Wednesday, December 21, 2011

America has a new citizen

What an exciting end to a long adventure as we finalized Neylan's adoption on Monday. Kids from South Korea remain in the custody of their adoption agency for six months after they return home and when the social worker signs off, you can go through the local court system to finalize. We really wanted to get this process done by the end of this year for tax purposes.

On Sunday night, Adam got sick with the stomach bug and on Monday morning, I woke up feeling queezy. We sent the boys to daycare and spent the day in bed and on the couch. But we were not about the miss our court appointment. We were determined to make it (and I was willing to take the puke bucket if necessary). Thankfully our appointment was at 4:30 and we were able to muster enough energy to get dressed up and appear before the judge. The appointment went well. I was questioned the most, but had been prepared so knew the answers to all of my questions. The judge was very patient with the boys making noise throughout the whole process. And before we knew it, we were done. The hearing only lasted about 15 minutes.

So, with this, Neylan is an American citizen, receives a new birth certificate, can get a social security card, and is officially now "Neylan" and a permanent Foster child!

Our attorney, judge, and us!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

one year ago {yesterday}

On December 16th, 2010, we received a phone call and four pictures that would change our family forever. The first glimpses of our youngest, Neylan. I will never forget that day as I got an urgent text message to call Adam as soon as possible. I had no idea what he wanted, but called him back shortly. We had a healthy little boy waiting for us in South Korea, if we were willing to accept him. We took a few days to stare at the pictures and pray about it and decided that he was the one for us.

So much has happened in the year since. Neylan has changed tremendously from the little baby in these photos. He has quite the personality and is learning how to deal with his older brother in the best way he knows how. We are tremendously blessed to have him with us and look forward to the years ahead as he grows and continues to weave his way into our family.

Monday, December 12, 2011


The boys and I had a playdate/catch-up session with some great adoption friends this morning. All of our kiddos are close in age and the three youngest came home from Korea within the last 6 months.

Grayson took a liking to this Elmo music toy and attracted many dancers to join him on "stage". They were so cute.

These are the newest additions to our families. Neylan and L already have an arranged marriage! They are only 3 weeks apart in age

Our project for the day was decorating Christmas cookies. The kids did a great job and were so well behaved during this venture.

Our attempt at a group photo. This is the only one I got with everyone in it (just not the front of everyone!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Friends

We have loved meeting and connecting with other adoptive families throughout and after our process. You can meet complete strangers who have adopted and instantly feel connected because you share something big in common. You have both walked the long, hard, amazingly rewarding road of adoption. Today was one of those experiences.

We met two adoptive families in September at the Chuseok festival (Korean Thanksgiving) who brought home little girls from Korea. One of those families traveled the week after we did. That mom has organized a group of Korean adoptive families from around our area that get together every so often. So, today was the Christmas gathering. It was held at an Asian buffet. We didn't really know any of the families who would be there, but decided to go anyway. Becuase it's fun to meet new families. We had a great time. There were only 5-7 families there and of those, I had actually met three of them before today! We had a yummy lunch and enjoyed watching the kids interact with each other.

Neylan was quite the extrovert today as he gave lots of strangers hugs and waved to everyone. But, this little girl was by far his favorite. He repeatedly went up to her and gave her hugs. She didn't know quite what to think. Neither did we! He just loved her. We wonder if there is someone in Korea that she reminds him of.

It's so fun seeing a group of kids from all over the world come together with their forever families. These kids are no longer orphans and are so blessed to be with the families they are with.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Delivery made!

We are so excited for our new friends who picked up their daughter today from Neylan's foster mom. Rylan and Neylan lived together for several months before we picked up Neylan this summer. Rylan's parents also were gracious enough to hand deliver a photo book to Neylan's foster mom. They also captured some pictures of her looking at it so I could see. Maggie said she started crying and was so excited to see Neylan again. DJ, the social worker likely helped translate the book.

We are so grateful they were willing to do this for us. To see pictures of Neylan's little buddy, check out their blog. She's a cutie and you will see, their foster mom made sure both of them were well fed and insulated!

Friday, November 18, 2011

We get to keep him!

