Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evie's first meeting

Here are photos from the first time that I was able to meet Evie in Korea. My mom and I arrived in Seoul on Tuesday, and were able to come to the adoption agency and meet Evie and her foster mother on the next day. My friend Ki-Eun, who was my roommate when we were both photography students at Ohio University, generously volunteered to come with us to take photos of our first meeting. Her foster mother with very sweet and obviously loved her very much. The totally meeting with about an hour and a half. Now she's home with us and with our entire family!

me, Evie and her foster mother
me carrying Evie in a back carrier (which the foster mother said that she loved)
beds in the adoption agency (where Evie stayed the first month of her life before going into foster care)
playing! she loves to imitate

Jake's surgery

Jake is currently in surgery now to repair a hole in his heart and repair a valve. We just got an update and they said that the repair is done and they need to stitch up his heart and his chest now. We are praying hard for him, as are a lot of friends and family. Hopefully everything will continue to do well and that he has no infections or complications. Here is a favorite video of him that I took recently.

video

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Evie and her friend!

We have been friends with fellow Cincinnatians Jen and Jeremy for about a year now when we learned they were adopting a little girl from South Korea at the same time that we were. They had 2 little boys near Jake's age, and were in the process of going through their home study like we were. We quickly became friends and got together socially with the kids. We were very excited when we learned we were both getting little girls only a month apart! They named their little one Allison and call her Allie. We met up with them after the flight at the Detroit airport, where they met Allie for the first time. A couple of days ago, we got the kids together for the first time in Cincinnati. It will be one of the many times that they see each other. Congrats to Jen, Jeremy, and Allie!

Evie and I and Jen and Allie in the Detroit airport
Playing together for the first time.

Jen and her daughter Allie.

Playdate




I'm on maternity leave right now since Evie came home, and we had a playdate the other day with some good friends. My friend has girls who are both Jake and Evie's ages. I think they will grow up to be good friend. Here are some pictures from the outing. We tried and tried, but just could not get a good picture of Evie (who just wanted to climb on the back of the couch). Maybe next time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Falling in Love with Evie

She loves to be upside-down!
playing with Daddy
so big!

whole family
swimming for the first time




playing with Mimi

Evie is doing AWESOME! We are so lucky to have her in our home and love her so much. Several people told me "You will love her like you love the child you gave birth to" and it's so true. Not that I ever doubted it, but we're experiencing it now that she's here. Evie is such a happy and smiley baby, and she truly is a joy to have around. She's made a complete 180 degree turnaround from when she first came home. We would have loved her so much either way, but she's really a lot of fun to have around and adds a great deal to our family. Here are some of the latest photos I took of her.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Siblings

video

My Happy girl!

We are so glad that Evie made it home to us! It has been a bit of a rough go, but she's doing so much better. She initially did not want to go in the swing, but ended up loving it! We are slowly seeing more and more smiles from her, which we are ecstatic about.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Evie's home!

Comforting her at the Seoul airport
Arriving at the Seoul airport with her friend Allie.
Having a moment of calm before we took off with my mom.
Sad :-(
Hanging out at home with big brother Jake.
Part of my welcome home decorations.

