As I was thinking about how I should update my blog, and then thinking about how not much has changed since my last update, I started looking through old posts. I realized...hey, there's a few things that have changed! So, here goes.
Update #1: Travel.
As things stand right now, when it's time to go get our little guy, we'll be in Korea for 3-6 weeks. Yes, it's a long time. But really, we're looking forward to the "forced vacation." We're going to have plenty of time to learn about a country that we've fallen in love with from afar. We're planning on lots of sightseeing, practicing our language skills (or having fun trying), and spending as much time as we can with the little boy we've held in our hearts for so long.
Update #2: We need a date.
Mr. DIY and I haven't had much time to ourselves lately. It's ok, because we genuinely enjoy spending time with our kids - but we also love us some "we" time! We've decided to leave our three munchkins at home with the generous and loving friends and family who have offered to be their stand-in parents while we're away so that they don't have to miss school for such a long time. We're pretty sure that having a month-long date can't be a bad thing. And our kids are super excited about getting to try out some new stand-in parents. I'm pretty sure we'll all miss each other desperately about one week in, but we'll have one amazing reunion once we're back!
Update #3: We're still waiting at Step 2.
It's hard to see from the outside, but from where we stand we're seeing things move in a steady stream. It doesn't mean that we've gotten to Step 3 (EP Approval), but it does mean that we think we're getting close. If you have no idea what in the world I'm talking about, see my last post.
Update #4: I may not be updating for awhile.
We are (hopefully) standing at the edge of what's going to soon be a tidal wave of activity, scrambling to find childcare every day for a month +, packing, and general freaking out. We're so happy that we've been able to keep people in the know about our process, but we don't necessarily want everyone on the internet to be in the know once it's go-time. Ya know? So if you'd like to stay updated, please keep in touch! Leave me a comment, or message me to let me know that you want to stay in the loop.
That's it for now, folks! Thanks for stopping by to see what's new; I can't wait until I can post a family picture with all 6 of us!
Things are happening! We're nearing the end of the Waiting Road, and now have to prove ourselves by passing the Five Steps of Sanity.
We were notified of EP Prep on June 10 - one step down! A week ago today, our file moved on to the Submission stage, and now we're waiting for our EP to be approved by the MOHW, at which point MOHW will notify ESWS, who will notify AAC, who will then notify us...but this is all very complicated and like speaking a foreign Adopting-From-Korea language, which may just leave you scratching your head and shrugging your shoulders. We have seen these symptoms in family members.
I think I have a better way.
So, as you can see from my professional-grade drawing, we're definitely making progress (it's weird to say we're making progress when we actually have nothing to do with the progress happening right now). We're on Step 2 in my fancy diagram, waiting for, drumroll please, Step 3!
I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, it's time for another Korean language lesson.
Early mornings are a sweet time for me. I wake up at about 5:30 and stumble out the door with my walking shoes on; as I walk, I pray. I talk to God like He's right there with me, listening to every word I say - because He is. And I talk to Him like He is the Creator of the entire universe, and has the power and authority to move mountains - because He does. In both of these areas I have my doubts, and I prayed this morning that God would increase my faith, and He already is.
As I talked to my Father-God, I poured out my heart. I've been so frustrated over the last week or so, and I realized this morning that it's because I have these grand plans that I want God to be a part of, and He's so slow to join me. Typing that out is like smacking myself in the head over and over. Which is normal for me. I often don't realize how ridiculous and self-centered my heart is until I take the time to really ask God to reveal it to me.
This revelation brought to mind a tweet I saw recently from John Piper:
“Ah, stubborn children, who go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction." Isaiah 30:1-2 Forgive our God-obliviousness.
God-obliviousness is a good way to describe the way I try to run my world. And I know in my heart, because I'm saturating it in God's Word each day, that this is the most foolish way to live.
A wave of refreshment and the lifting of a crushing burden.
I love my walks! So, back to the walk...I decided to take a longer route home this morning - one that brought me up on a dam and around the back side of my neighborhood instead of straight to my house. I have never taken this route before, but I was pretty sure I knew where I was going. (insert knowing laugh here.)
