First of all, can I say how stinkin' A-DOR-ABLE she is? I mean, who couldn't love this face!? And I LOVE fooling with the hair. I've tried many different things and I just LOVE that she has so much hair. She loves it done, too. I put her in front of the mirror and brush it and put it up and she LOVES it. I can't figure out if it's the hair-doing she loves - or her reflection. :) We call her "crazyhair" in the morning . . . because . . . . well . . . you get the idea. Anyone know what K-Drama that name comes from? Just curious. No prizes for this one. I have to tie it up in the morning, or her breakfast is all tangled in this lovely stuff. (above) Playin' in the sunshine. Playin' in the bath with the boys. (not sure what the tongue is all about, but at least he's looking at me in this one.) Having fun in the stroller, with her brothers. Um, by the way, that's a DOLL stroller - that's how small she is. Seriously.
From the first moment I was with Joye, I was trying to come up with a nickname for her. The boys are Bubba and Wooda - don't ask. I call them "dude" and "boys" when asking for their help or calling them. I have MANY boy nicknames and I was trying like crazy to come up with one for baby sister. Little Miss and Tootsie have been the ones that stuck. Most often used: Tootsie. Like Tootsie Roll. But not. Is it just me, or does she NOT look like a Tootsie?! I think she does. And our little Tootsie is learning some new things. Case in point:
I feel that she accepted me from the start. She comes to me for comfort and definitely knows that I am her mommy figure. I have filled every need and have comforted every cry. She knows who I am. She is a SMART little girl. VERY SMART. Which brings me to my next subject.
When we were asking FM the things that she liked and questions about sleep schedules and baths, one thing kept coming up. The girl HATES to go to sleep. Great.
ME: Does she like bathes?
FM: (chuckle) Yes, but she knows that it's bedtime.
ME: What is her sleeping schedule?
FM: Well, she doesn't like to go to bed. She doesn't take a nap and she goes down about 11:00 and sleeps until 8:00.
I already knew that she went to bed late and didn't have a nap. Upon arriving home, I noticed that she wasn't the night owl I had heard so much about. She slept. A lot. She was cake to get down, not a peep. Fell asleep within minutes and slept HARD (for the most part) at night.
I would put her down for bed and remember what FM said about how she hated to go to bed. Really? Weird, I thought. Huh, oh well. Maybe she's just sleepy lately, or maybe she copes through sleep (which still may be.)
Then - last night. All day she was happy - except when Chad hugged me, loved on me, or even touched me. She's going to have to get used to that, I said to myself. She would scream and have this tantrum-like-tone to her scream. Oh, boy. Then I tried putting her down for bed last night and she kept trying to get back up. Then she would scream and lay back down. It ended up with that same tantrum-like scream. Wowser. Never saw that before. I eventually calmed her down and she fell asleep.
I could link this to adoption, over-stimulation, grieving, and many other things. If I search my gut, I really believe that she was testing me. Seeing if I was actually going to make her go to sleep. Seeing if I was going to cave and let her down. Seeing if I was going to let her get by with that tantrum-like scream. NOPE. I stood my ground and she fell asleep. After thinking about it, I actually am glad for this. Even though it's hard. This means that she is truly letting me in and looking at me as Mom. She's testing me like any other 14month old would test her Mom. And like any other 14month-old, she needs boundaries. BIG ONES. But (and it's a big but), I am establishing them a little at a time. Still fulfilling her needs, but letting her know in a way that she understands, that everything isn't HER way.
She tried that SAME THING at her nap today. She tried to get up and I laid her back down and said "no, it's nigh night time." She would cry (a very fake one - at that) and then suck on her bottle, and then in half the time as last night, she finally fell asleep.
So that's what we are working on now. Boundaries. A little at a time. She needs them, to feel safe and to know that I am here to take care of her no matter how loud and snotty her cry is. :)
She is SUCH a blessing to have around and as with any other stage with raising kids, this too shall pass. We are so in love with her and it feels like she has always been here. I love her SO much and can't imagine my life without her. My heart is literally bigger than before she was home. It's THE MOST amazing feeling in the world.
