Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ramblings (it's just the lack of sleep talking)

I almost didn't blog today. But I realized I haven't blogged in a couple of days, and people start chasing me down when I don't! :) Thanks to my friends who don't let me hide...

Sleep deprivation - isn't it amazing? Those of you who have been new parents, are new parents or are about to become new parents - repeat after me: "It's just the lack of sleep talking." Remember this Sleep deprivation can cause just about I right all of you "have been's"?? Lack of sleep has put me in the ho-hums today. It was a snow day for the kids (which I usually love), but I had to balance baby, shoveling and extensive meal-making (why do I attempt pancakes on snow days, anyway??). I felt like I worked hard and everyone was lacking. It's not true, but it's just the lack of sleep talking. Last night, Levi slept soundly until 2:30 and then was restless the rest of the night. I didn't fall asleep for several of those hours. At some point, I brought him into bed with me (I've moved back into my room - mostly to steal precious heat from my hubby who is like a furnace!), and just as I was falling asleep, I felt a strance sensation like a mouse running over me (go ahead and laugh...Steve thought that was hilarious!), but I couldn't get back to sleep thinking there might be a mouse in the bed! :) I was able to fall asleep after convincing myself "it's just the lack of sleep talking."

There are greater, more important things that are lost when you are sleep deprived. I was short with a friend today, short with my kids, intolerant of that baby-toy music played for the 4,657th time (I'm estimating), and I began to fear the worst for my youngest child. "Levi doesn't notice when I leave a room, or at least doesn't cry to get me back. Should I be worried?" (I know...MOST people would think that is a blessing!) "He's really busy and LOVES making trouble. Should I be worried for the future?" Once again, I remind myself it's just the lack of sleep talking. If these things resurface when I'm fully rested, then I will start to consider asking the right people.

10 days. That's what my social worker promises is the magic number. She tells me it has stood the test of time and that by 10 days, "their nights are nights and their days are days." Here's hoping! (We're on day #8, night #9.) She didn't promise that he'll be sleeping through the night - and I didn't ask. I really don't want to know. He'll get there.

The snow day was a gift to us as we enjoyed spending another day together. One week ago today was our first family day - it's amazing how far we've come! If you check out the pictures above, you'll see that my sweet Ella is already trying to get Levi to cooperate - but pulling on his shirt and manipulating his head! :) She's going to be a great mom - if I can just teach her the art of being gentle....

Another funny thing that Levi has started...when I am putting him to sleep at night or holding him for a nap - just as he's falling into sleep, he will reach up, grab his pacificer and throw it on the ground (even if he's in the sling!!!). Yeah, he's a pretty smart cookie! I've started to delay giving it back to him - and he starts to fuss until I eventually give it back. We play this cat & mouse game a few times until he just can't keep his eyes open any more. At thispoint I think - I won, you little stinker!" :)

Ok...sorry for the rambling it's just the lack of sleep talking. I'm going to bid good-night before I get myself into trouble! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

A quick update...

So, I don't have photos from today - remember how I was sending everyone back to work and school? Yeah, so it turns out that we both missed them. :) Levi was a little grumpier today since he didn't have 4 people ogling over him 24/7. And when I say "grumpier" I mean he cried, like twice. :)

We are finally, finally getting Steve's dream camera, which he'll use some for work. Ok, maybe not "dream", but it definatly the nicest camera we are likely to own, ever. It's a gift for his birthday on Saturday. It's a splurge for us, but we've been saving up for it and are looking forward to getting it very soon. It's the Nikon D60 (for all you camera geeks out there) which just means it takes really, really great photos. I look forward to posting them soon!

In other news - my good friend sleep, has returned, at least for now. I don't know if she is here to stay, but last night Levi went down at 8 and got up at 6:15 a.m. Well, he woke up twice - loud enough to get me out of bed, but I'm very, very thankful that it wasn't 10 times! Looks like the antibiotics were the right decision. Too bad all but 2 doses spilled all over the bottom of the fridge! :)

