Friday, February 27, 2009

Still here and still waiting...

*WARNING: This post has a lot of whining in it, so if you don't want to hear it, don't read it...

Way back in September, long before blizzards were in the forecast and long before we got our referral, I scheduled a surprise trip for Jeff and I. We were going to relax on the beach and soak up some sun. When we received Amelia's referral I happily cancelled our vacation believing that we'd be in Seoul right around this time. Well, today as I sit at home and wait for the phone to ring, it's frustrating to know that at this very moment, I was scheduled to be on the beach. I'd be even more thrilled to be in Korea, but being home right now, is the last place I want to be. It's time for us to make our journey to bring Amelia home.

I never thought on February 27 we'd be in this situation. We've already waited longer for our travel call for Amelia than we waited for with Graham and the wait is really getting to me. The fact that Amelia turned 8 months old yesterday without her family doesn't help the situation either. Graham turned 8 months old at home with us and I naively assumed it would be the same for our little girl. Babies change so much at this age, and it makes me so sad to know how much I'm missing.

I restrained myself and only called the Embassy once this week; this morning. I thought that waiting all week would create better odds for good news, but unfortunately that wasn't the case. When the phone operator gave me the same answer I've been getting for several weeks now, I must have sounded completely dejected because he told me 'Good luck' then reminded me that 'they all come home eventually'. I really hope that 'eventually' comes soon, because I'm about to lose it. I know for sure, I'm driving Jeff crazy. Neither one of us knows how to address the angst and pain that comes with waiting so we just live with it. There really isn't another option.

After my Embassy phone call I was not in a happy place and convinced myself that retail therapy would help. I decided that a trip to the American Girl Store at the Mall of America was just the thing I needed. I have a hanbok (traditional Korean dress) for an American Girl sized doll, I just needed the doll. So, Graham and I set off on our mission to find an Asian American Girl Doll. We had great success and I was happy to add this doll to the collection that I started when I was a little girl.

Graham has once again proven to me that he has understanding beyond what I would expect of a normal toddler. As we were leaving the Mall of America, we drove right by the airport. As luck would have it, there was an accident and traffic was at a standstill. I was getting impatient, but Graham was enjoying the view of all the planes as they landed. As a giant jet came into view Graham got very excited, pointed, and said 'Amel ya ya'. I turned around and told him that Amelia wasn't on that plane. He looked at me, got very quiet, and as he held my gaze said 'Mama Amel ya ya Soon'. Ok, Graham if you say so...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Amelia's Room

I've been asked by many people recently for pictures of Amelia's room, they are! I'm still working on finding the perfect (yes, I'm very picky) accessories, but for the most part, I'm just about done. I've known for a very long time (we're talking YEARS!) how I would decorate a room for a little girl, and thanks to my wonderful Mother, this exactly what I had envisioned. I knew what I wanted Amelia's bedding and curtains to look like, but after an exhaustive search, I came to the conclusion that what I wanted, didn't actually exist. In steps my Mom, with her sewing machine, and like magic, I've got what I want!

In case the Korean visa gods over in Seoul had any doubt that we're ready for our girl to come home, here's the proof....we're ready and WAITING!!! :-)

Friday, February 20, 2009


The days I used to love- government holidays which meant no school, and weekends which also meant no school, now have new meaning. Government holidays mean the government isn't working which means no visa's are being issued and weekends also mean the government isn't working which also means no visa's are being issued. I know nothing about the intricacies of immigration, but at this late stage of the process, JUST ISSUE THE VISA!!!!!!!!!!!! Today marks exactly 9 weeks since our paperwork was sent to Korea and exactly 10 weeks since we first saw our sweet girls face. Several families from our agency have confirmed visa interviews for Monday so things are definitely moving along. We're somewhere in that list that the government is working through, and I'm just praying we're nearing the top. It's time for Amelia to come home!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Waiting on VI

We're waiting for Amelia's visa interview, or in the adoption world the 'VI' to be scheduled. During the backlog that has apparently happened in Korea, there were very, very, very few VI's being scheduled. I did find out today through my sources (I have LOTS of ways to get information!), that VI's are once again being scheduled! Of course when I found this out I called the Embassy to see if Amelia's appointment was scheduled and unfortunately, the answer was no. So, although I was disappointed to hear that, I am thrilled to hear that things seem to once again be moving in Korea. I told myself I would only call once a week to check on things, but really, what can it hurt to call more often? It has to be our turn soon, right?????