After 2 rough flights, we made it home at 1:15 am on early Saturday morning. I have never been more happy to ever be home in my life. Evie was so sad to leave her foster home and probably wasn't feeling well, so she cried a lot of the 13-hour first flight, the 6-hour layover, and the 1.5 hour second flight. It was very terrible and frustrating for both of us. She had moments where she would sleep and we would both get some rest, but they were all cat naps. I tried to distract her with toys, movies, the ipad, food, everything I had, but nothing seemed to work. On the flight from korea, there were 7 other babies and they all took their turns crying, so she wasn't the only one unhappy. I'm sure to the average traveler, it had to be the flight from hell becaur try to help with the upset babies. Several of them came up to me and would reach their arms out and offer to help me calm her down. I didn't take many up on it because they taught us that we should be the ones that they should attach to and let comfort them. There were 2 escorts on the flight taking other people's babies home, so they let the kind other passengers comfort the babies they were escorting. My mom took Evie occasionally, but it was mostly me trying to comfort her. The worst thing about the flights is that she refused to drink anything. She ate a small bit, but she wouldn't take her bottle or liquids from anywhere else, probably because she was so upset. During the layover, my mom and I got straws from a restaurant and fed her as much water as we could by dropping it in her mouth. The short flight from Detroit to Cincinnati was the worst. Even though it was short, we got stuck for about half and hour on the runway, and she was screaming her lungs out at that point. I couldn't get up at all to walk her around (which she mildly liked at that point) because we had to keep our seatbelts on. The other passengers were nice about it, luckily. So, I was extremely happy to see Brian when we finally made it home to Cincinnati. I had called him during our layover and was telling him how upset she was, and he was very and sympathized with me. As soon as we arrived in Cincinnati, she relaxed and of course didn't cry at all when I gave her to him or on the ride home at all. When we got home, my front room and hallway was decorated kindly by my co-workers, which was an awesome surprise. After 2 rough flights, it was very-much appreciated and brought tears to my eyes. Brian took over the first night, and she actually did pretty well sleeping. Jake was really excited to meet her the next morning and was very sweet. One of the very first things he did was offer her his doggy that he sleeps with every night and his pacifier. She looked at him like "what?", but it was sweet nonetheless. As of right now, things are getting better. Her drinking is getting better, she isn't crying too much, and the sleeping is getting there. We are both still really tired, but are taking turns so it isn't too bad. Here are some photos from along the way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meeting Evie

Well, yesterday will be a very memorable one in my life. I celebrated my 32nd birthday, and got the best birthday present I could ask for. I got to meet my daughter Evie. Her foster mother and everyone called her Ji-Soo, so we will probably call her that, or a combination of names for a while. I didn't meet her until 3:00 that day, so earlier in the day my graduate school roommate, Ki-Eun, took my mom and I around Seoul and to the Nam Dae Mung market in downtown Seoul. It is a huge, traditional Asian market and you can buy pretty much anything you wold ever want. I got lots of toys for Evie and Jake, a hangbok (a traditional Korean dress) for Evie, and some various other things for different people. We ate a traditional Korean meal at this place popular among Koreans-it was fish and radishes in a spicy sauce (delicious). Besides the great shopping, it was a fascinating place to people-watch. We went back to the hotel then and met up with another family to head over the adoption agency. It was out in more the suburbs of Seoul, and was over an hour away from where we were staying. We were told to just take a cab out there, but Ki-Eun came with all of us and helped navigate the subway system and then we took a shrt cab ride the rest of the way. The subway system in Seoul is very impressive. Seoul is a very big city with over 10 million people in it, and a lot of people don't have cars, so they rely a lot on the subway system. It is very clean, and the people were very polite and not pushy at all. We took 3 different subway lines, and definitely could not have navigated it without Ki-Eun's help. So, got to the end of the subway and line and each of us took separate cabs to the agency. Well, we didn't realize how hard it was to find the agency, and the driver got lost! We were panicked because we did not want to be late in coming to meet our kids. We finally found the place after the driver called twice. The other family made it even after us. So, we walked into the agency, and took our shoes off because that is what is polite in Korea. I walked up the stairs and her foster mother was holding Evie. I barely recognized her from her pictures because she is 5 months older than in her pictures, and she has thinned out a lot. She was very chunky before, but now she is crawling and even walking 5 steps, so the foster mother says that she has thinned out a great deal. She was so cute, and I choked up when I first saw her! Ki-Eun and I went to school for photography together, so she took lots of photos of the meeting (I will post them when I get them). She was a very sweet baby, and obviously loved the foster mother a lot. She's 10 months old right now, and has been with her and her family since she was 1 month old. We couldn't believe it when we saw that she was walking! She was so cute because she would stand up and clap her hands together and laugh. Her foster mother said that she was very smart and advanced for her age, and that her family just adored Evie. She said that they would miss her very much. They all kept saying how smart she was going to be. The foster mother got Evie a present of a beautiful hanbok that she can wear when she's a little older. I will write more later, but it was a very nice meeting and I look forward to getting her tomorrow and introducing her to Brian and Jake, and everyone we love back in the States. I'm so glad that I could come to get her and experience her wonderful country.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Made it to Seoul!

