Reason #4325

 Reason # 4325 why I love our adoption agency so much…. and the Korean IA program in general. On Monday, we received an email from our program’s director that said our little guy had taken a tumble of some sort and had some “trauma to the bridge of his nose”. She was so sweet and wanted to make sure we knew that she knew how hard it was to get news about your child being in any type of accident…especially a child that is on the other side of the planet.

  The agency doctor referred him to an ENT to check for fracture. She seemed to think it wasn’t anything too serious and ,as is common with the children in the program, they tend to air on the side of caution and she felt certain that was the reason for the ENT consult.

 In the email she had already formatted a list of questions for the doctor to answer about how the incident happened, what the consult results were, and asking for pictures. She encouraged us to add our own questions to put our minds at ease and she would email them to Korea that afternoon.

 It’s so reassuring to know how in the loop we are with his care even though we sometimes feel so out of the loop. I can’t say enough how incredible our US agency and partner agency in Korea are at making sure we are well informed even down to a bump on the head. We are so incredibly thankful! If you are someone who is looking into international adoption and you are just slightly overwhelmed by the options please send me a message and I’ll gladly give you some information on our experience! It’s been an incredible journey so far!

 Tuesday we received a photo of Maddox with the “Snail” care package! I assume this picture was taken when he went in to have his nose checked. Can you say adorable?! Ugh, I love him! It’s hard to tell but you can see some small bruises on either side of the bridge of his nose. It doesn’t look as bad as I had anticipated. Thank goodness!

  We were told to expect to have the results from the ENT later in the week and hope to also get a little more information about what happened then. I guess this means it’s time to get started on a new care package! My sweet friend, Kelly, has agreed to hand deliver this one to Korea herself when she goes to bring home her daughter, Leah, in October. Leah and Maddox share a birthday and can I just tell you that is one baby girl I cannot wait to see in her mama’s arms! Kelly, we are praying your travel call is right around the corner!!

Back to School

         A little late on the draw with this one but my big kids started back to school last week. Reagan is officially a kindergartener and Dawson started 3k (3 mornings a week). It’s been quite the adjustment from summer having to be out the door around 7:30!  The kids are really loving their new friends, new teachers, and new routine. Reagan did ask me on a particularly grumpy Monday morning “How much longer was she going to have to get up so early!?!?” I informed her that sadly the answer to that was the rest of her life. : )

The Tuesday before school started the kids got to go to their classrooms and meet their teachers. Here are a few pictures of that morning:

Reagan was excited to not only have some special “old” friends in her class but a few new friends. I think it always takes the anxiety out of the first day getting to see your classmates and room before school really begins.

 Dawson wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a picture of him but he made lots of new friends too. Oddly enough, 4 kids that live on our street are in his class so he already had a few familiar faces.

 This is his *new* camera smile face. Sigh.

Wednesday morning was the first day of school and the kids were both VERY excited. I expected some anxiety from Reagan but I was surprised that for the most part she wasn’t nervous a bit. Dawson true to form never skipped a beat. Even with our new early morning schedule we managed to take a few quick pictures before we loaded up the car. 

My little kindergartener

 I can’t believe she is old enough to be in 5K

   Right before this picture my camera died and I was forced to pull out my iPhone to finish up the pictures.

  Seriously the cutest 3ker ever! Our preschool provides bags for all the kids each year. Dawson’s seems to swallow him. I’m sure by the end of school I’ll be reminiscing about how little he seemed.

        He couldn’t stop talking about going to play on the “water slide” aka play ground slide.

               He looks entirely too grown up here. I can’t even handle the cuteness!

            When we got to school Reagan practically tackled us to get inside the school. Dawson walked right into his room and started playing and I had to make him stop long enough to give me a hug.  Then we walked Reagan to her class and once through the threshold she clung to my leg for dear life. Thankfully,her teacher came right over and greeted her and she gave her a big hug and then was ready for us to leave. I was completely fine until I walked out of her classroom and then I welled up with tears just a little bit. I’m really proud of them both.

I took a few pictures of them in their classroom and with their teachers but after a quick google search I decided to be a little more precautious about what I share on here. I think I’ve been pretty naive about who can see what on this blog and I’d rather just be on the safe side..and today that means not sharing my pictures that tell the world where my kids go to school everyday. But trust me they are incredibly cute. 

 Both kids had a great first day. They LOVE their teachers and had lots to tell me when they got home. I’m so proud of both of them and excited for the school year ahead.

 Late that afternoon while we were chatting Reagan got this serious look on her face and said, “Mama, I thought you said I was going to learn how to read in kindergarten!?!?” I laughed and was sure to inform her that she would but it may take just a little bit longer than 1 day. : )

  Time just keeps ticking away and as always we are just trying to soak up every little drop.

