Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday in Seoul

We didn't have any adoption business to take care of today, so we were on our own. We left the hotel by 9 and walked for the next 10 hours! I wish I could figure out how many miles we covered, but I'm certain we both met our daily exercise requirement and then some! Mid-morning we again found ourselves starving. Part of our jet lag issue (other than exhaustion) is that we find ourselves hungry at the most random hours. Each time I'm in Seoul, I always find it funny that there is a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, but none to be found in Minneapolis! We took advantage of the convenience this morning and stopped for a treat.

Dunkin Donuts in Seoul
After our treat, we made a very memorable stop. Clearly, you'll be able to tell that by the number of pictures I'm including, that the fish market left a lasting impression on both Jeff and I. We've had the opportunity to travel to some pretty exotic places, and neither of us had been anywhere quite like this. I don't think we could have correctly named even half of what was being sold. Part of the lasting impression a place like this leaves is the memory of the very unique odor...truly one of a kind!

Sting Ray


Any guesses?

After marching around all day, we decided to give our tired feet a rest and saw a movie at Coex Mall. Every time I've been in Seoul I've seen a movie there, so it's become a necessary stop! We're about ready to call it a night since we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow. We meet with Amelia in the afternoon and we're also going to visit with Graham's foster mother! After that, it's time for us to pack up so we can head to the airport early Thursday morning. We are both so ready to get home with Amelia so we can be reunited with Graham, so as nervous as we are for our long flight to Chicago, we're ready to just do it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Meeting Amelia Part 2

It's Monday evening in Seoul, and we're back to the hotel for the night. Jet lag has been really difficult, so we're calling it a night at 8:00. I've uploaded two video's of us with Amelia. She's obviously sleeping through both of them, but I thought I'd share them anyways. We're meeting with her again on Wednesday afternoon, so hopefully we'll be able to spend some time with her while she's awake before we start our journey home on Thursday morning. I won't lie, I'm way too tired right now to write a cohesive, fluid paragraph, so I'm just going to list what we learned this morning.

-Amelia is bigger than we thought. She's just under 20 pounds!

-Amelia's foster family actually had two babies-Amelia and a little boy the same age and apparently they are good little buddies. He's going home on Tuesday but unfortunately, his home will be in New York, and not Minnesota.

-We've yet to see it, since our visit this morning was during her sleepy time, but she's apparently quite the fast mover. She crawls quickly and loves to pull herself up on furniture. I think Graham is going to be in shock!

-Amelia has thankfully been very healthy! In her 9 months of life, she's only had a single cold, and the foster mother was quick to tell me that it was a very mild one.

-At this point in time, Amelia has yet to really eat anything other than her formula. Switching babies from a formula based diet to one that includes solid food isn't stressed as early in Korea as it is at home. She will, on occasion, eat a Korean form of rice cereal or porridge. We've got to get some fruits and veggies into this girl!

-Amelia likes music and enjoys dancing when she hears it. Jeff and I are looking forward to seeing this!

-Thankfully, Amelia is used to riding around in a stroller. This may not sound like a big deal, but Graham had never been in one when he came, and it took him a long time to be comfortable and content being pushed around.

-According to many of the staff we met with this morning, Amelia, or Jee Yoo, as they know her, is a favorite baby around the agency. We were told several times by different people how beautiful our daughter is. Apparently, even the American Embassy commented on how cute she looks in her visa photo. I have to admit, it is pretty cute! :)

-Amelia has a very happy personality according to her foster parents (we actually spent time with both of them this morning). She likes to make noise and babble when she's in a good mood.

I think that's about it for need for sleep is beating the desire to blog!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meeting Miss Amelia!!!!!

I'm once again in awe of the amazing way that adoption brings families together! We spent some time with Amelia this morning and as you'll see, she was comfortable enough with both Jeff and I to fall asleep curled up with both of us! She is an absolute little dolly, and we couldn't be more in love with her.

It's the middle of the day on Monday right now, and we stopped back at the hotel so I could upload pictures for Amelia's very anxious Grandparents! :) I've got lots of stories to share from our meeting but I'll save those stories for when I update the blog later tonight. Let's just say that Graham is going to have a run for his money...we didn't witness this since Amelia slept for most of our meeting, but apparently our girl can move...FAST!

