Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking back ...

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume. -Jean de Boufflers

Since I was little I have loved to capture every moment. I saved everything that one day might have some significant place in my life. I still have old cards from middle school friends, black and white photo booth pictures, and even a note or two that was folded up and passed across a classroom of kids in high school. Over the years I have taken out the boxes and albums, sometimes purging an item or two, and marveled at how much life has changed. These walks down memory lane have always reminded me of how blessed that I am.

This time of year, as I prepare for Zoey's Birthday, I can't help but take a walk down memory lane. Right at this moment, four years ago, I was on hospital bedrest praying that Zoey would stay inside just a few more weeks. That her lungs would be strong and that she would be alright.

From the moment she was born it was important for me to capture every.single.moment. I wanted to make sure that one day I would have lots of pictures for us to look at and marvel at the person that she has become. I then began making yearly books so that I could record a wonderful story - the story of My Sweet Zoey Marie.

And so the story began.......

on August 20th, after 5 days of labor, Zoey Marie entered the world 2 and 1/2 months early.

We named her Zoey... because Zoey meant life... and after all the weeks on bedrest, all the complications, surgeries, and prayers she just had to live.

I thought that she was the most beautiful baby I ever saw. Now looking back - she kinda looks like a tomato. A beautiful RED tomato.

Almost ready to come home.....

(4 months old ) This picture is extra special because we just sent James the same outfit, hat, blanket, and lovey Ku-Ku bird set from Kushies. Who would have thought they would still have it for sale 4 years later ?!?! I am hoping and praying that James' foster mama takes a picture of him in it.

9 months old - we just completed the March of Dimes March for Babies walk. I am a believer that when something touches your life profoundly in some way that you should use it to make a difference. I was chosen to be the mission mom for my county and was able to share Zoey's story at a rewards banquet after the walk.

How do you know it is time to party ???

Zoey is in her birthday suit !!!!

That was the slogan and picture for Zoey's 1st Birthday invites- I couldn't resist!

Sleeping in Mexico.

I love to travel, Anthony loves to travel, and we were thrilled that Zoey loves to travel. This picture was from her first trip to Mexico. Just last week she was asking to pack her suitcase after my sister arrived for a visit and she saw hers. Anytime we have to pick someone up from the airport she thinks she is going on a special trip.

So hard to belive how much she has grown.

And how quick the time passes - 2nd Birthday

This little girl is full of life. She has so much personality.

3 years old - oh how my little girl grew this year. She has learned so much and has become so independant.

- She loves to dress herself. She changes several times a day ( creating lots and lots of laundry) and some of the outfits she picks out are , well, just plain interesting. She loves dress up and make up and she knows how to apply her eyeshadow just like JEM from my childhood days.

- She LOVES to learn. Even after being at preschool all day she loves to come home and play "homework". One of my favorite things to play as a kid was "school" so I am always up for it - especially since she always lets me be the teacher!!! Oh - how I hope this lasts forever!!!! She has mastered her colors, shapes, numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters and is even working on her letter sounds. She can spell and write her name, write quite a few other numbers and letters, and is super creative.

- She says her prayers every night... and most nights I have to hold back the laughter and keep a straight face. They always start with "Dear God" and always end with "Amen- The end." Sometimes in an effort to stall bedtime she can be very long winded and pray for everyone she knows, but when she is tired she only prays for a few. I love that she never forgets ger baby brother - "James Jun-Hop" aka Jun-ha

- She loves board games and I love playing them with her. I love how happy she gets when she wins, but even more I love how happy she gets when I win. (Maybe she feels bad for me because she usually wins.) I love the way she tells me "you did it mama" and "great job". It reminds me in this role of being her MaMa I must be doing something right.

- She has some awesome make believe skills too. Last week I peeked into the playroom and she was having a great big birthday party with her dolls. Complete with a party hat that she had gotten at her friends party. She served cake and ice cream playfood and had everything set up perfectly. Her favorites are ballerina, showtime, tea party, and picnic. Have I told you how much I love childhood wonder ?

- She can work a computer and knows about a mouse and homepage. My ipad is filled with her favorite apps and she can turn it on and work it 100% on her own.

