So Close!

Aside

Only 2 1/2 more school days! Jacob asked me what we would be eating during the summer. I guess he questions my abilities to provide meals. 

That means that next year we’ll have 1st, 7th and 10th graders. Mhmm. I’m not sure that’s going to work for me. 

I was chatting with my British neighbor (so, read with an accent) and her friends who are also teachers and they said that the first year overseas is terrible. The hardest. You can’t make decisions and feel out of control. Really? You don’t say… 

This school year is ending with saying goodbye to students and friends, some only for the summer but some for longer.  Bittersweet is an understatement. I’m not usually the “girlfriend” type but I’ve met friends that I didn’t know I needed.

Everyone is ready for the break. Time for relaxing (after the flight, of course!) and visiting our people. We’ll be in our Southern homes mid June, where there is brewed iced tea. Jacob wants fried rice when we get there and we all want Memphis Pizza. But, I’m sure we’ll miss our Gong Cha!

A few “day in the life” pictures:

   
    
   
Happy Spring and Summer!

Advertisements

Wrapped

Aside

Guess what?!  Sean was able to see Julianna yesterday! And, thanks to Skype, so was I!  He took her a birthday cake because she is turning 3 next week.

Image She is such a cutie with lots of personality! She showed up in a velvet dress because she loves to dress up.   It is so obvious that she is well loved by her “aunts” and other care takers.  That is a huge blessing to us.

So, this is what we know……she loves to eat, thinks everything is hers, has lots of spunk, and has made lots of improvements with her speech, etc.  We still don’t know a date that we’ll bring her home, but we do anticipate spring.  Come on, spring!!!

Here ya go!  A bit of sweetness for you…

Image

What do you think?  Any hope for him?

Our Girl

Aside

So, Korea was great.  The beautiful mix of old and new, modern and ancient. We were able to visit 4 different cities.  Seoul, Pyongtaek, Uijongbu and Ilsan. Schools in the first 3, baby girl in the last.

Baby girl’s name is Julianna, by the way. Her Korean name is Yeon-a.

Now I’ll tell you about the visit. We were driven to the orphanage by our social worker. She was so helpful and sweet…and spoke English! Ilsan Orphanage has a few different houses that are home to the residents. It is mainly for moderate to severe special needs’ children–they can stay there as adults, too. It’s a sweet place. Our girl has some developmental delays and was placed at this orphanage so she could receive therapies. She goes to Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy.  She goes to preschool off campus. And, she loves yoga.  (yes, yoga)  Apparently, they have yoga at school. We took some snacks and a book with a strap that she promptly turned into a purse. She got mad at me for not giving her the snack container and snatched my glasses right off my face:) I thought it was pretty awesome…..I’m glad she has spunk! They told us that she’s very silly and she’s not as aggressive towards other kids now. (UH-OH!) Oh, and she knows a few English words, including “tank chu”.  She went right to Sean and seemed to really take to him. It was very sweet. We spent about an hour and a half with her. We had prepped ourselves to enjoy the visit and not be emotional when we left. But boy, was it hard to leave her there. In an orphanage.

Mixed emotions is an understatement. I’m thankful for her caring, sweet caregivers. I’m sad that she’s there. Glad that it’s available for people who need it. Sad that people need it. Happy that we’ll be able to bring her home next year. Sad that it takes so long.  Thankful for time with my boys to prepare their hearts for our new addition. Sad that she’ll have to grieve her losses when she comes home with us.

In the meantime we’re …

Waiting on the next pile of paperwork needed. We’re focusing on the fact that  she’s being taken care of and loved. We’re hoping that we don’t run into any roadblocks along the way to slow the process down. We’re thankful to be a part of her life.

You can: pray for this whole process and all of its details, including our boys, Julianna and her huge transition that’s ahead. Be patient that we’re not posting pics yet. I’m not quite ready to have them on FB, but I’ll be glad to show you when I see you. We’ll keep you posted!

A Quick Hello!

Aside

Have you had a good week?  I hope so!  We have…..wanna know why??

Okay, I’ll tell you. We received our home study, right in our hot little hands! Why is that a big deal? Because we can now apply for our I1600A…part of the VISA process for our little girl.  And, I found a little girl play- kitchen at a consignment sale along with  wayyy too many  several pretty little outfits!! Can you tell I’m excited?? I know….it’s a bit annoying. I’ll try to reign it in a little.

Enough about me. How are you? What’s new?  It’s been a while since we’ve seen a lot of you. Following you on Facebook isn’t the same…;)

If you didn’t know about our adoption before now, you can read about it a few posts back. I would post a link straight to it, but can’t figure it out right now!   I’ll give you a quick rundown….

She’s beautiful, 2 1/2, from South Korea, and we hope to bring her home by early next year. We’re all very excited and the boys are ready for a sister!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a great weekend! I think we’ll hang around the house this weekend.  The boys start school in a little over a week, so they’re wanting to play their last days of summer away! Maybe I’ll attempt another Pinterest recipe….who knows? I do know that I will sleep late Saturday.  That’s one of my favorite rituals;) You would think that I wouldn’t do that anymore, but I guess I’ll never fully grow up.  I remember the days of youth camp when the kids would get to breakfast bright and early and “someone” who shall remain unnamed for now would try to wake me up, only to find that I wanted sleep a lot more than I wanted breakfast! Those were fun times:) And I would still choose sleep over biscuits anyday!

