Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kate's back

I saw that Kate Plus 8 (without Jon) is back.  WHY?!!  Who seriously watches her anymore?  What's so hard about being a millionaire diva?  I don't care if you have 8 kids or not.  You have someone to cook for you, clean for you and help with the kids, what's so gosh darn hard?  Why put those kids out there year after year?  Are you teaching them something?  No.  So what is the point again?


Rock Star!

You would think my two littlest were rock stars. 

Last night we went to a sushi place that happens to serve some Korean on the side, for Jaemin's 1st Gotcha Day.  I noticed the name tags were in Korean, so I asked if there were in Koreans that worked there.  A few guys walked out and then a couple of ladies.  One of the guys and one of the older ladies (ajumma) knew English the best.  Ajumma has been in the US for 30 years.  They loved Chelsi's face.  She must have a preferable face to Koreans because she often gets her face touched and told how beautiful her face is.  She's always been this way.  Jaemin just flirted with the girls with his great smile.  They loved it every time he turned around in his seat to smile at them all as they spoke in Korean.  He LOVES being around Asians.  He doesn't want to be held, but he loves being surrounded.  We were the only ones there, as it was an early dinner, so we were there for 1 1/2 hours talking.

Then, right before we left they brought out dessert.  One of the younger guys had taken an orange and an apple and made these elaborate creations.  He cored out the orange and slided the core into tiny circles.  Then, they had one big crane or swan out of the apple and tiny ones in front separated by fruit dipping sauce.  Then, on the orange he took the peel that he had cut off, that was circular and scraped it and made the whole orange into a bear.  It was so cool...I wish we could have taken pictures.

I asked if there were very many Koreans in the area that they knew of and Ajumma said about 15 or so.  WOW!  That's not many.  I so wish there were more.  It was fun to talk about Seoul.  The younger lady has not been away from Korea long, so she couldn't understand as much of what I said, but we chatted about Seoul a bit.

Wish we could afford to go out more.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

crazy, crazy life

My goodness our lives have changed a lot since we married 15 years ago.  Who would have thought all this could happen in such a short amount of time, really?  We've been through 2 births, 3 adoptions, 1 loss of a child, Cole's open-heart surgery, other various surgeries between all of us, Brian's accident and of those 3 adoptions our surprise baby Jaemin.

Just several months ago I was worried about his attachment.  It wasn't what I was wanting to see yet.  I knew that could still change and come with time, but I was worried.  The girls were past that point by then, so that didn't help my worry.  I was in new waters.  He just fought us so much in the beginning and honestly wore me out.  I trudged on through the hitting and scratching and slapping as he tried to push me away.  I think it was Jaemin's reaction to being scared someone he loves might leave again.  I kept this in my mind each time he did it and each time I got down because I worried we may never get there.  Where there is, I didn't know, but I knew it was a better place and would feel right when we arrived.

I can now say I feel we have landed at our destination.  Just like, one year ago today, the four of us (Chelsi, Kaelin, Lois and I) stepped off that airplane with 5 instead of 4.  The night before we left Korea Jaemin was so upset with the new transition that he threw up a couple of times.  He also threw up on the plane.  Now, granted, he has a weak gag reflex and does this easily anyways, that's how upset he was.  I've had so many fears over the last year and I've been SO sleep deprived.  We are just now getting to the point that we get several good nights sleep in a month between all 5.

So, was it worth it.  It's ALWAYS worth it.  Even if you have your doubts from time-to-time in your journey, they're usually in the worst, most vulnerable moments.  It's always worth it.  Everything in my life has been worth all we've gone through above.  Jaemin IS worth everything!  So, one year after stepping off that plane after a 15 hour commute (in the air), my son is here with us and it's like he was never missing.  He's always been a part of our family in my heart and soul.  We love you Jaemin and you are what life is about.  You are our little boy and we love you to no end!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


One year ago today, I met such a handsome little fellow.  I fell in love immediately and I love him even more now.

