Monday, August 31, 2009

Chelsi is "brown like Michelle"

I was sitting with the girls on the floor one night and Chelsi just gets so tan in the summer.  None of the other kids get quite that dark.  I told her how pretty her brown skin was.  So, she quickly said "yeah, my skin is brown like Michelle".  I didn't quite catch what she said and didn't understand she was saying Michelle.  It just wasn't what, first, popped into my mind.  So asked her again and she repeated and then said, "you know, Brandon's Michelle?"  Ohhhh.  Michelle was born in the Carribbean, so I now know Chelsi identifies with her as far as skin goes.  She's only visited with her a couple of times, so I was surprised she was the first thing she thought of when I made that remark.  She definitely tries to identify likenesses.  She likes to tell her dad that he's different.  He's the only one with blue eyes in the house and mommy has "black eyes" like Kaelin, Jaemin and herself.

They really process so much, so young.


Big brother is So sweet!

Apparently, Chase had to write on why he is special, in his daily journal for 4th grade.  His teacher wrote, "You are very kind!", so I had to make sure I had time to read it.  He wrote "I am special because my dog got ran offer and still lived.  I have a pet turtle and lizard.  I have a big front yard to play football and baseball.  I have two sisters and one brother from Korea.  I have a PS2 and a PS1"

Now, I'm not sure about this turtle and lizard.  Lord knows he chases enough of them down and we do find them from time to time stashed in buckets and other little houses they've made outside, but I wasn't aware of these two.  :)  I asked him why he wasn't special because he had an older brother and he simply told me "he's not adopted from Korea, they make me special"  It is sweet that he thinks himself special because of them.  I wonder how many adoptees have had a sibling, biological of the parents, who thought so much of their siblings.  He's always the one most quiet about those kind of feelings, so it's sweet that he wrote it.

Proud mommy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The days of summer are ending..

The kids are in school.  The pool has been taken down, we've had our last summer barbeque; even the weather is slowly cooling for the year.  The kids are able to play outside more due to the coolness and it seems more peaceful as summer settles.  Fall is busy with soccer and football, but it's a different atmosphere and sometimes doesn't seem quite as rushed.  The house is quiet and it's unusual here.  The older kids are outside cleaning up with their dad and playing while the littlest are napping quietly in their beds.  I actually have a moment or two for thoughts, that is rare.  The house is in order after we cleaned, but we know it will not stay that way.  I'm still working on letting that go as the kids get older and it gets harder and the house is more crowded with 7 of us here.  Sometimes, though, if only for a day, it's good to be in order.

Next week it will just be me and the younger 3.  The big boys are going with their dad to the cabin for a day to fish and have fun.  We could go, but the idea of 5 kids and a dog doesn't sound that relaxing.  Maybe once Jaemin is a little older or can at least walk we'll go.  Probably next year.  I don't know that it would be too easy bringing Dash and keeping track of him.  But, we need to dogsit for a few days.  The kids and I will try to do things just the 4 of us.  The girls can have some fun with, just, mom while little man sleeps.  I think we're all looking forward to a little reprieve from each other.  There's no getting away from anyone in this size house.  :)

Our summer feels like it came and went so quickly.  It started with Jaemin arriving and is ending with him feeling like he's been here and we've known him forever.  He feels like he was always meant to be here and always been part of the plan.  I haven't felt as much peace about these aspects of my life as I do with him here.  I think a part of me, somehow, always knew there was another child out there for us.  I was always saving my leave at work and money in case we got this kind of call or decided to adopt again down the road.  Though, I knew deep down we really wouldn't adopt again without a little push.  That call in March was our push.  It was all we needed to feel complete.  I always wondered how moms and dads knew their family was complete.  Was it truly a gut feeling that they instinctively knew or was it giving up because they really didn't think more children (no matter how they come) were possible?  I think that's why I always said we were complete.  I felt that if God wanted us to have more it would happen and it wouldn't be difficult or hard, but he would make it clear.  It wasn't immediately clear when we found out about Jaemin, but it was shortly after.