So, until Monday night our time, enjoy this first set of pictures! Details of our meeting and a video will come later, so stay tuned!

Safe and Sound in Seoul

We're here safe and sound, completely exhausted, but we're here! We had uneventful flights without any delays which was great and landed in Seoul about 4:00 on Sunday afternoon to sun and warm (48 is warm by our standards!) weather. After the 90 minute commute to our hotel, we checked in, did a bit of unpacking, then headed out to grab some dinner. Being that we've been up for longer than 24 straight hours now, I'm not sure how we're even functioning. I'm thinking the adrenaline is what's keeping us going. Right now, it's about 9 pm on Sunday night which means in just 13 hours we'll be holding our girl!!! Check back, for pictures of Amelia! Good Night!

Waiting to board in Chicago

The nice employee on the right gave us exit row seats! When you have to sit for 15 hours, every extra inch of leg room counts! :)

I have a picture of the plane we rode on to pick up Graham, so I figured we should have a picture for Amelia too.

lunch...Korean Air style

We made it!

Dinner in Seoul. I have to be honest-the noodles and I had a battle. I have trouble with chopsticks to begin with, so to try and eat slippery noodles with metal sticks, was quite the challenge. I finally gave up since I was embarrassed and convinced the other diners were watching me make a fool of myself.

This, I can handle! Hot Chocolate from Starbucks after the noodle battle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Schedule Update

We received confirmation this morning that we'll be meeting Amelia for the first time on Monday morning at 10:00. That means, that at 8 pm Sunday night (Minneapolis time), we'll finally have our princess in our arms!!! WOO HOO! :-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bon Voyage!

After running around like a crazy woman the past two days, our airline tickets are booked, the hotel reservations are made, and the suitcases are just about full. I am so full of anticipation right now because bright and early Saturday morning we'll be on our way to Amelia! I don't yet have the specifics for our meeting time, but we'll see her at some point on Monday. Tomorrow, I'm expecting to find out what time we have to be at the agency on Monday, but if the message doesn't arrive from Korea before we leave, apparently they will send a fax to the hotel. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! We'll spend Monday-Wednesday in Seoul, and start the long journey home on Thursday morning, arriving back home Thursday afternoon.

We'll definitely be updating the blog while we're away, so check back often for updates. I know that there are many of you anxiously waiting to see Amelia in our arms, and I can't wait to share pictures of our little princess. This has been a long time coming, but Amelia is definitely worth the wait!

Next stop....Seoul!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Exactly 15 LONG weeks since we first saw Amelia's face, she's ready to come home!!!!!!!!

Details as soon as I'm thinking clearly :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guess who's getting a visa?!?!?!?!

On Wednesday, Amelia will be getting her visa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Guess what's already late Tuesday night in Korea so this is happening just hours from now!

When Jeff called the Embassy to hear this great news, the woman he was speaking with let him know that she was looking at Amelia's visa photo. She wanted Jeff to know that he has a beautiful daughter and that she is wearing a pink dress. I can't believe it's down to just days before I can see her for myself!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Finally, some GREAT news!

Ok, no travel call yet, but I just got confirmation that is just a matter of days away!!!

Being that today is Thursday, it is our 'check in with our agency' day. I debated for a while not even getting an update this week because it just didn't seem possible that we'd hear anything positive. Curiosity got the best of me though, and I asked Jeff to call (I'm still too emotionally charged right now to make these calls myself!). I waited on pins and needles for Jeff's work number to pop up on caller ID to report back to me with an update, and when it did, I couldn't pick up the phone fast enough. He was told that the Korean agency was able to confirm that they've handed the very last necessary piece of paper off to the American Embassy and all that's left is for them (the Embassy) to stick Amelia's visa in her passport! I know all this happened at some point this week, although I'm not exactly sure which day. The American Embassy usually issues the visa's within a few business days which is the best news I've heard in a really long time!!!! So, if this happened early in the week, I suppose our call could come as soon as tomorrow but more than likely we'll be getting our call early-mid next week which means we're about a week away from finally meeting Amelia!!!!!!

