Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's up with the "throne"?

So, this is probably the #1 question I'm getting when I show the pictures of Levi to everyone. I do know that every baby that I've seen from Eastern Social Welfare is shown in this chair for their referral. I suspected that there was a deeper meaning, but I didn't know more than that.

Jean, our social worker called today. She stated with (think frantic sounding voice) "I just got your referral in the mail and I couldn't believe it!" I wasn't exactly sure what she was talking about and as I started to worry, she said "He is SO beautiful. He looks incredibly healthy. Can you believe what a sweet, amazing boy he is? Angie, he's perfect!" Relief set over me. I know Jean says this to every family, but somehow I feel she really means it. Someday, I want her job - calling people and telling them what cute babies they have. I could be good at that. Sorry...moving on.

We took care of business, like getting our I600 filed ASAP (I told you there would be a lot of number/letter combination documents!), and how to record his name. Then I asked her the question about the chair. Does it have a special significance? I have to admit that I expected her to give me some really great answer about some age-old Korean tradition. Nope. She said..."No, there is no significance, other than that all the children who are adopted through Eastern are photographed in that chair. We refer to it as the adoption chair." She went on to tell me that the Love the Children's main office walls are wallpapered in photos of all the children that they've matched in their 30+ years...ALL of them sitting in the adoption chair. She said that much of the warehouse-like space is covered in those photos. It sounds both intriguing and bizarre.

So - that's the deal with the throne. Don't you feel better knowing that?? I sure do. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More about our son, Levi.

We've finally given this little guy a name so that we can call him something besides "this little guy." Introducing....Levi Jeong- Wook Gerrard. We really liked the name Levi, but when I looked it up in the baby book and found that it means "United as one" - we felt it was meant to be. We ARE praying this for our son. We are praying to be united with him as his "forever family."

We were talking about names around the dinner table and we were tossing up a couple of names - one of them being "Levi". An old friend of Steve's called to congratulate us on our new addition, and the kids and I continued with our dinner talk while he was distracted. Ben decided that we should take a vote on names. (He's been learning about elections at school!) Ben and I voted for Levi and Ella voted for the other name, Gabriel. "I know that Daddy would vote for Gabriel." I said. Ella realized that it meant it was tied 2 - 2. She said "If I switch my vote to Levi, that means the baby's name is Levi?? Then I switch it to Levi, 3 - 1, Levi wins!!" While I told the kids that daddy and I would discuss and make the final call, they were already calling him Levi!

Many of you have asked the following questions - and we know there will be many more.

1) Do you know anything about Levi besides his name & stats?
Well, we know that he's very, very cute! :) But fortunately...we do know more. We know his background, both social and medical. We will receive up to date photos and reports in a couple of weeks. We are told that he is a good sleeper (Yeah!), and although we are uncertain about his eating patterns, we know that he has been steadily gaining weight - which is a great sign. We also know that he was born in the city of Incheon, the 3rd largest city in S. Korea. We've attached a map so you can see where it is. His Korean name (Jeong Wook) means "to grow up brightly, firm of character, like the morning sun." We've read all of his development as of months, and it seems to be perfectly on target. On 8/14, at 4 months he weighed a whopping 14 lbs!

2) Do you plan on keeping his Korean heritage?
Yes! In the same way that we embrace our Argentinian heritage, we will embrace our new Korean heritage as well. We are cannot help ourselves, but to learn all about Korea! As we learn about Korea, we learn about our son. Ben & Ella think it's awesome that Korean's show gratitude by burping at the end of the meal! They would like to bring in that part of Levi's culture...but we have overruled them on that one. It has been fun and interesting to explore a new culture, and we are grateful for the opportunity. We are also keeping his Korean name as his middle name. We feel that is important, since it will have been his name for his first 10 - 11 months.

3) Will you travel to Korea to meet Levi?
No. Levi will travel with an escort here to JFK airport in NYC where we will meet him. He will have been traveling for 30+ hours when he gets here, as well as will have a 13 hour time difference (so night is day and day is night). We are thankful that we will be rested and able to give him careful attention those first few days and nights. We will receive a "travel call" about 48 hours before he will arrive. At this time, we expect for our entire family to travel to NYC (with a friend to care for our other kids and take photos), but we know that many people make last minute changes. We are open to changing once we know information. Please pray that this goes as smoothly as possible. We hear from others who have made this trip, that it is a crazy, overwhelming and amazing process.