After a day and half of shuttle buses, planes, trams, and another big bus, my Mom and I made it into Seoul. The flight was 14 hours long, and I had planned to sleep for at least half of that time, but it didn't quite happen. At least my mom was able to upgrade my ticket to business class. My college friend Ki-Eun was nice enough to meet us at the airport. We got on an hour-long bus ride to take us into Seoul. About halfway through my motion sickness started in and I was lucky that I didn't loose my cookies. So we got to the hotel safe and sound and I was able to lie down for an hour. Then we went out to explore the area around the hotel, which is thought of as more of a western area. There are tons of souveniors and Korean stuff to buy. I'm held back on buying anything yet, and will save it for tomorrow morning when Ki-Eun will take us to a large open-aired Korean market in the morning. Off to bed (If I can sleep) and SO looking forward to meeting Evie in the afternoon! It will be the best birthday present ever!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Our Way

Well, my mom and I are currently resting in the Hampton Inn at the Detroit airport after the first leg of our flight to South Korea. It was only about an hour flight from Cincinnati to Detroit, and there was nothing unusual to report. Although, my mom is a Medallion flyer and can get us into the Delta crown room-we did sit next to Drew Lachey in there while we enjoyed a drink before our flight.
I enjoyed the day hanging out with my boys before the flight. I am a little sad to be leaving them, but I know that great things (and people) await us in Seoul. My graduate school roommate, Ki-Eun, is kind enough to meet us at the airport in Seoul when we arrive and show us around the city before taking us to our hotel. Tomorrow, my mom and I will meet Jodi, a social worker from our adoption agency, and Kathy, the director of the agency, at the airport in Detroit. We are all on the direct flight from Detroit to Seoul. The 2 ladies are coming to escort 2 other children back to the States. I will try to update every day in Seoul when I get the chance. I was recently reading that Seoul is the most wi-fi connected city in the world, so I guess I have no excuse not to post updates!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Water Fun




This weekend was hot, hot, hot! Jake really enjoyed playing in the sprinkler and with the hose all weekend at our house. He loved swimming in Mimi and Papa's pool, so I'm sure we will be visiting them a lot this summer. Here he is sporting some cute swim trunks and showing off his rockin new haircut.

Updates

Wow, May has been a crazy month, full of ups and downs. We've gotten very good news, and bad news as well.
Jake was supposed to have open-heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart on May 26. It was determined a year ago that he would have to have the surgery, and they wanted to wait until he was a little bigger to do it. So, we saw his cardiologist at Children's hospital in April, and made the surgery for May 26. On May 25 Brian, Jake, and I all went in to the hospital for a pre-op appointment. Jake had has blood drawn, they took a chest x-ray, and we talked to numberous doctors for over 5 hours. We find out during the appointment that it was possible that Jake would not have his surgery tomorrow because there was an emergency case of a baby. We went home to wait on the call, and it turns out that his surgery was postponed because a day-old baby needed emergency heart surgery. I understood why it was happening, and certainly feel a lot of compassion for the baby, but it was very frustrating and depressing knowing that we would have to wait another 2 months for his surgery. The surgery is almost hanging over our heads, and we worry about him constantly. At first, I couldn't bear the thought of going through another 2 months of the waiting, but I'm getting used to the idea. We just keep praying and praying that his heart stays strong and that the surgery goes OK in July.
While worrying about Jake and his heart surgery, we got the great news that Evie was going to come home on May 17. It was such a relief that have a date on when she's coming home! Two weeks prior, we heard that she was probably going to come in early June, but at this date we got official word that she was coming home. Then we had to decide whether to go and get her, or have a social worker escort her home. I wanted one of us to visit Korea and see the country where she was born, and I also wanted us to be the first ones to bond with her instead of having the social worker do it. She's going to go from her foster mother to us, which I think will make for a better transition. It might not have made a difference either way, but I wanted one of us to be the ones to comfort her on the airplane. I have more vacation time than Brian and have a little more experience traveling, so we decided that it would be me to go to Korea. I had originally planned to go by myself, but after Jake's surgery was canceled, my mom stepped up and said that she would go with me. I'm thrilled to have a travel companion to share this special trip with! We get back to the States with baby Evie on May 10 late at night. I will be sure to post lots of pictures at some point.
Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family for their ongoing support, love, and prayers for our family. Everything seems to be happening at once, but we will get through it and have great times in the future. I can't wait until Evie is home and Jake is through his surgery and is well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New pictures of Evie!

