Just a little announcement that….

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*WE HAVE TRAVEL APPROVAL!*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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Our EP has not yet been approved (We are expecting to hear that it has been this week) but we requested with our agency to leave for Korea in late May. We knew that it would be at least then before we got our travel call and between the kid’s last few weeks of school and Reagan graduating from Kindergarten on May 18th it just seemed like the best plan for our family. We were not sure that we would be approved but we were!! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind over the last few days!

As I was reading David the email about our approved travel he was already on the phone with the travel agent and reserving tickets! So, our flights are book and we will be leaving for Korea on May 23rd! That is 23 days from now and I have about 1 million and 1 things to do before then. Thankfully, we’ve had over a year to plan this trip so I feel somewhat organized but it’s almost like organized chaos at this point!

SO, what happens next is Maddox will have his Visa Physical this Thursday, May 3rd. We are also expecting to hear that his EP has been approved sometime this week. Then we will wait to see if we receive a class b waiver (this is generated by the Visa Physical and is basically just a paper noting his special needs that we will sign and notarize acknowledging we are aware). Then he will be scheduled for an Embassy Appearance, and lastly his visa will be issued and he will be ready to come home.

Since we are traveling before his visa is likely issued we will be staying in Korea for an undetermined amount of time (likely 2 weeks) and so we have booked an apartment for the month. This was more cost-effective than renting a hotel and there is actually another family in Korea staying at this particular place already so we were able to ask a million questions and find out that they really like the location and accommodations so we are thrilled to have been able to book it! We also have another friend who will be traveling a few days before us to Korea who is planning on staying in these lofts also. A huge bonus is there is WiFi in our room so we will be able to update the blog (and post lots of pictures) and skype with our big kids back home.

We are SO excited to be able to spend this time in Maddox’s birth country and really get to learn so much about Korean culture and history! There are so many things that we wanted to do while there that would have just been impossible to squeeze into a 7 day round trip and we are thankful that now we will have the opportunity to do many of those things! One of which is a trip to Maddox’s birth city that is a day trip in itself. We hope that we will also get the opportunity to meet his first foster family that cared for him for the first 5 months of his life.

It’s been a crazy weekend of celebrating and we are just overjoyed! Our little guy is so blessed to already have so many people who love him and are praying him home. We can’t begin to tell you how encouraging your enthusiasm and excitement for us is! It is so reminiscent of the day your husband calls everyone to say, “This is it! We are headed to the hospital to have this baby!” and that’s how it feels. We’ve waited 15 long months (which is ironically the gestation period of a Beluga Whale) and the time has finally come to meet our precious little boy.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name … Psalm 103:1.

I’ll leave you with another of the most recent picture of our sweet boy! Seriously, could you not eat him alive? I can’t wait to get my hands on him! : )

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Joy and Sorrow

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.”~Psalm 84:3

Our sweet Maddox is scheduled for his Visa Physical on May 3rd. We received his April WBC yesterday and he is doing wonderfully! It noted that he now has “curly hair”. Hmm. He is holding steady at 26 lbs and we can’t wait to wrap our arms around him!

  That spot to Reagan’s right is just longing to be filled! Two brothers…oh boy! She has no clue how her world is about to be rocked. How all of our little worlds are going to be rocked. Two families a world apart, all comfortable and cozy with their  ordinary, everyday routines. One longing to hold the little boy they have prayed for for so long. The other is holding tight to the little boy they have been preparing for his forever family since he was just a few months old.  In just a few short weeks those two families’ worlds will collide.

And it will be joy for one.

And heartbreak for the other.

It’s not lost on me. The pain in all of this. For the last year the pain has been with us. We longed, we hoped, we prayed. And the moment we pull away in that cab we will leave our pain behind….with her. This sweet, incredible woman who has loved my son all this time knowing she would have to say goodbye. I can barely type the words without crumbling. Will your pray for her? Her husband and two teenage children?

Pray that the Lord will prepare each of our hearts. Pray especially for our sweet boy, who in his short life has already experienced so much loss . To him, this will be another loss. At least until he learns to trust us. We will be strangers, who took him away from everything he knew and loved. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows this adoption process. But, with the help of our God  he will learn that we love him and he will learn what it means to have a family… one that lasts forever. And one day, when the dust settles and the new becomes routine he will learn…learn to love us back. Until then, we pray and seek the Lord. Will you pray us to the finish line?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

~ 21 Months~

Today our sweet Maddox turns 21 months old. His 2nd birthday is creeping up on us and it just blows me away that we’ve known he was ours since he was 7 months old. It seems like an eternity is some ways and others it seems like the blink of an eye.

