Monday, April 30, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday

Could it Monday again?  The days are just rolling by...much busier than before thanks to one active little boy!  Carson continues to amaze us with his adjustment and perfectness for our family.  (Now that is a post in and of itself for another day when I have more time.  Not sure when that's going to happen... :)

So today, you shall just receive some random thoughts and pictures of our happenings.

1.  This boy has entered the land of endless entertainment.

No matter what room he is in, there is someone to entertain him.   That would be the beauty of being the fifth child in a homeschooling family.

2.  Did blogger update everyone's blog?  I'm not a fan of the new layout.  With limited time, I'm having a hard time figuring out the new features.

3.  Tim took the older boys (I used to just be able to say "boys") on a hike/camp-out last weekend.  It was clear very soon after they left that our girl weekends will never be the same; that is until Carson is able to join the fellows.  We didn't bake or watch a thing--we did, however, have a great time.
Not nearly as relaxing, but just as much fun!

4.  I think the best pictures we have of Carson are when he is sitting at the table eating.  Did I mention
how perfectly he fits in with the rest of our family? :)

5.  I'm sure you don't need too much reminding, but Mother's Day is coming up.  We would love for you to purchase a gift or drop a hint for someone to purchase you a gift from our site,  We are continuing to run the store site AND add new items.  We still have some to pay for our adoption's finalization (6 months from coming home) and want to use it to help others fundraise, as well. 

I'm excited about a Father's day shirt--sorry moms, couldn't quite get it together for a new design this year!

6.  Home--it is where every child should be!

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Tableful

These days, our kitchen table feels a bit maxed out.  At least the number of chairs are, so much that, Carson has one that clips onto our table.  I love it!  This week, during one of our peaceful, manner-filled dinners (ha!) I was reminded of this post I did last year about having an open table...

An Open Table

The very cool thing about the word of God is how it speaks to people in different ways. I love how the Lord uses His words to meet, comfort and direct the reader. And so when the story of David and Mephibosheth was shared on at church, it screamed ADOPTION to me.

Summing up the story: David, because of his love and devotion to Jonathan, seeks to find if there "Is anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan's sake?" (2 Samuel 9:1) and "Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God's kindness?" (2 Samuel 9:3)

When David learns that there is one of Jonathan's sons still alive he has him, Mephibosheth, brought to him.

Upon Mephibosheth's arrival David says to him, "...I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table." (2 Samuel 9:7)

And so here you have a young man, a stranger to David one day and the next being welcomed with open arms to receive an inheritance and to eat at "David's table like one of the king's sons". (2 Samuel 9:11).

The result of David's actions brings joy to my heart: "Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table.." (2 Samuel 9:13)

May our table (and yours), although not quite as fancy as a king's, always be open to any and all that the Lord brings to it.

Have a great weekend,
Adopt on!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Customer Appreciation Day

This is just too fun not to share.

About a week before we received our travel call, I received an email with a sizing question about one of our "got love?  adopt." t-shirts.  To sum up what turned into several emails, this fellow adoptive mom of 5 wanted to purchase a shirt AND was currently living, where else, but in Seoul, South Korea.

She drove about an hour with her sweet kiddos--one son who had only been home for about 4 weeks from China--to meet us at our hotel to pick up her shirt.  I'm thinking that was the most we had paid for shipping on any one order! :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our first few days

It was such a wonderful feeling to pull into our driveway on Saturday evening. Our side yard was filled with friends and welcome balloons. I just remember seeing Lucy at the top of the driveway jumping up and down, clapping her hands. The girls, of course, couldn't wait to see their baby brother.

And just like that the terrific twosome became a band of three.
Carson was so happy to be free to run after so many hours of confinement. He was off!
And then we had the meltdown! When I think of all the changes he experienced with in the past 3 days, a meltdown was completely appropriate. He spent about 36 hrs. in a hotel room, 1 hr. on a bus, 3 hrs. in an airport, 14 hrs. on a plane, 2.5 hrs in lines for customs and immigrations and another 4 hrs. strapped in a car seat. What an incredible change from his usual days spent in a small apartment in downtown Seoul.

He fell asleep or passed out on the floor in this room with a bottle in one hand and an old nonworking cell phone in the other. He tossed and turned during the night and cried on and off. Sunday he woke up fairly happy. Everyday he has progressed. He has slept in his crib all night since Monday night! (I'm not sure how that came about but I'm not complaining!!!!)

Our past few days have been filled with playing, dancing, strollers and parks. Take a look:

I'm a little sad because we lost some cute pictures from our camera (something with the memory card) but am thankful that we had downloaded most of them.

I can official report that the jet lag has lifted and now I just have mother-to-a-toddler lag! Carson is one very busy but super happy boy. I am just so thankful for how well he has transitioned. I can't believe it has only been a week since we were given custody.

Each day has been filled with "firsts" for him. I already cannot imagine our family without him. And that, folks, is the miracle of adoption.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Where to begin?

The last 72 hours have been filled with so much that I'm not sure where to begin this post. We arrived home Saturday evening to a yard full of neighbors and friends. I felt a bit like a celebrity! (We have had so much support and encouragement along this journey.)

