Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our family Christmas present…..

well......we paid off our 2nd adoption loan.  We now have nothing more hanging over our heads to do for the adoption.  We're waiting on the certificate of citizenship, but at least it's been paid for and tpaperwork completed.  It feels so good to be completely out of process and just be plain old mom.

Thanks Dad!!!


Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Picture Overload!!

Enjoy.....we did.  (Check back for the dance pictures.  Chase and Cole got a Disney dance cd from Grandma H. and Chase, Kaelin, Chelsi and Grandma had a great time dancing it the kitchen and I DO have pictures of it....including Grandma.....Bunny Hop and all.)

Checkin' it all out!

 

Chelsi loves to draw.



The girls got chairs from Grandpa.



Who says siblings fight "all" the time. :)



Mom and Chelsi



Dad and Chelsi



Meg and Chelsi

 

Kaelin, Austin, Meg, Dad, Chelsi and Chase



AWE!  We love Christmas morning.



Various pics





Peace and joy to your family.  평 그ㄹㅣ고 기 쁨.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I think she’s beginning to open up and trust

I think most people, outside adoption or maybe even just beginning, assume that when you adopt you fall in love with the baby and the baby falls in love with you immediately.  Not true.  It can happen different ways.  I've heard of some parents not attaching right away, some kids not attaching right away and some where both attach immediately. 

Chelsi did not attach right away.  Think about all these kids have been through.  The people they loved are not able to be with them any longer and they're no longer sure who they are to love or trust.  How scary.  Chelsi, let us hold her, but not much.  She'd rather have been on the floor playing.  Some would perceive that as a great baby who just likes to play and is independent.  I worried.  I knew that's not the way her big sister was.  Kaelin grieved right away and grieving for the family unit you lost is important.

We held her and cuddled as much as possible.  We left her on the bottle longer than any of the four older kids.  Bottle time was bonding time.  Everything we did with her was eye level.  She never necessarily "mommy shopped" like some kids do, but she wasn't trusting us totally.  Now I can see such a change coming about.  She goes to daycare and is okay being there.  Not overly happy like "mommy get", but happy to play and then come back home when the day's over.  We play every night together on the floor and she crawls up and lays her head on me and pats me while saying "ahhh mommy".  Melt your heart!

She's starting to laugh more and she's really quite the little clown.  I love her personality.  It's the sweetest.  I'm so glad she's allowing us in her life.  She's opened the door.  

I bonded and became attached to each of my kids immediately.  With the boys I was attached the first time I saw the pink lines.  With the girls as soon as we had a name at referral.  I didn't have to have a picture or know much about them, just that they were on this Earth and I knew.

I'm so thankful for the problems we experienced and the blessings God gave us for trusting Him.  We have four unbelievably, wonderful blessings in our lives that I couldn't imagine ever not knowing. 

Watching your children begin to trust you and the transition they go through after such a big trauma is nothing short of a miracle.  I'm so thankful that God helped them through it.

Hug your kids tonight.  They're a true miracle.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Mailed off the application for certificate of citizenship today!

The VERY last step in an international adoption process.  Hopefully in a few months we'll have that certificate in-hand and we'll be completely complete.  I'm just hoping USCIS actually mails us the certificate as requested and per their manual.  It says they can in an adoption, but whether they'll do it or not is another story.  I know, from talking to others, some satellite offices do and some don't.  I pray my letter can persuade them to.  We'll see.


Friday, December 1, 2006

Our Snow Job 2006 :)

We're not supposed to get this kind of snow on December 1st, but we did.  My husband said it's about 14 inches in our driveway.


Here are some pics.


    


So, of course, while dad spent the early morning shoveling so MAYBE we can get up our big hill later, the kids played.  Chelsi got to experience her first snow and REALLY liked it.  Boy was she mad when I took her inside.


Kaelin actually liked it this year.  All the other years she hated it and wouldn't stand in the snow for more than 2 seconds.  Of course, in years past we haven't had this much.  We haven't had this much in quite a long time.



Chase and Kaelin doing some tromping around.


 


Cole pretending to work. :)



Chelsi LOVED it!!!!






Tuesday, November 28, 2006

She’s OURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry folks, this will be a long one.


First let me tell you about the finalization itself. Smooth as silk! A wonderful process by the attorneys and judge as usual. The judge and guardian ad litem are always especially sweet. When the judge said she felt that Chelsi becoming a part of our family was in her best interest I lost it. How could I not cry? Everyone now recognizes that she's ours. Ours forever! Thank God for this little girl!


No decorations on the courthouse tree yet, but 3 years ago we stood here, so we had to this time too. :)



Our family behind the bench.



