Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A new Chapter

I love blogging but have changed some things, I will no longer be using this site but please visit  to check out my new site.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Holy Gotcha Day

Today is Gotcha Day in our house! One year ago we were in a playroom at the adoption agency in Korea listening as Charlie's foster mom gave us words of advice, a few mementos and a final hug to our son as she placed him in my arms...forever. It is a powerful memory and I love to think about it. I have been thinking about it all week and as I did the most beautiful comparison dropped into my heart.

A "Holy Gotcha Day"

I hate to admit this next part but it's the truth...Our church does an alter call almost every Sunday and because I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school this practice of an alter call is such a regular thing to me that sometimes, more than I care to admit, I am not impacted by it the way I should be. But when I think of it in relation to my experience with Charlie's gotcha day, I am immediately humbled.

God our Father gets to celebrate Gotcha Days every day, he gets to have people all over the world make the decision to "be placed in His arms'. Whether you know it or not you are His, created by Him for His good pleasure but somewhere along the way you have to make the decision to believe, receive and follow Him. The day you do the Bible tells us "The Heavens rejoice" over you, because God loves you so much that He considered you worth dying for and when you get the revelation of what He did for you... How Sweet it is.

I think about the elation we felt that finally, finally Charlie was ours, he was part of our family. He will help shape and mold our family into something better. He brings with him his personality, wit and charm that add another dimension to our lives. We in turn as a family will help shape and mold his life too. In the same way we as Christians enter into a family with fellow believers on our Holy Gotcha Day. We now get a whole new support system, the "Body of Christ," which is full of talents, gifts and abilities that add flavor to our life's journey.

 I am not sure I will look at an alter call the same again. When we realize that each one of us are children of God and that He is ecstatic when we enter His family, when I know that just like we longed for Charlie and grieved over how long the process took, He too grieves over his Children not yet "home" it gives me a new perspective on things. This stirs my spirit with an urgency, I have what others need, people searching for significance and value can find it in my family, in His family. And when they do, what a reason to rejoice every single time.

But we must be careful that we are being an example of the kind of family that people wish they were a part of, I know some days I am guilty of being a short tempered mom, that my thoughts or actions do not correctly display my deep love for my kids.  Likewise, are we as Christians being light in a dark world? Are we displaying our Heavenly Fathers attributes of goodness and kindness? Not in our own strength, striving for perfection but rather letting go and letting Him work His abilities through us. Are our hearts broken by what breaks His or are we calloused to it. I hope I will no longer be, I pray that just as I celebrated my boy becoming ours, I can celebrate others becoming His because truly what could be more important in this life.

I have learned so much this year, struggled with a lot of emotions and I have been stretched as a mom, wife and Christ follower. This year has been different from what I expected but I am thankful that through it Jesus is meeting me every day with His Grace, sustaining me with His presence and growing me into what He wants me to be. I am also so thankful that Charlie is growing. His speech is beginning to increase and become more understandable. In the last few weeks he seems to be listening to explanations of why the answer is no or not right now rather than just immediately freaking out. He is funny! He completely gets silly behavior and loves it when we are goofy. He is smart! I am blown away at how much and how quickly he figures things out and I am truly humbled that Jesus decided to let his life story become part of my life story. Happy Gotcha Day Charlie John-Hanung, We sure do love you!

One Year ago and Today

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One year since our first trip - an update and thoughts on my mind

My mind is tired this week, it feels like it has run a marathon. Somedays I wish I didn't have to think about adoption, this sounds funny but when you are an adopted parent and navigating the first year they're are a lot of things to  weigh and consider every single day. Add to that the fact that we are in the middle of the paperwork process again, meeting with caseworkers, psychiatrist appointments and reliving our first trip to Korea all this week alone and it's only Wednesday! On top of this I have started one, possibly two, very big projects that have to do with adoption (more info on those another time) plus fighting a nasty chest cold and then just everyday life makes me want to crawl into bed and sleep away a day. But since that is not an option, I write because it relaxes me.

