My family, my life!

This is our real story....

Brian and I have been together over 1/2 our lives. We, surprising to ourselves sometimes, are now parents 5 great kids. We've known since we were engaged I carried a translocation of chromosomes 10 and 14. We lost our very first daughter. After the older boys were born we decided adoption may be a better route for us to have one more child.

Cole was born 4 days late at 8' 6" and 20 1/2" long. He was very purple at birth. At five days old we found out he had tetralogy of fallot, situs inverus and dextro cardia. The cardiologist's plan was to wait until he was bigger, around 18 months, for surgery. Most children with this defect require open heart and not a cath surgery. Their defects are usually too much for cath. At 8 1/2 months old he had a major cyanotic spell and went to surgery two days later. Because of all the anatomical differences inside, his open heart surgery took about 9 hours. Other than his appendix (which was a fun thing for them to find in there) being taken out a couple of years ago, he's been of peak health since. He is fine now, but will have to be seen by a cardiologist for the rest of his life. He is smart, very active and independent. He gives us a run for our money and things are never dull. His favorite thing to do at home is to play with the babies. He loves babies!

Chase was born 1 week late at 9' 4" and 22" long. He was born with an unrelated birth defect and had two minor corrective surgeries. Oddly enough, he's the kid I had in the ER most times. He had breathing problems and is just starting to outgrow them now. We were lucky this little dare devil didn't find himself in the ER more. He is smart, funny and sweet. He likes to play sports and is a ham most of the time.

Kaelin (HaeBin) is our, always meant to be, August baby (born just the day before the due date of the daughter we lost). Because of her birth date, despite her birth issues, we knew she was our daughter.  She was around 5' at birth. She came all the way to us from Korea and is the only reason we have 5 kids. She inspired our hearts for even more. She is sweet, athletic and crazy silly. Her great heart has earned her many friends. Kaelin will be a great teacher one day, fulfilling her dream.

Chelsi (JiYung) is our small fighter. She was born 10 weeks early at 3 1/2 pounds.  She has over come multiple UTIs as an infant, one of which put her into febrile seizure while Chase watched as well as just overcoming the odds of such a small baby.   She may be small, but mighty....including her voice. :) She is a little love who is vibrant, smart and has a great ear for music...voice not so much. A girl full of attitude and life who wants to be pediatrician.

Jaemin (Jaemin is also his Korean name) was about 7' at birth. He is our surprise "gift" (as big sister K calls him). He was a sibling call from Korea. We were not expecting any more children and we got him within 3 months of finding out about him. While he was born the healthiest of our 5, he's had a tough time with acid reflux and is now doing better since we figured it out. Shocking surprise and the fastest roller coaster ride ever. What a joy my boy is. He is VERY active and a beautiful little boy. Smiles and hugs that light up the room and make you feel great.

In 2008, Brian fell, playing basketball, and became a walking quadraplegic (replaced C5 after completely crushing it and fractured C6; fused from C4 to C6). This was one of the tougher times in our lives even though we had already been through quite a bit...hey I don't air all my dirty laundry. :) There are still residual affects from the injury that will be lifelong, but such is life. 

My kids are the most beautiful in the world...really.  They are so kind and sweet and though they are young they have been through and seen more than most adults.  Through God's grace we went from the two of us, to the 7 of us. We had no plans for more than 2 or 3 children and really had no idea adoption would be part of the plan. But, God led and we followed. We learned with each adoption that God was there and we stepped in faith more and more believing in Him more and more as each year passed and each child came into our lives.

We are thankful everyday for our unexpected blessings. I can literally look at my son Jaemin and cry. The only reason he is here is because we were lucky enough to be the family of his biological sister. What would I do without him? Four of our kids (by adoption standards) would be considered waiting children. Looking at them no one would ever know all the issues we are now well versed in. I hope that anyone looking into international adoption and contemplating a waiting child opens their hearts so they can see the rewards. Not always are these issues real issues. Everything sounds scary. And because of our kids we know about alcohol in-utero, cigarette exposure in-utero, prematurity, tetralogy of fallot, situs inverus, dextro cardia, ADHD, sepsis at birth, etc.

I know people don't like labels to describe the, so I will put it like this:

The first two were "born" to us. The last 3 were "adopted" and my husband is a "walking quad" from a spinal cord injury. But these aren't labels to me. Labels determine something. These adjectives are just words that describe who we are/were or how we came to be. They affect us, but they don't determine who we are or what we will be.