Monday, January 27, 2014

Our Decision

It was with broken hearts this week that our family had to make the decision not to proceed with Colin Minho’s adoption. We have agonized over this decision and it was the very last thing we ever thought would happen. The last couple of weeks have been filled with many tears, prayers, discussions, and medical evaluations. Minho’s medical needs are more severe than we feel that we can provide for and more than anything we want the very best for him. We know this decision is best for him and for our family but it still hurts. We are devastated that he will not come home to us and be our son. We know without a doubt that this did not take God by surprise and that this is part of His plan for Minho and for us. He promises in everything He is working for our good and we are clinging to His promises. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Watch Lukas Grow 2014 :: January

 

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new year, different chair, same sweet boy

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow Day

We actually had some snow and Lukas loved it! He was beside himself with excitement and could not wait to go outside. He kept saying that he needed to take Mater outside so he could sing “let it tow, let it tow, let it tow.” He totally gets the humor in that which cracks me up. He had a ball playing and did not want to go inside. I did let him have his first mug of hot chocolate when we came in which he was a huge fan of! He called it chocolate coffee and wanted us to both take sips from our mugs at the same time. The snow was beautiful coming down and I’m thankful we didn’t have anywhere to go. The sun came out after lunch and most of it disappeared which is kind of the way I like it! :)

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Bake Sale

We had a bake sale at church on Sunday after our morning service to continue to raise funds for our travel expenses. Once again, our church family lavished our family with love and support. We had 3 tables full of goodies made by very sweet ladies who offered to help with the sale. Many things sold before the sale because people know to come in early to get the best selection. The sale went very well and we only had a few leftovers. We’re so thankful for each and every person that has helped us.

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Three Years Ago

Three years ago this past weekend we received the call that changed everything. We had a son! Two days later we saw his picture for the first time. It’s unbelievable that it’s been 3 years already. This sweet boy changed our life forever and we are still amazed that God chose us to be his mommy and daddy.

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekly Recap #2 (January 5-11)

What was happening around our house this week?

Sunday: Downton Abbey returned! Enough said. :)

Monday: Lukas went back into the crib. After 4 rough nights I just could not take it any more. When given the choice, he later decided this week that he wants to stay in his room and his crib. So, we are rearranging and keeping him where he wants to be. Like I said earlier, I’m fine with him staying in his crib until college. If he feels safe and secure and sleeps well where he is, then that is where he can stay. Besides, I rest so much better at night knowing he is safe in his crib!

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Tuesday: Mitchell’s passport arrived! Whoa, that was quick. Thank goodness. Colin had his appointment with the specialist today (we found this out late Monday afternoon). I did really well keeping myself busy today around the house trying not to worry or think about the appointment too much. Today was frigid and didn’t make it out of the 20’s so Lukas and I staying inside all day.

Wednesday: Lukas and I took a little trip to the library just to get out of the house. I didn’t succeed at keeping myself quite as busy today. I must have refreshed my email on my phone a hundred times hoping for at least some kind of an update.

Thursday: I had a hair appointment today and  my sweet mom offered to keep Lukas so I could go by myself and then go shopping afterwards. She didn’t have to twist my arm too much on that one. After I left the appointment, I broke down and called our agency and asked to speak to the director. She had met Colin in November and I wanted her opinion on what she had observed. In hindsight I’m not sure if I’m glad I called or not. She put a damper on the rest of my day. I guess the biggest disappointment was that she told me that it would not be possible for us to travel at the end of this month for the February 4 court date. She said that this will not be resolved by then. It helps to know that we are not traveling because I can relax about my to-do list BUT we are so disappointed and discouraged that we will not be able to go. I don’t want this to drag on for weeks but the director said that it could.

I don’t even think I can put all of the emotions into words at this time. Sad. Scared. Confused. Disappointed. Hopeful. Determined. It’s really difficult to describe the roller coaster we’ve been on this past couple of weeks. This all came out of the blue and just when we thought we were going to be able to go to Korea to meet our son all of this happened. I have no doubt this is part of God’s plan and how He is writing Colin’s story. I know He has him in the palm of His hand and that He promises to work IN ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him.

I spent some time digging in Romans 8 this week and the Lord used those verses to minister to my heart each morning. It’s a passage that I’ve read many many times but it was so fresh to me this week. Verses 18-29 were the ones that I focused on and especially verses 31-32. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? I do not in any way think that these verses mean that all of this will turn out the way I want it to but I am assured that my Father loves me so much and our sweet Colin so much that He will do what is the absolute best for us. He cannot do any less. He will take care of this. He will see it through. I can trust Him.