We have had a lot of people ask us where we are at, I think because I used the term lightening fast in my last blog some people got the idea that we might have a baby home by summer. This is not the case and that is okay, we have two boys that keep us hopping the way it is and I am still getting used to the idea of three kids in our family. But here is where we are at so far. The paperwork that we are responsible for is complete minus one piece. We have our mandatory Psych eval tomorrow and our home study was done yesterday. Once both of those get written up by the professionals we can apply for immigration fingerprinting. This is the last step that needs to be accomplished before our dossier can be sent over to  Korea. This is the governments deal so its all up to them as to how long it takes. I am hoping that our paperwork will be complete and sent the first week of May and I believe that is a realistic goal. Then we wait for a referral, which we were being told is still happening at a fast rate but could be up to 6 months.

Also, so many of you have mentioned how excited you will be for me to get a girl or that your sure I am asking for a girl or girl this and that....   We are not requesting for a certain sex even though having two boys and adopting previously from Korea would allow us to set a preference, we are not. How many of us got to choose the gender of our biological children? I didn't and that is why we are not requesting this time. My heart has changed in this regard from our first adoption to this present one. It feels funny to me to even consider asking now. I know plenty of people who do specify and that is their choice but for us we don't feel like it is our choice. This whole adopting from Korea caught us off guard so much so that I am certain God has already picked a child out for us, who am I to argue with Him?

As I mentioned above we have one piece of paperwork left to do and truthfully I have been putting it off.  We are required to send a photobook and write a letter to the birth parents. The photobook is done and even that is sorta weird. I completely understand that is gives some type of healing to the mom to have a picture of the family that will raise her child but it almost seems showy like here is a picture of our home and our smiling, happy family doing so many wonderful things together. It makes me feel bad but then to write a letter on top of it?!? Seriously, what the heck am I supposed to say, thanks, I am sure your child will be fine... How glib. We have to follow protocal and it can only be one sided so then that makes it even harder.  I had to write one for Charlie too and ironically it was the first thing I did but I have learned so much since four years ago when I penned that letter that I feel this time around it is harder.

I want to tell her so many things, express my heartache for her, ease her mind, fufill her dreams that she holds for this baby. Promise her the world for this little babe that we will both always love as only a mother can. I'm crying now, I cry everytime I think of doing it. I will let her know that at milestones and birthday's my mind will always go to her, how I wish I could let her know about not only all the big but all the little things. I will wonder if our child carries her smile, eye color or dimples. So many questions left unaswered, so much heartbreak. Truly though the thought that keeps me awake at night, the thing I never get out of my mind is her salvation. Has she met my Jesus? Is He helping her heal through this painful process? Does she know that He is the Creator of the world and yet He sees each tear that falls from her eyes? This is what is hardest on me. I will make sure she knows that her baby will be introduced to Him, that our life is all about Him. I will make sure she knows she is prayed for all the time. The greatest thing I can think of is that if my kids never meet their birthmoms this side of heaven that in Heaven one day they can have a family reunion. A reunion filled with JOY not despair, PEACE not doubt and LOVE not fear.

So the best thing I know to do is fufill my promise of prayer, what can I do but pray? I will pray for seeds to be planted and faith to be made strong. Pray that God in whom I have HOPE - a confident expectation of good is as His word says in Rom 8:28 Working ALL things together for good. These thoughts lead me to other thoughts though; are you being bold in your walk with Jesus? I am not near as bold as I wish I was. Are we showing the world Jesus though our actions and words?  Are we really willing to take a step out of our comfort zone to talk to someone or pray with someone who we dont know? I just need to think of my children's birth family and it give me a desire for boldness becasue you never know who God places in your life to reach for His Kingdom and what type of reunion you may get to witness in heaven becasue you dared share Jesus!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Never say Never!