I've had a few people ask me about sleeping arrangements with Levi. I'll end with this because some of your probably don't really care (but I love you anyway!). Those of you who are interested, we pretty much took our social worker's suggestion. We have 3 bedrooms, all on the 2nd floor. Our bedroom, a "girls" room, and a "boys" room. The girls and boys room are jack 'n jill style with a door connecting them. Our kids love it. In the boys room we have bunk beds, and in the girls room we have a queen bed. The idea is that it would become the "guest room" and Ella would sleep in our room or Ben's room when we had guests...but when we had someone living with us this fall, she pretty much claimed the other bunk, in the "boys" room as "hers". So, we put the crib in the girls/guest room (I know - for our little boy) so that we could use the bed and the crib in these early days as he transitions. At first, I slept with him in the bed at night almost exclusively (for about 4 nights) and after falling off the bed after one nap (yes - you can give us our "parents of the year award" now) - we moved him to the crib (or sling) for naps. Now, he usually starts in the crib, and when he wakes I usually just transfer him from the crib to the bed because frankly, I'm very tired at that point. I do see us changing this soon, because sleeping with Levi is like sleeping with an octopus that breathes like Darth Vader all night long. :) The Darth Vader part will go with the cold - but the octopus is here for the duration!

So - that's our sleeping story. I hope it helps some of those of you who will be in our shoes very soon! We think of you all the time and are praying that your little ones will be home soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am missing my good friend...sleep.

Perhaps I raved a little too soon about our transition. Last night reminded me of the days of having an infant. You know the every 2 hours of night waking...the tiptoeing away from the bed only to have the baby screaming again. I knew he wasn't feeling well, so I cut him some slack (not that babies really need an excuse for slack!). But when he woke at 6 a.m., I noticed he was hot. Really hot. Took his temperature and it was 103.5. Yikes! So I gave him some tylenol and just listened to his drippy, runny nose and yucky cough while reading him stories and playing with him. Ugh. I knew we could be in for a long day. After a little while, I passed him off to Steve and got another 1.5 hours of much needed sleep. I called the doctor when I woke up, who told me to bring him in, and sure enough - he had an ear infection. After 2 doses of antibiotic, I'm really hoping for a better nights sleep...In fact, I'd love to wake up at 7 a.m (and no sooner!), but I have a feeling that is a little while to come. :)

He has been such a sweet baby, even being sick. Although we are certainly seeing a little more sadness - who can blame him? I included some photos of our last two days. I finally got him to sleep in the sling today. Believe it or not, he's been fighting any daytime sleep and is WAY to curious to fall asleep on my back! This is despite the reports that this is how he napped in Korea! Hmm....

Ben and Ella have not only enjoyed having Levi here, but have enjoyed having daddy AND mommy home all the time! We've really enjoyed this family time, although Ben and Ella are starting to fight more, and Steve is getting a little bored, so I'm ready to send everyone back to school and work tomorrow! :)

Tonight, as I rocked my baby boy to sleep, I cried hard. It was the kind of cry where you are sobbing and can't stop. After I laid him in bed, I came downstairs and sobbed in Steve's arms. It is all sinking in. This amazing baby, Levi's birth mom, his foster mom, the arrival day events, doctors appointments, baby sneezes, loosing my "Independence", THREE college tuitions...I could go on and on. It's been a FULL 6 days. Someone pinch me...

Friday, January 23, 2009

A great transition (undercover)

I promised my social worker that I wouldn't blog about this one - that I'd keep it to myself that Levi's done so amazing. She told me this isn't "normal" so she doesn't want others to expect this too or suspect that the agency has played favorites. So - just in case you know our social worker or are with our agency - you didn't hear it from me!!! Deal!? :)

Levi is progressing so well. We are humbled and amazed at how much he's thriving. He started pushing a stool - "walking" around our kitchen, squealing with delight that he can now chase around the big kids! :) He thinks he's big now too!

Eating - the kid eats anything! I love to cook - so we are a perfect match! In fact, if you're holding him at the dinner table, you'll need to watch your plate of food. He may want you, who he's sitting with - but more than likely he wants whatever you've got in front of you! He'll swipe your chicken right off the table! We're trying to hold him back, but delighted that he loves to eat! It's so much fun!

Social - We aren't trying the "outside" world for a while as we try to bond, but for us, he is the most social, happy-go-lucky kid we could have asked for! He hardly cries...really. Cecelia called this morning and talked in Korean to him. He jumped with joy to hear familiar sounds. It's only then at those times that we are keenly aware of how big of transition he's made. He adores our kids, and has started giving kises - which we, of course, love.

