YAY for 100!
Anyway, Joye is doing AWESOME. The past couple of days she has been doing this 'happy squeal' and it's adorable. I don't know if she was doing it in Korea or not, but she does it here and we LOVE it. It really is neat to hear a baby squeal in this house again.
Sleeping: Things are going MUCH better. Before, the nighttime bottle was a hard one to let go of when it was gone. Meaning, she would just keep sucking air until I had to kindly remove it from her white-knuckle grasp. Screaming would result, and then she would eventually drift off to dreamland. We have been working on "all gone." When she finishes her *yo baby* yogurt in the morning I say "all gone!" and throw it away. When she finishes her water/juice I say "all gone" and I take it.
It took a while, maybe a couple weeks, for her to get it and now she hands it off when it's gone! I know, this girl has GOT IT! Now at night, when the love-of-her-life is empty, she hands it to me. This Mama was one happy camper when that happened for the first time! She still cries a little (like maybe she's expecting me to fill 'er up!) but it's not the fit that she used to throw.
Naps are easier and I am finding that putting her down at about 10:00 a.m. is better than letting her get overtired by waiting until 1:00. She sleeps from about 10-12ish and then she could use another nap in the afternoon, but two things make it just not worth it. 1) she's pretty hard to convince, i.e. it takes a LONG time to get her down, and 2) she's up in the middle of the night. She falls back to sleep easily, but I would rather she have a long block of sleep at night. If-you-know-what-I-mean!
She is a cute little addition to our bed. Yes, she co-sleeps with us. (and we LOVE it, btw) We co-slept with both boys (they are in their own beds now) and are used to the whole family bed thing. It's not for everyone, but it works for us. She used to roll and be really restless, but not much anymore. She'll roll a little and then settle fairly quickly.
Eating: still eating us out of house and home. Although lately, she's decided that playing with it is more fun. :) Her appetite has decreased a little, but I think she's cutting some major teeth. She's been biting down on her fingers more and cries a little bit more when she's tired. I don't see or feel anything, but I can tell that she's just off a little. 95% of the day she's a happy, snuggly, lovable little girl.
Things that I love about her:
Her infectious smile. (see photo in sidebar, I mean seriously, you can't help but smile when you see that cute face?!)
Her happy disposition. Her eyes just light up.
The way she puts up with all the kisses and lovin's that we constantly give her.
When you sing to her, she hums right along with you. Really sweet.
She LOVES straps, belts, anything that she can put around her neck. It's unusual to find her without something around her neck. She has done this from day one. I wonder if FM wore a lot of necklaces or always wore a scarf? I'll have to take a picture - it's really cute.
Funny story: We were at J.C. P*nney's and the girl checking us out was wearing her employee badge round her neck, and instantly Joye pointed to her and went "uh,uh,uh." I realized it was the strap! She wanted to try it! It was so funny!
When you say"OH, pretty!" She smiles *really* big and rubs her chest/tummy. This girl pays VERY close attention to clothes and what she and I are wearing. As a matter of fact, FM gave her a favorite shirt that Joye always liked to wear. FM explicitly said that she doesn't usually give clothes to Forever Families, but she had to give Joye this shirt and pants. Because she loved it SO much. It's that hilarious?! LOVE the girly-girl thing!
She loves her bath time. She really didn't have much emotion when I bathed her at first. I think because the bath tub was really big (I don't think they have bath tubs in Korea. I never saw one.) and she was REALLY tired when I bathed her. Now she knows the whole routine. Loves every minute of it ALL.
She communicates VERY well. I don't know if girls are more expressive, or that I pick up on her cues more because I haven't been with her for the 14+ months. But she is VERY good at letting you know what she wants. Since day one, I knew what she wanted - not ALL the time but at least 90% of the time. She's just really good at letting you know what she wants. It's really been nice.
She's getting the English thing figured out, too. Remember I said that she as babbling more in an English manner? Well, she's working out the sounds. She's got the "k" sound down when she sees the kitties. And when someone walks into the room where she is, I swear she says "hiiiiiiiii!" It sounds just like it. And when we see her we all say "hiiiii." So she's making the connection.
She says 'mama' a lot still. I think it's referring to me. Let me tell you why I think that. The boys say "hey, mom?!" about 500 times a day - EACH. So I'm pretty sure that she's working out the 'mama' thing. :)
One more thing that I think is super-adorable:
She will strategically place things like small boxes, wipe dispensers, small trucks so she can sit on them. She backs her little tushy up to them and then will throw her leg over and voila! she's sitting on it! It's really cute to see her think all that out and watch her implement it!
She loves music and jams to anything playing. In the carseat, highchair or even on one of her 'chairs'. It's really cute.