I think I'll start with where I left off...we arrived at SWS around 1:00 to receive custody. I was so excited for this day--the culmination of a 2 year emotional roller coaster. I knew that this was going to be a highly emotional time for Carson and his foster mom. I wasn't so expectant of the emotional side for my family. While Carson had his final physical, our case worker allowed us to visit the baby reception center. We saw some of the smallest newborns I had ever seen!
I can't begin to explain the emotions I felt as we stood at that window. My heart literally felt like it was breaking. So. many. babies. Their bottles were propped up by blankets because they had no mommy to hold and rock them while they ate. There is simply too many of them. One orphan is too many. I honestly think for the first time my sons were really understanding the magnitude of this crisis. The look on their faces showed that clearly.

We then moved over to the older baby room. This was the room where Carson lived from about 3 to 5 months of age. In the far crib was the most angelic little face that just stared at us through the glass. Heart breaking. These sweet, chubby babies are no ones' son or daughter.
Please understand that I am not talking negatively about the Korean adoption system. I think it is phenomenal . Carson's care was outstanding. It is just the plain, sad truth that there are orphans. Children are not expensive; lifestyle choices, abundant wants and comforts are. We toss around the big, 163 million orphan number, but here we stood in the presence of 30 or more orphans and my heart hurt.

We then returned to the SWS office where Carson's foster mom was saying good bye. I immediately started to cry. This woman has poured love into my sweet son for the past 8 months. She knows everything about him. As she held Carson and cried, I hugged her. I told her thank you over and over. Here is the second brave women giving away my son. The first, his birth mom, I won't likely be able to thank. But this one, I hugged and cried. With fumbling hands, we were able to strap Carson to my chest, only to look up and see many more crying faces. My family and many strangers all crying together. The only one not crying was Carson--which was a good thing. Maybe he knew that would do me in! We began our walk back to the hotel:
Once at the hotel, Carson did great. He was wild and happy.
He slept and ate well. He certainly favored Tim but when Tim wasn't in the room he was fine with me. He loved the attention from Ethan and Ben. It was great to have them there!
Apparently Looney Tunes can bridge the gap between cultures and brothers. :)

The next morning we set out on our 24 hr. amazing race to home. One hour bus ride to the airport, 14hr. flight, 4 hr. drive home with check-ins, shuttles, immigration and customs mixed in. All three boys were troopers.
Carson did relatively well on the flight. Thankfully, for us, there were several real screamers that took most of the heat from the other passengers and made Carson look good. :) After a long wait in immigration our newest American was ready to head home!
An all-American McDonald's french fry to celebrate!

I know there are so many details and thoughts that I have left out...I am racing against Carson's nap time. I'm sure he is to wake any minute and will need much attention. My next post will be our arrival home--meeting the sisters!! Who I think after the fun first half hour, pushed our already fragile boy over the edge. We ended Sat. night with a huge meltdown but have gotten progressively better.

I am so happy to be off the adoption process roller coaster and on to building our life as a family of 7. And, Carson, you are a champ and loved more than you'll ever know!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our New Journey Begins...

Walking back to our hotel with our newest family member.
Our hearts are so full.
Thanks to all who have prayed, supported and followed our journey.

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts."
1 Chron. 16:8

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The sights and sounds of Seoul

Yesterday we spent the day out and about in Seoul. It was so great to have our friend, EunChung, with us again. We definitely explored more having her with us, than we would of on our own. I found the complex subway and bus lines to be very intimidating. We started with a taxi ride to a traditional Korean market.
We weren't out of the cab for more than literally two minutes when a lady came up and remarked on how handsome the boys were. She said she thought Ethan looked like a young Donald Trump and Benjamin like the father George Bush.
It was very funny! We couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and show Ethan a picture of Donald Trump. (We think it is his hair. :)
The above picture was taken when we first started down the market street and below was about 2 hrs advice: start early. It got crazy crowded!

EunChung treated us to another wonderful meal.
The food, although a bit spicy for me, was delicious. I enjoyed almost all of it...except for maybe what I found on my plate in this picture:
I think it might have been this:
I was the only one who said, "No thank you" to the squid. I just couldn't do it.

After lunch we headed to a Palace. It was a beautiful day to walk the grounds and learn some Korean history.
It is difficult to pick only a handful of pictures because we have hundreds. The city is truly amazing. And although I am far from a city girl, Seoul, South Korea, just like Chongquing, China, will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Our second visit.

We were so happy that SWS suggested we come for a second visit before receiving custody Thursday afternoon. This time we just went to the office and had a little while to play in one of their small playrooms. Carson's foster mom graciously offered to wait outside the room. I know this is hard on her. Carson did great. He cried a few times but we were able to distract him and he quickly cheered up.

One of my favorite moments was when Carson came around the corner to the room where we were waiting. Do you think he remembered his daddy?
Their encounter was priceless!
Just hanging with the boys. I think he is going to love being a little brother.
I know that Thursday will be hard on him but I am feeling much better about how he will do. He is just smitten with Ethan and Ben. Maybe Tim and I will leave them to babysit and have a night out on the Korean town? :)

We spent the rest of the day with a friend of Tim's from graduate school. She moved back to Seoul when she finished her schooling. We were so happy to spend time with her. She is super sweet (brought us a silver spoon and chopstick set). She was also extremely helpful when ordering food.
The adventurous eater award goes to these two:
We are planning on meeting back up with her tomorrow to visit some local, traditional Korean markets. We won't see Carson at all on Wed. as it is election day and the offices are closed. We'll return to SWS on Thursday afternoon to receive custody. In the meantime, we are spending as much time as we can site seeing and shopping.