During this journey, it has always been exciting when the Fedex man rings your doorbell. And that happened yesterday. I wasn't expecting it at all, but what was delivered was BIG!!! We received our consent to adoption form from our agency. This means they approve of the placement and we are cleared to go to court to finalize the adoption. I got the last few papers ready for our attorney, dropped them off this morning, and she immediately went to the courthouse to petition a court date for us. You have to petition 30 days in advance and since we are flying home for Christmas we needed to make sure this happened today. And it did! We have a court date. On December 19th, we will officially adopt Neylan, he will legally have his new name, he will automatically become an American citizen, and he will be able to get a new birth certificate. Big steps!!!

The other exciting news of the day is that I finished Neylan's photo book and got it ordered. His little foster sister was issued her visa today, which means that her family should receive their travel call on Monday. So, in order to ensure that they got the book to hand-deliver, I just had it printed in their town and the mom is going to go pick it up and pack it. So, unfortunately, I won't get to see how it turned out unless I order one for myself. The book is simple, but I think his foster mom will really like it and appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We're learning- slowly

This week, my goal is to have a few structured "learning" activities for the boys to do. We had gotten these two little pumpkins a few weeks ago and now, I finally have to time to do something with them. We started by just feeling the pumpkins and talking about their texture.

Then we wiped them off

We took the lids off and let them have a spoon

Then this OT mama took the spoons away! Neylan jumped right in with his hands and started pulling seeds out.

Grayson was much more hesitant and needed a lot of convincing that this was fun. Had no idea he had such texture issues. We will definitely have to continue some messy play activities!

Mr. Touchy-Feely was all about playing in the seeds

Then we rinsed the seeds in a bowl of water

and got them ready to roast.

We ended up with a pan of roasted pumpkin seeds and 2 roasted pumpkins for pureeing

We have been home now for 5 months and are slowly learning what Neylan likes and dislikes. This was a fun activity with him. He has no hesitation touching different textures. We have even had people comment on how much he likes to touch things. He's a tactile sensory seeker for sure. So, what will we learn next?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another cool story for you

After a very long week and a long day yesterday, I finally got home and settled with a chance to check my email. In my mailbox was a facebook notification and an email from a stranger. I opened the facebook message to see who it was and how they found me and then read the email. It was another adoptive mommy with a cool connection. Wanna know?! She is the mommy of the little girl who Neylan was living with when we picked him up. She had posted a picture of her daughter and her foster mom on facebook and another adoptive mommy that I am friends with on FB recognized her and made the connection that we had the same FM! She emailed her to tell her to get in contact with me. This family is expecting to get their travel call at the end of the month to go pick their little girl up. When we picked Neylan up in June, his foster mom told us that she also had a little girl in her home who was a few months younger than him. We never got to see her though. Well, now I know who she is and where she is going. She is going to a city in GA not too far from where we already have family!

So, when I saw that they are expecting to travel soon, I emailed her back to ask if she would be willing to take something to their foster mom for us. I had begun working on a digital photo book for her in September and had planned on sending it with a family from our area who was traveling. Unfortunately, I never finished it before the family left. Now, I know the reason why! It was meant to travel with this other family who can personally hand it to our foster mom, not just to the office staff. How cool is that!!!!!! So, I best get to working on it so I can make sure they have it before they leave in a few weeks.

I am quickly learning how wonderful the adoption community is and how many friends with different connections can be made. It's been wonderful to get to know so many people we never would have had we not gone through this process. It's such a blessing to be on this journey with so many other families who share the same passion.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My new Christmas ornament

Someone posted on our adoption forum that Hallmark was coming out with this ornament this year. So I waited patiently for months for it to be in stores. And, I got to buy it this week. It's a little hard to read, but the door says "forever family" and the heart says "held together with love". So true. What a perfect ornament for anyone whose little one became part of a forever family this year.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October Friend for Adoption

Julie and I have completed our first month as "Friends for Adoption". We have been talking through email this month and have exchanged our first gift. I sent her this cute fall mug and made her some spiced friendship tea.

And she sent me a Starbucks gift card.

How funny that we both got each other "drink" gifts this month. But perfect gifts as the weather gets colder.

If you are in the process of adopting or have already come home and would like to have a "friend for adoption" check out the button on the right side for more info.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November is National Adoption Month!