Dreams

 

      I’m warning you upfront this will be a rambling post. I’m going to have trouble accurately conveying what I want to say…and some people are going to read this and think I’m a whack job. I’m ok with that.

 I’ve posted here before about a friend of mine having a dream about Maddox coming home. If you know me well, then you know I have a tendency to, well…read way too much into dreams and signs sometimes. Don’t get me wrong I fully believe the Lord uses things such as these to convey messages to us..sometimes. However, I’m so eager to hear from Him I often see things that are either not there or are there but didn’t come from God at all..because I’m looking too hard.  There was this one time that ,I kid you not, I was convinced the Lord was telling us to adopt from India because our waitress at Olive G*rden was from India. I mean…there was more to it than that but I still laugh at myself when I think about it! So, how do you tell the difference between the two?

 Well for me, I can always tell because when it’s from God he confirms it. Never fails. And when it’s not He shuts the door. Just to give an example I’ll go back to the Olive G*rden the waitress. The week following that meal we came across the face of the sweetest little Indian boy I’d ever seen. It was his birthday. David agreed we should request his file. So we did. 24 hours later we got an email back saying that they would note our interest in his file but because I was not 30 we could not be considered. Well, there you go. Door closed. I had peace about it and I still pray for him. Maybe that was what God wanted all the time, for someone to be praying for him until his forever family could find him. I’ll never know. I could go on and on about this but I’m no expert and I really only have my life experiance to go on but it’s a fun topic I’d love to talk about more at some point.

   Anyway, back to the dreams. Since the first time I was told about Maddox coming home in someone’s dream it has happened 4 more times with 3 different people. SO, in total 4 friends have shared with me pretty detailed dreams about his arrival. I’m always taken back because the stories come when I least expect them but they’ve ALWAYS come on hard days. One friend said she saw me with all 3 kids playing in the park. I was pushing Maddox in a swing. One said she was at the airport when we arrived home to welcome us.One said she dreamed it was fall and Maddox was coming home. One said she ran into us at Walmart : ) and she dreamed a second time (a few weeks later) that she was with us in Seoul! Now, I could (and did) read WAY too much into each of them and bless each of my sweet friends hearts because I interrogated them about what season it was, what type of clothing they were wearing (sweaters, shorts…) and anything else that could possibly give me insight into whether this meant my son would come home THIS year! : )

 Do I believe that God was sending me a sign through my friends that Maddox is coming home this year? No. But, I do believe He sent a tangible way for them to encourage me just when I needed it. And as if that wasn’t enough I believe He wanted to remind me that He has got this and I need to not waver in my faith. He wanted me to know that Maddox IS coming home. It may not be this year, or by Christmas, or on my schedule but he will at some perfectly ordained time join our family in the flesh…forever.

   After the first time, I wanted to know why God wouldn’t allow me to dream it. I want to see him in action. I’ve only seen still pictures. Why other people? I prayed he would allow me to dream about him. It never happened. I believe I know why. If any of you have ever read the book “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman you may remember reading the forward by Beth Moore. There she tells the story of having a very vivid dream of Mary Beth’s daughter, Maria, who had passed away months prior. You can read that whole story here  but please grab a tissue beforehand. You’ve been warned. Now, I certainly don’t mean to say that my aches and longing for my son come anywhere near the pain of losing a child. I could not imagine that they do and don’t want to even compare the two situations other than to say that I think God knew. He knew I couldn’t handle a dream like that. He knew it would cause me too much pain to awaken and not have my youngest son still with me. He knew me well enough to send these blessing through my friends who would bring them to me with excitement so that instead of sadness I could soak up every detail through our fellowship. Instead of pain from awaking to empty arms He brought me joy through the dreams of others. Sigh. God is good ALL the time. Isn’t He?

 New things are happening in our adoption process. We aren’t sure at this point how a new policy will be implemented. It may be not so encouraging news for our time line. It may not. We hope to know soon. My heart sometimes feels like it can’t take this uncertainty one more second. But it does, and it will and end the end God is going to write an amazing story. I’m so excited to watch it unfold.

