Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lots going on

We have had a fun couple days as we were visiting with Oma and Opa Haas from California. We had some special times introducing Lily to them and watching their hearts grow toward each other. We went to the Japanese Gardens here and playing at the park. 
We drove to Chicago yesterday to get Lily's passport and they said we had to come back the following day. After that appointment we met Oma and Opa Haas at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. It was fun to see her expressions seeing all the fish and animals. Following that we drove to Woodfield Mall and walked around. This was a special time as we found Lily her first shoes that did not pinch and were comfortable. She raced around running all over with Baba. 

We said goodbye to Dan's parents and went to dinner with a friend before we drove back to my parents house. This was a super long day and Lily was really a trooper. She started to get really squirrelly near the end. She fell asleep on the way home.  She then slept 12 hours last night. 

Today Dan had to go back to Chicago to get her passport with Mom. They went to the Korean Consulate to check on how to get the visa. Well, they got the passport but the visa is a no go until we get the certificate of citizenship. So, we are OK to travel back to Korea, but she has to leave every 90 days until we get that letter. 

Meanwhile Lily, Powpow and Mama went to lunch at steak N Shake and then swimming at Mama's aunts house. The water was frigid but we got in. I think Momma and Auntie were colder. WE did get to spray PowPow with water which was super fun. 

 Momma and Lily in the pool
 Pow Pow playing too.
 Having fun
 Great Aunt Cathy playing with Lily.

 They don't make toys like this anymore. I played with these when I was little! This was so fun!
 Lily's new shoes that light up.
 Saying goodbye to Oma and Opa Haas

 Japanese Gardens
Running down the hills and Great Grandmas. This was seconds before Momma bit the dust on the hill.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Farmers Market

Today we went to a local farmers market which was another first for Lily.  The vegetables were so fun to look at. The local grown sweet corn, the local grown potatoes, squash and even cheese!
I just wanted to run through the streets singing with a huge smile but alas I contained my excitement and channeled it through the lens. 
Its things like this, (the farmers market) that make me miss the states terribly. We both love the midwest and the ease of life here.  Simple ease.

Lily is continuing to bond well with both of us more and more. We love all the giggles, the hugs, the little personality.  We are amazed that the Lord has chosen us to be her parents. We are getting to know more and more when shes tired, when she upset and mostly when shes peopled out. She is an introvert and needs time away from people often. This looks like painting, playing with playdoh, reading or using an education app on the ipad.  This has been huge for us to get to know since we are staying with our parents. The downstairs is her safe space where she can let loose and relax. We have not had many people here. She has not spent time with my brother and sister in law but only a few of their kids so she gets a little time with kids. Kate had to be carefully introduced to her slowly and then they bonded a bit. Lily still is behind Kate (who is around the same age) but she is super gentle with Lily and shows her things in a kid way that we can't. What a blessing. Lily does not like loud abrupt voices or people. Even at the market today she needed both of us around her. She held on to dad and watched to make sure momma was there too.

We went to the eye doctor to make an appointment to get our eyes checked. We had hoped to get hers done too but as soon as we walked up to the place she started getting upset. So, we will wait for her eye checkup. She loved sitting in a shopping car with a little belt on. In fact momma just put her in the cart and she pointed to the belt and said MAMMA!  Ok, I will put it on you.

She is such a detail in the right place type of gal!  We are watching to see what her dominant hand is. I think its left so far but its still up in the air as she uses both!

She is full of spunk and has a strong will but its all wrapped up in a shy quiet little one. When she is in her safe spot she is so talkative! We love it, but I love most about her is her empathy. Even at the farmers market she came across a little one in a stroller who was crying and I looked at her and her eyes were fixed on that child.  Also today I was changing my insulin infusion site and she was so concerned and handed me everything I needed without me even telling her or asking.  Seriously this kid!
 I have to find this bumper sticker!
 Beloit Farmers Market
 The veggies were amazing and I had some culture shock as we can not get most of these.