Today, I see the miracles it took for Jaemin to be with us.  If Brian hadn't done so well after his accident, Korea wouldn't have allowed Jaemin to come to us.  If the accident had been any later than it was we wouldn't known enough of what the outcome was going to be to accept the referral.  If that person in our life hadn't given us some of the money to complete the adoption or we couldn't have refinanced the house for some of the adoption money we wouldn't have been able to bring Jaemin home either.  It all worked out as if everything were happening on a timeline specifically orchestrated in advance.  I can't think back and think of anything that I would change.  That's when you know it's completely right and you followed God's promting to do what He has determined for you.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are you a carrier?

I am.  :)

It always looked like such a yuppie thing to do, years ago, to me.  When our first daughter came home 6 years ago she came home with a carrier.  I thought, okay, I'll try this out.  It hurt, she hated it, I quit!  Then when our 2nd daughter came home 3 years ago I'd read how good it is for them to be carried more to help with bonding.  I tried the hip hammock shortly.  It hurt my hips and shoulders....exactly what it wasn't supposed to do.  I then got a Baby Hawk and loved it.  It was very comfortable.  It was the kind you tie and I got very good at getting baby on my back and getting it wrapped around me and her all by myself.  But, by the time she was 2 I thought it would be easier to have buckles and she still liked being carried in the "backpack" as she called it, so I sold my Baby Hawk and got an Ergo.  I've had it every since.  I carried her until she was about 3.  She would bring it to me and tell me "backpack".  I stuffed it in the van so we'd have it with us and apparently that's where I left it.

When we found out we were having another baby I happened to find it back.  So glad I still had it.  Jaemin loves to be carried.  He feels very safe when we're out and about and he knows no one will take him from me if I wear him.  I swear it's his favorite place to sleep too.  If we go to Walmart around nap time, he goes on my front and sleeps through most of the shopping.  If I'm doing dishes in the evening he goes on my back.  Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he doesn't.  Tonight he slept the whole time I cleaned the kitchen.  Sometimes he gets so excited just at the sight of me getting it out because he thinks we're going somewhere.  I even wore him at my sister's wedding...yep in my strapless gown.  Hey, the gowns were champaigne with black sashes and the black belt on the carrier happened to hit me exactly where the sash was and the carrier is khaki (with bugs).  :)  He was a happy little camper all day at the wedding and all night at the dance.  He went on my back and away we went.

Never in a million did I see me being one of those moms walking into a store wearing a baby.  Always seemed sort of hippyish.  :)  But, it's SO much easier.  I have to get things done sometimes.  With 5 kids and working full-time, no house cleaner or cook (except Brian and I), we have to get things done ourselves.  The carrier allows me to hold Jaemin, pat his bottom or his feet like he likes, give him hugs, etc. while I'm doing other things.  I probably wouldn't have been so against them if I'd known how comfortable a good one could be.  And....I still get hugs this way.  When Jaemin's on my back he grabs my sides with his hands and gives me hugs.  That's so much better than him standing at the gate while I do dishes and just watching.


Monday, August 24, 2009


JAEMIN HUGGED ME!!!  A real hug!  He's not been feeling well the past week.   His teeth have really been hurting him, but today the one that was trying to come through did and he was in a much better mood.  Brian and I have been up with him at least 4 times every night for the past week and sometimes he's up for awhile.  He would just cry and cry even after medicine to make him feel better.  I felt so bad for him.  Tonight I was kissing the girls goodnight and I had him on my lap.  He laid his head against my chest while I was on Chelsi's bed and really snuggled in.  So I took him to his bedroom next.  Usually, we listen to music and I just hold him in his blanket for awhile until he relaxes enough to go to sleep.  He doesn't usually want to directly face us.  Tonight he wanted nothing but to directly face me.  He put his arms up on my shoulders and laid his head down.  I squeezed him with a little hug and he squeezed back.  He kept doing it until he fell asleep.  Nights like this I could just hold onto him forever.  He just made me want to cry because it was what I've been waiting for and working for and wanting for 3 1/2 months.  He really returned love.  He wasn't playing a game, he was loving back.  I think with him not feeling well and us being up with him at all hours and taking him to bed, etc. he decided to trust us.  Jaemin absolutely made my entire night!  I was really starting to worry a bit.  He just missed his foster mother so much and I wasn't sure he'd trust us.  It just seemed to take so long compared to the girls.  He's really getting there now.  He's become a momma's boy and likes to cuddle so much more than ever and I LOVE it!