Now to the unpleasant part of the day. We thought 1 hour to run to vital statistics to get her birth certificate and then onto social security to change her name to her legal name on her card....no problem. We wanted to get the boys back to school in time for lunch after that hour. Well, that just wasn't going to happen. Our vital statistics workers don't know anything. I could be much ruder here and want to, but this is a family blog! Basically, I brought in the court order and they took 1 hour to finally come back and tell me they couldn't find the court payment from March. So they tell me I should call the court....they'll get the number and be right back. 5 minutes later I see a phone and phone book in the hall so I go out and get the number and call myself. In 5 minutes I had the answer that the law had changed in late 2004 and the reason they couldn't find a court payment was because we were just supposed to pay when we brought in the court order. Okay and the Dept. of Health workers don't even know the law that affected their very business for over 1 year! That's just pitiful and I made them very aware of that. State customer service at it's best. I think that very department hoards all of the most inept workers in the entire state all to itself.


Meanwhile, after begging them for our original adoption decree back (no, dept of health you cannot keep this!!) I sent Brian to social security to do the name change. No problem...he was back in 20 minutes. Me....still waiting. After they told me it was done they had yet another problem and couldn't get it for me. Finally, they get it and the name was incorrect. 1 1/2 hours later I finally had it in my hand. We took all the kids to McDonald's for happy meals. I think they deserved it after sitting in the van and going weherever with us for all that time.


All that's left to do is fill out the immigration paperwork for her certificate of citizenship. Thank God we'll be done after that.


And that, folks is how to do an adoption from start to very finish in 1 year and 2 months. Not bad, not bad at all.


This day will always be very special to us. We won't remember the birth certificate headache, fiasco, but we'll always remember the judge's words and how they truly understood in that courtroom just how much we loved our daughter and they were now legally, making her ours forever.


Thank you to all who were there today. Thank you to the grandparents for taking off work to join us. You all are very special to our family and your granddaughter.



Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our 2006 Christmas card

Well, first the throw outs...



And here's the final product.


 



Thursday, November 23, 2006

SHE WALKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My mom and brother came for a visit and we were all just sitting around.  Chelsi was cruising as usual, but when she got to the end of the couch she walked over to me, by the chair.  This was at least 5 steps without the plop down on the floor.  Usually, if she attempts, it's 1-2 steps and she gives up or starts laughing so hard she can't continue. 

My Chelsi girl is walking!!!! (of course she still prefers her quick crawl)


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Adopt/Sponsor-What these words mean

This (November) is National Adoption Awareness Month. In addition to this, it's the season of good-will and giving of all types. Due to this month and this time of year you hear the words adopt and sponsor being used interchangably to describe very different things.

The verb "adopt" can have many meanings; "to take by choice as one's own child" or "to sponsor the care and maintenance" (from the Merriam-Webster's online dictionary.  Whereas the verb "sponsor" means "one who assumes responsibility of some other person or thing".  These two words ARE, indeed, very similar in meaning. 

I'm not usually one for being overly careful in being politically correct, but I guess the more I hear the term "adopt" used to define how one family helps another or takes care of a highway, it just makes me think that maybe we should use the term "sponsor" more often.  I think sponsoring the maintenance of a highway or sponsoring a needy family at Christmas is really more true than "adopting". To me, "adopt" is a term that defines forever. You may decide to quit taking care of that highway or only help out that family one or two Christmas'. But, when you decide to "adopt" as a way to grow your family, that's a forever commitment, not something you change your mind on whenever it becomes too difficult or your other obligations prohibit you from continuing. 

Like I said, I'm not politically correct in my speaking habits at all, but it's just something to think about and juggle around in your mind.


Monday, November 20, 2006

One more week and she’s officially ours!!!!

I know to a lot of people it doesn't really seem like a big deal, but finalization for an adoption truly is.  It's whent EVERYONE recognizes that our Korean born daughter is ours!  To top it all off, November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so for us to get a court date in November is EXTRA special.  I just get emotional thinking about the meaning of it all. 

We've known Chelsi was ours the 2nd we heard about her.  No picture necessary.  I remember back to when we finalized Kaelin almost 3 years ago and it was so emotional.  I was practically in tears during the court proceeding.  Just to hear them say that they see her as our daughter as well as the other government entities is a wonderful feeling.

November 28th will be a very special day for our family.  Needless to say, I have Chelsi's Happy Adoption Day book all ready to go for the judge and attorneys to sign, as they did Kaelin's.  Just a special momento.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Let’s compare notes

I know you're not suposed to compare your children to each other, but sometimes I can't help it when one reminds me so much of the other.