4) Will Steve take time off of work?
Most definitely. Our biggest challenge those first few weeks will be bonding with Levi. This is no small task, and it will take hard work. We are under strict orders to keep Levi out of crowds and away from visitors for about 2 weeks. Steve or I will need to provide for his needs those 2 weeks so that he begins to trust us as his providers. Steve faces unique challenges, as many Korean children are not used to being cared for by men, so he will have to make extra efforts to spend time bonding with Levi in that precious first week. So - this would be a great time to tell you to PLEASE not be offended if we limit our time with you in those first days and weeks. We understand that there will be a lot of people who want to meet him, and we promise to make him available to you as soon as we can, but we are boldly asking to have the freedom to do what we hope will bring long term benefits.

5) Why adoption from Korea?
Adoption is a personal choice. A calling. Once we started down the road of adopting, we have felt without question, that this is
our calling. How we discovered that calling is another blog altogether, but we already cannot imagine life without our little Levi in our hearts, and we know that we will feel that way even more when home with us...

We found Korea quite by accident and we have fallen in love with this adoption program. The babies from Korea live with loving foster families (instead of in orphanages), and they get great medical care. We considered other programs, and kept ruling them out, one by one, either because we didn't meet the age requirements (when I say we - I do mean Steve) :), we couldn't make the travel commitment (for some countries, it was as much as 8 weeks), or the wait times were very long. We found out about Love the Children through a friend of a friend...and we knew right away that we had found the right agency for us.

6)How is your process so short?
We feel very, very blessed. When we started the process, we thought if we had an adopted child in a year, we'd consider ourselves very lucky. But, when we discovered Love the Children, we began to hear that their wait times were much shorter. Feeling that this was "too good to be true", I inquired about it. Love the Children, we realized is more than just an adoption agency. In fact, with it's small staff, it minimal advertising and it's no hassle process, it doesn't seem like an agency at all. They have kept to a minimum their administrative costs for the placement of children so that all possible funds, donations and contributions are directed toward the support of Eastern Child Welfare Center. Eastern Social Welfare Society is in Seoul, and not only places adopted children, but has facilities for expectant mothers, handicapped children and schools with grades kindergarten through high school. Love the children, together with the support of their generous contributors, have been able to aid Eastern in building the Love the Children Hospital and Esther's House (home for unwed mothers) and have also provided supplies, medicines, vans, medical and other equipment. Love the Children, in this way, becomes more of an extension of the Korean agency. Since 1978, Love the Children has placed over 4,000 children from Korea in US homes. We are honored to be one of them.

More to come...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One day of well-wishers - thank you dear friends!

My precious son - you are but one day in our hearts and your "fan club" awaits. :) You ARE loved by many, my sweet boy and we can't wait to bring you home. Below are just a sampling of the many, many emails we recieved today, in addition to the comments posted - just ONE day after your unveiling! (I tried to include them all - but there were SOO many!) We can hardly wait to share these amazing friends with you. Come home soon...

Oh my goodness! That is such exciting news! We can't to meet him!

Lizzie and Bryan

Congratulations!!!! What a beautiful baby...we look forward to meeting him soon.
Tony and Talia

Oh my, Angie, he is absolutely perfect! Just gorgeous! Congratulations! Can't wait to hear more about your process!
Jackie B.

Dear Angie

I was just talking about you – last night! Unbelievable to hear from you today- and to hear this news. This is such wonderful news- congratulations to all of you.

Susan Solomont

We're rejoicing with you. We are so excited for you and so glad to be a witness to your journey. Love you!


He looks like a Gerrard alright :) Melvyn

Congratulations Angie,

I hope all works out for you. You and Steve will be wonderful parents to your second son.


Crying at his picture, ang. he's beautiful!! oh, i just want you to have him now. i can't imagine how this must be testing your patience and trust.

just beautiful. no other words.
much love, aim

Congratulations! I am so excited for you! I can't wait to follow along your story and hear how things progress. Keep us on the update.
May God continue to bless your family,

Oh, my gosh! He is soooo adorable! Now we all have to wait! AAGGGHHH! But it’ll be such joy when he finally does arrive. We are so happy for all of you!