I remember looking at Ron while we were wading through the anxiety and fear of our first visit in Korea, being told that we may wait months before bringing Charlie home. Being completely exhausted and scared. I looked at him through tears and said "I just want to take our boy, go home and NEVER come back" I thought "I will NEVER do this again."The never part didn't have to do with adoption, we knew we would adopt again someday but not with Korea and probably not even internationally. We felt burned by the process.

If you read my blog you know that the last 9 months have not been easy, unexpectedly hard but right from the start we began to pray about our next move.  The process with Charlie was long and we wanted to start thinking about where/when and how our next process would go but we have learned alot about God's timing through adoption about so we wait. Well truthfully I was so ridiculously overwhelmed that I wasn't sure I wanted more kids and I was certain I couldn't handle more any time soon.  As with alot of things, time made it better, not perfect but better. So in the last 3 months we have been praying alot about what to do.

We really thought domestic adoption would be the right choice, it seems easier to me, faster and I don't have to take airplane rides that last 14 hours! We kept meaning to call a few agencies but never had that peace we experienced with Charlie, even in the hard, we had peace.  So we waited. Then 3 weeks ago we had Charlies 9 month home visit and at the end as our local caseworker was putting her shoes on she stops and tells us that she wasn't going to even mention anything because of our previous experience but she just felt like she should say something. She told us that an agency in Minnesota they work with contacted them regarding the many waiting children in Korea and that basically they're too many kids and they need more families. So they are reaching out to families who were interested in Korea at some point or have adopted before to see if they are interested again. Our caseworker says " would you like the information?" I am sure you can see where this is going...

Rewind a few weeks before this  conversation and I was "introduced" to a women on Facebook who had question about adopting from Korea, we messaged back and forth a bit and towards the end of the conversation I learned that she was working with our same agency out of Connecticut and that the time frame they were given was quick, like lightening fast. I just chewed that bit of information over and sorta forgot about until our local caseworker brought up Korea at our home study a few weeks ago. Little things here and there, coincidences you could say, or He was beginning to prepare us.

So we took the information from our local caseworker and called our agency in Connecticut, we prefer to use them since we have a history and have never heard of the company in Minnesota plus I wondered if they had heard anything similar news. Turns out the process has steadied again. My caseworker told me and I quote "I use your family as a worse case scenario when telling families that this process can change at any time, I want people to be prepared that it can get hard and your case was one of the hardest I have ever seen." Seriously??  So, I dared ask the question about time frames.  Currently, once paperwork is finished and sent to Korea the average referral is taking 1 to 6 months but the last three families she has worked with so far in 2015 all received referrals in less than 6 weeks. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It's hard to swallow, we waited 23 months for a referral! Of course there are no guarantees, of course it could change, of course I'm terrified and of course we are starting the process again.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall in some homes after people read this, we have already encountered things like " you really want to do this again ?"  and "wow, just wow" or  "do you love stress in your life ? ". Still others have cheered and been thrilled.  And the answer is, we asked God and believe this is his answer. Even though I thought I would NEVER be doing this again. You have to admit, He's got a sense of humor.  We ask you pray for us as we start again.  Stay tuned, I'm certain God will do amazing things this time around as well.

Greyson was very excited and Charlie, well he was busy playing games

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Up Up and Away, It's Charlie's 2nd BIRTHday!

Last year at this time, I was just so sad. I was so sick of it and was heartbroken that Charlie would not be spending his first birthday with us. This year was so much better! This year he did sit on my lap and I did get to sing Happy Birthday to him. It was wonderful! He seemed to be aware that something was different about the day and he was a little nervous throughout the day. He doesn't love attention from people, unless its Ron or I, so he did not know how to handle it when everyone stared and sang to him.  But overall between the trucks, airplanes, books and other fun stuff he got, I think he did pretty good.

Ron and I on the other hand were emotional off and on all day.  Adoption is something that God has ordained, He understands it because he sent his son down to take on human form and then of course, He adopted us. That doesn't make it easy and it has it's costs. It exists because something was broken and needed to mended. I for one am so thankful that God showed Mercy and infinite love on us, enough to let his own son die so we may live. To mend the broken in our world but redemption is painful. All these thoughts roll around in my head.  Joy, pain and loss.