Nothing is better in a momma's heart than her little boy.  Jaemin is my little man and I love him so much!


Another email to Korea

We received another email from Jaemin's foster family.  It's such a blessing to get emails like this.  We've never had this opportunity before.  I have to get them translated, so it takes a bit before I can read any, but it's still nice to have them.  I'm trying to learn to do some of the translating myself.  I got quite a few words, but there are rules I just don't understand.  I'm doing better and understanding more each time I try.  I can now translate the characters to Romanized letters, but then I get somewhat lost when looking some words up.  One character may change the sound of the next making it a little harder for me.  I hope to one day be able to write back in Hangul myself...without translation.

Youn Su, please have patience with me.  I would like to continue writing if you don't mind.


7 years ago half way around the world

a little girl was born.  We had just had our homestudy completed and sent to Korea just days before she was born and when we received her referral in January of the next year, we knew she was meant to be ours.  Kaelin (HaeBin) has been home for 6 1/2 years now and we love her!  On top of today being her birthday, she lost her 5th tooth....after many weeks of wiggling.  :)

Happy Birthday Binah!

Kaelin wanted to try on Jaemin's Reds bandana.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So sweet

I just got all the kids to bed and Jaemin rolled right onto his side as he always does and hugged his puppy as he slept.  It's just so cute!

No scratching

Jaemin has scratched at his ears since day one.  Now he pretty much just picks on his left ear.  It was looking pretty bad behind his ear this morning and today, so we've mittened him.  He has medical tape around his mitten so he can't scratch for a day.  I'm hoping he'll forget about his little habit since it's so hard for him to do now and quit all together.

It hasn't stopped him from playing, just makes it a little trickier to crawl fast on the hardwood without his arm going out from under him.  :)  He's really not doing bad though.

We're getting some birth stuff!

I emailed our agency and asked them to ask Korea if the agency outside of Seoul had any pics of Jaemin prior to 5 months old.  They told us theydoubt it because they generally do not take pictures on intake.  All the other Korean agencies do, but oh well, I guess.

We had a message today from our US agency that Korea didn't have any pictures, but do have his footprints from the hospital.  How awesome!  With adoption you have to be excited for every little thing you get and this is GREAT!  With Chelsi, we actually had feet molds her foster mother had done and framed for us.  Beautiful!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What a great day for email!

About a month or so after Jaemin came home, I was going through his photo album and found something written in Korean in the very back at the bottom.  When I had it translated, I found out it was the foster family's address.  I wrote them a letter and sent a couple of pictures and had it translated and mailed it off as quickly as possible.  Today, we had an email from the foster family.  It was so sweet and they sent pictures of him from his time with them, that we didn't have.

Apparently, the reason he's so infatuated with remote controls is that he was already playing with them in Korea.  They sent us a picture of him with his remote.  :)

Hoping for constant contact with them in the future.


She's married off, finally


So my sister is married.  They day was BEAUTIFUL as was she...and my girls.  I was really nervous about 5 kids making it through such a big, long day.  The girls and I started getting ready at 8:00 am and we got home from the dance at 11:30 pm.  Brian and the boys kind of came and went so Jaemin wouldn't be too overwhelmed.  He did AWESOME!  He even fell asleep in church.  By 10:00 pm, both of our youngest were out and we put them in the portacrib at our table.  Kaelin was really into dancing, so she and I did some dancing when we could.  Miss Megan had so many snacks at the reception and Chelsi ate so many Skittles that, after we got home, she started throwing up, so we were up until almost 2:00 am with her.  She felt fine the next day.  Poor little girl was just so excited to be in that pretty dress and have her hair done, I think the day was just a lot for her.