One year ago in Korea.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Pics

Took Jae outside real quick for some snaps.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

So super sweet

Kind of personal, but I was writing my annual letters to send to Korea for the foster moms and birth families and Kaelin wrote to her foster mom.  Her foster mom has requested her to write her own letter this year, so she wrote a few short sentences, I had them translated and then she wrote them in both Hangul and English...thank you Denise.

So after she writes them, she brings me the papers and the whole bottom half of the Hangul letter is decorated.  In one corner, though, is an outline of her hand.  Inside she wrote "This is my hand.  And this is how big it is.  This is my left hand."  Is that not super sweet and enough to cry?


Creative Kids

I'm pretty sure Chase was the mastermind behind this, but I think all 3 boys participated.  Chase is our resident, take things apart, figure them out and fix-it barely 10.

Does this big wheels look right to you?

Apparently, they had finally worn ours's everything except the back wheels, I believe....running it down the hill so many times.  Neighborn H's was broken as well, or I think his sister's, so the boys stripped them and merged them together.  They love the new toy!

Teaching Money to Children

So, a few months ago or so, I entered an essay contest to win cash.  It was 5 essay questions on teaching responsibility with money to your children.  I had read about the couple of past winners and they were all single moms, so while I thought we had no chance, I entered anyways.  So glad we've been doing what we've been doing with our 5 kids!

Turns out we won!  We won $1,000.  In the essays you just had write (without going over the character limit) how you teach this to your children.  Well, we all know where that money is going/went!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What memories

One year ago tomorrow is the day we found out we could leave to go get Jaemin.  But, it was actually the kids' last day of school I found out.  I was at the kids' awards assembly when I found out we could leave, so as soon as I got back to work we got our arrangements made and we left the very next morning...Saturday morning at 3:00 am.  I was watching Kaelin and Chase receive their awards again this year and all I could do after I left school was think about that call one year ago and how hard it was in the beginning and how much things have changed and how much I wouldn't change a thing.  And wow....was that trip amazing and life changing for all 3 of us that left this house. 

I can't believe Korea is a memory from 1 year ago.  I would love to go there every year if I could.  I would even choose that over the beach, which is saying A LOT.  I miss you Korea.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Does it come with age?

I mean the intensity of love for each child?  I just got in bed after checking on Jaemin for the night.  I could just lay by him for hours and look at his perfectness.  I can't help but think about another woman, half way around the world, that doesn't get the wonderful experiences I get.  I get all of it and I am SO lucky.  Everyday gets better and better with him.  He smiles more, he shows his true self more and he IS funny!

I get so much out of all of them.  Chelsi had her last night of gymnastics and we had to stop and get a new flat iron for me afterward because mine literally fell apart this morning.  So we walk in to the plethora of flat irons and she immediately notices the exact one I have.  She's that observant and that smart!  I get her too and I am lucky.

Kaelin, well she is always in her own happy little, giggly world.  She's figured out that if she hugs us longer she doesn't have to go to bed quite as early.  She is her own funny, silly self.  I get her too and we are lucky.

Chase is goofy and silly and smart.  He is a great kid and one of my hardest little workers at school.  Cole works hard too, but in so many other ways and is truly blooming as a mature young man.  He has SO much potential that I see.

I have 5 great kids and they're all mine and I am lucky for this and I know it.  If I could just take more time with them ever night while they're little.  I try to take all I can, that's for sure.  So if I don't volunteer enough and do enough running around, socializing etc., it's because I need to spend as much time with them as I can while I can.

So, if you're a first time mom, slow down and love them.  Love them slowly and don't rush them through their milestones and childhood.  Let them be kids and enjoy those kids and the hugs that you can get while they're young.  You'll still get hugs when they're older, but those tiny little hands wrapped around your neck are the best hugs of all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Worries and wishes..