So I walked behind the houses that border the desert, and trekked toward the dam. It was in full view from where I was, but I couldn't quite make out the path through all the mesquite and cactuses (here's a nugget of gold from someone who studied grammar in college: cactuses is the preferred plural of cactus. Not cacti - although that's still correct). My desert walk turned into a little bit of a hike at this point, and involved a deep arroyo, a dead end, and a really steep hill filled with dead bushes of some blackish, menacingly thorny look. And LOTS of turning around.
BUT. I had been released from a burden that I'd been holding onto for several days, and I felt GOOD. I was even smiling as I got to the next obstacle and had to do an about-face.
And I thought: this is what I do! I make all these plans, and I start off toward some destination I have in mind when God hasn't told me to go there. At least, not yet. I run into obstacles and steep hills and have to turn around, go back to where God wants me to be, and wait for Him. "Those who wait on the LORD..."
There's comfort knowing that all of this is part of God's plan for my life. That He knows when I will try to run ahead, or look for a shortcut, or get lost. And He uses all of it. Not a speck is wasted.
Because if it didn't take me that long to get to my destination, I would have missed this:
The learning curve on adoption jargon led to a disappointing misunderstanding. For those of you who heard that we have a date for travel (although we hadn't heard a specific date), we do not. However, Korea is now accepting EPs* for 2012 now, so we're going to keep waiting with the hope that our EP will be filed and accepted by the court soon.
Also, the process may be changing to where Jeremiah will enter the United States as a US citizen (this saves us more paperwork, lawyers' fees, and 6 months of waiting after we bring him home for him to become a citizen and to officially adopt him). It's encouraging news, but may mean a longer stay in Korea.
Whoever said the waiting is the hardest part of adoption...I'm sorry for doubting you.
What other wisdom can you speak into my life? I'm all ears.
*EP = Emigration Permit
And, we're back to the shorter trip!
This week we learned from our agency that the Korean authorities have decided to remove the requirement for a longer stay in Korea. This was an answer to prayer for so many families, as both parents simply couldn't spend that much time away from home. As waiting families, so many of us were on our knees in their behalf, asking that God would remove the requirement that would keep so many children from ever meeting and knowing the families who wanted them.
And He did! One caseworker told the family she's working with that there was no explanation for why they did it, which is the coolest way for things to happen because then God gets the glory!
For us, it's a relief that Dustin won't have to take unpaid leave from work, and to know that because they've removed the family court date, it should speed things back up and get us there faster.
But we're still planning on taking our kids with us.
It was just too much of a good thing to be excited about having them with us in Korea, knowing that this may be their only chance to see the birthplace of their little brother. They've been jumping up and down in anticipation, each for different reasons:
Micaiah can't wait to fly on an airplane - it will be her first time! She also doesn't want us to leave her for that long.
(After being in a plane for 20 hours, she may not think they're as great as she did when she was on the ground, but here's hoping she loves it!)
Kyler is just so excited to meet his brother. I have never seen this kid so passionate about something for such a long period of time. It is truly touching.
Derrick is just excited for the whole trip: to see Korea, to meet his brother, to spend two weeks in a completely foreign place. It's going to be quite an adventure!
We're all going to learn so much, and we're going to do it as a family. I cannot be more thankful.
My heart is ready.
One of the reasons I fell in love with the Korea program is that it's predictable.
We knew from the beginning what each step would look like.
Well, God knew from the beginning that each step would not look like what we thought it would look like.
We've recently learned that the 4-5 day required stay is quickly evolving into a 3-4 week stay.
We still don't know when we'll travel, but it means...
We really need to work on our Korean!
Our three bio kids are so coming with us. That's just too long to leave them behind!
Dustin will have to take an extra 2 weeks off from work - time that he doesn't have built into his vacation time.
Plus 3 more round-trip tickets across the ocean. Maybe we should take swimming lessons?