I’ve been so blessed by some special friends the Lord has given me. I’ve had so many texts, FB messages, hugs, and calls this week. A couple of fellow adoptive moms have texted with me just about every day and night this week, helping me work through all of this. They have been such a blessing!

Friday: Today did not bring any news of the appointment, which really didn’t surprise me. I really doubted we would hear anything on a Friday. I worked today and stayed very busy which was a good thing.

A quote I read this week that I don’t want to forget: “Even if God allowed us to see the darkest nights ahead or the ecstatic joy that awaited us, it would not change the call that was issued on our lives to obey Him.” (Angie Smith, Chasing God).

I had been hearing this song on the radio quite a bit lately and wasn’t quite sure what all of the lyrics were. I looked them up and immediately knew this was a song I needed to download. The song is Oceans by Hillsong United. I have played it over and over this week. It is incredible!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

and my faith will be made stronger

in the presence of my Savior.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Weekly Recap #1

This year one thing I’m going to try to be better about blogging at least once a week. I think I say that every year and I do really good at first and then life happens and I don’t do it. So here’s to trying again! :)

Please don’t feel obligated to do anything but skim these posts. They’re more for my memory keeping than anything else.

This week held some unexpected surprises that really weren’t so good. But let’s start at the beginning.

Sunday began with my last time singing in the praise team at church. With all that this year will hold, I knew that I would have to cut down on my church responsibilities for the time being. The new year seemed like the perfect time to step away from this for now. Sunday night Lukas’ little preschool group sang “Away in a Manger.” It was so sweet. He really did try to sing and we were so proud of him. After singing, he went back to his class and started feeling bad with an upset stomach. His teacher came to get us and we ended up leaving church early to take him home. He was so pale that I was worried he was really going to be sick but it seemed to perk up after we got home.

Monday morning I headed to work and dropped Lukas off in his little class for the morning. It was the first time he really started crying and didn’t want me to leave. I stayed for a few minutes and he calmed down a little. I stayed outside the door for a few minutes until he seemed to be okay. After that, Mitchell called with some stressful news. Passport Canada had called and said they rejected his picture for his passport renewal. Knowing that we may be travelling soon this really stressed us out, especially since his picture had seemed fine when he sent it. He hurried to have another picture taken and overnighted to them. A couple of hours later our court date arrived via email, which I already posted about earlier this week. It was definitely a day of ups and downs.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty low-key days that were spent trying to take down Christmas decorations and get Lukas into his big boy bed. On New Year’s Day we had our annual Hoppin’ John meal with my family.

On Thursday, Lukas and I met our friends Christy, Karis, and Liam for lunch and playtime at Chick-fil-a. It ended up being a last minute little get together before they leave to go back home. I love anytime Christy and I can get-together and chat. Lukas loves playing with Karis and it’s always the best I see him interact with another child. After I put Lukas down for a nap a little later, I received an email from our agency saying I needed to call them. I thought it was really strange because they don’t ever do that. I just knew something wasn’t right. It seems that a medical issue has arisen with Colin that his Korean social worker is concerned with and wants him to be evaluated and tested by a specialist there. We were told not to make our travel arrangements until we hear from this appointment in case our court date needs to be postponed. Clearly, this was not the news we were expecting AT ALL. Totally took us off guard. We really didn’t receive many details about the issue and we’re just waiting for the appointment and for the SW to send us some video of him. Needless to say the last couple of days haven’t been fun and have been filled with some fear and worry. I am having to continually turn it all over to the Lord and leave it in His hands. I refuse to live in fear. I did too much of that while we were waiting for Lukas. I am determined to trust that this didn’t take God by surprise and that He has our precious boy in the palm of His hand. One bright spot in this day was that Mitchell was notified that his second passport picture had been accepted and they would begin processing his application!

Yesterday I worked and it was a very busy day, which was probably a good thing. Lukas did much better at drop-off time at school. Yesterday was frigid! It was a day that I wish we could have just stayed home but at least we didn’t have the snow and ice so many other parts of the country are getting.  Last night I began playing around with Project Life on my computer. I want to use it to document our 2014 instead of using a shutterfly book, which became increasingly frustrating to me last year. I downloaded some free resources yesterday to give PL a try and I really think I’m going to like it. I have missed scrapbooking and decided this is a simple way to get back into it. That’s another reason why I’m going to try to do these weekly recaps because they will help with keeping up with Project Life in case I get behind. I’m still trying to decide which kit I want to use for PL. There are so many ones that I like!

Lukas has done really well with sleeping in his new bed each night. He has not tried to get out of it at all. Even in the mornings he has waited for us to come get him. BUT the last 2 nights I have had to get in with him very early in the morning. He’s woken up and called for me and started to get very upset when I tried to just comfort him and leave. So I’ve ended up in the bed with him. Now I do love the snuggling but I’m such a light sleeper that I have trouble getting back to sleep and by the time I do it’s time to get up. Hoping these 2 nights have been a fluke and he’ll return to sleeping all night again SOON!