Friday

Aside

It is Friday and it is HOT in Mississippi! Back to the 100 degree days…… (by the way, I never thought I would live in Mississippi!)
What are your plans for the weekend? I think I’ll do nothing some house cleaning and restock our pantry since we have had green beans for 2 nights straight. My boys will start to rebel soon. Maybe I’ll bake something and actually get some school supplies for my children.
I will certainly watch cartoons, stay online too long, go see the new Batman movie and try not to be late for church Sunday.
We’ll see how everything pans out…..
Oh, and I’m determined to actually do one of the cool crafty ideas I see on Pinterest! I know you don’t believe me.
Happy weekend!

Our Family is Growing

Aside

Well, it’s official!  We are expecting Garrick #3!!  SHE will arrive sometime next year and we are BEYOND excited!  Can you believe we’ll have a little girl?  Sean has already been looking at girly furniture and I have banned myself from any store that sells little girl clothes;)

You probably remember that I do not do well with pregnancy, right?  So, this time around there will be no morning sickness or complete exhaustion for me. (for now, anyway)  because WE ARE ADOPTING!!!  Woohooooo!! Can you tell I’m stinkin’ excited?? We all are!

Here’s how it happened…

Last year, we were exploring different options regarding foster care and adoption.  After months of trying to figure out what in the world we were supposed to be doing, God made it very clear to both of us that we were to pursue international adoption.  It took us a while to embrace that idea because we had always thought we would adopt domestically. But, no.  International adoption, it is. So, we started researching different agencies and programs and realized that we wanted to adopt a “waiting child.”  A waiting child is either older, has special needs or is part of a sibling group.

We narrowed down our options and decided on adopting a girl, around 5-6, probably from Haiti.  Welllll, as we kept looking at the waiting child lists, there was a picture that I kept seeing.  I would take a break from looking (because I really was a bit obsessed…I can admit it).  A week would pass and I would check again and she was still there. I read, re-read and showed Sean (more than a few times) her picture. Finally, we decided to inquire about this one little girl from South Korea.  After a LOT (and I do mean a lot) of paperwork, questionnaires, phone calls and being presented to the “commitee” at the adoption agency, we were CHOSEN to be her parents!  That was the Thursday before good Friday.  This was a tentative placement until our home study was accepted by our adoption agency.  So, we started the process of getting our home study updated to an international home study. It took 3 1/2 months. The paperwork involved should qualify us to work for the FBI! Seriously. – After all of our clearances, background checks, fingerprints, etc., came back, our home study was submitted to our agency and we were OFFICIALLY matched with our sweet girl! FINALLY!!

Here are the details on our little girl…..she lives in an orphanage in South Korea.  She is 2 1/2!  (whoa, baby, it’s been a while!) We do not know how long the rest of the process will take, but she should be in her new home, our home within a year.  (hoping and praying it’s sooner!)

We feel like our experience with developmental delays have prepared us to care for this little girl. We know she’ll need speech/language therapy, but other than that, we aren’t sure. Just like we weren’t sure what our boys might need. Or what any of us will need.

Okay, so here are some answers to a few of your questions:

Adoption?? We feel like we have been called to adopt.  According to Unicef and Orphan World Relief, there are between 147 and 210 million orphans in the world today.       *James 1:27*

Why South Korea? Honestly, we were not committed to a specific country until we saw this little girl. We felt drawn to her and she lives in Seoul, so that’s why!

How long will it all take? Our agency says to expect it to take up to a year for all of the paperwork to be complete in the U.S. and in South Korea. (more clearances, immigration papers, etc.) We are praying for everything to go smoothly and for the wait to be as short as possible. The boys have passports and we are all ready to go get her!

What agency did you use? We are using Holt International. And they are fantastic. They have programs in South Korea, China, India, Uganda and Ethiopia, to name a few.

Is adoption expensive? Yes, it is. Lots of fees and expenses involved.

We are so glad to share the news with you!  You know where to find us if you have any questions.

Editing to add that all adoption begins with loss for the child and the birth family. While our family is excited about our soon to be daughter joining our family, it’s important to us to acknowledge that it is not joyful for all involved. She will leave everything she’s ever known.

Easy Living

Aside

There’s 104 days of summer vacation….

Does anyone else love the Phineas and Ferb theme song? We do, but my kids were sorely disappointed to realize they did not actually have that many days off for summer! Bummer! School starts back in less than a month. Geez…that was fast.

Daycamp, a few movies, lots of late nights, and a week with the grandparents has been about the extent of this summer break.  Nothing too exciting. And they have loved it! We have learned along the way that busier does not always means better.  It’s nice to take a minute to breathe every now and then!  But, if you’re running into more “Mom, I’m booorrred” days than you like, maybe you could

go on a nature walk, or a bike ride, to the library, to an airshow (Blue Angels if you’re near Pensacola), to an art museum….a lot have kids’ programs during the summer, play under the water hose–remember that? make ice cream, camp out in the living room, eat a watermelon then see who can spit the seeds the farthest, make playdoh…

I am looking down my hall where there is now an obstacle course made out of string. Tomorrow, I think we will go to the park. But not too early…..I’m sleeping in!

Happy Summer, y’all!