Dr. Appointment - By request of our agency, we took him in for an appointment with our pediatrician. They gave him his first "well baby" visit. Modified, of course, because we didn't want to strip him down in the exam room. He really doesn't like getting dressed/undressed and we figured we'd ease him into the whole doctor thing. Dr. Whitman was very understanding and did what he could...Levi tolerated a lot more than we thought. Our visit can be summed up in his final statement. "He is a true testament to a wonderful foster family. You have so much to be thankful for - he really is amazing and he comes from a very loving foster family." Cecelia reiterated that when we talked to her this morning. She told us the foster mother was probably crying, grieving the son she has lost. We prayed for her. Our hearts are broken. In order to love well, you must truly love. I don't know if I'm strong enough to do what these foster mothers do. May God give Ms. Kim peace. We are so grateful for her, and it is reflected in how well our son is doing.

Sleep - Okay, so there has to be something not going perfectly, right? :) He HATES naps. Kicks, fights, screams, and REFUSES to take a nap! This from a kid that hardly cries during the day! He cries out for omma (his foster mom), and I think he misses her in the nighttime (I really get that!) Yesterday, he only had 1 morning nap of about an hour and I put him down to bed just before 7 pm. Of course - he was awake from about 4 - 5:30 a.m. So tonight, despite the 45 minute nap today (and despite our futile attempts at a second one), we held him off until 8 pm to go to bed. He was SOO tired, and we still can't get over how happy he is without much nap! (I know...I'll pause here why you feel really sorry for us!) On to night...well, he's still waking up at night and again, asking for omma. We're just rolling with it...he's got a lot of grieving to do and we just want to be patient with him.

We are in awe of this little one. He truly has been a wonderful addition to our family in every way. I can't stop crying as I think about the what-ifs surrounding our decision to adopt. God spoke very loudly to us (I'll blog about that sometime), and I'm just really, really thankful. I think Ben said it best tonight "Mom - Levi's not adopted anymore! He's ours!" I didn't bother explaining that adopted IS ours. I knew what he meant, and he is right.

If you click on the photo below, you can see more pictures from our day (added to the arrival pictures).
Levi's arrival

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the still of the Night

First, I am publicly apologizing to Steve for posting a picture on the last post of him with "chicken hair". I'm so sorry baby...I didn't even notice - I was too busy looking at our beautiful boy and never thought twice about how everyone else looked! :)

The night is sometimes my worst enemy. It is the time where every fear, both rational and irrational surface. When I was a child - my fears about death and dying would be so strong at night they would force me to tears. As I became a mom for the first time, I spent a lot of time awake in the night, fearing things that never crossed my mind during the day. I don't know if these are subconscious thoughts that are always there - or if they are irrational creations that happens when the sun is down and the moon is high. Either way, they are very real feelings.

Levi had a great night last night - even going an 8 hour stretch without eating, which I'm understanding - he didn't even do with his foster family before he came home! We are so thankful for God's blessing on his sleep. But after he stirred a moment, I was left lying there, next to my precious child, when that ugly monster of fear struck again. Some questions were the same I'd had before, when I was up in the night with both of my other children: "Things are going so well - maybe too well. He's so content - is there something I'm missing? This can't be it - when is the other shoe going to drop? How am I going to take a shower or get the kids to school, when Steve goes back to work?"

Other questions that loom are about my ability to care for Levi long term. I'm not adopted and don't know the first thing about what he might wrestle with in the future. "Will I know how to answer all the questions? Can I love my child while I counsel him though the feelings of abandonment? Am I prepared to help him understand why others don't see his differences as the wonderful thing they are, but tease him about them instead? Am I prepared to raise a Korean boy, a Korean man, and help him navigate though changes I haven't experienced on my own?

Fortunately, morning came. Thankfully, it always does. I wonder if this is why the Bible talks so much about the morning and the healing that it brings? As I laid in bed last night, I chose to embrace these changes as good. I wish I could know that our future holds only happiness and joy, but instead, I choose to believe that no matter what our future holds, I am a mom who loves all three of her children in ways I could never have understood before becoming a mother. For tonight, that is enough.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Exhausted but happy

Day one went very well. When he is tired, he asks for Uh-ma (his foster mom), but other than that, he's pretty happy and content. Last night, he slept from 6 - 10 (on the way home last night), 11- 3 and 3:30 - 7:45. Not too bad if you ask me! He had 2 naps today. I woke him from the 2nd so that he wouldn't sleep too long. We had such a fun day getting to know one another. I'm so thankful for the big kids. He enjoys our company, but cries for Ben & Ella when they leave the room. I don't know what we're going to do when they have to go to school! :) Enjoy these pictures from our day...