What I’m happy to say is that he will be in our arms with almost certainty before he turns 23 months old and home in time to celebrate his 2nd birthday.

We have SO much to do in between now and then that it’s a bit overwhelming! I promised myself on Friday that once our Emigration Permit was submitted I would allow myself to just soak it in over the weekend. It was Easter and such a great time for reflection and praise and I didn’t want to take away from that with my  list making and organizing.

Then of course Monday kicked off Spring Break for my kids and we had two full day of fun. Monday we stayed in our PJ’s, slept late, watched movies, made Lego castles, played outside…just a nice relaxing day. Tuesday, we picked up my sister and spent the day at Huntington beach state park. They are finally at the age that going to the beach isn’t so stressful! I was actually able to sit down and relax thanks to the sweet 11 year old girl who was beside us. Such a  blessing.

And then came Wednesday. My dreaded surgery day. My oral surgeon had advised me not to fly to Korea without having this done…and that it would be a 4-5 day recovery time so the only feasible time to do the surgery was over Spring Break when David could be home. I refused to be put to sleep. Once they put the gas on my face and it kicked in I made them take it off. Then I had a panick attack about 1:45 minutes into the surgery. All that to say that after it was said and done the doctor told me (in a joking manner of course) that I had control issues… lol.

I’ve been pondering that over the last 30 some hours and I think he has something there. Granted…most of those 30 hours I’ve been on Percocet and I shouldn’t even be writing a blog..because who know what it will end up saying. But, let’s see I don’t ride elevators, I don’t like the moment when you are on a plane and the door seals, I don’t like riding places with other people that prevents me to not be able to leave when I want to, and I don’t like dental procedures…I could go on. I think I do have control issues. This could be a blog post in itself….but I’ll spare you.

The point of all of that is with our schedule I haven’t had time to start doing much of the preparations that need to be started before our sweet boy comes home. I’m so excited to start marking things off the list. Monday I was thinking that I might try to send just a small care package with one of the next traveling families…and then I remember that WE ARE one of the next traveling families. : )

It’s been such a great few weeks in the Korean adoption community. Friends are meeting their babies, and travel calls are coming left and right, lots of new pictures, the new rule about being allowed to travel and visit…it’s just been incredible.  If you want to keep up with some of the other blogs there is a great blog roll created by another adoptive mama waiting on her daughter. You can find it here: http://koreanadoptionblogroll.blogspot.com/  . There is a whole section of families who are in Korea now or were just united with their babies this week (Home in 2012). Be sure to grab a tissue!

I dont’ really have an update on Maddox..which is why this post is rather random (and then of course the percocet..kidding, kind of). We should be receiving his check up sometime next week and hopefully a sweet new picture with his Easter package. Bittersweet to think this may be the last checkup we get VIA email! Trust me…I am SO ok with that. I can’t wait for my boy to me in my arms. Each day brings us closer!

Happy 21 months, sweet boy!!!

~ EP SUBMITTED~

You turned my wailing into dancing;    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,  that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.    LORD my God, I will praise you forever.” ~ Psalm 30: 11-12

Deep exhale. I’ve been waiting a really long time to type those words on this blog. 1 year, 1 month, 2 weeks and 2 days since I saw my precious son’s face through a computer screen his Emigration Permit (Exit Permit;EP) has been submitted to the Korean Ministry  of Health and Welfare TODAY…on Good Friday. Praise God!

How it went down:

We had heard that our agencies submission was going to happen on Friday. Yesterday being Thursday I had no reason to believe that we would hear any news so I was just going about my day. At around 2:30 Reagan walked in the door from school and was begging me to let her play “Plants vs. Zombies”…which really means she gets frustrated and makes me play.. So, YES…I was playing a zombie game when I got the news (this is real life people….) Anyway, my phone rang and it was my neighbor, Lynn. She was matched through the Korea program last year also and her son is just a week younger than Maddox. She said (in a shaky voice) something along the lines of “Did you get an email about EP??”
…..Well, no.. you see I’m playing plants vs zombies..and….

What I actually said was “WHAT? DID YOU? WHAT DO YOU MEAN? A GENERIC EMAIL? I HEARD THEY WERE SUBMITTING TOMORROW? IS THAT WHAT IT SAID??”

All the while she was saying, “Mine must be a mistake? THis can’t be right? IT’s not time for us yet? I need to call them”

and during that time I had jumped up and ran to my phone that was charging in my room and low and behold…there sat the email I had been waiting on all this time. We did a few squeals…and then I cried..and screamed. I was blown away. Talk about taken by surprise. Never in a million years did we think we might end up in Seoul together? I told her to call the agency bc I knew she was dying to confirm and we hung up.