*If you are wondering what happened to our T-shirt fundraiser. It’s coming. I promise. WordPress hosted blogs don’t like for you to sell things so we are working out some kinks and in the process a new blog has been started…and now professionals will need to be called in because Tracey is OFFICIALLY in over her head! Hope to have things worked out soon.*

Tshirt Update

We are still waiting on some changes on one of our mock up drawings. We hope to have them in Monday and get them listed on the blog early next week. Until then, here is a preview of two of the 3 designs. I’m so excited about these! 🙂

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New Maddox Cuteness

I was very, very pleasantly surprised to receive a WBC and new photos in my inbox this afternoon. We had just gotten photos a week or so ago and after they are one typically babies don’t go in for a WBC but every other month (at least with our agency) so I wasn’t expecting anything until September. But, yay! I’ll take them!

There were 5 photos. 2 were of him with the birthday care package we sent. I’m a little sad he didn’t receive it before now but I was excited we were able to have pictures of him opening his gifts.

I’m so in love with him! He is flipping through the photo album we got for his birthday. Each page has a picture of one of us and we all recorded a little something for him. : )

I think this picture is my favorite! The page he is looking at is a picture of me, and the bottom is a picture of David. And then of course, just looking at the picture you can see all 3 of my babies in one photo. I love it!! I know I’ve said this before, but I hate having to “cover up” his foster mom but it’s an agency rule that we protect her privacy and I totally understand that and respect their wishes! She really looks like such a sweet woman. I’m so glad to know he is being loved on.

Cuteness!

Oh, I can’t wait to hold him and kiss those sweet cheeks! We were able to request a video of him walking and possibly self feeding at the request of our pediatrician. As excited as I get about these pictures I may combust when we get the video! I pray it comes soon. And, we are still praying for a miracle that is EP submission in September.

Beside, In front of, and Behind

 I can’t remember where I first heard it but several years ago it was impressed on me the importance of having girlfriends  that “play” certain specific roles in our walk. What I mean is it’s important to have Christian women in your life that are walking beside you, in front of you and behind you in your particular season of life.

  Hello!? Why had this not occurred to me before? I’m not sure, but it changed the way I related to other women and I sought to find that type of balance in my friendships. Here is just my version of each of these types of woman and how they fit into my life.

 Walking beside:

  I think most of us have this covered. These are the girlfriends that are right here with you. They struggle with what you struggle with, rejoice in the same things your rejoice, and if you picked up the phone RIGHT NOW to talk about a particular tough issue you are facing they will likely say, “Girl, me too!”  For me, these are the women who are balancing life with preschool aged children, struggling to fit in carpool and devotions, changing diapers or desperately trying to potty train a resistant toddler, cleaning up toothpaste in places she never thought she’d find toothpaste (or marker, or playdoh), holding their babies tight because they don’t want to take a single moment of this time in their lives for granted and in the next breath wondering when they will ever get to sleep, eat a meal without interruption, or make it through a day without saying, “get that crayon out of your brother’s nose”. Ok, maybe that last one only happens at my house but you get my point! For you, it may be completely different depending on what season you are in.

 We need “Walk beside” women in our life. I pray each of you have at least one woman you can share this type of relationship with. And if you don’t, actively seek one out. It is so important to have friendships with women in your season, who share you faith and values and that you can mutually encourage one another.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

*~*~*~ *As I type this, one of my “Beside” girlfriends has asked me to pray for a son of her dear friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. She asked  that this link be passed. So, I thought I’d share it here.   http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lukeshamblin Please be in prayer for Luke and his family!! *~*~*~*

In front of:

 Oh, man this could be my favorite. Well, I take that back they are all my favorites but this is one of the relationships I couldn’t live without. The “in front of” relationship is exactly as it sounds. These are the women in your life that have “been there done that”. They have moved beyond your season, and look back on it with fond memories and incredibly encouraging advice. They can share with you a different perspective, words of wisdom, and sometimes a “get over it”! Please, don’t underestimate how valuable these women are in your life. I think sometimes as women it’s hard to take advice and I’m certainly not saying all advice is good advice but if you have a woman in your life who loves the Lord and you can just see the spiritual fruit in her life by all means listen to her! She has been where you are. She knows your struggles because they once were hers. Most of the time, the “in front of” women in our life are further along in their walk with Christ. You can count on them to pray for you, with you and to give you Godly counsel. I don’t know about you but I crave time with women who can encourage me in that way.

  Just last week, a fairly new friend of mine stopped by my home to drop of something and as we stood in the door way talking about how we were in different seasons she said something I won’t soon forget. She said that so often women struggle with the image of the Proverbs 31 woman because they envision that chapter as being done all in one day. In reality, this is what the woman accomplished over the course of her lifetime. Well you don’t say? I’ve heard countless women speak on that passage, I’ve read it more times than I can count, it’s surfaced in articles and my devotions  and not once had that ever been put that way to me. I think I can breathe now. See what I mean? We NEED woman who are in front of us in life. Don’t be intimidated by what they know, or that you will be judged, soak up what they have for you. The Lord placed them in your life for a reason. I don’t believe in happen chance.