When we first got home we all (except the boys) had our days and nights mixed up. Our first real night home was really mixed up because we all fell asleep at 3:00 am. Then Joye slept HARD during the day and then was up at night. To be expected. So the first thing I tried to regulate was her eating schedule. Man, is this girl an eater. She can flat put down the food. She really loves her bottle too, and so I was giving it to her more than what FM was giving her in Korea.
After about two nights of being up, I tried not to let her sleep through the day. That way she was good and tired for bed that night. Sunday we kept her up all day. The night before, she was up quite a bit with what I thought was hard grieving. Turns out she had tummy troubles. Her BM's are hard and they were giving her trouble. So she was SUPER sleepy all day long. She was basically half-asleep when I gave her a bath that night. I got her jammies on and got her bottle with her blankie and she was O.U.T. I put her down at 8:30 and she slept until about 4:00 and stirred. I gave her another bottle (because that's what FM did in Korea) and then she slept hard until 8:30 a.m. She sleeps with Chad and I. I do put her in her crib for naps. AFTER she falls asleep on our bed, of course. FM didn't give her naps, which is amazing to me. Last night we did the same thing, except on our way to Kaleb's baseball practice, she fell asleep in the car. I couldn't wake her up for anything, either. She was out! Then about 45 min. later she woke. Then dinner and bath, bottle, blankie at about 8:30. She stirred and I gave her a bottle again and she slept until 6:30 this morning.
I put her down at 12:15 and we will see how long she sleeps for. :)
That night that she slept 12 hours was great! Like night and day - she was a HAPPY GIRL the next morning. She's usually always happy, but she was excessively so that morning and really all day. She is SUCH a joy to be around and I can't imagine my life without her. She is so happy and her little personality is infectious. She loves the boys and Chad, but really prefers me. (Can I get a silent 'wooohooo?!') She won't go to Chad for great lengths, but is content for a little while with him.
She gets really jealous when anyone hugs me or loves on me. She will squeal and put on this fake cry. It's hilarious! FM warned me about that. I just keep lovin' on everyone to get her used to it. We all think it's funny and there are no hurt feelings. :)
I just can't believe how amazing this whole experience has been. I literally praise God for the wonderful things HE has done. I am amazed how it all played out and how my heart's desire was fulfilled. My heart breaks for FM and for her birthmother. She is such an angel from heaven and I can't imagine how painful it must have been to let her go. I couldn't do it, and I have only been with her for a week! I have such admiration for FM and what she does. She gave Joye such an awesome foundation. Indescribable.
As for the hard BM's, we are working on those. She puts her head on the ground and then straightens her legs to get them out. Kind of like she's trying to do a somersault. She looks like a tripod. I know elevation has ALOT to do with it. She's drinking tons of water. She loves Soy Milk and FM gave her 2 bottles a day, so we'll try that. And some prune/apple juice. It's definitely getting better.
Otherwise, we're just settling in nicely. Keeping our outings down to just a little at a time.
I just want to say thank you again to all of you who prayed. It worked wonders! I really give the glory to whom it's due. HE did it. But prayers helped more than you'll ever know. THANK YOU.
Congrats to preciosarockera3 for getting the main actress of Stairway to Heaven right!!!! Send me your address and I will send you the special gift that I picked out! It's straight from the Land of the Morning calm.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get that right out to you!
Abram had a severe case of hayfever and itched his poor little eyes into oblivion. Can you believe the hair on our little angel? After her first bathy at home. Her shirt says it all. At Incheon Airport. The last picture of Joye in her homeland. This is our "Forever Day" picture. This was actually taken the morning before we left, but you get the idea. :)
I'll post more later on. She just fell asleep and I better catch some z's myself.
I bet you all thought we fell off the face of the earth, eh?! Not quite. It HAS been a LONG time since I posted and I am really sorry about that.