The first smiling picture we've gotten!
Evie with her foster mother.

sleeping

The week we received some pictures of Evie that were taken by an adoptive mother who was in Korea to pick up her son, who stayed in the same foster home as Evie. The foster mother brought this little boy, Joel to the agency for his mother, and brought Evie as well. Joel's mother is named Beth, and by chance, she lives in West Chester. We plan to get the kids together again once Evie comes home. Beth and Joel came home about 2 months ago, and she reported to me that Joel is doing well. She also said that Evie is very cute and was smiley with her foster mother and giggled and blew rasberries. We can't wait to see her for ourselves! No news yet on when she's coming home, but I will post it when I know.

Easter 2011

Getting pysched for his first egg hunt of the weekend by wearing his basket on his head.
Hunting for eggs at Aunt Becky's church with her help.
Have to check everywhere.
Jake and cousin Clarke show off their loot after the egg hunt.
Hunting for eggs on Easter Sunday with help from Papa.
Trying to eat the candy with the wrapper still on. We encourage him to move on and get more eggs before trying the candy.
Sitting with his second-cousin Maya (while still trying to eat the candy through the wrapper).
Jake and a group of his second-cousins.


So, we went to Somerset last weekend for Easter and visited with Brian's family. Besides visiting with family, Jake went on 3 Easter egg hunts. Yeah, he got a TON of candy. The first one was the day before Easter at Aunt Becky and Uncle Dale's church. There weren't that many kids that came, so Jake really hauled it in at that one. He is so motivated by candy that he really worked to get the eggs and get to the "yummy treat" inside. The second egg hunt was later that night after dinner at Mama and Papa's house with cousin Clarke. We did it separately, so Jake could get some practice in before the big egg hunt tomorrow with all the second-cousins. Easter Sunday Jake woke up to get a basket of candy from the Easter bunny and some fun sand toys. We then all went to church, and then to Brian's Aunt Della's house for a huge family meal. There were a ton of people there-we counted 58. And we all pigged out on the massive amount of food that everyone brought. I ate so much food that I didn't even have to eat dinner that night. After lunch, there was the final big Easter egg hunt. Jake got to hunt in the little kid's area with his second-cousin Maya who is also 2. Papa helped him while the rest of us cheered him on. He stopped hunting after getting an egg to check what was inside and even tried to eat the candy through the wrappers. But it was a very successful hunt and he had a good time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter bunny visit

Jake doesn't really want to visit the Easter bunny, but does want the treat in his basket.
He gets over his fear and decides to risk getting close to the bunny in order to get the treat.
Jake got the treat, but wants to get far away from that weird giant bunny. "Let's get out of here Mom."

I had to get a couple of birthday party presents last weekend, so Jake and I went to Walmart to pick them out. Since it's the weekend before Easter, the Easter bunny showed up. Jake was excited at first at the bunny and waved to him from afar, but wasn't as excited the closer we got. He is a weird looking bunny, and Jake does not seem to like people dressed in costume where you can't see their face (he does like Santa Claus though). I took him closer to the bunny, and pretty much the pictures tell the story.

Kindermusik

Miss Cindy reading a book to Jake and the other child. It's good practice for when Jake goes to preschool next year.
Jake and Miss Cindy rolling around acting like a dog.
Running after Miss Cindy the teacher.

Well, last Saturday was our last Kindermusik class, and we will miss seeing Miss Cindy and the other kids on Saturday mornings. It was about 4 months worth of the classes, and Jake really enjoyed them. He was shy at the beginning, but by the last several classes, he was an old pro, and started getting into the rhymes and songs a lot. We are still singing them at home. Here are a few photos from the makeup class that we went to last Saturday. There was only one other child at the class, but normally there was about 8 kids in the class. Jake LOVED Miss Cindy, and by the end would go up and give her hugs. I took him to most classes, but Daddy stepped in a couple of times, and Aunt Dani even took him twice as well when we were out of town. I will definitely have to sign him up again because I think he really liked it.