 Korea does not have sweet corn on the cob! AH! I love the midwest!
 Baba and Lily

 Fresh mini donuts

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bonding days

We have had some really good needed time to bond with Lily. She has had some really good days and good bonding. She has been feeling much more comfortable here at my parents house and is bubbly more upstairs. She still clings to Baba in new circumstances and thats good. He's her protector. Mama gets lots of snuggles, kisses and hugs to and its such a joy!

We went to the post office to find out infromation about where to go to get her passport. The local post office by my parents house doesn't do them. They gave us the name of the person at the one in Rockford that does it.  We went in and talked with them. The gentleman was super nice and came off his break to talk to us. The office staff in the passport area is no more as there have been cuts. So this gentleman called the Downtown Chicago office and they said we could come in and get a same day passport!!! Yippie! So Wednesday we leave super early and travel into Chicago to get a passport. We are praying we get it that day or they said it would be mailed next day.

We have come to enjoy our little family walks at night here in the country. Its a great time for Dan and I to connect to. We talk through our fears, expectations and anxieties. It has been so nice the past few days and its been a joy to walk around outside.

I was able to get out and enjoy some garage sales and found some really good finds. Wednesday during nap time I went to Meijers and Starbucks with my oldest niece! She is so stellar and I really love spending time with her. She is going into 7th grade this year and is a joy to be around.
She asked to have a sushi date before we left like we did last July when I was here.

There are so many joys and moments that take my breath away while getting to know Lily. She loves order, and loves to smile and laugh. Some of the smiling and laughing is showy in that she wants to please us now. We want her to be herself so we are bracing for  more bumps and bruises along the way. Tonight we had a bruise as we asked her to pick up the applesauce she spilled. She knew what she did, looked at it and Dan and shook her head no. So Dan tried again, (I was busy with changing my insulin pump site) and she again said no.  Screaming and crying commenssed and a battle of the wills. We had our Chinese book with what we were trying to say and she understood.  Eventually she gave in and they cleaned it together.

We wonder sometimes if we start now with some light discipline or wait till we get home to Korea. But, in a situation like above there is a difference in when she just does something because she doesnt know and doing something that you know she knows.

Downstairs in my parents house is her safe spot. We are begining to see and understand her signs and symptoms of when she is tired and peopled out.  Lily and Dans introvert blend well together. My extrovert is going a little crazy so I end up talked to whomever I can.  Did I mention I love our little family!!!!

Nai Nai and Ye Ye come to visit!

Today, Oma and Opa Haas (Nai Nai and Ye Ye) came in to stay for a while. We had a down day of relaxing so Lily can get comfortable around them. We played, did bubbles, ate, and ended the day getting ice cream. They brought many goodies with them that were surrounded with love. One such gift was something Lily has fallen in love with. Its an American Girl doll that looks like Lily. What a joy its been to see her light up with the Doll and care for it.  She received many outfits but tonight before bed she wore matching pajamas with the Doll.

Lily has received so many amazing gifts from so many people. These include church members, parents, Grandparents neighbors on both sides and some from people we do not even know. I am constantly blown away by how gracious the Lord has been during this process. Lily is doing really well. She clings to momma at home and when we leave the house she wants her dad, Her protector. They have such a sweet relationship and its such a joy to watch them bond.

 Lily and her Doll!
 Baba and Lily getting Ice Cream
 Lily and her Doll in matching pajamas

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Above and below water

There is often this fairy tale notion of adoption in that you are rescuing a child so once you get them the child will live happily ever after.  Is this what you have thought? Maybe the excitement leading up to the gotcha day with the family and then all that adrenaline leaves? This might be the case or it might not but what I do know is life gets way harder after Gotcha day.