January 20, 2009: Arrival Day

It was a very historic day indeed. We listened to the inaugural address on the way to NYC. It was moving to know that it was such a historic and memorable day for us AND for America. We couldn't help but feel thankful that our son was coming home on a day that defines the changing of our nation. Welcome to America sweet little Levi.

It was an uneventful drive to JFK thanks to 2 GPS devices! We left later than we had planned, mostly because we'd allowed so much time, and didn't want to sit around the airport. We arrived with about 40 minutes to spare, got the kids some fruit and water to hold them over until we had dinner (which we suspected would be later than usual). We went to the "big orange question mark" that our greeter had said that we should meet under. (It was decidedly big and orange!) :) When we arrived, we saw another family standing on the other side of the desk. They looked suspiciously like us: A couple with their parents, no "real" luggage - more of a diaper bag type bag, nervous, looking around. We knew, from Cecelia that another family was going to be there to greet their son. Just as we were trying to decide if we should introduce ourselves a security officer walked toward Nicole (our friend who was with us) and upon seeing her camera, informed us that NO pictures or video should be taken in the airport! What??!!! None he said. He was quite rude about it, mocking us for even asking why this was the case. We were disheartened to say the least. Finally, after a few minutes of trying to decide if we should introduce ourselves to the other family, I nervously walked toward them and smiled. Before I could even ask "Are you with Love The Children?" the woman came toward me and said "Yes! We are waiting for the same thing you are!" The rest of the family joined me and we congratulated them on the big arrival of their first child, Max, who is 13 months old.

We waited together for the greeter (Gerri) to meet us. We grew more and more nervous as we waited. We knew the flight was on time (10 minutes early, actually!), and that things were running smoothly on our end, but we wondered if everything was really going smooth. It started to seem all too easy. Gerri arrived (a mother to 10 adopted children, 7 of them from S. Korea!) and asked if we had questions. "Can we take pictures and video!?" I blurted out. I explained why I was asking. She told us that the area we were going would not be so crowded and she'd never had problem before with anyone taking video and photographs. We all breathed a sign of relief. We walked over to the arrival board and waited for the "on time" posting to change to "arrive" where Gerri informed us we would walk to the bottom of an escalator (how dramatic!) to wait for our sons. After waiting several minutes after the plane was supposed to arrive, we began to see some people filter from the direction we knew we'd be waiting. Gerri walked over to them and asked what flight they'd come off of. It was OUR sons flight! Gerri led all of us quickly to the escalators and we waited. Our friend Nicole had the camera and the video camera revved up, ready for action! She was a trooper in every way!

We watched everyone come down those escalators. They must have wondered who we were waiting for so attentively. At last, we saw a woman come to the escalator with a stroller and peer down. Our greeter realized she could not go down the escalator with the stroller. We all turned around to the elevators behind us. Gerri reminded us that we could not ambush just any person who walked off the elevator and take their baby! We all had a laugh about that as the elevator was counting down. I can't honestly remember that was so surreal, so fast. The elevator doors opened up and the woman walked out and indicated that the boy belonged to one of us...but which one!!? Neither of us jumped like we recognized him. By size, I suspected that it was Levi, but I wasn't quite sure. He was bundled up in a jacket with his hat on. I checked his bracelet which read his Korean name and our names. "He's ours." I nodded quietly. I could hardly get the words out. I was overwhelmed with joy, love, fear, and nervousness. I picked him up out of the stroller. He didn't cry, he just was VERY, very curious. He kept looking around and touching things - our hair, our faces, our clothing. Everything was new to him. We were amazed that he wasn't crying. I knelt down to show him his big brother and sister and he practically LEPT out of our arms to greet the kids. It was very clear, at that moment that he was in love with his big sister and brother! Gerri and our escort took Steve aside to sign the paperwork and give him the bag filled with all sorts of goodies. I was unaware until later, that a bag had even been left for us! We hugged the escort, took a few photos, and said goodbye. The other family congratulated us and was on their way as well. To be honest...I'm pretty sure they got their baby, but I have no idea! Eventually the greeter left us to play with our son. We played with him for about 20 minutes before we packed up to head home. We'd been told that he was in need of a bottle, so I gave him about 100 ml (1/2 the bottle) and then Steve pulled up in the car. He cried for a very short time when we loaded him into the car seat, but once he saw that Ben and Ella were with him, he instantly perked up, smiling! I sat next to him, where he downed the other half of the bottle and fell asleep before we were even out of the airport. He slept the ENTIRE way home! 4 hours to be exact. We didn't wake him because we knew that he needed the rest and we didn't want him to wake in the car, distressed, where we didn't have any way to really soothe him. We talked all the way home about the experience.
I'll post more later about the first night and first day, but here are the pictures of our special day with Levi!

