Sunday, January 1, 2012

Moving Our Blog...

Just want to let everyone know that we are moving our blog.  Our agency requests that we not post any pictures on a public forum.  For this reason, we are moving our blog to a wordpress account.  This is so that we can password protect the entries that have pictures of Han.  We REALLY want to show you her beautiful face!  So if you follow our blog and would like the password, please leave me a message and I'll email you with that info.  You can leave a message here or just leave one on our new blog:  We will be checking our messages and will try to get back to everyone with the password soon, since we are hoping to be in Korea within the next month or two!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let the Countdown Begin!

I am ashamed to see that I haven't written anything in SO LONG!  Life has a way of getting away with you, and I have gotten so busy that the blog has fallen to the wayside.  But, with our upcoming trip front and center in our minds, I am back to blogging.  I have much to catch you up on before we leave, and we are PRAYING that we will get our travel call sometime in January.

First of all, back to Han's birthday.  I said I would post some pictures.  Here are a few of her party.  We ate at a local Korean restaurant, and I made her a cake with her Korean name written on it.  The grandparents, aunts, and uncles all came.  Grandma gave her a handmade quilt for her room, and she got some pictures for her nursery and some toys and stuffed animals.  It was lots of fun, and really helped me feel happy on a day that I had been dreading for a while. 

I just didn't know how hard it would be to celebrate her birthday without her.  Honestly, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Getting a DVD with pictures and video of her first birthday party in Korea really helped.  In the video, she smiled, clapped for herself, waved, and flirted with everyone in sight.  She was the star of the show, if I do say so myself. 

At Korean first birthday parties, the baby is presented with several items on a table and they "choose" one.  Whatever they choose is supposed to symbolize the path they might take later in life (a pencil for a scholar, etc).  She just looked and looked at all the items in front of her and never really made a choice.  Finally, her foster mom seemed to think it was time to move on, and she put her hands around the money.  Of course, this means she will be rich!  The picture of her with her fat little cheeks squished together as her foster mom led her off the stage with that money in her hands was hysterical!  All in all, it looks like she had a wonderful day.  She was absolutely stunning in her hanbok (the traditional costume worn by babies at their first birthday and by Koreans on special occasions throughout their lives).  Her hanbok was rainbow colored, and her headpiece was black with a little tassel in the front.  Adorable!  Can you tell I'm in love?

This is a picture of the things we sent Han in her birthday care package.  We sent a baby doll, a toy stacker, a toy cell phone, a panda hat, some clothes, and a picture album with some pictures of her birthday cake and her party.  My Korean friend wrote little descriptions on each picture to tell her about the party.

In other, unrelated news, we have been doing very well and the boys are growing and changing every day.  They constantly keep me on my toes!  Here are some pictures of what they've been up to:

We spent lots of time this summer at the beach.  The boys love it there!  Here they are on the Fourth of July.
This picture pretty much sums up Josh's personality.  He is wild and crazy.  We pray every day that his powers will be harnessed for good and not evil!  :)  He is a sweet baby boy, but he NEVER STOPS moving and if it's quiet in the house, you can bet he is up to something.  Should be very interesting when baby girl arrives. 

Luke's First Day of 2nd Grade and Max's First Day of Kindergarten!!!!

Josh's First Day of 3-Year-Old Preschool!!!

We took a trip to Disney World in September.  Here is Josh with Grammy and Papaw.  We had a wonderful time!  We decided to take this trip to help us deal with the LONG wait to bring Han home.  It was nice to have something to look forward to, and I do think it helped in some small way.  Although, of course it did not help our savings account at all!  Here are a few more pictures from the trip:
Happy Halloween!  Here we are with our new dog, Gizzy (aka Toto)

Hopefully this gives you some ideas about our fall.  It was exciting and eventful, as all of life seems to be with three crazy boys.  But, of course, there has been a sadness and a loneliness, too.  I think about Han every day, and we all pray for her every night.  I think of all the things we have missed in her little life- her first steps, her first words, her first snuggles.  But I try to remember the wonderful blessing that we have been given- we will have a lifetime to spend with her.  I won't lie and say it's been easy.  Waiting these nine months has been a huge struggle.  But God is in control, and our faith is being strengthened every day as we rely on Him to take care of Han and to take care of us as we wait.  Here's a picture of the things we put in the third care package we sent to Han- this one for Christmas:

In this one we sent another doll (this one more Korean-looking), some pajamas, a shirt and some pink jeans, some puffs, a couple of toys, some small candies for the foster family, and two little board books.  We also sent a video.  In the video, the boys sing a Korean song (Gom San Mari) about the 3 Bears.  Jake and I also read the two board book to her.  I forgot to mention that we sent a video with the last care package as well.  What a laugh!  Hopefully the foster family won't think we're too weird to raise their sweet baby girl after viewing the movies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Today is our baby girl's first birthday.  One year ago today, she came into this world.  Today I have so many emotions.  I feel sadness that I can't hold her in my arms.  I feel relief that she is doing so well and that she continues to grow and thrive.  I feel happiness for her that she is able to celebrate her first birthday in her birth country with the foster family who loves her so dearly.  I feel so grateful to God that we will have the opportunity to be parents to this beautiful, precious baby girl in a few short months. 

I can't think about today without thinking of ALL of Han's mothers.  I think about her foster mother, who has given her love in her home since she was two weeks old.  When I think of the sacrificial love that it takes to care for a baby for 17-18 months and then let her go, it makes my heart break.  I can't imagine how she will be able to say goodbye, and we will be forever indebted to her and her family for the love they have given Han during this important time in her life.  I also think about Han's birth mother.  I cannot imagine the strength and love it took her to choose life for her baby girl.  I know she is thinking of Han today, and I pray that her heart is at peace.  I pray that God will give her a peace beyond understanding.  I pray that somehow she will know in her heart that Han is loved, treasured, and safe.

It has been a sad day, but a happy one as well.  We have a happy, healthy one-year-old little girl.  We WILL bring her home soon.  We will continue to pray and to wait.  I'll post pictures soon to show our little celebration for Han's special day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

This Song Says it All

I came across this song on another blog.  I think it really sums up our prayers for Anna Kate and our grief while we are coming to terms with the fact that we aren't bring her home until next year.  The family who shared the song is also waiting for a baby girl from Korea.  They haven't received their referral yet, but they know that with the slow-down they are in for a long wait.  Their friend Rollyn wrote it for them after she read one of their posts about the extended wait.  My prayers are with everyone caught up in this situation...especially the babies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Good and the Bad

Still no news from our agency.  A little part of me keeps expecting that something will change, that Korea will decide to issue a few more EPs this year, that we will miraculously be allowed to bring Anna Kate home soon.  I know that nothing is impossible with God, and I have really struggled with how much to keep praying for a miracle and believing in that and how much to begin the process of accepting this wait.

On the days when I'm feeling positive, I make a mental list of the reasons it will be OK to wait:  the boys will be older and (hopefully) calmer by the time she arrives; Josh will be closer to 4 than to 3; Max will be a semester into kindergarten and over that transition before she comes home; I will have one more semester to work and save money for the trip to Korea.  I know that all these reasons make sense in some logical way, but of course we would trade every one of them to have her in our arms right now. 

I also try to think of the ways that God may be working in this.  Maybe she is too fragile emotionally right now and this would be a bad time to transition.  Maybe she needs to be at a more stable period developmentally and it will be better for her somehow.  I can't imagine how this would be the case, but I'm not a child psychologist.  Some of the books on toddler adoption that I have read do talk about the period of 6-12 months being tougher on a baby for attachment and loss than the 12-18 months period.  So maybe there is truth to that.  I do not know (and I would never venture to guess) if this is "God's will."  I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in this process, and that Anna Kate is meant to be our child.  I do not know how God feels about Korea's international adoption process.  But I know that he can and does use all things according to his purpose.  So I guess we just have to hang on tight, trust him, and have faith.

OK, so that's the way I think on the good days.  We don't need to get into the bad ones, I guess, but you can imagine.  I am angry that my baby is getting older and older apart from her forever family.  I am angry that, even though we have I600 approval and are NVC in and out (which basically means we have EVERYTHING BUT THE EP and would be traveling to bring her home any day), we will not be getting her for 6-7 more months.  I am so heartbroken that we will miss her first steps, her first birthday, and countless other milestones in her little life.

But I try to remember that, in the grand scheme of things, this will all be OK.  Years from now, we will look back on this, and it will be a small part of the story of how Anna Kate Han became part of our family.  She is coming, and it will be sooner and sooner each day.  She will grieve, and she will probably have a tough transition, but God will give us the strength to make it through and to help her adjust and bond with our family.

