Monday, March 30, 2009

We're getting closer to the money to finish the adoption.

We have been trying our best to come up with every way to pay for this adoption without putting our family at risk. We know we're probably in better shape than some families, but we had not planned on a fifth child or third adoption. And, of course, we'll do anything to bring our son home. We have some money in savings today, we're getting more out of our home by refinancing and cashing out what we responsibly can.  Today we received some additional assistance from someone.

We had already hoped to go to Korea when the girls were older, just the girls and I. Now that someone has to go anyways to get JaeMin we felt this would be our one and only trip to Korea. We cannot leave the girls behind. They've had their hearts set on Korea for a long time. After we decided to go, we realized we couldn't leave the boys behind either. This alone will cost approximately $10,000 if we can get inexpensive tickets and some rooms at SWS' guest house. We expect the adoption to cost almost $41,000 with everything, including finalization afterward. Some money has to be spent to build a small bedroom in our basement garage for the older boys and JaeMin will have a room of his own; the girls share a room as well.  Some money we'll need because I don't have enough leave time to take what I need with JaeMin and will need money to cover the leave without pay I'll take for him.  The adoption alone, will deplete our savings, monetary gift we received and equity out of our home with nothing left.

Even with this...nothing left....we know there have been too many signs for this to be wrong.  I tried to ignore them the first couple of days or so, but everytime I thought there was no way we could God showed me differently.  It was me who had to be shown.  Brian believed all along.  God really did work in this.  We can both see it.  And now we're just a couple thousand $$ short of being able to do everything we need.  That's amazing!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

More Baby Stuff and Paperwork Fury

Today Chelsi and I went rummage saling.  We found a lot of clothes for Jaemin.  We still don't really have any summer stuff, but that's harder to buy until he gets home because that's what he'll wear right away.  Of course, we got him a Cardinals shirt at one!  He's got some shoes to grow into too.  Chelsi picked out a bunch of Baby Einstein and Usborne toys and books.  They were all .25 and in great condition!  So excited, but we missed out on the crib mattress we really needed.

After that Chelsi, Kaelin and I put together the little scrapbook we have to send to our agency with pictures of us and our life.  The girls colored it and designed the pages.  It looks great.  I have done at least two months of paperwork in the last week.  Fast and furious we're preparing as quickly as we can and anticipating what pictures, forms, letters, etc. anyone may need and getting them ahead so we can get our son here.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Let the papers fly!

I have spent the VAST majority of the week filling out papers, scanning them, copying them, you name it.  Working with two different agencies is so much harder.  The coordination alone is hard, but then you also have to fill out twice the papers.   But, after a lot of paperwork and calls we are well on our way.  We should be beginning our home study update this weekend and she hopes to finish next week, maybe the week after.  If that happens it will be the quickest home study in history.  :)  This week we have fingerprinting appointments and physicals.  As soon as that is done and our references return their questionnaires the homestudy can be turned into the placing agency.  At that point, we just wait for the official referral to arrive from Korea.  Once that arrives we can accept our son's placement and Korea will begin moving him through their process to get him a Visa and Passport and permit to arrive.  Once Korea sends his legals (praying they come with his referral), we can file our papers with the United States government.  When all of this is complete we will get the call he can come home.  No sooner than June could this possibly happen and hopefully not long after either.

We're still working on money.  We've turned in the preapplication for one grant.  We have to follow up with our new home study once it's complete in order to be considered, but we didn't want to miss their deadline since we're kind of in a special situation.  We have another we need to finish applying for, but we're waiting on our placing agency to send us a letter to send with our application confirming we're in the process for our son.  We need a good $7-10,000 to be okay.  I was really amazed once I sat down to look at the cost, how much it's gone up since our last two.  It's almost $10,000 more than the other two combined.  Crazy, huh?  Some of the expense is travel.  This agency requires at least one of us travel to Korea.  I can't go and leave the girls.  They're wanting to see Korea so bad.  Since the three of us are definitely going we really don't want to be split up as a family and not receive our Jaemin together, so we're praying we can get enough in grants for all of us to go.

Please pray with us on this.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Surprise Adoption

If you get pregnant and don't plan it they call it an accidental pregnancy.  I guess, with adoption, you could call it an accidental adoption, but I don't feel it is an accident.  A surprise felt like a better word and way of describing it.

This recently happened to some acquaintances of ours.  They told us in December that they received a call that their daughter had a brother born in Korea and they decided to bring him home.  As the 5 Korean adoptive families sat at the table on Lunar New Year shocked one of our own had this happen, I reinforced to Brian that this is rare.  It seemed so extremely rare.  We discussed what would happen if it happened to us, but it was a very short conversation.  I said yes and he said no and I thought what's the point of any argument since this is rare and wouldn't happen to us anyways.  That night we left it at; we would discuss it.  Enough said.