This video is one that a mom on our forum put together to celebrate the many children who have come home to their forever families. Many of the families are ones that we have gotten to know and share in their journey. We have waited with and watched many of these families travel within the last year and they have celebrated and supported us in our journey too. Unfortunately, I don't have much time to get on the forum anymore, so I missed the memo about getting a picture in for the video. I'm bummed we missed out on it, but will try to remember to do it next year.

Do you have room in your heart for one of these?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

meeting a new friend

Remember this very cool story that I told you about when I got to meet another little girl who was raised by the same foster mom Neylan had? Well, this is her. Neylan got to meet Grace today to get a few pictures to send to their foster family. Since we had our last visit with our social worker, I was encouraged to write a letter to his foster mom. I thought it would be fabulous to send a few pictures of these two with it, so we arranged for a short meeting today- just for pictures. We'll get together at a different time to play and get to know this wonderful family better. Grace just turned 3, so they never lived together. She also has two older siblings who were adopted from Korea. They are two cuties for sure and I know their foster mom will be so excited (and likely shocked) to see them now- together!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Little Procedure

Neylan had a little boy procedure this morning. We got to the hospital bright and early, got all the paperwork done, got dressed in his fun gown, and were ready to go. (He has never taken a pacifier until yesterday when the teething was so bad I popped it in just to try- and he didn't let go. So, I brought it with us today for some added comfort-maybe)

Right before heading back, he discovered a little parking lot full of fun cars. He picked his out, got in and drove off to the OR. Didn't even want to give me a hug or a wave. So glad he went this way and not screaming and crying with strange nurses.

His procedure went well, but the recovery. Oh, the recovery! AWFUL!!!! Not sure if he was just having a hard time waking up, in a lot of pain, mad becuase he had an IV in, an arm board on, leads on his chest, etc, etc, or just plain uncomfortable. Bottom line- he couldn't calm down. I couldn't calm him down. He refused to eat or drink anything, even though he hadn't had anything since last night. He didn't want to play with my phone. He didn't want to be held. He didn't want to lay in bed. So, the last resort it was- more meds through the IV to bring instant comfort and calming. It wasn't quite instantaneous, but he did calm after the nurses left and we went to another room where a small tv was playing cartoons. At one point after all the tubes and restrictions were removed, the nurse tried to hand him to me. He wouldn't turn towards me, look at me, and acted like he wanted nothing to do with me. A bit of panic ran through me that we had just lost the last 4 months of hard attachment work. Once he calmed down some, I was able to get him dressed, gave him his snack cup and get him to the car. He ate all the way home and appeared relieved once we walked in the door. He played for a little while, ate a big lunch, took a 3 hour nap, played some more, and went to sleep easily tonight. So, for now all seems well. He is back to his mama-loving self and was more cuddly today! We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Almost Done- or one step closer

Our social worker came for our third and final post-placement visit on Sunday afternoon. This is supposed to be a six-month visit, but she came a little early- like 2 months?! We didn't argue because we really want to finalize this year. And, we should be able to now since it's still October. She was able to see Neylan and Grayson together this visit. She was pleased with how well Neylan is doing and commented that he had "filled out in his face" since we came home! What!!! I remember him having chubby cheeks from the beginning! I think we have all settled a bit since our last visit with her. We are in a better groove now and Neylan is better adjusted (aka- not screaming all the time). We have been sending pictures back to the agency and foster family with each of our post-placement visits. Now that we are done with these, I will have to keep reminding myself to send stuff. I know his foster family would love to watch him grow. So, we are one step closer to officially having a permanent foster child with the Foster name!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Family Fun Day

I have always loved getting pictures of Grayson in the fall at a pumpkin patch- and today was my opportunity for the year. And boy, did I get some good ones. So, this post is the most pic heavy post I may have ever done, but I just couldn't weed many out.

We spent the morning at Weston Red Barn Farm, about 45 minutes away from our house. It's a very popular place in the fall, but surprisingly, wasn't too crowded while we were there. We went with our KC family, GG, Bill, Shannon, and Megan.

Grayson loved looking at all of the animals. They had chickens, goats, pigs, a lamb, horses, geese, and turkeys.

Neylan was the only one brave enough to feed the goats

Grayson brought along his camera to snap a few good pics too

We all got to try a pumpkin fritter- yum!

After the morning at the farm, we went back to the campground where Bill and GG were spending the weekend. We let the boys play, ate lunch, roasted marshmallows for smores, and brought two tired boys home. What a fun fall day.