(You'll have to cut/paste this link into your browser.)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Well done.

We've had a great day here, and most of it had very little to do with getting anything done. We just enjoyed the day. The kids and I went out to lunch and wandered around the mall, talking about Legos and American Girl Dolls and everything in between. They played outside in the great snow we got yesterday until the couldn't take the cold anymore. :)

Steve and I went out for Thai tonight, while the kids played with Meghan, their very favorite sitter (who was available with one days notice - thanks dear friend!). And we bought a new shovel! (Do we know how to spend a date or what!!?) Really...we were in desperate need of a better shovel. I'd say "bring on the snow!" but we have had QUITE enough for a while! ;) I love doing anything with Steve - he is great company.

Tonight, the house is quiet. I'm feeling very much at peace. I have the pictures of Levi that I have been carrying around in my purse for the last 3 months. Tonight is the last night I have to look at those photos to know what my son looks like. Tomorrow, all the questions about how much he has grown in 3 months will be answered. I'll get to see for myself what his personality is like. I'll take my OWN pictures and the boy in the photographs that I carry around will no longer be a projection of my future, but a picture of my present. January 20th is bound to be a historical day for the United States of America. But for our family, it will surely be a day we remember forever. Thanks for being faithful to follow along this part of our journey. I've loved living it with you. I guess we'll see you on the other side!

A few questions?

I've had a few questions from people that have been asked a number of to satisfy your curiosties:

Will his foster mother bring him on the plane? No, he will be brought by an escort. We don't know this person, and neither will Levi. They are hired by the agency in Korea.

What kinds of adjustments will Levi need to make when he arrives? Basically, just about everything. There is the obvious...he will be crying for his uhm-ma (foster mother) because he will be longing for her so much in the first few days. While this will be hard, we know that if he does, it means he can develop healthy attachments and our long term outlook looks good. However, we will be grieving with him and know that it will take a while before we can fill that void.

We have to make sure that he is healthy - planes carry a lot of illess, espcially under all the circumstances that Levis is undergoing.

He also is making a 14 hour time change. Holy jet lag! Our social worker warned us that it takes about 10 full days to make this adjustment.

What happens when you receive Levi? We will definately let you know when it happens and we will be taking LOTS of video, and photos, but we hear it happens FAST! Here is what we understand: The escort will hand Levi to us, and we hope to catch a quick photo, but then he/she and the greeter (from our agency) will have Steve sign the release forms to that say it was indeed, Steve and I that picked up our child. They will hand Steve all the documents (medical information, log of his last few weeks of eating, sleeping, bathing, etc.) and will give him a gift from the foster mother (a hanbok, which is the traditional Korean 1 year birthday outfit) and then the escort will be gone. Just like that. We'll pick up pretty quickly after that to head home. I hear its very, very overwhelming.

Are you excited? Of course! And nervous too. We feel like we are going on the biggest blind date of our lives and REALLY hope he likes us! :)

Can we call/stop by/email? You can call and email anytime you like. We will answer or pick up when we can. We are asking everyone hold off on visiting without calling first for a couple of weeks. We want to make sure we have enough margain to welcome Levi in our home without overwhelming him. If we find that he can tolerate visitors sooner, we'd be glad to have you. But we just won't know that until we are there. Thank you SO much for understanding. However, we can't WAIT to introduce you to him - you mean so much to us!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, Levi will be starting his journey. He will travel 30 - 35 hours from Foster home to our home. We are praying for safe travels for him. But - we have someone else on our minds. His foster "uhmma", "apba" and sister. Ms. Kim has been caring for this sweet child for 8 months now (since he was about a month old), and she will be saying goodbye in a few short hours. I can't imagine doing it to be honest. It brings tears to my eyes to think about how difficult it must be for her. We have so much ahead of us, and we don't want to forget this amazing woman, who voluntarily cared for our son, knowing that he would never be hers forever. Thank you Ms. Kim. We know that your loss is our gain. We are eternally grateful.