So last time I left you, we got Joye forever on Tuesday night. We went up to a meeting room and waited for our Social Worker to translate. She came in and gave me some last minute paperwork and Joye's pre-flight report. About 30 mins. later SW said "it's time to go." I will never forget those words. We all got up and headed into the hallway where the elevator was. We told FM that Joye will always remember her and that we will always take good care of her. SW asked who was to hold Joye and Chad pointed to me. FM handed her off and began to cry. Chad asked if he could hug her and then embraced her. Chad, me (holding Joye) and FM all stood in a big hug and FM just sobbed. It was the saddest thing to experience. Finally SW opened up the elevator and told us to get in. I told FM I loved her and she asked for pictures and to keep in touch. We ended the meeting in tears and she did a deep bow and waved goodbye to Joye and then the elevator doors closed.
Joye never made a peep, but knew full well what was going on. We got up to room and she looked at me and then instantly fell asleep. She slept for about 1.5 hours and woke up confused. She then cried hard for about 20 minutes and then we started to play. The rest of the night went really well. I got out that 'mattress' quilt I bought and Joye really loved that. We played for a while and then she started to get sleepy and we curled up on the floor. While we were playing she crawled into my lap and said "omma." I couldn't believe my ears, I thought it was a fluke at first, but she said it very clear. She slept through the night, not a peep.
Wednesday morning she woke up really quiet. Looking around and acting confused. About 20 mins. later she was all smiles.
She slept about 3/4 the way through the flight to San Francisco. She was SO good. We didn't end up getting the bulkhead seats that I requested and paid for, but it ended up working out ok. The Flight Attendants were very understanding that being in the center of the middle row wasn't going to work. :)
We landed in SF and then everything went crazy. Of the entire week, landing back in the US was THE WORST part of the trip. I know that sounds weird and strange, but that's totally how I feel. We arrived late and ended up missing our flight to Denver while still in the air to SF. I knew there were at least 3 other flights to Denver and that we were ok. Well, then immigr@tion. There were us and three other couples that had children who were immigrating to the US. We all stood in line waiting to go thorough the paperwork. We were like 4th in line. We waited and waited and waited and waited. The line wasn't moving. Then the guy we traveled with asked when we could get our stuff processed, and the immigr@tion guy was SO SO stinkin' poopy. He proceeded to fingerprint THE ENTIRE line. Since we all had babies we didn't need to be fingerprinted. Yeah, do you sense the frustration? We stood in line for TWO hours. TWO HOURS. It didn't need to take that long. We all just got off an eleven hour flight with babies, and NO breakfast on the plane because Economy had a power outage and they couldn't serve the food. He was in absolutely NO hurry and had a major power-play attitude. He could have processed us quickly and let us through. He didn't do that - intentionally. So meanwhile - back at the ranch - all of us missed our connecting flights. One couple had to stay the night in SF because the flights were all gone. Luckily we got on a THE LAST flight out of SF, in order to make our third and final connection.
I went up to the desk at our gate and asked the United guy to print our boarding passes, and explained the situation to him. He said "we will call you by your last name when we are ready for you." Well, an hour went by and the flight was boarding. I explained the situation to him again and he instantly jumped on me and said that the flight was booked because I didn't check in. WHAT?! Luckily, he realized that he needed to probe a little more and that the mix up was his fault. He rearranged a few things and we boarded the flight to Denver. Joye slept and was an angel.
Then we made our third and final connection and were finally home at our local airport at 10:45 p.m. We made the hour-long ride home and Joye did great. She was quiet and somber, but really good. We took a bath and got her ready for bed and snuggled in at about 3:30 a.m.
Three hours in she began to really grieve. She's totally asleep, but cries. It's a sad cry and absolutely breaks my heart. So she cried on and off until about 5:00 a.m. and then we had breakfast. Her sleeping schedule is really all over right now. Which is to be expected. Last night we snuggled in earlier and then she was still restless and sad. I think she had gas, because her cry was different and she acted like she couldn't get comfortable. During the day she is happy, laughing, and a literal bundle of joy. Her name fits her. She still says "omma" to me and totally knows where to come for comfort, food or just snuggles. She goes to Chad easily and loves him being around. She LOVES the boys. They help to keep her entertained and are SO happy she's home.