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:19

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9

 Behind:

    As I type this I can’t help but think of the women in my life that fall into this category and it makes me a little teary eyed. : ) I am seriously, crazy in love with them and how much they have grown spiritually in the last several years and should they ever read this I hope they know how so very proud of them I am and how much I love them! If you haven’t figured it out the “behind” friendships are the exact opposite of the “in front of”. These are the women who YOU can say you have “been there and done that” to. They are not quite where you are in life but they will be one day and there is so much you want them to know, and see, and do and then you pray they don’t do it the way you did and that they can learn from your mistakes.

 I think it’s easy to be intimidated by this relationship.Satan has a way of letting us feel like we aren’t good enough, or we don’t know enough, or even worse we aren’t worthy to be in a place to mentor anyone. Well, as usual, he’s wrong. In fact, if you were perfect, you wouldn’t be cut out for the job. The women behind you don’t want to see perfect, they want to see real. I can assure you, this is the relationship I struggle with the most and have much to learn but please don’t let your insecurities overcome your desire to develop this area in your life.  Take the time to pray for these women, and I mean really pray. You know where they are because you’ve been there so even if they haven’t asked for prayer about a situation you already know the need. Just be real. Be honest. Be there. I promise you are good enough. Again, I don’t believe in happen chance. God placed them in your life for a reason. Be an encouragement to them.

“And neither will I walk off and leave you. That would be a sin against God! I’m staying right here at my post praying for you and teaching you the good and right way to live. But I beg of you, fear God and worship him honestly and heartily. You’ve seen how greatly he has worked among you!” 1 Samuel 12:23-25

“We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves.”Romans 15:1

  I’ll just leave you with this. Evaluate who your friends are. I think the biggest test of this is do you leave your time with them encouraged, uplifted, and content or rather discouraged and convicted. It does make a difference. Surround yourself with the former and weed the latter out.

Tiny little sneak peek at our new fundraiser!!

  I am SO pumped about joining up with Kari at My Crazy Adoption to offer these incredible t-shirts! This is the back of one of the options for guys. The front has a South Korea graphic on it. I should have all the mock up drawings  by the end of the week and hope to kick it off over the weekend. I can’t wait to see them.

We’ll do a two week t-shirt blitz. They will be pre-order only. Several different styles will be available for men, women, and kids too!! : )  Check back in a few days to view all of them! SO excited!

Can’t Hurry Love!

I’m going to admit just how big of a nerd I am. While David and I were on our family road trip last month I saw the cutest little stuffed snail at Cracker Barrel. It even sang “Can’t Hurry Love”. Normally, singing stuffed animals don’t illicit warm, fuzzy feelings within me ,however, I was drawn to this sweet little snail. She had burrowed her way into my heart and I knew she would make the perfect addition to our next care package to our Korean cutie. Slightly embarrassed, both that I was crazy about the stuffed snail and that I had played the song so many times the customers around me started to give me funny looks, I merely mentioned the snail in passing to David and nothing more was said.

But, that snail just captivated me. Every time I started preparing Maddox’s package my thoughts were drawn back to it! I’m not really a “I’ve got to have it” kind of girl about anything and especially not about a singing toy so I thought it was strange to keep thinking such nonsense. But really, how appropriate are the “Can’t Hurry Love” lyrics to our wait?

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You got to trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

Two weeks ago, David had to go back out of town for work and I found myself working on a few things for the care package. I decided to load the kids up and just see if our local Cracker Barrel still had any of them. We get there and I realize Dawson has no shoes on. No turning back now. I threw my 3 year old on my hip and trudged in on a mission. After several minutes (that seemed like hours) of searching I found one stuffed in the corner. Victory! Except, when I tried to play it nothing happened. I asked the floor clerk who suggested new batteries and off she went to replace them to no avail. This little snail was dead. I was saddened.

Later that night I called David and recounted the Cracker Barrel adventure. A few hours later he sent me a text, “Is this it?” with a picture. Bless his heart. He had driven all the way across town to the closet Cracker Barrel and found the coveted snail! Oh, I love him!

I’ve spent the better part of the day in bed. I’ll spare you the details but after two root canals and a retreatment of one of them it appears I need an apicoectomy. Which frankly, terrifies me! My face is incredibly swollen and painful to touch and one of the crazy antibiotics I’m on makes me feel terrible. So, with no kids (my parents swooped in and saved the day) I had nothing on my agenda today except to rest. However, I finished up the package and wrote Maddox’s foster family a letter. I’m excited about all the goodies we are sending this time around but I’m most excited about my little snail! Slightly sad that I have to send my little gal on her way I had to share her sweetness with all of you.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to her:

Isn’t she darling?!?!?