Ok, ok, ok. Enough with the 'it's really cute' business. I have to write this stuff down - or I'll forget it!
Hope you all have a GREAT weekend! And CONGRAT's to those of my bloggy friends that FINALLY got TC and are heading to Korea VERY SOON! Wooooohooooo!
Good Morning Tootsie! Sorry about the blurriness. But she is SO happy when she wakes up. Well . . sometimes. She's really happy to see the boys in the morning though, every morning. Thinking: " How can I get her to pick me up . . . I know . . . !" And then there are morning's like this. When she's not too happy. Wait . . . there's more. I know, sad isn't it?! She snaps out of it pretty quick, though. This is her staring-out-in-space look. Helloooooo!? Our first fishing trip. She did AWESOME. It was really high elevation (10,000+) and she wasn't effected by it at all. I wondered, but she did great. I made sure she had A LOT of liquids. Daddy and Miss Joye. She's all decked out in her team colors to support Bubba's last Baseball game. Daddy was third-base coach. Here's the lot-o-liquids part I was talking about. Same fishing trip. :) OK, we all know this girl has a lotta hair, but seriously - it's uber long too. Can you believe it?!! This was after the crying theme, at the beginning of this post. See the moisture in the one eye, from the cry-fest? After I took this picture I picked her up, put that crazy hair up in something and we ate breakfast.
So. . . it has been like TWO WHOLE WEEKS since I have posted. So sorry. I really don't know where the time has gone! Let's recap.
For the 4th: We celebrated the 4th of July by going to our yearly parade and we were able to show lil' tootsie off (on Saturday). That was fun. I dressed her up in her little Red, White and Blue outfit that I got her, but forgot to take a picture. I know, what was I thinking?
Sunday we went over to my Grandma's house for supper and then watched the Fireworks from her driveway. Joye did great. She couldn't hang in there for the Fireworks and fell asleep on me.
Then Monday we went fishing. Again, she did great.
Since I left you, we were having trouble with her sleeping. That was the need for the boundaries, right? Yeah well, THAT is what we have still been working on. The girl fights, fights and FIGHTS sleep. And she hates it even more when you tell her that it's nigh night time. If she get's tired and doesn't have a nap - it's worse. I thought at first that she just didn't require a lot of sleep. Well- that proved to be NOT true. She needs her sleep - the trick is convincing her of the idea. She will play for HOURS if you leave it up to her. She even resorts to pulling her hair out of her head to derail the sleep train. Seriously! I wish I was kidding!
After many naps and nights we have finally got her number. I lay down with her and have to keep telling her "no, it's nigh night time" over and over and over. She cries, screams and just get's plain mad, but eventually relents and falls asleep. The time to get her to fall asleep is getting smaller and smaller. We are making progress. She is sleeping more at night with less wakings and having longer naps. YAY!
Eating: This girl is an EATER. She eats anything and everything you put in front of her. She loves everything! And the quantity - YIKES! I seriously don't think my boys EVER ate this much when they were her age. She LOVES butternut quash, noodles of any kind, any fruit you can come up with, prunes - LOVES prunes. If I listed all what we have given her and all that she has eaten, I would be here all day. She has one formula bottle at night (100cc) and the rest of her calories are consumed with regular food.
What She's doing: She is babbling more and more. We've caught her saying "bubba" "do" (short o for dog), and when I rock her she will say "nigh nigh." She also says "mama" A LOT. But she said mama in Korea and it means food. So I really can't decipher if that's me she wants, or food. The things (other than "nigh nigh") have been completely out-of-the-blue and we really aren't connecting them to the things that they mean - yet. Her babbling has changed to a more 'word' sound, if that makes sense.
She's not quite walking. She pushes stuff around the house and stands more. She also cruises the furniture more. She stood the other day and then like spun around and then latched onto the ottoman. She's getting her balance more and more each day.
No new teeth, but I'm pretty sure she's cutting some. She's been a lot more 'cranky' and sleepy lately and has had a runny nose. If I were to guess, I would say that is all linked to her teeth. She should be cutting her molars and the rest of her bottom teeth.
Overall Disposition: Extremely happy and full of joy (no pun intended.) Literally. She is just so much fun to be around. She mimics EVERYTHING you do. Cough, sneeze, yawn. She is SO. STINKIN'. SMART! I am amazed at what this little girl can catch onto at her age. It's unbelievable! You do things once and she's got it.
She came home doing hi-five. Foster Dad taught her to do it when he came home from work. It's was really cute. The boys were all over it, too, they loved giving her hi-five. But when you did it, she would just barely touch your hand. Well, since day one, the boys 'slap' their hands when they do hi-five. They don't do it really hard, but they just smack her hand and say "ha." Now when you say "hi-five" she slaps your hand pretty hard and says "ha." It is THE cutest thing EVER. And when she doesn't have anyone around to reciprocate her hi-five, she does it to herself. Kinda like practice. She smacks her own little hand and says "ha."