We can feel all the prayers that all of you are lovingly sending up for us. The trip home (except for immigr@tion) was perfect. She was SO good on all the planes. Her transition went WAY better than expected and that I thank our Heavenly Father for. HIS hand is visible all over this experience. I am SO thankful.
She is so social, happy and an all-around pleasure to have around. Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I am feeding her a bottle and watching her sleep. She is truly a miracle and I am so happy to be a part of her life.
It's almost 6:00 here and we had a really good meeting with Dr. Kim. She is SUCH a nice lady. We had lunch with her and met two other couples from the US and then a couple from Australia. Really great to meet them. We shared stories of being around Seoul and discussed adoption and the flight home. All three of our families will be on the same flight home. It ought to be interesting.
Sidenote: Remember how I said that I didn't think Eastern was that big? I take that back. It has SIX floors. The area I thought was bigger than it really is, is the Social Worker area. It's pretty tiny.
Our second meeting with Joye went well. We met in the Business Center(which is where I am now) and then we took her up to our room and had Family Time. She was pretty happy. There were times when she looked around and put her little lip out. She cried a few times. It was really sad. Both Chad and I are sad to take her from Foster Mom. But that is what we came here to do, realistically. I had bouts of guilt and sadness and then I had to focus on the prize. Two paths. Leave her here, or take her with us. It's obvious what we came here to do. Foster Mom has done this 14 times, she knows what is coming. It breaks my heart to pieces. None of this is easy.
Our SW gave us a choice, to take her Tuesday night or wait until Wednesday before we leave for the airport. She doesn't have stranger anxiety, but she will react to Foster Mom leaving. I really debated on this. Chad left it up to me and my Mother's intuition. I would rather get the crying out here, than at the airport. So I chose tomorrow. We will get her forever tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. I'm excited but a little nervous. This is where you all come in. Prayers. Please.
Near the end of the meeting, she fell asleep in my arms. Priceless. When she woke up, she was in Foster mom's arms. Not ideal, but we went with it. She woke up suddenly and then Foster Mom told her to say goodbye to us. She excitedly waved goodbye and looked VERY happy to see us go. :)
After the meeting we went to Dunkin' Donuts and sat. Then we ventured out and I FINALLY found the CD's I have been looking for since we touched down. YAY for that!
Well, we are headed out for dinner and we will probably see you on the other side. I really don't know if I will post again before we head out. We plan to hit Itaewon tomorrow with our new friends we met today. That ought to be fun. I'm sad to think about leaving this awesome country. We can't WAIT to come back or shall I say- adopt again?! Let's just get sweet Joye home first, then we'll talk about that! HA!
10. . . .you are the only one walking around without an umbrella.
9. . . you are the only one sportin' Carhartt shorts.
8. . . . you call the front desk a dozen times within the first hour of checking in.
7. . . . the toilet is smarter than what you are doing on it.
6. . . . you are the source of entertainment on the subway.
5. . . .you're the only one with facial hair.
4. . . . the waitress has to fix your meal and tells you when and how to eat.
3. . . . . you whip out your camera to take a picture in the middle of the restaurant of your food before you eat it.
2. . . . you swear you have massive bruises on your hips (from the hard beds), but when you look there is nothing there.
1. . . . you have to clean out your pants after a taxi cab ride.
We used the term 'hillbilly' because that's how we feel, not how we are treated. We are very different, but very similar. It has been so neat to be amongst our daughter's culture. We can't wait to come back and bring her to Lotte World. The people are very loving and nice. This was just fun post that we laugh about to ourselves. We just thought we would share.
(Chad came up with this list. I think he did a GREAT job.)