Attachment is hard work. Adoption is hard work. Loving those that reject you is hard work. Lily is such a joy and a delight to be around. She really lights up a room and her laugh is nothing short of hearing the Lords laugh. With all this love, sometimes also comes rejection. She has never know unconditional love and love that is constant. This type of love also brings up emotions in her that she can't even understand.  There are times when she loves Mama and then times Baba is her main squeeze. While in China Lily preferred Mama and Baba just helped where he could and rejoiced in the little things all the while his heart hurt. This happened to Mama the day we left for the United States.  Baba was Lily's focus and this was such a blessing and answer to prayer. This brought out in Mama some feelings and emotions that had been bound up from the start. Part exhaustion, part anxiety, part fear mostly walking in the flesh. Its so easy to get caught up in fears and in our own insecurities that we forget what God has done and what He is doing.  While I would love to say I immediately focused on Phillipians 4:8-9 and dwelled there this was far from the truth.  I had so many emotions bottled up from the whole process of even going to China they all began to leak out.  I found myself pleading and begging the Lord for peace, and begging to ease the hurt.  This also brought up good conversation with Dan and I as he experienced much the same.

The Lord had done a huge work in my heart a few years back in dealing with how I was perceiving things.  I perceived life thru the lenses of fear and rejection. Also, I tended to live in the victim mentality.  While I thought the Lord had sifted my heart through and through in this area I quickly discovered that this was not the case. The Lord was not and is not done in my heart sifting out in this area.

Adoption brings out all your insecurities. Truly. It is so amazing being on this journey and wow,  all I can say is Lily is stinking amazing. We constantly pray that she would come to know the Lord early and that she would allow the Lord to use her mightily.

We have loved this bonding time of just getting to know our daughter. We have had to teach her most everything from using a western toilet, brushing her teeth, washing her hands after going pee, and all the basics that we take for granted.

What we do know is she loves order and details. She likes things in their places. This is far from how I operate that its forcing my anal side (the little I have) to kick in and jump into action. What we don't know is if this is a coping thing, or if she really loves order. Time will tell.

Time is what we need now. We have to keep this in mind during the good days when we are above the water and in the bad days when are heads are underwater as she experiences grief and lashes out. We would love prayer during this time!

The photos are from introducing Lily to the park, and selfies with Mama! Oh how she loves to take photos with Mama!!!!!  Also I have attached a cute little video. We have some books with stickers and blank faces that Lily has started diving into. She loves to put them on Mama's face as we talk about where the eyes are, and nose, and all the other facial features.  Also she loves play dough and creating things.

Also, the third day we were here my niece Kate came in to meet Lily. Literally it was just standing next to M
Lily loves Dan's protection. When she is afraid or something new happens she runs to Dad. Hes safety!

Mama and Lily and smiling to Lily.  Lily did give her a high five when she left. Kids have a way of breaking down barriers that adults cant.  Kate came back to have a little play date a few days later. They got along great. Lily did reach her peak at one point and then the night was ended. My parents and brothers family has been so so gracious in giving space and having patience with Lily and us. Lily is terrified of strangers and is an extreme introvert. So we have to keep her exposure to people at a minimum otherwise she starts to retreat and disengage.  She loves one on one with those she knows. Seriously her smile and little laugh could melt the hardest of hearts.

After five days she was comfortable in putting stickers on Gong Gong and Pow Pow's faces. (Grandma and Grandpa).  Both grandma and grandpa have been amazing with her and us. The don't push anything and allow us and Lily to tell them when enough is enough.  My mom has been nothing short of amazing. She makes sure we are fed with food we all can eat. She even had me look through a Paleo book of breads that she was going to make. She has been such a blessing to our hearts as we navigate things with our new little family. THANKS MOM and DAD!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

We made it.

Well, we finally made it to our destination and to say the trip was eventful  is an understatement. 
We left the hotel in a shuttle with a guide to help us get to the train. We finally boarded the train after trying to figure out how to maneuver all the luggage while caring for and carrying Lily who was crying during security. We got to the train and boarded got in our seats when a Chinese family came and said we were in their seats. We figured out our tickets were for the wrong day.  Cue the stress hormone. Praise God they let us stay on the train as there were extra seats. We had already went through the customs area of leaving China to go to Hong Kong. Wow. 

