Tuesday, May 24, 2011

seoul searching…

we had expected the events of my previous post and the following to be spread out over the next several months, NOT the last couple of weeks. I could sleep for 3 days straight to catch up on my recent lack thereof…*please note, the following post is startlingly transparent (for me) purposefully to encourage/motivate anyone who is also in the adoption process or considering adoption…

wednesday, may 11…

after our referral, reality started to set in as we researched her special need in more depth. our next step was to consult with an international adoption specialist for her professional view on our baby's special needs. I contacted the doctor Tuesday night and she called back the next morning with her medical opinion. she was very thorough and knowledgeable but totally scared me to death with her "what if's" and possible future health problems we might face. my excitement turned to fear and apprehension as my eyes were opened and I researched more about her metabolic disorder. the rest of the day I was in a fog and had no direction whatsoever, so I continued to research online. I came across a website branded "cook for love" (remember this title, it's important later) that was started by two mothers of children with her same condition. this was encouraging but I kept thinking, are WE really up to this challenge (specifically ME, since treatment mostly involves a VERY strict diet - for life) I started imagining my every waking moment being spent in the kitchen measuring and weighing foods, keeping detailed records of her food consumption in addition to regular blood tests and clinical appointments. but basically the only reasons I was coming up with to NOT adopt her were completely selfish and based in fear.

thursday, may 12…

I had another short night of sleep and woke up with no more direction than I had gone to bed with the night before, so I grabbed for the devotional book on my night stand and opened to the page I had book marked previously. the day's devotional was titled "learning to love", I Cor 13 was the text, and the author's first line was "I love to cook…". she proceeded to explain how she finds joy in showing love for her family by cooking for them. hmm. it kind of felt like God had slapped me upside the head with that one and said "yo, get with the program - this is obviously MY gift to you, accept her." it was my "aha moment" and exactly what I needed because I felt totally at peace about adopting her after that. I had been "waiting on a sign" and that was a startlingly clear one. later that morning, I talked to specialists and dietitians in town and our conversations were much more encouraging, definitely not rosy but not terrifying either.

Brad came home for lunch and as we sat there talking about adopting this little girl, I received another email from Holt informing us that her country fee had been reduced. *cue Twilight Zone music* what's this, another sign? I was in shock, from what I understood this fee is sometimes reduced if the child is going to need multiple surgeries etc. after coming home to the States. AND in addition to that, Holt was willing to work with us on the payment terms for the country program fee which is typically due at the time of acceptance. we were really expecting to have at least a few more months to save up, fund raise, etc. and that road block was removed. it is crazy exciting to see how God is working out all of the details for us to be able to adopt our baby girl. it is an amazing journey and I'm so thankful GOD CHOSE US to be her parents and for EVERYTHING he took us through to get to this point! at 1:30, I called our agency and informed them we wanted to adopt her!

friday through tuesday…

a very long weekend

waiting…waiting…waiting…to hear back from our agency about the questionnaire we were required to submit about our baby. monday I was interviewed by our agency who basically wanted to make sure we understood what we were accepting with her metabolic disease (PKU). thankfully I had spent the last week researching LATE into the night and was able to sound intelligent in my responses. (they were looking for something more than just "we love her and want to adopt her!")

wednesday, may 18…

we had our USCIS fingerprinting appointments up in Charlotte and on our way back home, I received an email from Holt. it was the acceptance paperwork that we had been waiting on for the past 9 days! 

monday, may 23…

we were able to finally ship the rather large acceptance paperwork package back to our agency. what a relief…

I'm too excited to sleep these days and we can't WAIT to be able to share her precious, delightfully chubby baby cheeks with you all. (for confidentiality reasons, we are not able to post her photos online at this time. just trust me when I say she is the most adorable baby we've ever laid eyes on!)

*one more thought - the fact that our referral is a GIRL is so unbelievable, she is obviously meant to be our daughter! we were totally expecting and prepared for a BOY because in order to adopt a girl from Korea, families are required to FIRST adopt a BOY. so, wow…God must have some big plans for this baby!

Monday, May 23, 2011

it's a girl!

this was turning into a ridiculously long post, so I'll be submitting it in stages so not to bore anyone. it's still pretty long - but don't say I didn't warn you…

it all started last Monday when I was frustrated out of my MIND. for some reason, it was taking an absurd amount of time for our Korea home study to be finalized. it was no one's fault in particular, just the "way it was". but it sure seemed to be M.I.A. and I was starting to get M.I.F.F.E.D.

fast forward 24 hours… 

tuesday, may 10, 4:52…

I was feverishly working at my computer on some project when I was interrupted by the familiar "ding" of the new email message alert. it was from our agency's waiting child program manager asking if I would be interested in reviewing the file of a LITTLE GIRL they had not been able to match with a family yet. they were getting ready to post her on the shared online photo listing. (side note: the shared list is something that I checked every day - multiple times a day, but had no desire to really pursue a child through that process since it involves the possibility of loosing the child to a "better equipped family". too much stress for katie.) so, yes, I was in TOTAL SHOCK (our home study wasn't even finalized yet, how can we have a referral already? that's not the way it works!) but I managed to email her back immediately with a "yes, please" (as if I would have said NO)