The Alberts

WOW we are so excited for all of you!! This is so cool! I cant wait to meet the new nephew!!



Love the pictures and we are so excited for you! (hope you can get the throne)


angie and steve,
that is AWESOME!!
i'm excited for you!

Katrina M.

Angie, He is so beautiful! I am so happy for you and for your new son. What a blessing you all will be to one another. Love - Annelise

Congratulations! Wow, I'm not normally a crier, but I must admit, my eyes started welling up when I saw his picture. Brings back a lot of great memories. He's very blessed to have you as parents.


Our prayers will be with you. There is a little man just waiting for your hugs!! Praise God!


Dear Angie,
Congratulations! He is so very cute! Phil and I are really thrilled for you all and we can't wait to hear more as the story unfolds. Ben and Ella will be a great big brother and sister for the little guy!


So Happy for your family...Will be praying.
Carol Ann and Jeff

Wonderful news! Congratulations to you and your family! If there's anything I can do to help, please feel free to ask.
- Barbara Wester

Oh, Ang...
Weeping with joy for you at this happy and expectant time!
God is so good!

He is SOOOOOOO cute! That throne picture cracks me up! It's precious.

Love it, love it, love it!

I am soooo excited for you!

Right on! Congratulations Gerrards! Ed Fraher

So happy for y'all! Rebecca


Congrats, Angie!! so excited for you all! Heather

Congratulations on the news about your baby boy! He's beautiful!! Many prayers to you guys and your little one! Melissa F.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pictures, pictures, pictures!

We can't stop looking at the pictures of our beautiful baby! We are rejoicing at this wonderful news and we can't wait to bring him home late Feb/early March. Initial acceptance paperwork was sent back to to LTC today and will be taken to Korea with Cecelia...it's official! Please pray that all our next steps go smoothly. Picture # 1 is at 2 months, and picture #2 is 4 months. We'll hopefully have more in a couple of weeks! Oh, and many have asked if we will change his name. We will, but we we'll keep part of his Korean name as well. We'll update the blog soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are you ready to be a Gerrard, little man???

I talked to Jean (our social worker) over the weekend and she indicated that we might hear something early this week, or not until Cecilia (director of LTC) got back from Korea (about 2 weeks). I thought to myself..."OK, I can wait 2 weeks." I mean, what are the CHANCES she's calling before she leave on Thurs?

WE GOT THE CALL! We have a boy! Kim, Jeong Wook (meaning straight and son in the morning) was born on 4/15/08 - 6 lbs, at 39 weeks. He has very little hair and Cecilia kept telling me "You won't believe it - I kept looking at he and Ben together and they look like brothers?" THAT one made me cry. She said it's the shape of his face. Brothers? Wow...brothers. He is one day shy of ELLA'S birthday.

He's growing like a weed! On 8/14 (last recorded medicals - we'll be getting more in the next couple of weeks), he was 14.3 lbs and 23.3 inches. He is in great health. We told the kids when we were all together. They are SO excited. I've been most sensitive to Ella - since she is loosing her "baby of the family" status. We were talking about it - and I asked her more and mentioned that she would be the only girl. "The princess" I said. "No, queen." she replied. She is probably right. ;)

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We're approved!! Now what?

So we are officially approved to adopt, as of 10/9. (We didn't even need the final visit!) Jean told us that we should expect that our home study would be sent to Korea this week or next and then we'll get a referral. The referral will be the information about our son or daughter which will tell us gender, medical information and background and everything else they can document.

So - we are officially "waiting". We know that our agency Love the Children, is known for their short wait times, which is thrilling for us. However, I have to admit that I didn't picture that the waiting would be this difficult. Every day feels a little like an eternity. Once you know there is a baby out there, somewhere, that is born and will be with you forever, you can't help but want to hold that baby in your arms. We know our child is loved by their foster mom, but we just can't wait to welcome him/her home. We hope to share very good news with you soon...

Meanwhile, the kids did a great mural on our playroom door. We love everything about it except the nauseating smell of tempera paint that it left behind! :) Take a look!