A productive couple of days...

Well, I spent most of Saturday morning and afternoon putting my life in order, and Saturday night and Sunday starting to put "the loot" in order. I just have to say...We have great friends who are helping us fill his drawers, make our home more fun with toys, and who are helping us think about and do all the things I just won't get to. I guess all that "cleaning out the closets" stuff is going to have to wait a few more years as well. :) I also lined up a DATE NIGHT for Steve and I tomorrow night. We have a little Korean/Japanese restaurant in Natick we have been meaning to try out.

So - with no further ado, pictures of our kids enjoying the toys (we are already a little sick of that mechanical baby music we'd almost forgotten!), our NEW stroller, all the baby clothes (washed and ready!) and all the stuff. Who knew such a little person could need so much stuff!!??

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A welcome Comfort

It's 10:20. Saturday night. In three days, I'll be arriving home with my son from JFK. I really, really can't believe it. It may be that I'm already a bit sleep deprived, but I feel like I'm at the end of a really long race. I'm tired, starting to wear out and I've become emotional. I was in Old Navy, doing some SOCK-SHOPPING and I was wearing thin. I've been racking my brain for the last 36 hours, trying to tie up all the loose end I thought I had another month to do. I really have lived a month in about 36 hours. However, standing there in Old Navy, I hit a panic moment. What were we thinking? How we could EVER do this? Maybe we'd misread our calling. Maybe we were just hoping to be more than we were supposed to be. Pretty heavy thoughts for Old Navy, I know. I needed comfort, and I begged God to help me find joy and peace. Just before the tears started to flow, I found the socks, and I picked up a pair to start considering sizing. I noticed something on the socks. Do you see it too? I saw it right away - "Made in Korea". This was the only pair of socks on the rack that said this, and, of course, I bought them. Levi will have to grow into them...but I need them to remain unopened for a while anyway. I'm sure this is one of many, many moments I'm going to need the reminder that God is with us...he is never far from us. We are sure to face more troubles in this journey that we do not yet know.

Isaiah 40:30-31 (New International Version) says: "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

I'm headed to bed for some much needed rest. The next couple of days are certain to be full. May God renew YOUR strength this evening in whatever challenges you face.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Is this some kind of joke!!??

Today was like any ordinary day, as I was mopping the floor...well, actually, that isn't really ordinary for me. But, anyway...I was certainly NOT expecting the phone to ring and I was NOT expecting it to be Cecelia. But the phone DID ring and when I looked at the caller ID, it read "Love the Children." My mind immediately considered that something must be wrong. I didn't believe that it could possibly be a travel call so soon. When I picked it up and it was Beverly, an assistant from the office, I thought it must be a minor paperwork issue. I was HOPING it was minor. Then she said "Cecelia would like to speak with you." Uh-oh. What could this be? "Is something really wrong, I wondered?" Cecelia got on the phone and I asked her how she was doing. "Good," she replied. "I have very good news for you." I had to sit down. "Yes?" I asked. "Your son is coming!" To which I gave the very awesome reply, "Soon?"

The rest of the conversation is pretty much a blur. She told me to get paper and a pencil to write down some info. I grabbed a piece of paper the size of a post it note...? Again, my thinking was not all that clear at the time. I'm writing on my post it note, wishing for more paper, and realizing that I'm not really listening. All I could think of was I do not have socks for him yet. Not an un-solvable problem, and certainly not the only item I'm missing...but it was ALL I could think of!

Cecelia told me that Levi is arriving (keeping in mind of course, that it is never "Levi" that she says, it is "your boy.") on Tues, January 2oth. He is arriving at 4:54 p.m. at JFK airport in New York City. She gave me some further instructions (which I'm still trying to translate from the post it sized note) and told me to call 2 - 3 days after he arrived. I assured her that I would likely be calling sooner with questions. I pointed out to Cecelia that this process went really fast. She agreed, saying that our paperwork went amazingly fast..."You are very lucky." Yes...we are.

I called Steve at work to tell him the big news. He must have said "What?" and "Oh my gosh!" about a million times. I understood. I wouldn't have believed it myself, had I not gotten the phone call. In fact, the rest of the day, every time the phone ring, I was convinced that it was Cecelia calling back to inform me that she made a mistake.