15 minutes later… 

I received baby girl's files and photos. my jaw hit the keyboard when I saw her and I think I squeaked something out like "my baby!". I knew right away she was supposed to be our baby…she is totally A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E. (not sure why I keep spelling words out like this, it just seems more emphatic) I scanned quickly through her health records, googled her medical condition (I'll save that topic for a future post) and as I researched, I thought, "this child could not be any more perfect for us". W.O.W. {insert wild emotions here} 

soon after that… 
Brad was not home from work yet so my brain started racing…how could I surprise him with this HUGE news? I began dashing around the house searching for ideas. he could be home ANY MINUTE! then it came to me…I hadn't picked up the mail yet. so, I printed out her referral pics, stuffed them in an envelope labeled "daddy", high-tailed it down to our box and buried it within the other mail, and dashed back into the house…just in time. 

like a deranged stalker, I spied on him from my office window as he pulled into the driveway, parked the car and made his way up the walk to the house - mail in hand. I quickly sat down at the computer pretending to "work" as he opened the front door. I cranked up my iPhone just before he walked into my office - I had to (secretly) get this on video. with mail still in hand, he proceeded to tell me this story about his mom calling him earlier that day asking him "where he was" (apparently this is not unusual behavior for her - if she sees something on the news about a plane wreck, etc., she'll feel the need to check on Brad) so, he continued to talk for what seemed like ages. finally, he held up THE ENVELOPE and says, "I found this in the mail and I'm curious if MOM put it in there this afternoon". (seriously, Brad, enough about your mom already) then, trying to stay composed I asked, "well, did you open it?!?!" that was apparently the cue he needed and the rest is history. there were a lot of emotions and "squeaking" heard from me as Brad later referred to it. we had a long laugh about that video later. we called a "meeting" at coffee underground and secured a corner booth to review her files in detail and stare at her amazing pictures some more...like a couple undercover agents on some secret mission. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

words I refuse to utter…and some good news

Although I'm really NOT a fan of the term "paper pregnant", (it just sounds wacky to me, but it is thrown around frequently in the adoption world) technically that's what we are!

Our home study has been officially approved by our agency for our Korea special needs program - yay! Time for I-600 paperwork and OCD re-appearance! It's time to occupy myself with work, nursery designs and "nesting" (another term I'm not particularly fond of - I picture bird droppings all over my house when I hear that…?) Anyway, I'll take it if it means we're one step closer!

this is one checklist that I have mastered…no contest!

Monday, May 16, 2011

soon to be printed!

Our USCIS fingerprinting appointment for
our China adoption is this Wednesday!

Hopefully they will be able to use the same biometrics for our 
Korea paperwork when the time comes – that would be awesome!

The above photo is inspiration for new wall art in my office.
I want to transform our babies prints into modern art!

Friday, May 13, 2011

a tale of two shirts…

I came across these shirts on an adoption site the other day and thought they were great. 
Might have to get a couple for Brad and me. "No stretch marks" makes me smile...and was just added to my "blessings of adoption" list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

carry out and the last leg of the paperwork relay…

Yesterday I had a visit from our wonderful social worker to pass off the final pieces (hopefully) of our dossier paperwork for China. Now that we are getting closer to wrapping up all of that, it hasn't seemed so bad...kind of like labor, I hear. This time, Debi came bearing gifts from her recent visit to Disney - a souvenir "from China". Isn't it the cutest little Chinese take out purse you've ever seen?

She's great and I'm glad she's so organized and on top of things keeping everything straight between our dual adoptions. I'm also thankful Korea doesn't require the dossier paperwork. On the Korea front, I heard yesterday that our agency "approved" our home study, so next steps will be sending it through SC's DSS and back to Holt for us to officially be added to the list for waiting children. That will be an awesome day!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Adopted for Life

As my interest in adoption grew last year, one of the first things I did was to buy this book at the suggestion of a friend who was also in the midst of adopting. When I was finished, I passed it on to Brad. Then I started reading it again…because it was that good. I would definitely recommend this book to ANYONE - whether you are interested in adopting or have been adopted into God's family. The author shares his own personal story of adopting two boys from Russia. Good stuff!

It was clear to Brad and I after reading this what we needed to do - step out in faith and adopt 12 children. ok, not really, but we knew we wanted to be a family (to more than our dog-children). International adoption was the road we were being led down. And when we found out from our agency that a dual adoption with China standard program and the S. Korea special needs program was an option for us, it felt like a no-brainer. We had waited long enough…8 years of marriage…we aren't getting any younger…and we knew already we wanted to adopt more than one child. So, we're excited to be united with the children God has for our family. We have a lot to learn about adoption, what to expect, etc…kind of feels like going back to school. But it's totally worth it. This time our diplomas will be coming to us in the form of children.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

I love it when a song and music video come together so powerfully. Probably everyone who is on or has been through the adoption journey knows this song, so this is for everyone else. Enjoy…