We made it to the train station in Hong Kong about 7 and had to figure out how to get a taxi while Lily was pushing her suitcase. We got the taxi and Lily did not want to ride in it with momma so dad had to switch seats. I sat in front and Dan in back and both of us being exhaust at this point had to really focus on processing quickly our feelings and focus on our daughter. 
We got to the airport and checked in and tried hard to stay awake for our 1145 flight. Lily was a trooper, and didn't cry much or throw a tantrum at all which was a huge blessing. 
We boarded the  12 hour flight to London  and all we wanted to do was sleep but the stewardess came around and served a meal right away. We were trying the let Lily sleep but she kept waking up. She did a great job of wearing a seat belt. In fact, she started putting it on herself. HUGE PRAISE! 
She slept cross ways for about 8 hours which was wonderful which meant we were able to get some sleep too. We arrived in London at 530am local time. Our next flight was at 1115, so we had hours to kill and stay awake. We found a play area but she needed socks in order to play in it. 
We got on our next plane a 8 hour trip which took forever. At least It felt like it did. Lily slept about 4 or 5 hours and was happy for the rest. We had been using pull ups on her at night but decided to put her in one on the plane This plane ride I realized she had filled her pull-up with poo. Ok, so for some you know how i have gagged in the past trying to change a poopy diaper. But, being the fearless mom I am, jumped in without hesitation. Once we  got to the airplane bathroom, which is so tiny, I had to devise a plan.  It was so comical trying to clean her on a closed toilet put her down to toss the wipes in the toilet and then clean her again. Repeat this 10 times in a supper tiny bathroom. We were both sweating when we were done. But, we made it through without gagging! Woohoo!! I know you might be think so what, it's a diaper... but after all these years of being stalled in this area with friends kids, I it was a big victory. 

We finished the plane ride and got to Chicago. We made it through the customs line and immigration. WOOHOOO!! Lily is now an American citizen!

We met mom and we headed to the car. Lily was put in her car seat and freaked out as Dan was going to the other side. Since she was preferring Dan I was loading the car with mom.   She finally got settled in the car and promptly fell asleep for the hour and half drive to Rockton.  We came in as she was crying and decide to start a bath. Thankfully my parents were understanding and just let us care for her right away. The bath was what she needed to create boundaries and a safe zone for her.  We are in the downstairs area of my parents house which is like a little apartment. After the bath we all gathered on one of the twin beds and snuggled. We whispered reassuring words both of us and then kissed her cheeks over and over again. This was what she needed to be calmed. She fell asleep pretty quick and then Dan and I hopped up into the upper trundle twin. We both passed out. We don't remember much. At that point we had traveled over 30 hours.

About 2am today I woke up starving so I went upstairs to get some food and when I came back down Lily was wide awake and next to baba. She came right to me and we cleaned up and then snuggled on the couch for a few hours. 

Today has been really relaxed for her birthday. She has gone to 2 parks and met her cousin Kate. She gave her a high five as well as Caleb (her other cousin) 
She is doing well right now since she knows the lower area of the house is her safe zone. It's creating boundaries for her and then she gradually becomes more comfortable. She has started smiling a little more to grandpa. 
Momma and Lily took a nap today while dad was doing seminary. Lily was fighting taking a nap but was so snugly and happy with momma and we got great face to face time.  She finally gave into the nap when I put on our Chinese lullaby music. I transferred to the upper bed and started reading an adoption of the older child book and fell asleep too. 
Baba came in about 2 hours later and woke us up. That was really hard to wake up. Jet lag with no kids is no joke,but with kids is so Hard! I jumped down to the lower bed and snuggled and both her and I fell back to sleep. Baba had to wake us up again. 
We got up finally and went outside to a park. 

We are having an ice cream cake tonight for her 6th birthday. I will include photos in our next blog. Things have been hard, and amazing all at the same time.

At the park in Rockton. Baba went down the slide first to dry it from the rain! 

(In Chicago finally!!)

In Hong Kong trying to stay awake! 

On the train to Hong Kong.

At the park here in Rockton!