We have FOUR whole days to get ready. Believe it or not, we are very thankful for that. Most people have just a couple. While we have a lot to accomplish in 4 days, we also want to take time to enjoy the last four days before our lives change forever. We have a lot to absorb before he arrives. Today, I stopped for coffee at Starbucks. It was my last day as a "mom of 2 kids in school full time" least for a while. I thought I should live it well. It was a good day. No regrets.

I'm including the picture of the cake that our small group brought for us tonight. We've had so much support throughout this process, we are amazed. Thank you all for loving us and celebrating with us!

So, to all our friends and family: We're bringing our son home! To Levi: Hang on baby...we're coming to get ya! Just as soon as we get some socks...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy 9 months, Levi!

Too tired and too cold here in the freezing Northeast to post much except to say "Happy 9 months, Little Man!" We hope you are home to celebrate 10!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gerrard Family Predictions on Levi's homecoming

Several nights ago, we pulled out the calendar and we each "guessed" at a date that Levi would come home. Prize for the closest is still TBD.

February 9: Mommy's guess
February 17: Ella's guess
February 20: Daddy's guess
February 25th: Ben's guess

Anyone else want to add their guesses? (Clearly, we are ALL being optimistic here since NONE of guessed in march! :D)

Coming clean...

So much to share with you! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We've had a LOT going on. First, we have battled the stomach bug. Only 2 of us so far - so we're sort of in that "jumpy" phase when anyone so much as burps. We made Ella sleep on a lower bed (she's in the top bunk) last know, just in case.

Speaking of being "jumpy" - This morning, Ben was scratching his head intensely, and just after thinking - "boy, he REALLY needs a haircut", I began wondering what was making him itch so much. I began to pick through his hair. I was certain I spotted a bug, but I couldn't find it again or anything else of concern. Though, I couldn't help but feel paranoid. So, before sending him to school, I took him to the nurse. Thanks to Nurse Gilbert, Ben is at school this morning, with nothing more than an itchy scalp. At least for now.

On the adoption front. We've been told that no news is good news. But no news is NOT easy news! :) We were giving an initial timeframe of 4 - 5 months from paperwork (10/21) to plane. That puts us in the 2/21 - 3/21 range. After jumping on blogs and adoption message boards and seeing others timeframes, I started to have a hunch that we might be at the upper end of that curve. Just a hunch, nothing definitive...but I figured that we are approaching the 1 month out mark and so we are collecting. Thanks to all the many people lending us clothes, beds, carseats, and all kinds of small baby-safe items! We will now graciously accept those things that you have offered. We feel ready to handle the "stuff" and are starting to believe we will actually need it soon. :) We have the crib set up - but it doesn't yet have a mattress, and we don't have ANY diapers or wipes, so we've still got quite a bit to do. :)

I have to admit that I think I did something illegal. Ok, not illegal like "against the law" illegal, but for a rules-follower like me, it was definitely not "official". After reading some adoption boards, and asking a few questions, I stumbled on a phone number that could answer the question if Levi's visa was issued. I debated all weekend on if I should call. Today, just before 9 a.m. I called. I'm feeling VERY guilty about it...but I'm getting over it because in the 45 seconds I was on the phone, I got word that Levi's visa cleared TODAY! Yeah! I feel great about the news, and know that all that is left is the travel plans...but don't really have a clear idea how long those will take. Some people get their travel calls within days, others in a month. But, it looks like the arrival of our son is coming upon us quickly - definitely within the timeframe we've been promised, if not before. I have to go - I have SO much to do!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A sad loss

I will post later about our holidays - which have been fun and busy - but today, we just wanted to share the news that we lost a dear friend, Eugene on Christmas Day. He was only 41 years old. It was very unexpected and we are so sad we didn't get to say goodbye. Ben was just with him 2 days before at the Museum of Science with his brother (our pastor and dad of Ben's very good friend). We shared a special connection with him on many fronts, but we were so excited to introduce Levi to him, since he was part Korean. Just yesterday, I said to Steve - "I think Eugene would have love to have met Levi." When Levi comes home, we will remember Eugene with great fondness as we think about the bond he shares with our son. Meanwhile, we are praying for his family and friends who feel this big void, especially around the holidays.