Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 4 Seoul

Today is the day we have been waiting for for so very long. At 10:30 this morning Ken and I sat anxious waiting in an empty room at Holt's office. Then there was a knock on the door and in came the social worker, the foster mother, and the most precious tiny little princess I have ever seen. Eliza was very shy and a little scared by us. She definitely loves her foster mom. Foster mom is a veteran at this, and she was very good at trying to get In-ae(Eliza) to be near us. It was very hard. She sat on my lap briefly, but quickly started to cry and reach for the foster mom. Since she is so apprehensive, we have decided to have another meeting before taking custody of her. We will meet her on Wednesday, then on Thursday we will get to take her with us. I hope she feels a little better about us at our next meeting. I know it will take some time.

After meeting our daughter, we went to Namsangol Hanok Village. It has five restored traditional Korean homes. We were able to try on some traditional Korean clothing and headpieces. It was so much fun to dress up as queen and king. There are also some very beautiful ponds and streams flowing through the village.

Korea is such an amazingly beautiful and diverse place, where old and new mesh together. Seoul is such a modern city, filled with skyscrapers, technology, and 24 hour traffic like you've never seen. But tucked inside this modern world is a completely different world. A world of beautiful palaces and tradition and heritage. It is so new...yet filled with history, so fast-paced...yet no one is too busy to be polite, so strong...yet so delicate, and all of it so very beautiful.

Now, I know you endured reading all of that in hopes you would get to see my pretty girl, and I will not disappoint. Here she is:

Playing peek-a-boo with Daddy

almost a smile

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Seoul Day 3

Today we had tour guide from Holt take us to Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is the largest of several palaces in Seoul, and it is massive. We were able to take a tour in english, and it was very interesting. Then we walked by the Blue House. This is where the Korean President lives, and is similar to our White House. Of course, we were not allowed inside. Our tour guide also took us to have cold noodles for lunch. It may sound wierd, but it was actually very good. We came back to the hotel and Ken took a short nap, then we went out with some friends to Lotte Mart. What an experience that was. Imagine Costco but with multiple levels like a department store. One floor has food and other essential items, another floor has toys and clothing, and I think there were more levels, but that is as far as we ventured. They even have escelators that are magnetic, so you can push your shopping cart up to the next level. The wheels of the cart stick to the magnets and up you go, cart and all. It was a long day and we are so tired. Tomorrow is the day we have been waiting so long for. We meet Eliza at 10:30am (That's Sunday at 8:30pm Missouri time). And oh yes, I have some pictures to share.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seoul Day 2

We met up with our new friends from the Holt BB and their adorable baby boy for some lunch and shopping at Itaewon. They have been here several days longer than us, so they were very helpful in showing us how to navigate the subway system. It was such a fun day. We got some souveniers for the boys, and had a scroll painted of Eliza's name. Each letter of her name on the scroll is incorporated into a beautiful picture. He painted it right there while we watched and it only took him about 10 minutes to complete. It was amazing to watch.

Perhaps Wooribank is not the best name for a financial institution

Friday, August 28, 2009

We're in Seoul

It seems so surreal to actually be here in the same city as our daughter. We arrived Friday about 4pm, got settled into our hotel around 6pm, grabbed some VERY spicy dinner and came back to the room to crash. It is now 2am, and we are wide awake. I have no idea how we're operating on the lack of sleep we've had. We decided it would be a great idea to stay up all night Wed. so we could sleep on the Thursday flights. This was not such a good plan, as we hardly slept at all on the 13 hour flight from Chicago. Despite our lack of sleeping,the flight was really good. Korean Air has by far the best service I've experienced. I cannot say so much for United who cancelled our flight to Chicago 12 hours before we were suppose to leave, then rebooked us on an overfull flight only to transfer us to an American Airlines flight after we got to KCI. But we did get to Korea and that is all that matters. Our plans for today are to hang out in the room until breakfast time, then Ken has to do his fantasy football draft this morning (insert rolling eyes). After that, we are meeting some friends from the Holt BB and their new baby boy for some lunch and sightseeing. Here are some pics from our hotel room.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This morning at 9:15am we got THE CALL from our adoption agency. Eliza is ready to come home!!! We have been busy all day checking flights and arranging a hotel room. We are officially scheduled to fly out early next Thursday morning August 27th and return Friday September 4th around 6:30 pm. We are crazy excited! Thank you everyone who has been praying with us for our precious child to come home. It is finally happening.

1st Day of School

Yesterday was a big day! Phillip is now in 6th grade, Nathan in 3rd, Ian in 1st and it was our baby boy, Isaac's, first day of Kindergarten! I cannot believe how big he is (5 1/2 if your ask him, and DO NOT forget the 1/2 - it's VERY important). It seems like I just gave birth to him, and now the he is going to school. He had a great day! All the boys did. They all got the teachers they wanted, and are very happy to be back at school and see all their friends. The house is so quiet, well for a few more weeks anyway. It's weird. In many ways, the silence is golden, but it's also a little sad. As a mom of 4 very loud boys, I have become very used to our chaotic noisy world. It was very nice this morning to get to spend some "quiet time" with my maker that was actually quiet. Now for some pictures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

VISA Interview

This afternoon I called the National Visa Center in Washington D.C., as I have done many many times over the past 2 months. It typically goes something like this:
  • I give the kind person on the other end of the phone our case number
  • I hold with knots in my stomach trying and usually failing not to get my hopes up
  • The operator askes my what the child's name is
  • I reply "Choe, In-ae"
  • The operator says the dreaded phrase "I'm sorry the packet has not been returned yet"

NOT TODAY!!! Today, instead of hearing "the packet has not been returned", I heard, "Oh, she is so beautiful!". Which means the operator can see her information, the packet has now been returned, and our baby girl's visa interview is scheduled for tomorrow morning in Korea (that would be this evening here). Oh happy day! What this means is we will probably be getting our travel call this week and we will be able to leave the US next week as the parents of 4 children, and return the parents of 5. Eliza is coming home so soon! God is so amazingly good!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy 11 months Eliza!

Our sweet baby girl is 11 months old today. It is so bittersweet to think about her getting older and growing. We are so glad that she is getting bigger and healthier, but it is so hard to know that we are missing this early part of her life. To not be there when she smiles, laughs, sits and crawls for the first time. I pray that her wonderful foster family is documenting these first months of her life for us, so we can have some piece of her life before she came to be our daughter. Happy 11 months Eliza! We love you so much.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Well Baby Checkup

We got our last medical report for Eliza until we see her in Korea. She is doing great! She is almost on the growth chart and is about 10-25th percentile for her gestational age. This is AWESOME considering only 3 months ago when we got her referral she was not even on the chart for her gestational age. She is 16 lbs and 26.5 inches. She is also eating more, so that is great. Oh I cannot wait to be the one who is caring for her. Soon, very soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I can't believe my baby boy is 7 years old today! Happy Birthday Ian!

Welcome to my blog

I am finally starting a blog to record our journies as a family.

We are nearing the end of the process to bring Eliza home from Korea. We recieved a Class B waiver for her on Tuesday. This is basically a form stating that we are aware that she is developmentally delayed and that we accept this condition. We expected that she would need this due to her being born 10 weeks early and only weighing 1lb 12oz at birth. She is catching up, and doing great for her gestational age. Anyway, since we received the waiver, this means that the last piece of the puzzle, the visa physical, had been done. We should be getting a travel call as soon as they waiver gets processed, which could be as early as the end of next week, but probably in the next 2 weeks. We are hoping to be leaving the last weekend of August to go to Seoul, South Korea. We are very excited to finally meet our little Eliza.