So here we are 1 1/2 months after that conversation having the conversation again because it happened to us.  We got a sibling call.  One of our daughters has a baby brother in Korea and we have the choice to adopt him too.  I don't think I expected the shock and feelings and concerns and thoughts that came after that call.  We got it on a Thursday and both took off to go home and discuss so we wouldn't have the kids to preoccupy us and make the discussion any more complicated.  We both went back and forth.  We made a pro and cons list, discussed, cried, discussed some more and finally just quit talking out of exhaustion.  That Friday morning we didn't talk about it at all.  I think we were still both tired and still both very much processing our choices and possible decision.

On the way home that evening I thought about how he didn't think he'd want a fifth, so I decided that if he said no that night, that would be it.  Since I seemed to feel no definite direction, either way, I felt it best to go with Brian.  I had already told him that in no way would I be upset if he said no.  I would grieve for sure.  But, I would not be upset with him, just the situation.  But, when I walked in the door that night he said "okay".  I wasn't sure exactly what he was talking about, but he said we needed to bring him home.  He didn't think either of us could live with the regret of not having him in our lives too.  He's never reacted like that at the thought of another child with any of the first 4.  I felt that as a sign too, since I was still processing myself.  We called the agency to tell them that depending on the medical information we wanted him here.  We both knew that if the baby had any medical conditions or indicators of future problems we just couldn't do it.  We know anything's a possibility at anytime, but if we knowingly go into a more difficult situation on top of 4 kids already we just didn't feel prepared enough for that.  We have discussed how we will add a room to the garage for the older boys and the baby will get his own room by ours.  We realized how we cannot fit even 1 parent and all 5 kids in Brian's car, so we will have to adjust the way we do things such as picking them up after school and daycare.  His mom has an opening in daycare so our son will be able to go with Chelsi to daycare everyday, which is great!  I even went to talk to our priest last Sunday and he made me feel much better.  This time it was me dragging my feet a bit.

Korea responded to my email this past week answering my questions about birth circumstances and health.  They also gave us his birth date and name, which made him more real.  There was nothing there to give us a reason to say no, so we gave them a definite yes.  I felt much more ready after reading the email.  Of course, we still have to wait on Korea to approve us due to Brian's accident last year, but I"m told it shouldn't be a problem since he healed so well and we have a surgeon's letter to back us up.  I'm just the type of planning person that needs a little adjustment time for major life changes...of course rarely do major life changes give you that luxury.

Is the money a concern...yep!  It's just every time we felt so far away from coming up with the money for the fees God sent us an answer.  Now we're close enough that it's not going to be easy, but it's possible.  So, we can refinance the house and cash out some, clear out savings and get a small loan for the rest.  We're praying hard for grants right now.  This will be our answer to paying off the loan quickly.  With 5 kids, we really need to keep a savings account.  We're trusting God and going forward in faith.  We believe He will help us as He always has.  The day-to-day of raising of our son doesn't scare me.  We've done this before and we can do it again.  It's on the fees, so come on grants....we need some!!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day Girls!/Happy Birthday Meg

Today is Kaelin's 6th Gotcha Day and Chelsi's 3rd is Sunday.  I really can't believe it's been 6 years already for Kae.  Amazing!  I absolutely cannot imagine a second without either of them.  I vividly remember both of those days and how we felt and how they each sounded and reacted.

We had parent/teacher conferences and we're busy this weekend so we picked up McDonalds to celebrate.  They even got to get meals for $ menu!  They thought that was pretty cool!

We love you girls!

Mom and dad

PS...Happy birthday Megan.  We all love you!  Have a great 24th!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today's Art

The kids have spent all day playing with the neighbor kids outside.  But, they eventually had to go home.  Chase and Kaelin decided to finally use some of the sidewalk chalk I bought last year and do up some big time artwork.  Here's their masterpieces.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My 3 year old...

She reads some sight words and sings songs like no one.  This isn't the best example, but she's really awesome.  Some of the words on the computer screen were words she'd not seen before, so she was trying to sound them out.  Which, is pretty incredible for a 3 year old.  She loves to tell us what letter, every word we say, starts with.  She's very good at it.  Just a little off with Sh and Ch.  She can sing so many more songs, however, she picked a Christmas/Winter song.  It's still an really sweet little voice she has.

You have to admit, my baby is **CUTE**!!

Leapster Junkies

These are my two.  Kaelin likes hers too, but these two are using there a lot to draw and write.  Well, worth the money Santa invested.  ;)

Deep concentration.

Happy Birthday to my oldest baby year from official teenager.  Not that he doesn't act like it already, sometimes...anyways.  All-in-all, we're blessed because he's a pretty great kid that seems to be growing up nicely.

Happy 12th Cole!!

The cleaning of the candles.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The littlest worker

Chelsi loves to help out so much.  I was washing windows after I unloaded the towels out of the dryer.  I went back to my bedroom to fold them and she was just about done.  :)