He is in all the details…

 

 I mean seriously? Are you kidding me? How could he be any more precious???

I’ve stared at every single detail of this picture soaking it all in.  Those chubby feet, the teeny tiny little fingers, the head tilt, the hair, his incredibly juicy lips,  and oh my word…the USC outfit!

About two weeks ago David and I were talking and he just flat-out said he was ready for a new picture. He was getting anxious to hear something, anything  (just as I was) but really wanted to see his son’s face. He even joked about how awesome it would be if Maddox had on the USC outfit that he had picked out. In fact, again last week in passing he made the same comment about him having on this outfit. And, THEN when I got the picture and was running over to show him he said, “Does he have on the outfit?”

 Seriously, y’all? God is SO good. That wasn’t a  happen chance thing! We sent him many, many outfits. I’m sure he has a closet full provided by his foster family. But, the one thing we specifically spoke of in regards to a new picture is in the new picture. It was a reminder from the Lord that He’s got this.  It’s like He said, “Oh, you didn’t get submitted for an EP yesterday, well watch this!” I laughed and cried and thanked Him for this picture and for my little Korean Gamecock! I’m overwhelmed by His goodness!!

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. ~ Ephesians 3:20 (emphasis mine)

 “What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31

Step by Step

 Early last week we received amazing Progress Report on Maddox!  We have received one of these reports in the past but it was with his referral paperwork and he was just a few months old so there wasn’t much to say about the personality of such a little guy but this report was from May so he was 10 months old.

 Y’all I’m seriously just smitten. I’ve read the report at least 20x and keep glancing back at certain parts with a huge grin plastered across my face!

A few highlights:

 ~ Looks to the source of sounds or name calling , watches TV commercials attentively, screams noisily when he feels good (I’m going to call that a squeals with delight!), Stops actives and tries to read face when stopped with, “No, you don’t” (giggle).

 ~ Demands to be fed quickly when he is hungry

~ He is eating 2 tbsp of porridge with thinly sliced carrots, potato, and sweet pumpkin or fine rice cereal. It’s also listed that he steamed sweet potato, sponge cake, or soft cookies.

~Sleeps from 10pm – 7pm without waking. (Yes, yes, I like that!)

~ Drops head and shuns the eyes of strangers at first but later offers hands and can be held by them if asked. : )

~ Likes to get fresh air outside in a baby stroller.

~ And my FAVORITE: He is assigned to an adoptive home is USA and seems to know he is already a member in the family when shown family photo of adoptive parents and wears bright smiles.  I “wear bright smiles” too every time I read that!

 So, other than the progress report we also found out on Monday that the Ministry in Korea has once again started processing the EP’s! There was a group submitted on the 8th. We, unfortunately, were not in that group but are VERY close! 

 Here is a link to some more specific information: http://mpakusa.blogspot.com/2011/08/news-flash-ep-process-has-started-to.html

 This information says that there are less than 100 EP’s left to give out for the year between the 4 Korean agencies. That is a very, very small number.

 Maybe I’m naive but I still think we are getting one. I am choosing to believe we will be submitted in September.

If we don’t, well, the good news is that we are so close to the front at this point that it’s likely we will be in the very 1st batch of the year come January. Hopefully, that would mean we would travel by March.

 If we do get one next month it’s possible Maddox could be home by Thanksgiving but almost for sure by Christmas! I’ve learned to never say definitely in this process! : )

Here’s some other good news!!!! There was a very large group of families who had been submitted for their permit in May. We affectionately refer to them as the 5/20 batch. They have been waiting close to 3 months for approval. That process is typically 4 weeks. This morning I learned that the very 1st family from that group received approval! And slowly, that number is growing. Our agency is on the west coast and does not open until 11 eastern time so I’m just praying for release! I’ve already shed many happy tears and Praises to the Lord for this news today.

I don’t think there are really words to describe the relationships that form between families who are all in this process together. You know you have other people who completely understand every low point, every abbreviation, every minute spent timeline stalking . They celebrate with you in even the smallest of good news and encourage you during the long, long wait. It’s definitely something that I didn’t realize would be of such importance to me until the tough times! And, to everybody who thinks it’s weird to have “internet” friends you’ve never met (including my husband)…. just consider the fact that most of these women have had state and government background checks, home inspections, child abuse clearances, hours and hours of social worker interviews….and passed them all with flying colors!  I mean, come on? : ) I think they are pretty harmless! 

: )