If I don't hear something this week, I'm afraid I really might go insane! My blood pressure is going to go through the roof. My heart literally pounds each and every single time the phone rings. And the fact that I'm self-medicating with an unlimited amount of chocolate can't be too good either. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

'A Different Perspective'

Getting everything organized for Amelia's arrival has occupied a good portion of my free time for a while now and since my task list is nearly completed, I'm hoping our wait is nearly finished as well. It has been so much fun to shop for sweet baby girl items, wash and organize her clothes, and finish her room (pictures soon, I promise!). But, it's also time for me to start reminding myself, as well as Amelia's friends and family, of the emotionally trying times that are sure to lie ahead.

If you think of any 7, 8, or 9 month old baby, they surely know the difference between their parents and strangers. I am confident that Amelia is enjoying a great life with her foster family, and has no reason to believe that the life she currently has is only temporary. Jeff and I will soon arrive in Korea, as strangers to her, and take her away from every familiar face and environment she's ever known. This change in her life will be traumatic and we want to do everything we can to help this transition be as smooth as possible for her. When we brought Graham home, I thought I was prepared to see my child grieve for his former life, but all the reading I had done, could never prepare me for seeing him so sad and upset. Judging by the attachment Graham has formed with Jeff and I, and us to him, you'd never guess, that for weeks when he came home, he really wanted nothing to do with us. We were strangers to him, and we were the people that took him away from the only life he ever knew. The bond we have didn't form over night, and it didn't form without a lot of work on our part. We took the advice of our social worker as well as a pediatrician that specializes in internationally adopted children, and I can say with completely certainty, that the advice they gave, was some of the best parenting advice we've ever received.

In order to help Amelia understand that Jeff and I are her parents, that we can be trusted, and that we aren't going anywhere, we'll be the only ones to meet her needs (holding, feeding, comforting, diapering, etc.) for quite a while. I don't know how long a 'while' is, but we're going to take our cues from her, and just trust that we'll know when she's ready for her circle to grow. I know you're all disappointed to hear that we won't be sharing diaper duty! :) We'll be doing everything we can to keep her world relatively small and quiet as she adjusts to her life. We won't be taking excursions out and about, instead we plan to just lay low at home as we all get to know each other. We're not trying to be antisocial, we'll just be doing what we feel is best for our little girl. This isn't to say we won't welcome visitors long as you're not traveling with a herd, you're welcome to come on by. And of course, we'd love it if you were at the airport to help welcome Amelia home!

I do a lot of reading on anything adoption related and came across an article titled 'A Different Perspective'. It really made me stop and think about what must have been going through Graham's head as he came home and what will soon be going through Amelia's head. If you have time to read it, I highly encourage you do to so!

And no, I still don't have any updated news. Since today is a holiday, the Embassy is closed. As a former teacher, I used to live for these days, now though, I feel like I can do without them.... Positive thoughts though, right??? Soon, we'll have good news to share!

Friday, February 13, 2009


First of all, I have nothing new to report on our paperwork progress. We're still waiting for Amelia's visa interview to be scheduled with the American Embassy in Seoul. I'm able to call and find out if this has been scheduled yet, but I'm trying to hold out before I start bugging them. And if by some miracle, before I decide to call and inquire about this appointment, we actually get our call, of course we'll welcome it! When her visa is (finally) issued though, our wait is essentially over. Graham's visa was issued on September 11, 2007 and bright and early on September 12, 2007, we got the call!