Get ready, because I think the next time I post it will be with news of 'THE CALL'!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Red Balloon

As the ticker at the top of the blog shows, today we hit a milestone I never in my wildest dreams imagined we'd hit-waiting for 3 months to bring Amelia home. Although I know that each day we wait is one day closer to having her with us, each day the wait becomes harder and harder. It's tough to hold it together when we don't know where the finish line is! But, as this wait drags on and on, I'm continually being given small signs, that eventually my family will all be in the same home.

Tonight for example, Graham gave me one such sign. He's been dragging his red Trader Joe's balloon around the house for the past day or so. This evening, he was insistent that the balloon go downstairs with him. I assumed he wanted the balloon tied to his car like most of the other balloons he's had. As soon as we got downstairs, he ran over to Amelia's door, hung the balloon on her doorknob and came running back to me. He was so excited as he pointed to the door and said "Amel ya ya balloon". I got so choked up with Graham wanting to share his prized balloon with his little sister who is all the way on the other side of the world. We sure do have a lot of love for our special little girl!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Frustrated and sad beyond belief....

According to our agency, Korea hopes to have Amelia's paperwork ready for her to travel by March 26, but they can't guarantee that. We were also told by our agency that "we think" (their words) there could be a week delay beyond that. April?????????? I'm supposed to wait for my baby until April????????????? I'm crushed....enough said.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heading into week #13

The update for today is that there is no real update. Jeff spoke with our agency this morning and there hasn't been a single travel call this week which leaves us still waiting at the #7 spot.

Today is the first day of waiting in our 13th week. That number just seems cruel...nobody should have to wait this long to hold their almost 9 month old child. Up until right now, I've been able to hold it together in front of Graham. Today that changed and I'm not sure what I think of my display of emotion right in front of him. I got off the phone with Jeff and just started crying. This clearly concerned Graham and he came over, buried his head in my legs, and said 'Mama sad'. I explained to him that yes, I was sad because I very badly want Amelia to come home. He looked up at me and very solemnly said 'Amel ya ya, soon'. He's been saying that for quite a while now, and I'm just wondering when 'soon' is finally going to be 'today'.

I obviously have so much to be thankful for, and am so grateful to everyone who has offered support for us during this wait, but come on Korea, I desperately need my girl home! I'm wondering how I am going to keep my mind occupied for the time being. Graham does a great job keeping me physically busy, but seeing him play alone is a constant reminder that his little sidekick is on the other side of the world.

We've randomly chosen Thursday as the day to be in contact with our agency, so unless some miracle occurs (I'm hoping and praying for a miracle) and our travel call comes in the next few days, I'll update everyone again next week....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Our update for the week...

Here's the short version of the update: We've probably got another 2 weeks to go. If you'd like details, keep reading...

Yesterday morning, Jeff called the Embassy bright and early hoping for good news. He again got the same response I've been hearing for close to a month now-no visa interview scheduled. Then, later in the day I checked the message board for our agency and was not happy with what I saw. Several people were writing about further delays. That news, in combination with the lack of news from the Embassy was all it took to send my mind spinning. I made the decision that before I let myself come up with all sorts of crazy scenarios of when Amelia will be home, that I should go straight to the source of information and contact our agency. After further thought, thanks to my very emotional state, I realized that Jeff was probably the best person to make that call.

This morning Jeff called and gained a better understanding of what is actually happening right now. One of the Korea staff members from our agency is actually in Seoul right now helping to sort things out. Yes, there was a backlog in Korea, and yes, they're currently working their way through it. Yes, families are being further delayed, but we're still not expected to be affected. Our agency states a 10-14 week wait for travel call after referral. With Graham we waited 9 weeks, so we were hopeful we would again sail quickly through the paperwork. We're currently in our 12th week of waiting, and Jeff was told that things are moving and we should expect to travel within the normal time frame. Here's the proof that things are the past week, our agency has been able to call 12 different families and tell them to go to Korea!!!! We are currently #7 on the list of families waiting. Sooooooooo, it will be our turn soon, it may not feel soon enough, but our turn is coming.

I'm trying very hard to see the silver lining in this wait that feels never ending. Amelia is on my mind constantly and I wonder how she spends her days. It's hard to accept the fact that I'm the mother of two children, one who lives with me, and one who lives a world away and I've yet to lay eyes on. I am taking solace in the fact that she feels none of this anxiety and stress that comes along with this stage of the adoption process.

So, now back to waiting...