For some reason I get so many comments on how we must be perfect...supermom.  I'm not sure if it's just because where we live 3 is getting to have a larger size family and with 5 people are just astounded.  Usually when they find out I work fulltime too I get the 'saint' comments and looks.  Further from the truth, you think?  Oh Lord, if they could just be in our house some days. 

I'm human and I have the same problems in life.  I'm content and happy with my life.  I have the kids I want and need and the husband I want and need.  We make the money we need and survive for necessities in life; nothing more, nothing less.  Do I want?  Sure.  I want someone or something to rescue us from my worries.  My worries of the kids ever going to college, really getting to go to Korea as a family one day, the kids (some anyways) surviving school and life.  Some days just worries that we will be able to pay all the bills that popped up that month or I will have enough leave to always take off when my kids are sick and need me. 

I have wishes too.  I wish we could have a laundry room big enough for a family of 7 and enough time to actually do all the wash of a family of 7.  I wish I could work parttime and be with my kids just a little more than I am now.  I wish we didn't have to watch every single penny because we're worried our washer or dryer or car will break down.  (can you tell I've been having laundry issues tonight?) 

Wishes and worries are different.  Worries are for my kids' safety and well-being and near and dear things to my heart.  Wants are materialistic things that we don't need to survive life, but would make it easier.

I try to just count our blessings and focus on that.  I try not to let things with other people ruffle my feathers.  My favorite saying is 'it is what it is' and you go on and accept your life and make the best of everything.  And quite honestly, I have most of the best.  As long as God keeps us all happy and healthy, it's the best.

So all I pray everyday is that each hurdle that's given to us is able to be cleared with relatively little trauma and harm.  I pray that God just keeps us all well, together and loving and good people.  I pray that 1/2 of what I try to teach my kids sticks.  I pray that our two salaries, together, are always enough for us to pay our bills monthly.  I pray that I remember and the kids remember the simple things in life are some of the most important and money cannot make up for that.  I pray that we remember that life is what you make of it sometimes, not what it makes of you.  I pray that I ALWAYS remember that when I think I have it bad I can always remember there is always someone who is going through something worse and surviving.

ThirdMom blogger

If you're out there, can you send me a message?  I was hoping to be able to read your blog now that you locked it up.



priming for the big post

Just to forewarn, I will be posting a gushing, sweet post about my baby boy's 1 year home next week.  But, until then, because I'm in the mood, I just have to say how darn lucky I am.  He may be rough and 150% boy, but I love this little boy more than anything.  He is one of THE cutest boys in the world on top of everything else.  He's just so funny and so sweet and so cute and so amazing!

I love, love, love my Jaemin!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adoption Plight through the Years

I'm not an enormous fan of the New Yorker, but I did enjoy this article....though a little too long.

It actually talks about how adoption began and is still brought to other countries because of the plight of orphans and a human need to save.  It discusses how it went from saving children to the children becoming a commodity for parents who cannot conceive.  It discusses how Korea was the first country to begin international adoption due to Harry and Bertha Holt and how, later, other countries followed.  I'm sure some due to the push from US citizens. 

I can't help but wonder why there's not more of a push to internationally children from the US out of the US?  I mean from other countries.  Most articles and media show that non caucasian children remain in foster care due to their race.  I know that intercountry adoption from the US to other countries does exist, but I think it's very few.  Maybe these children would find homes if there were more of a push?  I don't know, but I do wonder.  In the end, isn't this what most are saying is the argument for adopting out of country is that it doesn't matter where they're from, just that they find their forever families?

I can't help but wonder how many children have not been truly relinquished in intercountry adoptions when it's due to war and disaster?  When the Korean War and Vietnam Wars ended, kind of not really, I think so many people and children were displaced that it was hard to prove whether children were truly orphaned or not.  What about Haiti too?  How many children may end up in orphanages to be placed with US families, but are not truly orphans or relinquished?  I know children need families as soon as humanly possible, but I can't imagine the loss of a child just due to separation through something like this.  Flip the coin and think if something happened here and they just started placing children assuming you were not coming back.  I know when the tsunami hit years ago families were coming out saying they wanted to adopt from India.  People are work were even talking and asking why I wasn't for people rushing into adopt these children.  For one reason...the chance that their families are/were displaced and just haven't had enough time to find them back yet.  I don't know what that time allocation should be, but I would move Heaven and Earth if my child were separated from me and when things like natural disasters and war occur there are not always choices to move as quickly as one would like.