Yesterday we made our way to Jamsil, which is where Lotte World was. We have the subway down pat now. Easy peasy. It was about 20 minutes from us and wasn't a bad ride at all. So remember a while back I said that I couldn't wait to see this place? Well, it was WAY worth it. It's just like a Korean Disneyland. Things are pricier to buy and there are food vendors everywhere. It was 31,500 won (~$30) to get in and then the rides were all extra. We didn't ride anything but we caught the cutest stage show. Got a little on video. Then they had a character parade. Really cute and there were kids everywhere. The kids really don't know what to think of us. They just stare and you can tell their little minds are really trying to figure out what to think. It's really cute. One little girl, that looked like our Joye waved at us. It was really cute. So I will bring back a little something for the first commenter that can tell me what the name of the main character (female) that starred in the Korean Drama that is famous for the above picture. A little clue: She had amnesia and two men were in love with her. Anyone know? This was at the ticket counter to let us in. There weren't alot of people - yet. By the time we looked around and had lunch the crowd had piled in. The Lotte Castle. Isn't it beautiful? Really stunning in person. There are three levels. The top has the rides and the stage, and all the pictures at the top of this post. Then the middle level has all the restaurants and food. Then the bottom level (shown above) has the Ice Skating rink, shooting range, bowling lanes and stuff. It's massive. Better picture, eh?! I was ready this time. :) This is before you go down to the main level, OUTSIDE in magic Island. Another big theme park outside of the main three story structure. Aaaahhh, blue skies. It was a nice hot, muggy day. Perfect for our Lotte World experience. This was taken on the third story looking down. This was the entrance to the outside theme park.
We also went to (within Lotte World) a Folk Museum. It had mini replicas of the dynasties. Little palaces, traditional houses and the evolution of the Korean people. It was really interesting. Then we happened on a Traditional Korean Wedding. THAT was really cool. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a show. Everyone was dressed up very nice and there were white covers on the chairs and a desk with two people taking names from the guests. We felt a little out of place, so we watched for a while and then went on our merry way.
Every night for dinner, we go to the same little restaurant. Friday we Bulgogi, athe Saturday we had Bibimbap (YUM) and then last night we had Bacon. It isn't like bacon at home. This stuff is super thick and then you fry it on a ceramic tile griddle-looking thing. Then you wrap it in lettuce leaves, like Bulgogi, with all the side dishes. That was our favorite meal here. SUPER YUMMY. We might take the subway back tonight just to have seconds.
We are moving to the guesthouse today. The posts might be pretty lean on pictures from here on out. I'm pretty sure Eastern doesn't have WiFi. We'll see. I can't promise anything. We are set to be at Eastern at about 10:30 or so and then we have our meeting with Dr. Kim, the director of Eastern. Then we see our little princess at 1:30. We might love on the babies after that. We're not sure.
So . . . it's raining again. If you don't have to go out in it, it's really pretty. We might just hang out at Eastern today. We really don't have any post-meeting plans. STILL looking for Super Junior and Shinee CD's. I think I will find those near Eastern. It will be a different area and we are excited to explore a different part of Seoul. For those traveling soon, I highly recommend the Dongdaemun area. GREAT shopping and food. We got a cab to Eastern for the first meeting and it worked out well. We are getting a cab today too, because of our luggage. It was about 8,000 won. Then we took the subway back to our hotel. The subway is really cheap and easy to use. Get a T-Money card at one of the street vendors and 20,000 should be more than enough to get around on. If you have too much, you can get a refund when you are ready to go home. The T-money card costs, but I think it's equivalent to about $3. The subway ride is about 20 minutes to Eastern from here. I LOVE our hotel. Very friendly and has a fridge and stuff.
Well I better get ready to go. Next up, my hubby is going to do a post about things he has realized while in Seoul. :)
There was a VERY small window to take the picture before someone walked in front of it. I clearly wasn't ready. Oh well. Do I look wet, or what? The Rain. Oh, and there is Dondaemun in the background. :) One of the gates blocking you out of the palace. This is the Dongdaemun Palace which is called the Great East Gate. Located right in the heart of traffic and chaos. You can see my umbrella and how hard it was raining. :) Must be a church. Loved seeing a cross. The off-the-beaten-path outdoor soggy mall where I found some shoes for Joye.