As far as the waiting goes, I'm ready to be done. With each day that passes, I become more emotional and anxious, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to find any bit of patience. Receiving those updated pictures of Amelia was actually bittersweet for me. Of course I was absolutely thrilled to see how well she's doing, but it was also a visual reminder of how much we're missing as she grows without us. In the past few days, Graham has seemed to acquire an understanding, at least as much as a two year old can comprehend, of the changes that are soon to occur in our house. We talk about Amelia constantly and now each morning while we're eating our breakfast together Graham points to the highchair where she'll sit and says 'Amel-ya-ya'. I've also noticed that he's including her in his play. This morning he was cooking in his kitchen and I noticed him pretending to pour two cups of milk. 99% of the time, one cup is for me and the other cup is for him. Up until now, the other 1% of the time the second cup has been for Elmo or Annie. This morning though, I went to take the cup and he immediately told me no and insisted that I put it back. He pointed to the cups and said 'Am' (what he calls himself) and 'Amel-ya-ya'. How sweet is that?

The cutest thing related to Graham and Amelia happened while we were at the mall this morning. I was looking at the baby clothes in Gymboree and as I was getting ready to leave I noticed that Graham was holding a pink baby bib. I have no idea where he got it, but he obviously pulled it from a rack, and it occupied him while I shopped. I tried to take the bib from him and a lovely two year old tantrum began. I bent down in front of him to figure out what was so upsetting, and through his sobs, I could tell was trying to say Amelia's name. It finally occurred to me that he wanted her to have this little bib so I asked him if I was understanding why he was frustrated. He calmed down when I told him I would buy the bib for Amelia but he had to let me hold it. After I made the purchase, Graham proudly held his Gymboree bag with the pink cupcake bib for the remainder of our shopping trip and the entire car ride home. And when we got home, he walked right over to the highchair and put it on the tray. I actually got choked up watching this. It seems like he wants Amelia to come home just as badly as the rest of us.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We're on the LAST step...

I can't believe we're so close to bringing Amelia home!!!!!!!! After getting pictures of Amelia yesterday without even asking for them, I was feeling lucky. So, I decided to test my luck today. I was able to confirm via the Embassy in Washington DC that our last batch of paperwork (P3) was sent from the US Embassy in Seoul, to the Korean adoption agency on February 6. That's today!!!

There are a million rumors flying around right now regarding the Korean Government and their backlog related to adoption cases. Under normal circumstances, we could be just a week away from receiving 'THE CALL'. But, if there is any truth to these rumors, it could be a bit longer. The issue is something called the Emigration Permit or EP. This is essentially Amelia's passport out of Korea and the Korean government has been very slow in issuing them. She needs this 'passport' before her American visa can be issued. Here's the tricky part....we will NEVER find out when her Emigration Permit is issued. My adoption agency isn't even privy to this information and there is no way for me to track this. So, although the last of the paperwork has been dealt with, things can't be wrapped up until her EP is issued. I am hoping, hoping, hoping, and hoping some more that if her EP hasn't been issued yet, that it will be very, very, very shortly. I need to trust what my agency told the time it comes to wrap things up in our case, the backlog should be a thing of the past.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New Pictures!!!

Just last night I was wondering if I should ask our agency for an update on Amelia. Korea operates with a 'no news is good news' policy, so while I'm confident that everything is just fine, this wait has me going crazy with anticipation. While waiting for Graham, I begged for an update, and got one two days before we left for Korea. It isn't that the social workers in Korea aren't happy to let families know how the babies are doing, it's just that if they took the time to update every family about their child the paperwork to actually get them home would never be completed. So, imagine my surprise this morning, when, without even requesting them, we received pictures of Amelia! The babies in Korea go to the agency once a month around their birthday for a check-up so I'm guessing these photos are just a week or two old.

I can't believe how big our little girl is getting. And, I can't believe how much hair she has! At this age, Graham had no where near this amount. I can't wait...her hair is just screaming out for a hair bow! The woman in the pictures with Amelia is her foster mother and there isn't a doubt in my mind, that Amelia is getting lots of love from her. When I look at the pictures of the two of them, I can tell they have a bond...the way her foster mother looks at her, and holds her, tells me that. Until we can bring her home, I'm so thankful that Amelia has such a special lady in her life.

Come home soon, Amelia!!!

I can't wait to see this smile in person!

I love this picture...she's being hugged so tightly that her face is completely squished up!

"How does this thing work?"

Amelia and her foster mother