I had grand plans to sit down and do some planning for 2014 and especially the next few weeks but with all of the stress and upheaval of this week it just didn’t happen. The news about Colin has definitely kept me distracted and really took away the excitement we had over receiving our court date. I’m praying that it won’t be long before we hear something about this appointment and can resume getting ready for our trip.

I did not intend for this post to be so long. Some weeks may just be bullet points and pictures but a lot happened this week and just needed to be written down.

Praying this coming week is much less stressful and only filled with good news! :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye, Crib; Hello, Big Bed!

Well, we finally took the plunge and moved Lukas into his big boy bed. If it was up to me, he would be in the crib until at least high school. I have put off moving him for months. Part of me just couldn’t bear the thought of him being big enough to move to a big bed and the other part of me was scared to death of having an unrestrained toddler in the house at night. When the court date came, I knew we just had to do it because I wanted him to have a time of adjustment before Colin came home and rocked his world. Moving him now should give him close to two months to adjust to his new bed. He was so excited about it and I just tried really hard not to be sad about it. I took some pictures on his last morning waking up in his crib and of his first night in the bed.
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The funny thing about this picture is that he never once tried to climb out of his crib at night. The mattress being so low had a lot to do with that. I think he would put his foot up there and realize how far down it was to the floor and change his mind.
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Could there have been any other choice for his bedroom décor?
Last night was a success! He slept over 12 hours and called for us when he woke up this morning. We had discussed with him that he was not to get up on his own but to call for us to come and get him just like he did in his crib. We were so proud of him this morning and made a big deal out of his great job. Now if he can just keep it up!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

I can’t believe 2013 is over. It really seemed to pass so quickly. It definitely brought a big surprise for us: Colin Minho. We were not expecting a referral until early 2014 and now we will be bringing him home hopefully early this year. Unbelievable!

Lukas grew and changed so much this past year. Its amazing how much his vocabulary developed and how much he is talking now compared to the beginning of the year.

2013 brought some unexpected health issues for our family, mainly Mitchell.  We had no idea he would have surgery twice. His wisdom teeth cut out in April and then back surgery in September. We totally did not see either of those coming and neither did our finances. God has been so good and has provided every step of the way through the medical bills and adoption expenses.

When thinking back over the year, I can’t help but think about the sudden loss of a very dear lady in February. Mrs. Gail was very special to me and I still miss her so much. There are times when I realize all over again that she is gone and it just takes my breath away. I’m praying that this next year will be a year of healing for her precious family who is still grieving so deeply.

I spent 2013 trying to get my own health under control. Without a doubt, I am much better than I was a year ago. It has been a 2 steps forward, 3 steps back process while figuring out what I can and cannot eat and it is still a work in progress.

2014 is going to be a big year for our family! Lots of changes ahead in the next few months. Two trips to Korea. Meeting our second son. Growing from 3 to 4. It boggles my mind to think of all that will occur in the next 3 months. At this point, I can only take it one day at a time. Because we have walked this road before I know there are many hard days ahead. I’m already praying about those and asking the Lord to work in all 4 of our hearts, especially Colin’s. It’s exciting to think of bringing him home but then the hard part will begin. We will begin the journey of winning his heart while walking through the grief he will experience at the loss of every thing he knows.

2014 will definitely be a year of focusing on our family and the adjustments that will come from growing. I am excited about 2014 and can’t wait to see all that God has in store for us. I pray through the happy and the hard that He will draw us closer to Him and that we will shine for Him.

Favorite Books of 2013

It’s no secret that I am a reader. I just love it. I love books. If I were wealthy, I would have a huge library full of books in my house. I did quite a bit of reading in 2013, mostly due to having my kindle. I read some really good books this past year and some I plan to read again. Here were my favorites in no particular order:

  • Grace For the Good Girl by Emily Freeman. I cannot even begin to explain how much this book changed me this year. My friend Sarah told me about it and let me borrow her copy. She told me that she thought it would really resonate with me and oh how it did. I felt like it was written just for me and described me perfectly. It is one that I plan to read again right away in 2014. I know I didn’t “get” everything I needed to from it. 
  • 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Jen is hilarious and I enjoyed just reading her writing. She made me laugh out loud several times. After realizing the excess we live with here in the US, she decided to do a fast of 7 different areas in her life: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress in order “to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.” She spent 30 days on each area and documented the daily ups and downs of only eating 7 foods, only having 7 items of clothing, etc. It was very eye-opening for me and the excess I too live with and helped me evaluate the way I live.
  • Past Forward Volumes 1-6 by Chautona Havig. This was a fiction series that I just enjoyed so much. I love Chautona’s books and these were definitely some of my favorites. They are just really easy reading and I was a little sad once the series was over.
  • Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. These two ladies became two of my favorite writers this year after I read this book. It is a book for moms and it is encouraged me so much but also helped me rethink the way I was interacting with Lukas. A favorite quote from the book: “My kids don’t need to see a supermama. They need to see a mama who needs a Super God.”
  • 10 Gifts of Wisdom by Sally Clarkson. This was one of those books that seems to have every other sentenced highlighted. It was that good. Sally is such a wise lady and her blog is one I look forward to reading each day. This book is so practical and focuses on what every child must know before they leave home. It is focused on 10 gifts we as parents must give our children: faith, friendship, character, manners, service, work, gratitude, hospitality, initiative, and patience. This is one I will be rereading every year while raising my boys.
  • The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. This book made my Christmas season. Really. It is an Advent devotional that focuses on the Jesse Tree, the lineage of Jesus. It was phenomenal. I just love Ann. A few years ago when I first starting reading her blog and read her book One Thousand Gifts, I wasn’t sure if I liked her style of writing. It was just hard to read because she really makes you think. You don’t skim Ann’s words. You have to dive in deep with her and take the time to savor and digest what she is saying. I have a friend who met her this fall at a women’s conference. She told me that she is so genuine and real. I really didn’t expect her to be anything but that. She has made such an impact on my walk with the Lord in the last couple of years. I counted over 1,000 gifts in 2013 because of her book. The Greatest Gift will be something I read every year at Christmas from now on.

So, what’s next? I keep a running wish list on Amazon and it stays full. I received a gift card for my birthday and I’m still trying to decide which books I’m going to start out this year with. Two I definitely plan to read are Sally Clarkson’s Ministry of Motherhood and Mission of Motherhood. I’m also looking forward to Brooke McGlothlin’s Praying For Boys, which releases soon. I’ve started Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways a couple of times and am determined to finish it soon. I would love to hear some of your favorites from this year and any recommendations you have!

Monday, December 30, 2013

COURT DATE!!!

This afternoon I was walking out of Walmart, noticed my phone had several emails, opened them, and one said COURT DATE!! Aaaahhhhhh!!! My heart started racing just like it did when we got our travel call with Lukas. We will be traveling to Korea at the end of January and our court date is early February. I cannot believe we are headed back to Korea. I have so much I need to do in the next few weeks. I cannot even begin to think about leaving Lukas for more than a week but I am praying that between now and then the Lord will prepare both of our hearts for this separation. He is my little shadow and it's not going to be easy to be apart. But it is for a wonderful reason: meeting Colin Minho! Let the countdown begin...

Watch Lukas Grow 2013

I cannot even handle how much he has changed this year. Where is the pause button? He is growing up too fast.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

14 Months and A Sweet Video

Colin Minho turned 14 months old the day after Christmas. Its hard not to be sad every time another month goes by and he’s not home with us. I remember how much Lukas grew and changed in those months after turning a year old and I just know Colin is too.

That same day we received a video of him in the mail that our agency director recorded on her November visit to Korea. It was about 4 minutes long and we just watched it over and over. It was precious to see our sweet boy playing and being curious. There is no doubt he is going to be a busy boy and it was mentioned by the social worker and our agency director. The foster mother said he was very curious and liked to explore something new and put things into his mouth. I have a feeling we better be resting up because this boy is going to keep us hopping!

The second care package that we sent was in the video with him and we were able to see him look at and hear the recordable book we sent. The social worker was also feeding him the yogurt puffs that we sent and he really seemed to like them. Guess we better buy a few bags of those before we go!

You could tell that his foster mother adores him. She was very attentive and was wiping the drool off his little chin and tucking in his shirt tail every time it would come out of his pants. Even the director commented in the video about how engaged she was with him. When asked about his development, she said that he was cruising but not walking yet. She said he ate and slept well. Let’s hope that sleeping part continues! :)

We’re still waiting to hear about our court date and I’m hoping that we’ll hear something in the next week or so. It’s time for that sweet baby to come home and I’m praying we won’t miss out on many more of his milestones. I’m ready to do some Watch Lukas and Colin Grow posts!

Christmas 2013

Just a few pictures from our Christmas. I think this one was the most fun yet with Lukas!

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Handing out the gifts! He loved having that job, especially when there was one with his name on it!

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It was another CARS themed holiday for him. I’m not sure he’ll ever move on from his Lightning obsession.

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Christmas Morning

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He was so excited that we gave him Ramone and his Body Shop.

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A serious picture…

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then a crazy one!