Wow. Remember I said that it was raining yesterday before we went out? Yeah, well when it rains here, it DUMPS. I mean when it rains in Colorado, it rains but it REALLY gets after it here. Puddles everywhere. I noticed when we first got here that there were drains everywhere and I couldn't figure out what they were for. Now I know. Rain. And lots of it. We were soaked to the bone when we got back to the hotel. I got an umbrella when we first left and I was SO glad that I did. Chad was soaked through. Our shoes were soaked. If you didn't look out, you would step in about a million puddles. Which we all did, many times.
The rain didn't seem to bother the locals. High heels and shoes with a few galoshes were the norm.
We ventured off the beaten path and found a gold mine in shopping. TONS of shoes. I bought three pairs of shoes for Joye. They are SO cute. Pretty cheap too. Then my favorite part was this street vendor that had bedding sets. For those who don't know, Koreans don't typically sleep in beds. Their 'mattresses' are just like a thin quilt and then they sleep on a heated floor. Then they cover up with a puffy comforter. Anyways - I had to buy a quilt-like blanket here. So we found one and they are SO beautiful. I thought it was going to be like 70,000-100,000 won. So we asked and it was 25,000 won! What a steal! I was SO excited. I want to go back and get the comforter and maybe a pillow and have a whole set.
So we tried to find the Seoul City Bus Tour and asked someone to help us and never did find it. Oh well. Today we are going to Lotte World. It's about at 20 minute ride on the Subway. We plan to spend most of the day there. It's still kind of rainy. Looks like it might clear up though.
The sun looks like it's trying to shine. It will be nice and muggy. Better than the rain though. Well we're off. Tomorrow we meet our little princess again, and that will be another highlight. Can't wait!
We finally got the subway thing figured out. I think. :) You have to remember, we are from a VERY small town. This was all of our first time in a subway. It's pretty easy to navigate, though. You just have to pay attention.
We LOVE our Hotel. It's the Eastgate Tower Hotel and it's right next to the Dongdaemun Shopping Center and the Doota mall. These mall's beat the American malls. Most of them are 7-9 stories high. They go on FOREVER. Then you go to a different mall and the same thing!
We had Korean Bulgogi last night and it was DELICIOUS! The only thing, is that we were clueless on how it all went down. So the owner/server in the restaurant finally just took over and helped us. She cut it all up with scissors. It was really cool. Then she told us what to put in it and was really helpful. YUM.
The hotel is really nice. A few observations: The key to the room is a card that you press flat to the door knob and then it opens. Really cool. Then you ditch your shoes at the door. One funny thing that happened. I have to share. When we checked in and came up to our room it was REALLY hot in here. There was no power and we couldn't get the A/C to work. No lights, it was weird. So we called the front desk (which we have done MANY times, and they are so gracious to help us). They rang the doorbell, yeah no knocking, each room has a doorbell. And he said the door key/card goes in this little dock-like thing at the door. THAT powers the lights, A/C and stuff. Totally cool. Then Chad decided to take a shower. NO hot water. We looked around a little and found that you have to turn on the ondol heated flooring heater to get hot water. And it's fluctuates, it doesn't stay hot. It goes from warm to hot throughout your entire shower. And the bathroom floor floods. Because the shower floor drain, toilet and everything are in the same room. If you don't wear the shower booties you'll have REALLY wet socks.
The beds are really comfortable. Hard, but not to bad. There are no top sheets or tons of blankets. Just one really nice comforter. Pillows are soft and comfy. So far NO complaints there.
It's raining right now and so we aren't sure what we are going to do today. Maybe the Seoul City Bus Tour.
We have an American-style breakfast here and it's pretty good. I have been adventurous and tried the porridge both mornings. Yesterday was a rice porridge and it was pretty bland. I notice that their morning stuff is pretty bland. Then this morning I tried the crab meat porridge and it was REALLY good. Not as bland as yesterday.