On a happy note, we sent a care package and our adoption friend Jessica just dropped it off for us in Korea!   In the package, we sent a few small gifts for Han's foster family, three outfits, some hairbows, a photo album of us for her to play with and look at, a CD of baby songs, a recordable story book with everyone reading her a page, a disposable camera, a zip drive, a "little sister" bib, an elephant lovie, and a little blankie that Grandma Great made for her.  So, a VERY full Ziploc bag!  :)  Here's a look at what we sent:

Tonight, I'm praying that she is healthy and strong.  I'm praying that she can somehow feel the love that we have for her, and that she will get her package soon and begin listening to our voices, looking at our pictures, and getting to know us.  I'm praying that she and her foster family will remain safe.  I'm praying that God will prepare our hearts and the hearts of our family members as we wait.  And I'm still praying for that miracle.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heartbroken... But Trusting God for Peace

This is not a post I ever wanted to write.  I have been avoiding it all week because, honestly, it's been too painful.  But maybe putting it into words will help somehow. 

We have been told by our agency that we were not one of the families who will be issued an EP this year.  That means we will not be allowed to travel to bring Anna Kate home until 2012.  Probably February.  I still don't believe it, to tell you the truth.  I am still holding onto a glimmer of hope that maybe, somehow, they will be wrong.  I am praying for a miracle.

I know that God's hand has been in this adoption from the beginning.  Jake and I both have felt so strongly that it was what we were meant to do.  I have never felt God's hand in something as much as I have in this.  I know that he has been with us and with her.  I know very clearly that she is the baby meant for our family.  I know this because I feel it in my heart, and God even confirmed it for me with a small miracle a few weeks ago.

It's amazing how this all happened.  My mom just happened to be looking at a blog that she hadn't looked at for months.  It's a blog of a lady who is a complete stranger to us but who adopted a baby three years ago from Korea.  She was blogging the other week about her recent trip to Korea to meet her daughter's former foster mom for the first time.  She had a picture of the foster mom and herself talking and looking at a photo album.  Guess who the foster mom was?  That's right, Han's foster mom.  And there was a beautiful little baby girl sitting on her lap.  Guess who that baby girl was?  You guessed it.  Anna Kate Han.

Because I thought I might just be going crazy, I sent her a message on her blog.  I asked her if the foster mom's name was Mrs. ____ and if the baby's name was Han.  She sent me a message- "Yes- that is your baby!"  She then went on to tell me lots of details about the foster mom- what a loving, compassionate woman she is and how much she loves the babies that she takes care of.  She sent me tons of pictures of Han, and they are so adorable.

Talk about a God who is interested in the details.  He didn't need to send me that message.  But he did.  He reached around the world, found our baby girl, and put her right in our path.  He introduced me to a woman who could give me invaluable information about the woman who will be our daughter's mother for the first 18 months of her life.  He prepared our hearts for devastating news that he knew was around the corner. 

So, although this isn't the news we want or the news we prayed for, we know that God is in control.  We KNOW that he loves us, that he loves her, and that he is keeping her safe.  We are so reassured to know that she is being loved and that she is happy and healthy.  And we are so thankful to our God, a God who is in the details.  A God who loves us enough to send us comfort in our time of great sorrow.

Please continue to pray for us.  We are still praying that something will change and that Anna Kate, and all the babies caught up in this quota mess, will get to come home to their families sooner, rather than later.  Our God is an awesome God.  He is able to do immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine.  For now, we will just hold onto that truth and pray for his peace.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Please Pray!

We had some bad news on Thursday from our agency.  Korea has been trying to phase out its international adoption program, and they have been decreasing the number of exit permits they assign by 10% for several years. 

We knew that other agencies had been affected by this, but so far our agency was OK.  Until Thursday, we had been told that we would have Anna Kate home by July or August.

Thursday we received a letter from AIAA telling us that we may or may not be able to bring her home this year.  SWS, the Korean agency working with AIAA, has run out of exit permits for the year.  SWS is waiting on a list from them to see which families will be able to travel and which families will have to wait until 2012.

Please pray for us.  We are praying for a miracle right now.  We know that nothing is impossible with God, and we know that He loves ALL these babies and wants to see them with their families as soon as possible.

We are praying with all our hearts that Anna Kate will be granted one of these exit permits and that she will be able to come home to us VERY SOON!  If we have to wait until January, she will be 16-17 months old.  I will admit that we have been sick with worry this weekend.  We are trying to leave it with God and trust Him.  That is what we know we must do.  All along his hand has been with us in this adoption.  We know that he is taking care of Anna Kate and that he will continue to do so.  But we are aching to hold her in her arms.  And it will be so much harder for her to transition if she is that much older when she has to move away from the only family she has ever known.

Hopefully we will find something out very soon.  The not knowing is the worst.  We will post something as soon as we hear.