- She takes the school bus now. After I went to preschool with her and stayed the entire day for months and after she cried when I dropped her off she now happily gets on the bus and goes to school. So, while I was scared to even try because I thought she was not ready, she was too small, etc she suprised me and it was exactly what she needed.

And I am still not sure where this last year went..... or how it passed so quick..... it was nothing short of absolutely amazing.

The hard times and difficult struggles that we had hardly seem memorable.... and while new struggles have come up we are better equiped. We have stronger faith now and know that great things are happening.

We dance in the rain.

We embrace this

And as we prepare to celebrate our baby girl we continue to pray for our baby boy. We can't wait for him to be home. She is such a wonderful big sister already.

She even gave us our very first family portrait.

I am one blessed MaMa.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Since the start of this adoption process I have tried to remain positive. I tried hard to have faith and stay strong. I celebrated the steps forward big and tried to move past the setbacks quickly. When bad news came I tried to stay optomistic and continued to pray for a miracle. Today, I feel like I am hardly hanging on and the process is swallowing me whole.

I have a son who lives on the other side of the world and I have no idea when he will be in my arms. He has a room here - with a crib and bed, transportation themed decor, books, toys, and lots of clothes. The room is full - yet empty without him.

He has been a part of two families already and it is time for him to know the love of his forever family.

I dreamed that James would be home for his 1st Birthday in September. I had no reason not to believe he would. As the months past I had to come to terms that it wasn't likely. I had to begin to find comfort knowing that he would be celebrating with his foster family who loved him very much.

As the agency updates came in I modified my expectations. I changed my dreams. I made my hopes more realistic and tried to stay positive. I hung on and figured that somehow this was part of the plan.

Well tonight I am just sick of the uncertainty. The last 10 months I have tried so hard to stay strong and I just couldn't for one more minute. I am upset - not at anyone - just everything.

This has been the hardest day since starting the process. I was not expecting another update - we just got one Friday. I worked hard to refuel my faith after the last update knocked me down. I was still refueling and did not expect another update for 18 more days. Then Bahm - I had an email in my inbox that knocked me down again.

I just want to know when - when will I hold my sweet baby James??? When is it my turn to get off this roller coaster ??? When will the uncertainty end ????

Thanks for all the kind words, wishes, prayers, and support. Tomorrow is another day - and we will be one day closer to bringing James home - whenever that may be.

Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Months WBC

Today we received James' 10 month well baby check update in the mail. Normally I am super excited about this....but today.... not so much. James usually has his visit to the Holt office around the 17th of the month. This month he went in on the 12th. What is so dissapointing about this? The package I sent him arrived on the 13th at 10:00 a.m..

His package missed him by less then 24 hours :( Now all of his cute little outfits, gerber snacks, new toys, teethers, and glow worm will probably be sitting in a box in the Holt office for over a month.

So bummed!!!!

Since only a little over three weeks has passed since his last WBC visit not much has changed.

He is weighing in at 20.9 lbs ( last month he was 20.4lbs)

He is 28.2 inches tall (last month he was 28 even)

He is still drinking 200cc (almost 7 ounces) every 4 hours.

He has double the teeth as last month. (4 on the top and 2 on the bottom)

He had one big milestone this month ....... He is cruising furniture - Yikes!!!!!

James' continues to be doing well and meeting all his milestones.

We still do not know when we will get the EP permit needed to bring him to his forever home.

We still pray and hope that it will be this year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The USCIS has definitely been one of the more difficult aspects of the adoption process. First, you fill out the preliminary 1600A paperwork for "advanced processing of an orphan petition."

In other words homeland security/USCIS must approve us to adopt a baby internationally.

So, several months ago we mailed off the copies ( yes copies - USCIS always wants several copies of each page of the applications and they ALL must be hand written - no filling out one and then copying) and a check for processing the application and fingerprinting. Oh, and the homestudy the agency put together of us after several interviews, a look at our home, and reference letters from neighbors and friends.... and tax returns, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and I am sure I left a few things out.

Basically we mailed them a tree because by the time the packet was ready to mail that is how much paper was used.

Then we got an appointment to go to Elizabeth for Biometrics fingerprinting. (which was the second set that we had since starting the process)

Then they did an extensive background check and probably know more about me then I know about myself.

They were citing up to 75 days for approval of this 'pre-approval'.

Yeah, about that, on day 73 I recieved a great big pink letter requesting more evidence.