The money system it super easy. If you ask how much something is, they show you on a calculator. They have the same numeric characters as us. Another thing is there is ALOT of stuff in English. Everywhere you look, there is billboards and stuff in English. We saw Pierce Brosnan on a BIG billboard as we got into the Incheon Airport. My BIL was like "hey, I know that guy!" It is really easy to buy stuff and it's really simple to use. Easier than the American money system. There are no pennies, dimes nickels and stuff like that. Everything is even. 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 Won all in bills. You'll get a half won back every now and then, but it's really easy to figure out. Seoul is very user-friendly. If you can use that term with a city. It just takes a little while to figure it out.
Well, it looks like we are heading out for the day. Hope all is well back home.
Me and my sweet girl! We got to feed her and we both were in heaven. Daddy and his girl. Here we are listening to our Social Worker translating our questions. (Love her by the way)
So here are the details: First of all, I am SO sorry that it has taken me this long to post. Let me tell you why it has been impossible. First we left our house at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, then we flew from a small town near us to Denver. Landed in Denver at 7ish and then took off to San Francisco THIRTY minutes later. Yeah, tight connection. Then we hung-out on the tarmak while experiencing a "technical malfunction." Meanwhile back at the ranch our connect window for our flight to Seoul was narrowing.
We then landed in San Francisco and were let off the plane first because there were 40 passengers that had to make the same plane we did. So then we booked it to the international terminal and followed an "angel" who appeared out of nowhere and helped us to the gate. She yelled "Incheon" and we followed her. I honestly don't think we would have made it if it wasn't for her. She had been to Korea before and taught English here. Anyway - we barely made it on the plane before it took off. Then it was 11 hours on the plane.
When we landed in Seoul, it took AN HOUR to get through immigration. Yeah, AN HOUR. The luggage people were paging us to pick up our luggage, it took so long. So we picked up our luggage and found our (fast) driver. He took us to our hotel and once we arrived we had been up for a full 24 hours. Little sleep. Then we proceeded to *try* to find the subway station. What a disaster. We were totally lost. Exhausted. Hungry and ready for bed. We decided just to get a Taxi reservation for our meeting at Eastern this morning. So we left our hotel at 8:30 and arrived at Eastern right as they opened. I pictured Eastern really huge and tons of people. It's actually not that big. So we met our Social Worker and then went through the paperwork of bringing her home.
Then we waited for a little while, and then . . . our SW came in and said our little SeoYeon was here. We left the room and walked out into the hallway . . . and there she was. I recognized her right away. We then all piled into the meeting room and started our meeting.
She is SO beautiful. She didn't really have much to do with us at first. She had a little bit of a boogery nose. Then we sarted engaging her with toys and talking to her. She was immediately interested in toys. Then we started asking questions and communicating with Foster Mom. Then our SW said to pick her up. You don't have to tell me twice!! She was fine in my arms. She looked at me intently and studied me. Then Chad interacted with her and we played with her for a while. Foster Mom got out a doll stroller and put her in it. She loved it. She's really little. She fit into the doll stroller fine! Then Chad pushed her around and she just loved it. She is such a delight! Happy, easy going, just an absolute doll! Foster Mom then left and she never cried or flipped out. She looked for her, but we tried to distract her. FM left the room quite a few times, I think to see what SeoYeon would do. She NEVER cried. FM even waved goodbye to her and said "goodbye" and she never flinched.
Let me just say something here. She is completely attached to FM, but she's not clingy toward her. She was a little clingy at the very beginning, but that was it. I have NO doubt that Joye will grieve and miss FM. Since THE DAY that we saw Joye's picture I have prayed for her transition. Prayed for her little heart and the loss that she will experience soon. Joye is pretty comfortable with us and is very easy-going. Even FM said that. But I think the glory goes to God when it comes to our meeting this morning. It was better than I ever expected. I wasn't as nervous as I thought that I would be. It was AWESOME! Are we still up for hard times? You bet, I am not trying to sugar-coat anything. ALOT of prayer has gone into this whole thing and I am feeling it's benefits.