But, nonetheless, it's a great article. 

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sounds crazy,

and I think I eluded to it in a previous post, but I almost feel like I knew about Jaemin.

I mean after each kid, starting with Cole, I always felt like there was something more.  I horded my leave at work and never took anymore time than I absolutely needed to.  You have to know me.  Leave time is money, so I had to always know I had enough there in case I needed it for maternity leave.  This feeling and anxiety kept coming back after Cole was born, Kaelin came home and Chelsi came home.  Though, I convinced myself that Chelsi was it because I didn't think we should adopt again.  We should just stop and be thankful for the 4 kids we had and just live our lives.  But, I still felt this anxiety.  I don't know how to explain it and I know it sounds crazy, but I absolutely felt a real anxiety about the possibility. 

When we got the call for Jaemin it was so surreal and so stressful, yet it felt somewhat right and familiar because I felt like it was that something I had unconsciously planned for.  Now that he is here with us I no longer have that feeling.  I don't think I ever will again.  I finally feel like I can go with the kids on their school field trips and not feel bad taking off work to come home early for a birthday party.  It's so good to feel this way too.  Feeling like you just know your life is complete with the people in it. 

Now, I do not believe that God intended for my son's Korean mother to be pregnant with him and place him for adoption just to fulfill my life.  He happened out of human, free, will and somehow God knew this was going to happen and he ended up with us.  I can't help but wonder about how things work and why they work like they do.  I don't believe, ever for a second, that either Korean mother gave birth for us or that God planned these children for us.  I mean He didn't intend their creation for us, but knew they would be created in their circumstances they were in and then planned. 

I can't help but think back to Chelsi's adoption.  We went back and forth with a couple of agencies.  When we finally settled on the one we did it was out of specific circumstances why.  Afterall, it was not the same agency we used the first time.  Then, right after the home study process was done and almost written we found a little girl online waiting for adoption with another agency, in Korea.  We applied for her and ended up turned down.  I remember feeling so sad.  I really felt like she was meant to be ours, but after we found out she would not be our home study was ready to be sent to Korea by our original agency.  But, they had two waiting children that we could review.  We immediately felt comfortable with Ms. C's needs and she felt right out of the two little girls.  And you know the rest of the story with her.

What I find is amazing is that we ended up being led right down the path to her even though we tried to detour more than once.  Sometimes we look at Jaemin and wonder how we got so lucky.  Things could have been so very different for us and we're thankful they are not.

Christmas in May!

That's right, it only took the agency 5 months to get Jaemin's Christmas presents from his foster family to the US.  I won't complain thought because a) we're lucky to correspond with his foster family and b) if they put getting those kiddos home first, that's okay too.

So, we got a Christmas card (and translation) written by Youn Su, Jaemin's foster sister.  The letters and emails from Youn Su are always so sweet.  They sent him a Jenga game (written in Hangul), a Hangul learning poster and a Pororo airplane toy.  They actually sent two Hangul learning posters, so the girls now have one hung in their bedroom and I wrote the letter sounds so they can start learning a little.

For those that aren't fluent in any Korean culture, Pororo, the penguin, is HUGE!  He's kind of like our Mickey Mouse, etc.  Jaemin loved his Pororo toy.  We turned it on and he started getting so excited and waving his hands.  He's almost worn the batteries out already. 

Youn Su, if you and your family are reading I truly hope you know how much your correspondence means to us and Jaemin.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To be 10 again.

UPDATE:  We did have a party, so here is Chase and his cake.

Maybe little brother's going to be an artist too?