Then the other day we were watching the Rockies and when they scored the boys and Daddy all lifted their hands and went "yay!" and then what do you know - little Tootsie lifted her cute little hands in the air and says "aaaaaaaaay." Priceless. When she's real happy and wants a reaction she will do it and get everyone to do it with her. I LOVE it.
"LORD GOD, I desire that these things will be remembered before you: my work produced by faith, my labor prompted by love, and my endurance inspired by hope in my Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3
I am just a sheep, trying to follow the voice of my Shepherd, Jesus. I feel my purpose in this life is to educate my children in the strong foundation of Jesus Christ, and to help those that are fatherless. Adoption, homeschooling, cloth diapering, are just some of the things that I love to talk about.
My husband of eleven years and I have four blessings: two "homegrown" boys and two daughters that were born in South Korea. Joye came home in June of 2010 and we felt led to add another little girl to our family. Judaya should be home in summer of 2012. Life is exciting and always filled with joy.
K is our oldest. He loves baseball, camping and his little sister. He has a heart for Jesus and we see him live that out regularly.
Abe is our little engineer. He thrives on abstract thinking and creativity is his passion. We are amazed at what his little mind comes up with on a daily basis.
Joye SeoYeon (2)
Joye was born in South Korea and we brought her home June 16th 2010. She is our spicy, typical two-year old. Adopting her has been the most difficultly rewarding experience of our lives. She loves her daddy and mimicking everything I do.
Judaya - in Korea - our fourth child.
As per our agency, pictures of our newest addition aren't allowed to be shared. She will turn one in July, and will probably be home before her 2nd birthday. We pray for her daily and can't wait for her to join us and fill us with MORE joy!
Judaya's Adoption Timeline:
November 2010: On the list again!
1/24/11: Verbal Acceptance
2/15/11: Mailed off Lifesong application.
2/21/11: HS Update meeting with Social Worker.
2/22/11: Heard from Lifesong. Trying to expedite application because they know we are in an hurry. YAY!
3/1/11: Lifesong gives us a covenant loan and a matching grant!! Praise Jesus!
3/9/11: Another grant for $2000! Unexpected but totally God!
5/6/11: Heard the news that EP's are filled for this year. Looking at bringing Judaya home summer of 2012.
6/23/11: ATK: Acceptance To Korea.
7/1/2011: Judaya turns ONE!
Joye's Adoption Timeline
8/4: Sent in our Formal Application
8/12: Officially an AAC Family
8/14: #25 on the Girls List!
10/1: SW called, start HS in Nov.
11/10: Boys' and I had Health Eval.
12/1: #18 on list.
12/7: 1st HS Meeting - Home Visit
12/13: 2nd HS Meeting
12/17: C's Medical Eval.
3/4: Individual Interview's for H.S.
4/1: Lucky #10!
5/2: Our precious Joye is born!!!
9/21: #3!!!! Finally moving again!
11/2: Officially Accepted - Baby Joye is 6 months old!
11/3: Recieved Acceptance Packet from AAC
11/4: Signed and Notarized Acceptance Packet and overnighted BACK to AAC
11/10: Sent First Care Package to AAC for baby sister
11/12: Care package arrives at AAC - ready to ship to Korea
12/5: Recieved updated pictures of our girl and a video.
12/7: State Approval (YAY!)
12/14: Rec'd Legals in the mail.
12/23: Recieved I-797C
1/7: More pictures!
1/13: Fingerprint Letter!!
1/14: Fingerprints Done.
2/16: I600 Approved! YAY!
2/20: Received I-171H in the mail.
2/22: NVC in!
2/25: NVC out!
2/26: P3 out!
4/16: Signed Class B
5/6: Notified that we were submitted for EP
5/24: P3 Returned and EA
5/25: Visa Interview
6/1: TRAVEL CALL!!!
6/9: Leave for Seoul!!
6/15: "Forever Day" The day we received Joye forever.
6/16: Home from Korea.
6/17: Family Day. The day the boys met baby sister and we became a Family of 5.
There was a man who was walking along a sandy beach where thousands of starfish had been washed up on the shore. As he looked down the beach he noticed a boy picking the starfish one by one and throwing them back into into the ocean. He got closer and called out "Good morning! What are you doing?" The boy paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing strfish in the ocean. If I don't throw them back in they will die." The man said, "Don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can't possibly make a difference." The boy listened politely. Then he bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. He looked at the man and said, "It made a difference for that one." ~ from: For His Glory Outreach Website
"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place - police, firefighters and members of our armed forces."- Sidney Sheldon