About Seoul, we were a little overwhelmed last night. Running on literally NO sleep and trying to find the Subway. Not a good combo. Seoul is beautiful and HUGE. After taking the taxi, we got a little more comfortable with asking things and just being adventurous. We are now starting to enjoy ourselves. It takes just getting out there and exploring. Remembering landmarks and buildings help. The people are SO VERY nice. Really nice. I didn't expect them NOT to be, but they are so willing to help. We get stared at alot. That's probably how Joye will feel in our community. It's great to experience that.
We meet Joye on Monday and do our tour and meet the Director at Eastern. We will also move all of our junk (luggage) over to the guesthouse to stay. So far we are having alot of fun and are on an emotional high with meeting our girl for the first time. She is just so beautiful and we are so much in love.
Please continue to pray for her transition and for sweet Foster Mother. She is SUCH a sweet lady and my heart just breaks for her. Joye is her 14th Foster child, so she knows full well what to expect. It doesn't make it hurt less, though. We're not sure what the weekend holds, and I will try to post more often. :)
After getting the email from our agency saying that we had the Guesthouse for the last couple days of our trip, I began to research some hotels. That was Friday. I booked the one that I had been looking into, on Saturday morning and then went on my merry way. Whew, big relief. Hotel, all done. Flights, done. We're good!
Then Sunday evening I decided to check my email. Received an email (from the hotel guy) stating that the booking wasn't a confirmation, and that the hotel I wanted was BOOKED. I'm sorry, say that again!? Yeah, panic! So then I called up the said hotel guy and asked him to help me find a hotel in the area near Eastern and this was his response: "It's too late. I will try but there is a wait list for people that are trying to book a hotel for those dates, in that area." Excuse me? WHAT?!?! Ummmm, we're leaving WEDNESDAY and you're telling me that it's too late?!!!Really, how is that possible? In a city as big a Seoul, there are NO hotel rooms available in the vicinity of Eastern?
So . . . I hopped on the internet and found us a place. Relatively near Eastern. The pickin' was slim, but not impossible. Thanks, but no thanks, pal. I mean, this should have been done last week, and I get that, but it's too late?! Sheeesh!
Crisis avoided and we are on our way to get our daughter. Insert massive smiley face here. Bags are (almost) packed. Maps are (semi) memorized.
We will meet her on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. Which will be Thursday night @ 7:00 your time. Well, Colorado time (I think). My little Abram will be playing T-Ball when we meet baby sister. Weird. Then the rest is up to our Social Worker (in Korea) and Foster Mom.
We will keep you all posted and please continue to pray for little Joye (and us). Her world is going to change BIG TIME. We pray that the Holy Spirit will be with us all.
I was looking a while back to see if CD's from Korea can be played on our players here in the US. Because DVD's have regions and if they are from Korea they won't play here. (Sorry if you already knew that) Anyway-upon finding that CD's are typically region-free, I found this little ditty and I thought I would share. Among KDrama's we are also totally addicted to music videos of Korean groups. Our FAVE is Super Junior. LOVE THEM! We also love SHINee and many others. Here's our favorite song right now from Super Junior. I am hoping to cash in on many CD's while we are over there. Because it's essentially FREE SHIPPING! HA!
Well, I just booked our flights! YAY! We are leaving NEXT Wednesday (a week from tomorrow). I thought it was going to be a little cheaper because we have a week between, ummmm . . . not so much! Oh well, we live 5 hours from Denver so we sprung for a little extra to fly there instead of driving. I REALLY wanted to fly Korean Air, Singapore Air or Aisana and it just wasn't possible. Kinda bummed about that, but in the grand scheme of things it's meaningless, really.
I still need to book the hotel, and see if the Eastern Guesthouse is available. Once I receive our flight conformation I will get to that. Otherwise I am just getting the "last minute things" done.
I can't believe that we will be in Seoul in a little over a week!
"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