And the story from there involves lots of calls,tears, and text messages…and a little floating.

What happens now-

This permit is the one that Maddox needs in order to leave the country. He needs it in order to be issued his visa.

So, what will happen is the ministry will spend the next 4 weeks working to approve his paperwork. On the 4th week, we should be notified that his EP is approved (another big day).

Once this happens he will be cleared by the government of Korea to be adopted internationally and then the agency will schedule an “Embassy Appearance” (EA) and he will then get his Visa issued (VI).  This part of the process varies and it could take anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

Maddox will also need to go in for a Visa physical (VP). Thankfully, this can be scheduled while he is waiting for his EP to be approved.

SO, based off of the we could leave for Korea in the next 5-8 weeks? EEK.

I’m still walking around on a cloud. Praise God! When I think about the timing of this…it’s right. Everything is perfect. If you told me last March we wouldn’t travel until late Spring I would never have believed you…and I wouldn’t have believed that I could do it. But we made it. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done but I’m so thankful that the Lord has walked this road with me. I could have literally not done this without Him. There is so much more I could write about this…and I will but today on this precious, Holy, Good Friday I just want to Praise Him for all He has done for my family! Thank you, Jesus!

Hold on baby boy, mama is almost there and we will be a family forever more. Just you wait. It’s going to be GOOD!

To all my waiting mamas-

You are not forgotten. My heart aches for you because I know the pain you are feeling today. I know how hard it is to watch your baby grow up in pictures. To memorize every inch of that photo and wish you had more. I know what it feels like to be left behind. To feel like it will never happen. To feel discouraged, and tired, and anxious.

But, sweet mamas….it WILL happen, it IS happening. Your babies ARE coming home. Hang on! When you feel like you can’t wait one day longer, like you can’t even get out of bed…press forward and look UP! God sees you. He is hurting for YOU.. He will answer you!

I had a very precious friend during this process who was able to meet our Maddox while she was in Seoul. Her words spoke light into my darkness. I want to share something that she shared with me

Tracey, if I were there with you, I would come over…in my PJ’s, so we could hang out together, and cry together, and I would take your face in my hands, I would look into your eyes, and make sure you were looking at me and I would say…. TRACEY MATTHEWS DANIEL…..God sees you, He loves you, He knows you and HE HEARS your hearts cries for your little boy….I don’t understand His plan right now, but I trust His heart for you and those you love.  And I KNOW that BY GOD’S POWER, YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS, IT Won’t be EASY, it won’t be QUICK, (and it’s going to hurt), but God will use this mess for good.  It will become HIS message.  I know you won’t be foolish, or naive, for I see the strength of character God has already placed in your heart.  It doesn’t mean that you have to be strong all the time either, but PLEASE don’t despair.  For with GOD’s help YOU will, I KNOW you will get through this.  This Test is His TESTIMONY!

And sweet mamas, if you were here in front of me I would take you by the hands and say these exact words to you (although mine would be much less eloquent) because my friends this is TRUTH! It’s coming, it’s His plan, and it’s perfect!

I’m praying for each of you! AND if I can pray for you specifically please PLEASE let me know because it would be my absolute pleasure! You are not forgotten!

~Easter Parade~

Our kids go to an AMAZING preschool that we really couldn’t say one negative thing about. They love it. We love it. End of story.

One of the many traditions they have each year is an “Easter Parade”. It’s one of my very favorite events of the school year.

It’s a full day worth of fun though starting out with an Easter Egg hunt, followed by a fun Easter party, and then the infamous parade. The kids parade into the sanctuary waiving their palm branches and singing. The fun part is that each kid creates their own special Easter hat to wear in the parade! The 3 year olds are all bunnies, and the 4k and Kindergarten get to be as creative as they want. It is really fun to see all hats…and all the hard work the mommies put into them! ; ) Once on stage they sing a few songs. It’s super cute!

The kids (and my) very favorite song goes something along the lines of, “There was a shake and a rattle..and the stone was rolled away..on the mighty resurrection day!” I always get chills when I hear them sing it.

Almost like the chills I get when I read this:

 

Jesus Has Risen

 

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

 

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

 

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

—————————————-    He is Risen!

“Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and  weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness. ” ~Floyd W.  Tomkins

Blessing to you as we celebrate the joyous resurrection of our Saviour. I hope we can all remember that while bunnies and egg hunts are fun our true joy comes from Christ Jesus. May that joy surround you in the coming days and remind us of the true spirit of Easter.