After Meg gets me actual pictures from the photographer I'll post some of the beautiful wedding photos.  All I have are some snapshots I was able to take.  I couldn't really take any since the girls and I were in the weddding, so I snapped some while we were getting our hair done and then again at the dance.




Dad and Kae

Meg and Chelsi

Chase and Kaelin resting in the corner

Chelsi and Jaemin are OUT!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oh my boy Jaemin

He's truly a blessing.  A few months ago our lives were turned upside down and we were unsure if we were ready to have another baby in the house again.  Now, he's been home almost 3 months.  The first month was terribly hard.  He cried hard at bedtime and scratched and pinched and hit me every single night.  The naps we pretty much let him decide so he wouldn't have to go through that during the day too.  Every night we were up 3-6 times patting his back or giving him a bottle.  We needed to make sure he knew we were there no matter what.  We pulled him closer when he hit and stayed through the crying.  Don't get me wrong, there were moments of hesitation when you think, what did we do.  I know I wondered if we were really up to this more than once.  Now that we're getting into our new routine it feels like a normal life again.  He's really making progress.  Attachment  is a process, so we're not there yet.  I think most adopted babies that are not newborns when adopted are not there by this point either.  They have to learn to trust an adult again.  They've been taken away from the other adults they've grown to trust, 1 or more times.

He doesn't just dive in and give us hugs or kisses to often yet, but I slowly see it coming now.  I can sit on the floor with him and he'll crawl over, now, and lay his head on my leg and pat me. He doesn't gaze at me while I feed him a bottle, which worried me a bit at first, but when I take him to his room and rock him to sleep each night we can just stare at each other.  He smiles behind his paci and sometimes he smiles so big it drops out.  He's so sweet at bedtime.  He's not his usual, 100 mile an hour self then. He's my baby boy that I love more than anything in this world.

Blessings come in so many different packages, situations and experiences.  He is definitely one of my many blessings in life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our trip to Korea

Yeah, so it's 3 or 4 years away.  It will take a ton of planning to afford and get 7 people to Korea and meet 3 different foster mothers at 3 different agencies scattered throughout Seoul.

We have the account set up.  We got some money from Dell for a PC we had several years ago that went bad.  Then, today I sent our Discovercard rewards to that account.  We now have a whopping $350 for Korea.  Doesn't sound like much, but hopefully we'll get there.

I'm figuring we'll need around $13,000 for us to go.  I'm estimating; $300 for cabs, subway and incidentals fees, $2100 for hotel ($300/night for two rooms for 7 nights will hopefully squeeze all seven of us in), $8,750 for airfare ($1250 each if we're lucky!), $300 for food (this is one of the cheapest things we did travelling), $500 for shopping (new hanboks and all the other things from Korea we'll want to bring back) and last and very least is about $90 or so for parking while we're gone.  This only comes to $12,000 or a little over, but I'm sure we're not going to get airfare for that price in 3-4 years.

So, let's say we now have our food money!  :)

Just $12,650 to go and we'll get to go to Korea with the kids!   Please pray for the rest to come.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Little Man's Outing

It was a nice cool evening, so I took Jaemin out.  The boys and Brian were already out.  The girls were already dressed for bed, so they stayed in.  Poor Kaelin realized we were out for a bit, but I don't think she was too sad.  She was just watching.  We had just finished our movie night, so it wasn't real early anyways.

Jaemin did a lot of crawling through the yard and could get away quickly.  Brian had to interrupt big brothers' baseball game for the baby interference.  He wanted to play too.  :)  Then, he really decided he liked my rock garden and eventually found the fountain.  Quicker than I could grab in he just about took a dip.  But, Brian was right there too.  He got pretty wet.  We told him to find the dog and he knew exactly where Frisky hung out and quickly crawled the sidewalk to him.  But, when he licked him, he wasn't quite as impressed.  :)

And, I just had to throw this one in.  Cole wanted to rock Jaemin to sleep for his evening nap.  He didn't nap long, but he did go out.