And if I'm thinking about them then I know for certain that His birth mom has these thoughts. The thought of her is what makes me the most emotional. Mostly because I'm certain we both celebrated Charlie's life but she is without him, with only memories. I am one the that gets to create so many memories with him. It doesn't seem fair and I hate that Charlie will have to reconcile all of this someday too. He is so loved by people all over the world but someday when he is older, all of these thoughts will roll around in his head as well.

That is where I let go and let God. I can't do it, I can however consistently point my son to God. Let him know who He is in Christ. Make sure his significance and self worth is rooted in Jesus. Celebrate his birth mom, who she is to him and the importance of her in his life.  Mostly, I want to celebrate Charlie and the things he brings to our lives. He is a determined little boy and as we celebrated his second year of life, I can't wait to see what this next year will bring for him.

We had an airplane party for Charlie, he loves them. We played pin the propeller on the plane and decorated paper airplanes. We ate traditional Korean food, ate cupcakes and most importantly we gave thanks for Charlie John- Hanung!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Walking it out

I was at a shower a few weeks ago and the host had each person go around the room to explain how they knew the "mom to be" except this was a baby shower with a twist. This "mom to be" was waiting to get the call to travel to Korea to bring her daughter home, a daughter she has been waiting five years for. So for this reason the sharing portion of the shower was much more personal than most showers I have been to. Of the fifteen women present only two of us made it through our introductions without crying. Each introduction was more like sharing a short story and most of those short stories were inlayed with various versions of faith being strengthened or bonds tightened because of watching this women walk out her faith.

As I sat listening to each women talk, I felt the spirit of God whisper to me " This is what obedience does" and "This is what being willing to do what I ask of you looks like". Soon it was my turn to share and I was definitely one of the criers. I cried because I too had been in the same place the mom to be was currently in, the waiting, anticipation, excitement and fear. The past four years have changed me, my thinking and my faith.

The rest of the shower went great with presents, food, laughter and fellowship but I have not been able to get what the Lord spoke to me off my mind. I just keep marveling at how God uses my son's life and her daughter's life to touch others. I have been thinking about how different things could have looked if either of our families had given up the adoption process. If we had decided this grueling process was too much, how not fulfilling the call He placed on our lives could have changed others lives. You see, when we are obedient to God, it becomes a catalyst for Him to move. His plans will get accomplished in one way or another but if we are willing to be obedient  and step out in faith what else gets accomplished? I believe that other peoples lives can be transformed and changed, people we  don't even know. By saying yes to God we open the path for Him to use our life stories to influence others.

I know this to be true because all the women who shared at the shower said that watching this families adoption journey had in one way or another proven God's faithfulness to them or made Him more real in their lives. I have had similar stories shared with me during our journey of adoption as well. People who I have never meant have read my blog about trusting God through our adoption and on more than one occasion I have received letters from people expressing that what the Holy Spirit led me to share had helped them take a step of faith and act on what God was calling them to do. So in this particular journey that has caused tears, heartache, pain, joy, smiles and relief I have learned that the most important factor is obedience.

Being Obedient is hard, it means not getting our way and not always understanding the way He has chosen for us. It means trusting. But ultimately by doing what He has asks of us it means that we will be in His will and that is the safest and best place the be. When I am in His will I can hear His voice speaking to me which is so vitally important as I parent both my sons. I can be the mother He called me to be and help them navigate their lives by pointing them to Jesus and lets be honest, I could use all the help I can get. This parenting gig is hard but then to throw in adoption, bonding, racial issues and cultural differences on top of it....sheesh! I need to make sure my heart is at a place of obedience at all times so I can be ready for the hard questions, the fear, the anger that will no doubt come because as redemptive and beautiful as adoption is, it is painful. My sweet boy who has been through so much already in his young life will encounter more as he grows and he will be looking for truth, love and guidance.