Over the next 24 hours I provided my agency with more paperwork and they worked closely with my officer to get things rectified.

At just about 90 days I was pre-approved..... Just days after finding out James was our son.

Then lucky me got to copy and fill out more paperwork for the USCIS. I got to copy my entire tax return ..... the E.N.T.I.R.E. things. Every W-2, interest statement, investments, medical deductions...... yeah - goood times!!!! and make copies of all of the legal paperwork from Korea to send with my originals. When the monsterous packet was put together I mailed off the 1600 (petition to classify an orphan as an immiadiate relative) paperwork and prayed that I would get a nice officer who would read my cover letter and return the original documents.

Today I recieved this!!!!


James has been approved by the USA to come home and be our son.

This time next year he will be a US citizen celebrating the 4th of July.

To celebrate I made sure to finish his care package today. It is all ready to go to the post office tomorrow. Then it will cross the pond and arrive in Seoul, Korea sometime next week.... where it will wait for my boy until he comes into the center for his 10 month well baby check.

It is so hard to pick what to send when you have to fit it into a small box.

I totally disagree with the US Postal Services idea of large. The large Priority Mail box is pretty small if you ask me.

We picked a cute Kushies KuKu bird jammies, matching blanket, and matching lovies doll. I loved this when Zoey was a baby so I had to get James the matching set.

We also picked some Osh Kosh shortalls, Carters jammies, Beach Bum shortalls, and a few toys.

We got a nice Polo shirt, vitamins, and a bracelet for the wonderful woman who has been giving our boy so much love and care.

Last, a glow worm which is a gift from two people who will have a very special place in James' life when he makes it home- his godparents!

Sweet baby James we hope you like your toys ♥ Big sister Zoey has been doing such a good job thinking of you while we wait. We never leave the grocery store without a few jars of baby food and if I turn around for a second she fills my shopping cart with diapers and toys any chance she gets. She tells everyone about her brother "James Jun-Hop." and it is just too cute the way she mispronounces it. She loves you so much already as do we all. Looking forward to being a family of four, together, under one roof. Sweet baby James we can't wait for you to come home forever.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Waiting on a Miracle

I wish that I was here to post some awesome news like James will definitely be home with us this year. That this year the holidays will be so special because our son will finally be home. That he will be sitting in the waggon with his sister as we stroll the neighborhood for treats on Halloween....That when we all gather for Thanksgiving he will be sitting in my lap, and I will hug him a little closer, as I give thanks to God for all my blessings. Oh, and Christmas..... how I dreamed of hearing the pitter patter of two sets of feet dancing around in the marvel of Christmas wonder.

When we started the process in the fall of 2010 in my mind I imagined that the next time the holidays came around we would be a family of four. Many times when we had agency hold ups and delays in the process I would get lost in thought and imagine having my baby home by the holidays in 2012.

Now we need a miracle for that to happen.

On the first Friday of every month the agency sends out an update. Today was that day.

Unfortunately it was very vague. It stated that they would update on the EP status next week.

I am afraid that it will be the dreaded update that no more babies will be coming home this year..... and I don't know if I could handle that. I have no choice if it is but I am not ready to give up my hope.

Hope in a miracle is all I have right now. As long as I don't lose faith I feel like I am still swimming strong in the process because without faith I swear this process would swallow me whole.

The last 60 days waiting for James have been so hard. I can't imagine waiting another 7-9 months.

Not knowing when he is coming home is hard.

But having to accept that it won't be this year will be torture.

So for now we will continue to pray and have faith that our Sweet Baby James will be coming home forever very soon.

We will continue to be thankful for all of the positive things that this adoption has brought us.

The support of our family and friends..... and the continuous prayers for our baby.

The friends that we have met throughout the adoption process. Some good friends that I would have never met had it not been for the board.

And the biggest gift - Our Son!!!

No matter if he comes home this year or next we have been so so blessed. He might be half way around the world but he is always in my heart ♥

We will continue to keep the days busy to help pass the time.

Summer makes it a little easier as we visit boardwalks......

......ride the amusement rides

..... bbq's

..... playdates

.... sandcastles

...... swimming lessons

.... and have lots of beach days.

And one thing is certain .....

Next summer this Big Sister will have lots of fun splashing at the beach with her Little Brother.