Thinking outside the box here.
We'll need to figure out where to stay, how to get around, and what to eat with 3-4 kids in tow...in a city of 10 million...where we don't know the language. No big deal.
A faith-growing opportunity if I've ever seen one.
New sights, new sounds, new language, new foods, new brother.
Bring it, Korea.
It's been awhile since we've heard news on how adoptions are progressing in Korea. Too long, in my opinion (I'm feeling opinionated today).
Last I knew, the families who submitted paperwork by November of 2011 were processed, but then everything came to a halt.
(We sent everything on March 23, 2012.)
There's a new requirement for families involving a court date, but nobody really knows what that means for the timeline. I've read that it may add some time to the wait, since it means that judges are looking into each specific family as part of the process. This adds time for the obvious reason that more work means more waiting (for us and other waiting families), and also because it's a new step. Which means it's never been done this way before. Which means there's going to be bumps in the road, or it could be really slow-going if they try to get it right the first time around.
So I feel like a pregnant woman, 36 weeks along, who hears the news that her body has added new requirements to the labor process. "It may not happen as quickly as we'd hoped," says the doctor, "and you may have to carry this baby another few months longer - or more."
At which point I vent my anger by punching said doctor.
This is followed by a quick and heart-felt apology. And anger management classes.
I do have to say that we are TRULY so thankful that Jeremiah is with a foster family who loves him so very much. He is safe. He is well taken care of. And honestly, we are blessed in the waiting because God is still at work - both here in our family, and in Jeremiah's life. I know it because we've prayed it - every single day.
Ok, so it's officially been way too long since I've posted anything.
I really haven't felt compelled to share much because there's not much in the way of our adoption story to share right now. We're still officially considered a waiting family, and I definitely feel the weight of that status. Everything is in place, ready to be processed; but there are a lot of families ahead of us, so we thank God that Jer is in a safe place with people who love (adore) him, and we continue to ask God to give us contentment in the doldrums of the adoption process. It's become increasingly hard to enjoy great family time without the constant feeling that we're missing a kid. And I do miss him. We all do.
When I was in elementary school, I wore ugly blue tight jeans that were rolled up to reveal rolled-down socks. Pair those with a huge tie-dye shirt and some enormous bangs, and you get a girl who entered the awkward phase of junior high a few years early (although I blame part of that mess on the 80s). That girl also listened to Steven Curtis Chapman. A lot. And this was back when Christian music was comparable to a B movie. But I was rockin' that look, lovin' those songs.
I did eventually grow out of the awkwardness that defined me for a good four years. And I left Mr. Chapman far behind. So it wasn't until we attended the Christian Alliance for Orphan's Summit VI in Minneapolis that I realized I'd thrown the baby out with the bathwater - or, more appropriately, I'd thrown a really amazing Christian singer out with the big bangs.
We had the privilege of hearing Mary Beth Chapman tell the story of adopting - three times - and then losing one of their daughters through a tragic accident. I saw Steven Curtis and Mary Beth with grownup eyes, heard his songs with grownup ears, and cried many tears for their loss, but also tears of joy for the work that God has done through tragedy. Show Hope is a big part of that work. (Read Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman to hear the rest of their story.)
Last week, Dustin and I opened a letter from Show Hope and shed tears together again.
Show Hope has awarded our family a $4,000 grant in our adoption of Jeremiah.
Exactly what we need to finish our adoption expenses.
The financial portion of our journey started with a grant from Lifesong for Orphans and ended with a grant from Show Hope. The in-between was filled to the brim with support from our family, friends, and our church. God is good, my friends. He is so, so good.
While we can't say we're done, we're on a different phase now than we were in February, when we first saw our son's face. I guess you could say we've traveled in faith, we've finished that part of our journey, and now we can get off the bus.
We'd love for you to pray with us that we can get on the plane in the fall of 2012 to bring Jeremiah home. God is faithful, and will complete what He has begun in His good, good time. What an amazing privilege to hold our great Father's hand as He takes us to Korea.