As we close out this month of Adoption Awareness, I encourage you to be listening to what He has called you to, if you choose to obey, it will change your life!

I realized that because we were never able to post anything online before getting Charlie home, I never posted pictures of our first meeting him.  Here are some pictures of our first meeting. This is what walking out obedience can look like:

                                                     Finally got him to come sit by me
                                                           He let Ron hold him too
 This was the at the adoption agency on our second visit. He was looking at pictures of Greyson on my phone.

This is right before we had to say goodbye and did not know yet when we would be back to get him but God was so faithful in that situation as well.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oh be careful little tongue what you say

Do you ever say something and as soon as the words are out you wish you could just grab them and stuff them back inside? I have that sometimes, typically its not because I am trying to be mean but usually because I just didn't think. I know the words I said might leave a bad taste in someone else's mouth and I feel bad about it. Although sometimes, I may not even know I said something that could be offensive.

In today's society you can't get far in a conversation without eventually offending someone or their beliefs, their "rights". And some of it is so out of control, you can't even think differently than others without being called a hater  but that's not the type of "talk" I am referring to.  The kind I am thinking of is the naive or ignorant  phrases people utter who typically mean no harm but end up causing some type of harm.

I like to think that I don't get offended too easily by people who ask questions about our adoption or Charlie. I know that most people who are asking are doing so because they care. I don't mind questions because I hope it opens a conversation up about adoption and possibly even Jesus. But I must admit I have had this question posed three times and each time it makes me wince a little.  I am thankful that Charlie is little and doesn't understand yet. The question goes like this:

"Where did you get him at"

Okay, now I know that when people see our family together obviously he is the only Asian in the bunch so it is a logical question but when its just Charlie and I, it amazes me that people don't stop to think that maybe my spouse is Asian or that I am watching someone else's child for the day. I guess people don't think about it though and they want to know. The reason I wince at the question is because it makes it sound like we went down to Walmart and picked him up on aisle 3. It's a loaded question one that can bring up the past  with its hurts, obstacles, pains and joys. Typically it's followed with "do you know anything about his family"

I have kept calm all three times and answered that "Well, he was born in Korea" at which time two of the three people that asked caught on and one even apologized and said "I'm sorry I don't know the correct terminology or adoption lingo"  I have gotten better at saying that while we do have some information on his family, that part of Charlie's life is his. If someday he wants to share any details he may but we will let him decide that. Children who are adopted go through things that people who weren't adopted will never understand.  Their life existed before they came to their forever family  and that part will always play a role in shaping them, its part of them, part of their life story but it is not the only thing that defines them. Being adopted is only one part of what makes Charlie who he is and who he will be but when people only ask about things regarding him being adopted it can be frustrating. I want to tell them, he loves music and the bath. He is happiest outside, he is stubborn and smart. I do not want how he came to us to be the only thing people focus on. I also want to tell them about Greyson because usually he is standing right there and not a lot of people ask about him. Our words have such power to hurt and heal, bring love or hate, cast judgment or understanding that we must be careful with them because these little people, who are listening to what we are saying, will grow up to be big people and what we've said about them gives definition to who/what they will come to believe about themselves and I want it to be good.

The truth about Charlie is that first and foremost he is a Child of God. If he becomes nothing else in life that would be enough, to be loved by God.  But it's not the only thing that the Word tells us about who are, here are some examples of what Jesus says we are:

Redeemed, Righteous, Holy, Complete, A New Creature, Healed, Chosen....Adopted
just to name a few.

November is National Adoption month or I have also heard it called Orphan Awareness, a lot of churches have a service dedicated to the cause and to bring about understanding. So I hope this post brings some awareness into how you speak and what you say. I write with myself in mind, I talk a lot and have no doubt hurt people along the way by my words and truthfully I am sure I will do it again but my prayer is that the words that I say will promote love especially to other people because you never know how what you say may affect someone. I want to have words of life that point others especially my boys to Jesus.