First, happy 10th birthday to my 2nd born.  He turned 10 at the top of the St. Louis Arch.  Seriously, the time of birth was while we were there.  Happy Birthday Chasie!

Second...I'm stinkin' tired.  I don't think these 4th graders were half as worn out as the parents probably were.  Thank goodness I was only in charge of my kid...he always behaves when we're out, so no worries.   But, I'm tired after roaming all day.  Whew!  Kaelin's already figuring out which field trip she wants me to take with her.

Here's a picture one of the moms took of us today.  Don't mind my was windy and we had no power this morning after my shower, so no dryer.
From the top of the arch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I so admire Warren Buffett.

How can you not with the way he raised his family?  He built himself and managed to raise them all without spoiling.  That's a feat for a lot of parents of means...and sometimes no means.  I a big advocate for unspoiled children who learn the meaning and real value of money and that it really can't buy happiness.  While mostly we are frugal out of necessity, it's great tool to have and a great philosophy to live by.  Read the article on one of Warren's children here.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Korea mail coming!

Okay, I think I posted this a couple of months ago, but can't remember and am too tired and lazy to look.

I got an email from J's foster sister asking if we received the Christmas present they mailed us from Korea.  I have been so sad and completely worried because it's, well, May and we never got it.  Today, we got an email from the US agency.  They have it!  His foster family sent it to us through the Korean agency who finally sent it to our US agency and it's on it's way to my man right now.  I can't wait to see what's in it for him.  How exciting when my babies get Korea mail.  I LOVE it!


Pictures from this weekend and connections

or disconnections?

I'll finish with some of the pictures from this weekend. We went to a Korean Children's Day celebration which was as awesome as usual and then spent the rest of the day at the zoo with friends. We always hang out with Jane and Jared when we're in town. Gotta love the energy of Mr. Jared.

So, today I took Ms. C to the pediatric nephrologist. While we were waiting we were writing on the chalk board in the room. She wanted to write everything in Korean. So I wrote all of our names in Korean and then she wrote them all. By the time the doctor walked in she had it all done. As soon as he walked in he says "well, she knows English and Korean". I was a little surprised that he recognized it. To most it probably looks like a lot of other languages' characters. He took to Chelsi and she to him right away. For now he said we're doing everything we can, but he took some blood just in case and is doing another u/s. He doesn't want to repeat the VCUG done in 2006, which is fine. So, we'll do a couple of other things he asked us to do and then f/u in a couple of months. He also gave us some info on how to help out with her eczema.

BTW, we also found out they found their replacement pediatric cardiologists...yes two. YAY! Looks like Cole will have a doctor and not have to do major travel to one.

Little Miss did so well when they took blood (she's never had to do that before) that we went out to eat afterward. It was past suppertime at home anyways. We just stopped at Wendy's real quick and a lady walked up to us and said how cute she was and that she could have another about her age. I didn't quite follow her and then she asked what province she was from. That's when it dawned on me. She thought she was Chinese. In her defense most of the Asian adopted children in this area are. Our kids are 3 out of probably 10 in a 40 mile radius. And what I mean by in her defense is that I don't just assume kids are Korean, usually assume Chinese, but never define it when asking because I really don't know. I told her she was Korean born and she just told me that she had a Chinese daughter and left. Oh well.

Okay, here are the pics from the weekend.  We so enjoy this every year.  We are treated so wonderful by this Korean church and we get to see so many other Korean adoptive families and well, the AWESOME!
One room.....7 people.

Done with swimming, getting ready for bed.

Swimming at the hotel (our free night be the great is that?).

Learning taekwondo at Children's Day.
Korean cooking.

 Mommy and Jae.
And our wonderful Korean church hosts.  I'd love to post the pics of the three little girls who sang a beautiful Mother's Day song, but since they're young I won't.

 Zoo time.
The extra little boy is Jared.

My budding photojournalist...National Geographic maybe.

 Don't they all have to try picking the gorilla's nose?