For example:


Chase and Chelsi....so much alike.  They've been our laidback babies.  They both were a little slower than the other two at the milestones, but not because they couldn't....just didn't feel like it.  They both like to laugh and make others laugh.  They have many, many facial expressions that say everything.  They're more like their dad.  They have the personality I wish I had.  Here's another thing....they both are our sleepers.  Can sleep through most anything and anywhere.


   


And, no, we didn't teach these faces to them.  They both did these at the same age on their own.  That's just too funny!


Cole and Kaelin are a lot alike as well.  They are our sensitive children.  They try so hard and take everything to heart.  They are very bright and it's hard to just let go sometimes.  They're my Type A's....like mom.  They're my little worry warts sometimes.  They are the lover of babies and animals.  These two also have great smiles anytime a camera is around!


 


It's these neat little complexities that make me love them even more.  I love to watch them grow up and their lives unfold right before my eyes.  It's such a wonderfult gift and is so amazing.  Yes, a lot of days are beyond crazy, hectic and making you want to cry sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for the world!



Friday, November 17, 2006

Enough already!

My poor baby.  The doctors and the agencies recommend (and really kind of want in case treatment is needed) blood tests run when your child arrives from outside the country.  Well, about 6 weeks after Chelsi arrived we went to the hospital to do just this and they stuck her about 6 times in one day to get blood and came back with zilch!

 I decided I was not repeating that for quite some time.  That was 7 months ago.  I finally worked up the nerve to request the orders be sent to the hospital again and took her tonight.  After sticking her once in each hand and each foot they finally got maybe 3-4 cc's of blood.  Not near enough for the tests ordered....probably not even 1/4.  But, I told them to use what they got and that's all they're getting from my brave little girl!

 She was SO good.  She didn't even cry the first stick.  The 2nd tech wasn't so good and she cried.  The 3rd did both of her feet and she did great through them both.  She is such a tough girl!  You would never expect it out of her sweet, tiny little self.

 Momma loves you Chels Chels!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A little about the changes going on in Korean adoption.

I rarely say much about this. All-in-all I think it's a great step for South Korea and their children.

Now that being said, I know this article is old, but this part of it bothers me some;

"While adoption is considered as a way to carry out spirit of noblesse oblige or giving help to society abroad, Koreans tend to choose adoption for getting pure joy of rearing children,''' said Cho Min-hye, an official at the Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea."

I believe, and this is only my opinion, that the vast majority of adoptive parents abroad do not at all view adoption, from any country, as "noblesse oblige or giving help to society abroad". Yes, there is publicity on occasion of the Hollywood folks adopting and mentioning this, but most of us 'regular' families do not view adoption in that regard.

To be honest, our family has NEVER viewed the adoption of our two South Korean born daughters as saving a child or helping anyone. The only way we've viewed it is that we prayed for more children, couldn't have them biologically anymore due to reasons of a personal nature, and we truly believe they just happened to be born in Korea. We love our daughters as much as we would if they were biologically born to us. And yes, as any other family who continues to give birth to additional children, we wanted more for the joy of raising them.

I hope that the wonderful people living in South Korea, our daughter's homeland and a piece of our hearts, understand the reasons behind most adoptions abroad. They are, very much, for the love of our children as they are, "our children".


Old photos moved from another page to blog itself

Since we'll be taking our website down I just wanted to put on some of our older photos.


Our latest family photo shoot.



Yes, Chelsi is laughing in these.


 


Chelsi wants to go outside and play with her brothers.


 


Chelsi's 1!!!!



Kae and mom after an evening of four wheelin' (2006).



Branson vacation 2006.



And then there were 4.  Chelsi arrives (2006).



Our Chelsi Hana waiting for us in Seoul, Korea.


 


Chase is really having fun in cousin Brian's wedding.



Chase and Kaelin are best buddies.



Kaelin is 3!!!!!!!



What happened to Chase's tongue?



These are dad's favorite pictures of his Kae baby.



Definitely one of my favorite photos of the 3 older kids.


Gulfport, MS vacation 2004.



Us at Kaelin's finalization.



I think Kaelin's born to be a hair dresser.



Kaelins turns 1!!!



Kaelin's baptism.



And now there are 3.



My baby waiting for us in Seoul, Korea.



And along comes Kaelin (Kim, HaeBin).



Chase is 3!



Gulfport, MS vacation 2002.



Chase can swim (2001).



Apparently all Chase did as a baby was sleep.


   


Cole asleep in aunt Megan's room.



Cole at the zoo.



Chase making his "famous" face.  (I just realized how much he looks like Chelsi here)



Chase stuck in bed. (2000)



Cole in Craig and Anita's wedding (1999)



Cole 2 months old.